As the year comes to an end it’s become a tradition of mine to write a note of gratitude to Big Ag for the many ‘gifts’ they’ve given us throughout the year that we didn’t really want, need or – in some cases – didn’t even know about. Here’s my top 10 for 2012... #10 – Undermining Organic With Industrial Practices Many people are putting their faith in the “certified organic” label as an easy way to support farming systems that care about animal welfare, our health and the health of the planet. But the popularity of organic food is attracting industrial-scale operators who are exploiting the organic regulations for their own short-term gains. In October, news broke that a large-scale “organic” egg producer was being sued for making misleading marketing claims about the welfare of its chickens. Judy's Family Farm Organic Eggs’ cartons feature images of hens roaming on green fields, while the carton explains the hens are “raised in wide open spaces in Sonoma Valley, where they are free to ‘roam, scratch, and play’.” Yet it’s alleged that the birds are kept in covered sheds with no outdoor access, misleading consumers. Sadly, this isn’t an isolated incident...
Animal Welfare Approved staff members Andrew Gunther, Beth Hauptle and Brigid Sweeney were thrilled to welcome Jeanette Orrey, the U.K. “Dinner Lady” on her first visit to the United States. On our first day of a three-city, week-long tour, we visited three public schools in the New York City System: PS 87, PS 84 and Fiorello Laguardia HS (the Fame school)!
We were joined by our friend Bill Telepan, of Telepan restaurant of course, and Nancy Easton, both with Wellness in the Schools, a non-profit working to support healthy school food in NYC.
New York City Department of Education
Eric Goldstein, Chief Executive Officer for Nutrition and Transportation
Dianne Frankel, Director of Operations
Chef Jorge Collazo, SchoolFood Executive Chef
Stephen O’Brien, Director of Food and Food Support
Baltimore City Public Schools, MD
Tony Geraci, Director of Food and Nutrition Services
Greg Strella, Farm Manager, Great Kids Farm
ThinkFoodGroup, Washington, DC
Richard Brandenburg, Kitchen Director
Arlington County Public Schools, VA
Amy Maclosky, Food Service Director
Jeanette Orrey is the School Meals Policy Advisor to the Soil Association. Jeanette’s achievements and guidance were central to the success of the Food For Life campaign and an inspiration for Jamie Oliver’s fight to improve school meals. Her life has been a whirlwind of training, lecturing, meetings with ministers and, of course, awards ceremonies. She has received recognition of her work from, amongst others, Radio 4’s ‘The Food Programme’ (2003); The Observer (2004); Good Housekeeping (2005) and the Guild of Food Writers (2006) for her book ‘The Dinner Lady’.
We’ve got to run off now to visit the Queens County Farm Museum and our friends Amy Fischetti-Boncardo and Michael Grady Robertson, but we wanted to post a few photos of our first day.
More to come!