Hope Springing Up
People are at work building and rebuilding locally sourced food systems. Here are a few stories that cheer me this week.
Replanting the Rust Belt, by Julia Moskin for the New York Times. Chefs' commitments to locally sourced ingredients in rust belt states yield excellent restaurant fare and more business for some farms and foragers. Collaboration among chefs accelerates the pace.
From farmers markets to cooking classes, schools are helping families grow better eating habits, by Stratton Lawrence for Charleston City Paper. Brilliant! In areas of Charleston, South Carolina where fresh food is scarce, partners (including public schools, food banks, community gardening groups, and, of course, farmers) offer farmers markets in schools, and family cooking classes in after school programs.
Practicing Commons in Community Gardens: Urban Gardening as a Corrective for Homo Economicus, by Christa Müller for Resilience, first published in The Wealth of Commons. Berliners take up urban gardening with passion and purpose, including community gardens, farmers' plots, pick-you-own, vertical gardens, and more. (Hat tip, TR.)
Non-GMOs at Good Foods: We Have the Right to Know What is in Our Food. Good Foods Market announces the launch of non-GMO labeling. This one is going to take some learning. It's counter-intuitive in some ways. Of the ten foods that may be genetically modified, those on Good Foods' shelves that are are certifiably NOT modified will be labeled. From the press release:
The following crops are at risk of being genetically modified: alfalfa, canola, corn, flax, papaya, rice, soy, sugar beets, yellow summer squash, and zucchini. To avoid GMOs in these at-risk foods, look for the Non-GMO Project Verified label on Good Foods’ shelves. These products are verified as having been produced through best practices for GMO avoidance and were tested to contain zero or less than 1% GMO matter.So just because there's no no-GMO label on your favorite flour? No worries. Wheat is not (yet) one of the genetically modified foods, so it—and the gazillion other foods and ingredients at Good Foods other than the modifiable ten—will not be labeled.
Can Quick Serves Save the World? by Mary Avant for QSR. From the article:
No longer is local sourcing just a utopian ideal. It’s a practice coming to life and continually gaining momentum in foodservice, with the number of local ingredients on menus growing by 73 percent over the last four years, according to market research firm Mintel.
But, at its most basic level, it’s a tale of two industries.
On one side are foodservice brands, most of which have become accustomed to the 21st century food system where, in a few simple steps, they can secure any and every product they need in a matter of days. On the other side sit the small- and mid-sized farmers of the world—farmers who, up until now (and even still), have been hesitant to do business with restaurants, especially powerful, multiunit brands.
I'm curious how small- and mid-sized farmers will see that assertion that they have been hesitant (!) to do business with restaurants.
Urban Gardening: An Appleseed With Attitude, by David Hochman for the New York Times. Charismatic Ron Finley of South Central LA describes his group's work to plant gardens in medians and vacant city lots. Here's the thing: this story showed up on the front page of Sunday Styles. Styles? In any case, it's a good read, and his TED talk is even better.
Good Foods Market and Café sponsors Savoring Kentucky.