Food Politics: Jan. 22, 2011

Welcome to the Food Deserts of Rural America (by Steph Larsen of Grist):

When most people hear “food desert,” they think of places like West Oakland, Detroit, or inner-city Chicago. Personally, I think of places like Harrison, a Nebraska town of 279 people. A resident of Harrison called me for help several months ago because the owners of their local grocery store have gotten sick and need to sell or shut down. If they close, it’s a 50 mile drive to the next nearest grocery store. I’ve had conversations with members of Native American nations who talk about driving 110 miles through a mountain pass to get to their nearest town.

The paradox of our unhealthy food system is that many rural towns lack healthy food access, even as the food we eat is grown in rural places. To put it simply, our current food system is failing the very communities that grow our food.

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More articles after the jump…

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Small Apples (by Jill at City Fruit):

This fall, I saw in my local QFC (in neon green puffy letters), “New Product!  Small apples by the each!”  It’s interesting to me that a grocery store can turn apples into a “New Product!” and I wonder whether this is a way to sell apples that would otherwise be too small, and actually sell them for more money.

Quinn, Wisconsin governor bet on Bears-Packers game (by Monique Garcia of The Chicago Tribune):

Gov. Pat Quinn and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have placed their bets on Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers, and the loser will have to volunteer at a food pantry in the winner’s state.

To add insult to injury, the loser will have to wear a t-shirt featuring the winning team, as well as fly the team’s flag in the governor’s office on the day before the Super Bowl.

Top USDA bee researcher also found Bayer pesticide harmful to honeybees (by Tom Philpott at Grist):

USDA researchers also have good evidence that these nicotine-derived chemicals, marketed by German agrichemical giant Bayer, could be playing a part in Colony Collapse Disorder—the mysterious massive honeybee die-offs that United States and Europe have been experiencing in recent years. So why on earth are they still in use on million of acres of American farmland?

Do Big Breakfasts Create Big Waistlines? (by Jan Ellen Spiegel of Slashfood)

On a day that Wyoming Kills Herdshares, Oregon Quietly Introduces Raw Milk Legislation (by Bill Marler on the Marler Blog)

The Reportable Food Registry First Annual Report: September 8, 2009 – September 7, 2010 – A Governmental Success Story (by Bill Marler on the Marler Blog):

The first annual Reportable Food Registry Report shows that, as Congress intended, the RFR can help FDA track patterns of food and feed adulteration and target FDA’s inspection resources to identify adulterated food/feed and prevent foodborne illnesses.

Developing Local Solutions for Self-Reliance (by Danielle Nierenberg from World Watch)

Shifting Research and Development into the Public Good (by Danielle Nierenberg from World Watch):

Herren emphasizes that the most necessary, but difficult, task is to shift research and development away from private companies and into the public good.  To allocate only one percent of the global GDP toward ecological agriculture would yield sixty million jobs and protect our natural resources for generations to come.

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