Sustainable Ag + Food News: Seedstock’s Weekly Roundup
November 21, 2014 | Nina Ignaczak
Excerpt: On Monday, Walmart held its second semi-annual Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting — webcast live and re-aired the following day — and announced a new pledge to help create a more sustainable food system. Taken at face value, the country’s largest food retailer appears to be making a real commitment to help develop a healthier, more affordable, and less environmentally damaging food supply. Walmart’s real legacy in this area, though, will be measured by how much concrete action follows its ambitious commitments.
Source: Triple Pundit
Excerpt: Challenging elitism, racism, and obesity with a grocery store may sound crazy. Here’s what happened when Whole Foods tried to do it in Detroit.
Excerpt: New efforts to promote the idea of a regional food hub and to develop a “buy local, buy fresh” campaign in Merced County are now underway.
Source: Merced Sun Star
Excerpt: “Sustainable” has become a buzzword that is applicable not only to agriculture and energy production but to sectors as far afield as the building and textile industries. Some universities offer courses or even degrees in “sustainability.” Many large companies tout the concept and boast a sustainability department, and the United Nations has hundreds of projects concerned with sustainability throughout its many agencies and programs.
But as with many vague, feel-good concepts–“natural” and “locavorism” come to mind–it contains more than a little sophistry.
Excerpt: This week, the Environmental Working Group rolled out a food ratings database and app, which, while focused on nutrition, also rate products on issues like organic certification, animal welfare standards and environmental contaminants. Others in this space include HowGood, an app that rates food products on 60 indicators of sustainability, and Good Guide, a tool that rates food and other products on safety, health and ethics.
Excerpt: While both in support of sustainable food efforts, Boston University Dining Services and student group Real Food Challenge advocate for different rating systems to evaluate these sustainable efforts.
Source: The Daily Free Press
Excerpt: McDonald’s Golden Arches are tarnished these days. Its brand has been damaged by a food safety scandal in China and labor issues in America. Its stock price of late has severely lagged the S & P 500 performance, a result of poor sales growth. To restore the shine to those arches, it’s time for the fast-food behemoth to chart a new course: one that acknowledges the growing consumer demand for good food, grown as close to home as possible, by sustainable, humane, and fair producers.
Source: Huffington Post Business
Excerpt: Farmer and environmentalist Wendell Berry is known to many as the father of the sustainable food movement. He is an outspoken advocate for an agrarian revolution to end industrialized practices that he says are poisoning the land and destroying rural communities. In recent years Berry has promoted a 50-Year Farm Bill, which presents a long-term plan to reduce soil erosion and land pollution by replacing annual crops with perennials. His latest book, Distant Neighbors, chronicles his 40-year correspondence with poet Gary Snyder, and discusses everything from faith and family to the destruction of the environment. Berry stopped by KQED and I had a chance to speak with him about agricultural policy and current trends in the sustainable food movement.
Excerpt: Over the past half-century, the fast-food industry, aided by government subsidies, has come to dominate the food marketplace. That development has given us an obesity epidemic and, with the growth of so-called factory farms, has degraded the environment.
More recently, in a reaction against fast food and Big Ag, the sustainable-food movement, with a focus on local food networks and healthy eating, has gained a foothold in restaurants and farms across the country. What began as an underground movement has now gone mainstream.
Excerpt: Not long ago, Immokalee, Florida – once known as ground zero of modern day slavery – housed one of the most vulnerable populations of farm labor in the United States.
Source: The Daily Meal
Excerpt: We’ve seen plenty of local food-related projects on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Community Sourced Capitol, and other crowdsourced appeals. Now there’s Barnraiser, a platform “dedicated to sustainable food and agriculture.”
Source: The Seattle Times