Finger Foods: the weekly news update

U.S.

Child Nutrition

President Obama Proclaims September “National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month” – Eddie Gehman Kohan – Obama Foodorama
Dubbing childhood obesity a national health crisis equivalent to America’s polio epidemic of the 1940s and ’50s, President Obama on Monday issued a proclamation naming September 2010 as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. It comes just after First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign is officially six months old, and in advance of the next phase of the campaign, which kicks off on September 8, when Mrs. Obama travels to New Orleans to put the spotlight on healthier school environments and fitness.

Food Safety

FDA staff–Aqua Bounty biotech salmon OK to eat – Lisa Richwine – Reuters
Aqua Bounty Technologies Inc’s (ABTX.L) genetically engineered salmon are as safe to eat as normal Atlantic salmon, U.S. regulators said in a preliminary analysis released on Friday.

Fish Fight: FDA to hear comments on GM salmon – Marion Nestle – Food Politics
The FDA has scheduled meetings September 19-21 to hear advice about whether the agency should approve GM (genetically modified) salmon.

More on the organic strawberry debate:
New study weighs in on organic vs. conventional debate – Grist, Food
Until now: “Fruit and Soil Quality of Organic and Conventional Strawberry Agroecosystems,” a study led by Washington State University Regents professor of soil science John Reganold, is one of the most comprehensive, persuasive studies yet to show the nutritional and environmental benefits of organic farming. Its findings only apply to strawberries — but they do point the way to the kind of research that can, and should, be done with other crops as well.

Link to the actual study: Fruit and Soil Quality of Organic and Conventional Strawberry Agroecosystems

Agriculture & Technology

It (almost) can’t get more local than growing at the grocery store – Ashley Braun – Grist.com, Food
Agropolis is the soil-free, pesticide-free, and travel-free concept grocery store, urban farm, and restaurant, all rolled into one. Peruse the produce growing up the walls and pick what you like, while you have visions of tilapia dinners dancing in your head — and swimming in the aquaponic floor tanks under your feet. The high-tech team behind Agropolis envisions “a world where your food is not transported a single mile to get to you.” The only food-miles will be between the store and your dinner plate.

American Agri Women Show if for and about ranch and farm women – Ag Journal
The American Agri-Women Show is a series by, for, and about farm and ranch women. In this half-hour series, AAW brings a weekly topic of concern to farm, ranch and agribusiness women and shares information about how to manage risk in agricultural operations. Each show features expert advice on that week’s topic and includes a visit with a farm woman who is addressing that issue in her farming operation. Farm women from Oregon to North Carolina are featured on the show. More info: descriptions of each week’s episode and to watch the episodes online.

Miscellaneous

Council president pushes food vendors – Dave Wedge – Boston Herald, Local News
As many as 50 gourmet restaurants on wheels peddling everything from Korean barbecue to cupcakes could be traversing the city as officials seek to boost the number of food trucks in Boston. Taking a page from cities such as New York City, San Diego and Seattle, Ross and Mayor Thomas M. Menino are working to make it easier for food truck operators to cut through City Hall red tape.

CHEFS teaches culinary skills to the homeless – Sophie Brickman – San Francisco Chronicle, Food
Ray Camarena was the last student accepted to Session 38 of the CHEFS program – Conquering Homelessness through Employment in Food Service – a nonprofit that teaches homeless individuals culinary skills to get them off the street and into stable jobs. Camarena, 36, was one of the 40 people who had applied to the program, operated by the Episcopal Community Services of San Francisco on the first floor of the Canon Kip Community House. It begins with three months of intensive hands-on training in the Canon Kip kitchen, with guest lecturers like Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats, on butchering.

ABC renews “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” – James Hibberd – Reuters
ABC has picked up six new episodes of the show from the Ryan Seacrest-produced series, which will begin production this winter for a midseason or summer run.

International

Hunger and Nutrition

Could a Peanut Paste End Malnutrition? – Andrew Rice – New York Times Magazine
The product may not look like much — a little foil packet filled with a soft, sticky substance — but its advocates are prone to use the language of magic and wonders. What is Plumpy’nut? Sound it out, and you get the idea: it’s an edible paste made of peanuts, packed with calories and vitamins, that is specially formulated to renourish starving children. Since its widespread introduction five years ago, it has been credited with significantly lowering mortality rates during famines in Africa.

Marion Nestle weighs in on the politics and sustainability of Plumpy’nut:
The Plumpy’nut Furor: International Food Politics in Action – Marion Nestle – Food Politics
Who is going to pay for these products? And for how long? Does it make sense to promote a peanut-based product in countries that do not grow peanuts? Is it a good idea to give packaged, sweetened products to kids whose families cannot continue to provide such things once the crisis is over? Is it a good idea to give kids the idea that sweet things in packages are what they supposed to eat? Will products like this pave the way for other sweetened products in packages—soft drinks, for example?

Food Policy

UK food policy changes come into effect – Confectionarynews.com
The great carve up of the UK’s Food Standards Agency responsibilities has come into effect, with the agency retaining only the food safety remit and other aspects going to the Defra (Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, and the Department of Health.

For an outline of each agency’s new responsibilities, see the Food Standards Agency website.

Local

Food & Art

How Women Reshaped the Modern Kitchen – Elaine Louie – New York Times, Home and Garden
“Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen,” an exhibition that opens Sept. 15 at the Museum of Modern Art, will explore the way the kitchen has evolved since the start of the 20th century. Juliet Kinchin (right), the curator of the show, talked about the role women played in designing rational kitchens — including some early ergonomic models — and the symbolism of utensils like Philippe Starck’s Juicy Salif Lemon Squeezer.

Urban Agriculture

Revolutionizing Urban Agriculture, One Sub-Irrigated Planter At A Time – Chris Hunt and Dulce Fernandes – Ecocentric Blog (with VIDEO!)
Owned, constructed and operated by Frieda Lim, Slippery Slope produces an impressive variety of beautiful vegetables using 75 sub-irrigated planters (SIPs). Unlike traditional, in-ground, top-irrigated planting setups, SIPs utilize a standing reservoir of water situated below the soil in which the plants are grown. Despite the fact that these systems are incredibly efficient (and really easy to build and manage), SIP technology remains surprisingly underused and esoteric.

From the Slow Food USA Blog:
Slow Food Los Angeles “Sprouts” Healthy Eaters
Thanks to a program hosted by the Milagro Allegro Community Garden in Highland Park, Los Angeles, we now have proof that nutrition education helps kids stay healthy. The program, called L.A. Sprouts, is one of the nation’s first research studies to measure and demonstrate the health benefits of youth focused long-term nutrition, cooking and gardening programs. The after school course consisted of twelve weekly classes for fourth and fifth graders from a local school. Each meeting included a healthy cooking lesson followed by a gardening session with a master gardener. Workshop leaders demonstrated new recipes to the students weekly and, working together in groups of five, the students then prepared the meal themselves. As part of the program, the students regularly visited a local farmers market and received a voucher to buy a fruit or a vegetable to take home.

And just a final little something in time for the long Labor Day Weekend:
Saveur’s Labor Day Babeque Recipes

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