Posts with Category Where Am I Eating

GMO corn lawsuit encourages farmers to sue seed company

I live in rural Indiana, so it’s not rare to see billboards promoting a seed company, but last week I saw a first: A billboard advertising a class action lawsuit against a seed company . . .

At first I thought this might be farmers suing seed companies for contaminating (pollinating) their non-GMO corn with nearby GMO corn. This happens, but I was surprised there would be enough farmers in that situation to warrant a billboard. After some digging, I found that the lawsuit wasn’t recruiting from this small niche of farmers, but instead every single corn farmer.

That’s right if you planted corn in 2013 or 2014, you could join the lawsuit.

Not Approved in China

Syngenta, the seed company…

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Why We Should Neither Be Anti- or Pro-GMO, but Support Chipotle

There is a scientist crossing coffee trees with scorpion venom in South America.

While this sounds like a great start to a new comic book series, I’m not sure I’d want to start my mornings with that cup of coffee. Would you? I’d rather not grow a tail by lunch. Like where would I find pants?

This fear of mine isn’t based on any rational scientific understanding, but simply from watching and reading science fiction movies. That said, I’m okay with that. It sounds creepy and as long as there are other options, I will continue to choose non-scorpion venom coffee.

In my book Where Am I Eating? I met  Dr. Alvaro Gaitan, the head of plant pathology at the Cenicafe…

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3 Earth Day stats every American should know & 1 video celebrating the end of the world

Earth Day marks the second anniversary of the first edition of WHERE AM I EATING? Writing a book on the global food economy opened my eyes to the impact man and agriculture have made on Earth. Here are three stats from the book that every American should know:

  1. The ecological footprint of an average American is 23.6 acres. That means we consume what 23.6 acres of our planet can produce. If all 6.5 billion earthlings were Americans, we’d need five planets!
  2. One American consumes as much as 32 Kenyans.
  3. According to Jared Diamond, the bestselling author of Collapsed, if the world were made up of all Americans, it would be as if we shared the planet with 72 billion people.

And in case we don’t get our shit together and start lessoning our impact on our planet, here is a video John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight team put together to mark the end of our species and planet. [Warning: You could be sucked into a vacuum of cat videos]

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The 4 Best Ways to Trust Your Food

In her book Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety, Marion Nestle refers to the current food regulatory system in the United States as “breathtaking in its irrationality: 35 separate laws administered by 12 agencies housed in 6 cabinet-level departments.”

Nestle calls the fact that more of us aren’t dropping over with food-borne illnesses “nothing less than miraculous, a tribute more to our immune systems, the benefits of cooking and food preservation, and plain good luck than to federal oversight.”

Our food system is a mess. Don’t even get me started on imported food. We inspect barely 2% of the food that enters our country. Organic anything from China is laughable. So, something needs to change.

President Obama’s new 2016 $4 trillion federal budget seeks to address this:

The Budget proposes to…

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The Gold Nugget in My Wallet

(This story originally appeared on the blog of the Indiana Authors Award.) 

I carry a gold nugget in my wallet. A slave owner in Burkina Faso gave it to me.

The bus ride that took me from Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, ended at a flooded road and a trip in a tiny dugout canoe where the oarsman joked about crocodiles. From the canoe I got in a taxi that didn’t have brakes. The driver stopped the car using the “Fred Flintstone” method – sticking his foot out the door and dragging it along the road.

We arrived to the town of Poura, Burkina Faso, at dusk. There were no rooms to be had. The proprietor of the town’s only hotel had taken all of the keys with him on vacation. Fortunately,…

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Chocolate comes from W. Africa, so does ebola. What this means for Halloween.

2012-08-08 09.20.09

Cocoa farmers I met in Ivory Coast

First off, as ebola madness grips the world . . .

YOU CANNOT GET EBOLA FROM CHOCOLATE!

I was in grade school when the AIDS epidemic blew up in the 80s. My brother convinced me that one got AIDS by sitting on a toilet seat at truck stops after a trucker with AIDS had pooped. Seriously. Granted, at the time I didn’t really know much about sex or intravenous drug use, so I was easily convinced. The thing I don’t know is if my brother made this up or if he actually heard it somewhere. I the ebola fear is any indicator, I’m thinking he…

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Craft Chocolate Sourced and Produced in Africa Fairly and Directly

Some African cocoa farmers have never eaten chocolate even though the continent supplies more than half of the world’s cocoa.

Cocoa is a commodity, one of the world’s most volatile, and the quality of the farmers’ lives rise and fall with the cocoa prices. The money isn’t in the growing of cocoa, but in the processing of the cocoa into chocolate, the packaging, and the selling of the chocolate. This typically happens far from African soil. Hence you have cocoa farmers who’ve never tasted chocolate, and others like the ones I ate Hershey’s Kisses with in Ivory Coast who rarely do.

But one company, Madécasse, is challenging that model. Of the 500 chocolate brands in the U.S., Madécasse is the only one…

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Love chocolate? You’ll love this Live Hangout @2:30 ET

Tim McCollum, a former Peace Corps volunteer, is the CEO of Madecasse, a Brooklyn-based chocolate company that sources cocoa and manufacturers chocolate entirely in Madagascar. Tim joins me LIVE on Google Hangouts to discuss the African cocoa industry’s challenges and potential. Join us! Ask a question!

Here’s a promo video from Madecasse:

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Review WHERE AM I EATING and get goodies!

Would you help share the stories of the farmers and fishermen who catch pick and grow our food? What if there was bacon and chocolate on the line? That’s right…BACON, chocolate, and some other goodies.

The paperback of WHERE AM I EATING? is coming out in about one month. I’m pumped for the stories of the farmers I met on my global farming adventure to spread even more. About 80% of the folks who read my first book, read the paperback. So a big push on the the paperback is really important.

If you’ve read EATING, now would be a great time to share what you thought of it by writing a short review on Amazon, Goodreads, or any other review site  or blog of…

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Unfortunately Ugly Produce Wins Hearts of French Consumers

Supermarkets checkout lines are filled with magazine covers of photoshopped, liposucked, and unnaturally enhanced specimens of biology and reality. But the unrealistic expectations in our supermarkets don’t  end there.

We like ‘em big, round, smooth, and shiny. And of course now I’m talking about fruits and vegetables.

I love big beets and I cannot lie

 

Forty percent of food in the United States goes uneaten. This includes ugly fruits and lumpy vegetables. The cost to transporting food to our tables accounts for 10 percent of the U.S. energy budget, uses half of our land and 80 percent of the freshwater consumed. Yet, if a potato has an extra lump or an orange a strange phalange, they get tossed without a second thought.

More than 20 pounds of food per person is tossed every…

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