A friend at the UN

Olivier De Schutter is the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food, and one of my new best friends, even if we've never interacted. Via the BC (British Columbia) Food Security Gateway and the COMFOOD e-mail loop, I've just read De Schutter's five ways to tackle disastrous diets, and it hits bullseye after bullseye.

For McDonald's, "less bad" isn't the same as "good"

One of the patently dishonest threads of the healthy food/processed food debate has been Big Food’s complaint that they can put healthy options on their menus, but they can’t make people buy them.

It’s a variant of its explanation of why kids’ menus only have hot dogs, fries, and other crap. “It’s all they’ll eat,” they complain. One defect of this strain is that it’s just not true — and besides, “I’m the daddy.”.

Organic growers vs. Monsanto

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I'm still struggling with GMOs, though not in the way most other strugglers are. I am pretty sure that the forces allied against Monsanto are right, in every sense of that word, but so far, I haven't been able to muster a passion to go with that near-certainty. (If you read here often, you'd probably agree that I don't lack for passion on issues I'm sure about, and yet...) Anyway, here's a Food Democracy Now video shot on the day at the end of January when arguments in the Monsanto/organic growers lawsuit were heard in Manhattan.

Sugar revolutionaries

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In an editorial published [Wednesday] in the journal Nature, University of California at San Francisco doctors Robert Lustig, Laura Schmidt, and Claire Brindis argue that the ballooning rates — and costs — of obesity, diabetes, and other diseases, mean it’s time for regulators to lump sugar into the same category as booze and cigarettes and put similar restrictions on its sale and availability. — ABC News

Nancy Huehnergarth: "It’s not sustainable until it’s put into law."

Welcome to another edition of 10 Words or Less, in which I ask brief questions and request brief answers from interesting people. Today’s participant is cofounder and executive director of NYSHEPA, which “advocates for policies and practices that improve the nutritional and physical activity environment in New York State.” Please, no counting! “10 words” is a goal, not a rule, and besides, let’s see you do it.

Nancy Huehnergarth, executive director, NYSHEPAName Nancy Huehnergarth
Born when, where "Baltimore, when the Beatles were #1 on the charts."
Resides: Chappaqua, NY
Your family circumstance "Married, with two teenage daughters."
A transformative event in your youth “Someone from my class drowned on Senior Cut Day.”
How did that affect you? “This was someone who was a bit disenfranchised, low income, and it made me realize that all people need to be treated with respect and that their lives should be cherished.”
Outside your family, someone’s example you follow “The person who inspired me to get involved in food reform: Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest."
Your greatest hope about the 2012 Food Bill “We stop subsidizing crops like corn and soy, and begin to subsidize produce.”
Your greatest fear about the 2012 Food Bill “The Big Food and Big Ag lobbying whirlwind will convince legislators to create a bill that benefits only Big Food and Big Ag.”

No Farm Bill this year?

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US Rep. Jim McGovern, a member of the House Agriculture Committee who represents Central Mass., isn’t enthusiastic about the prospects for a Farm Bill, which is ordinarily debated and passed in five-year increments and is due for action this year.

But that’s good news, he told partisans gathered over lunch Saturday during the winter meeting of the state chapter of Northeast Organic Farming Association.


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