Los Angeles

In the News… Tuesday, August 21, 2007

SlowFoodLA.com has taken a bit of a break from the news these last few weeks, but we’re back, energized, and ready to share more items of interest with our friends and members:

† The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Farm Bill and it was a disappointment to many, with several significant concessions being made. Our friends at The Ethicurean posted a great summary that bears reading before the Senate takes up the matter this autumn.

† “How to Add Oomph to ‘Organic'”: The New York Times looks at the Department of Agriculture’s bottom line for the organic industry:

Despite year after year of double-digit growth, organics receive a pittance in financing and staff attention at the department, which is responsible for writing regulations about organics and making sure that they are upheld.

The National Organic Program, which regulates the industry, has just nine staff members and an annual budget of $1.5 million. A Florida real estate developer named Maurice Wilder received more than that in farm subsidies in 2005, some $1,754,916, to be exact, according to a subsidy database maintained by the Environmental Working Group.

Other parts of the Department of Agriculture spend roughly $28 million or so a year on organic research, data collection and farmer assistance. It may sound significant, but the department spent far more than that, $37 million, subsidizing farmers who grew dry peas in 2005. (The farm value of dry peas is about $83 million a year. Consumers spend more than $14 billion a year on organic food, up from $3.6 billion in 1997.)

Read the complete article online at the New York Times site.

† “Pastured Eggs Catching On”: Carol Ness, writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, focuses on the growing demand for pastured eggs. Although she talks with farmers in northern California, the benefits she notes apply to similarly farmed southern California eggs, too! Some of our local markets, including the Hollywood and Santa Monica markets, feature farmers who offer pastured eggs, and if you haven’t tried these, make a point of asking about them during your next market visit.

† “Steak Without Guilt”: Another product locally available is buffalo, and the New York Times recently considered its growing popularity among restaurants and home cooks. In tandem with the article, Marian Burros also offers several tips for cooking different cuts of buffalo at home.