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Recipe for Good

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Food for Thought
"The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution."
-Paul Cezanne, artist


Breaking News: Farm Bill Fails on House Floor

“The price of a farm bill should not be making more people hungry in America,” -Rep. Jim McGovern 

Last week, the proposed Farm Bill FAILED on the House floor by a vote of 195-234.

There are many unanswered questions about where we go from here and what it means if a farm bill is not approved later this year, but for now, it's worth relishing in the fact that this time around, the farm bill didn't simply sail through Congress.

This farm bill proposal included over $20 billion in cuts to SNAP (formerly food stamps), $2.5 billion in cuts to food aid, and policy changes that would have substantially increased hunger for years to come. The House bill also included amendments that would have instituted a lifetime ban on SNAP for ex-offenders and imposed harsher work requirements on all beneficiaries.

For the past few months, individuals (like all of you who participated in Food Bloggers Against Hunger and sent letters to your representatives), and numerous organizations have been fighting to make a difference in our food system, and although there is still much to accomplish, our collective voice is starting to be heard.

Here are a few responses from around the web:

Washington Post: The House farm bill unexpectedly failed. So what happens next?

New York Times: House Rejects Farm Bill as Food Stamp Cuts Prove Divisive

Huffington Post: Food Stamp Cuts Derail Farm Bill


Why Chipotle's GMO Labeling is Good for Consumers


Dear Chipotle,

We've come to know you as a leader in sustainable fast food. Your business model includes unconventional practices in the fast food industry, including sourcing ingredients from local farmers, avoiding antibiotics in your meat, and cooking food fresh, on-site every day. We hope to see more companies embracing these strategies in the future.

When you released your ingredients statement yesterday, including a listing of the GMOs found in your products, my first reaction was anger. How can a sustainable fast food company use GMOs? Isn't it against everything they stand for? Chipotle is the only fast food chain I'm willing to eat at. What will I do on nights when I don't want to cook?

When I realized that the ingredients I often consume, including brown rice, crispy chips, and tortillas, contained GMOs, I contemplated what my life might look like without Chipotle. I'll boycott Chipotle, I thought! I'll make burritos at home instead, using ingredients I can source back to the farm they came from! I'll make my own tortillas from scratch! I'll start a petition! This went on for several minutes, but after reading through your statement and really considering it, I came to a different conclusion.

Transparency across all sectors is something consumers are demanding and companies are wrestling with. It's easier to hide behind websites and office buildings, and not come clean. But you chose the path of resistance. You risked losing customers. You chose to do the right thing.

Not only have you clearly stated which ingredients contain GMOs, you also outlined the measures you're taking to eliminate GMOs from your business. Switching from soybean to sunflower oil, working to improve the shelf life of tortillas naturally, and reducing artificial preservatives are important steps.

But even more importantly, you gave me a choice. As a consumer, your transparency has empowered me to make informed decisions about which toppings I'll choose for my salad bowl, or whether I'll eat at your restaurants at all.

Thank you for your honesty, for acknowledging the areas where you can do better, and for actively taking steps to improve your business practices, the fast food industry, and our food system.


A loyal customer



New Regional Cookbook Supports Vermont Food Bank


This month, a fresh-from-the-farm cookbook has been released by Tracey Medeiros, who moved to Vermont nine years ago for her husband's airline job and fell in love with the food culture in the process. Small, independent farms are the lifeblood of Vermont's agriculture, and the farm-to-table movement has been a staple in local life for generations. As a state, Vermont exemplifies a standard of small-scale, community-minded, unadulterated agriculture that has become a national model.

She said in a recent interview that her hope with this The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook is "to keep these farmers employed and help them succeed. I also want to excite the younger generations, to plant that seed in our youth that says, ‘Maybe I will try to be a farmer one day.’"

In an effort to continue supporting local organizations, 10 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Vermont Food Bank to help sustain the important work they do. This is a wonderful opportunity to get your hands on a new cookbook and do some food philanthropy in the process.

Inside, you'll find classics like Vermont Cheddar Soup alongside fresh ideas like Ramp Dumplings or Raisin Hell Pie. No matter where you are in the country, you'll enjoy incorporating a piece of Vermont into your weekly menus.



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Friday Food for Thought: Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan's latest book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, hit the shelves this week. He's since appeared on many news outlets, blog posts, and television shows discussing what it means to cook and why it's critical to helping change the food system.

Today's Friday Food for Thought comes from an interview Pollan did with The Atlantic, where he shares that the now-famous Wendell Berry adage, "eating is an agricultural act" is what inspired him to pursue food. Buried deep in the interview is a quote befitting our recent event, Food Bloggers Against Hunger. "When people are more conscious about their food choices," he says, "they can change the food system." This optomism is inspiring, and I hope it starts your weekend off on a good note.

"When people are more conscious about their food choices, they can change the food chain. They can change what happens on the farm. I think it's one reason that so many people are finding their way to food as an interest and as a focus of their political energies. Food issues have a tremendous bearing on everything from the environment to public health to monopolization of the economy, and food activism is producing results that you can see. At a discouraging time, it's a very empowering issue."

-Michael Pollan


On May 4th, Host a Bake Sale for Hunger

With fresh energy from Food Bloggers Against Hunger, many of you have expressed interest in continuing to fight for this cause. If you're ready to do more, put on your oven mits and break out your mixing bowls, because Share Our Strength has another opportunity to do good with food this spring. Just $1 can help connect a child in need with up to 10 meals, so bake sales both big and small can "bake" a real difference!

What Bloggers Can Do to Help

Whether your friends call you the next Martha Stewart, or you're better off leaving the baking to the pros, there are easy ways you can help.
1.  Encourage Your Readers to Host a Bake Sale
Explain how easy it is to host bake sales, and you can inspire hundreds of people to sign up for Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry! The Bake Sale Resource Center provides tools like planning checklists, templates for flyers, location and pricing advice, and other helpful tips to make events successful and fun.
Participants will be rewarded for completing their bake sales with a variety of gifts on a monthly basis. For bake sales raising between $250 - $1,000+, bakers will receive select items from Kmart's Sandra by Sandra Lee collection, ranging from silicone oven mitts to ceramic ramekins to a travel cake keeper.
Readers can sign up here.
2.  Host a Virtual Bake Sale

If baking isn't your thing, you can recruit friends and family to contribute to your own personal Virtual Bake Sale and raise funds online. This easy-to-use guide helps you set up your very own fundraising webpage and provides an email template to share with friends and family. In four simple steps, your Virtual Bake Sale can make a great contribution to Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry.
3. Host Your Own Actual Bake Sale
Break out those mixing bowls, join in on the fun, and host an actual bake sale in your own hometown! Document your experience on your blog, and inspire your loyal readers to get involved as well.
Bonus: Duncan Hines will donate $10,000 on behalf of the blogger bake sale that raises the most funds!

Ready to host your own bake sale? Sign up here!