Food & Agriculture News: 4/13/23

Food & Agriculture News: 4/13/23

Hats off to local restaurants embracing sustainability - Rough Draft Atlanta

I love the sentiment in this article, but it always nags me when sustainability is held up to a high standard. 

Imagine if someone told you, “My marriage is not sustainable.” You think it was about to end! On the flip side, if someone said, “My marriage is sustainable,” you wouldn’t imagine a happy couple who loved spending time together. 

The point is, sustainability is the bare minimum we need to keep going. It’s alarming that so many operations are not there.

With that out of the way, it gives me a great opportunity to highlight Slow Food Atlanta’s Snail of Approval award, which went to several restaurants and local food businesses for the first time this year. Each business made strong commitments to the environment, local communities, employees, and purveyors, as well as Slow Food’s core values of anti-racism and anti-oppression,

You can learn more about the award – which we hope to win one day as well – and the winners in the article, including many of our favorite chefs and businesses.

I’m no genius with genuses, but your garden is killing the Earth - Washington Post 

Spring is here and that means more time in the garden. More specific to this newsletter, it means more lawn hating from yours truly. This article isn’t specific to lawns although it certainly takes them to the weed whacker, if you will. 

Bottom line: we’re spraying a lot of chemicals to maintain pretty looking gardens that are often hazardous to pollinators and birds, cause poisonous runoffs into waterways, and usually require gas powered machines to keep them in line. 

Food forests are bringing shade and sustenance to US cities, one parcel of land at a time - The Conversation 

Right on time, the opposite to a highly manicured garden. Food forests are not only better for nature, they improve it by providing food and habitat for many species – including us! 

This article highlights many benefits of food forests, and has a nice shout out to the Brown’s Mill Food Forest in Atlanta. 

“As scholars who focus on conservation, social justice and sustainable food systems, we see food forests as an exciting new way to protect nature without displacing people. Food forests don’t just conserve biodiversity – they also promote community well-being and offer deep insights about fostering urban nature.”

To comply with a new sesame allergy law, some businesses add — sesame - Washington Post 

Here’s a textbook case of food safety regulations gone wrong. 

Sesame is now considered an allergen by the FDA, which requires an allergy warning on a food label. Here’s the dilemma: sesame can’t be added to a label unless it’s added to the product, and the equipment used to manufacture things like flour would have to be rigorously cleaned to make sure that sesame isn’t in the product at all. According to Chick fil A’s bread supplier, even that won’t guarantee there isn’t any sesame. 

So to make things clear, companies started adding sesame flour to things that didn’t previously have sesame. 

That’s right: to comply with a food safety law, companies are adding an ingredient that makes it less safe. 

You might think this isn’t really a big deal, but there’s been an uptick in accidental sesame poisonings in children because parents are buying the same products they’ve always bought without realizing they now contain sesame. 

With all that said, there are companies – Jimmy Johns and McDonalds for example – going the extra mile to make sure sesame isn’t in their buns. 

But whether it’s the law or the manufacturer’s fault, kids are getting sick and that’s what really matters. Do better. 

New beer ritual: Peel your labels before recycling cans - Axios 

Well, as it turns out not all beer cans are recyclable – at least, not without an extra step.

It’s expensive to have cans printed, particularly for smaller breweries or smaller batches of beer. Instead, many operations have labels printed and then attach them to the can. While more efficient for the businesses, most of the labels aren’t recyclable the way aluminum cans are. 

So the next time you crack open a nice craft beer, double check and make sure there’s not a label printed on the can. If there is, you’ll need to peel it off before throwing it in the recycling bin. 

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