Archive for Farm 2 School

As organic goes mainstream, consumers can expect price breaks

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , , on May 12, 2014 by bistrokids

or many consumers, the obstacle to buying organic food has always been the price.

“I would buy a lot more organic if it were cheaper,” said Eden Prairie resident Brandi Erlendsson. “Now I buy organic fruits and vegetables just for my kids.”

But as mainstream grocers and food companies push more aggressively into organics, Erlendsson and other consumers who buy only a select number of organic products may soon get what they want — organic products at or near the price of conventional products.

Wal-Mart and Target are leading the charge to more affordable products. Both announced last month an expansion of more than 100 organic and natural products.

Ninety-one percent of Wal-Mart’s shoppers would choose organic over nonorganic products if they were priced closer to conventional, according to the company. Later this year it will introduce the organic Wild Oats line as its exclusive private label at prices comparable to ­conventional foods. Customers will save 25 percent against comparable organic products, according to Wal-Mart.

Even Whole Foods, which opened four additional locations in the Twin Cities recently, realized that it can no longer lead the market with its high prices and profits. “Competition is more intense right now than we’ve ever possibly experienced before,” said Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey on a conference call with investors. The company has had to lower prices, although it has done so quietly to avoid any perceived decline in quality.


Food culture year in review: 2013, the year of disruption

Posted in News links with tags , , , , on December 27, 2013 by bistrokids

It’s that time of year when The Hartman Group takes stock of what we’ve learned in day-to-day interactions with consumers and views it all through a broader lens—and this year was a doozy.

The year’s headlines reflect how disruptive it has been for the food business: Kroger said grocery shoppers became more unpredictable in part because of food-stamp benefit reductions. Wal-Mart reported a decline in packaged food sales and expectations for a flat holiday season. Amazon got more into groceries with a long-awaited expansion of its food home-delivery business—and freaked everyone out with a plan to someday deliver lightweight items using drones. The idea sparked a fresh idea from Stephen Colbert, who suggested the online retailer instead open “spending habit opportunity spaces”—S.H.O.P.S.—where consumers could buy goods in person.

The disruption was apparent at the household level, too. Consumers are increasingly aware of the food they eat, which makes talking to them more fascinating than ever. Here’s our list of seven trends that disrupted food culture in 2013.

Read More:

18 Food Books Worth Reading

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 13, 2013 by bistrokids

From our friends at Food Tank. For more information and to see what’s happening with them, visit their website at
food tank
Four times a year, we will be handpicking a selection of books (mostly newer editions, but several oldies) that have recently educated, inspired, and informed Food Tank.

Below are Food Tank’s “must read” Fall 2013 selections for those who are passionate about a more sustainable food system! From practical tips on sustainable agriculture on a warming planet to insight on how to make jam, these reads will provide plenty of food for thought. View this list online and share by clicking HERE.

These 18 books are listed in alphabetical order:

1. 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World by Howard G Buffett with Howard W. Buffett and Forward by Warren E. Buffett
Howard G. Buffett, son of business tycoon, Warren Buffett, primarily identifies as a farmer. In 2006, given the opportunity to head his own philanthropic foundation, Howard G. Buffett embarked on a battle to fight food scarcity in the U.S., along with worldwide hunger. His book contains 40 stories from around the globe highlighting his endeavors to help those who lack food security.
2. 66 Square Feet: A Delicious Life by Marie Viljoen
A 66 square foot terrace in Brooklyn may not seem like a lot, but Marie Viljoen has drawn enough inspiration from her tiny rooftop garden to create a popular blog and compose a heartfelt book about it. Complete with astounding garden photography and delicious recipes, this book is sure to inspire anyone interested in seasonal eating and growing their own food.

3. Blessing the Hands that Feed Us: What Eating Closer to Home Can Teach Us About Food, Community, and Our Place on Earth by Vicki Robin
Vicki Robin chronicles her month-long endeavor to eat food solely from within ten miles of her Whidbey Island, Washington home. Reflecting upon her experiment of living as a locavore, the book features lessons on food and farming–interspersed with recipes and tips on how to lead a more sustainable life.

4. Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth by Judith Schwartz with Forward by Gretel Ehrlich
Cows Save the Planet takes a “soil’s-eye view” of the problems currently facing the environment. Using soil as her springboard, Schwartz argues that for all the dire issues facing the planet, there is still hope for a bright future. This book is sure to uplift even those most despondent over global warming and the diminishing health of the planet.

5. Eat Drink Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Food Politics by Marion Nestle
Eat Drink Vote presents over 250 cartoons illustrating the complex connections between politics and food choice. Nestle collaborates with The Cartoonist Group to use humorous illustrations to simply explain the complicated intricacies of the food system.

6. First Food: A Taste of India’s Biodiversity by Sunita Narain and Vibha Varshney
The Centre for Science and the Environment’s Sunita Narain and Vibha Varshney come together to present a delicious look at India’s indigenous food. Food First is a cookbook featuring 100 recipes that showcase the immense biodiversity found throughout India.

7. Food DIY: How to Make Your Own Everything: Sausages to Smoked Salmon, Sourdough to Sloe Gin, Bacon to Buns by Tim Hayward
For anyone who has ever wondered about how to make his or her own bacon, Tim Hayward shows the way. Simple instructions paired with stunning photographs and illustrations make this an indispensable do-it-yourself guide for those with an interest in learning to make their own food.

8. Food Policy in the United States: An Introduction by Parke Wilde
Food Policy in the United States is a textbook for anyone interested in increasing his or her knowledge within the complex field of U.S. food policy. Agricultural economist Parke Wilde discusses the essential topics from international agricultural trade to food labeling.

9. From the Ground Up: A Food Grower’s Education in Life, Love, and the Movement That’s Changing the Nation by Jeanne Nolan with Forward by Alice Waters
Jeanne Nolan’s book presents her astounding memoir paired with a practical guide to organic farming. From the Ground Up demonstrates the benefits of sustainable agriculture for people, communities and the planet. Anyone interested in the food movement or just keen on growing their own food will delight in Nolan’s exhilarating adventure creating edible gardens across Chicago.

10. Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm by Forest Pritchard with Forward by Joel Salatin
Forest Pritchard’s memoir about saving his family farm highlights the real cost of industrial farming. The tale brings the reader along a hilariously moving path toward the future of family farming, illustrating the importance of sustainable agriculture along the way.

11. Grand Forks: A History of American Dining in 128 Reviews by Marilyn Hagerty with Forward by Anthony Bourdain
North Dakota food critic, Marilyn Hagerty, releases her book on American Dining featuring 128 past reviews from restaurants such as The Big Sioux (a truck stop) and Grand Fork’s first Taco Bell. Hagerty’s book brings topics such as restaurant review elitism and the ever-shifting landscape of the American diet to light.

12. Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land: Lessons from Desert Farmers on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty by Gary Paul Nabhan with Forward by Bill McKibben
Traveling across desert lands from North America to the Arabian Peninsula, Gary Paul Nabhan’s guidebook provides expert advice on farming techniques adapted to arid regions. With climate change a pressing reality, this is a must-read for anyone interested in learning new practices to keep their farms, gardens, orchards, and backyards thriving far into the future.

13. Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith by Fred Bahnson
Traveling as an immersion journalist and religious pilgrim, Fred Bahnson examines the links between food and faith. Over the course of the year, Bahnson visits four gardens –one for each season– run by different faiths and reflects upon how people from across the religious spectrum are reconnecting with their food.

14. The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities by Will Allen with Charles Wilson and Forward by Eric Schlosser
Former professional basketball player Will Allen has inspired countless people to reclaim their food system. After establishing his organization, Growing Power, along with its two acre urban farm, Milwaukee’s food system has undergone a number of positive changes. His personal journey has also encouraged a number of similar farming programs across the country.

15. The Modern Peasant: Adventures in City Food by Jojo Tulloh
London, like a number of cities, is brimming with small-scale food producers. Jojo Tulloh’s story takes an in-depth look at the shifting landscape of food production in London and offers a number of practical tips and advice on how to become a part of the food movement– one batch of chutney at a time.

16. The No Nonsense Guide to World Food by Wayne Roberts
The updated version of The No Nonsense Guide takes a stark look at the challenges facing the global food system, namely the vast influence of agricultural corporations. Roberts goes on to examine new sustainable models of food production from around the world in hope of building a better food system.

17. Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal by Abigail Carroll
Three Squares embarks on a historical journey chronicling American eating habits from colonial times through today. Viljoen unpacks the story of how Americans have come to adopt the standard three-meal-a-day routine and what to expect for the future of mealtimes.

18. What has Nature Ever Done for Us? How Money Really Grows on Trees by Tony Juniper with Forward by HRH The Prince of Wales
Nature provides humans with a wealth of seemingly “free” resources and services, from water to carbon absorption. By measuring the economic value of “natural services”, Juniper argues that people must stop destroying nature. Told through a number of different stories, this book sees danger and hope for the future of the natural world.

Please note that several of these books are forthcoming and based on review copies, but so they’ll be available soon!

Enjoy this list and share it with your friends and colleagues!

USDA Ponders Nutrition Standards For School Snacks And Drinks

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 17, 2013 by bistrokids

The Washington Post has a piece about the deliberations at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) over new “new federal nutrition standards limiting sugar, fat and sodium for school snacks and drinks. The rules would be the first update to school snack guidelines in more than 30 years and would come as first lady Michelle Obama continues to take aim at childhood obesity. About one-third of children in the United States are either overweight or obese.

“The mandates will be controversial. School districts worry that changes to snack guidelines will reduce food sales that help keep cafeteria budgets balanced. They also say the rules could limit some children from eating enough calories because recent federal rules shrank the size of school meals.

“Others say the proposed guidelines don’t go far enough. High-fat potato chips, candy bars and sugary sodas will be out, but flavored milks or low-fat yogurts with nearly the same sugar content as certain chocolate bars could be in.

“One person’s healthy snack is junk food in the eyes of another.

“USDA officials say the intent of the proposed standards is not to limit popular snack items but to provide healthier options for students.”

The story notes that “the proposed minimum USDA guidelines would generally require snack foods to contain fewer than 200 calories a serving, with no more than 35 percent of the calories or weight coming from sugar or fat and less than 200 milligrams of sodium a portion. The guidelines would prohibit trans fats and require that less than 10 percent of snack calories come from saturated fats.
They would also require that snack foods be either a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, a protein food or a ‘whole-grain rich’ grain product or contain at least 10 percent of the daily value of a nutrient such as calcium, potassium or vitamin D.

“The beverage guidelines would eliminate sugary soda. Students would be able to buy water, low-fat plain milk, and non-fat plain or flavored milk. Juices would also have to be 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice with portion limits.”

Whole Foods To Build Rooftop Greenhouse Above Brooklyn Store

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , , on April 3, 2013 by bistrokids

Fresh Food – Apr 1,2013

Whole Foods Market and Gotham Greens are building what they say is the nation’s first commercial-scale greenhouse farm integrated within a retail grocery space.

The 20,000-square-foot greenhouse, currently being constructed on the roof of the forthcoming Whole Foods Market store in the Gowanus neignborhood of Brooklyn, is scheduled to open later this fall. Gotham Greens will grow premium quality, pesticide-free produce year round in the greenhouse for Whole Foods Gowanus, as well as other Whole Foods locations throughout New York City.

“Gotham Greens has been a valued local supplier of high quality, flavorful and fresh produce to Whole Foods Market since early 2011, making this greenhouse project a natural and extremely exciting next step in our relationship,” said Christina Minardi, Whole Foods Market Northeast regional president. “We’re particularly excited to partner with a local organization with roots right here in Brooklyn and a mission in line with our own, in that we both care deeply about providing local, fresh and sustainably produced food.”

The specially designed rooftop farm will include advanced irrigation systems that use up to 20 times less water than conventional farming as well as enhanced glazing materials and electrical equipment to reduce overall energy demand. Based on the farm’s proximity to Whole Foods stores in New York City, the project will eliminate long-distance food transport and its associated emissions, while ensuring product freshness, quality and nutrition for thousands of customers in the area.

“Talk about local — this project takes the discussion from food miles to food footsteps,” said Viraj Puri, Gotham Greens co-founder. “Our greenhouse will provide Whole Foods Market shoppers with access to the freshest, most delicious leafy greens, herbs and tomatoes, year-round that will be grown right above the store’s produce department. We’re thrilled with this partnership and to be part of the growing national movement of farmers and food producers committed to providing consumers with high quality, responsibly produced food.”

The rooftop greenhouse will be fully operational at the time of the new Whole Foods opening and will create a variety of green collar jobs and economic development opportunities in the Brooklyn area. Whole Foods also plans to offer educational opportunities for area students and local schools to learn about greenhouses, farming and various environmental initiatives.

Whole Foods Market to mandate GMO’s on Product Labels

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , on March 12, 2013 by bistrokids

Whole Foods Market announced on Friday that it will mandate that all the products sold in its US and Canadian stores be labeled if they contain any genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and it is giving its suppliers a five year deadline to meet this standard.
The move makes Whole Foods the first retailer to require this level of transparency of its suppliers, who reportedly were not consulted before the decision was made and only were told of it shortly before the public announcement.
CEO Walter Robb said that the company is “responding to our customers who have consistently asked us for GMO labeling and we are doing so by focusing on where we have control in our own stores.”
And AC Gallo, president of Whole Foods, said that the company has “seen how our customers have responded to the products we do have labeled. Some of our manufacturers say they’ve seen a 15 percent increase in sales of products they have labeled.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Whole Foods said it now has 3,300 products verified as non-GMO. Its store-brand line, 365 Everyday Value, goes through a verification process.
“Mr. Robb said the company will increase its support of organic products, and work with partners to grow its supply of products without genetically modified ingredients, or clearly label products containing them.”
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) released a statement opposing the policy: “These labels could mislead consumers into believing that these food products are somehow different or present a special risk or a potential risk.”
The New York Times notes that “genetically modified ingredients are deeply embedded in the global food supply, having proliferated since the 1990s. Most of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States, for example, have been genetically modified. The alterations make soybeans resistant to a herbicide used in weed control, and causes the corn to produce its own insecticide. Efforts are under way to produce a genetically altered apple that will spoil less quickly, as well as genetically altered salmon that will grow faster.
The Times goes on to report that “the shift by Whole Foods is the latest in a series of events that has intensified the debate over genetically modified foods. Voters defeated a hard-fought ballot initiative in California late last year after the biotech industry, and major corporations like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, spent millions of dollars to fight the effort. Other initiatives have qualified for the ballot in Washington State and Missouri, while consumers across the country have been waging a sort of guerrilla movement in supermarkets, pasting warning stickers on products suspected of having G.M.O. ingredients from food companies that oppose labeling. Proponents of labeling insist that consumers have a right to know about the ingredients in the food they eat, and they contend that some studies in rats show that bioengineered food can be harmful.”

KC’s View: I think I may be most fascinated by the fact that Whole Foods says it did not consult with manufacturers before making the decision. So much for collaboration!
I understand all the reasons why people, companies and organizations might find this to be objectionable. Some of them are even good reasons. But in the end, people have a right to know what is in their food.
Whole Foods is not saying it won’t sell foods with GMOs. Just that it wants them labeled. Part of the process should be explaining why GMOs are necessary/advantageous/important … if you’re worried about people being confused or misled, then make the effort to educate and inform them.
It is important. And it is the future, like it or not.
Deal with it.

KC Food Circle’s 15th Annual Eat Local (& Organic!) Expos

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2013 by bistrokids

Mark your calendar!

The Kansas City Food Circle is celebrating the 15th year for our Eat Local (and Organic!)

Expos, which kick off the local growing and farmers market season each spring.

Visitors can buy local, organic produce; free-range meat, eggs and dairy; and vegetable

seedlings for home gardening. The Expos are also a great place to learn more about and sign

up for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), where you can buy your food directly from



Saturday, March 30 at the Shawnee Civic Center in Shawnee, KS from 9-2


13817 Johnson Drive

Shawnee, KS 66216




Saturday April 6 at the MCC Penn Valley Gymnasium from 9:30-2:30



3201 SW Trafficway

Kansas City, MO 64111

(between SW Trafficway and Broadway)


The Expos also offer opportunities to learn more about local, organic, and free-range food by

providing unique, free workshops each year. This year’s workshops will start with “Real Food

Your Kids Will Love” from 10:00 to 11:00, presented by Beth Bader, local author of The

Cleaner Plate Club. Beth will be giving tips on eating seasonally and locally, especially for

families with a busy schedule. The next workshop will be “Small Scale Aquaponics” from

11:30 to 12:30. Led by Maurice Person of Urban Harvest KC, this workshop will teach

attendees how to start a home aquaponics system and will cover indoor composting with red

wigglers, de-chlorinating and conserving water.


We will be handing out free copies of the 2013 KC Food Circle Directory of

Producers, which provides detailed information on KCFC member farmers and area organic

farmers markets. Expo attendees may also join the KC Food Circle and receive a 2013 Eat

Local (& Organic!) Dining Card which provides a one-time 10% discount on 14 area

restaurants that source their food locally, organically, and free-range.


This will be the KC Food Circle’s 15th annual expo, a tradition that has grown significantly

since it began in 1999 as part of a food system conference co-sponsored with the Sierra Club.

There were only 10 farmers at the first exhibition, but 250 people (as well as 100 conference

registrants) came for the chance to meet the farmers. The Expos continued to grow attracting

more and more Kansas Citians as the organic food movement gained popularity. In 2004, the

KCFC began holding two events at two different locations in the metro area. Overall

attendance continues to rise, averaging about 2,000 visitors in recent years.


The Smokin’ Fresh Streetside BBQ food truck will be serving some

delicious organic BBQ in the parking lots of both events, and Conveniently Natural will be handing out

samples inside at Penn Valley. Both are featured restaurants on the KCFC Eat Local (&

Organic!) Dining Card.


Current sponsors of this year’s Expo are Slow Food Kansas City, Sierra Club Missouri, Sierra

Club Kansas, KKFI, and Fresh Connect. Services were provided by Precision Printing and Cannon Social

Media Solutions.


The KC Food Circle is a nonprofit organization connecting local eaters and local, organic, and

free range growers for over 20 years.

Contact: Emily Akins, KCFC cocoordinator, 8162254624,
Click on these links for printable pdf Expo flyers.  Please feel free to share far and wide, and please help us spread the word by putting them up wherever you happen be around town!
See you at the Expos!