Archive for Local

From Tank to Table? The Potential of Local Produce Without the Farm

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2014 by bistrokids

Local continues to be the emerging killer quality marker in American food culture. Roughly half of American consumers have bought local produce in the past year, according to a recent poll by The Hartman Group. Although the notion of local really took off years ago in top foodie markets (e.g., Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, New York), it now has a presence on independent restaurant menus in virtually every U.S. market. If you think we’re exaggerating, check out the Harvest Kitchen & Lounge in the most unlikely of places: Solon, Ohio.

Grocers are trying to bring in local produce wherever and whenever possible to stores where they know shoppers crave it. The problem has always been operational. Almost half of the U.S. population lives in a state with cold winter and a correspondingly short local growing season (defined as five months or less). Before long-distance produce supply chains, people in these states canned their fresh local produce for winter consumption. They also did not have as global a vegetable palate as today’s urban dweller. Roots and tubers store well without processing, but what about a bucket of mixed greens?

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Bistro Kids: Bringing healthy, local food to school lunches

Posted in Bistro Kids with tags , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2014 by bistrokids

An interview with Bistro Kids founder Kiersten Firquain


Bistro kidsWhen she saw the “convenient junk food” her son, Kiersten Firquain did more than start packing a bag for him. She launched a whole farm-to-school program called Bistro Kids to revamp how students eat, including menus that focus on fresh, local foods; visits from farmers; cooking lessons and school gardens. It serves 5,000 meals a day in Kansas City and St. Louis area schools and 6,000 snacks a day in YMCA after-school programs.

“I remember when the lunch ladies made everything from scratch, and my goal is to get that back,” she said in a recent interview with The Hartman Group.

She’s not alone. Choicelunch, Revolution Foods and a host of other programs are working to improve school lunches and, in the process, people’s health and lives.

They are working to undo the repercussions of a generation of children brought up during a revolution in food culture. Children today are raised both at home and in public schools to be mindful of the ingredients in foods, differences between food types (e.g., organic vs. conventional, fresh and local) and the benefits of diet and exercise.

Bistro Kids has been so successful that some children from the program, which started in 2006, have gone on to culinary school and come back to work as chefs for the program. In 2011, Bistro Kids was bought by Treat America, an acquisition that means additional resources and talent.

The 10 Best (and Worst) States to Eat Local

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2014 by bistrokids

“Eat local,” they say—but where is local eating the easiest?

A Vermont-based group has released its annual ranking of states based on the availability of local food to the average citizen. It’s the third annual Locavore Index to be compiled by Strolling of the Heifers (here’s a hint for the complete story on where that quirky name came from: It’s a play on Pamplona’s running of the bulls).

How does a relatively small nonprofit tally the availability of local food nationwide? It’s pretty clever, really. The index comprises four publicly available statistics per state:

• Number of farmers markets

• Number of CSAs

• Number of food hubs (i.e., “facilities that handle the aggregation, distribution and marketing of foods from a group of farms and food producers in a region”)

• Percentage of school districts with farm-to-school programs

The first three are divided per 100,000 residents. Farmers markets and CSAs are weighted at 30 percent each, while food hubs and farm-to-school programs are weighted at 20 percent.


Sysco Kansas City adds GAP label to locally-grown product

Posted in News links with tags , , , , , , on September 14, 2011 by bistrokids

Olathe, Kan.-based foodservice supplier Sysco Kansas City is emphasizing its marriage of locally grown and food safety with new labels.

All boxes of the company’s Missouri- and Nebraska-grown vegetables now feature a sticker with a GAP (good agricultural practices) seal, said Pat Cipolla, director of produce marketing. The stickers were introduced in late August.

Sysco Kansas City started its local program four years ago. All of the company’s suppliers must be GAP-certified, Cipolla said.

The company’s main locally grown supplier, a Mennonite community in Rich Hill, Mo., is believed to be the first Mennonite grower community in the country to achieve GAP certification.

Sysco sells more and more local product every year, and that trend will only continue in its current direction, Cipolla said.

“We haven’t even really scratched the surface yet,” he said. “I get more calls on locally-grown than on anything, especially this time of year.”

To read more and watch the video, click here:

KCA Spring Lunch Pictures

Posted in Kansas City Academy with tags , , , , , on March 9, 2011 by bistrokids

KCA Spring has sprung lunch Wednesday March 8th, serving local Good Natured Family Farms all beef hot dogs with buns, Roasted Veggies, Pasta Salad and of course our signature Farm Fresh Salad Bar.  YUM!

A Victory for the Local and Regional Food Movement

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 7, 2011 by bistrokids

A Victory for the Local and Regional Food Movement

President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act today, capping a long fight by NSAC and its members and allies for food safety rules that protect consumers without curbing the growing movement toward fresh, local and regional food.  The food safety bill passed by the House in July of 2009 would have imposed a one size fits all regulatory system biased toward  industrial agriculture with a regressive registration fee, expensive food safety plans, and regular on-farm FDA inspections regardless of the degree of the potential risk for food borne illness.  The new regulatory burdens threatened to erect formidable barriers to the develping local and regional markets for many small and moderate sized farms. 

For nearly two years, NSAC has led an effort to win small and mid-size farm amendments to the legislation.  It was a massive effort by advocates at the grassroots and in DC who together shaped and won change for a safer food system and size appropriate rules.

This bill represents a huge victory for our movement. Thank you for your calls, emails and faxes in support of small and mid-sized farms, fresh, safe, local and healthy food!!!

The NSAC supported amendments incorporated into the Food Safety Modernization Act and signed today by the President include:
An amendment, sponsored by Senator Sanders (I-VT), giving FDA the authority to either exempt farms engaged in low or no risk processing or co-mingling activities from new regulatory requirements or to modify particular regulatory requirements for such farming operations.

An amendment, sponsored by Senator Bennet (D-CO), to reduce unnecessary paperwork and excess regulation required under the preventative control plan and the produce standards sections of the bill, including instructions to FDA to minimize the number of different standards that apply to separate foods, to make requirements scale appropriate, and to prohibit FDA from requiring farms and other food facilities to hire outside consultants to write food safety plans.
An amendment, sponsored by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), to provide for a USDA-administered competitive grants program for food safety training for farmers, small processors and wholesalers, with a priority on small and mid-scale farms.
An amendment,  sponsored by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), to strip the bill of wildlife-threatening enforcement against “animal encroachment” of farms and require FDA to apply sound science to any requirements that might impact wildlife and wildlife habitat.

An amendment, sponsored by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), to exempt farmers from extensive and expensive traceability and recordkeeping requirements if they sell food directly to consumers or to grocery stores, to allow labeling that preserves the identity of the farm through to the consumer to satisfy traceability requirements, and to in most cases limit farm recordkeeping to the first point of sale when the product leaves the farm.

An amendment, sponsored by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Kay Hagan (D-NC),to provide a size appropriate and less costly alternative to preventative control plans and produce standards for farmers who:

Direct market more than 50% of their products directly to consumers, stores or restaurants,
Have gross sales (direct and non-direct combined) of less than $500,000,
Sell to consumers, stores, or restaurants that are in-state or within 275 miles, and
Provide their customers with their name, address and contact information.
Thank you again for your calls and letters on this legislation.  And please note that NSAC took on the food safety fight with minimal funding to support the work. Our work is only beginning as we now need to engage the Administration over the details of how they implement the important provisions we fought so hard to secure.  Please help us to do this work and to respond quickly to other threats and opportunities for sustainable agriculture by making a tax deductible donation to NSAC today.