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Friday, February 18, 2011

YBCA Offers Free Whiff of New Food Culture

Posted By on Fri, Feb 18, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Novella Carpenter and friends. - GHOSTTOWNFARM.WORDPRESS.COM

From Produce to Production: New Traditions in Bay Area Food Culture

When: Sat, Feb. 19, 1-4 p.m.

Where: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission (at Third St.), 978-2787

Cost: Free

The rundown: Judging by the food talent YBCA lined up for this Saturday round table ― Bryant Terry, Leif Hedendal, and Novella Carpenter ― the local food culture's new traditions skew subterranean, goaty, vegan, and firmly rooted in Oakland. This kickoff conversation in YBCA's annual, four-month BAN6 series, also features panel time with some of the artists on exhibit, moderated by exec director Kenneth Foster. As for food itself, rather than talk about it, details are sketchy, though a YBCA spokeswoman tells SFoodie that Terry will be whipping something up as part of his presentation. Oh, and he's throwing together a big batch of his signature lemonade, offered free to anyone feeling parched from all the brainy talk.

Check out other upcoming events on SFoodie.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Saturday Morning TV

Posted By on Thu, Feb 10, 2011 at 12:55 PM


TED Talk: Changing the Way We Eat

Where: Numi Tea Garden, 2230 Livingston St. (at Cotton), Oakland, 877-686-4832

When: Sat., Feb. 12, 7:30 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.

Cost: Free

The rundown: How about a different kind of Saturday morning? Instead of sleeping off your Friday night, popping a couple of ibuprofen, and heading for noon eggs and lattes, you have the option of attending a free early-morning TED event on sustainable eating. Beamed in live from the Prince George Ballroom in New York City (hello, future!), the lineup is a virtual who's-who of the ethical food movement, including Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis (makers of the seminal documentary King Corn), Brian Halweil of the Worldwatch Institute, and Josh Viertel, president of Slow Food USA. Held at the Zen-friendly Numi Tea Garden, this is your chance to network with like-minded eaters and plug into a national webcast on the future of food. The event is broken into three sessions (see schedule below) so feel free to attend all or part of the day's lectures. Breakfast and/or lunch provided for a small donation; chances are it won't be from the nearby McDonald's.

RSVP to Frankie Whitman at

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Friday, January 21, 2011

No Salatin for You

Posted By on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Farmer Joel Salatin is worshipped across the country for his tireless work serving the sustainable food movement. Fittingly, he's speaking to his disciples tonight in a Berkeley church about spirituality and ethical food choices. Tickets to the event sold out faster than you can say "free range," so we thought we'd give a taste of what you're missing. Never boring, instructive without being preachy, Salatin is a dynamic public speaker who could convert the most die-hard McDonald's muncher. Check out his TED talk in 2009 (above). If you still want more, give a reread of the ethical food bible, Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, in which Salatin's Polyface farm features prominently. Or cook up a batch of non-GMO popcorn and settle down for a viewing of Food, Inc., the hugely influential documentary that helped enshrine the cult of Salatin. Friday night has never felt so sustainable.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

KQED's Nourish: Feel-Good Critique of the Food System

Posted By on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 5:50 PM

Around here, questioning where your food comes from is as reflexive as recycling, even if you lean on Safeway far more than you admit. A show airing on KQED next week drives home the question. But where Food, Inc. employed shock therapy to get you to cold-turkey factory chickens, Nourish: Food + Community applies a bit of Vaseline to the lens in a portrayal of eating as a communal act capable of, ahem, nourishing the spirit. From the press release:

Nourish features interviews with local food heroes such as Berkeley author Michael Pollan, Oakland eco-chef Bryant Terry, Bayview pediatrician Dr. Nadine Burke, and organic farmer Nigel Walker of Eatwell Farm. Nourish showcases our region's vibrant food culture with footage from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, Google's Café 150, Star Route Farms, the Edible Schoolyard, and Frog Hollow Farm.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

High-Fructose Corn Syrup Seeks New Name: 'Corn Sugar'

Posted By on Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 5:47 PM

Our favorite morsel from the blogs.

Ever since Fast Food Nation went bathroom-reading bestseller, high-fructose corn syrup has left a sour taste with shoppers at or above the level of Safeway basic. Today, reports the Associated Press, the Corn Refiners Association is seeking to change that, not by re-engineering its product, but by altering its name ― to "corn sugar."

The association has petitioned the FDA to sanction the change. Frankly, it's a shitty time to be a corn syrup maker. AP's Emily Fredrix:

Americans' consumption of corn syrup has fallen to a 20-year low on consumer concerns that it is more harmful or more likely to cause obesity than ordinary sugar, perceptions for which there is little scientific evidence. However, some scientists have linked consumption of full-calorie soda -- the vast majority of which is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup -- to obesity.
Two years ago, Grist reported on Big Corn's $2-$30 million ad buys to improve the image of high-fructose corn syrup (juicy footage above). Now, apparently, they've given up. Or, as Grist's Tom Laskawy suggested today, "If you can't beat 'em ... confuse them."

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wear This Coat. Then Plant It

Posted By on Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 11:45 AM

Zoe Alexander Fisher's Biomimicry Project coat is covered in veggie seeds.
  • Zoe Alexander Fisher's Biomimicry Project coat is covered in veggie seeds.
When this heat vanishes (and we all know how fast it could), Zoe Alexander Fisher's Biomimicry Project coat won't just keep a body warm; it'll fill one's belly as well.

Conceived as both a product and a process, her coat ― hand-felted with 100 percent undyed organic wool, an excellent nitrogen fertilizer for soil ― has been decorated with vegetable seeds. The idea is to wear it in winter and then, come spring, plant it in a patch of ground to yield an organic food garden once summer rolls around. You can get your very own coat made to order in a custom size. There's also Audrey Snyder's sugary artwork destined to dissolve over the course of the exhibit ― we're thinking it's halfway to simple syrup by now (the exhibit opened more than two weeks ago).

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Friday, August 20, 2010

S.F.'s Blissmo Urges Foodies to Go Green via Web Discounts

Posted By on Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 4:03 PM

The flash sales marketer wants consumers to support what it deems good-guy businesses.
  • The flash sales marketer wants consumers to support what it deems good-guy businesses.
According to a article published this week, "flash sales," or e-mail and Web operations offering time-sensitive discounts on products, are "the hottest segment of the consumer web market." How has market top-dog Groupon managed to do over $500 million in revenue this year so far? By not only enabling participating businesses to score profits on their discounted products and services, but by guaranteeing them exposure to a fresh crop of customers.

Fresh-faced San Francisco newcomer

Blissmo may follow a similar model, but the goal is different: to encourage conscientious shoppers to support sustainable, good-guy businesses by drawing attention to them and making their products affordable. The first week's promotion is almost over, and with it the opportunity to enjoy (with a swift button-click) a 50 percent discount on a two-person tasting at Sonoma County's green J Vineyards and Winery.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Waterbar Adopted a Peach Tree. So Can You

Posted By on Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 4:41 PM

Peach tree at Masumoto Family Farm, making "take me home" eyes at you. - BENKETARO/FLICKR
  • benketaro/Flickr
  • Peach tree at Masumoto Family Farm, making "take me home" eyes at you.
In the grand tradition of adoption ― highways, children ― Embarcadero restaurant Waterbar has assumed responsibility for a tree, a lovely Elberta peach ensconced at Masumoto Family Farm south of Fresno.

The tree's sweet fruits will play a prominent role on the menu in the coming weeks. Planned dishes include Elberta peach salad with ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms, wild arugula, and truffled honey; and summer melon and pickled peach, served with Serrano ham and Marshall's Farm honey.

If you'd like to adopt your own Elberta, click on the application at the Masumoto website, steel yourself for a serious background scan, ready your $500 check, and be prepared to find something to do with 400 to 500 pounds of peaches.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Should S.F. Doctors Write Prescriptions for Farmers' Market Produce?

Posted By on Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 10:08 AM

In Massachusetts, doctors at three clinics are giving patients coupons for fresh produce. - JODI HILTON/NEW YORK TIMES
  • Jodi Hilton/New York Times
  • In Massachusetts, doctors at three clinics are giving patients coupons for fresh produce.
Let's see: A bottle of codeine syrup, some Nasonex, and a bunch of arugula. Doctors at three health centers in Massachusetts aren't just telling their patients to eat their vegetables; they're handing out coupons making it more affordable for them to do so, calling it "prescription produce." In a project sponsored by Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited, the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture, and Wholesome Wave, these clinics are working to fight the fast food-induced obesity that so often plagues lower-income families. According to a New York Times story about this operation, the coupons add up to about a dollar a day, which will probably go a long way towards not only helping folks get better nutrition, but also demonstrating how inexpensive and increasingly easy it is to obtain fresh, healthy produce. The effort, notes the Times, "may also help farmers' markets compete with fast-food restaurants selling dollar value meals."

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mini Cows Just Might Save the Planet

Posted By on Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 3:18 PM

Mini cows: Three times the beef for a third of the feed. - GUARDIAN.CO.UK
  • Mini cows: Three times the beef for a third of the feed.
Part of why agribusiness beef is such an environmental nightmare is that the cows are fucking huge, often tipping the scales at over half a ton apiece. However, for every pound of meat ranchers can glean, cows chomp 16 pounds of grain and soy and suck down 2,500 gallons of water ― without providing enough calories to offset what they consume. When a lot of food goes to making less food, fewer people have enough to eat. These same cows also generate greenhouse gases, which increasingly, we all rightfully have a problem with.

Enter the mini cow. No, that meter-tall bovine to your right is not Paris Hilton's newest warm-blooded. half-pint plaything. According to a recent Guardian UK article, more and more American farms are, like their British counterparts, avoiding Holsteins and Aberdeen Angus in favor of smaller breeds. It's currently estimated that well over 20,000 mini cows are being raised in the U.S.

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