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Bonnie Azab Powell's Posts

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Pass the Tester

Tester amendment protecting local food production now attached to food-safety bill

Updated 11:10 am It's nail-biting time for locavores and small farmers -- or "family-scale farmers," as the new terms seems to be. The Senate is in recess before voting on the Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510) in just a few hours, and it is still up in the air whether the Tester-Hagan amendment, which would adjust how the FDA treats certain small farms and processors, will be included in the Manager's amendment package or will face a vote on its own. This just in: The amendment will be included in the Manager's amendment, the package of amendments agreed to …

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Grinding it out

Industry groups putting the screws to senators over food-safety bill amendments

May we see your HAACP paperwork?Photo: Cowgirl JulesThe latex gloves are coming off on the sausage-making of S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act. The Senate has voted 74 to 25 for cloture, which starts the 60-day clock for a vote in the full Senate and the amendment process. Two very important amendments to the bill are currently the subject of fierce lobbying by industry. We've already extensively discussed the Tester-Hagan amendment, which would exempt small and very small farms and food processing businesses (defined as those that make under a certain amount of money, and that earn at least …

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Dim summary

Google's Hotpot debuts: Cool party, lukewarm reception

Tonight a certain segment of young, 20-something San Franciscans was partying like it was 1999. That's the last time this dot-com-boom survivor can remember a tech company throwing a party for 700 people with an open cocktail bar (no carefully rationed, donated wine here!), fancy canapés, and a DJ. But maybe I've just been off the invite list since I switched to food. The occasion was a mysterious Google announcement, no details given. The blogosphere speculated it had something with fashion, or at least shopping. Just like in the old days, there were attractive young women in fancy frocks and …

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The Everyday Ethicurean

Savoring the last of summer with a 'Rustic Tomato and Chard Tart'

Tart me up: Start with a basic homemade pie crust and anything will taste good.Photos: Bonnie Powell Like my colleague Tom Philpott, I believe that cooking "from scratch" doesn't have to be either intimidating or onerous. Tom is a much better cook than I am, but I'm not going to let that stop me from sharing some of the simple meals I make from local, seasonal ingredients in this Everyday Ethicurean series. I'm lucky enough to live in Northern California, so 90 percent of what I eat comes from local farms or the raised beds in my backyard. But like …

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Eat and greet

Please welcome the adventurous locavore of 'The Perennial Plate' [VIDEO]

I'm excited to introduce a new contributor to Grist's food section: Daniel Klein, a chef, activist, and filmmaker living in Minneapolis. He's cooked in the restaurants of Thomas Keller, Fergus Henderson, and Tom Colicchio and now holds "harvest dinners" at his house. He's also directed, filmed, edited, and produced projects on various issues including oil politics and the development industry in Africa (most recently What Are We Doing Here? which has aired on TV, in theaters, and at festivals worldwide). Since March, Daniel has been documenting his culinary, agricultural, and hunting adventures on film in a series called The Perennial …

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Slicker shock

Urban agriculture in West Oakland gets a $4 million boost

One of City Slicker Farms' tiny but productive sites in West Oakland, Calif. Much of the produce is grown vertically, to maximize space, and there’s a chicken coop tucked in the back corner. Photo: Courtesy of Anne Hamersky, from the forthcoming book Farm Together Now Oakland, Calif., where I live, doesn't have a lot to celebrate, what with budget-driven police layoffs and an unemployment rate of 11.5 percent. Still, one piece of good news has urban agriculture proponents cheering. Not about Oakland's plan to sanction (and tax) large-scale marijuana farms, but the announcement that City Slicker Farms, a leader in …

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Chewing the scenery, video

'Nourish' TV show encourages Americans to ask where their food comes from

Food politics don't yet have much of a presence on the Food Network -- nothing kills a food-porn barbecue buzz like invoking the factory farms those ribs came from. But PBS is now airing a half-hour TV program produced by a new "media and education initiative" that targets the growing number of "regular" Americans (ie, not just us foochebags) who are hungry to know where their food comes from, in particular young people and families. Hosted by Cameron Diaz -- the former host of the green-travel MTV series Trippin' -- Nourish features interviews with an all-star cast of the sustainable/real/we-know-it-when-we-eat-it …

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Thicke situation

Agribiz BFF Bill Northey defeats reformer Francis Thicke for Iowa ag secretary

The corn farmer vs. the cow-hugger: Bill Northey and Francis Thicke.Republican Bill Northey was reelected Iowa secretary of agriculture, defeating organic farmer Francis Thicke 63 to 37 percent, despite being roundly criticized for his handling of the Wright County Farms 500 million salmonella-tainted egg fiasco. As I wrote here in September, if Thicke (pronounced "TICK-ee") managed to unseat Northey, it would have been a huge win not only for sustainable agriculture in Iowa, but for the nation as we begin gearing up for the next Farm Bill. "The triumph of a reform candidate like Francis Thicke would demonstrate to Washington …

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Fight club sandwich

Wanted: Your informed opinions on the food-safety reform bill

Don't be a patriotic weenie! Share your food-safety expertise with us.Photo: peppergrasssNov. 4 update: The food-safety roundtable is now under way via email, with two Grist readers and 7 experts from the various stakeholder groups. We're awed and flattered by the number of you who wrote in wanting to participate, and we hope you will share your viewpoints via the comments section when we begin publishing the edited transcript of the discussion next week. Casual observers of the food-politics world probably don't know it, but there's a major shakeup coming in the way government oversees the food industry. After several …

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Boo who?

Chipotle rolls out some scare tactics for Halloween

What hams!: Jamie Oliver and Steve Ells dress up as a chicken nugget and its HFCS-infested dipping sauce, respectively. (Watch as Oliver shows schoolkids why nuggets are scary.)Post updated November 1 and 2 Highly processed candy and junk food like this and this gives me the shivers for a number of reasons. (Mainly, because it's not actually "food" as any other mammal would recognize it.) Highly processed fast food scares me, too -- care for a Happy Meal that looks the same after sitting out for 6 months, anyone? But you know what? Sometimes even a foochebag like me is …

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