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Bonnie Azab Powell's Posts

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An artisanal plea from a fed-up foodie

When you find me behind bars, locked up for a fit of lexical rage, please know that it was granola that pushed me over the edge. Not just any granola: "artisan granola." Presumably its makers meant artisanal granola, made in limited quantities using traditional methods, rather than crunchy-buttery-nutty snacks for a hungry craftsperson. Whatever. It's granola! It started out in the 19th century as health food for sick people. There is no long tradition of baked rolled oats that's been passed down through generations. And even if there were, grandma wouldn't be dropping her breakfast mix into a factory-sealed plastic …

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New tool maps and grades 'food deserts' to lure supermarkets

A new tool maps Low-Access Areas -- those where residents can't easily get to a supermarket -- around the U.S.PolicyMap Earlier this month, in a piece for our Feeding the Cities series, Stephanie Paige Ogburn explained how urban "food deserts," areas without grocery stores selling healthy food and fresh produce, came to be: Talk with healthy-food advocates in urban centers across the country, and frequently, you'll hear the same story. It goes something like this: Once upon a time, this city was full of grocery stores. Then came urban renewal/an economic downturn/a mass exodus of the wealthy and, one by …

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A buzzworthy new documentary

"All of a sudden, the bees just disappeared. We went to our hives, and they were gone." -- Beekeeper What's been killing all the bees? The New York Times trumpeted that it's a combination of a fungus and a virus, while Grist's Tom Laskawy and others want to lay all the little corpses on the doorstep of pesticide maker Bayer CropScience. A new documentary set for release in March 2011 may not have the answer, but it looks like it's going to tell a riveting story regardless. Colony -- No Bees. No Honey. No Work. No Money goes deep into …

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We agree: Oil companies should support Victory Gardens

Chevron got punked yesterday when a wonderfully convincing satire of its new advertising campaign, "We agree," was released to media outlets before the real one. Several environmental groups -- I mean "people who care about climate change and clean energy" -- including the Rainforest Action Network, Amazon Watch, and the Yes Men, took credit for the prank. Chevron's latest greenwashing campaign is nothing new, of course: oil companies have been trying to align themselves with the right side of social movements for ages, as this newspaper ad from March 1944 shows. Like Pabst Blue Ribbon and others before it, Chevron …

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Stephen Colbert on the raw-milk raids and our 'right to get dysentery'

Comedian Stephen Colbert poked fun Wednesday at both the "nanny state" protesters and traditional-foods enthusiasts, reporting on the June 3 armed government raid of Rawesome Foods in Venice, Calif. (David Gumpert has covered these crackdowns in detail for Grist, here and here, including collecting tips on how to survive one.) Rawesome distributes unpasteurized, or "raw," cow, goat, sheep, and even camel milk to its private-club members -- "straight from the udder, just the way our founding fathers and their camels intended," intones Colbert. Just like the Tea Partiers, the raw-fooders want government to get out of the way of their …

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Harnessing mushrooms to replace plastic [VIDEO]

Expanded polystyrene foam, the petroleum-based material most Americans call Styrofoam, is nasty stuff. It's made from finite resources -- a single cubic foot of Styrofoam equals the energy content as 1.5 liters of gasoline -- yet hangs around practically infinitely: The EPA estimates it occupies 25 percent of our landfills by volume. Product designer Eben Bayer hates this carcinogenic, "toxic white stuff." And he's spent the last three years working on an awesome-sounding replacement for it, made from mushrooms and crop waste. In the TED talk below, Bayer explains how his company, Ecovative Design, has designed a process called Mycobond …

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NYC's anti-soda ads hit right in the gut [VIDEO]

New York’s "Pouring on the Pounds" subway ad. New York City's government has declared war on soda -- oops, "sugar-sweetened beverages." While Mayor Michael Bloomberg would love to pass a controversial penny-per-ounce soda tax, his government isn't waiting around for the windfall to start discouraging residents from popping open a pop. In New York, almost 6 out of 10 adults are overweight or obese, and 4 out of 10 kids in public school are. The city's Health Department has launched the second video in its "Pouring On the Pounds" campaign, which includes some pretty eye-catching subway ads (like the one …

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Wasted food equals wasted energy, new study makes clear

Scrappy problem: Discarded food in a supermarket dumpster.Photo: Sporkist Americans' profligate food-tossing ways waste the energy equivalent of 350 million barrels of oil per year, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Texas. The figure is actually probably higher, since the researchers admit that their estimate that 27 percent of the food in this country gets thrown out is low. Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, a forthcoming book about waste in the food system, says that figure should be closer to the more shameful 40 percent. Enough food gets discarded in this country "to …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Food

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PBR: ‘That softer, kindlier taste’ urban farmers love

Seems you can't swing a shovel these days without hitting a hipster planting his own fruit and veg, and/or tattooing images of them on his butt. Growing your own is hot, and hot work calls for a refreshing beverage. And no one knows this better than the mad men pushing Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. Their swift seduction of today's irony-loving urban hipster is, it turns out, in keeping with campaigns past. This 1943 PBR ad piggybacks on the government-funded, wartime pro-grow propaganda effort to target the pipe-smoking, cardigan-cape-wearing dandies of the day. After hoeing weeds in their starched and ironed …

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This is why we're fat — by the numbers

Nibbling on the data nuggets found in this "Food Consumption in America" infographic delivers a real jaw-dropper, showing the literal weight of an average American's food choices in a typical year. According to the graphic from banking site Visual Economics, which combines data from sources such as the USDA, FDA, and CDC, the average man is 5'9" and weighs 190 pounds, while the average woman is 5'4" and weighs 164 lbs. A quick check of the Mayo Clinic's Body Mass Index calculator shows that both Joe and Jane Sixpack are thus overweight, with a BMI of 28.1 -- 30 and …

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