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Bonnie Azab Powell's Posts

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Bean there, done that

New Agtivist Q&A with John Scharffenberger: First wine, then chocolate, and now … tofu?

John Scharffenberger at the Hodo Soy Beanery tofu factory in Oakland, Calif.(Bart Nagel Photography) This is the first in Grist's series of interviews with a group we're calling the "New Agtivists" -- the many people who're working to change this country's f'ed-up food system. Whether famous or un-, they're a little bit country and a little bit punk rock. They're starting urban farms, seed-saving ventures, and underground food-swapping markets. They're fighting for better food in schools and fewer feedlots. They have one thing in common: they think food matters -- and they're taking it into their own hands to improve …

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Catch in your throat

Wanna save Gulf seafood? Eat it! [SLIDESHOW]

Seafood menus are a minefield if you're trying to eat conscientiously. Those tiger shrimp in your cocktail? So tasty -- but shrimp farms are destroying Asia's mangrove forests, along with the other creatures and people who depend on these delicate ecosystems. Is your sushi shrinkwrapped? Then you can be pretty sure it's not sustainable. But with the BP well still hemorrhaging petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, now's your chance to eat some seafood guilt free. As Gary Nabhan writes today for Grist, 138 place-based foods are directly affected by the Gulf oil spill, as are the mostly ethnic-minority fishers …

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Buckle down

‘Farmers Market Desserts’ lets fruit, not sugar, be the star

Photos courtesy of Leo Gong/Chronicle Books Summer fruits from the farmers market are the supermodels of the produce world. Just like Heidi Klum doesn't need makeup to be beautiful, a super-fresh White Lady peach or Seascape strawberry doesn't need extra sweetening or seasoning to shine. But given the right recipe—one designed expressly for fruit and vegetables at their peak ripeness and flavor, not for their wooden supermarket facsimiles—they can really wow your tastebuds.   Just in time for June's bounty of stone fruits and berries comes Farmers' Market Desserts. Author Jennie Schacht and photographer Leo Gong visited dozens of farmers …

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Chewing the scenery, video

A video smorgasbord of sustainable-food speakers

How we let our biology end up in the hands of Nestlé and Unilever and General Foods, we can leave to cultural historians to figure out, But we know now that in order to take back the ownership and responsibility for our health, and the biological integrity of our oceans and our land, we have to take back our mouths.…and take back our taste buds from those who would use them to accumulate financial capital and return it to those who create biological and social capital -- away from people who steal the future and to those who heal the …

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Pollan nation

Michael Pollan chronicles rise of the food movement(s)

(Watershed Media)In what is ostensibly a five-book review for the June 10 New York Review of Books, journalist Michael Pollan has an epic essay charting the emergence and character of the food movement. Or, as he puts it, "movements." They are unified, for now at least, by little more than the recognition that industrial food production is in need of reform, "because its social/environmental/public health/animal welfare/gastronomic costs are too high." (Pollan, of course, has been indispensable to the rise of this movement, even though he omits his 2006 best-seller, The Omnivore's Dilemma, from his list of its catalysts -- among …

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'Wich hunt

Order up: Readers’ fave sandwich shops [PHOTOS]

(Jess Steinitz photo)We asked readers to nominate their favorite sustainable, locally owned sandwich shops -- the ones sourcing their ingredients directly from nearby farms and turning them into "consistently and mind-blowingly good sandwiches," as Grist's Tom Philpott put it. Dozens of you shared your suggestions in the comments, but only two -- Jess Steinitz and Nin Andrews -- sent in their entries as requested via email with photos. (Both Jess and Nin nominated meatless restaurants, interestingly; we've noticed that vegetarians seem to have more energy than all you lethargic carnivores.) The crew of Ely’s to GoJess raves about VG Burgers …

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Pop-Tart culture

Health risks of potassium bromate maybe not so ‘Fringe’

Fringe mad scientist Walter Bishop goes postal over potassium bromate The sci-fi TV show Fringe had a surreally satisfying sequence in the May 6 episode, available on Hulu.com, in which supposedly mad scientist Walter Bishop goes food shopping. Walter, who in the series spends a lot of time in alternate universes, is holding a box of Pop-Tart-like breakfast snacks when he suddenly glimpses the unpleasant parallel reality of the U.S. food system: Walter, picking up box of "Toaster Pastries" and muttering to himself: "Corn starch, soy lecithin, potassium bromate… potassium bromate?!!!! This supermarket is trying to kill us! You -- …

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Chewing the scenery, video

Oil spill may fatally wound Gulf fishing industry

Among the more than 600 animal species at risk from the massive oil spill in the Gulf are their bipedal predators. May usually marks the start of the Gulf fishing season, Capt. Kip Marquize tells the Natural Resources Defense Council in this video, but he and other Louisiana fishers are cooling their heels on the docks and rapidly running out of cash. Most fishers operate on thin margins, with only enough in the bank to buy equipment and ready their boats for May. "The spill could not have come at a worse time ... We out of luck," he says. …

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Class act

CJR puts Philpott in the hot seat

(Bart Nagel Photography)Grist Food Editor and indefatigable reporter Tom Philpott recently spent some quality time on the other side of the tape recorder, for an in-depth Columbia Journalism Review interview about class and the U.S. food system. In the piece, titled "Food Fighter," Philpott fields the de rigeur "is organic too expensive" question with aplomb and hits a few home runs about the structural economic underpinnings of cheap food, such as commodity and de-facto pollution subsidies, and the promise of intensive urban agriculture. He also reveals the inspiration for his getting actively interested in the food movement -- Rudy Giuliani, …

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TOUGH COOKIES

The ‘femivore’: New breed of feminist, or frontier throwback?

Playing chicken: Mad Men über-hausfrau Betty Draper and Bay Area poultry farmer Alexis Koefoed. Koefoed photo: Bart NagelHave locavores and feminists -- factions that a few years ago, some bloggers believed to be fundamentally at odds -- become allies? That's what Peggy Orenstein suggests in her essay, "The Femivore's Dilemma," for today's New York Times Magazine. The author of several best-selling nonfiction accounts of modern women's life (and an acquaintance of mine), Orenstein thinks that "the omnivore’s dilemma has provided an unexpected out from the feminist predicament, a way for women to embrace homemaking without becoming [Mad Men housewife] Betty …

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