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Claire Thompson's Posts

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Chicken chases its kale: Chik-fil-A attacks artist over leafy-green slogan

Photo: Ellen KFor all of you poor souls who can't tell kale and chicken apart (lord knows it can be difficult), your troubles may soon be over. Chik-fil-A, the country's second-largest chain chicken restaurant (after KFC), is pressuring Vermont-based small-business owner Bo Muller-Moore to drop the phrase "Eat More Kale," which he's been screen-printing by hand on T-shirts and selling online and at local farmers markets since 2000. Chik-fil-A claims the words -- a statement in support of local agriculture and sustainable food -- are too similar to its trademarked "Eat Mor Chikin" ad slogan, and could cause confusion for …

Read more: Food

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Occupy Black Friday

Image: Occupy RenoThis Thursday night, while many families are still wrapping up Thanksgiving leftovers, the annual Black Friday shopping frenzy will begin, with 74 million people expected to head to stores over the weekend. But Friday also marks the 20th anniversary of Buy Nothing Day, an alternative celebration that invites us to "wean ourselves off of mega corporations, put our money back into the local independent economy, and live for a different kind of future." Given that Buy Nothing Day was dreamed up by the folks at Adbusters magazine -- the same crew that spawned Occupy Wall Street -- perhaps …

Read more: Living

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Something to be thankful for: Real turkeys make a comeback

Royal Palm Turkey, one of eight varieties considered to be heritage breeds.Photo: Amy Martin PachayIn 1997, The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) took a turkey census. For about half a century, nearly every turkey farm in the U.S. had been raising a breed known as the Broad Breasted White. (This cost-efficient, big-breasted bird has a lifespan of only 18 weeks and can neither fly, nor reproduce without artificial insemination). So when the ALBC went looking for other, older breeds of turkey, what they found was startling: They counted only 1,300 turkeys not bred for industrial purposes. In the whole country. …

Read more: Food, Sustainable Food

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Incredible shrinking farmland

Photo: Alicia Guy Joel Huesby comes from a long line of conventional farmers, but in 1994, he had what he calls an epiphany that led him to switch to organic farming. He's of the mind that we'll drive ourselves to extinction if we drive our farmlands that way first. "Conventional commodity agriculture, to my way of looking at it, is standing in the boots of a dead man with toothpicks holding his eyes open," he said. "It looks alive but it's not. I don't see that as the future." Through years of trial and error, Huesby and his family found …

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What can trick-or-treaters tell you about the health of your neighborhood?

When my brother and I were little, around this time of year we loved to watch The Halloween Tree, an animated feature based on a Ray Bradbury book of the same name. The movie opens with Bradbury himself narrating: It was a small town by a small river and a small lake in a small northern part of a Midwest state. There wasn't so much wilderness around that you couldn't see the town. On the other hand, there wasn't so much town around that you couldn't see and feel and touch the wilderness. The town was full of fences to …

Read more: Cities, Family, Living

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Scare trade: Halloween candy you can feel good about

Photo: Nina HaleFor most of us, Halloween has a strong association with candy. When you're little, you get to dress up and run around your neighborhood collecting it for free. When you're a bit older, you get to dress up, get drunk, and buy it steeply discounted on Nov. 1. And when you're a parent, you get to supervise kids on their candy-collecting mission, and sneak some after bedtime. Along with all this candy is the sense that, however old you get, Halloween signals a brief return to innocence. Well, here's news that might clear the mist from your eyes …

Read more: Food

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The unmasking of a school lunch hero: Mrs. Q speaks

Sarah Wu, aka Mrs. Q.Photo: Jill BrazelSome of you may already know of Mrs. Q, the teacher who blogged anonymously about her adventures eating lunch in the cafeteria of the public school where she worked every day in 2010. Her daily posts included pictures of each day's meal (pizza, chicken nuggets, pasta with meat sauce, etc.) and brief descriptions of how they tasted and made her feel. This simple formula gained Mrs. Q a huge following of teachers, parents, students, and citizens interested in changing the food system (improving school lunch, many reformers say, could be a step toward combating …

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Heritage livestock: Milk ‘em for all they’re worth

A Guernsey calf. (Photo by Tricky.) As heirloom produce gains a growing cult following among eaters, the more under-the-radar interest in heritage livestock breeds may see a resurgence, too. The first National Heirloom Exposition in California last month featured heritage farm animal breeds in addition to the fruits, veggies, and seeds that get foodies excited. Cheese devotees, especially, should take note -- buying and enjoying cheese made from the milk of certain rare breeds of cattle helps ensure their survival. Over on the blog It's Not You, it's Brie, cheese enthusiast Kirstin Jackson collected notes from dairy farmer and veterinarian …

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Could you go without processed foods for a month?

It takes a little more planning, but cooking from scratch can be deliciously rewarding.Photo: Susy MorrisLooking to purify before we move into the season of discount Halloween candy, food-focused family gatherings, and holiday parties? Andrew Wilder's Eating Rules blog invites you to take part in October Unprocessed, an experiment in ridding your diet of all processed foods for an entire month. Wilder uses the "kitchen test" to explain what he means by unprocessed: "any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with readily available, whole-food ingredients." In other words, if a food's …

Read more: Food