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Michelle Venetucci Harvey's Posts

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Gauge-free

Parsing the new 'humane' food labels

Humane touch: Which of these sows is being treated "humane"-ly? According to the National Pork Board, which permits use of the gestation crates in the lefthand photo, they both are.Photos: Humane Society (left), Clark Summit Farm (right) Americans face a dizzying array of food labels. There's organic, all-natural, sustainable, cage-free, whole grain, and heart-healthy, to name a few. Pop quiz: Which of these is backed by legally enforceable guidelines? Answer: Only organic. (And even that one has loopholes, such as the practice of giving chickens access to outdoor spaces but not requiring that the birds actually spend any time outside.) …

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The couscous cognoscenti

Portland schools ditch nuggets, serve up local food

No more lunches like these for Portland kids.Photo courtesy Ben + Sam via FlickrIt all started with a simple idea: to see if school children will actually eat fresh foods, rather than the institutional fare that school kitchens typically serve. To test the idea, the "Farm to School" project of the non-profit Ecotrust partnered up with Portland's Abernethy Elementary in 2005, embarking on a semester-long trial run of sustainable lunches -- beginning with a kitchen renovation and new chef. This was a place where school lunches mattered: 43 percent of students in Portland are eligible for subsidized meals, so school …

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Berry good for you

New study weighs in on organic vs. conventional debate

(Photo courtesy *clairity* via Flickr)Does growing food organically really matter? Supporters of conventional agriculture say that organic farming is little more than a fad -- and that organic produce lightens consumers’ wallets for no tangible benefits. And unfortunately, since agro-ecosystems are so complex, scientists have had a hard time cutting through the haze of claims and counter-claims. Until now: "Fruit and Soil Quality of Organic and Conventional Strawberry Agroecosystems," a study led by Washington State University Regents professor of soil science John Reganold, is one of the most comprehensive, persuasive studies yet to show the nutritional and environmental benefits of …

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