Entries Tagged as 'President Obama'

LiveBlogging Edible Institute 2011

Hello from sunny Santa Barbara, CA and the 2011 edition of Edible Institute at the Hotel Mar Monte. Today and tomorrow I’ll be liveblogging the goings on here for those of you who couldn’t make it and for those who did but mighta missed something. Since it’s live please forgive typos and so on – I’ll put on my editors hat at the end of the day.

Follow the goings on on the Twitter machine via the hashtag #EI2011

We’ve a heckuva lineup today, including a keynote from no less than Dr. Joan Dye Gussow, who is a serious food producer, a writer, and officially a retiree from Teachers College, Columbia University where she is Mary Swartz Rose Professor Emerita, former chair of the Nutrition Education Program, and where she still teaches her course on nutritional ecology every fall. Her latest book is called (I adore this title) “Growing, Older.”

Things are scheduled to start rolling here in about 20 minutes, so the first update from here will happen in about an hour or so. Take a look at the schedule of events, and please check back throughout the day (and again tomorrow).

But first, a word from our sponsors – a quick shoutout to the folks that helped make this thing happen:

St. Germaine

Green Project Consultants

and Verterra.

OK, we’re getting underway here with a welcome from Edible Communities co-founder Tracey Ryder. Shoutouts to the above sponsors, staff, and the instigator of all of this, Edible San Francisco publisher Bruce Cole.

Dr. Gussow has taken the stage, and is saying a few nice things about our humble publications, and says she’s going to start with her “Cassandra role.” Says she’s “spent several years depressing college students.” [Read more →]

Another Assault on the SOLE Food Movement

Causing no end of difficulties in our national discourse is the steadfast belief held by both the right and the left that everything is either right or left: bad or good, strong or weak, despotic or patriotic.  You’re either with us or you’re against us.  President Obama addressed this very effectively before both House Republicans and Senate Democrats in recent days.  It is media driven to a large extent because the media need controversy to sell papers, or bytes or views or whatever it is they’re selling these days.

The most common form this takes is the old build’em-up-then-tear’em-down routine.  Perhaps the only thing many Americans enjoy more than the uplifting emotion of a success story is the schadenfreude of watching that success come tumbling down.  So when an idea comes to the fore, the critics ooze from the woodwork and their primary tactic is divide and conquer.  Label it, frame the debate, and the fight is won or lost before the story is even told.

For a long time in the circles I travel in this was not a problem because the ideas embodied in what some have come to call SOLE food (Sustainable, Organic, Local, & Ethical) were not perceived as a threat to the established paradigm.  Recent successes such as Michael Pollan’s work have, however, shined a very bright spotlight on advocates of real food.  As a result, people who have been toiling at these ideas for decades are becoming targets of powerful interests in the Big Food lobby.  Such is the case this week at WeeklyStandard.com, where Missouri Farm Bureau vice president Blake Hurst has found his most recent audience.

Mr. Hurst was among the earliest vocal detractors of Mr. Pollan’s work, as well as that of anyone who might find flaw in agroindustrial model.  His essay last summer, titled The Omnivore’s Delusion, did an excellent job of exploiting Pollan’s success to rally the big corporate agriculture interests against the perceived threat of critics both in the media and in the field.  It’s natural: he felt attacked and he responded, and has now done so again.  Unfortunately Mr. Hurst’s vitriol, then as now, only serves to fan the flames of a fire that needn’t be burning.  Individuals on neither side of the debate are inherently evil, in fact both want the same thing: healthy food for all.  Since our ideas for how to accomplish this differ, we are immediately cast into the right and left corners and told to come out fighting when the bell rings.

Read the whole essay @ Civil Eats

First Lady and Sam Kass Talk Child Nutrition on Today

One of the advantages we enjoy here in Iowa is that we get to see our presidential candidates and their families up close and personal during our caucus process.  While I had seen then-Senator Obama give that stirring speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention, it was really a speech here in Iowa by his wife Michelle that made me a fan of his.  I figured if a lady this smart and classy married him he must be worth a look.

Many of us foodie-activist types were excited when Barack Obama was elected because we believed that maybe finally something could be accomplished for our agenda of “Good, Clean, and Fair” food for everyone.  Sure enough, that first spring there was the First Lady out there planting an organic garden on the White House grounds.  Say what you will about their former opponents, no one could imagine Cindy McCain doing anything even remotely similar.

So now a year has gone by and Mrs. Obama is launching a childhood obesity initiative the way such things get launched these days, on NBC’s Today Show.  It’s tradition for FLOTUS to have a cause such as this, and these causes are almost always worthwhile: literacy, homelessness, “Just Say ‘NO!’” etc.

Ms. Obama’s initiative is no exception.  The statistics are alarming – 1 in 3 American children born in 2000 or after will develop diabetes before they are old enough to vote.  Among minorities that ratio rises to 1 in 2.  There is no health system that can hope to cope with the implications of that no matter what her husband and Congress manage to accomplish.

Whole post an video clips @ Civileats.org

Menu for a New Day

Ruminations on the Obama Era
Even those of us in the hectic world of restaurants must occasionally take a break, and so it is that Inauguration Day found me in the High Desert north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. I took the train from my home in Iowa and am now enjoying the healing waters at Ojo Caliente and reflecting on the new world we’ve entered. Much has been said about the myriad ways this milepost in history marks profound change: in matters of state, matters of race, matters of politics and compassion; and rightly so. A new day is indeed dawning, and if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphor, joy cometh in the morning.

As a nation, though, there is an important aspect we still refuse to grapple with in its totality: food. Maybe because it is such an immense prospect to ponder — food is one of the very few things that we all share in common, and it touches nearly every aspect of our lives. We work in the daily grind each day, perhaps in part because of our love of the work (for the lucky among us anyway), but mostly in order to put food on our tables and nourish our families. Yet in our national discourse, the closest anyone gets to talking about food is either in considering the minutia of the farm bill or decrying the latest food-borne illness outbreak that is often brought about by that very minutia.

Read the entire post @ Grist.org