Media/News Archive

3 Reasons You Need More Dairy in Your Life

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Rodale News
by Julia Westbrook

High in fat, dairy has gotten a bad rap lately, but these experts share why you shouldn’t shy away from it.

Credit: hjhipster

Get it out of your head that dairy is a one-trick pony. Yes, this calcium-rich food group is the poster child for strong bones and healthy teeth, but dairy can do so much more for your health. (Just be sure you choose milk from grass-fed, organic cows. Organic milk has been scientifically proven to be much better for you.)

Hug Your Heart
Your heart loves dairy, according to research from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Studying 4,000 Taiwanese individuals, the researchers found that daily consumption of dairy helped optimize heart health. “We observed that increased dairy consumption meant lower risks of mortality from cardiovascular disease, especially stroke, but found no significant association with the risk of cancer,” says Mark Wahlqvist, MD, PhD, professor of epidemiology and preventive medicine at Monash.

“Those who ate no dairy had higher blood pressure, higher body mass index, and greater body fatness generally than other groups,” Dr. Wahlqvist says. “But Taiwanese who included dairy food in their diet only three to seven times a week were more likely to survive than those who ate none.” Read Full Article »

10 Urban Agriculture Projects in Chicago to Explore

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

by Kathleen Corr

Credit: Linda from Chicago

In neighborhoods, in parks, on rooftops, and even at its airports, urban agriculture in Chicago is thriving. Food Tank has compiled a list of ten urban farming projects in Chicago that are definitely worth a visit.

1. Urban Canopy Rooftop Farm – 1400 W. 46th Street, Back of the Yards, Chicago, IL
Located on the rooftop of The Plant building, the Urban Canopy is a rooftop farm and Local Unified Community Supported Agriculture site. Visits to the Urban Canopy can include “Dinner Dates” hosted at the rooftop farm, membership in the farm’s Compost Club, or simply volunteering to work on the farm.

2. Chicago Lights Urban Farm – W. Chicago Avenue & N. Hudson Avenue, Cabrini Green, Chicago, IL
This former rundown basketball court was converted into a community garden in 2003 through a partnership between Growing Power and Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian Church. Visitors outside of the five-block radius residential community can volunteer at daily Open Hours from 12:00pm to 3:00pm CST. Read Full Article »

USDA to Start Program to Support Local and Organic Farming

Monday, September 29th, 2014

The New York Times
by Stephanie Strom

Credit: Natalie Maynor

The United States Department of Agriculture plans to announce Monday that it will spend $52 million to support local and regional food systems like farmers’ markets and food hubs and to spur research on organic farming.

The local food movement has been one of the fastest growing segments of the business, as consumers seek to know more about where, how and by whom their food is grown.

But local farmers still struggle to market their food. Distribution systems are intended to accommodate the needs of large-scale commercial farms and growers. Grocery stores and restaurants largely rely on big distribution centers and are only beginning to figure out how to incorporate small batches of produce into their overall merchandise mixes.

Farmers’ markets are proliferating around the country, increasing 76 percent to 8,268 since 2008, according to the Agriculture Department, but they have trouble marketing themselves. And few consumers are aware of a website the department created to help them find a farmers market in their area.

“These types of local food systems are the cornerstones of our plans to revitalize the rural economy,” Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, said in a telephone interview. “If you can connect local produce with markets that are local, money gets rolled around in the local community more directly compared to commercial agriculture where products get shipped in large quantities somewhere else, helping the economy there.”

The $52 million will be the first outlay to local and organic enterprises of the farm bill signed into law by President Obama in February, which tripled the amount of money aimed at that sector to $291 million. The organic business, which has long complained that the Agriculture Department does not support it financially, will get $125 million over the next five years for research and $50 million for conservation programs.

“It’s a really nice bump for us because we’ve been getting chump change for research,” said Mark Kastel, co-founder of the Cornucopia Institute, an organic research and advocacy group. Read Full Article »

Experts Agree: Organic Farming Is Revolutionary

Monday, September 29th, 2014

It’s time to get back to the roots of farming to save the planet.

Rodale News
by Julia Westbrook

Credit: Dorothea Lang via Wikimedia Commons

Organic” is just another word for “expensive.” It’s a joke bandied about in supermarkets, illustrating that people are widely unaware of the connection between the contents of their carts and its impact on the health of our bodies and the planet.

“I would say that [organic farming is] a 100-percent solution to the health problem, to the unemployment problem, the poverty problem, the biodiversity problem, and the water problem,” says Vandana Shiva, PhD, founder of The Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy. She was one of several speakers to discuss regenerative organic agriculture at an expert panel event hosted by the Rodale Institute, the Carbon Underground, and Organic Consumers Association.

But the benefits go way beyond these comparably “small” issues because organic farming is also the solution to our carbon problem. According to the Rodale Institute, the answer to the looming climate catastrophe is right under our feet: soil. The researchers found that, through regenerative organic agriculture, the soil will be able to sequester carbon in a way that not just limits, but also reverses, the threatening levels of atmospheric CO2. Read Full Article »

Food Affected by Fukushima Disaster Harms Animals, Even at Low-Levels of Radiation

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Stone Hearth News

Zizeeria maha
Credit: Dr. Raju Kasambe

Butterflies eating food collected from cities around the Fukushima nuclear meltdown site showed higher rates of death and disease, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

Researchers fed groups of pale blue grass butterflies (Zizeeria maha) leaves from six different areas at varying distance from the disaster site, and then investigated the effects on the next generation. Feeding offspring the same contaminated leaves as their parents magnified the effects of the radiation. But offspring fed uncontaminated leaves were mostly like normal butterflies, and the authors say this shows that decontaminating the food source can save the next generation.

The 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant released substantial amounts of radiation into the surrounding area. Humans were evacuated, and no significant health effects have been reported, but the scientists from the University of the Rukyus, Okinawa, Japan, are studying the impact on the area’s wildlife. Read Full Article »