The Weekly GOOD, vol. 29

A look under the hood at what makes all of us better.
April 28, 2018

Some Good Bits: Feeling like you could food shop ’til you drop? Here’s some perspective via social to make you a smarter food shopper. Well Happy + Kind teaches us about this year’s top 12 dirty fruit and veggie suspects; The Crowded Kitchen serves up some fresh (and eco-friendly) reminders for our grocery store runs; Good Food Made Simple captures morning meal prep well.


GOOD ADVICE

Read: Is your produce committing countertop homicide? Yes, I know, that was a bit dramatic. As produce ripens, it emits ethylene gas, which in turn stimulates neighboring produce to ripen as well. That leads to overripening and, eventually, rotting. While most of us are probably a bit annoyed by over-ripened produce that gets tossed (here are some ideas on how to reduce that waste), we can also use this simple approach to our favor. Simply put — ripe items can help ripen un-ripened items. Example: Put the green bananas beside the yellow ones. (With this knowledge you can feel confident in purchasing those hard avocados.) But first, check climacteric (pears, apricots, kiwis and tomatoes) versus non-climacteric (berries, pineapples, cherries and grapes) fruits to understand which fall under this process and which don’t. So, what about that friend, the avocado? Read on to unearth its fruity quirks.

> How to play god with fruit


ON SUSTAINABILITY

Read: A stench in your clothes so thick that you can’t wash it out? Ten North Carolina residents add that to a list of unfavorable outcomes resulting from neighboring farms and their pork-raising practices. This week, those residents were awarded $75K apiece, as the judge ruled in their favor. The problem starts (and ends) with waste. “Anaerobic lagoons” are used to store hog waste (potentially polluting groundwater), which is liquified and then sprayed as mist onto nearby fields (potentially affecting the air neighbors breathe) as crop fertilizer. Gross. These problems have been documented for years, as openly and recently as a Rolling Stone piece last month about the fallout from China’s WH Group 2013 purchase of the pork-producing giant Smithfield (that piece was rebutted by the NC Pork Council two days later). After years of not addressing their problematic practices (in addition to other noise and environmental issues), neighbors of Kimlaw Farms in Bladen County had enough. So, they took it to court. After the verdict, an attorney representing Smithfield actually described their disappointment: “These lawsuits are an outrageous attack on animal agriculture, rural North Carolina and thousands of independent family farmers who own and operate contract farms. These farmers are apparently not safe from attack even if they fully comply with all federal, state and local laws and regulations.” As Politico points out, this verdict opens the door for “piggybacking” nuisance claims. And most certainly an appeal from Smithfield.

> Jury awards hog farm neighbors $50 million


EATING WELL

Read: Speaking of preventing food waste, a new documentary entitled “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste” aims to show how we can reduce food waste, an alarming issue in our nation. However, “Big Hunger” Author Andy Fisher argues that what we do with food waste is not nearly as important as identifying why we waste so much food (up to 40%) in the first place. Especially when up to 12% of our nation is food insecure. As with most issues, this is a complex system of problems to overcome, from food industrialization and cheap labor, to growing retailer competition and tax deductions (still at profit) to retailers who wish to donate to charities. All of which actually enable food waste. And a growing tendency for health-related diseases among the poor. So, the author posits, food waste distribution is a temporary solution. But, in the end, pushing day-old baguettes and pastries does little to solve hunger. Rather, it pushes disease. There are food banks prioritizing fresh foods over junk food, largely due to health concerns of their patrons. And that’s a great start. “What if we taxed food waste rather than gave companies a tax break? What if, at minimum, we limited the tax deduction to only healthy foods, such as produce? What if food banks sought to make themselves obsolete within two decades by eliminating poverty rather than just perpetuating themselves by encouraging food waste?” It’s a chicken-and-egg kind of situation.

> Why food waste is not a solution to hunger


DOING GOOD

Read: Finally, my home state is the news in a good way. With one in six in the U.S. hungry and 40% food wasted nationally, it makes no sense to “feed landfills instead of children.” This week, WV Governor Jim Justice signed into effect House Bill 4478, also known as the “Shared Table” initiative, which allows educators to provide food to those who need it most. Share tables are gathering steam and the USDA has written an official endorsement of this trend. The WV bill essentially allows for foods typically thrown away each day to be shared with kids throughout the day. They can also be taken home. Which is fantastic, as one in four WV children don’t have access to the food they need. While implementation is at the county (school board) level, applause to the Mountain State for joining states like Pennsylvania and Illinois to help curb waste and feed children.

> West Virginia Governor signs “Shared Table” bill to help feed kids in need



Originally published at The Ethical Omnivore.

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