Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ethan's Farm and Food Roundup

EthanHere’s a look at the new Vermont Food Venture Center (in my home state!), which gives local farmers and entrepreneurs access to an industrial kitchen, refrigeration and baking units, and provides help with marketing and packaging of locally made products. The 15,000 square foot facility was designed to promote locally owned food and to give startup businesses the space and utilities they need to grow their companies.

A dairy farmer in Glenn County, California, got a big surprise when one of his cows gave birth to four identical heifer cows! Normally, in the case of baby twin cows, the mother has a slim chance of surviving. But this amazing mom and her four calves are doing well, making the healthy birth of quadruplets that much more impressive, and maybe even destined for the record books!

A new ad campaign from McDonald’s features several family farmers who supply the chain. McDonald’s wants to portray the journey of its food from “farm to fork,” like so many restaurants these days. But the ads have come under heavy criticism as deceptive and misrepresentative of the entire process by which McDonald’s sources and makes its food. What do you think?

A newly launched website allows rural farmers to connect with restaurants that will pay top dollar for their products. Aglocal, founded by Naithan Jones, is an online database that allows farmers and local restaurants to connect with one another. It also allows rural farmers to find customers in more urban areas, a problem that has bothered local farmers without a large enough market. A beta version will be released in March with resources for farmers in more than 30 cities.

Here's an article that tells the story of so many farms today: many farmers are growing older (the average age of a farmer is 57) and their children are not interested or cannot afford to take over the family farm.

A New York Times editorial says Haiti hasn’t always been the “poorest nation in the western hemisphere,” and the key to the resurrection of Haiti lies in its agricultural roots. “The return on the investment in the rural economy would be self-reliance, the alleviation of dangerous overcrowding in cities and, most important, a path toward ending Haiti’s now chronic problems of malnutrition and food insecurity.”

And finally, here's how Montana Senator (and organic farmer) Jon Tester eats at home, even when he's in Washington. Hint: He travels with pounds of Montana beef! What we want to know is: How does it get it through airport security?

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