Blog | November 7, 2014

Amanda’s Farm And Food Roundup

AmandaVermont, one of the country’s havens for farm fresh food, has drawn customers from the New England and northeast area across its borders for years. Now, it could become easier for those in neighboring states to come pick up locally grown goods for which the area has gained notoriety. The Boston Public Market, slated to open in June 2015, will revive the tradition of selling fresh food in a downtown setting on a large scale. You can expect to see Vermont well represented in the farm stands. As Vermont’s local food system has grown three times faster than the state’s overall economy, it makes sense for the small population to market goods out of state while continuing to grow local food and jobs at home. .

Across France, French farmers unions led a nationwide day of protest on Wednesday to express their anger at collapsing prices, increased environmental regulations, cheap imports, and high costs. Thousands took to the streets, dumping tons of produce, flinging manure on government buildings, burning effigies, and throwing apples at riot police. The farmers also urged their fellow countrymen to “eat French” and support local agriculture.

Soda lovers in Berkeley, California are about to start shelling out a few extra cents for each soda they buy, and your town could be next. This Tuesday, Berkeley voters approved a one-cent per beverage ounce tax on the sale of sugary drinks with an overwhelming majority despite big donations from beverage companies in attempt to thwart the initiative. As similar campaigns have failed 30 other places, many wonder, what went right here? In short, it was sizable donations from those in favor of cutting calories. From the American Heart Association to the deep pockets of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, supporters spared no expense to send messages about the harmful effects of soda. While the American Beverage Association says they don’t fear a trend of tax increases, Bloomberg’s camp has suggested that they could help fund campaigns in other areas where there’s a willingness to decrease soda consumption.

Despite defeats of GMO labeling measures in the West, the initiative could be moving South for voter consideration. As GMO labeling campaigns have gained momentum in the northeastern and western parts of the country, the Southeast has maintained immune to the movement. But as urban legislators join the conversation, they’re starting a dialogue about transparency and the consumer’s right to know. While Colorado and Oregon voted initiatives for mandatory labeling down, efforts continue in other states.

California may be running low on water, but the state is anything but short of tomatoes. Typically, California farmers grow a third of the world’s tomatoes used in pasta sauces and soups, but this season’s yield saw 14 million tons of tomatoes – up 16 percent from last year’s yield. As worldwide tomato production fell below demand, prices rose and California farmers focused their efforts and remaining resources on growing tomatoes, getting the best return for their investment in water.

Forget baton twirling and ventriloquism–neither is going to earn you the crown in the Ms. Uganda beauty pageant. Looking to update the nation’s beauty pageant, President Museveni steered the focus toward agriculture. In order to compete, contestants had to demonstrate talents like milking cows rather than modeling swimsuits. Overall, the competition centered around improving agriculture techniques and promoting the backbone of Uganda’s economy.

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