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There's a Word for Coca Cola's Donations to the Grand Canyon

I’m always saying that food company donations and partnerships to health and environmental Good Causes end up doing more for the companies than the recipients.  Money always talks.  Accepting corporate donations comes with strings that create conflicts of interest.

grand canyon

The latest evidence for these assertions comes from the Grand Canyon’s efforts to get plastic water and soda bottles out of the park.  These account for a whopping 30% of its waste.

According to the account in today’s New York Times, Coca-Cola, one of the park’s big donors, convinced the National Park Service to block the bottle ban.

Stephen P. Martin, the architect of the plan and the top parks official at the Grand Canyon, said his superiors told him two weeks before its Jan. 1 start date that Coca-Cola, which distributes water under the Dasani brand and has donated more than $13 million to the parks, had registered its concerns about the bottle ban through the foundation, and that the project was being tabled.

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Industry Could Undermine New Food Marketing Rules for Children
sugary kids cereal

I've just gotten an urgent plea from Margo Wootan at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

Please encourage everyone to write to President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and federal agencies to support the nutrition standards for marketing foods to kids.

As I've discussed previously, these were created jointly by the Interagency Working Group (IWG) of four federal agencies—CDC, FDA, FTC, and USDA.

Under intense pressure from the food and entertainment industries and their friends in Congress, the IWG's proposed guidelines—voluntary, no less—are in danger of being withdrawn.

Doing that might help corporate health but would do nothing for public health.

CSPI organized 75 researchers (including me) to send a letter to the President urging support of the voluntary guidelines and expressing dismay at the campaign of disinformation aimed at getting them withdrawn.

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Tiny Reviews of 10 Notable New Food Books

I haven't been reviewing books on my blog, mainly because so many of them flood into my office that I cannot keep up with them. But the public relations reps for a couple of recent books have been pushing hard for mentions. The books are good, important contributors to the food movement, and deserve readers.

I'm listing them in alphabetical order by title. Some of them I've blurbed, some not, but all have plenty of useful and interesting to say. Enjoy!

the butchers guide to well raised meat

Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meat by Joshua and Jessica Applestone and Alexandra Zissu, Clarkson Potter, 2011 ($18.15 at amazon.com)
The owners of Fleisher's butcher shop in Kingston, N.Y., tell the story of how a couple of vegetarians came to open butcher shops that specialize in grass-fed and organic meats, done right. I know lots of vegetarians who would eat meat from animals raised sustainably and humanely, and this book is a how-to guide to finding the right butcher or doing it yourself. (See TheDailyGreen's review of Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meat.)

Cultivating an Ecological Conscience by Fred Kirschenmann, Kentucky, 2010 ($33 at amazon.com)
Kirschenmann describes himself as a farmer-philosopher and so he is as he ruminates on his vision for sustainable agriculture as practiced on his own farm. My blurb points out that he's "right up there with the other agronomic philosophers–Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson…It should inspire everyone to start planting and to think deeply about the food we eat."

Fair Food by Oran Hesterman, Public Affairs, 2011 ($16.50 at amazon.com)
Hesterman is an agronomist who used to work with the Kellogg Foundation and now heads the Fair Food Network to work for sustainable food systems in Michigan. The book advocates for public policies that promote sustainability and food justice and explains how to work toward that goal. You want to change the system but don't know how? Start here.

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Is It the Carbs or the Calories? New Study Pins Weight Gain on Potatoes

A reader, Thibault H writes:

So Harvard University came out with a study that news reporters are saying tells us that those who tend to eat more potatoes gain x amount of weight over 10 years…What do you make of this?…could it be possible that potatoes themselves are not the culprit and rather those who tend to eat more potatoes have a fattier diet or perhaps more sedentary lifestyle.

It could indeed.  The study, which came out in the New England Journal of Medicine last week, looked at the weight gained by more than 100,000 people who had filled out diet questionnaires in 1986 or later.  It correlates what people said they ate with weight gained over periods of 4 years.

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6 Keys to Fighting Early Childhood Obesity
woman breastfeeding a baby

The Institute of Medicine released a report Thursday on how to prevent obesity in children from birth to age 5: Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies.

The report is remarkable for its focus on policies for parents and child care providers, and its almost complete lack of attention to policies for improving the food environment in which parents and caregivers operate.

The report's key recommendations for children from birth to age 5:

  • Promote breastfeeding
  • Monitor growth
  • Increase physical activity
  • Provide healthy foods in age-appropriate portions
  • Ensure access to affordable healthy foods; educate caregivers and parents
  • Limit screen time (all media) to less than 2 hours a day

That's all? Nothing about keeping sodas and junk foods out of the house? Only this about food marketing to kids?

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