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A study published in July by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine showed that tests on farm-raised tilapia showed "very low levels of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and, perhaps worse, very high levels of omega-6 fatty acid." The article, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, caught national attention due to the claim that "the inflammatory potential of hamburger and pork bacon is lower than the average serving of farmed tilapia." Really? Farm-raised tilapia are generally identified as ‘environmentally responsible’ because they are fed a "vegetarian diet" (i.e., not fed other fish which could result in more ocean resources used than produced). "Vegetarian-fed" typically means it was fed corn. In other words, the same diet as cattle and swine. No wonder the dietetic concern. But according to Tim Fitzgerald, a scientist with Environmental Defense Fund who […]

In my July 17th post Georgia Goes Green I noted that sustainability isn’t just a "west coast thing" and pointed to the great student-run farm at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Seems I’m not the only one who has noticed that St. Olaf College is a pretty special place. Brian Voerding recently posted When St. Olaf students say ‘Bon appetit!’ they really mean it to St. Olaf College has become a regular in the Princeton Review’s top ten for Best Food and Brian attributes the ranking in part to Bon Appetit Management Company’s relationships with local growers on and off-campus. Bon Appetit at St. Olaf’s efforts also led off the Minneapolis Star Tribune article Good food? It’s academic: Every week about 700 pounds of Minnesota’s finest beef is delivered to the cafeteria at St. Olaf College in Northfield. […]

Last Wednesday I was a panelist in a discussion at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club with Kevin Lunny, owner of Drakes Bay Oyster Company, and Jessica Prentice, who coined the term ‘locavore’ and operates the Three Stone Hearth Kitchen. Our event was part of a series leading up to Slow Food Nation, the Labor Day weekend foodie extravaganza. Unlike our famous predecessors the week before, Alice Waters and Eric Schlosser, icons of the slow food movement, the three of us primarily represent private sector models in action that challenge the dominant mode of consuming fast, cheap and environmentally-negligent food simply as ‘fuel.’ None of the businesses we represent, however, offers lunch for 99 cents. Inevitably the question arises amidst these discussions: isn’t ‘sustainable’ food more expensive than what people can afford? The question is generally well-intended (as it was here), but […]

As much as the Eat Local Challenge (our annual celebration challenging our chefs to make one meal completely of local ingredients) has become ingrained in our culture, it was not an original idea when we began the event in 2005. We were inspired by a group of women in San Francisco who called themselves the Locavores. These women didn’t invent the idea of eating locally but they created a culture around it. In fact, Locavore was selected as the 2007 Word of the Year in the New Oxford American Dictionary. The Locavores have inspired people all over the country to take their Eat Local Challenge and blog about it. I would even hazard a guess that their idea was the impetus for Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Now the New York State Department of Agriculture has gotten into the act. […]

Planted in the middle of San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza (right in front of the City Hall building), Slow Food Nation’s Victory Garden is quite an impressive site. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect to be underwhelmed. I had been following the progress of this project on Slow Food Nation’s blog and Bon Appetit has been a great supporter of the organization. In fact, the team at University of San Francisco prepared a local, delicious (memorable) lunch for the volunteers and attendees at the Victory Garden "launch" day on July 14th. What do you serve a group of Bay Area foodies, you may ask? Well, the USF team’s delectable menu items not only satiated the guests but also impressed them: California Cubano Sandwich, Grilled Fitz Fresh Portobello Mushroom Sandwich, Three Bean Salad, Three Green Salad, Fresh Mini Blueberry and […]

The USDA is studying the impact of climate change on the US food system. How about looking at how the US food system is impacting climate change? We’ve gathered a fair amount of science on the connection between food and climate change but much of the research is based in Europe. It’s time for the USDA to start exploring the changes all Americans can make to reduce global warming. – Maisie Greenawalt, Vice President

I’m not sure I remember what my office looks like, but I’ve had excellent reasons to stay away this week. I visited a tomato farm 35 miles north of LA that shook my definition of “local tomato.” (Yes, I felt the earthquake, but that’s not the shaking I mean.) In addition to organic heirlooms densely grown with the aid of sophisticated monitoring equipment to measure water absorption (I’ve become a tomato geek), I saw a temperature-controlled greenhouse dependent on seed beds from the Netherlands. Setting aside the energy-intensity of this production system (which is enormous), do these tomatoes still qualify as ‘local’ to LA? Later that evening, I gave a talk on the food system’s contribution to climate change before a very enthusiastic audience in Santa Monica. They asked me questions for an hour after a 60-minute presentation. One audience […]

Check out this Peak Season Map put out by Epicurious, the website for Bon Appetit (no relation to us) and Gourmet magazines. It’s a fun little tool that allows you to see what’s in season around the country at different times of year. – Maisie Greenawalt, Vice President

The Princeton Review ranked Wheaton College #1 for "Best Campus Food" in the country! Published every year, these rankings are based on information from students at various colleges in the U.S. This great story was featured in the Chicago Tribune today–definitely icing on the cake! I imagine the community is proud to have a local school shine at the top. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two other Bon Appétit colleges that made the Top 10 list for "Best Campus Food": St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN was #4 and Washington University in St.Louis, MO #8. Congrats to the Wheaton, St. Olaf, and Wash U teams! -Katherine Kwon, Communications Project Manager

Okay, I’ve got a favorite new blog – Organic on the Green. I discovered it while reading an early copy of the Organic Trade Association’s guide for helping students get more organic offerings in food service (which is going to be a fabulous resource when they publish it). I was contacted by an intern named Nina who is compiling the guide and also came up with the idea for this blog. I’ve never met her but I’m very impressed by her writing style, thoughtfulness, and interest in making change. The mission of the blog is to "feed the organic revolution in campus dining." In its inaugural month, students at several colleges have posted extensive explanations of their efforts, challenges and triumphs trying to green their campuses. For someone in the business of campus dining, the posts are inspiring and informative […]