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food additive panel, or I stepped in it.

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
A couple of weeks ago I was e-mailed by a Wash U undergrad to be on a panel for 7th hour.....a green environmental group at the university. I've spoken to various food classes throughout the years...a couple of the teachers/professors are good friends.
Being one to explore what I'm raising my hand for I asked what the format would be, who'd moderate, who the other panelest would be.......

Well, I'm on stage with: Monsanto scientist, Danforth scientist, Farm Bureau rep, Bon Appetit food service (who runs Wash U food, claims they want to buy local/sustainable but can't quite figure out how to fiscally do it).....and then there is me.

Upside it'll only last 1 hour. The topic is food additives.....antibiotics, hormones, Bt.....
Tues 4/11 7pm Wash U, Holmes Lounge.

I had the Sophmore organizer in for pie and a talk to make sure we were on the right page prior to my just showing up....he had two pieces....young 19-20 year old with loads of questions and a way of thinking that everyone's world is the same.....after explaining to him that during the growing season and when I've got resources in the winter I buy local.....we talked tropical fruit....I said I like bananas, pineapples, mangos et al.....but I buy blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches in season within 100 miles of STL.....not during the winter when they are shipped in from who knows where.

Still trying to explain that food is now industrialized and did I see the average American buying local......this kid kept hammering the concept.....my retort was that most Americans don't know where their food comes from....but farmers markets (grower based) are increasing dramatically, actually exponentially in the past 5-8 years. Direct sale, organic, natural all are huge buzz words and grocery stores are picking up on it.
So, we talked varietals....berkshire pigs, where I know the farmer raising them....heirloom tomatoes.....black raspberries......calhoun county peaches....
I told him about walking through CAFOs. He told me one of the research dieticians said antibiotics given to animals cooked out when you cooked the meat.....I told him I disagreed but didn't have backup research.
We got into organic certification and what that means. He's taken a class and knows a bunch but not some basics.

We talked about SLU cafeteria being cutting edge, using local foods, having biodegradable paper products (cornstarch/shale/sugarcane/bamboo?), having a farmer in residence.....Wash U food service is giving a bunch of excuses why they can't come up to speed....they sent e-mails to everyone prior to taking over the food service that they wanted to source local, they showed at the wed. market once.....they're not using sustainable products.....

Having him as a moderator is a major concern.....he likes playing devils advocate but also sees with one set of glasses....."Welcome to my world Tim....watch out for the rabbit hole"
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #2 of 4
Often times, the most educated, are the least educated.

I don't feel that Wash U is geniunely concerned with "coming up to speed", and I certainly don't think that Monsanto has any interest in anything that isn't pumped full of their chemicals/whatever else they make. Give me a cow that was raised without a bunch of hormones in it, anyday. Of course I'll have to pay dearly for it.

Don't these people realize they are in the "heartland"? There's TONS of fresh seasonal product available around this town.

Wash U is going to be around long after we are gone, whether they use local or not. They dont' REALLY have anything to lose.

Sounds like you have your hands full.
Life without broccoli isn't really life, is it?
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Life without broccoli isn't really life, is it?
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post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Wash U cares about their rankings, apparently the dorms are killer. Food matters and they hired Bon Appetit to bring in quality food......Bon Appetit prior to doing business e-mailed those of us connected in local STL food e-mails siting desires to use local food....they half attempt it with local foods day once every so often (apparently not regularly scheduled) in 2 of the 17 cafeterias they run. Bon appetit has told student reps that there are not reliable "sustainable paper companies"......um I know differently. Fresh Gatherings at SLU is delivering meals $3.50-6 which include local hormone/antibiotic free meats, local farmstead cheeses, veg, organic breads all with compostable paper products. They are almost breaking even after year one. I'm expecting the stats soon.....actually it'd be good to have them for tomorrow's forum.

Just to make sure I'm clear, the top 20 Universities in USA are ranked....Wash U is in that group.....it's not only based on academics it's based on what facilities are provided including food and local/organic food is huge....just ask Yale.

RICIB....local farmers may not be around for long. in 1998 I started making calls to farmers to find out what's up. Out of 30 farmers 10 were giving up their 100+ year old multigenerational farms......from that came Clayton Farmer's Market, farm to school projects, SLU's sustainable interest in curriculum in CC-RD program, farmer-chef dinner series....an awareness in the population of who is raising our food.

Individuals make a difference. I've met several that will make dramatic changes in the world. Wash U will certainly be there when I'm gone but it may change operating procedures because I worked/talked with several classes/professors about what can be......statis quo is not in my lexicon.
Last week I met with a representative from Anna Lappe's Grub Tour....they are doing incredible things. Molly is working on international projects turning a country's sugar crop into an organic operation for premium returns. It's amazing to hear this young 20 something's plan on how she's going to accomplish this project....her mission statement is killer.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
The forum went well. The time spent talking to the coordinator was golden.
Bon Appetit will be calling soon to talk about sourcing for buying local food and sustainable products. Which was a concrete goal in the first place.

The questions ranged from Bt and superbugs to grassfed animals/CAFO's...to small intensive farming. Most have the idea that GMO's produce a better crop because they are more disease resistant....I'm sure that's what they are teaching them at Wash U. So we talked about putting nitrogen back in the soil with legumes and chicken tractors. Funny how 1 acre or 12 acres which is what the farmers in Clayton grow on can produce enormous quantities of high quality food. I told the students we'd go on a field trip.

One of them wrote her disertation on grassfed beef, she's from SW Conn. and says that you guys don't have farmers' markets. I told her to look up local harvest, contact the state dept of ag and start a food co-op. She wants major grocery stores to carry grassfed beef.....and the farmers raising them to form a group to publicize the great properties from eating grassfed beef.
It was fun being around so many bright militant students.
They brought soda can people to the forum (about 75 strong) which had faces that said, "which are best for you?".

The social anthropologist does work in India and we discussed what's happening with growing over there.
Cuba has a great model, they were industrialized by Russia....Russia bailed on them and they were pretty destitute.....started raising pigs/chickens, putting backyard gardens....raising essentially organically.

Michael Pollan was on NPR yesterday talking about the food system and his new book.....my radio kept cutting in and out but apparently it's something you can hear on line.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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