Willy Blackmore

Voters Push Through Soda Tax in Four More Cities

On Election Day, voters in four cities cast ballots that will triple the number of municipal soda tax measures in the United States. San Francisco, Oakland, Albany, California, and Boulder, Colorado, will join Berkeley and Philadelphia in charging an extra penny or two per ounce for sugar-sweetened beverages.

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The FDA Is Reconsidering What ‘Healthy’ Means

In conversations about food and well-being, the term “healthy” gets thrown around a lot. We’re told to eat a healthy diet, we’re told which foods are healthy, and at the grocery store and in commercials, we see a host of products that are marketed as “healthy,” “healthful,” or other permutations of the word. But what, exactly, does “healthy” mean? For consumers, it’s a definition that is probably a bit squishy—but an entity like the Food and Drug Administration can only develop regulations on the back of strictly defined terms, and “healthy” is no exception.

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Our Economy Is Booming, So Why Are Kids Still Going to Bed Hungry?

In 2009, when the economic devastation of the Great Recession was most widely felt, one in four American children struggled with hunger, according to a USDA report released at the time that President Obama called “unsettling.” As unemployment shot up after the housing collapse, the number of Americans enrolled in the food stamp program hit record high after record high. The richest nation in the world was facing a hunger crisis—and children were among the most vulnerable.

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Can Kimbal Musk Do for Farms What Elon Has Done for Cars?

For more than 150 years, Pfizer manufactured pharmaceuticals in its 660,000-square-foot factory on Flushing Avenue in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. The pharma giant shut down operations in 2008, and since 2011, a host of food start-ups have taken up residence in the building’s cavernous halls. Starting next year, the bakeries and distilleries and kimchi companies will be joined by a venture called Square Roots. Founded by Kimbal Musk and Tobias Peggs, the urban farming accelerator aims to empower “1,000s of millennials to join the real food revolution,” as Musk (Elon’s brother) wrote in a Medium post announcing the venture last week.

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When a City Passes a Soda Tax, Who Pays? (Video)

Two years after highly contested campaigns on both sides of San Francisco Bay, municipal soda tax initiatives are once again driving political debates in the Bay Area. In 2014, Berkeley, California, passed a tax, and a measure narrowly failed in San Francisco, where questions of class and the city’s high cost of living were at the heart of the “no” campaign organized by the industry-backed Coalition for an Affordable City.

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Hey Organic Eaters, Here's Why You Should Care About Organic Seeds, Too

Even as the market for organic food has grown to an estimated $39 billion, most consumers would probably be surprised to learn that much of that food is not wholly organic. That’s because it’s not grown from organic seed. According to a new report from the Organic Seed Alliance, as much as 80 percent of organic crops from larger farms (over 480 acres) are not grown from organic seed—which is a violation of the USDA’s National Organic Program. The OSA found that smaller organic farms (on less than 10 acres) are doing better, using organic seed for 75 percent of their production.

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Philadelphia Becomes First Major U.S. City With a Soda Tax

Screams of joy are a common occurrence when thirsty children lay eyes on a few bottles of Coke. In Philadelphia on Thursday, such happy shouts were heard from rows of schoolkids standing in front of a couple of two liters. But the bottles weren’t there for drinking. Instead, they were rigged to explode in celebration, spraying geysers of sticky-sweet soda into the streets, much to the kids’ delight.

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New Nutrition Label Puts Sugar Consumption in the Crosshairs

There are 20 grams of sugar in the package of dried mango I just ate at my desk while reading over the changes to the nutrition label announced by Michelle Obama and the Food and Drug Administration on Friday. That’s a little bit less than there are in eight ounces of Coca-Cola, which has 26 grams of sugar.

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Urban Agriculture Can’t Feed Us, but That Doesn’t Mean It’s a Bad Idea

Growing up in Iowa is a good way to become familiar with what a field of corn looks like. My eye is more readily drawn to its shiny, lopping leaves and the spike of an unopened tassel than to most any other plant. Driving across Los Angeles, as I do far too often, the crop still catches my eye, but the plots that it grows on here look nothing like the rolling farms back home that each measure in the thousands of acres. Instead, it’s a small berm pushed up against a park fence outside a homeless encampment, a narrow bed hemmed-in by wrought iron along a rougher stretch of Melrose, or an odd triangle of otherwise unused land created by a freeway on-ramp. All are home to tiny cornfields with no more than 20 stalks each.

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Toxic Weed Killer Showing Up in Some of the Most Commonly Eaten Foods in America

From beer to wine to breakfast food, the pesticide glyphosate is showing up in a lot of places that consumers don’t expect to find it. The chemical, a key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, was declared a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer last year. Since then, a number of food and environmental activist groups have started testing for it in an array of products and finding it—albeit in small amounts—almost everywhere. Now a group of consumers are suing Quaker Oats, which is owned by PepsiCo, over the glyphosate that testing paid for by the plaintiffs found in the company’s Quick 1-Minute oats product.

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