Latest EatingWell News
Jun 12, 2021
QA Editor's Choices for the Week of June 7 Recently added articles and other resources highlighted by the QA staff. The indoor farming company opens third location alongside two of the largest Southeastern produce distributors. CHARLESTON, S.C. — Vertical Roots , a hydroponic container farm that grows leafy greens year-round, opened its third indoor farm in Atlanta, Ga., this month. The company partnered with two Southeastern produce suppliers, Collins Brothers Produce and Phoenix Wholesale Foodservice, to place the farm directly at their facilities. The new Atlanta farm site should eliminate the need for produce transportation to the distributor and allow Vertical Roots lettuce to be delivered to local customers the same day it's harvested. Vertical Roots grows hydroponic lettuce 365 days a year inside indoor farms manufactured from upcycled shipping containers. Vertical Roots' new Atlanta farm site is located alongside Collins Brothers Produce, eliminating produce transportation from the farm to distributor and bringing Vertical Roots lettuce to local customers the same day it’s harvested. Located within the Atlanta State Farmers Market, this is phase one of the company's Atlanta expansion. With farm production underway, Vertical Roots Georgia Grown lettuce will be available in grocery stores in July 2021. Vertical Roots' mission is to revolutionize the ways communities grow, distribute and consume food, the company said. Farming directly at distribution hubs is a part of Vertical Roots' strategy to eliminate a massive leg of produce transportation in order to reduce emissions and provide communities with fresh, locally-grown produce. The new Atlanta farm site should reduce produce transportation an estimated 300 miles per delivery, and will help meet the company's retail demand that services thousands of grocery stores across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, as well as restaurants, universities and schools. "A large part of our mission is to grow food as close to the point of consumption as possible, and this farm site accomplishes just that," said Andrew Hare, co-founder and general manager of Vertical Roots. "The Collins family are esteemed produce industry leaders for three generations, and we're ecstatic about the unique grower-supplier partnership that we've cultivated." "At Collins Brothers and Phoenix Wholesale, we've had the privilege to work with dedicated farmers across the country for decades," David Collins, president of Collins Brothers & Phoenix Wholesale Foodservice, said. "We're thrilled to partner with Vertical Roots as they bring an innovative way of farming to the agriculture industry. We look forward to this relationship as we share a like-minded mission in providing our customers with high quality, fresh, local produce." Meat Institute to Supreme Court: Prop 12 Not Beneficial to Consumers & Increases Sow Mortality The North American Meat Institute made the remarks in a reply brief in support of its petition to the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. WASHINGTON, D.C. — The North American Meat Institute (the Meat Institute) this week said the state of California’s Proposition 12 (Prop 12 or the law) provides no benefit to consumers and increases breeding sow mortality according to the state’s own proposed rule . “The recently proposed rule by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) admits there are no benefits to Californians as a result of Prop 12. CDFA admits deaths of breeding sows will increase. Both are unintentional consequences of a costly and unconstitutional law,” said Julie Anna Potts, president and CEO of the North American Meat Institute. “Our petition to challenge the law has the support of more than 20 states, and we think it should be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court.” CDFA released the proposed rule, originally due in September of 2019, late last month. Estimated costs for businesses to comply regarding pork: “Estimated ongoing cost is greater than the initial cost of conversion at $100,000 per year for a typical breeding pig farm due to smaller inventory of breeding pigs, lower piglet output per animal and increased breeding pig mortality.” CDFA acknowledges that animal confinement space allowances prescribed in the Act (cage-free for egg-laying hens, 43 square feet for veal calves and 24 square feet for breeding pigs) “are not based in specific peer-reviewed published scientific literature or accepted as standards within the scientific community to reduce human food-borne illness, promote worker safety, the environment, or other human or safety concerns.” “This proposal does not directly impact human health and welfare of California residents, worker safety, or the State’s environment…” CDFA also identified higher costs for schools, universities, prisons, and county jails. And discussing “Benefits to human health, worker safety, or the State’s environment” CDFA said “The Department has made an initial determination that the proposed regulatory action will have significant, statewide adverse economic impact directly affecting California businesses including the ability of California businesses to compete with businesses in other states.” Finally, the agency identified an impact Prop 12 is likely to have – forcing low income consumers to pay more for food. “Covered pork, and especially covered egg products will become more expensive to consumers starting in January 2022 because of the animal confinement standards mandated in statutes. … Therefore, the Act will disproportionately reduce food purchasing power of low-income consumers. … Food consumers most affected will be those low-income consumers that are not enrolled in assistance programs.” The Meat Institute made the remarks in a reply brief in support of its petition to the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and in response to the defendants’ previously submitted briefs. In addition, the reply brief said the 9th Circuit’s decision to uphold California’s unconstitutional and costly Proposition 12 directly conflicts with legal precedent in other circuits and the Supreme Court itself, making it the perfect vehicle to consider extraterritoriality. In February, the Meat Institute filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the Supreme Court to review an earlier ruling of the 9th Circuit in the Meat Institute’s challenge to the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 12: The Farm Animal Confinement Initiative. The Meat Institute opposes the law because it is unconstitutional and will hurt the nation’s food value chain by significantly increasing costs for producers and consumers. In March, 20 state attorneys general filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court supporting the petition. The question is whether the U.S. Constitution permits California to extend its police power beyond its territorial borders by banning the sale of wholesome pork and veal products sold into California unless out-of-state farmers restructure their facilities to meet animal-confinement standards dictated by California. The Meat Institute urged the court to grant review because the “9th Circuit’s decision conflicts with the decisions of other federal courts of appeals on the question whether the Constitution limits a state’s ability to extend its police power beyond its territorial borders through a trade barrier dictating production standards in other States and countries.” Allowing Prop 12 to stand, the Meat Institute said, “insulates in-state farmers from out-of-state competition, while imposing crushing burdens on out-of-state farmers and producers who have no political voice to shape the regulations that California has unilaterally determined to foist upon their operations outside of California.” EatingWell Announces 2021 Winners of Fifth Annual American Food Heroes Awards List recognizes top food industry leaders and visionaries, including Food Network's Guy Fieri, Chipotle's Brian Niccol and more. NEW YORK and SHELBURNE, Vt. — Meredith Corporation's EatingWell magazine announced the winners of its fifth annual American Food Heroes Awards. Featured in the July/August 2021 issue of EatingWell, the awards honor top change-makers who are committed to making a difference on the biggest food, sustainability and nutrition issues of today, the company said. "The past year has demonstrated a need for visionary leadership and EatingWell is pleased to present the fifth class of American Food Heroes, including 10 brilliant farmers, corporate executives, doctors, advocates and chefs who show that change is possible by working together," says EatingWell Editor-in-Chief Jessie Price. Beth Ford, president and CEO, Land O'Lakes. Recognized for: getting farmers and their families online. Brian Niccol, chairman and CEO, Chipotle Mexican Grill. Recognized for: promoting sustainability on a massive scale. Birgit Cameron, co-founder and head of Patagonia Provisions. Recognized for: championing regenerative agriculture. Bruce Friedrich, founder and executive director, the Good Food Institute. Recognized for: advocating for plant-based eating. Chris Bradshaw, founder and executive director, Dreaming Out Loud. Recognized for: nourishing communities in need. Guy Fieri, Food Network star and restauranteur. Recognized for: feeding those on the front line. Mily Treviño-Sauceda, co-founder and executive director, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas. Recognized for: giving a voice to migrant workers. Sean Sherman, founder and CEO, the Sioux Chef, and co-founder, NāTIFS. Recognized for advancing healthy Indigenous food. Shirley Sherrod, co-founder, Southwest Georgia Project and New Communities, Inc. Recognized for empowering Black farmers. Timothy Harlan, executive director, George Washington University Culinary Medicine Program. Recognized for: teaching the importance of nutrition. USDA to Invest More Than $4 Billion to Strengthen Food System The investments will support the Biden Administration’s effort to strengthen critical supply chains, the Department of Agriculture said. WASHINGTON, D.C. — Citing lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and recent supply chain disruptions, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced plans to invest more than $4 billion to strengthen critical supply chains through the Build Back Better initiative. USDA said the new effort will strengthen the food system, create new market opportunities, tackle the climate crisis, help communities that have been left behind and support good-paying jobs throughout the supply chain. Today’s announcement supports the Biden Administration’s broader work on strengthening the resilience of critical supply chains as directed by Executive Order 14017 America's Supply Chains, USDA said. Funding is provided by the American Rescue Plan Act and earlier pandemic assistance such as the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Secretary Tom Vilsack was also named co-chair of the administration’s new Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force. The Task Force will provide a whole of government response to address near-term supply chain challenges to the economic recovery. The Task Force will convene stakeholders to diagnose problems and surface solutions — large and small, public or private — that could help alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints related to the economy’s reopening after the administration’s vaccination and economic relief efforts. USDA will invest more than $4 billion to strengthen the food system, support food production, improved processing, investments in distribution and aggregation and market opportunities. Through the Build Back Better initiative, USDA will help to ensure the food system of the future is fair, competitive, distributed and resilient; supports health with access to healthy, affordable food; ensures growers and workers receive a greater share of the food dollar; and advances equity as well as climate resilience and mitigation. While the Build Back Better initiative addresses near- and long-term issues, USDA said, recent events have exposed the immediate need for action. With attention to competition and investments in additional small- and medium-sized meat processing capacity, the Build Back Better initiative will spur economic opportunity while increasing resilience and certainty for producers and consumers alike. “The COVID-19 pandemic led to massive disruption for growers and food workers. It exposed a food system that was rigid, consolidated and fragile. Meanwhile, those growing, processing and preparing our food are earning less each year in a system that rewards size over all else,” said Vilsack. “The Build Back Better initiative will make meaningful investments to build a food system that is more resilient against shocks, delivers greater value to growers and workers and offers consumers an affordable selection of healthy food produced and sourced locally and regionally by farmers and processors from diverse backgrounds. I am confident USDA’s investments will spur billions more in leveraged funding from the private sector and others as this initiative gains traction across the country. I look forward to getting to work as co-chair of the new Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force and help to mobilize a whole-of-government effort to address the short-term supply challenges our country faces as it recovers.” The Build Back Better Initiative will strengthen and transform critical parts of the U.S. food system, USDA said. As it makes investments through this initiative, USDA will also seek to increase transparency and competition with attention to how certain types of conduct in the livestock markets and the meat processing sector have resulted in thinly-traded markets and unfair treatment of some farmers, ranchers and small processors. Among other investments in the food system and food supply chain, Build Back Better will specifically address the shortage of small meat processing facilities across the country as well as the necessary local and regional food system infrastructure needed to support them. Funding announcements under the Build Back Better initiative will include a mix of grants, loans and innovative financing mechanisms for the following priorities, each of which includes mechanisms to tackle the climate crisis and help communities that have been left behind, including: Food Production: Food production relies on growers, including farmers and ranchers, workers and critical inputs. But a diminishing share of the food dollar goes to these essential workers, USDA said. The agency will invest in the current and future generation of food producers and workers throughout the food system with direct assistance, grants, training and technical assistance and more. Food Processing: The pandemic highlighted challenges with consolidated processing capacity. It created supply bottlenecks, which led to a drop in effective plant and slaughter capacity. Small and midsize farmers often struggled to compete for processing access. USDA will make investments to support new and expanded regional processing capacity. Food Distribution & Aggregation: Food aggregation and distribution relies on people working together throughout the food system and having the right infrastructure to gather, move and hold the food where and when it is needed. This system was stressed during the pandemic due to long shipping distances and lack of investment in local and regional capacity. USDA will make investments in food system infrastructure that can remain resilient, flexible and responsive. Markets & Consumers: The U.S. spends more on health care and less on food than any other high-income nation, USDA said, yet the U.S. has higher rates of diet-related illness and a lower life expectancy than those nations. At the same time, many socially disadvantaged and small- and mid-sized producers do not have equitable access to markets. USDA will support new and expanded access to markets for a diversity of growers while helping eaters access healthy foods.