Madison Area CSA Coalition (MACSAC) is developing a new cookbook; Recipe contest announced.

Are you a talented home chef with a flair for fresh, seasonal cooking? If so, the Madison Area CSA Coalition needs your help! We’re seeking recipes designed by community members like you for our “Farm-Fresh and Fast” cookbook project. Between now and October 31st, send in your original recipe that features fresh, local produce and is ready to serve in under 60 minutes. If we select it for publication, you’ll see your name, and your culinary creation, in print!

Why are we holding a recipe contest? It’s been seven years since our nationally recognized recipe-resource book, From Asparagus to Zucchini, was issued; and since then significant growth in the local food sector has inspired us to develop a new cookbook. Farm-Fresh and Fast (working title) will feature a selection of all-new, community-contributed recipes designed for home chefs to prepare in 60 minutes or less. It will also offer substantial sections on flavor, ingredient substitutions, and regional variations; meal planning and advance preparation; and how to extend the life of fresh produce when you can’t get to eating it while it’s fresh.

This contest is open to all contestants, and multiple submissions are welcome. Everyone who submits a recipe will receive a discount code for purchasing the new cookbook at 10% off the retail price. Authors of recipes selected for publication will be credited next to their recipes in the book. Authors of the ten top-rated entries selected by a tasting team will receive a free copy of the cookbook upon publication.

To see complete contest details and to submit an online submission form, visit our website (macsac.org), or email Danielle at info@macsac.org with questions.


GOVERNMENT TESTS FIND ROUNDUP WIDESPREAD IN WATER, AIR
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, glyphosate, also known by its trade name Roundup, has been “commonly found in rain and rivers in agricultural areas in the Mississippi River watershed.”

EWG President Ken Cook wrote Hugh Grant, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Monsanto Company, asking him when the company had reason to believe glyphosate would extensively contaminate water and air and if the company had conducted tests of its own.

“We believe that Monsanto has a special obligation to ensure that glyphosate does not pollute the drinking water of Americans living in farm communities,” added Cook. “We urge you to disclose results of any testing for glyphosate in drinking water that Monsanto has performed or commissioned in areas where your product is heavily used.”

For more from EWG, see www.ewg.org.


FOOD INSECURITY IMPROVES SLIGHTLY BUT REMAINS HIGH
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released new data on the number of Americans who faced hunger and food insecurity in 2010 and although the totals showed modest improvement among some population groups, nearly 50 million people were still counted as being at high risk, struggling daily to get enough to eat.

Anti-hunger advocates credited expansion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as the main reason things did not get worse. “One crucial factor stabilizing hunger rates in 2009 and 2010 has been the growth in SNAP participation and the important boost in SNAP benefits that the President and Congress put in place” in 2009, said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) in Washington, D.C.

Those improvements, however, may be short-lived. Congress has already approved legislation to cut SNAP benefits by 13 percent at the end of next year. And the approximately $60 billion a year program is a potential target for budget hawks in future years.

For more information, see the Foodlinks America newsletter at www.tefapalliance.org.


ORGANIC FARMING PROFITS RISE IN 2010
The profitability of Minnesota organic farms improved in 2010 compared to 2009, according to a new report issued by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). The report, titled “2010 Organic Farm Performance in Minnesota,” shows improved whole-farm economic performance and stronger returns for crop and dairy enterprises.

In addition to the increase in whole-farm profitability, financial measures such as liquidity, debt repayment capacity, and net worth also improved last year. The most profitable organic crop on a per-acre basis was corn, which averaged a net return of $430.36 on owned and rented land. Organic dairies reported net returns per cow of $756.20 in 2010.

“Minnesota has nearly 700 certified organic farms, and they are an important part of our farm economy,” MDA Organic and Diversification Specialist Meg Moynihan said. “We’re pleased to see net farm income for organic operations rebound after a tough year in 2009.”

For more information and a link to the report, see www.mda.state.mn.us.


USDA BANS E. COLI IN MEAT; VICTORY FOR PUBLIC HEALTH COMMUNITY
Following the U.S. Departments of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement in mid-September that six types of E. coli will be banned form U.S. meat, Margaret Mellon, senior scientist and director of the Food & Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists made the following statement:

“The Union of Concerned Scientists congratulates the USDA for its decision to add to the list of disease-causing bacteria it seeks to keep out of the American food supply. USDA is listening to scientists and acting aggressively to place public health ahead of industry profits."

“The move is a welcome and important first step in implementing the Obama administration’s policy of preventing, rather than belatedly responding to, foodborne illness. Keeping these six dangerous pathogens out of the food supply will prevent debilitating disease and save lives, especially among children."

“This is a red-letter day for public health."

“While the ban of the “Big Six” is a major accomplishment, these are not the only six foodborne pathogens that threaten our backyard barbeques. USDA should build on today’s action and consider listing other foodborne pathogens as adulterants, starting with antibiotic-resistant Salmonella, which not only cause exceptionally virulent disease, but have a diminishing arsenal of effective treatments.”

See www.ucsusa.org for more information.


NEW STUDY WILL MAKE PEOPLE THINK TWICE ABOUT HOW THEY DISCARD FOOD WASTE
A new study about the impact of various food waste disposal systems has shown that putting it into a garbage disposer results in lower global warming potential than putting it in the trash and sending it to a landfill. That’s a key finding of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) commissioned by InSinkErator, a division of Emerson, and the world’s leading manufacturer of food waste disposers.

According to the report, if a community of 30,000 households switched from sending food scraps to the landfill to using a disposer instead, the reduction in global warming potential would be the equivalent of eliminating nearly 2,100 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. This is akin to eliminating about 4.6 million miles of car traffic.

According to the EPA, landfills are a major source of methane, a greenhouse gas at least 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Because food scraps are a significant component of waste that municipalities send to landfills, diverting it for recycling into resources is becoming a major goal of cities worldwide. Enter food waste disposers, which pulverize food scraps and send the resulting slurry to the various wastewater treatment systems evaluated in the LCA.

Many advanced wastewater treatment plants can convert food scraps into renewable energy through a process called anaerobic digestion. At these plants food scraps can also be turned into fertilizer products, also known as biosolids, which can help build healthy soils.

For more information and a link to the study, see www.world-wire.com/2011/08/12/.


DEL MONTE SHOULD FIGHT CONTAMINATION, NOT FDA, SAYS CSPI
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), 20 people in 10 states fell ill after purchasing Del Monte cantaloupes traced back to one particular farm in Guatemala, and in reaction, Del Monte lashed out against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and food safety officials in Oregon. Rather than redoubling its efforts to prevent contamination, Del Monte filed a lawsuit to prevent the FDA from exercising its responsibility to protect the public’s health.

Proving that a specific food carries the pathogen strain involved in an outbreak often can’t be done. Backtracking to find the exact food consumed weeks earlier is challenging, and even when products are located, they are often not uniformly contaminated so even a negative test result won’t clear a suspect product. And the law is clear that such a finding is not required.

CSPI states that while no one wants FDA to act precipitously, it is vital that FDA and states act on the basis of epidemiologic links to foods purchased and consumed by the affected consumers. Contaminated food can be a life or death matter. FDA and Oregon used state-of-the-art techniques to identify the food item, and a lawsuit like Del Monte’s could have a dangerous chilling effect on the willingness of public health officials to recall foods or ban unsafe imports for fear of retaliation in court.
For the full statement from CSPI, see www.cspinet.org.

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