Infographic: Food Stamps, Follow the Money | Eat Drink Politics

From Michelle Simon's excellent report "Follow The Money"

From Michele Simon’s excellent report “Follow The Money”

PDF of report

The MOON magazine | The Future of Food

This month we gather around the topic of food—a subject everyone loves. Food is the great convenor, the global common denominator, the alchemical substance that pulls parties into the kitchen, makes friends out of strangers, puts flesh on our bones and smiles on our faces.

But all is not well in food land, despite the colorful array of products on U.S. grocery store shelves. One third of Americans are overweight; diet-related diseases are skyrocketing; our food is being designed to addict, rather than nourish; bees are dying; biodiversity is being lost; and modern agriculture is based on massive inputs of petroleum—a finite resource.

The MOON magazine | The Future of Food.

Sen. Roy Blunt: Monsanto’s Man in Washington

Mother Jones.

A Food Atlas For Everyone

Food AtlasFood Atlas by Darin Jensen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love maps. When I travel, I study maps online to have some sense of the geography underfoot, as much to understand who the people might be as not to get lost. It’s amazing how people appreciate that bit of homework when you go to their place.
I have maps of my city (New Orleans) and of my river (Mississippi) on the wall of my house and the Slow Food RAFT map (see below) on my business card.

Slow Food RAFT map

Slow Food RAFT map

I have books of maps authored by favorites such as geographical historian Rich Campanella and activist Rebecca Solnit, whose collaborative map book (“Infinite City”) of her home of San Francisco is a thought-provoking juxtaposition of right and wrong, culture and place.

When I came across the Kickstarter campaign for this Food Atlas, I jumped at the chance to support it. It arrived last week and I have read it while sipping my morning coffee (while reading about Strong Coffee traditions in the Middle East and “Bird Friendly” coffee origins), referred to it while writing about farmers markets (the one on SNAP and farmers markets) and studied the Texas Seafood Landings map after making flounder tacos just north of Lake Pontchartrain, home of most of the seafood catch for my bioregion. It’s a very new book and so won’t be found everywhere yet, but you can buy it from them now at

It is a wealth of maps on food production, distribution, security, exploration, identities and to pick out my favorites is to shortchange the breadth of this book.
It’s not just for activists, or “foodies” but for everyone and I think it could affect (and galvanize) people just as M. Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemna” did. I grow tired of long text articles about food (Yes, I do include myself in that finger pointing!) and would hope that this sort of map project could become a new way to educate and illuminate the small world that we live on.

I can’t wait for the editors to follow up on their promise to expand the reach of this series including to add more Asian and African food maps and to get this Atlas in hands everywhere. Its a bit heavy on maps of the West Coast and of the US, so much so that it occurs to me that having a set of food maps that show the lopsided view we have of ourselves in the US versus how others see us or experience us might be a good edition. In any case, hurrah.


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Senior Hunger in America 2010: An Annual Report

From the Meals on Wheels Research Foundation report:

14.85% of seniors, or more than 1 in 7, face the threat of hunger. This translates into 8.3 million seniors. In contrast, in Ziliak, et al. (2008) we reported that as of 2005 1 in 9 seniors faced the threat of hunger.
Those living in states in the South and Southwest, those who are racial or ethnic minorities, those with lower incomes, and those who are younger (ages 60-69) are most likely to be threatened by hunger.
Out of those seniors who face the threat of hunger, the majority have incomes above the poverty line and are white.
From 2001 to 2010, the number of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger has increased by 78%. Since the onset of the recession in 2007 to 2010, the number of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger has increased by 34%.

Senior Hunger in America 2010: An Annual Report
Prepared for the Meals On Wheels Research Foundation, Inc.
May 3, 2012
Professor James P. Ziliak Professor Craig Gundersen University of Kentucky University of Illinois

WIC’s Fresh Produce Program Cut 30 Percent –

Education is part of almost every market’s mission. Explain to your vendors and shoppers that when food assistance programs include regionally sourced food and farmers, it benefits everyone. HOWEVER, do remember those of you that are 50(c)3 organizations, you must not use your organization’s resources to lobby for legislation.
From the IRS website:
… may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

For those of you NOT 501(c) 3 organizations, a letter writing campaign might be in order!

WIC's Fresh Produce Program Cut 30 Percent –

Mobile Market Greenpaper

This is a Greenpaper that I wrote while I was with (with help from Leslee Goodman, technical writer and editor) on the phenomena of mobile markets. I have had loads of requests for it recently, so am posting it here. It is available on’s marketshare page, which remains an excellent site for markets to find resources, as does the FMC Resource Library. The mobile market idea is interesting, but I believe that it is a short term fix that benefits the industrial system of food, rather than extending the reach of the alternative system we are creating. Because, without adding dignity and sharing wealth, nothing will change.


FMC Price Comparison Webinar – February 7

Tuesday February 7 at 2 pm EST.
In this webinar, farmer and community and economic development specialist Anthony Flaccavento of Rural SCALE, Inc. will discuss his recent price comparisons between farmers markets and grocery stores in six states, and offer advice on how this data can be part of efforts to reinforce markets’ commitment to equity and affordability.

FMC registration