Archive for the ‘work’ Category

Three years ago today, John found a scrawny young cat running around behind the now-defunct Temple Club. He took her home and the rest is history. He figures she was about a year old at the time, so we’ll call this her fourth birthday. Happy birthday, Pickles. Enjoy your tuna.

I’m back tonight from my very first farm visit. It was really, really, really fun. My boss Jim and I drove an hour south to Ceresco, home of Cinzori Farm. We spent a couple of hours talking with Anthony (son) and Don (father) Cinzori, walking around their enormous enormous farm and talking about the farm history and their current marketing strategy. Don is a first generation farmer, formerly a tool and die maker for Ford in Detroit. When his youngest daughter was a year old, he decided to give up on the auto industry before it gave up on Michigan, and he bought 260 acres just outside of Battle Creek. He started off raising livestock: mainly hogs and cattle (not organic or anything like it). When his five kids grew older and left for college, he decided vegetables would require less labor, and by the mid-’80s he had moved entirely to organic vegetable production. Of his five children, all of whom graduated from Michigan State, only Anthony has stayed to work on the farm. Now, of their 260 acres, less than half is cultivated with certified organic vegetables and organic cover crops (clover and oats), while the other half has been planted with native hardwoods to promote local conservation efforts. They were keeping bees until this past year, when all but two of their twenty-plus hives died out, probably related to this.

I really enjoyed meeting with the Cinzori’s, and I was struck by how hard their job really is. They run a very successful operation, with a large following in some of Michigan’s best farmers’ markets and strong ties with Whole Foods.  But they are also astonishingly busy, all the time. Even this early in the season, they’re already at their largest market, selling plants (they do a large part of their business in organic transplants). In the midst of this cold snap, I figured they’d be taking it easy, but they were hard at work in their hoop houses, getting ready to move cabbages into the fields next week. Sometimes I think I’d like to have a farm. Seeing them, how completely absorbed they are in their land and their business, I feel like I wouldn’t be up to the task. I’m certainly glad they are, though, and I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am about going to their markets later in the season and buying some of their produce.

At the end of the week I’ll be visiting two more farms just south of Lansing, and this time I’ll have pictures.  I realized about 5 minutes before leaving today that my camera battery was dead, and I wasn’t able to find the charger in time. Typical.


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I was temporarily distracted from the writing of this thrilling post, but the house is now empty, the dishes are done, the cats are healthy, and I have time at last to type. As was the case last year, “working” the conference mostly meant sitting at a booth for a couple of hours to make Barb happy, then running off to eat good food and sit in on workshops I wasn’t invited to attend. I can’t say I have a problem with that.

I sold more tote bags for the C.S. Mott Group (designed by a company called, aptly enough, Eat Local Food), bought one for myself, along with some whole what pastry flour from Westwind Milling (not much of a link, sorry) and some garlic from Owosso Organics. I then ran off to eat a tasty brunch, the highlight of which looked something like this:

It was a salad made with all local ingredients, save for the marinade and dressing: tofu, black beans, baby greens and various sprouts, on a crispy wafer of bread. The tofu was marinaded in something that involved sesame oil and spiciness, and the dressing was gingery, with mustard and horseradish in there somewhere. It was incredible. I basically skipped the rest of the options and ate three salads instead. Apparently, the recipe will be made available sometime next week, and you can bet I’ll be making it at least once a week.

I went to two workshops. The first was called “A Day in the Life of an Organic Farmer.” The speakers were Lee and Laurie Arboreal of Eater’s Guild Farm in Bangor, near Kalamazoo. They are the super-cute couple I sat with for dinner the previous night. They have a 30-acre farm where they grow veg for a year-round CSA, and sell greens to Organic Valley and Whole Foods on the side. As an interesting aside, we talked over dinner about John Mackey (CEO of Whole Foods) and his proposed moves toward supporting local farms. It turns out these efforts are indeed trickling down to the Arboreals, who say it’s getting easier now that in the past to get their produce into Whole Foods stores, and that they’ll soon be applying for funding from Whole Foods to start converting some of their mechanical equipment to biodiesel.

The workshop they hosted didn’t offer much of anything new: they gave an introduction of organic standards and “beyond organic” concepts that I already knew plenty about. But I don’t know many farmers, and it was nice to see faces attached to these practices I hear so much about. I’ll admit (and I know that this is bad of me), but I was a little turned off by the hippie-talk in the presentation. I’ve been known to eat my fair share of granola, but I just can’t swallow the idea of plants absorbing the “good vibes” we put into the earth. Nope. But they absolutely have their hearts in the right place, and I have nothing but respect and admiration for the both of them.

The other session was on community food systems development, and it was wonderful. There was a panel of four representatives from different community food organizations from around Michigan, one of whom was my friend and former roommate Julia, from the Allen Neighborhood Center down the street from me.  There was also another woman, Katie, from the Northwest Initiative Food Systems Project (also in Lansing, not quite so near me). I liked what the other panelists had to say just fine, but Julia and Katie were wonderful. The Northwest Initiative is a very small, poorly funded non-profit serving a very poor segment of the city. Their food systems project is creating elementary school garden projects, taking farmers’ markets to senior centers in town, and forming partnerships with convenience stores int he poorest parts of town to provide access to fresh fruits and vegetables where otherwise there would be none. It’s horrifying to think that there are large parts of my city where the only accessible grocery store is not a grocer at all, but a gas station. But there it is, and grocers seem reluctant to move into these neighborhoods, so the Northwest Initiative is helping to make these convenience stores better, healthier places to buy food. While talking about the school garden project the Northwest Initiative had started at an impoverished elementary school, Katie said there were children in the class she was working with who literally could not identify a raw tomato. It’s heartbreaking stuff, but she’s doing extraordinary work.

Closer to home, Julia talked about the Allen Neighborhood Center’s food systems work. There are three tiers serving this low income neighborhood: the first is the breadbasket program, providing free bread and produce to community members on a weekly basis. Second is the farmers’ market (where I shop in the summers), which has started accepting food stamps. Third is a large hoop house currently under construction in a neighborhood park: it’s designated for use by community members, and part of it is reserved for classes, teaching kids in the neighborhood how to grow and market their own produce. The idea is that almost everyone in the neighborhood needs food, and while the ANC would like to eventually see everyone growing their own, that’s not a reasonable entry point for most people. So they start with the breadbasket, and move people on up through these tiers, teaching them about nutrition on the way. It’s interesting work, and after the workshop I offered my volunteer services to Julia for whenever they need help. What interested me most about Julia’s talk was her take on the farmers’ market. She said the hardest part about keeping it going was providing the  right mix of vendors for the community. A lot of people who come to the market are (as she put it) “white women in cars” who want local organic food. So there are a lot of organic vendors. But most of the neighborhood walks or bikes in, and they don’t have money for organic food. Or rather, they do, but if they have limited funds, they will try to get the most for their money. And that means conventional produce. So many of the vendors at the Allen Market are not organic, and they’re cheaper. I’d never seen that divide before, as a shopper. I knew that some of the vendors weren’t organic, but I didn’t understand the sharp divide between the shoppers who can afford to buy organic produce, and those who can’t. And while I understand the argument that our food is too cheap, and doesn’t take into account the social and environmental externalities incurred by their production methods, I’m starting to see what it means to be really broke, to know that the money in your pocket has to last you all week, and to put your children’s stomachs before your politics.

I don’t have much money these days: more than when I was a student, certainly, but not by much.  John is making enough for us to live pretty comfortably (quite comfortably, in my opinion), but because of the alarmingly low numbers on my bank statement, I make a point of eating as frugally as I can. And sometimes, that does mean eschewing organics, for better or for worse. How do people feel about this? It’s something that’s been ringing around in my head all week, and I need other opinions.

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It’s finally all over. I just got back from the Choices Conference I mentioned the other day, and it really was fantastic. Here’s a quick rundown of the two-day event:

The Dinner:

Last night was the Slow Food dinner, a fundraiser for the conference and the inaugural meal for the Slow Food Red Cedar convivium. I spoke at length concerning my reservations about Slow Food, so I’ll be brief this time. Were there some awfully wealthy snobs in attendance? Yes. Were there numerous mentions of Slow Food being “for all people of all income levels,” with no effort made to make Slow Food available to them? Yes. Did I manage to have fun anyway? Absolutely.

I manned (womanned) a booth selling pretty tote bags for the C.S. Mott Group for a couple of hours, and made friends with the son of the owners of AlMar Orchards, a market manager and fruit grower in his own right, who also managed to sneak over plenty of his delicious hard cider. Fortunately, I had a four course meal, the brainchild of Chef Nick Seccia, to soak it up.

Course one was pretty fantastic: local sweet corn polenta with cornmeal from Westwind Milling (fairly local), local greens, local creme fraiche from Calder’s dairy, a cracker made with Detroit Asiago cheese, and a canellini bean ragout (I can’t remember if anything in that was local, but I’m pretty sure at least part of it was). The polenta was light and fluffy (there must have been eggs involved somewhere in there) and cheesy and delicious – the greens were bitter, but not too bitter to handle, and the ragout was wonderful.

Course two was a local (superlocal – grown just a mile or two away at the student organic farm) butternut squash bisque with local creme fraiche (again from Calder’s). It was amazing – hands down the best thing on the menu. It wasn’t really sweet at all, unlike most winter squash soups I’ve had/made. I loved it, and would have been plenty happy if the dinner had stopped there.

Course three, the main one, was a bit of letdown. Most everyone had a glazed chicken breast. I, of course, got the veg option. I assumed it would be comparably tasty, but they kind of dropped the ball on this one. It was literally a plain brick of silken tofu with the chicken glaze (a cherry sauce – cherries from Traverse City, no surprise there) drizzled over it, shoved under a broiler for a minute. It was barely warmed all the way through. I was pretty disappointed, particularly because there’s a farm in Ann Arbor that makes amazingly wonderful tofu, and this stuff obviously came from one of those aseptic packages at the grocery store. There was “wild rice” on the side, from Minnesota. That was also not so great – flavorless, mushy, and clearly cultivated rather than wild. The tastiest thing on the plate was the asparagus, which, for a meal parading its terroir as this one did, is a pretty bad sign.

The final course, dessert, was an improvement: Michigan apple pithivier (apples from AlMar again), which is apparently a pastry filled with an almond paste, topped with apples simmered in a local wine. I normally hate anything almond-flavored (although I like almonds themselves), but this was quite good. Texturally, it was a bit difficult to work with, as the pastry itself was quite brittle, and the apples were still rather firm. The flavors were wonderful though, not too sweet at all, rounded out by the pear espuma (also from AlMar, if I’m not mistaken), caramel, and coffee zabaglione (yeah, i had to read off the menu for that one).

So the meal was, overall, a success. I had a ton of fun, which had a lot to do with the fact that I was sitting at a table with, not snobs, but organic farmers, as unpretentious and charming as they come. It was the fanciest meal I’ve ever eaten, and no, I won’t be paying $45 for another, but it was an experience worth having. Now if only they could make it an experience others could afford as well…

Later today or tomorrow I’ll be posting on day 2: the Main Event.

Until then, guess what? I got my application for a community garden plot in the mail. You can’t imagine how happy this makes me. And in somewhat related news, I head a rumor that John Jeavons will be hosting a free workshop in East Lansing at the end of the month, which is just about enough to make me start dancing.

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Slow Food vs. slow food

This might be long, as this post has been a long time in the making. Apologies in advance.

This week I’ve been helping Barb, my MSU boss, prepare for the Choices Conference (irritating pdf link – consider yourself warned) next week. Choices is a food-related conference geared toward dietitians, nutritionists, and health educators in Michigan. It used to be an annual conference, but some years ago it died off. Barb has helped to resurrect it with a new focus on local, organic, sustainable foods. This is its second year, in its newest incarnation. The theme this year is slow food.

If you’ve spent much of any time around dietitians, nutritionists, or health educators, you may know that local, organic, sustainable and slow really have no place in their vocabulary (I speak in generalizations, forgive me). Last year, when the conference had a considerably broader (but still food-systems based) focus, I had the arduous task of transcribing the hundreds of evaluation forms that conference-goers had filled out for each of the many many speakers. I noticed a pretty frustrating pattern: most of the respondents really hated hearing about local food. Hated it. Several of them mentioned that the speakers advocating a locally based food system were “behind the times” and “too idealistic.” No one was convinced by the organic farmers, or by the chef who did a cooking demonstration during lunch with local, seasonal foods. Clearly, the audience was not ready for the message. This is why I’m a bit nervous about this year’s conference. If they don’t like local, how can we ever expect them to like slow?

I have pretty complex feeling about slow food in general. Scratch that. I have complex feelings about Slow Food – not the food itself, but the movement/organization. I’m not the first to say it, but I just can’t swallow Slow Food’s elitism. I feel like I’m going to be pounced on for this one, so let me qualify it: slow food – that is, the act of enjoying food and food culture, appreciating terroir, and making such things a central part of your life and community – absolutely does not have to be elitist. I’m reminded of that during farmers’ market season: my market is located in a fairly low-income neighborhood with a large population of recent immigrants. It’s a small market, but incredibly vibrant and filled with people who, while they may not have a lot of money to spend on it, really love their food, love talking about it, touching it, knowing where it comes from.

For those who do have the means to support Slow Food, that’s great. I can’t afford a $60 membership to a club that will make me feel guilty if I can’t afford to buy (or don’t have access to) the foods on the Ark of Taste. Sorry. If you can afford it, it’s a noble cause and I applaud you.

It reminds me very much of the feeling I had upon finishing The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I loved it, and I love Michael Pollan. I was so so happy that his book was getting the attention that it deserved. But the conclusions he came to dissatisfied me. His central question throughout the book was: what can we as Americans eat that it respectful of our bodies, of animals, of the environment? His answer: if have enough money and access, you can buy pasture-raised beef, or take a few days off of work to forage for mushrooms, age your own cured meats and balsamic vinegar and eat like a sustainable, respectful king. He had nothing at all to say for those without such means except for a cursory Sucks To Be Them. As one of Them, I was more than a little put off, just as I am more than a little put off by Slow Food.

I won’t throw the baby out with the bathwater here – Slow Food does good things and raises really important issues, particularly relating to biodiversity. But they are limiting themselves by giving slow food the appearance of snobbishness. Here’s an example.

On Tuesday, two days before the Choices Conference, Slow Food Red Cedar will host its first Slow Food Dinner as a fundraiser for the conference. The menu looks like this:

Course One
Organic Local sweet Corn Polenta, Cannellini Bean Mushroom Ragout,
Pancetta wilted baby greens, Detroit Asiago Cracker, Crème fraiche
Course Two
MSU Campus grown Butternut Squash Bisque, Caramelized Pecans, Maple Sour Cream
Course Three
Herb marinated grilled Organic Chicken Breast topped with Grand Traverse Cherry Bails Sauce, Minnesota Wild Rice Pilaf, Asparagus and Bell Pepper
Course Four
Michigan Apple Pithivier, Organic Pear Espuma, Beet Sugar Caramel,
Fair Trade Coffee Zabaglione

For Lansing, this is a Fancy Ass Meal. Advertisements for this dinner went up a couple of weeks ago, and several friends of mine expressed serious interest in going. Except they couldn’t. Because the dinner costs $45 a person. That’s the most expensive meal in Lansing, so you know. And my friends are, generally speaking, in more dire financial straits than I am (which isn’t saying much, given the pitiful state of my bank account). They’re either students or paying off student loans, living in shitty apartments with too many roommates to keep costs down. But they still wanted to go. Badly.

They know I work for Barb (who is also helping to host this dinner), and wanted to know, is there a rate for students and low-income individuals? I asked, interested for myself as well. And no, of course not. There is no sliding scale, no reduced rate. They are not interested in the money of poor students or otherwise poor community members. When I asked why, Barb said that the overhead was so high (because they’d hired a very expensive chef, and were holding the dinner at a very expensive venue) that if they charged a reduced rate, they’d end up losing money.

I had a long talk with Barb about this. Much of (most of, really) her work is geared toward providing access to good nutrition to low income families. This conference is geared toward health professionals who work with low income families. Introducing the idea that good food, slow food, is prohibitively expensive by nature, is terrible. Like, inexcusably terrible. I was pretty adamant about what a bad idea this was, even after she told me that I could eat for free if I worked the registration table (just me, though).

So I was incredibly happy when the next day she came into my office to tell me that, while she couldn’t do anything about the pricing of this event so late int he game, she’d decided that future Slow Food Red Cedar events would be held with accessibility in mind, keeping overhead low enough that they could afford a sliding scale for membership and dinners. I was eating a homemade pastie at the time (good old fashioned, takes-a-long-time-to-make-em U.P. miner food, for those who don’t know), made in part with local rutabagas and potatoes. She pointed at it and said, “You know, that’s slow food too. It really doesn’t have to be expensive or intimidating.” It felt really good to know that something I’d been struggling against like that could be changed so easily. The rest of Slow Food could learn from that, I think.

I’ll be attending the dinner on Tuesday – expect pictures and commentary on great food and insufferable snobbishness.

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On Tofurky

In response to my last post, Poet With a Day Job noted that the phenomenon of “real” food masquerading as “fake” food (itself masquesrading as “real” food) is akin to Tofurky. As a vegetarian, this is one of the most common questions I end up fielding over the dinner table: “Why do you guys eat fake meat? Aren’t you trying to avoid the stuff?” It’s a great question, and I’m guilty of faking it from time to time myself.

I used to eat a lot of processed fake meat (Morningstar, Boca, even Tofurky once), but now that I’m mostly off of processed foods, I don’t really touch the stuff. I don’t touch the stuff because it’s unhealthy and I don’t nkow where it comes from. But I still fake it, eating “real” fake meat that I’ve made myself, rather than “fake” fake meat, which has tons of sodium and preservatives and came out of a box. I make seitan, tempeh bacon, and tempeh sausage, as well as using TVP on occasion (processed, beacuse it’s defatted, but not quite so icky, as it’s only got one ingredient). These are, without a doubt, imitation products. So, where fauxstess cupcakes are “real,” natural food imitating super-processed “fake” food, I eat some ethical foods that are pretending to be (what I consider) unethical foods. And they don’t even taste all that great – I just miss the flavors and textures of death, I guess. They are still natural and heathy, but yes, I’ve been caught in my own web of complaining. Let the stone-throwing commence.

In other news, I talked to one of my (MSU) employers about my interest in somehow combining my interests in libraries and information management with my love of food systems work. She got pretty excited, and came up with a million reasons why farmers (and people working to help farmers) are desperately in need of people who know how to synthesize and organize information, and how to create large-scale information networks. Details forthcoming. Maybe I’m not at a crossroads after all.

In other other news, I’ve plotted out a map of all the farms I’ll be visiting in the next month or so for this farmers’ market vendor study. There are 18 of them right now, though a few might be dropping out. I didn’t realize it until I starte putting pushpins on the map, but there seem to be pretty large concentrations of farms around the Saginaw Bay area (lower thumb, for those with a limited sense of Michigan geography) and the Leelenau Peninsula/Traverse Bay area (top joints of the pinky and ring finger), so I might be able to consolidate this into just a few trips if I’m lucky. Expect reports on how much I love farms in the weeks ahead.

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Career Indecision

I haven’t written in a bit. I honestly thought I might give this blog up as a waste of time, but it seems a handful of people are interested (more than I’d anticipated they would be) in the things I’m writing about. Food is a pretty hot topic these days, as well it should be. So I’m back.

The primary reason for my absence is my new job. I have three now: bookkeeping for MOFFA and temping for this MSU grant project as before, and now 20 hours a week at the Capital Area District Library (CADL), stamping books and boring myself to death. That all adds up to 40 hours a week, and means four things: more mony, less time to goof off and write blog posts at my MSU desk, more stress, and (this is the pertinent one today) the sudden urge to reconsider my career options.

I haven’t really mentioned it yet, but while I love food systems work, and do food systems work, I have not been planning on pursuing it as a career. I want to be a librarian. I’ve recently been accepted into Wayne State’s Library and Information Science masters program, and I’ll be starting in the fall. For the past couple of years I’ve been trying to convince CADL to hire me so that I can get me feet wet and make sure this library business is right for me. Well, I’ve finally been hired as a processing page (the lowest of the low, really), and it kind of blows. A lot. I won’t go into specifics, but it’s really not a position I want to keep for very long.

Now, the fact that I hate low-paying mindless repetitive labor (regardless of the fact that it takes place inside a library) does not mean that I won’t love being a librarian. But I’ve invested so much time in getting employed by CADL that this letdown is bigger than it probably should be. With any luck, in a few months a clerk position will open up, I’ll be working with real people, in the company of real librarians, and I’ll enjoy my job and projected career choice a whole lot more. Until then, however, I’m being plagued (no exaggeration) with these doubts about my ability to be happy as a librarian. This was amplified tenfold last night when John and I visited my parents for dinner.

My dad, knowing me pretty well, had saved the latest copy of the New York Times Magazine to show it to me because he thought I’d like the Pollan article (okay, so he doesn’t know me well enough to know that I read it the minute it came out, but he’s pretty perceptive nonetheless). We talked about it for quite some time, and then started talking about the farmers’ market vendor study I’m working on (it’s going wonderfully, might I add). And he asked me point blank: “I know you want to be a librarian, but have you every thought about getting your masters in the CARRS department instead?”

I really didn’t want him to ask me that question, because it’s been in the back of my head for months. I work for a grad program (the aforementioned CARRS – Community Agriculture Recreation and Resource Studies at MSU) that offers a specialization in Community, Food and Agriculture. I have friends in the program, and I’ve been working on various projects there for about three years now. When people there hear I’m going to grad school, they all assume I’ll be at MSU, in CARRS. Why am I not?

I want a job when I graduate. And I have no idea what I would do with a Community Food and Ag degree. I am geographically limited to the greater Lansing area (or Mid-Michigan in general, if I decide I can handle a commute) because John has already established his career here (not that I mind – I love Lansing and want to stay), and that will really make it difficult to find a job when I’m done with school. It will take a while to find a good position within a library, and it would take even longer to find work in some unspecified area of food systems research.

Also, I’m helping multiple professors prepare the readings for the classes I would be taking if I were admitted into the CARRS masters program, and because of that, I’m doing half of the readings already, for fun. The professors in the department are my employers and co-workers, and we discuss food systems-related issues all day long. There is very little I would learn, I suspect, from the program itself. I’d be buying a degree, essentially. On the other hand, library science and information management are completely new to me, and I love learning new things.

Potential selling points of studying community food and ag? I’d love it, for one. Also, I’d be almost guaranteed acceptance and an assistanceship, as I’ve already been working for half of the CARRS professors for years. It’s not quite a toss up, but it’s enough to make me uneasy. I’ve taken John’s advice and I’m trying not to think about it too hard for right now. I’m going to be reading some of the recommended books for Wayne State’s library school, and talking to friends in the CARRS program about their career options after graduation. I’ll see what feels right.

I think that I will resolve this shortly, and my guess is that library science will win out. But I’m rededicating myself in advance to pursuing food systems writing, researching and reading as my Primary Hobby for a good long time, and this blog, if all goes as planned, will become a big part of that.

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I was reading Michael Pollan’s article in the NYT Magazine today on “nutritionism,” the vaguely shady ideology that effectively medicalizes food, isolating individual nutrients from the food system and convincing people that these nutrients, not a complete diet, are the key to good health. This, as the article explain, is a clever way to tell people how to be healthy, without telling them to avoid certain foods (or food-flavored products, as the case may be).

I’m a pretty big Pollan fan, and reading his article made me remember some digging I’d been doing last week into the American Diabetes Association at work. For some rather lengthy and boring reasons, I was looking up information on their nutrition programs for my boss. You’d think those would be pretty abundant and easy to find. You’d also be wrong. Here’s their events and programs page. As you can see, there are about fifty gazillion fundraisers, some “awareness” campaigns, and some vauge programs for various ethnic groups. Where’s the nutrition? Better yet, where’s the prevention? It looks to me like the bulk of their money is going to “finding a cure.”

an aside: I did take a look at the American Diabetes Association’s 2005 Form 990 (pdf link, and boring to boot), which does include a much more detailed statement of programs, and there are a couple mentions of nutrition education. The fact remains that they’re not advertising any of this on their website. Also, they do admit to a link between nutrition and diabetes on their website. But no programs, no outreach, nothing is available online.

It’s dangerous to get me started on “finding a cure.” Generally I’m set going by the sight of pink teddy bears advertising that some mysterious percentage of their purchase price will somehow “find a cure” for breast cancer. More about that from someone more eloquent here. My problem with this, of course, is that no one seems concerned with the reasons breast cancer (and diabetes) have become such enormous problems in this particular part of the world. The reason behind this indifference to a cause and insistence on a cure seems to lie in the major funders of organizations like the Komen Foundation and the American Diabetes Association. I’ll let you dig up the dirt on Komen yourself, but trust me, it’s there.

Using my razor-sharp analytical skills, I took a quick guess at what I’d find on the American Diabetes Association list of corporate sponsors. And I was pretty much dead on. The list is topped by pharmaceutical giants (not surprising, but not particularly incriminating either), but right below them, we find Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages. And then Kraft Foods, Campbell Soup Company, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., J.M. Smuckers Company, Unilever USA, Jones Soda Company, Nestlé USA, Inc., Pepsico-Quaker Oats Co… the list goes on.

Kind of funny that all these food companies who push unhealthy corn syrup-laden foods are giving money to the ADA. Even funnier that the ADA is turning a blind eye to the major culprit in the diabetes epidemic – the food industry. The hypocrisy of promoting a Walk for Diabetes sponsored by Equal and Diet Rite is staggering and makes me more than a little bit furious. America is so broken. Now go eat some veggies.

On a totally unrelated note, John, my friend Lauren and I are going in on a big order of Laptop Lunchboxes in the hopes that we will diversify our lunchtime menus and become the envy of all our coworkers. So exciting! Of course, we heard about them here, which means they have to be good.

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