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Study: There’s huge potential for increased food production on existing land

The recent wheat crisis in Russia is a warning sign for potential large-scale global warming impacts. PHOTO COURTESY THE WIKIMEIDA COMMONS.

The recent wheat crisis in Russia is a warning sign for potential large-scale global warming impacts. PHOTO COURTESY THE WIKIMEIDA COMMONS.

Tweaking farm practices could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with agriculture

FRISCO — A systematic University of Minnesota study of global agricultural resources suggest that improving food systems in a few specific regions could make it possible to both meet the basic needs of 3 billion more people and decrease agriculture’s environmental footprint.

The report, published in Science, focuses on 17 key crops that produce 86 percent of the world’s crop calories and account for most irrigation and fertilizer consumption on a global scale. It proposes a set of key actions in three broad areas that that have the greatest potential for reducing the adverse environmental impacts of agriculture and boosting our ability meet global food needs. Continue reading

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Is a global food shortage looming?

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Can food production keep pace with demand?

Cuts in research threaten ability to keep pace with growing demand

Staff Report

FRISCO — A top food expert says the world could be facing a serious food shortage in 40 years, when production won’t be able to keep up with growing demand.

“For the first time in human history, food production will be limited on a global scale by the availability of land, water and energy,” said Dr. Fred Davies, senior science advisor for the U.S. Agency for International Development. “Food issues could become as politically destabilizing by 2050 as energy issues are today.” Continue reading

Environment: Colorado Supreme Court OKs GMO food labeling ballot initiative

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Decision clears way for statewide petition drive

Staff Report

FRISCO — Coloradans will likely have a chance to vote on new labeling requirements for genetically modified foods in November, after the Colorado Supreme Court this week rejected a challenge to the proposed ballot initiative.

The court’s decision will enable backers to start gathering the signatures needed to add the measure to the ballot.

“We are pleased that the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of the GMO labeling ballot title, and we look forward to bringing a GMO labeling initiative before the voters of Colorado this fall,” said Right to Know Colorado organizer Larry Cooper. Continue reading

Travel: National Parks boost healthy, sustainable food

The cafeteria at Muir Woods National Monument in California showcases organic, locally produced foods.

The cafeteria at Muir Woods National Monument in California showcases organic, locally produced foods. bberwyn photo.

New guidelines also encourage shift to locally produced food

By Bob Berwyn

Hot dogs and hamburgers will remain on the menu at 250 national park snack bars and restaurants, but 23 million park visitors are also finding healthier options like fish tacos and yogurt parfaits.

The changes come under a new two-part set of rules finalized in April 2013 and  rolled out across the country this summer.

“Park visitors are going to  see really tasty choices that are healthy for them, with sustainable attributes, some regionality and a softer environmental footprint,” said Kurt Rausch, a National Park Service contracting specialist who helped develop the new guidelines for businesses offering food sales in parks. Continue reading

Chefs advocate for more seafood accountability

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Shrimp boats in Apalichicola, Florida. bberwyn photo.

Rampant fraud makes eco-friendly choices difficult

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Top chefs from around the country are calling on Congress to address the problem of seafood fraud by passing legislation that would establish more accountability, from fishing boats all the way to the dinner plate.

More than 450 chefs, restaurant owners and culinary leaders, representing nearly all 50 states, are urging Congress to pass the Safety and Fraud Enforcement for Seafood (SAFE Seafood) Act. More accountability up the chain of supply would enable restaurants to make better eco-friendly choices, the chefs wrote. Continue reading

Health: Building a better pizza

A made-from-scratch Napoli-style pizza, with anchovies and black olives.

A made-from-scratch Napoli-style pizza, with anchovies and black olives.

Scottish researchers go back to pizza’s roots to find a healthy recipe

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — It turns out the secret to a better pizza might not be a double-stuffed cheese crust — all it takes is a little bit of seaweed and some whole grain flour, according to nutritionists with the School of Medicine at the University of Glasgow.

“Traditional pizza should be a low-fat meal containing at least one portion of vegetables, so mainly made from ingredients associated with better cardiovascular health,” said Professor Mike Lean.

“However, to enhance shelf-life, commercial pizza recipes today include much more fat and salt than desirable. Until now, nobody has stopped to notice that many essential vitamins and minerals are very low or even completely absent. From a nutrition and health perspective, they are hazardous junk,” Lean said. “Pizzas are widely consumed and regarded as meals in themselves, and yet their impact on human nutrition does not seem to have been studied,” he added.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Historically, pizzas were made from a few humble ingredients: Bread, tomatoes and a little cheese, combined to form a traditional, healthy meal. Continue reading

Morning photo: Markets

Yummy food, people watching … what more could you want?

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Sorting apples at the market in Brignoles, France.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO —Some people seek out museums and statues when they travel, and that’s fine. I’ve been known to visit a museum or three. But if it ever came down to a choice between a museum or wandering through a farmers market, the market would always win out. It’s not just because I love food. Markets are just great places to pick up the vibe of a town and to watch locals go about their business. It’s fun to see who’s going home with asparagus stalks hanging out their handbag, and to watch people sniff stinky cheese, or poke melons to find the ripe one. It’s also good to connect with the people who grow the food you eat. Finally, there’s no better place to stock up with a few good snacks for the next leg of your trip. Today’s photo set is themed for the popular #FriFotos Twitter chat, so upload your own market pics, tag them and join in the fun. I’m looking forward to seeing some pictures of markets that I’ll maybe visit on one of my next trips. Continue reading

Environment: GMO battle heats up with worldwide protests

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Activists have set May 25 as a wordwide day of action to raise awareness about genetically modified food issues.

Colorado joins in with demonstrations across the state

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Activists today (May 25) will try to raise awareness about what they perceive as the dangers of genetically modified foods with a series of worldwide marches and protests under the #OccupyMonsanto banner.The rallies include events across Colorado, from Denver to Grand Junction. The Denver protest at the State Capitol starts at 11 a.m. and is scheduled to continue until 4 p.m.

A worldwide list of events is posted at this Facebook page.

Grassroots opposition has been growing the past few months since Congress passed what’s been called the Monsanto Protection Act, which appears to gives the U.S. Department of Agriculture at least temporary authority to ignore court rulings on whether it’s OK to plant genetically engineered crops. Read this NPR report for more details on the congressional action. Continue reading

Health: Pre-ordering school meals leads to healthier eating

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It’s hard to resist a tater tot when you’re hungry, but pre-ordering meals at school can lead to healthier choices.

Study in New York shows significant change in food choices

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Not long after reporting that bite-sized fruit pieces spur healthier eating at school, Cornell researchers have released new findings suggesting that pre-ordering food would also help improve the dietary habits of school kids.

The study builds on the conventional wisdom that shopping for food while hungry can lead to unhealthy choices. According to the scientists, hungry people are especially sensitive to sights and smells of foods that will satiate, but may lack in nutrient content. Continue reading

Congress tackles genetically modified food labeling

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Have your veggies been genetically modified? Some members of Congress think you have the right to know.

Citing overwhelming public support, lawmakers introduce measures that would require the FDA to modernize its labeling standards

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The battle over labeling of genetically modified food is once again in Congress, where pending bills in the House and Senate would help consumers be able to make more informed choices about their diet and purchasing decisions.

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR)this week introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act in the House; a companion measure in the Senate got a bipartisan introduction from by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CO) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

“Despite the prevalence of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in grocery stores and prepared foods, it remains difficult if not impossible for consumers to determine if the foods they eat contain GMOs,” Polis said. “This labeling bill is about empowering consumers: consumers can choose to eat or not eat GMOs, or to pay more or less for GMOs. I believe consumers have a right to know what they are eating so they can make their own informed food choices. I am proud to be working toward more informative food labels.” Continue reading

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