May 29, 2009

News mix: Sustainability; never been on a farm; Presidential cheeseburgers

An assortment of interesting news for a Friday. All are worth a read.

The definition of sustainability is tied to the future of food production
Sustainability efforts are often conflated with terms like natural, clean label or organic.
As the focus on developing sustainable production, manufacturing and distribution practices gains momentum, it is important to note that the goal is preserving natural resources rather than serving specific market niches. This is an important distinction because sustainability efforts are often conflated with terms like natural, clean label or organic. These latter trends have more to do with the perception of quality rather than resource preservation. Click for more.

From Biofuels Digest:
EPA’s top gun on indirect land use change confesses she has never visited a US farm
“I’m inviting her to mine,” says Sen. Grassley
The fact that she [Margo Oge, director of EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality] has never set foot on an American farm probably never mattered before. ... But when the Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act in December 2007 and required the EPA to measure both the direct and indirect impacts of biofuels, the task fell to Ms. Oge and her team to propose a model for how Indirect Land Use Change is to be accounted for.

That’s when the farm thing became a problem. Because in this case, the EPA is not regulating smokestacks, or industrial odors, or cars, or urban waste - things that any city dweller is all too familiar with. Nor is the EPA regulating lobbyists, or even farmers, or other things or people that can roll on in to Washington complete with charts, and talking points, and campaign contributions. Click here for more.

(FYI - Oge pointed out she has been to Brazil, but I'm not sure how that adds to the working knowledge of U.S. agriculture.)

From the Associated Press:
Obama stops at Five Guys for cheeseburger
For a health food nut, President Barack Obama sure likes his burgers.

President Barack Obama made a surprise lunchtime stop at Five Guys, a fast-food restaurant in Washington.

The president ordered a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, jalapeno peppers, and mustard as well as several other cheeseburgers to go. He also ordered a cheeseburger for Brian Williams, news anchor for NBC. The network was filming a day-in-the-life program at the White House. Click here for more.

This follows a recent trip by the First Lady to the same burger joint. So, despite all the hubub about the First Family's garden and political spinning by those who like to bash and discredit modern food production, it is good to see the Obama's like a good burger. Perhaps it was good Nebraska beef?

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