Love that chocolate Haagen-Dazs ice-cream? But what about the way its makers treat their farmers? How about KitKat and the way its production impacts the environment?
In a campaign to push big companies towards more ethical sourcing, international development group Oxfam is asking people to think about food producers' attitudes towards issues such as climate change and workers' rights the next time they dig into their favorite treat.
Brian Maloof knows it sounds crazy. Why would a small business build a chicken coop on its roof?
Maloof’s father, Manuel Maloof, opened his namesake watering hole in 1956. Manuel’s Tavern has been an Atlanta institution for decades, a place where journalists and cops rub elbows with legislators, carpenters and college students as they belly up to the wooden bar. The same portrait of JFK has hung over the bar since the days when “unaccompanied women” were not welcome. It's surrounded by pennants of Atlanta sports franchises, past and present
But things haven’t been easy lately. So Maloof “put it out there in prayer” and waited.
“I just said, ‘Father, I don’t know what it is that you want me to do, but it sure has been tough. I need some help here,’” said Maloof, who left his paramedic job in 2001 to work at Manuel’s.
The response he got back was "chickens.”
Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Last week the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission announced that it wants every single vineyard and winery under its purview to be certified sustainable within the next five years. There’s some question what the method of enforcement will be—since the program is voluntary, running over refusenik farmers with tractors or bunging them into big tanks of bad juice and laughing at them as they splash around helplessly is probably right out. But the whole plan’s a noble goal, and would make Sonoma the first wine region in the country to hit that target.
What sustainable means is another question. Essentially, it’s an approach to farming (and winemaking) that uses economically feasible, environmentally sound and socially equitable methods. That, obviously, covers a lot of ground—but generally speaking what the goal includes is reducing water and energy use, minimizing pesticide use, recycling natural resources, maintaining wildlife habitats, providing employee education and other strategies.
Given there are over 1,800 vineyards in Sonoma County, some 1,500 individual growers and/or owners and more than 59,000 acres of vineyard land in the county—according to the estimable Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrowers—it’s an ambitious project. But it’s also an impressive one. And until every last renegade vine is on board, here’s a quartet of sustainably produced Sonoma wines to tide you over.
Zak Smith is an attorney with the marine mammal protection project at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Santa Monica, California.
Did you know that buying American seafood could save a whale?
A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council finds that 91% of seafood consumed in the United States is imported and nearly every wild-caught foreign fish product sold in the U.S. violates the Marine Mammal Protection Act, endangering the lives of marine mammals around the world.
Countries exporting fish to America are supposed to prove they use safe methods to catch fish destined for the U.S. market. But for decades the U.S. has failed to enforce this law. That means whales, dolphins and sea lions are at risk, and American fishermen who invest in safer methods have a disadvantage in the marketplace.
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