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News for March 2, 2010

Bill encourages state agencies to buy local

DANE COUNTY (WKOW) -- It's a mantra of sorts: buy local.. buy local.

That mantra helped Spring Green farmer Mark Olson increase his sales between 10 and 15 percent. But for large-scale state agencies like universities, it's not that simple to buy local.

Agencies usually must sign contracts with the lowest bidder. Assembly bill 782 would require some state agencies to buy 10-percent of its food locally and give incentives to do so.

Representative Phil Garthwaite, (D) Dickeyville, says, "In order to create these entities, we also have to create the markets. We can't create jobs if there is no market for those jobs. What this measure can do, although I'm certain there will be some changes, is allow local producers a foot in the door."

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Utah co-ops offer array of locally produced groceries

For those who aren't interested in joining the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model, grocery co-ops provide the same farm fresh, local and organic products, with even more options that can be found at regular grocery stores — but for a fraction of the cost.

Utah's array of dairy, cattle and produce farms allow local businesses to offer nearly every food product to meet your family's needs.

While some co-ops require a membership and advance orders to get the benefits of reasonably priced local food, other co-ops are open to occasional visitors or casual shoppers.

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Officials in China at Odds Over Food Scandal

SANYA, China — A widening national toxic food scandal that has its roots in this tropical island resort area in the South China Sea has set off a rare case of public sniping between officials.

The scandal, which has been reported by official news organizations in the last few days, is centered on the cowpea — an ancient species of legume that includes the black-eyed pea.

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An inconvenient challenge: Eat 'real food' for a month

The task set by a food blogger seemed deceptively simple: Eat real food for a month.

More than 900 people signed up for the challenge, and some were confident that it would not be difficult to avoid processed foods for 28 days.

But in the age of potato powders, cheese in a squirt can and microwaveable meals, eating only "real food" turned out to be much more difficult.

On Day One of the challenge, blogger Jennifer McGruther gave this instruction: Purge your pantry of processed foods.

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6 Baby Steps Toward a More Sustainable Animal Diet

The most common question I get about my new book Animal Factory, which comes out Tuesday, March 2, is, "Am I going to have to become a vegetarian after reading this?"

My answer usually throws people off.

"No," I say, "You're going to want to eat even MORE meat, eggs and dairy!" Then, as a bemused brow breaks over their face, I add: "But by that, I mean more that is raised humanely and sustainably, without harm to human health or the environment."

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