|Getting Wild Nutrition from Modern Food
Note: Find earlier bulletins in our Archives. Also, click on the links in the left margin to find information that has been sorted into our four main categories—“Benefits for Animals,” " Benefits for the Environment,” "Benefits for Farmers,” and “Benefits for Your Health.”
Two Presidential Candidates Release Their Agriculture Policies
Presidential candidates Senators Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have released proposals that outline their plans for promoting America’s small family farmers while curtailing Big Agribusiness.
You don’t have to support—or even like—the two candidates to check out what they are saying and use what you learn to help push the candidates you do support to adopt strategies to promote small family farms, e.g., redistributing federal farm subsidies to target small- and mid-sized family farms, rather than that the largest farm operations.
Follow the links below for reviews of the two candidates' ag policies in the Des Moines Register:
Elizabeth Warren: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/elections/presidential/caucus/2019/03/27/2020-election-iowa-caucuses-elizabeth-warren-agribusiness-family-farmers-rural-issues/3277185002/)
Bernie Sanders: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/elections/presidential/caucus/2019/05/05/iowa-agriculture-policy-bernie-sanders-radical-ag-speech-farms-osage-elizabeth-warren/1107955001/).
AgHelp website addresses nationwide agricultural labor shortage
AgHelp is a new startup that launched in October 2018. Their mission is to address the agricultural labor shortage in the industry through a website where ag-workers can search for jobs and find local health, social, and educational services. Employers can also post jobs to source labor nationally or locally and workers will be able to receive information on crops, housing, and much more.
The founders' 10-plus years of experience working as farmworkers and in the public sector for the State of Michigan were used to develop this innovative resources for agricultural employers across the U.S. This service will be free for all workers and agencies.
Go to aghelpusa.com to read up on their approach to helping Growers across the country and to sign up to be notified of the launch.
"AgHelp where ag employers go to fill their jobs"
Let's Talk Turkey – Holiday Turkey Buying Guide
Check out the Organic Consumers Association printable pdf version of their Holiday Turking Buying Guide for information about where to look for healthier turkeys for your holiday table.
The Guide is available here: https://www.organicconsumers.org/sites/default/files/holiday_turkey_buying_guide.pdf
Jury tags Monsanto's Roundup for contributing to groundskeeper's cancer
On August 10, 2018, a jury in California ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million to 46-year-old Dewayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper dying of cancer, saying the company's popular Roundup weed killer contributed to his disease. The chemical glyphosphate in Roundup is considered the culprit.
You can learn more about glyphosphate at The Healthy Butcher's blog: https://thehealthybutcher.com/blog/glyphosate/?utm_source=The+Healthy+Butcher+Digest&utm_campaign=5f7e84372b-EMAIL-Glyphosates-2018-08-18&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8c18c86122-5f7e84372b-133473473&mc_cid=5f7e84372b&mc_eid=72936b819c
Long-lived cows reduce global warming
Bossy has a short lifespan when she is raised in a confinement dairy, which is the way most cows are raised today. She provides a very high volume of milk, partly due to hormone injections and a high-grain diet, but she lasts for only 2-3 years. Then infertility, disease, physical problems, or inflammation end her milking career, and she is sold at auction for hamburger.
Cows raised on grass are healthier and more fertile, making them good milk producers for up to twelve years. These long-lived and more contented cows may reduce greenhouse gas production (methane) between 10 and 11 percent according to a British Study.
Garnsworthy, P.C., The environmental impact of fertility in dairy cows: a modeling approach to predict methane and ammonia emissions, Animal Feed Science & Technology, 2004. 112: 211-223.
Great Milk! And a healthier world
Raise dairy cows outside on pasture—the time-honored way—and the world benefits. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS).
Compared with dairy cows raised in factory farms, letting Bossie graze in the fresh air lowered the amount of ammonia released into the atmosphere by about 30 percent. It also cut emissions of other greenhouse gasses, including methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. Furthermore, the carbon footprint of the pasture-based dairy was 6 percent smaller than that of a high-production dairy herd kept indoors. The milk of grass-fed cows is much healthier for you as well. (Read Jo Robinson’s article Super Natural Milk.)
Follow this link http://wwwars.usda.gov/is/AR/2011/may11/cows0511.htm to read more about the ARS study of dairy cows and the environment.
Are those eggs really farm fresh?
It seems that all the eggs on the market are guaranteed to be “farm fresh,” whether you’ve paid a dollar a dozen at a discount grocers or five times that much at a farmer’s market. How can you tell if an egg is truly fresh?
The quickest test is to crack an egg into a pan of slowly simmering water. The egg is fresh if the white is thick and clings to the yolk. The egg is old if the white is thin and spreads out into the water. A poached fresh egg presents a very tidy package.
Boiling an egg gives you more clues. Fresh eggs lay flat on the bottom of the pan. Older eggs tend to tilt upward. That’s because air has had time to infiltrate the shell and form an internal bubble. The bubble levitates one end of the egg. The older the egg, the steeper the incline.
Once your boiled eggs are done, peel one of them. The egg is very fresh if it’s difficult to peel and some of the cooked white pulls away with the shell. An older egg peels like a breeze. Fresh eggs make raggedy looking deviled eggs.
Farmer retires at 86 to take on new job
Long-time Eatwild producer Martha Holdridge of West Wind Farm in West Virginia retired from farming and marketing at age 86. Instead of taking it easy, she is tackling even tougher jobs: educating people on a broad range of environmental and climate benefits of raising animals on pasture:
For her new website, Martha has chosen the term "grasspower" to emphasize that a very common plant, if well managed, can produce important benefits for Earth's climate. Visit her new website at (www.grasspower.org/) for a wealth of information, including a descriptive power point entitled, "Grass Power and Climate Change."
Eatwild founder named one of Top 50 Food Activists
May 2016 – Eatwild founder Jo Robinson was honored this week by The Academy of Culinary Nutrition which selected her as one of their Top 50 Food Activists. "Thank you," said the Academy, "for helping us to make informed decisions about what we eat and empowering us to do better....We're extremely grateful for the work that you do and we're lucky to have people like you in this world."
The Academy of Culinary Nutrition, was founded by nutritionist and author Meghan Telpner. Their Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert program trains students to become the health leaders in their respective communities. They currently have over 700 graduates, covering six continents and more than 32 countries.
Read more about these top 50 activists at http://www.culinarynutrition.com/top-50-food-activists/
How safe is your ground beef?
A landmark, October 2015 study by Consumer Reports is the largest study to date showing that choosing grass-fed meat over conventional meat will reduce your risk of food poisoning and result in fewer antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
They tested 300 samples of beef purchased at stores across the United States and determined that beef from conventionally raised cows was three times as likely as grass-fed beef to contain bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics, posing a food poisoning threat.
"One of the most significant findings of our research," declared Consumer Reports, "is that beef from conventionally raised cows was more likely to have bacteria overall, as well as bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, than beef from sustainably raised cows."
Read the whole story online at: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/food/how-safe-is-your-ground-beef.
Antibiotics in meat on the rise worldwide, especially bacon
About 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the United States go to livestock. A study published in 2015 by researchers at the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy, Princeton University, the International Livestock Research Institute and the Université Libre de Bruxelles predicts that antibiotic use in livestock will likely rise 67 percent by 2030 if livestock conditions don't improve. The researchers found pig farmers producing pork and bacon use four times as many antibiotics as cattle farmers.
One of the major reasons farmers are using more antibiotics is that demand for meat is going up, and animals are being confined in smaller and smaller living quarters, which can increase the spread of disease. Antibiotic resistance not only applies to the animals, but it can affect the humans eating the meat.
The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read more at http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2015/03/22/Antibiotics-in-meat-on-the-rise-worldwide-especially-bacon/1141427062677/#ixzz3VB8G4J2W
Jo Robinson, Eatwild founder, featured in The New York Times
From the moment that our hunter-gatherer ancestors started domesticating livestock and choosing particilar fruits and vegetables to plant in their gardens, they began making selections that reduced the overall nutritional content of our diets. The good news is that today's technology now gives us the power to measure the nutritional qualities of our food in very precise detail, and can point us to those specific varieties that will provide us with the most health benefits.
Jo Robinson, founder of Eatwild, has written a new book that outlines the many choices we can make in our supermarkets to begin reclaiming many lost nutrients. Eating on the Wild Side will be available beginning on June 4, 2013. In the meantime, read her article Breeding the Nutrition Out of Our Food in the May 26th issue of The New York Times.
Making sense out of meat labels
Ever wonder what all those meat labels really mean? For example, what is meant by non-confined? natural? source verified? cage free?
The folks at The Sustainable Table website have taken the time to figure it out and compile the information in a comprehensive, downloadable, easy-to read glossary of meat labels. Find a copy here: www.eatwild.com/GlossaryofMeatProductionMethods.pdf.
Candy recommended as a substitute cattle feed during a drought
Joseph Watson, the owner of the United Livestock Commodities group, recommends feeding stale candy to cattle when corn is scarce or expensive. There are nutritional advantages to this scheme, according to Watson, because candy is higher in fat and sugar, helping to fuel the growth of the animals. In practice, the candy is fed in its wrappers. (It’s expensive to unwrap all that candy.) That’s okay, too, because paper is a bulk filler.
Watson told a reporter for Kentucky TV station WPSD. “We’ve already seen the results of it so we’re pretty proud of it.” He added that the stale candy was a problem for candy manufacturers, and the companies are “proud to have a place to go with it.” So far, no one has bothered to measure the nutritional content of meat from candy-fed beef cattle.
Sweet-tasting grasses speed the growth of cattle and sheep and lowers greenhouse gasses
British Agricultural Minister Jim Paice announced the results of a new study showing that raising cattle and sheep on high-sugar grasses can lower their greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent.
Everyone benefits from the sweeter feed. The ruminants like the taste of the grass and eat more of it. The sugars allow them to make more efficient use of the proteins in the grass. As a result, the animals reach market size weeks earlier, producing less methane overall.
Minister Paice said: “It is very exciting this new research has discovered that simply changing the way we feed farm animals we have the potential to make a big difference to the environment.”
The study was carried out by Reading University and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences. High-sugar pasture grasses are now available for sale.
Grass-fed meats improve fat levels
Eating moderate amounts of grass-fed meat for only 4 weeks will give you healthier levels of essential fats, according to a 2011 study in the British Journal of Nutrition.
The British research showed that healthy volunteers who ate grass-fed meat increased their blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and decreased their level of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. These changes are linked with a lower risk of a host of disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, and inflammatory disease.
Interestingly, volunteers who consumed conventional, grain-fed meat ended up with lower levels of omega-3s and higher levels of omega-6s than they had at the beginning of the study, suggesting that eating conventional meat had been detrimental to their health.
British Journal of Nutrition (2011) Red meat from animals offered a grass diet increases plasma and platelet N-3 PUFA in healthy consumers. Volume 105, pages 80-89.
Family Farmer Blues
Thank you to Eatwild producer Big Oaks Ranch for sending along the link to this video of Family Farmer Blues...
Healthy Eggs: What we knew in 1932
In the 1930s, scientists and food producers were creating the first plans to take poultry off family farms and raise them in confinement. To enact their plans, they needed to create “feed rations” that would keep the birds alive and productive even though they were denied their natural diet of greens, seeds, and insects. It was a time of trial and error.
In a 1932 experiment conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, breeding hens were taken off pasture and fed a wide variety of feed ingredients. When the birds were fed a diet that was exclusively soy or corn or wheat or cottonseed meal, the chickens didn’t lay eggs or the chicks that developed from the eggs had a high rate of mortality and disease.
But when birds were fed these same inadequate diets and put back on pasture, their eggs were perfectly normal. The pasture grasses and the bugs made up for whatever was missing in each of the highly restrictive diets.
“The effect of diet on egg composition.” Journal of Nutrition 6(3) 225-242. 1933.
Eggs from pastured hens are far richer in vitamin D
Eggs from hens raised outdoors on pasture have from three to six times more vitamin D than eggs from hens raised in confinement. Pastured hens are exposed to direct sunlight, which their bodies convert to vitamin D and then pass on to the eggs.
Vitamin D is best known for its role in building strong bones. New research shows that it can also enhance the immune system, improve mood, reduce blood pressure, combat cancer, and reduce the risk of some autoimmune disorders.
This latest good news about eggs comes from a study released by Mother Earth News, a magazine that plays a leading role in promoting health-enhancing, natural foods. The editors found that eating just two eggs will give you from 63-126% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin D.
Note that this benefit comes only from hens that are free to graze fresh greens, eat bugs, and bask in the sun. Most of the eggs sold in the supermarket do not meet this criterion. Even though the label says that the eggs are “certified organic” or come from “uncaged” or “free-range” hens or from hens fed an “all-vegetarian” diet, this is no guarantee that the hens had access to the outdoors or pasture.
Look for eggs from “pastured” hens. You are most likely to find these superior eggs at farmer’s markets or natural food stores.
Better yet, purchase them directly from your local farmer. Click on the following link, then scroll down to the yellow map of the United States. Click on your state. Find eggs from pastured hens on eatwild.com
According to a July 2011 study conducted by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, a 10,000 cow confinement dairy in Idaho produces staggering amounts of greenhouse gases. Every day, 37,075 pounds of pollution spew into the air. This breaks down into 33,092 pounds of methane, 3,575 pounds of ammonia, and 409 pounds of nitrous oxide. Most of the emissions come from the bare dirt lots where the cows spend their time between milkings. The 25-acre manure holding pond is the next biggest source.
Ranchers who raise their cattle on grass from birth to market do not send their animals to large slaughter houses such as the Hallmark Meat Packing Company where extreme cases of abuse were recently documented. (See post directly above.) Instead, they slaughter the animals on the farm or take them to small, independent slaughter facilities.
Ranchers who drive their grass-fed cattle to an abattoir go to great lengths to keep the animals calm. Some bring along cattle that are not earmarked for slaughter to give the animals the comfort of being with their herd mates. Many ranchers watch the entire slaughter process to ensure that their animals are being treated humanely every step of the way.
Some ranchers practice “field slaughter.” In this case, they approach the animal out on the pasture, making sure not to trigger alarm. Then they kill it with a bullet to the head. The animal dies instantly and has no opportunity to experience pain. Other ranchers contract with a specially designed mobile slaughter facility that comes to the farm and manages the entire process from killing the animals to preparing the carcass for the aging process.
Typically, a grass-based ranch has fewer than 150 animals, and the owners can identify each animal by sight. Their goal is to make sure all the animals are well fed and cared for and do not experience unnecessary stress at any time of their lives.
To find a pasture-based rancher in your area, click here. Ask the farmers about their slaughtering protocol.
New Forage for Rangeland Cattle in Western U.S. Provides Higher Yield, More Protein & Protects Against Wildfires
Cattle that graze on rangelands in the western United States may soon have a new forage option, thanks to work by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist.
Research by geneticist Blair Waldron, in Logan, Utah, suggests that the forage kochia (Kochia prostrata) can provide more nutritious winter forage than traditional rangeland vegetation. In a series of studies, the USDA found that kochia, a shrubby Asian native plant that sometimes survives wildfires and other environmental challenges more successfully than North American native plants, can be established on damaged rangelands, and that it can compete with cheatgrass successfully.
Waldron and his research partners also investigated fall/winter rangeland forage yields, rangeland carrying capacities, nutritive values, and the livestock performance of cattle that spent the fall and winter grazing on either kochia-dominated rangelands or grass-dominated rangelands. Forage yield on rangelands seeded with kochia was 2,309 pounds per acre, which was six times greater than the forage yield on traditional grazinglands. This difference meant that the rangelands with kochia could support 1.38 animals per acre, while the traditional rangelands could support only 0.24 animal per acre.
In addition, the experimental forage had a crude protein content of 11.7 percent, well above the recommended minimum, while the stockpiled grasses had a crude protein content of only 3.1 percent, which was below the recommended minimum.
Click here for links to more information about this study.
This is not your everyday fried eggs and potatoes. The orange-yolked eggs were laid by pastured hens and cost $5.00 per dozen. The potatoes are organic French fingerling potatoes—a creamy red-skinned potato that costs twice as much as Russet potatoes. The salt is a French sea salt celebrated for its flavor. The black pepper is freshly ground. The potatoes and eggs were fried in two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. The fresh garlic chives and thyme were snipped from the garden. The total cost of this heavenly breakfast is about $2.00. The breakfast Egg and Cheese Bagel from McDonald’s costs $2.10.
The meal pictured on the right has some hidden values as well. The chickens that laid the eggs are healthy hens free to forage for bugs, greens and seeds and lie down and spread their wings in the sun. The French fingerling potatoes give you three times more antioxidants than the common Russet, and they’re pesticide free. And how does it taste? Try it and see.
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