Politics

What It’s Really Like to Cook on a Food Stamp Budget — Food Matters

In 2013, 49.1 million Americans lived in households struggling with hunger, a stark number which includes 15.8 million children and 4.8 million seniors. Food insecurity is a daily reality for about one in seven households. So why do we only seem to talk passionately about it when a celebrity is involved?

If you paid any attention to the recent controversy surrounding Gwyneth Paltrow's $29 SNAP grocery shopping challenge, you know what I mean. When she posted a photo of the groceries she purchased with the weekly budget of a typical SNAP (food stamp) recipient, Paltrow inspired a lot of snarky editorials poking fun at the actress's cluelessness and comments naming all the ways her charmed life is not like the typical SNAP recipient's, but in the end, it was just more media coverage of a wealthy celebrity.

What are the challenges of shopping, meal planning, and cooking when your budget relies on SNAP benefits? Someone who spends a week trying it out isn't the right person to ask. Instead, I spoke with regular people with real experience with SNAP — some who receive benefits, others whose jobs involve working with recipients — to learn more about the individuals behind the statistics and the realities of feeding yourself and your family with the help of SNAP.

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What Happens to Grocery Store Waste? — The Grocery Insider

In my grocery store marketing days, I spent my time getting things — ideally groceries, via a financial transaction — out of the store. Unfortunately, the grocery industry creates literally tons of waste, both in product and packaging, and thus my job sometimes involved finding responsible alternatives to the dumpster.

For larger retailers, finding avenues for that waste is a full-time job. Here is what happens to the waste in your grocery store.

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The Story Behind the Wonderbag: The Non-Electric Slow Cooker

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What you see above is not a beanbag chair or a sleeping bag. No, it's actually a slow cooker. You might have even seen it around the last year or so as it gained momentum in the media. Designed by South Africa-based entrepreneur Sarah Collins, the mission behind the Wonderbag is to empower women in Africa. For every Wonderbag that you buy, another is donated to a women in Africa that needs help feeding her family.

Equally as interesting as how this slow cooker actually works is the story behind why it was created in the first place. Your slow cooker tikka masala will never be the same.

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You’re Doing It Right: Feeding Your Kids — You’re Doing It Right

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I have been thinking for a long time about all the voices that tell us we're Doing It Wrong in the kitchen. We wanted to bring you a column about the ways that you've actually been doing it right all along. My friend Cheryl Sternman Rule is bringing us this occasional dose of reassurance. — Faith

More fruits, more vegetables, less processed food. Homemade, wholesome, whole family around the table. The directives – from society, from the media, from other parents — come in constant, sometimes oppressive waves, and the message usually boils down to this: there’s a right way to feed your family and a wrong way, and even those who make the best choices they can still feel like they’re coming up short.

So let’s do this.

Let’s relax the reins on each other.

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Ben Corey-Moran’s 5 Essentials for Making the Best Cup of Coffee Possible — Expert Essentials

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Ben Corey-Moran is the Director of Coffee Supply at Fair Trade USA where it's his job to develop and strengthen the supply chain between the small coffee farmers of Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America and coffee buyers from all over the world, some of them as large as Walmart. He's been in the coffee business since 2003 and has an intimate understanding of the whole picture, from the harvest of the fruit to how to create the perfect cup at home.

Ben walks us through his five essentials for understanding how our coffee comes to us, and how to find and create that perfect cup of morning coffee at home.

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What Happens When Monsanto Buys the Patent to Your Favorite Tomato

Where Have All the Early Girls Gone? What Happens When Monsanto Buys the Patent to Your Favorite Tomato

July is just around the corner and for me that means just one thing: it's the time when the local tomato production starts to get serious and the farmers' markets starting running red (and yellow, and pink, and chocolate, and green stripe). Sure, there's the occasional basket of cherry tomatoes the last few weeks of June and I guess they're pretty good.  But when the dry-farmed Early Girls start showing up, that's when then I know all is right in the world. Except, apparently, when it's not.  

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