the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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shift in consumer preference for organic causes hormel to buy the applegate farm brand

Hormel Foods Corp. agreed to buy Applegate Farms LLC for about $775 million, a move that would give the maker of Spam a foothold in the organic-meats category.

Closely held Applegate’s annual sales are expected to be about $340 million this year, Hormel HRL, -0.39%  said in a news release Tuesday announcing the deal.

A deal would follow other transactions over the past year involving protein companies. In 2014, Tyson Foods Inc. TSN, -0.66%   paid $7.7 billion for Hillshire Brands Co., which makes Jimmy Dean sausages, and Post Holdings Inc. bought egg and dairy-goods company Michael Foods Group Inc.

A change in consumer eating habits is underpinning consolidation in the sector. Americans are moving to more protein-heavy diets and eschewing carbohydrates, while seeking more organic products.

Hormel has been diversifying its portfolio of food brands to capitalize on growing protein demand and higher-margin foods. The company last year paid $450 million for CytoSport Holdings Inc., maker of Muscle Milk-brand protein shakes and powders, and in 2013 it acquired the Skippy peanut butter brand from Unilever PLC for about $700 million. To visit this webpage, click here!


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usda develops label to verify “gmo free”

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Agriculture Department has developed a new government certification and labeling for foods that are free of genetically modified ingredients.

USDA’s move comes as some consumer groups push for mandatory labeling of the genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

The certification is the first of its kind, would be voluntary — and companies would have to pay for it. If approved, the foods would be able to carry a “USDA Process Verified” label along with a claim that they are free of GMOs.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack outlined the new certification in a May 1 letter to USDA employees, saying it was being done at the request of a “leading global company,” which he did not identify. A copy of the letter was obtained by The Associated Press.

A USDA spokesman confirmed that Vilsack sent the letter but declined to comment on the certification program. Vilsack said in the letter that the certification “will be announced soon, and other companies are already lining up to take advantage of this service.”

Companies can already put their own GMO-free labels on foods, but there are no government labels that only certify a food as GMO-free. Many companies use a private label developed by a nonprofit called the Non-GMO Project. The USDA organic label also certifies that foods are free of genetically modified ingredients, but many non-GMO foods aren’t organic. To read more, click HERE!


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the joy of slow computing

Well-meaning people have, for a good many years now, been forming a “consciousness” about where their food comes from, who produces it, and how. This gets tedious. But it’s also sensible, given how important food is in our lives. Computers, it would seem, deserve similar attention. They are constant companions; they shape our experience. Many of us entrust to them not only the results of our life’s work, but the time we spend carrying it out. Perhaps they’re worthy of a similar tedium, too.

Click HERE to read more…


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wanted: resident farm intern/permaculturist/gardner in new zealand

Uma Rapiti Farm New Zealand:

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We are a family who have a small, organic farm on Waiheke Island, New Zealand.  We are looking for someone with experience in organic farming/permaculture to help on our land as part of a work exchange. The property is relatively new to our family; we have been developing it as an educational and experimental farm since 2007. We have seven acres of NW facing former paddock – some sloping, some flat.  We have beautiful views of the Gulf.  There are small, established tracts of native bush that help shelter us from the NW winds.

Located in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand, Waiheke Island is about 35 minutes by ferry from Auckland. At approximately 92 square km it is the second-largest gulf island.  There is a permanent population of around 8,000 residents.  The island is known for its beautiful blend of farmland, bush, beaches, vineyards and olive groves.  Cycling/mountain biking, sea kayaking, tramping, wine tasting, swimming or simply relaxing on a white sand beach give visitors and residents endless ways to spend their time.  The primary industries on the island are wine-making, olive production, tourism and arts/crafts.

We would like farmers any time of the year and applications are considered on a rolling basis. This position is well suited to recent farm/CSA interns.  Ideally, we would like a couple.  Stipend to be negotiated based on experience and availability.  Accommodation: very comfortable sleepout (cottage) with electricity, sheltered
outdoor cooking facilities, hot outdoor shower and composting toilet. A 9-12 month commitment is preferable. Previous farmers have planned a “working holiday” with us and then travelled around NZ.

Contact Anu Shinnamon by at anushinnamon@gmail.com or check out the website http://umarapitifarm.co.nz/

ABSOLUTELY NON-SMOKING FARM – NO DRUGS TOLERATED


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party to save food!

Imported from Germany, the “Schnippel Disko” concept launched by the Youth Slowfood Network, is spreading fast in France. All you need are the following ingredients:

  • Discarded food gathered from a market
  • People armed with vegetable peelers, knives and cutting boards
  • Tables and a place to gather people – a town square, coworking space, or a marketplace, etc.
  • A DJ or any muscician or band

Now you have yourself a food waste party, or disco soup! Enjoy!

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