Archive for the ‘Shop Local’ Category

Urgent: Do you care about access to local, fresh foods?

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

by Catherine Haug, October 3, 2013; updated Oct 25, 2014 to removed malware links

I just received an email from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) about the new Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) rules that will negatively impact your access to local, fresh foods at farmers markets, roadside stands, local co-ops, and CSAs. Below is a copy of that email for your reference.

The FSMA is intended to focus the FDA on prevention of food-borne illness rather than reacting after the fact. In principle, this is a good idea, but some of the rules as written may unintentionally do harm to local, sustainable food production. The following issues are addressed in the comment guidelines provided by the NSAC, and in my customized letter:

  • Rules concerning fertilization go to far in restricting use of aged manure and compost;
  • Rules regarding farmers markets, CSAs, roadside stands, and other direct-to-consumer vendors and not clearly defined as retail food establishment, as required by the law, but rather could be construed to fall under facilities (such as commercial processing facilities) subject to additional regulation, as the law is currently written;
  • The revenue threshold for businesses to be regarded as ‘industrial’ facilities is currently set too low, making smaller farms and food hubs subject to industrial-scale regulation;
  • The “material conditions” that lead to withdrawal of a farmer’s protected status (protecting him from undo regulation) are not clearly defined in measurable terms; this puts small family farmers at risk.

Cat’s update October 2014: If you wish to submit comments, it is now too late. Since one of the links in the instructions for posting comments now contains malware, I have deleted that section. I have, however, retained the copy of the comment letter I submitted for future reference (see below).

And here’s another take on the issue, including some history: Will the FDA’s New Food Safety Rules Hurt Small Farmers?

Read on for a copy of my comment letter, and the original email from NSAC. (more…)

Learning from your grandparents could save your life

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

by Catherine Haug, February 3, 2013

As a kid, I used to follow my Dad around the house and yard, watching (and little did I know, learning) what he did. My Dad was in his 60s; when he retired, he became the homemaker and my Mom became the provider, managing our bar. Having been a bachelor until 1946 (he was 55),  he only knew homemaking the old-fashioned way that he had learned from his Victorian-era parents.

It turns out, these were things that made for a rich and healthful life, and if we would return to at least some of these old-fashioned ways, our lives would be richer and more healthful, according to Dr. Alexandra Carrasco. Read on for more. (more…)

Local Montana Food Info Resources

Friday, January 11th, 2013

by Catherine Haug, January 11, 2013

It seems like things are really happening regarding local food sources in Montana and Western Montana. Here are just a few exciting projects:

If you are concerned about the future access to food, and food sustainability in our community, I urge you to become active in any/all of these projects. We may not always have Costco and Walmart.


10 Packaged or Processed Foods Easy to Avoid

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

by Catherine Haug, December 16, 2012

Now that I’m retired and have much more time to cook from scratch (than when I was working 10-12 hours a day), I tend to take this blessing for granted. For those who are still working long hours, I know it is difficult to buy local and cook from scratch, so a short list of packaged/processed foods that are quick and easy to make from scratch, might be welcome.

The following list is from Dr. Mercola, who ‘borrowed’ the first 5 in the list from an article on He explains why the processed versions are best avoided. I’ve added my own comments/ideas as well. (more…)

Who opposed California’s Prop-37 (GMO labeling)?

Thursday, November 15th, 2012


by Catherine Haug, November 14, 2012

By now I’m sure you heard that California’s Proposition-37 (the Right to Know Act that would mandate labeling of GMOs in foods) was defeated after a massive outpouring of money from GMO companies like Monsanto and DuPont. But you might be surprised to know who else contributed funds to oppose our right to know.

With the holidays coming up, here are some items you may wish to avoid:

  • Libby canned pumpkin,
  • Ocean Spray canned cranberry sauce or Craisins,
  • Land O’Lakes butter,
  • Campbell’s or Swanson chicken & beef broth,
  • Campbell’s Cool Whip
  • Con-Agra Reddi-Whip
  • Idahoan instant mashed potatoes,
  • Godiva chocolates,
  • Meadow Gold dairy,
  • Pepperidge Farm desserts and stuffing mixes.

Curious about more? Interested in boycott? See Companies Fighting Prop-37 and OCA: Boycott Organic-Brand Parent Companies. Below are familiar companies and a few of their brands you can find in our local grocery stores, just in case you want to avoid or boycott them. NOTE: almost all are processed foods and fast-food restaurants. They are not necessarily GMO today, but could be tomorrow. Even some ‘Organic‘ and ‘Natural‘ brands are in the list (indicated as bold-black text), because they are owned by a larger company that supports the use of GMOs.


Preparing for widespread drought

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Dryland Farming-Palouse

by Catherine Haug, August 11, 2012

(Photo, right, from Wikipedia)

We’ve all heard about the disastrous drought in the high plains and midwest portions of our country – from Nebraska to Texas; Colorado to Kentucky. Just the other day, the Daily Interlake carried an article about the drying and heating up of rivers in Nebraska and Iowa, a problem that is cooking fish to death as the streams exceed 90° F.

While we haven’t yet felt the drought here in NW Montana (and the rest of the Pacific NW), that doesn’t mean that we won’t feel it in future years. Yes, it’s hard to look at the high water in our reservoirs and lakes, and think that a drought could happen. But our part of the state did experience drought during the dust bowl years.

As the drought conditions spread to more states, including ours, how will we cope? How will we feed and water our livestock? How will we nurture our gardens? Will our water supplies hold up? Where will our food come from? (more…)