August 2009

Help Pass the UFW Bill

Farm workers in California do not have the automatic right to unionize and protect themselves. And boy, do they need it.

When I heard that farm laborers are actually dying on the fields during work because they don’t have shade to rest in or water to drink I was appalled—not shocked, but definitely appalled.

But shouldn’t things like this shock us? Are we so jaded and so desensitized in this world that we start to remain unaffected by the sight and sound of our fellow human beings dying at their own place of employment? Wasn’t that what the worker’s rights movement—which brought us weekends, forty-hour work weeks, benefits and fair wages—was all about in the first place?

Gap Goes Cage-Free!

All I can say is, “You go, Gap.”

I remember being impressed with Gap Inc. launched their Red campaign (I was totally in love with “Inspi(red)”), and though I still had issues with the company’s ethical practices overall, I thought it was great that they were trying to make a difference.

I still don’t shop brand names; call me an anti-conformist, a nerd or simply broke, but I still can’t wrap my head around spending that much for a name when you can get secondhand clothing much, much more cheaply. Besides, who wants to look like everyone else?

That said, it’s a freaking huge company that sells a freaking huge amount of clothes, so what they do is still important. Behold their newest effort to be good—using cage-free eggs!

Just Say No to Pigs on Drugs

What’s scarier than the price of meat these days? Oh, how about your expensive meat accompanied by a side dish of, say, MRSA, an antibiotic resistant staph infection? That’s exactly what scientists have found in grocery stores in Washington, DC and Louisiana. Doesn’t that just sound yummy? I remember when I had a relative who had a nasty staph infection. He had to have the thing operated on, injected daily and lots of other fun stuff to get rid of it. Mmm yes, definitely appetizing.

Earlier this year, another strand of MRSA—a brand new one, actually—was found in pigs and pig farms as well. Scientists say that this strain is capable of producing more deadlier, viral strains, too.

Mirai Sweet Corn: Sweeter than Sweet

The scientist who developed Mirai® was attempting to create a disease resistant corn hybrid. Instead, he ended up with Mirai®, a

strikingly sweet and tender corn that has been available in Japan since the 1990s and is slowly becoming available here. Mirai® is so delicate that the ears must be harvested by hand—hence the Japanese market. In Japan the farmers are quite willing to grow small patches of the intensely flavorful corn and harvest it carefully by hand, then charge a premium mark-up of as much as 50%.