9 Things to Know in Food This Week

Photo courtesy of New York Botanical Garden.

From the now endangered bumblebee to expanding the food movement here are the stories the Edible editors are reading this week.

NPR writes that the U.S. is putting bumblebees on the endangered species list:
“The protected status, which goes into effect on Feb. 10, includes requirements for federal protections and the development of a recovery plan. It also means that states with habitats for this species are eligible for federal funds.”

Also at NPR, a look at how the idea of food as medicine has gone mainstream:

“Nadeau is part of a small revolution brewing across California. The food-as-medicine movement has been around for decades, but it’s making inroads as physicians and medical institutions make food a formal part of treatment, rather than relying solely on medications. By prescribing nutritional changes or launching programs such as ‘Shop with Your Doc,’ they’re trying to prevent, limit or even reverse disease by changing what patients eat.”

Alternet reports on the sad and scary state of modern industrial dairy agriculture (spoiler: Buy organic):
“It all begins with dairy farm economics. The more milk produced, the bigger the glut and the lower the prices. But the lower the prices, the more milk the farmer needs to produce to try and make money. And around and around it goes, with the dairy cow taking the brunt of the push to produce more and more milk. They are, after all, doing the producing.”

Houstonia Magazine tells its readers where to find New York City’s original cuisine (Did they miss your favorite? Tell us in the comments):
“Many foods we see on restaurant menus today as well as fast food options were created by New York chefs and food entrepreneurs over the last century—and many are still served at the very places they first came from. Some of the origins are lost forever, but there’s enough documented venues on the list to keep you busy if you’re in New York for a few days.”

Civil Eats has an important message for how to apply lessons of the food movement to preserving democracy:
“How can the food movement best navigate this treacherous new environment? Two years ago, we outlined the need for a national food policy, a critical yardstick in determining whether legislation helps or harms farmers, eaters, the land, animals, and more. This remains an important long-term goal, but right now the most pressing work is to join forces with other progressive groups in a more immediate cause: protecting the disadvantaged and defending democracy. So it is the recent minimum wage victories, spurred by the Fight for $15—an alliance of workers, labor unionists (specifically, the Service Employees International Union), immigrants’ and women’s rights advocates, and the Food Chain Workers Alliance—that should point the way forward.”

The Guardian reports on how why parts of the U.S. are heating up faster than the rest of the world:
“The authors expect the Northeast US will warm 50% faster than the planet as a whole. They also find that the United States will reach a 2 degree Celsius warming 10–20 years before the globe as a whole.”

The rise of processed food in Latin America has led to increased obesity, according to Reuters:
“That has occurred partly as economic growth, increased urbanization, higher average incomes and the region’s integration into international markets have reduced the consumption of traditionally prepared food and raised that of ultra-processed products, the report said.”

Recode looks at robot food delivery services:
“The six-wheeled robots are a little under two feet tall, weigh about 40 pounds empty and travel four miles per hour — walking speed. The idea is that one day soon these autonomous rovers will share sidewalk space with pedestrians on their own, but for now they’ll be accompanied by handlers — people walking alongside each robot as it makes its deliveries. The handlers will take notes on how well Starship’s robots perform and intervene if something goes wrong.”

While Fast Company asks if a restaurant succeed if it’s delivery-only:
“Not having an actual storefront means Green Summit can switch menus rapidly. Schatzberg mentioned, for instance, that the company quickly dropped a Middle Eastern concept for midtown Manhattan after encountering lower-than-expected sales.

It also means more versatility in the food they can offer. Similar or identical menu items show up across many of Green Summit’s online storefronts, and largely hews to a template of delivery-friendly dishes like salads, sandwiches, and grain bowls.”