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Organic foods

Cuisine du campus
Spring 2016

Cuisine du campus

Sautéed swiss chard, tender braised short rib, and Cougar Gold polenta. Tuscan grilled chicken with seasonal heirloom tomatoes, artichoke hearts, lentils, capers, and fresh herbs. Bacon seared Caesar salad with tomato jam toast and avocado Caesar dressing. These are dishes one would expect to find at a fine-dining restaurant, not a dining center at Washington State University.

Your memories of eating campus food, wherever you went to college, might consist of standing in long cafeteria lines where servers plopped their latest mystery food creation on your plate. It’s a totally different and much better experience than many of us remember.

Not only do the dining … » More …

Barn
Winter 2014

The roots of tilth

In 1974, a group of Washington farmers, gardeners, and concerned citizens formed one of the nation’s first organized efforts for sustainable agriculture.

It was in the midst of a burgeoning back-to-the-land movement, and not long after the founding of Earth Day. The time was ripe for Washington, its farmers, consumers, and researchers to change agriculture.

On his way home from a Spokane conference on “Agriculture for a Small Planet,” author and activist Wendell Berry started a letter that would catalyze the movement. He praised the thoughtful and knowledgeable group who had organized the event, and wondered if they might work together to shape “a coherent … » More …

Winter 2012

A place of taste

Chimacum Corner is more than just the busiest intersection in Jefferson County. It’s a yellow-walled farmstand where tomatillos from Finnriver Farm meet Roma tomatoes from SpringRain and where bread from Pane D’Amore bakery can find Cape Cleare tuna or cheese from Mt. Townsend Creamery. And it’s where locals can find the ever-growing bounty of the local farms and fisheries.

The market is just two years old. And with the motto “Eat your food from here” it grew out of a need for the small-scale producers in the region to reach customers outside the farmers’ markets. Rather than one day a week at the farmers’ market … » More …

Carol Miles
Spring 2012

Mulch ado about garden plastics

In 2001, Carol Miles certified WSU’s first piece of organic land, a three-acre parcel at the WSU Vancouver Research and Extension Unit. It was a landmark moment, leading the way for organically managed land at all of WSU’s research facilities.

But one thing kept nagging her: the plastic.

In the absence of conventional herbicides, weed control was her number one issue, and laying down a layer of plastic took care of the problem handily. But it’s nonrenewable and not recycled.

If it’s going to be used in an organic production system, reasoned Miles, now a vegetable horticulturist at the WSU Mount Vernon … » More …

Summer 2010

Interview with Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan has been a leading voice in the re-evaluation of how we eat and farm. The author of Omnivore’s Dilemma, the book selected for this year’s Common Reading, Pollan visited campus in January to talk with the students who had been discussing his book and present a lecture on “The Sun-Food Agenda.” Washington State Magazine’s Tim Steury interviewed him by phone prior to his visit. The following is an edited version of their conversation:

WSM: There’s been a real sea change in how we think about food in this country. I wonder if you could address what laid the groundwork for your ideas being … » More …

Winter 2009

Is organic more nutritious?

This summer saw the publication of a study of the nutritional value of organic versus conventional foods by scientists with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Based on a review of 55 articles they judged of satisfactory quality, the scientists, led by Alan Dangour and funded by the governmental Food Safety Agency, concluded that “there is no evidence of a difference in nutrient quality between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs.”

Preston Andrews, WSU professor of horticulture and a prominent researcher of nutrient value of organically grown food, is irked by the report, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, both by its … » More …

Spring 2009

Brewing Justice: Fair Trade Coffee, Sustainability, and Survival

About twelve years ago, I drank my first cup of fair trade coffee. I didn’t spend much time thinking about the implications—it just seemed like a decent idea to pay farmers a good price for their product.  But even the simple assumption that a fair trade or organic label guarantees farmers a better income or life can be questioned. Do farmers actually receive extra profit? Are they more successful than conventional producers? Do the labels mean anything to them? In Brewing Justice, Washington State University sociologist Daniel Jaffee explores those questions, and other complications of fair trade and organic coffee production, through the experiences of … » More …

Fall 2008

BJ Duft – Of meals and missions

At age 24, BJ Duft found himself in Bill Marriott’s private jet face-to-face with the CEO of Marriott International. They were headed back to Washington D.C. from Penn State University where Duft ’86 had gone to do some on-campus recruiting for the company and Marriott had attended a ceremony in his honor. During the flight Marriott turned to Duft and asked if he could change anything at the international hotel company, what would it be? Duft was so nervous that he has no clue what answer he managed to stammer out. What he does remember is that Marriott took a Steno notepad from his shirt … » More …