Thursday, June 26, 2008

NAIS: Putting Local Ranchers Out of Business

Seems Congress is now trying to help the US Department of Agriculture make what has been billed as a voluntary system, mandatory, and in the process shut small farmers and ranchers out of the farm-to-school program. The system is the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) which is a USDA plan to electronically track every livestock animal in the country (an ill-conceived, bureaucratic nightmare that masquerades as a food safety measure).

Today, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a provision of the 2009 Agriculture Appropriations Bill that was introduced last week by Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). It would require all meat products for the school lunch program be purchased only from livestock premises registered with NAIS. Long story short: The extra cost NAIS imposes on small ranchers and farmers will in many cases put them out of business and out of the farm-to-school program.

Ironically, the farm-to-school program is all about improving children's nutrition while providing family farms with a reliable market.

A lot of groups are opposed and are trying to get the measure defeated. If you're interested in supporting local agriculture (and if you're a Slow Foodie you probably are), you owe it to yourself to get smart on NAIS and actively oppose it.

Here are some good sources:

The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. Based in Austin, it's a leader in the fight against NAIS.
The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, which is filing suit against the USDA to halt the implementation of NAIS.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Eden's Organic Garden Center to Launch New CSA

Eden's is taking the pulse of the southeast DFW area to see what level of interest in supporting a new CSA there is. Marie is looking to break ground for a fall garden - cool season veggies mostly and a salad eaters dream come true. So, if you're interested, let her know via her website/email ( or call her at 214-348-3336

A CSA or Community Supported Agriculture is, according to Local Harvest "a way for the food buying public to create a relationship with a farm and to receive a weekly basket of produce. By making a financial commitment to a farm, people become "members" (or "shareholders," or "subscribers") of the CSA. Most CSA farmers prefer that members pay for the season up-front, but some farmers will accept weekly or monthly payments. Some CSAs also require that members work a small number of hours on the farm during the growing season.

"A CSA season typically runs from late spring through early fall. The number of CSAs in the United States was estimated at 50 in 1990, and has since grown to over 1000."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Texas Inspired Stilton Soup

Here is the recipe for the Bosque Blue soup that Susan and I brought to the recent Summer Potluck Dinner hosted by Peter and Julie Schaar.

It is actually a recipe for stilton soup but Veldhuizen Farms Bosque Blue is so close to stilton it is a very fitting substitute.

Veldhuizen Farms Bosque Blue is, at present, only available directly from the creamery. Their web site, with an ordering page, can be found here:

The wine used in the cheese was the 2005 Barking Rocks, Blanc du Bois, Granbury Texas . Their web site can be found here:


Andrew Chalk