“I-522 is a complex, costly and misleading initiative that will raise grocery costs for Washington state consumers at a time when few can afford it,” he said. Genetically engineered crops have a gene from another plant inserted into them to give them some ability they didn’t have before. There are two common genetic modifications. One is for herbicide tolerance: Plants are given a gene that protects them from harm when a farmer sprays them with herbicides to kill weeds. The other is a gene from a soil bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis that allows plants to produce their own insecticide. In the United States a huge proportion of commodity crops are genetically engineered: 97% of the nation’s sugar beets, 93% of the soybeans, 90% of the cotton and 90% of the feed corn, according to the 2013 figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. About 60% of the papaya grown in the United States, all in Hawaii, has been genetically engineered to allow it to withstand the ringspot virus, which virtually wiped out papaya production in the islands in the 1980s, according to International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications. Very small amounts of genetically engineered zucchini, yellow squash and sweet corn are also sold in the United States. Connecticut passed GMO labeling legislation in June, but it doesn’t go into effect until four other New England states pass labeling laws. Maine has passed a bill that won’t go into effect “until five other states, or any amount of states with a total population of 20 million, enact” a similar one. Maine’s governor has said he will sign it in January.

GMO protest

cities; San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Denver, Omaha, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. These cities actively promote local foods, provide healthy food access, support farmers and advocate for community development. Some of the organizations in this cities address food waste, others recognize it as the next frontier. I started off my journey in San Francisco, home to the nation’s leading expert in food waste research, Dana Gunders of The National Resources Defense Council . Dana and I discussed the findings from her seminal report, specifically discussing food that rots on the agricultural level, as up to 50 percent of planted fields are not harvested. Farmers can only sell immaculate produce in order to pass quality standards and meet the demand of picky consumers. Blemished or misshapen produce does not make the grade. Dana noted that creating a business that lightly processes below-grade A farm produce, chopping it so blemishes or deformities are not noticeable and flash freezing would meet my goal of selling a nutritious product that reduces food waste. Building off of my original concept and adding in Dana’s details, I sought out to learn more. After a day on the train my fellow passengers and I deboarded in the early morning to explore Salt Lake City. With only 6 hours on the ground I spoke with an anti-hunger activist at the Utah Farmer’s Market. Gina Cornia from Utahns Against Hunger saw my venture as an opportunity to capacitate low-income families with purchasing power.

Food Waste to Plate: A Transcontinental Train Ride to Learn From the Real Food Pioneers

Food-stamp fraud alert.) Hold on a minute. Studies suggest that fraud is modest, equal to about 1 percent of the program’s spending. That’s still a lot of money, but as a percentage of the total it’s minor. Furthermore, fraud has gotten harder ever since benefits have been issued on electronic-benefit transfer cards, which operate like debit cards at the grocery store. What’s more, drawbacks to doling out cash are real and fly in the face of the moral component of receiving a government benefit. Aid comes with strings attached as part of the goal of inducing behavior that’s deemed socially beneficial. That’s why food stamps can’t be used to buy tobacco or alcohol. If a cash handout is easier for a store to administer, the same is true for a cash benefit used to buy dope on the street. Yes, there is an element of paternalism in food stamps. Yet it’s hard to justify the government using taxpayer money to subsidize iPhone purchases instead of spending on a necessity such as food. And what about those parents who lack the discipline or willingness to make good decisions? Food stamps prevent them from shifting spending on food for their children to other less-essential goods. If we want to alter the food-stamp status quo, a better idea is to cut the program and roll the money into an expanded earned-income tax credit, which provides a tax refund that’s especially valuable for working couples with kids. The credit has fewer negative incentives and seems to encourage work. As for those who are elderly and disabled, money from food stamps could be shifted to other programs, such as Social Security.