The Fight Against GMOs and Toxic Food

sdfp gmo0 label

While Other Countries Ban GMOs, US Congress Endorses Them

By John Lawrence

Scotland has banned genetically modified organisms (GMOs) within its country. “Scotland is known around the world for our beautiful natural environment—and banning growing genetically modified crops will protect and further enhance our clean, green status,” said rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead. Here in the US the fight is just for the right to know that a food product should be labeled as GMO, and that’s not going so well.

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. This is BS, of course, since the bill’s real purpose is to preempt the rights of state and local governments to pass laws requiring the mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), to overturn GMO labeling laws already in place in several states, and to prevent the passage of any federal mandatory GMO labeling law in the future. So there is no free speech insofar as knowing what’s in something we are eating is concerned. The law’s attempt is to suppress truth in labeling.

GMOs were developed primarily to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup so that Roundup could be sprayed directly on crops and only the weeds would die. So whether or not GMO corn and soybeans are good or bad for you, the presence of poison sprayed on them can’t be too good for human consumers when they eat such crops. Especially crops such as grapes and apples which have very thin skins and are vulnerable to soaking up the herbicides and pesticides sprayed on them.   [Read more…]

Labor Day and the Cycle of Change in the Garden


By Susan Taylor

Traditionally Labor Day weekend is the harbinger of fall in much of our nation. The eastern states put away their garden furniture, barbeques, and lawn mowers and locate storm windows and heavier jackets. Here in the sunny southern California clime, we expect at least another six weeks of warm weather, beach parties and more clear, warm days and nights. In San Diego, most would agree that the August heat was epic for people and gardens alike and maybe summer has just begun!

I am a fickle home gardener and confess I gave up on my whole tomato crop, picked as many as I could and ripped the rest out.   [Read more…]

San Diego Brewery May Be ‘Selling Out’. Does It Matter?

elysian sucks

By John P. Anderson

San Diego County has a large beer industry, there are currently more than 110 active breweries. Along with high numbers, San Diego has earned a reputation as a leader in the craft beer industry. Many would rank it as the top craft beer city/region in the United States – whether it is the top dog or in the top five isn’t especially important. It’s a leader however you measure – top ranked beers, top ranked breweries, number of breweries, or gallons produced annually.

So InBev and MillerCoors come to town and write a check with a bunch of zeroes, hope someone takes the offer, and then do their best to make sure that as few people as possible know that a big brewery now owns the “little guy”. So does it matter if a brewery is owned by a person in your neighborhood or a large corporation like InBev? For many it does.   [Read more…]

Lazy Fare in the Garden: Just Let It Be


By Jeeni Criscenzo

Ever since I read the book Noah’s Garden by Sara Stein, I’ve taken a more laissez-faire attitude toward gardening. While I haven’t let my garden return back to its pre-human-intervention state, I’ve stopped being so controlling about what gets to grow where.

One of the best features of the home we rent is the big flat, unshaded yard overlooking the Tecolote Canyon. While the soil needed a lot of amending, it’s otherwise a perfect place for a vegetable garden. The 5-foot cinder block wall isn’t pretty, but it’s kept the coyotes out (so far)–the other critters – not so much.

I noticed this morning that something (most likely a squirrel) had polished off every leaf on my zucchinis, cucumbers and sweet potatoes. All of that in one night! They must have had a helluva full-moon bash! Just the day before, those plants were thriving in big plastic gopher-proof containers. But apparently they were just a tub-o-fun for squirrels.   [Read more…]

Anti-LGBT Strategies a Big Part of Skyline Church’s ‘Future Conference’


By Doug Porter

Media Matters for America has posted an insiders account of presentations by the country’s most prominent anti-LGBT activists during a recent conference at San Diego’s Skyline Church.

Organized by Skyline Pastor Jim Garlow, the 2015 Future Conference was called in response to “the thorniest and most challenging issues in the current cultural landscape.”

While the four day gathering featured presentations covering a range of issues, the alleged rise of Christian persecution stemming from the growing acceptance of LGBT people was the unifying theme.   [Read more…]

San Diego Gardening in July: It’s about the Water!

Pinch off excess flowers

By Susan Taylor

Friends—India and Pakistan had devastating heat waves in June. This makes my whine about too much heat in San Diego gardens a bit of a whine. Nonetheless, the heat in my La Mesa garden just about did my veggies and me in. I thought I was watering deeply only to discover that I was not.

San Diego County has many water districts, each of which has warned consumers about percentage of water reduction for their residential customers. Be sure you know how much water reduction is required (read mandatory) in your neighborhood.

We all waste more water inside and outside our homes than we realize and it really must stop. Here’s how to be water wise in the garden in July and probably August.
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Ronald McDonald’s Unhappy Meals

Photo by jordanfischer

By Jill Richardson / OtherWords

McDonald’s is floundering.

There’s no other way to say it. The global fast food chain has experienced declining U.S. sales for well over a year now. But why?

I’d love to gloat that Americans have finally caught on that the Golden Arches peddles terrible food, but that might not be the case.

Theories for the slump abound.   [Read more…]

SDSU/CPI Study Finds Wage Theft, Labor Law Violations and Discrimination in Local Restaurants


By Doug Porter

A study by San Diego State University Department of Sociology and the Center on Policy Initiatives found persuasive evidence of widespread wage theft, labor law violations and widespread discrimination in restaurants throughout San Diego.

If you went in to a grocery store and took something without paying, you’d face arrest. If you robbed a bank you’d be eligible for jail time. Both are thefts. Both are crimes.

But if you’re an employer in the restaurant industry and fail to pay an employee’s wages –also a crime–, chances are good to excellent that you’ll get way with it. So this morning we’re learning  there’s a crime wave going on in San Diego. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.   [Read more…]

June in Your Garden: Time for Early Summer Planting


San Diegans get half an inch of rain… and they become mad planters!

Yes, it did rain and everyone rushed to plant more seeds and summer veggies in the refreshed soil. What a good idea! While it rained I browsed yet another article on companion planting. Although we did cover this topic last year I think it bears consideration.

Companion planting means planting certain garden plants together for intended benefits. My main take away recently is that nasturtiums, marigolds and various herbs are wonderful additions to most garden beds because they stimulate and improve the taste of much of what we grow. These three are also deterrents for many garden pests.   [Read more…]

Restaurant Review : The Marine Room

View from the Marine Room

I don’t remember the last time I went to a restaurant where I felt that I needed to dress up before entering their door. But last night one of my first Foreign Language Students – Corinne – graduated with her Ph.D and she wanted to celebrate. “After all,” she said, “I won’t be getting another degree any time in this lifetime.”

To say that I was nonplussed when she told me that she had made reservations at the Marine Room for the celebration I was stunned. I figured eating there would only add to the student debt that she must have incurred over the past 3 years.   [Read more…]

If You Google “Pint of Science…”


By Mukul Khurana

Pint of Science is not the kind of event one thinks of when looking for things to do around town. But San Diego is changing. Not only has the cultural and art scene been steadily changing for the better in the past decade or two, but even the content is getting “meatier.” Cleverly, one of the first events locally was titled: “Science of San Diego: Beer, Brains, and Beaches.”

That describes San Diego pretty well and it also shows that the organizers have a sense of humor. The idea of pairing beer and science makes sense as a way of making the average San Diegan interact with science on a casual basis. Not all of us are involved in PhDs.   [Read more…]

The Chinese in Mexicali

By Barbara Zaragoza / South Bay Compass

Welcome to my “ethnic enclave” tour of the border! I’ve been fascinated by how many different languages, cultures and religious groups exist along both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Today, I focus on the Chinese.

Mexicali is the capital of Baja California and it’s a booming city of around 1 million residents. The city also has a unique claim to fame: La Chinesca or the largest Chinatown in Mexico.

The Chinese influence remains substantial here, even as there are perhaps fewer than 5,000 full blooded Chinese and three times that number of mixed Chinese-Mexicans.
  [Read more…]

Restaurant Review: SEA180º Coastal Tavern

By Judi Curry

Many, many years ago, I was the Vocational Manager at San Diego Job Corps. There was not a restaurant that would rank over a “3”then, but times have really changed.

This past weekend I celebrated my $%th birthday. But the way I celebrated it was different than I thought it would be. My friend, “Cowboy” flew in from North Dakota to help me age. But he also had started building a solar panel over my flat roof the last time he was here because I kept complaining how cold my bedroom was during the day. He drew diagrams, checked different places on line for parts, and asked a question that triggered a memory from a few years past. I cannot tell you what that question was, but I knew where I could get the answer.

During the time I was at SDJC, we had an excellent Solar instructor teaching our students how to build and maintain solar panels. Over the years I called upon him to repair various problems I had with the electrical lines going to the house, and I knew that if I ever was in a bind I could call on him.

I put in a call to Randall Mann and he agreed to meet us and see if he could answer Cowboy’s questions. He suggested that we meet at the “SEA 180º Coastal Tavern” because it was close to work and a nice place. And nice it was! Beautiful view, both from the inside and outside.   [Read more…]

The Lobbyists at Your Dinner Party

Every purveyor of food and drink wants the government to advise Americans to consume more of what they produce

By Jill Richardson /Other Words

Remember the old food pyramid?

Until “MyPlate” replaced it a few years ago, the U.S. government’s official dietary advice for Americans fit neatly into that triangle.

The government recently moved toward updating those standards again. And the result isn’t nearly as digestible. In classic bureaucratic form, the Department of Health and Human Services cooked up a 571-page draft report for Americans to comment on.

The actual updated dietary guidelines will come later. Here’s what we know about the draftso far: The meat and soda industries hate it.   [Read more…]

Some Things Never Change: A Review of Perry’s Café

By Judi Curry

It has been years since I have had breakfast at Perry’s. It was a place that my husband and I used to go to frequently and always enjoyed the meals we had there. However, since he passed away, I find it difficult to frequent those places that we patronized, because it always brings back memories that I would just as soon forget.

However, one of the members of my widow support group – Ro – had a birthday today that we wanted to celebrate, and she chose “Perry’s” as the place she would like to go. Interesting enough, all of us had been there with our spouses, with the exception of Candy. We asked the very nice waitress when Perry’s opened, since we all had recollections of our previous visits there and she said it was about the middle 1980’s.   [Read more…]

Sometimes the Simple Things are the Most Fun

Try going to the “ZION” Market one day

By Judi Curry

As much as I hate to admit it, I have a birthday coming up at the end of the week. As a general rule I would just as soon forget the day and move right on to the next one.

Perhaps many of you know that I am a “host mother” to foreign language students in the US to hone their English skills. My latest student is the 413th student I have housed since 1992, when my husband and I began this adventure. I have had students from all over the world; each one unique in their own way; and with the exception of only three students I asked to have removed from my home, it has been a wonderful experience.

Yuri, one of my two students right now will be leaving me in March after being here for one year. Ever since she arrived she has been “threatening” to cook a Japanese meal for me. (Yes, I have cooked one for her – but she keeps saying “I will cook one for you.”) And, apparently, now is the time for a great adventure.   [Read more…]

OB’s People’s Food Expansion Plans Put on Hold

Organic Store Had Agreement With “Tiny” of Tiny’s Tavern Before His Recent Passing

By Frank Gormlie

The expansion plans of Ocean Beach’s largest employer, the famous OB People’s Organic Food Market, have been placed on hold due to the unfortunate and untimely death of “Tiny”, the owner of Tiny’s Tavern.

The market co-op, which is a mainstay on Voltaire Street in OB, has just recently purchased the two parcels of land directly to the store’s east, one containing a duplex and the other containing Tiny’s Tavern. And part of the store’s expansion plans were based on an agreement with “Tiny” who was on the verge of retiring from operating his bar and small grill. “Tiny” – the nickname of Alan Kajiwara – had planned to use the land sale to the co-op as a push for him to move back to Hawaii where he has family, but his fatal stroke at the age of 54 ended all that.   [Read more…]

The War on Hen-Pecking

All states should follow California’s example and make egg producers treat laying hens better.

By Jill Richardson / OtherWords

Chickens had plenty to celebrate on New Year’s Day. Supposedly.

After a long wait, California’s 2008 ballot measure to improve conditions for laying hens finally went into effect. Instead of living in cramped cages that give each bird less room than a sheet of paper, the birds are going to get enough space to lie down, stand up, stretch their wings, or turn around.

That’s still not very much space. And it’s certainly not “Chicken Disneyland” as egg producer Frank Hilliker told UT-San Diego.   [Read more…]

For the Love of Tamales

Beautiful food, the company of women and the immense edifice of memory

By Anna Daniels

Christmas without tamales is unimaginable. It is unimaginable not because I grew up in a household in which we ate tamales–I didn’t– but because I am here, in this place, where Mexico and the US are all mixed up together. Tamales are a form of gustatory truce. Tamales are the mouth watering accompaniment to baptisms, quinceañeras and la Navidad. They are the proof that corn is indeed divine. Tamales!   [Read more…]

The Food Waste Fiasco: You Have to See It to Believe It

By Rob Greenfield

You may have already heard a few appalling facts about food waste but just in case you haven’t, here are a few tidbits of information to catch you up on the issue.

-We throw away 165 billion dollars worth of food per year in America. That’s more than the budgets for America’s national parks, public libraries, federal prisons, veteran’s health care, the FBI, and the FDA combined.

-About 50 million of our 317 million Americans are food insecure yet we produce enough food to feed over 500 million Americans.

-To create just the amount of food that ends up in the landfills we waste enough water to meet the domestic water needs of every American citizen.

Even with these mind-blowing statistics you probably still need to see it to believe it. That is where I come in.   [Read more…]

Fall Brewing Company Joins North Park Beer Scene

The more the merrier or enough already?

By John P. Anderson

Joining the large beer and brewing scene in North Park, Fall Brewing Company opened for customers this week. The brewery is located at 4542 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104 and is currently in ‘soft opening’ mode. The doors are open, but they’re not yet promoting the brewery to the public while kinks are ironed out – setting up the sales software, building up the stable of beers on tap, arranging staffing, etc.   [Read more…]

Don’t Read This Column If You Haven’t Voted

By Doug Porter

Today’s supposed to be the day I hit you with the “Get Out and Vote or I’ll Shoot This Puppy” column. It ain’t happening. I’ve already voted.

I’ve written 22 stories and columns about the November 2014 general election, and I’ll probably write a few wrap ups after the dust settles.  If you’re going to vote later, fine, read this column later. If you’re not going to vote at all, look for me to come to your house in search of a puppy.

So today, for those of you who have already voted, I’m going to cover other news, and some good news at that.  I’m perfectly aware that I will be punished by the search engine gods for not going apocalyptic about the election.

(Seriously, if you need election info…)

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As Study Shows Poverty Rising in San Diego, Campaign to Shame Restaurant Industry Over Wages Emerges

By Doug Porter

The poverty rate in San Diego has risen over the past year according to data released by U.S. Census Bureau this week. A total of 209,045 San Diegans (15.8%)  lived below the federal poverty level last year, including more than 64,000 children (21.9%) of all children in the city.  

The release of this report comes two days after the San Diego Chamber of Commerce claimed success in a referendum campaign effectively halting implementation of a local minimum wage increase. Much of the money for that campaign reportedly came via the California Restaurant Association.   [Read more…]

The Shameful Truth About the Naked Juice Class Action Lawsuit Settlement and What American Consumers Can Do About It

By Max Goldberg / Living Maxwell

Last week, Naked Juice agreed to settle a very important class action lawsuit which accused the company of deceptive labeling.

The primary basis of the lawsuit stemmed from the company’s use of the words “All Natural” on products that contained Archer Daniels Midland’s Fibersol-2 (“a soluble corn fiber that acts as a low-calorie bulking agent”), fructooligosaccharides (an alternative sweetener), other artificial ingredients, such as calcium pantothenate (synthetically produced from formaldehyde), and genetically-modified soy.

Since these ingredients are either genetically-engineered or synthetically produced and do not exist in nature, it is completely misleading to consumers for these juices to claim to be “All Natural.”   [Read more…]

Fall Gardening in San Diego

Gardening is the new front porch in urban America- share yours!

By Susan Taylor

Fall gardening! Yes, I know that it is still over 90 degrees in all parts of the county except along the coast and these high temperatures could last many more weeks. I have been reduced to gardening before 9 a.m. when it really heats up in my La Mesa neighborhood. I’ve been harvesting massive amounts of figs every day, which I’ve eaten right off the Mission fig tree that grew to over 12 feet tall this year and nearly as wide. I’m eating dried figs, cooked up with some sugar and port and frozen. I may have to try Fig Taylors before long.

When I saw the massive number of baby green figs emerge this summer, I asked my sons to drape some bird netting over and around as many branches as they could. When the figs changed from green to soft, luscious and dark purple the netting saved the harvest from the birds and June bugs waiting patiently for the fruit to be perfectly ripe. So far I’ve ‘lost’ two earrings and a pair of sunglasses that I might be able to reclaim from the net when fig season is over.   [Read more…]