Vanessa Barrington

Vanessa Barrington is a San Francisco based writer and communications consultant specializing in environmental, social, and political issues in the food system.

Articles by Vanessa Barrington:

Wake Up to the (Secret) Farm Bill


The Super Committee and the Secret Farm Bill.

If the words “Farm Bill” make your eyes glaze over and your head start bobbing, you’re not alone, but slap yourself awake because the Farm Bill is not just for farmers; it’s for all eaters. And it matters.

Easy Tips for Using the Last of Summer’s Produce

Fun ways to ensure a waste-free harvest season.

It’s a sad fact that nearly 50% of the food we grow goes to waste. Some of that is wasted in the fields, after harvest, and some in distribution. Out of the food that actually makes it to the store, we, as consumers, throw away nearly 1/3 of the food we buy and take home.

12 Umami Boosting Secrets to Making Vegan and Vegetarian Fare Tasty

 Umami, known as the fifth taste, is what makes certain foods savory and deeply flavorful.

When you taste something with complex layers of flavor that fill the mouth and satisfy the soul, it’s likely you’re tasting umami. Umami is famously present in many animal products including cheeses, aged meats like salami, salted fish like anchovies, and fresh meats and seafood that have been caramelized at high temperatures. Luckily for vegetarians and vegans, umami exists in any food that contains the amino acid L-glutamate, including many plant-based foods.

Fit to Eat: News from the Food World – Marketing and Advertising Edition

ColumnAdvertising tricks from the food world.

In this edition of Fit to Eat, we’re focusing on advertising and marketing: the good, the bad, the ugly and some gray areas in between. The very bad form award goes to one well-known seafood chain using the prospect of ocean species extinction as a marketing campaign to sell menu items; Chipotle, the burrito chain, enlists Willie Nelson to cover a Coldplay hit to highlight the company’s commitment to supporting small scale farmers; Yum! Brands, the grease factory that brings us Kentucky Fried Chicken …

Field to Flake: How Breakfast Cereal is Made

ColumnHow processed is it?

While sleepily shaking your cereal flakes into a bowl, and absently pouring the milk over them, have you ever stopped to think, just before taking a big, slurpy bite, “How is this stuff made?”

If you went ahead and took the time to find out, you’d be surprised to learn that no matter how healthy and natural the advertising on the packages makes those crunchy bits of wheat, oats, and corn seem, they are actually a highly processed food whose nutrient value is questionable.

But that wasn’t how it …

How to Eat: 14 Greatest Hits from The Green Plate

ColumnOur top columns on how to eat ethically.

Whether you’re new to Ecosalon, or just beginning to navigate the choppy waters of ethical eating, you’ll find the following 14 links instructive in helping you eat (and live) both well and deliciously.

1. How to Cook

Despite your best intentions, do you find yourself letting vegetables rot in the produce drawer while you rely on takeout? Learn how to integrate cooking into your daily life and you’ll find yourself eating in more frequently.

2. How to Eat Locally

Why does grocery store produce taste like an inferior imitation of that which you buy at a farmers’ market or grow yourself? It’s likely not in season, it was picked too early, and shipped from afar. With piles of produce from all over the globe, a trip to the typical grocery store is hardly instructive if you want to know what’s in season. Start here to learn.

3. How to be a Semi-Vegetarian

Not quite ready to go vegetarian, but would like to lower your consumption of meat for your health and the environment? Learn how you can have your chard and eat your chicken (once in awhile) too.

The Best Superfoods Are the Ones Growing in Your Garden

ColumnReaders tell us what they’re growing in their summer gardens.

As a fun way to look at what’s in season across the country and in other parts of the world, we took this month’s Seasonal Superfoods on the road. We asked our readers via Facebook and Twitter what they’re growing, where they’re located and how they prepare the goodness from their gardens and compiled the results below.

If you didn’t get a chance to participate, leave a comment below and let us know what you’re doing with your garden’s bounty!

Lisa:

Hunger Pains: 6 Million Americans Struggle to Eat

ColumnCould you eat on $4 a day?

There are more people on Food Stamps, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), than ever before in the United States. As of May, 45,753,078 Americans were enrolled in SNAP, an increase of over 60% since the recession began in April 2008 and a jump of 12.1% over May 2010. That’s nearly 15% of the U.S. population, or around 1 in 7 people. Additional program data can be found here.

Though the program was designed to be supplemental, according to data collected by The …