Kiko's Food News, 9.23.11

Have you heard the phrase “hypermarket”? It’s a new term for a supermarket plus department store; check out this shocking chart about just how “hyper” these can be: (full story)

Speaking of Wal-Mart, this is more consumer culture than food news per se, but too funny. Wal-Mart is being called a “magnet for American mayhem”; did you know that Sarah Palin once officiated a wedding at her hometown branch?(full story)

And as for the fate of a few chain (but not hyper) markets, the United Food and Commercial Workers union confirmed Monday that they had reached a three-year labor contract with Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons, averting a grocery strike that would have idled more than 54,000 workers across Southern California. If the strike had gone forward, many shoppers may have fled to the competition (and stayed there) as they did in 2003-04 strike: (full story)

Can the food industry and government work together to solve epidemics of obesity and chronic disease? The International Food and Beverage Alliance participated in U.N. meetings this week, but Marion Nestle illuminates how their intentions might have been more to prevent the U.N. from issuing a statement that says anything about how food marketing promotes obesity and related chronic diseases: (full story)

The federal government has mandated a healthier menu, and state and school officials are trying to figure out how to absorb the added costs. The U.S.D.A. plans on giving a reimbursement of six additional cents per lunch to those schools that offer more fruits and vegetables; will federal aid cover only the beginning of the program? (full story)

The Alameda Point Collaborative Urban Farm, a one-acre farm growing a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, eggs, honey, is an example of public benefit communities can reap from former military lands. In urban areas with less potential for growing food, base closings free up large swaths of land which can be used for farming: (full story)

Finally, a report card for food activists: Michael Pollan discusses how the food movement can claim more success in changing popular consciousness than in shifting political and economic forces. But since our government is subsidizing precisely the sort of meal for which they’ll have to pick up the long-term tab (in health costs), advocates of food system reform may appear in unlikely places: (full story)