Re “Is Your Supper Safe?” [September/October], I would caution you about endorsing irradiated food to promote food safety. Studies of the safety of irradiated foods seem to have been short term, with the longest lasting only 15 weeks. I suggest you look into the research coming out of U. of Wisconsin on the effects of irradiated food on the nervous system (I’m not sure that’s what they were actually studying, but that’s what the results indicate).
Keep putting out those recipes—I’ll warp them toward food not irradiated, if I can avoid it, locally grown, preferably organic foods!
Beth Gorton, Ascutney, VT
Editor’s reply: As we mentioned, irradiation is not the only solution for safer foods. But it is one option—and the radiation doses approved for treating foods are safe for human consumption, according to the experts with whom we spoke.
The “Local Hero” piece “Pushing Up Zucchini” on the Emanu-El Temple congregation [Fresh, September/October] was amazing. It was heart-moving to read about them using part of the cemetery land to grow crops to feed the hungry. That’s true community spirit.
Ilaine Bickley, Springs, NY
I read with interest your article on a California city starting the program of curbside composting [Fresh, July/August]. In Austin, Texas, we have an even better program: the Austin Farmer’s Market has a Compost Bin available every Saturday morning and Wednesday afternoon where customers can dump their food scraps, tea bags and coffee grounds. Instead of costing taxpayer dollars, the compost is taken by the farmers selling their wares at the market that day. It’s a win-win for everyone—compost gets made into fertilizer rather than filling up government landfills; farmers get free vitamins for their fruits and vegetables; and consumers get double gifts: a way to get rid of kitchen scraps and the healthy food that this compost helps produce. This simple program could make such a difference in so many communities—thank you for recommending it.
Celeste Cooke Hubert, Austin, TX
After reading and rereading the July/August issue and David Goodman’s feature on local food systems, “Foodtopia,” and Ben Hewitt’s essay, “Living Off the Land,” I am repeatedly asking myself why I ever left north-central Vermont. I am longing to bring back into my life that sense of love, respect and appreciation for the land, wholesome food, and that soulful approach to a honest day’s work with genuine people among elements of nature.
Dawn Dinsdale, Boise, ID