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Food Fight

By Michael Shapiro

The California Healthy Foods Coalition, which supports farmers' rights to grow genetically engineered (GE) crops, announced that the California Restaurant Association has joined its campaign to "promote the benefits of biotech and oppose efforts to ban biotechnology in California." A poll cited by the coalition states 54 percent of California voters believe farmers should be allowed to grow GE crops.

But Dawn Pillsbury of the GE-Free Sonoma County calls those numbers hogwash. She says that a GE-free survey shows that 87 percent of those polled wouldn't eat genetically engineered foods if they were labeled as such, and she called the coalition an "industry front group."

According to the FeedingtheFuture.org, the coalition's website, its partners include the United Agribusiness League, the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Cattlemen's League and dozens of county farm bureaus.

Meanwhile, GE-Free Sonoma County says its supporters have reported that "Yes on M" signs have been disappearing from their front yards. Measure M, on this November's ballot, would place a 10-year moratorium on the production of GE crops in Sonoma County. The measure would not restrict drugs or vaccines for humans or animals, and protects farms from genetic contamination, a major concern for the county's organic growers. Marin and Mendocino counties have passed similar measures.

Pillsbury says that it appears that Measure M opponents are stealing the signs. Which would lead one to presume that some people support farmers' rights to grow GE foods, but not citizens' rights to voice their views on the matter.

Chasing Julia

In the spirit of learning by doing, Julie Powell, then a 30-year-old living in Queens, gave herself a culinary challenge: in one year she'd cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child's 1961 cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. While working her way through the tome, Powell kept a blog that attracted thousands last year. "Her writing is feisty and unrestrained, especially as she details killing lobsters, tackling marrowbones and cooking late into the night," says Publishers Weekly. Though Powell never met Child, the venerable chef's spirit infuses the text. Powell celebrates her new book, Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment, with a Child-inspired lunch at the SRJC Culinary Cafe and Bakery on Friday, Oct. 21, at noon. 458 B St., Santa Rosa. $20 includes the prix fixe lunch. For those who'd like to meet Powell without forking over $20, she'll greet all comers at 1:30pm. 707.576.0279.

Giving Back

In an effort to directly help someone affected by Hurricane Katrina, Restaurant Budo in Napa is offering a kitchen staff position to a cook who was displaced by the hurricane. The restaurant also has a couple of front-of-the-house openings. For openings at other restaurants that have pledged to hire Katrina's victims, see www.cirajobs.com. To contact Restaurant Budo, 1650 Soscol Ave., Napa, call 707.224.2330.

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From the October 5-11, 2005, 2005 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

Copyright © 2005 Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.

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