Undocumented Workers, Early Spring and More of the Food News You Need to Know This Week


Frank Bruni at the Times explores the “food snob” reaction to Trump’s steak preferences:
“When did we turn into such food snobs here in America, land of the free and home of the Bloomin’ Onion? We fancy ourselves a more egalitarian, unpretentious people than our European counterparts, but we’re prigs these days about matters gastronomic. Trump felt the lash of that last week, when details of his meal at his Washington hotel with the British politician Nigel Farage were revealed.”

Civil Eats covers the new book Letters to a Young Farmer:
“It’s a tough time to be a farmer. Consider the high cost of buying farmland, the systemic economic and ecological problems resulting from decades of industrial agriculture, and the uncertainty and disaster approaching due to our changing climate.

But really, it’s always been tough to be a farmer. They face long days of hard labor, minimal profit, unreliable and ever-changing markets, and a general lack of understanding and respect for their work from the very people they feed. It’s no wonder that young people aren’t racing to take up the charge. The average U.S. farmer was 58 years old in the last agricultural census, and that age continues to rise.”

Also at the Times, a conversation with Jake Weltzin, the executive director of the National Phenology Network about early spring:
“Mr. Weltzin’s team uses a model that combines weather data with historical data on the leafing and flowering of lilacs and honeysuckles to create a biological map of the onset of spring. Lilacs and honeysuckles are used because they are early indicators of spring, behave similarly to other plant species and grow across the United States.”

Eater looks at how restaurants hire undocumented workers:
“This is where things get a little fuzzy, and where most restaurateurs simply decide to turn a blind eye and say that whatever the employee has given them is good enough. Though I-9 falsification is a criminal offense both for the employer and the employee, employers who do get caught are held to a reasonableness standard in court — which means that as long as the name on the paperwork matches the name the employee gave them, and their photo ID looks like it could be them, they don’t tend to, or need to, ask questions.”

HuffPo writes up the Ikea Lab’s free designs for a garden sphere:
“This week Space10, an Ikea lab for futuristic, solutions-oriented designs, released open source plans for The Growroom, a large, multi-tiered spherical garden designed to sustainably grow enough food for an entire neighborhood. Hoping to help spur local growing and sourcing, Space10 made the plans available for free on Thursday.

The Growroom was designed by Space10 and architects Sine Lindholm and Mads-Ulrik Husum. And all it takes to complete the 17-step, architect-designed DIY garden of your dreams is plywood, a visit to your local community workshop, rubber hammers, metal screws and some patience:”