Photographs: Wikimedia Commons, Washington Post

Two items out of Sustainorgania are making the rounds on the food sites today. The first, more attention-grabbing one, on The Atlantic Food Channel, has Bill and Nicolette Hahn Niman (of Niman Ranch fame) calling on the Obamas to become chicken farmers. "The idea may sound far fetched, but is it, really? At the dawn of the 20th century, chickens were literally everywhere." The Bay Area ranchers would like to see "a flock of egg-laying hens for the White House grounds."

This comes, of course, on the heels of the news about the new White House vegetable garden.

As Eater cleverly put it, "Give those locavores an inch and they'll take a mile.... Also everywhere at the dawn of the 20th century? Typhoid and steamboats."

The collective eye-rolling in the food blogosphere at the Nimans' expense neatly illustrates the point of the second story, a profile of food activist Dave Murphy in the Washington Post:

Three years ago, he left a good job in Washington to return home to Iowa, where a Minnesota corporation was threatening to build a nearly 5,000-head hog farm near his sister's home. "This is not something abstract," he said. "This is about people I know. People I went to high school with. When you speak to people from Berkeley or Manhattan, people on the coasts, it's a really different ballgame."

While Murphy shares the same goals as coastal folks like the Nimans, the Post says, "Iowans aren't vulnerable to the same charges of elitism as chefs in Berkeley or New York's Hudson Valley, and they have seen firsthand the consequences of factory farms."


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