Whereas 2014 brought us the ramen burger and a full fledged quinoa craze, 2015 brought a whole new set of tasty trends. Let’s run through a few of our faves, shall well?
1. The death of dairy. With more non-dairy options entering the market at a fast clip, dairy consumption was down in 2015. Through the first seven months of the year, U.S. dairy exports shrunk 11 percent. So what is moving in instead? A larger variety of dairy-free options. Ben & Jerry’s announced their first non-dairy line and larger coffee houses continued to move past soy milk, with additions of coconut, almond and hemp options.
2. Plant-foods. In 2015, vegetable-based cuisine continued its steady march toward the new normal. More high-end restaurants began adding creative vegetarian options to their menus (sayonara, simple side salad) and the National Restaurant Association noted an overall 5 percent increase in vegan and vegetarian dining options. However, the increase in plant food doesn’t necessarily exclude meat. Omnivorous spots are also kicking up their use of local, fresh produce, pairing them with meaty accents. This brings us to …
3. Local. The focus on going local only increased in 2015, with more emphasis on environmental sustainability and hyper-local sourcing, the National Restaurant Association reported. Farm-to-table restaurants, neighborhood co-ops and CSA shares continued to rise in popularity as more consumers wise up to sustainable farming methods.
4. Less processed foods. More and more consumers are choosing to skip processed foods, with whole foods skyrocketing in 2015, according to the National Restaurant Association. Some tops favorites: sweet potatoes, avocado and leafy greens.
5. Cold brew coffee. Cold brew coffee—coffee and espresso prepped with cold water instead of the traditional hot variety—saw an uptick in 2015. Starbucks launched a cold brew line and FourSquare recorded more than 200 independent shops serving the chilly beverage.
6. Fancy ice cream sandwiches. Ice cream between brownies, cookies, waffles—oh my! Although dairy was down this year, the ice cream sandwich had a bit of an uprising, with revamped versions of the childhood favorite gracing menus across the country. The trend could possibly be traced back to LA’s trendy Coolhaus, which features ice cream stuffed between a load of strange “architecturally inspired” options, including fruit pebble cookies.
7. Avocado toast. According to Eater, 2015 was the year of the avocado toast. On Foursquare, mentions of “avocado toast” increased 270 percent from 2014 and overall internet searches for the nibble spiked greatly.
So what will we see in 2016? Experts and top chefs alike are expecting an uptick in seaweed consumption, African-inspired flavors and “pulses,” aka legumes. Bring on the lentils!
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By Jessica Corbett
A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."
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Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.
Abundant Harvests<p>Historically, Native people throughout the Americas bred indigenous plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their homelands. They selected seeds for many different traits, such as <a href="https://emergencemagazine.org/story/corn-tastes-better/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flavor, texture and color</a>.</p><p>Native growers knew that planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together produced mutual benefits. Corn stalks created a trellis for beans to climb, and beans' twining vines secured the corn in high winds. They also certainly observed that corn and bean plants growing together tended to be healthier than when raised separately. Today we know the reason: Bacteria living on bean plant roots pull nitrogen – an essential plant nutrient – from the air and <a href="http://www.tilthalliance.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/october/octobermngg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">convert it to a form that both beans and corn can use</a>.</p><p>Squash plants contributed by shading the ground with their broad leaves, preventing weeds from growing and retaining water in the soil. Heritage squash varieties also had spines that discouraged deer and raccoons from visiting the garden for a snack. And sunflowers planted around the edges of the garden created a natural fence, protecting other plants from wind and animals and attracting pollinators.</p><p>Interplanting these agricultural sisters produced bountiful harvests that sustained large Native communities and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/eam.2015.0016" target="_blank">spurred fruitful trade economies</a>. The first Europeans who reached the Americas were shocked at the abundant food crops they found. My research is exploring how, 200 years ago, Native American agriculturalists around the Great Lakes and along the Missouri and Red rivers fed fur traders with their diverse vegetable products.</p>
Displaced From the Land<p>As Euro-Americans settled permanently on the most fertile North American lands and acquired seeds that Native growers had carefully bred, they imposed policies that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr/87.2.550" target="_blank">made Native farming practices impossible</a>. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the <a href="https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act" target="_blank">Indian Removal Act</a>, which made it official U.S. policy to force Native peoples from their home locations, pushing them onto subpar lands.</p><p>On reservations, U.S. government officials discouraged Native women from cultivating anything larger than small garden plots and pressured Native men to practice Euro-American style monoculture. Allotment policies assigned small plots to nuclear families, further limiting Native Americans' access to land and preventing them from using communal farming practices.</p><p>Native children were forced to attend boarding schools, where they had no opportunity to <a href="https://doi.org/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0145" target="_blank">learn Native agriculture techniques or preservation and preparation of Indigenous foods</a>. Instead they were forced to eat Western foods, turning their palates away from their traditional preferences. Taken together, these policies <a href="https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-0802-7.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">almost entirely eradicated three sisters agriculture</a> from Native communities in the Midwest by the 1930s.</p>
Reviving Native Agriculture<p>Today Native people all over the U.S. are working diligently to <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reclaim Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and other crops</a>. This effort is important for many reasons.</p><p>Improving Native people's access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods will help lower rates of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aian-diabetes/index.html" target="_blank">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/native-american/obesity" target="_blank">obesity</a>, which affect Native Americans at disproportionately high rates. Sharing traditional knowledge about agriculture is a way for elders to pass cultural information along to younger generations. Indigenous growing techniques also protect the lands that Native nations now inhabit, and can potentially benefit the wider ecosystems around them.</p>
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.
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