Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Thanksgiving meal from space and other food news

Happy Thanksgiving!  To celebrate the day, I'm posting the food news I've saved up, just as I did last year by posting all the food news I've collected since Food Day.  I begin with reporting on Thanksgiving in Space: Astronauts Share Their Cosmic Menu | Video.

On the ISS, NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins send down their best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving and their crewmates show off the station's galley where they will be preparing and enjoying a Thanksgiving meal.
Follow over the jump for more food news.

University of Massachusetts brings news about my favorite holiday relish inCranberry Research Station.

The UMass Cranberry Station has been working with Massachusetts cranberry growers for more than a century to fight pests and improve yields of the fruit, an important crop for the state. The 2013 harvest took place in glorious autumn sunshine.
Now, dessert from the University of Wisconsin: Forward Motion - The Sweet Science of Making Candy.

Want to learn the science behind making candy? There's only one place in the nation to do so, UW-Madison. Take a look at how these students gain experience that makes them not only smart, but marketable.
Also from my favorite Cheeseheads, a research story about how New technology could help food crops thrive in crowded fields.
Nov. 19, 2013
With the global population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, the world's farmers are going to need to produce a lot more food — but without using much more farmland, as the vast majority of the world's arable land is already being used for agriculture.

One possible solution is to try to grow crops more densely in the field, thereby increasing yield per acre. But it's not as easy as just spacing seeds more closely together at planting time.

Packed too tight, for instance, corn plants will grow tall and spindly as they try to outcompete neighboring plants for access to sunlight — a phenomenon known as shade avoidance.

"The problem with shade avoidance when it comes to food crops is that the plants are spending all this time and energy making stems so they can grow tall, instead of making food that we eat," explains UW-Madison plant geneticist Richard Vierstra, who is developing a work-around.
Finally, because I'm an environmentalist and I recycle, here's a story I originally used in Colorado and Washington voting on hemp and GMOs.

Rutgers University: Most Americans Pay Little Attention to Genetically Modified Foods, Survey Says
Lots of money, not much public awareness, in GM food debate
Friday, November 1, 2013
A national survey shows that most Americans pay little attention to the debate over genetically modified foods, despite extensive media coverage of the issue.

The survey, released by researchers at Rutgers University, found that more than half (53 percent) say they know very little or nothing at all about genetically modified (GM) foods, and one in four (25 percent) say they have never heard of them. Even with the media attention resulting from recent ballot initiatives in California (Proposition 37) and Washington State (Initiative 522) and legislative actions in at least 20 other states that would require labeling of GM foods, the Rutgers study found that only about a quarter (26 percent) of Americans realize that current regulations do not require GM products to be labeled.

“Americans do care about what’s in their food, and they do read labels,” said William Hallman, professor of human ecology in Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, and lead author of the study. “Eighty-two percent of the respondents told us they sometimes or frequently or always read food labels. But determining what labeling information they value is not a straightforward task. Whether consumers say they want GM food labels depends on how you ask the question, so we asked about it in several ways.”
Initiative 522 in Washington failed.  Back to the drawing board for the anti-GMO activists.

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