Read Organic farming is on the rise in the U.S. by Kristen Bialik (Pew Research Center)
There were more than 14,000 certified organic farms in the United States in 2016, a 56% increase from 2011.

Still, organic farming makes up a small share of U.S. farmland overall. There were 5 million certified organic acres of farmland in 2016, representing less than 1% of the 911 million acres of total farmland nationwide. Some states, however, had relatively large shares of organic farmland. Vermont’s 134,000 certified organic acres accounted for 11% of its total 1.25 million farm acres. California, Maine and New York followed in largest shares of organic acreage – in each, certified organic acres made up 4% of total farmland. 

Annotated on March 07, 2020 at 12:09PM


Certified organic food, according to the Agriculture Department’s definition, must be produced without the use of conventional pesticides, petroleum- or sewage-based fertilizers, herbicides, genetic engineering, antibiotics, growth hormones or irradiation. Certified organic farms must also adhere to certain animal health and welfare standards, not treat land with any prohibited substances for at least three years prior to harvest, and reach a certain threshold for gross annual organic sales. U.S. organic farms that are not certified organic are not included in this analysis. 

Annotated on March 07, 2020 at 12:15PM

Replied to Navigating my way into veganism by Bryan Alexander (bryanalexander.org)
For the past month I’ve been I’ve following a vegan diet.  So in a brief pause from my focus on the future of education, I’ll share some thoughts about this experiment. It’s…
This is excellent Bryan. It’s something I ought to look into in more depth myself, but reading about your experience actually points out to me that I’m eating a lot more rice and beans in the last few years. Having a rice cooker means I almost always have cooked rice on hand with a fraction of the effort it had taken before. I also make about 4 cups of beans every week, so those are always hiding in the refrigerator. I also bought a tortilla press and making those is far easier and they’re far tastier than those in the stores and for a dramatic fraction of the price. I’ve taken to having a lot more fresh fruits and vegetables in the house, and I find it’s easier to grab an apple, banana, orange or something than it is chips or other junk food of which I’m starting to keep almost none around the house.

Another shift that I’ve found somewhat useful is that I became lactose intolerant in the middle of last year, so diverting around large amounts of dairy has likely been helpful.

One of my other shifts in the past few years is that I truly love a great pastry. As a result, the level of what I consider good pastry and other treats has risen dramatically. Now I find that I either have to make my own or get them on demand at local shops. This has prevented me from eating a lot of inferior and rather tasteless junk food as a result. Girl Scout Cookie season is upon us, and I just can’t bring myself to eat such dreadful snacks anymore when I could have something much tastier and likely healthier. Of course as part of all this, I’m also making a lot more of my own bread now too. It isn’t nearly as difficult as I had thought it would be to make fresh bread every couple of days.

In sum, I hadn’t really noticed it until you’ve pointed it out, but I’ve largely taken to the diet you’ve outlined. The primary difference is that I’ve come around to it in a much different fashion.

Read Norms is expanding like crazy. How a SoCal institution is staying the same to get ahead (Los Angeles Times)
The company that bought Norms restaurants six years ago is expanding the brand. How the 70-year-old chain plans to stay the same to get ahead.
I was shocked the other day to realize the West LA location had apparently closed. Now that I hear they’ve been bought out and are expanding, I’m wondering what happened at that location?
Listened to The Thirteenth Amendment by Dr. Sarah Taber from Farm to Taber

As immigration for farm work slows, farms are beginning to turn to convict labor.

Some stunning observations on labor here. Definitely worth a second listen for additional notes and subtlety.
Watched Meat Expert Guesses Cheap vs Expensive Deli Meats | Price Points from Epicurious | YouTube
In this episode of 'Price Points', Epicurious challenged meat expert Elias Cairo of Olympia Provisions to guess which one of two deli meats was more expensive. Cairo breaks down cuts of salami, ham, bologna, mortadella, hot dogs, sausages, and prosciutto. For each round of deli meats, Cairo visually scans, smells, and taste tests each meat before guessing which deli meat costs more. Once the prices were revealed, Cairo explains why a specific deli meat costs more and dives into specifics on what to look for in a deli meat.
I just love food pieces like this that are less aspirational than most Food Network content, but are more informative.
Watched How To Eat Sushi The Right Way from VICE | YouTube

Coming to you straight from the sushi chef's mouth, MUNCHIES presents the dos and don'ts of eating sushi, as taught by Tokyo's Naomichi Yasuda. Be warned: You've been doing it wrong. Just remember: It's okay to use your fingers to eat cut sushi rolls. Don't combine ginger and sushi, or ginger and soy sauce. Ginger is a palate cleanser in between bites. When dipping sushi into soy sauce, dip fish-side down. Never shake soy sauce off of sushi. That's like shaking your wanker in public.

I thought there might be some more subtlety here, but generally I’ve apparently been doing alright.

The importance of bread in society: the etymology of Lord

In listening to The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition by Seth Lerer (Lecture 8), I came across an interesting word etymology which foodies and particularly bread fans will appreciate.

Dr. Lerer was talking about the compression of syllables at the border of Old English and Middle English circa 1100 which occurred in such terms as hlaf weard, the warden (or guardian) of the loaf.

Who is the guardian of the loaf? The hlfaf weard << The hlaweard << the laweard << the lord. This is the etymology of the word 'lord'. Lord is the guardian of the bread, the mete-er out of bread in a cereal society.

An interesting linguistic change that tells us a lot about power, structure, religion, and society surrounding bread of the time. I suppose one could also look at Christian traditions of the time which looked at the transubstantiation of the symbolic bread of the Last Supper which is ritually turned into the body of Christ–Christ, our lord.

One can’t help noting the slang use of the word “bread” to mean “money”. Perhaps it’s time to go back and re-visit Jeremy Cherfas’ excellent podcast series Our Daily Bread?

Featured image: Bread flickr photo by adactio shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Watched How a Ceramics Master Makes Plates for Michelin-Starred Restaurants from Handmade by Eater | YouTube

On this episode of Handmade, ceramicist Jono Pandolfi shows us how his team makes 300 handcrafted plates, mugs, cups, and other dinnerware for some of America’s best restaurants. You can read more about Pandolfi here: https://bit.ly/2N3x9KR

Watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone from Amazon Prime

Harry Potter movie poster Directed by Chris Columbus. With Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Richard Harris, Maggie Smith. An orphaned boy enrolls in a school of wizardry, where he learns the truth about himself, his family and the terrible evil that haunts the magical world.

[contemplating Every Flavor Beans]
Dumbledore: I was most unfortunate in my youth to come across a vomit-flavored one, and since then I’m afraid I’ve lost my liking for them. But, I think I could be safe with a nice toffee.
[eats it]
Dumbledore: Mm, alas, earwax.

The real question one must ask, is how exactly would Dumbledore know it was earwax flavor unless he’d gone around testing earwax to have prior experience to know what that flavor was?!