Year in review: Bleeding Heartland on food and parenting in 2009

This blog will always be primarily about politics, but I enjoy writing about other subjects from time to time. In fact, one of my new year’s resolutions for Bleeding Heartland is to write more about food and parenting in 2010.

After the jump I’ve compiled links to posts on those topics in 2009. Some of the diaries were political, others are personal. The link I’m most proud of combined the two: My case against Hanna Rosin’s case against breastfeeding.

Any thoughts or suggestions for future topics to cover are welcome in this thread.

January 2009

Food Democracy Now advocated for the “sustainable dozen,” “a list of 12 candidates for the crucial Under Secretary positions [at the USDA] that will stand up for family farms, safe food, clear air and water, animal welfare and soil preservation.”

The Des Moines Register published a bizarre article claiming that Tom Vilsack had relatively few ties to agribusiness.

Tom Vilsack sailed through his confirmation hearing, and lots of important agriculture and food policy issues came up.

I was baffled by Burger King’s Whopper Sacrifice application on Facebook.

There was a massive recall of processed foods containing peanut butter because of a salmonella outbreak.

At least two of Food Democracy Now’s “sustainable dozen” got serious consideration for positions at the USDA.

I posted about five of my favorite food substitutions.

February 2009

Iowa showed slight growth in the number of small farms, according to the latest USDA survey.

The maker of Yoplait yogurt announced plans to go hormone-free.

Food Democracy Now got close to 90,000 signatures on a petition for more sustainable agriculture policies.

I posted my two favorite wild rice recipes.

March 2009

Activists pushed for new rules to prevent factory farms from hogging USDA conservation funds.

I was alarmed by rumors that President Obama was planning to put a Monsanto executive in charge of food safety.

I was appalled that the Johnson County Planning and Zoning board determined that a farmer would need a “special event” permit if she wanted to hold a harvest celebration at her farm. The farmer successfully appealed the Planning and Zoning board ruling.

Organic dairy farmer Francis Thicke announced that he was considering a bid for Iowa secretary of agriculture in 2010.

The cover story for the Atlantic Monthly promped me to make my case against Hanna Rosin’s case against breastfeeding.

Food Democracy Now founder Dave Murphy made the economic case for healthy food.

A group promoting the use of chemicals in agriculture got bent out of shape by First Lady Michelle Obama’s plans for an organic White House garden.

April 2009

Food Democracy Now advocated changes to current rules, which allow “large corporate farms to take advantage of [federal] subsidy loopholes that place independent family farmers at a serious competitive disadvantage.”

A follow-up story on an autistic girl who was inappropriately placed in time-out rooms in a Waukee elementary school inspired this post on the need for parents to be advocates for their children and change what’s not working for their children.

Soft-drink makers pitted public health advocates against “moderation moms” and “hard-working families.”

Scientists isolated one cause of the “colony collapse disorder” affecting honeybees, which are important pollinators for fruit and vegetable growers.

I discussed a few reasons to eat pork that’s not factory-farmed.

May 2009

I wrote about taking my kids to “sample Sunday” at three nearby farms.

The USDA had some good news for organic and transitioning farmers.

Inspired by Woodbury County rural economic development director Rob Marqusee’s “local food challenge,” I suggested seven ways to eat more local food.

Mother’s Day is a great time for a big linkfest.

I posted my chili recipe, which incorporates three of my favorite food shortcuts.

I posted a bunch of links on breastfeeding toddlers.

Yes, you can avoid mosquitoes without using DEET, and I recommend keeping DEET off children.

I came across an old commencement address delivered by John Lithgow, in which he explained how he used his acting career to launch a “concurrent second career” as a children’s entertainer with a “secret agenda” to instill a love for the Arts in young people.

June 2009

I posted a few of my favorite discipline tips you won’t find in the typical book on disciplining children.

Some Iowa legislators weren’t happy with the State Board of Education’s new nutrition standards, so the legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee voted to let state lawmakers review the nutrition standards during the 2010 session.

Francis Thicke argued that organic farming can employ cutting-edge technology and won’t take us back to obsolete practices.

Inspired by Rob Marqusee’s local food challenge, I posted links to help people find locally produced foods in Iowa.

I posted a tip for making risotto without cream, milk or cheese and a good marinade for grass-fed beef.

I wasn’t convinced by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s “creative analogy” comparing climate-change skeptics with opponents of genetically-modified foods.

I posted a few summer salad recipes.

July 2009

The Des Moines Register reported on a Mount Vernon grocer’s lawsuit against the industry’s top two wholesalers, charging they had conspired to keep food prices artificially high.

I dodged a teachable moment when Fred Phelps brought his Westboro Baptist Church clan to protest Jewish sites in central Iowa.

August 2009

I agreed with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement about the need to stop subsidizing factory farms and overproduction of meat. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack denied the pork industry’s request to buy excess pork in August but allocated money for that purpose later in the year.

I discussed food and fun things to do with kids at the Iowa State Fair.

Francis Thicke advocated “ecology as a model for livestock production.”

Girls at Atlantic High School were subjected to an outrageous and apparently illegal strip search.

September 2009

I gave readers five reasons to vote in school board elections. launched a campaign to improve school lunches.

The Iowa Food Cooperative won a USDA grant, inspiring this post on local food resources in Iowa.

Bleeding Heartland user Elton Davis had a brilliant response to his daughter’s school fundraising scheme.

October 2009

Cold weather arrived, so I posted my favorite butternut squash soup recipe, along with links to other soup recipes I like.

Francis Thicke praised U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for becoming a champion for local foods.

I had mixed feelings about my first-grader’s Star Wars obsession.

News that a Colorado insurance company used a breastfeeding infant’s “obesity” as an excuse to deny insurance coverage outraged me.

I encouraged parents to leave their baby’s car seat in the car after reading about a new study suggesting that using the seats too much outside cars can be dangerous.

I posted a few Halloween-related links for parents.

November 2009

A feature article about Christian Fong got me thinking about ostensibly well-meaning bigotry in the Midwest, and how the parents of my peers raised children from ethnic or religious minority groups during the 1960s and 1970s.

I put up a thread on high-protein meals and included one of my favorite Indian recipes containing meat.

The USDA named five Iowa Farm Service Agency committee members, two of whom have strong ties in the sustainable agriculture community.

I posted some recipes and links about Thanksgiving food.

I wrote about our Thanksgiving meal and offered some ideas for using Thanksgiving leftovers.

December 2009

I discussed some favorite winter comfort foods.

I listed a few of my favorite local places to buy food and gifts for babies and children.

I linked to some Christmas food posts and shared my recipes for gingerbread and noodle kugel.

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