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#foodbeast Culture Fast Food Hit-Or-Miss News

“Potato Cartel” Forced Unsuspecting Americans To Pay Higher Prices For Fries

If you’ve ever eaten a potato in any form over the least decade—whether it’s French fried, baked, mashed, or roasted, then you’ve likely paid way too much, albeit unknowingly. Yes, those coveted fast food fries you’ve been eating multiple times a week should have cost you much less than you have been paying.

According to a study done by California State University—Northridge business law professor Melanie Williams, potato farmers across the United States from 2004-2012 formed a collective, limiting their yearly potato crop output, which indirectly raised the price of potato related food consumed by the general public.

Simply put, because America’s potato farmers decided to limit the land they would use to grow potatoes, the market price for their product would rise in accordance to the laws of supply & demand. That means those McDonald’s fries are more expensive because the people that sell their potatoes to McDonald’s is charging them more–the trickle down effect in perfect play here.

Just how much more expensive were we paying for potatoes? Williams’ research indicates that the wholesale price for our beloved spuds inflated between 24% to a ridiculous 49% between 2004-2012.

Because of certain exemptions granted by a federal law in the 1920s, agricultural associations such as the so-called “Potato Cartel” were allowed to control how much farmland they decide to use. Their decision to produce less hurts consumers by driving prices up. What’s more, the lack of regulation creates a legal grey area surrounding the practice and could haunt consumers again in the future.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Amazing Flowering Tree Produces 40 Different Kinds of Fruit

tree-of-40-fruit

Welcome to the Garden of Eden, circa 2014.

Having grown up on a farm in Reading, Pa., New York artist Sam Van Aken has spent the past five years planting veritable Trees of Life all over the United States. Officially called Trees of 40 Fruit, these bountiful timbers are capable of growing forty different varieties of stone fruits including cherries, plums, apricots, and peaches, all on a single tree.

Working with the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Aken used a process called chip grafting to map the different fruits to different parts of the tree, depending on how they would bloom in relation to one another. According to Epicurious, each Tree of 40 Fruit looks normal through most of the year, but bloom in spring and summer to produce vibrantly pink-hued flowers and fruits.

So far, Aken has planted 16 Trees of 40 Fruit in public spaces like museums and community centers as well as private collections throughout the U.S. His ultimate goal is to plant a small orchard of them in an urban setting. Just watch out for snakes.

Picthx Epicurious

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Hit-Or-Miss

Small Japanese Town Creates Gigantic Works of Art in Rice Paddies

Rice-Paddies-Art-Japan

I absolutely love it when a community pulls together to create art. Take this small town of Inakadate in the Aomori Prefecture, for example. The tiny population of only 8,000 residents is primarily agriculture-based, filled with fields and rice paddies. Each summer, the town bands together and puts those rice paddies to artistic use, creating humongous works of art in the fields.

Rice-Paddies-Art-Mountain

It began in 1993 when the town decided to create mosaics made from rice plants so that they would attract more visitors. It worked successfully and drummed tons of tourists over the summer seasons. The townspeople would plant a variety of colored strains of rice plants to form different shapes, lines and colors. What happens next is art.

Each year, works include depictions of popular Japanese folktales, landscapes and even a mural based on a popular anime. It has since become a summer tradition that attracts thousands to Inakadate to see the fields firsthand.

Beautiful.

Rice-Paddies-Art-Anime

H/T, Picthx Rocket News

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Hit-Or-Miss

Obama Signs Monsanto Protection Act, Get Ready for A Riot

obama-gmo

We just got word that despite past promises to promote GMO transparency, Obama signed HR 933, which contains the Monsanto Protection Act, into law. According to The Austin Chronicle, the measure protects genetically modified seeds from litigation by “allowing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to override judicial rulings and grant temporary permits for conventional farmers to plant and grow genetically modified crops while pending review.” Hence the “Monsanto Protection Act,” a name given by activists against biotech giants avoiding GMO labeling.

After Obama signed HR 933, and thus the provision, into law on Tuesday,  many have argued that the biotech rider was purposefully slipped in as the larger bill progressed and thus, wasn’t given proper review by Judiciary Committees.

Prior to the measure, courts had the ability to suspend the farming of GMO crops in the face of health or environmental risks. “It sets a terrible precedent,”  stated the International Business Times. “Though it will only remain in effect for six months until the government finds another way to fund its operations, the message it sends is that corporations can get around consumer safety protections if they get Congress on their side. Furthermore, it sets a precedent that suggests that court challenges are a privilege, not a right.”

It seems as if the pleas of more than 250,000 Americans who have since signed a petition asking the president to veto the measure, may fall of on deaf ears.

H/T + PicThx Digital Journal