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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, October 23

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Event Fri Aug 26 2011

Farmageddon Comes to the Siskel this Weekend


Kristin Canty was mad. Her young son had allergies to everything--food, mold, etc. He was an asthmatic and was often sick. His doctors told Canty that the boy was "allergic to the world" and would be resigned to cautious living. Like any mother, Canty searched for remedies on her own, and came across an interesting solution; switch her son's milk from the standard grocery store brand to the raw variety. That should be an easy product to buy, right?

Raw milk is a controversial topic in the Food and Drug Administration, who sees it as a bacterial cesspool that can cause abdominal illness among vulnerable groups (i.e. children, pregnant women, elderly people and those with compromised immune systems). The sale of raw milk is illegal in several states (Illinois is not one of them, by the way) and restricted in many others. However, supporters say that raw milk is nutritious, is without the chemicals of commercially-produced milk, and supports local agriculture. While you can't deny that Big Food has its evil ways with genetic manipulation, animal mistreatment and hormones, raw milk consumption is often blamed for illness outbreaks (most recently in Colorado last year). Raw or pasteurized, milk is not always an easy sell.

farmageddon-web.jpgTaking a chance on the conflicting opinions, Canty's son began drinking raw milk exclusively, which did wonders for resolving his allergies. Today, he is a healthy, active teenager. In her search for more nutritious food for her family, Canty met farmers who had been targeted by the government for producing raw milk in the form of pre-dawn raids by inspectors and police, complete with drawn guns and unnecessary slaughter of healthy animals. Additionally, customers are fined and harassed by police for wanting to buy these products. Someone call Michael Pollan, dammit!

Canty embarked on a series of interviews with these embattled farmers and consumers to make sense of the raw milk debate as a commentary on how local farming can succeed against WalMart-sized odds; her findings are in the documentary Farmageddon, which premieres at the Siskel Film Center tonight for a run through Wednesday. Canty will be present at the Saturday and Monday screenings.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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Editor: Robyn Nisi, rn@gapersblock.com
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