Fresh Fest

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This is the web version of a list we publish twice-weekly in our newsletter. It comprises the most noteworthy food stories of the moment, selected by our editors. Get it first here.

Out of the mouths of babes. The Trump administration has repeatedly floated a proposal that would deny green cards to immigrants who use public benefit programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Though the administration has yet to formally advance any such policy, the spectre of a rule change has prompted immigrants to drop out of the WIC program, Politico reports. Agencies in at least 18 states say they’ve seen dips in enrollment and report panicked phone calls from both documented and undocumented immigrant families. The WIC program, which provides food assistance to mothers feeding infants and very young children, serves about half of the babies born in the U.S.

A new brew. A few weeks ago, when Pittsburgh hosted Fresh Fest, America’s first black craft beer festival, organizers Day Bracey and Mike Potter thought 700 people might attend. Instead, an estimated 1,200 drinkers showed up to sample kegs tapped by 10 black brewers from all over the country. Bracey and Potter told Munchies the festival was meant to spark the end of exclusion of people of color from the profitable craft beer industry and foster a laid-back atmosphere where beer obsessives and casual fans could all tip a pint or two. And though they estimate there are only about 50 black-owned breweries in the country, Potter and Bracey plan to launch an online magazine called Black Brew Culture documenting the “#newnarrative in craft beer” later this month.

Immobile. The Chicago Tribune tells the life story of Othea Loggan, who has bussed tables at a Chicagoland pancake house for 54 years. He still earns minimum wage—$14 an hour, with tips, and says he never asked to do anything else. It may be tough to understand how anyone could do the same job for more than five decades “without complaint or regret.” And Loggan won’t clue you in. There’s no particular labor mantra he seems to live by. Instead, his path has been defined less by calculated choices and more by somewhat dormant ambition: He had no real plans when he took the job. And he has no real plans to leave it. (He appears, begrudgingly, to have agreed to the article, after being badgered for eight years.) The pancake house’s manager took out a life insurance policy for him, and sets aside a few bucks every month for an informal retirement account. “In a sense,” the columnist writes, for Loggan and the other black old-timers who’ve been bussing tables there for decades, “their major benefit is a feeling of job security.”

Mind your manners. Put your phone away—unless you’re posting a photo of your plate. NJ.com surveys the cell phone policies of different eateries across the Garden State. A clam bar on the beach, for example, in an update of standard dining decorum, bans customers not just from making calls, but from using their phones at all, period—while a sushi bar in Hoboken gives 20-percent discounts to customers who put their phones away when food is served.

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