Ken Cook

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WARNING! Sewage sludge is toxic. Food should not be grown in "biosolids." Join the Food Rights Network.

Ken Cook "is the co-founder and president of the Environmental Working Group. Both Ken and EWG have been the subject of profiles in the New York Times, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Chicago Tribune, and many other publications. Ken earned degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Deb Callahan." [1]

Affiliations

EWG's Role with Chez Panisse Foundation in the San Francisco Toxic Sludge Controversy

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On March 3, 2010, Alice Waters, a member of the EWG Advisory Board, appeared with Ken Cook at a gala event in San Francisco. "EWG staff and key supporters gathered ... to introduce the audience of environmental stalwarts to the increasing convergence of EWG’s two major fields of work -- how common toxic chemicals find their way into the bodies of America’s children and the impact of modern agriculture on the environment and human health. ... Alice Waters (pictured with Mr. Cook), celebrated chef, advocate, author, mother and pioneer of “The Edible Schoolyard” program in Berkeley, Calif, attended the Earth Dinner event. Mr. Cook payed homage to her impact on cuisine and the food system as a whole in his presentation." [3] The San Francisco Chronicle would report, "EWG President and co-founder Ken Cook welcomed new EWG advisory board member Edible Schoolyard founder Alice Waters and City Attorney Dennis Hererra as he unveiled EWG's 2010 Right to Know Campaigns. [4]

On March 17, the SFPUC would write EWG and Cook into its PR management plan of the toxic sludge issue, titled "Draft Biosolids Compost Strategy." [5] Tyrone Jue proposed to utilize the Environmental Working Group when the SFPUC launched its media campaign around the test results, writing: "Contact Environmental Working Group (Becky Sutton - soil scientist in East Bay; Ken Cook - Washington)." PDF of PUC 3/17 Draft Strategy

On April 1, EWG released a statement defending Francesca Vietor and Alice Waters of the Chez Panisse Foundation from criticism regarding their failure to publicly oppose growing food in toxic sewage sludge. The EWG report relied upon and repeated false claims in an April 1, 2010 statement by the Foundation.[6] Their release admitted, however, "advocacy organizations have been right to oppose the distribution of composted sewage sludge from the SFPUC for use on Bay Area gardens and farmland." (emphasis added) [7]

The Food Rights Network released a major investigative report on July 9, 2010 titled: Chez Sludge: How the Sewage Sludge Industry Bedded Alice Waters. [8] It examines collusion between the Chez Panisse Foundation and the SFPUC based on an extensive open records investigation of the SFPUC internal files. (To view the internal documents see: SFPUC Sludge Controversy Timeline.)


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