Sprouts and Snippets

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Photo courtesy carloscastilla/Fotolia
Bike funding has been increasing in recent years.

Free Birds

More U.S. businesses and universities are joining the campaign to discontinue the purchase of eggs from caged chickens. In 2005, natural food retail chains such as Earth Fare, Jimbo’s…Naturally and Wild Oats Natural Marketplace announced that they would no longer sell eggs from caged hens. Several universities, including George Washington University, the University of Arizona and the University of Connecticut, also have stopped purchasing eggs laid by chickens confined in cages. For more information about this campaign, organized by the Humane Society of the United States, go to www.hsus.org.

Bike Funding

The new federal transportation bill will help make bicycling safer, more convenient and more fun for all Americans. It authorizes as much as $4 billion in new federal spending for bike paths, trails and related programs through September 2009. The law includes close to $2 billion for new bike paths, lanes and safe crossings; $612 million for construction of safe routes to schools; $70 million for recreational trails; and $100 million to develop bicycle/pedestrian communities in a handful of cities. “This transportation bill should be at least $1 billion better for bicycling than the last bill that passed in 1998,” says Tim Blumenthal, executive director of the Bikes Belong Coalition, a national bicycle industry advocacy group that was instrumental in maximizing bike funding in this bill. For more information, go to www.americabikes.org.

Hurricane Relief

Whole Foods Market, one of the nation’s largest natural food retailers, provided a month-long pay continuation and $2,400 relocation assistance for all of its New Orleans-area employees after Hurricane Katrina struck last August. The company also gave food to victims in New Orleans and set up hurricane-relief donation activities in all of its stores. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey says the company will match 100 percent of its customers’ donations, up to $1 million. For more information, visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com.