Media/News Archive

Nominating Some of the Best Books of 2014

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

The Plate – National Geographic
by Maryn McKenna

Source: David Joyce

Every year, in the world of food, there are great cookbooks—slim volumes or glossy tomes that, at their best, not only teach us new dishes but escort us into new worlds.

But this year, unusually, was also a wonderful year for books about aspects of food policy and culture. Below, I’ve picked five that especially resonated with me, books that critically or delightfully examined things that I either wanted to know more about, or knew nothing about and needed to be educated on.

If you’re still gift-shopping—and who isn’t?—you should consider them. For yourself, even. Don’t you deserve a gift? You do.

(Disclosure note: The world of food-policy writers is a pretty small one, so I am connected in some manner to each of the authors below, by work assignments or friendly chat or because we spoke at the same event. I don’t think that affected my judgment, but fair warning.) Read Full Article »

Why I Didn’t Return Monsanto’s Phone Call

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Eat Drink Better
by Jill Ettinger

Source: Samantha Celera

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a PR person identifying herself as writing on behalf of Monsanto, the multinational biotech company that’s so vilified, there’s an annual “March Against Monsanto” event.

Today, the company is best/worst known for its genetically modified seeds like corn, soy and cotton, as well as the companion herbicide called Roundup. Long before Monsanto stepped into the world of industrial agriculture, it was a chemical company. Founded at the turn of the 20th century by John Francis Queeny, the company started out selling food additives. It went on to create laundry detergents, rubber products, LED lights, AstroTurf and much more. And then it went on to create much scarier stuff including DDT and Agent Orange.

Even for those people who eschew genetically modified organisms, Monsanto has likely created a product that has impacted every American, and much of the world. Read Full Article »

Maine Local Food Movement Inspires Credit Union Focused on Small Farms

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Bangor Daily News
by Darren Fishell

Source: Jeremy van Bedijk

WHITEFIELD, Maine — The 100-acre organic farm that Rufus Percy and his wife started working a decade ago is mix of leased land, family land and mortgaged land.

Finding used farm equipment took them as far as Ohio. The barn where they raise about 100 hogs a year was built with the help of a grant from the Farms for Maine’s Future program and a federal grant.

“Most people aren’t that lucky though, as far as getting started,” said Percy, 35.

He’s one of the young farmers leading a resurgence in the industry that aims to re-establish more local food systems in the state, where Maine is leading the way. But before that really takes off, he said, the state needs to put its money where its mouth is. More specifically, more accessible funding needs to be available to the folks who grow food that Mainers put in their mouths.

“If we want to encourage a lot of young people to get into farming — be it small medium or large — we have to figure out how to make it not only attractive but possible,” Percy said. “If only Trustafarians can farm, then we’re all going to go hungry.” Read Full Article »

California Will Need 11 Trillion Gallons of Water to End Epic Drought, NASA Says

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

by Andrew Freedman

Source: NRCS

Forget about the possibility that a single “atmospheric river” storm could end California’s worst drought in at least 1,200 years, NASA researchers said Tuesday.

Instead, it will take 11 trillion gallons of water, which is one and a half times the capacity of Lake Mead, Nevada, the country’s largest reservoir, to climb out of the water deficit the Golden State is in, new data shows.

The NASA analysis comes from satellite and aircraft-based measurements of groundwater and mountain snowpack in California, and was released at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco on Tuesday morning. The data also comes a week after a severe storm hit California, dumping more than nine inches of rain in some places, and just before another storm hits central and northern California. Read Full Article »

Ricardo Salvador: Build a New Food System

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Johns Hopkins
by Christine Grillo

The Center for a Livable Future and the Department of Environmental Health Sciences Grand Rounds bring you the 15th Annual Edward & Nancy Dodge Lecture

Please click here for Ricardo Salvador’s biography.

Creating a genuine food movement that galvanizes the nation is an audacious goal, but reform is the most American thing we can do.

That was the message delivered last week by Ricardo Salvador as part of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future’s 15th Dodge Lecture at the Bloomberg School. Salvador, PhD, the director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, gave a talk titled “The Food Movement, Public Health and Wellbeing,” in which he outlined the miseries inflicted upon humans by the current U.S. food system, and possible paths toward improvement. Read Full Article »