Cloning: Anything but Natural

By Jim Goodman Advocates of cloning would have us believe it is just another technology on a continuum of breeding methods used in agriculture, and clones are identical twins to the “parent”, just born at a different time, –sure–. It is not just another form of natural breeding or a simple advance on selective breeding… Read more »

EPA’s Holiday Gift to Big Ag

New West By Kisha Lewellyn Schlegel This Christmas season those who play naughty received an early gift from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On December 21st the EPA announced a proposed rule change that would exempt large livestock operators from the need to report releases of hazardous substances to the air when they come from… Read more »

Our Decrepit Food Factories

The Way We Live Now New York Times Magazine By Michael Pollan The word “sustainability” has gotten such a workout lately that the whole concept is in danger of floating away on a sea of inoffensiveness. Everybody, it seems, is for it whatever “it” means. On a recent visit to a land-grant university’s spanking-new sustainability… Read more »

Maybe Not Such a Great Idea After All?

Feeding ethanol waste to cows Grist by Tom Philpott Perhaps the most persistent debate around corn ethanol involves its “net energy balance” — that is, whether it consumes more energy in production than it delivers as a fuel. Even the studies that credit the fuel with a robust energy balance, like this one from the… Read more »

Opinion: Give Farmers a Chance

North Platte Bulletin by Micheal Stumo Imagine if there was only one supermarket chain in New England, let’s call it Big Grocery. Big Grocery could set the prices, while lowering the quality of food sold. The company could blacklist you for complaining and even make you sign long-term contracts like gym memberships as a condition… Read more »

Weed It and Reap

The New York Times by Michael Pollan Berkeley, Calif. – FOR Americans who have been looking to Congress to reform the food system, these past few weeks have been, well, the best of times and the worst of times. A new politics has sprouted up around the farm bill, traditionally a parochial piece of legislation… Read more »

Business as Usual?

Why we shouldn’t forget the Farm Bill Grist by Aimee Witteman Last Wednesday, Monsanto announced that the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) approved a pilot program that will give farmers a 20 percent discount on insurance premiums if they plant a majority of their corn acres with seeds featuring Monsanto’s trademarked YieldGard Plus with Roundup… Read more »

Oil and Food Don’t Mix

Congress just handed petroleum- and chemical-guzzling industrial farms five more years of wrongheaded subsidies, but chef Dan Barber says sustainable, organic food will yet prevail. By Eli Rosenberg It’s deceptive to say that you are what you eat. If you were, you would likely be heavily processed, refined and packaged, rich in high-fructose corn… Read more »

How to Add Oomph to “Organic”

The Feed The New York Times By Andrew Martin The organic industry has gone wild in the last decade, but you wouldn’t know it at the Department of Agriculture. Despite year after year of double-digit growth, organics receive a pittance in financing and staff attention at the department, which is responsible for writing regulations about… Read more »

The Farmer’s Nightmare?

The New York Times Editorial Only a few years ago, ethanol was just a line in a farm-state politician’s stump speech, something that went down well with the locals but didn’t mean much to anyone else. Now, of course, ethanol is widely touted, and, within reason, rightly so – as an important part of America’s… Read more »