Walking the talk: Reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan inspired us to start this blog. That's nothing. It inspired a group of suburban moms and one dad in Davis, CA, to start raising their own cattle, pigs, and ducks. But after killing ducks once, they're now going to outsource the slaughter. Davis Enterprise
City farms growing: Across the U.S., an urban agriculture movement is flowering. One big driver: homeland security, which now embraces food production at the local level. Alternet
Puck prose and conmen: An editorial commends Wolfgang Puck for ruling that his empire will use products only from animals raised humanely. (New York Times) The American Spectator, meanwhile, has a puckish op-ed on the restauranteur's move that begins amusingly, before making a screaming right turn: "How do we explain a movement of people who will allow you to take a nearly-born baby and vacuum its brain out but won't let you give a goose a second helping of sherbet?" Ooooookay.
Just call it "electronic pasteurization": Given the recent food-safety outbreaks, irradiating produce is back on the minds of a lot of people. A taste tester claims you can't detect any difference in fresh and nuked lettuce. We wish the article had explored at all why the centralization and industrialization of the food system contribute as much to the outbreaks as does the proximity to livestock. Dateline NBC
Killer pet food: Not surprisingly, the death toll from the recent mass recall of poisoned pet food— currently just numbering 16 fatalities officially — is more likely in the hundreds, even thousands. Menu Foods said on Friday it would compensate owners for their pets' medical bills. USA Today
The Farm Bill goes Gourmet: Gourmet's Daily Dish plates up a short summary of the Farm Bill and interviews journalist Dan Imhoff about how it has been corrupted by big agribusiness. It's great to see coverage of this critical issue in mainstream food outlets. (Gourmet's Daily Dish) Meanwhile, in her editor's column, Ruth Reichl has recently exhorted readers to consider eating less meat, and launched a vegetarian section for the magazine.
Blame game: The chair of the California State Senate Select Committee on Food Borne Illnesses wants Gov. Schwarzenegger to get tough on regulating the state's produce industry — and is outraged that no fines for the E. coli outbreak seem to be in the offing for either Mission Organics or Natural Selection Foods. California Progress Report
A-maizing demand: Farmers plan to plant more corn than ever in U.S. history this year. There's an interesting aside in this article, that yields have disappointed: "In five of the last 10 years, U.S. corn production has fallen by as much as 300 million bushels from the previous year." Shouldn't that tell us something about the promise of genetically modified corn, or at least land fertility? Des Moines Register
Editorial calls for ending government subsidies to successful farms (Chicago Tribune)
Despite embargoes, the U.S. is Cuba's biggest food supplier (Associated Press)