Digest – Commentary & Blogsnacks: Aurora talks back, Johanns departure analyzed, Alice Waters blogs


starAurora Organic fights back in print: A rebuttal to Sam Fromartz’s coverage, from the Colorado dairy that had its organic certification threatened. "Some observers, whose glasses of organic milk are always half-empty, lament the fact that what began as the organic-food movement has evolved into a large, growing business," writes Aurora President Mark Retzloff. "Organic milk shouldn’t cost so much that only the elite can afford it." Wethinks that big is not necessarily bad, as long as corners shouldn’t be cut so that organic milk is such in label only. (Rocky Mountain News)

Grow East, young human: Two Alabama professors of atmospheric science offer an interesting argument about why the U.S. should expand agriculture in the East and phase it back in the West. (New York Times)

Look ma, Johanns: We asked what the departure of USDA Secretary Mike Johanns means, and Brian Depew answered — not much for inhibiting subsidy payments to large farms, it seems. (Center for Rural Affairs) Related: Chuck Conner, currently the USDA’s no. 2 man, will be the agency’s acting secretary. Before working for Bush, Conner spent four years as executive director of the Corn Refiners Association, a trade group dominated by Archer Daniels Midland that exists to promote corn-based ethanol and high-fructose corn syrup. Tom P. has the scoop. (Gristmill)


starThat’ll do, pig: Elise visits Paul Willis’s pastured pork operation in Iowa, and writes absorbingly about the difference between a "happy pig" farm and a CAFO like the hundreds she passed on her way there. Fun fact: When holding a day-old piglet, do not touch or rub the top of the pig’s back or the pig will squeal in fear. Warning: Includes some Cute Overload-worthy piglet shots. (Simply Recipes)

Bridge over Waters troubled: Alice Waters responds to the debate over her offhanded criticism about how the food at the Farm Aid benefit was sourced. Comments on the post are quite good, too. (Diner’s Journal)

Spring Hill saga: CUESA reports on its farm tour of Spring Hill Dairy, a provider of butter and cheese to Bay Area farmers markets, and what the cows eat during the dry summers. With slide show. (CUESA E-letter)

Deathstar targeting billions of unsuspecting consumers: Tom Philpott dissects industrial-meat giant Smithfield’s China deal. (Gristmill)

Second Life farmers: "Alice Greenfingers," a computer game you can download from Yahoo Games, lets you sow, water, and harvest a wide variety of crops, then bring your produce to the town market. (TreeHugger)

Federal agencies and diacetyl, a story of inaction (OMB Watch)

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