Digest – Commentary & Blogs: NYT discovers eating local isn’t always green, Alex Avery pretends feedlot beef is
It's about mindset, not just footprint: We recently called the New York Times main investigative food & ag reporter the "always-excellent" Andrew Martin, but after the Sunday installment of his column The Feed, maybe that adverb should be "usually." In it, he shares the distressing newsflash that just because "something is local doesn’t necessarily mean that it is better, environmentally speaking." Especially not if you drive to the farmers market in your SUV. Well, duh. So, we'll keep saying this until we're green in the face — no supercomputer exists that can calculate the most ecologically guilt-free meal. Your brain cannot process all the variables for every ingredient, and no labels can do the work for you. But if enough people simply try to chew the right thing, we'll hopefully encourage more organic agriculture, improve public health, rebuild local food systems, and yes, reduce our carbon footprint, too. (New York Times)
Crap we read so you don't have to: We saw this "report" and had planned to ignore it, but then Hoosier Ag Today founder Gary Truitt just had to go rub our nose in it until we took the grain-fed bait. New "research" published by the "prestigious" Center For Global Food Issues and authored by none other than our favorite Big Ag public defender Alex Avery "proves" that
Pound-for-pound, beef produced with grains and growth hormones produces 40% less greenhouse gas emissions and saves two-thirds more land for nature compared to organic grass-fed beef.
Say what? Yup, just another instance of looking at the time and land it takes to produce a pound of protein. (Saving it "for nature" was a nice touch, we'll give them that.) The argument goes like this, with some poetic license in the paraphrasing: Cattle hopped up on steroids and antibiotics get fat in record time on their unnatural carb-heavy diet of grains, and it takes fewer acres of fertilizer-hungry GMO corn and soybeans to feed these monstrous cattle than it does acres of free, solar-powered grass on which to let the smaller, less-obese organic ones forage. What a relief — we can all save the planet by continuing to eat at McDonald's! You know, Gary and Alex, we're shocked — shocked! — that mainstream media chose to ignore this report, too. But we're here to help. (Hoosier Ag Today)
And now to make that bad taste go away: BoingBoing follows posts about icky things with "unicorn chasers" to cleanse your palate. After the last item, we desperately need one of those too, and what could be better than pictures of newborn piglets? (Sugar Mountain Farm)
Shut yer cotton-picking mouth: Jack Thurston takes issue with a U.K. billboard advertising U.S. cotton as "soft, sensual and sustainable." He filed a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority, arguing that the cotton industry is neither economically nor environmentally sustainable. In an update, he reveals that the Authority is starting to look more closely at environmental claims. It would be nice to see such scrutiny in the U.S., where it seems the FTC is too busy ignoring consolidation in the meat industry and stopping the Whole Foods/Wild Oats merger to police ads. (Farmsubisidy.org)
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