Digest – Features: Hawai’i uh-oh, simplicity sells, anti-union strategizing

Hawaii plays canary: The genetically modified seed industry has become Hawaii’s rising star, reports a cover story of the Honolulu Weekly; it accounts for about a quarter of the state’s total farm revenues, eclipsing every other commodity. In the past two decades, the Islands have hosted some 2,252 open-air tests for experimental GE plants including alfalfa, beets, rice, sugar cane, pineapple, coffee, and papaya — more such trials than any other place. It’s also allowing outdoor trials of biopharmaceuticals, plants engineered to produce things such as growth hormones and aprotinin, a blood-clotting cow protein that is also an insect toxin. While many are unhappy with the state’s ongoing financial support for the industry, most say it’s not going to stop. (Honolulu Weekly; thanks Cookie Jill!)

Strike up the bandwagon: Food marketers like Haagen-Dazs, Snapple, and Frito-Lay have come to realize that simplicity, in the form of short ingredient lists, will help sell their processed food to Michael Pollan-reading shoppers. (Washington Post)

“The essence of benevolent paternalism”: Inside the anti-union meetings of Whole Foods and Starbucks, and their lobbying strategies to rewrite the labor-friendly Employee Free Choice Act. (Mother Jones)

Dirty girls and boys: Great feature on the shortage of young farmers, and what activists like FoE Severine von Scharner Fleming are doing to help them grow. Low wages and the availability and the price of land are the biggest stumbling blocks. (Culinate)

Roots of changemaking: Could California become America’s flagship organic farm? Some are aiming to make it so — to create a wholly sustainable agriculture in the Golden State — by the year 2030. A nonprofit called Roots of Change has outlined such an agricultural system in a 12-point manifesto that emphasizes local food, humane animal raising, and environmental protection. Does it address how to convince the state’s massive monoculture farms to switch over? (GOOD)

Got garlic milk? Garlic in cows’ food ‘may cut cow flatulence’ and thus curb bovine climate-change emissions. (BBC; cheers, Steve!)

Photo essay of San Francisco’s Goat Whisperer and the City Grazing rent-a-goats (Chronicle)

Chimpanzees who offer meat get more sex (BBC)

One Responseto “Digest – Features: Hawai’i uh-oh, simplicity sells, anti-union strategizing”

  1. Some thoughts:

    1) Garlic milk – ah, I remember from childhood when the cows got into the garlic and onions. Yuck! The milk was dreadful. And that’s from a garlic lover!

    2) Price of land and low wages are definitely issues, as is slaughter capacity. This exemplifies why Bob Comis’ recent post about meat prices being unfairly high is so wrong.