Math lessons for Budiansky: Industrial concentration vs. local choice

On Friday, New York Times op-ed contributor Steven Budiansky challenged local food advocates to rethink their math, mainly about food miles. As it happens, I was already doing some food calculations that day -- but not of the sort Budiansky discussed. My numbers included the following: As of Friday, 450...

Meet your greens, part 3: Taking the stand against the veggilantes

This is the third in a series about the USDA hearings on an industry proposal for a food-safety marketing agreement for leafy green vegetables. My first post describes what marketing agreements are and do; my second covers the first day of testimony, which was dominated by industry supporters of the...

Meet your greens, part 2: Industry seeks to outfox FDA

This is the second in a series of posts on my week in Monterey, CA, where I attended the first of seven USDA hearings around the country on an industry proposal to create a national marketing agreement on the safety of leafy greens. (Marketing agreements are explained in my first post, here.) It’s not...

Meet your greens: National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement hearings, Week 1

This is the first in a short series on the National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement hearings held September 22-24 in Monterey, CA. I packed a suit for three days of USDA hearings over an industry-proposed national food safety agreement [pdf] for leafy greens. In retrospect, I should have packed a flask....

Pork prevention: What’s behind the NPPC bailout, or how the government keeps filling up Big Meat’s trough

During the Iowa flood disaster in the summer of 2008, I proposed that there are winners and losers in moments of human tragedy — those who pay the costs of dealing with an unsavory situation, and those who are on the receiving end of those payments. When it comes to the obesity epidemic, for example, there...

Do I dare to eat a peach? Not a conventional one, says Tribune study

Another day, another facet to the debate over whether organic produce is worth the extra moolah. Unless you've been living on a remote mountaintop with no wireless, you've probably witnessed the recent frenzy over a UK study [pdf] claiming that organic food has no nutritional benefits over conventional. The...

If biotechnology won’t feed the world, what will? Knowledge, says GE expert Doug Gurian-Sherman

Earlier this week, I asked plant pathologist and molecular biologist Doug Gurian-Sherman to explain some of the science behind genetically engineered crops and their potential — or lack thereof — to feed a more populous, climate-changing world. Today, President Barack Obama is unveiling a $15 billion plan...

Can biotechnology ‘feed the world’? Not likely, says genetic engineering expert Doug Gurian-Sherman

With food shortages provoking riots in recent years, and the world’s population increasing exponentially, Congress will soon be debating the next big U.S. aid package for developing countries. America currently spends about $2.5 billion on food aid, most of it to buy surplus U.S.-grown commodity grains to...

Running dry: Time to save our nation’s dairy farmers

Did you see that movie "Flash of Genius"? It follows the unlucky Robert Kearns, played by Greg Kinnear, as he spends his life (and his savings) perfecting the intermittent windshield wiper, only to have his idea snared and used without credit by the Ford Motor Company. He pursues lawsuits against Ford and...

Transgenic seeds are toast(ed): New report says GE crops have not increased yield

Couched deep within the earth-mother rhetoric of a recent Monsanto ad (which you can also see on the back cover of the current New Yorker issue, a $100K-plus ad buy) is a bold claim: Providing abundant and accessible food means putting the latest science-based tools in farmers' hands, including advanced...

There are much scarier food safety bills than HR 875 in Congress

If you care about food and farming and you use the Internet, you've probably received this particular e-mail. The title is something like, "BILL WOULD OUTLAW ORGANIC FARMING!!!!" or "MONSANTO'S DREAM BILL!!!!" It appears, inevitably, in all caps. I have upwards of 30 versions in my inbox. Normally, it would...

While we were sleeping: Score one for the GMO lobby

Updated at 3:10 pacific to include the full language of the relevant section of the bill. Thanks, IM. Things have been busy around here lately, but that's no excuse. We've just been reminded that, like time, Monsanto stops for no man. Yesterday, eliciting not a ripple from the blogosphere, the Senate...

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