Farming groups resort to Machiavellian defense of indefensible practices

Spin-dustrial ag: Two dozen of the nation's largest and best-funded farm groups have formed a coalition to counter poor publicity, reports the AP (LAtimes.com). What are they mad about? "Videos that show male chicks being put into grinders, egg-laying hens in battery cages and the mistreatment of hogs in...

Meet Roll International, the biggest dastardly agribiz mega-corps you’ve never heard of

Pom not-so-wonderful at all: John Gibler's epic, top-notch feature on Roll International – "or, as their website proclaims: 'the largest privately held company you’ve never heard of,' owner of Paramount Farming, the largest grower and processor of almonds and pistachios in the world; Paramount Citrus; Fiji...

Chicago drugstores begin selling fresh food

Rx for health: Chicago-area Walgreens have begun selling "an expanded selection of food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, at 10 locations selected because they were in food deserts." Turns out that drugstores are one of the few chain businesses operating in the low-income areas that lack access to...

Farmers caught lying about produce origins and pesticide-free-ness

Rotten tomatoes: It had to happen. With demand for SOLE food surging, and farmers able to charge a premium for it, it's no surprise that some unscrupulous characters would see an opportunity to make a quick buck without getting their hands dirty. An NBCLA undercover investigation caught farmers at markets...

Hey USDA & DoJ: Ranchers want more competition in the cattle industry

Big hats carrying small sticks: The CEO of R-Calf, which represents cattle raisers, has been criss-crossing the country, exhorting people to get to Fort Collins, Colorado, on Aug. 27th for a federal-level workshop about competition in the cattle industry. He wants 25,000 to show up and "send a message to...

Even fishermen suspicious of Gulf shrimp

Po' po-boys: Monday marked the opening of shrimp season in Louisiana. Federal officials say Gulf seafood safe to eat, but shrimpers themselves are dubious, reports the Washington Post. Some worry that the government's testing -- which has yet to turn up a tainted sample from the BP oil spill -- is...

San Francisco set to approve zoning changes for backyard farming for cash

Summer of urban-ag love: The Bay Area is known as a bastion of urban farming and the local food movement, but "laws governing land use are still stuck in another era, one that frowned on farming in the city, especially in residential areas," reports Zusha Elinson. When Little City Gardens ran into trouble...

Foraging restaurant and suppliers adapt to new rules

Forage gleans a new strategy: When Forage restaurant opened in Los Angeles's Silver Lake neighborhood, they used produce from customers' backyards to supplement their normal produce purchases, paying for the backyard produce with food or drink from the restaurant and often noting the donor's name on the...

Richmond has a farmers market on wheels

The meals on the bus go round and round: In Richmond, Virginia, Mark Lilly has transformed a 1987 diesel school bus into a mobile produce market called Farm to Family, which also has a CSA program. The interior is really cool looking -- what a great idea for recycling an old vehicle. (Blog on Interior...

Living on Earth looks at sargassum seaweed and Brazilian soy

The July 16 episode of Living on Earth had two interesting food-related pieces, each accompanied by a transcript and MP3 download: The wide sargasso seizure: The first covered sargassum seaweed, the primary vegetation that collects in the Sargasso Sea, an area of calm waters in the Atlantic Ocean. Most of...

Russ Parsons on ‘Four Fish’ — the one food-politics book to read

Net prophet: "There are few things in life more complicated than sorting through the various ethical implications of which fish you should be eating," writes Russ Parsons in this review of Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food, a hotly awaited new book by Paul Greenberg. "These days it seems like...

New law in Michigan makes it easier to sell homemade foods

A new law in Michigan makes it easier for home cooks and bakers to sell certain types of foods at farmers markets, fairs, flea markets and other locations (but not grocery stores or restaurants). Under the law, people can sell up to $15,000 of food made outside of an inspected kitchen without a license....

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