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Victory for Florida tomato pickers, or a sneaky worker-around?

Many months ago, thanks to a vigorous, multi-level campaign, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) secured pledges from big buyers like Burger King, Subway, McDonald's and Whole Foods to pay an extra penny a pound to Florida's tomato harvesters, bringing the per-bucket wage from 50 to 82 cents. (Workers...

Cultivating community in Ohio: Local Roots crops get sweeter in winter

Three months have passed since my last update on Local Roots Market in Wooster, Ohio. Back then, were on the cusp of opening at last. What's happened in the meantime? A lot. Following the close of the Downtown Farmers Market at the end of October, Local Roots Market opened as an indoor farmers market on...

What does asthma have to do with farm animals — or food?

When government officials hear the words "backyard livestock," they tend to worry about disease outbreaks and sanitation crises. And for good reason, as improperly managed animals — including dogs and cats — can be the source of all sorts of public health problems. When it comes to asthma, however, recent...

GMO wheat could be the next big thing—or maybe not

Sheave ho! Of the top three grains produced in the U.S., only No. 3  wheat (after corn and soybeans) is not overwhelmingly dominated by genetically modified varieties. In fact, you won’t find GM wheat in the United States at all. Henry Miller of the conservative Hoover Institution (and author of "The...

Animal welfare hot topic at Kansas Livestock Association convention

Moan on the range: Multiple speakers at the Kansas Livestock Association convention recently addressed public relations injuries to the livestock industry, thanks to animal welfare groups and others. The good news is that speakers acknowledged that the industry would fair better in the public eye if it did...

Words on the street food

A sampler of dispatches from the street-food universe. What this got to do with Ethicureanism? Well, unlike most fast food, good street food is made from fresh, real ingredients by independent sole proprietors. And it fascinates us because it's like the "farming in the middle" conundrum: how can talented...

Sustainable food movement has a class problem

The flavor of fairness: When a recent UC Santa Cruz study asked grocery shoppers on California's Central Coast to rank their concerns about the food system, respondents prioritized animal welfare above the treatment of human workers on the farms. This is but one example, says Bay Guardian reporter Caitlin...

There Be Dragons: Examining the alternatives to unsustainable aquaculture fish feed

February 23, 2010 update: I discovered that the credit for the grasshopper photo was incorrect. The photo is actually from tazintosh's Flickr collection and the photo's Flickr page is here. My apologies to the photographer, who has a great collection of photos in his Flickr collection, including many other...

Genetically modified corn growers not obeying rules designed to maintain pest resistance

Stop bugging me: As many as 25% of the American farmers growing genetically engineered corn are no longer complying with federal rules intended to maintain the resistance of the crops to damage from insects, according to a Center for Science in the Public Interest report released Thursday based on EPA...

Open season: Local Roots Markets opens in Wooster, Ohio

Nine months doesn't really seem like a very long time: over the span of a lifetime, just a mere hiccup on a long journey. But when you're in the midst of those nine months (ask any expectant mother), you find yourself amazed at how much goes on in that time frame — and how it can seem to pass so slowly, and...

Report scrutinizes ties between Big Food, health organizations

Ignore the man behind the curtain: Reporters Rick Montgomery and Alan Bavley examine the “marriages of convenience” between unhealthy food producers and organizations aimed at promoting health, such as the newly announced alliance between Coca Cola and the American Academy of Family Physicians. (Kansas City...

Small-town grocery stores feed a need bigger than stomachs

In the small Nebraska town I now call home, a small grocery store anchors one end of Main Street. Once a farm-implement dealership, it has nine aisles, a dairy cooler, and a fresh meat counter. It employs nine full-time workers plus various high school students, and its limited hours frequently cause this...

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