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Shedding light on a permaculture farm: Review of “Bioshelter Market Garden”

As small farmers look for ways to cut costs and increase their profit margins, they focus more attention on the energy used on the farm. Whether they implement energy efficiency measures or find ways to produce home-grown energy (through wind, solar, biofuel, and more), farmers who examine the energy...

Slow what?: Review of “Slow Gardening”

By now, I’m sure that all good Ethicurean readers are familiar with Slow Food and the tenets of this movement: the pleasure of good, clean, fair food and celebrating our many food traditions. The idea of “Slow” has shown up in other organizations and ideas, such as Slow Cities and Slow Money, both of which...

For Labor Day: Farmworkers’ Rights Still in the Toilet

Cross-posted from the TEDxFruitvale blog. (Why? Read this.) Today is Labor Day, a time when most Americans think of barbecues and Mondays off, not so much the people who picked the potatoes in that salad and the peaches in the cobbler, or who slaughtered and processed the steer that became that hamburger....

Bounty hunters: A review of two new local-foods cookbooks

As the local food movement expands and the numbers of small farms, CSA programs, and farmers markets increase, so grows the crop of cookbooks aimed at helping people make the best use of that seasonal bounty. Following in the path of Deborah Madison’s excellent overview of America’s farmers markets, Local...

“A beautiful bowl of glory”: Rancho Gordo’s Steve Sando on beans, trade, and the tortilla project

International trade can wreak havoc on small farmers and the global food culture: impoverishing peasants, destroying old ways of cooking, and reducing biodiversity.  Now and then, however, international trade can have the opposite effect, building up farmers instead of rolling over them, preserving heritage...

On the trademarking of ‘urban homesteading’: The Original Best Most Complete Post on the Subject™

By Mat Rogers, Director of Agrariana Language and terminology are an integral part of the food movement. Making distinctions between agricultural practices deemed vile and reprehensible, in favor of methods moral and healthful, is a critical organizing tool for activists. Thus the good-food lexicon is...

Getting plowed: Kristin Kimball’s captivating “Dirty Life”

The first time I heard of Essex Farm, I was working a kitchen/garden internship at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont. The school sent me to the Northeast Organic Farming Association’s 2009 conference, where I carefully chose workshops I thought would help me plan and plant a garden that would...

Looking for Mr. Goodfish: Chefs aim to expand our seafood horizons

In the chapter on New York in Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood, Taras Grescoe comes down hard on the Big Apple’s elite chefs: Though the chefs I had met were buying from small businessmen who worked sustainably, their menus were still filled with overfished species....For...

Book review: Appreciating Elizabeth Andoh’s “Kansha”

Elizabeth Andoh is a prominent figure in my cooking consciousness. Her 2005 book, Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen, opened a new frontier to me: the deceptively simple and elegant world of home-style Japanese cuisine. By following the recipes and techniques in Washoku, the food I cooked was...

San Francisco sustainable restaurants have a blind spot for seafood

In an ideal world, when a restaurant tells you that it serves “sustainable seafood,” you could have some faith that the claim is true, that the chefs and buyers know exactly what they are getting and the issues around how it was caught. The seafood situation in the famously eco-friendly San Francisco Bay...

Tipping sacred cows: Reviewing “Meat: A Benign Extravagance”

Mainstream culture and news abound with broad statements about our food system and the choices we make about what we put on the dinner table. Surely you’ve heard that if you want to save the planet, you should eat a vegan diet, since raising livestock contributes significantly to carbon emissions and thus...

Two cookbooks give winter vegetables a starring role

The temperatures have plunged below the freezing point, the first major snow of the season has blanketed the ground, and winter is officially here. Baby, it’s cold outside, and there’s not a cute fresh tomato in sight -- to which I can only say, thank goodness. After a superabundance of August heat and lush...

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