Currently Browsing: Activism

Ready, set, go change the food system: A checklist for evaluating the new USDA’s first six months

Above: National Agricultural Library archival image, shot from the Washington Monument in the mid-1920s; US Department of Agriculture greenhouses on the Mall are shown in foreground. The food system in this country has broken down like a rusty old tractor. Or more accurately, like a $250,000,...

Paving over paradise: “The Garden” documents the demise of South Central Farm

By Elise McDonough For more than 10 years, a lush oasis flourished in South Central Los Angeles, surrounded by warehouses and industry. An incredibly beautiful place, the 14-acre community garden known as South Central Farm hosted towering trees, cacti, tropical fruits, and innumerable vegetables, herbs,...

Digest – News: Focusing the foodies, DNA Q&A, and MRSA attacks

Good food movement needs focus: The Post's Jane Black reports on a series of pricey charity dinners in Washington, DC organized by Berkeley foodies in honor of the inauguration. Their goal was to propel food-system change into the agenda of the new administration, but some say the movement is too fragmented...

Political celebrations past and present

On election night in 1992* — the year that Bill Clinton won his first term and Barbara Boxer was first elected to the Senate — I made the flag-adorned chocolate truffles pictured above as part of a celebratory dinner. If I remember correctly, they tasted much better than they looked, made even better by the...

Rumors flying about the U.S. Department of Agribusiness as Usual

In the mad scramble preceding Tuesday's droolingly anticipated handover of executive power, there are a lot of politics happening at light speed. And some of them, apparently, are bad news — especially if you're someone who eats food. Yes, that would be you, me, and everyone we know. The rumor mill is...

Dope shit: Who to thank, and why, for antibiotics in your veggies

Manure, my favorite topic of conversation (particularly at parties), is pretty awesome. It has been a staple crop fertilizer virtually since humankind began cultivating its own food. It's everything synthetic fertilizer wishes it could be: Chock full of nutrients, it is — assuming you raise animals —...

SupportVilsack.com: Wethinks they doth profess too much

A very odd site mysteriously popped up last week, with a banner headlined "Support Tom Vilsack for Secretary of Agriculture" and featuring both smiley and serious-but-loving shots of the former Iowa governor, as if he were some sort of agricultural Mr. Rogers. Paid for by honchos from large organic food...

For healthy food and soil, we need affordable health care for farmers

By Steph Larsen When we talk about local food, it means more than just proximity to a farm. We associate supporting "local food" with supporting specific values — such as family ownership, local control, small scale, environmental stewardship, community, and ecological diversity. These values are what...

Local food safety cop?: In which Bill Marler is compared to John Travolta, Ally McBeal, Julia Roberts, and 80s pop star Tiffany, all in one place

Earlier this week, Bill Marler, the attorney who’s earned oodles suing food companies for selling products contaminated with E. coli and other pathogens (his wife's car even sports an ECOLI license plate), published his list of top 10 food safety challenges for 2009. Most of these items made me nod my head...

Let’s cure Absencia Grassosis! Weigh in on organic pasture rule by Dec. 23

We've reported before on a disturbing disease that's been plaguing large-scale organic dairies: Absencia Grassosis. Sounds pretty nasty, doesn't it? Loosely translated, it means lack of grass. Industrial-organic companies including Aurora (supplier of organic milk to Safeway and other private-label brands)...

Gearing up to reform the Child Nutrition Act

By Debra Eschmeyer Barack Obama can affect whether a child's life is shortened prematurely by 15 years. The oft-quoted statistic that one in three children born in 2000 will be diabetic in their lifetime demonstrates we are at a tipping point, both figuratively and literally…on the scales. According to the...

Sign this Ag Sec petition: It’s worth a shot

Updated Dec. 12: Nicholas Kristof mentioned this in his NY Times column yesterday, and the number of signers is now over 36,000! If we can get it to 100,000 in the next few days, that would mean serious pressure for Obama to appoint a reformer as Secretary of Agriculture. Sign the petition now > Around...

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