Currently Browsing: Farming

The USDA looks at local food

Every now and then, newspapers print an article that makes it seem like locavores are running the U.S. food system, throwing our weight around, causing Big Ag to cower in corners. If only we had even a small fraction of that power...  In reality, the local food movement is  a tiny piece of the nation's food...

So long office, hello farm!

Maybe there's something in the air (or soil or water).  Maybe it's the growing (no pun intended) interest in farming around the country.  Maybe... it's just time.  How else do you explain not one, but three Ethicurean contributors heading off into a new field? Unlike Stephanie and Steph, though, I'm not...

The first rule of farming: Be prepared

(Steph Larsen photos)Everyone knows the Boy Scouts' motto: Be Prepared. While my immediate inclination is to ask "For what?", it's as good a command as any to live by. One at which I failed miserably last week. I came home from work and went out to the sheep paddocks to make sure they looked healthy and had...

EPA to increase oversight over CAFO manure

Thanks in part to a lawsuit from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and Waterkeeper Alliance, the EPA has agreed to increase its oversight of manure discharges from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)*. The EPA estimates that CAFOs in the U.S.generate three times more bodily waste...

Researchers trace corn’s ancient history

Children of the teosinte:  Even though maize (Zea mays) is perhaps the most important crop in the Americas (for better or worse), until recently, we didn't know where it came from and when it was domesticated. Research by botanists, geneticists and archeologists has finally found the answers in a grass...

Dairy cows’ feed exacerbates air pollution in central California

Although it has a relatively low population density, California's San Joaquin Valley has some of the worst air pollution in the nation, especially when it comes to ozone (O3), a gas that can cause respiratory and cardiac problems. To counteract the air pollution, California and San Joaquin Valley regulators...

Green acreage: A farm by any other name

Editor's note: In a new series called Green Acreage, Steph Larsen chronicles the sprouting of a small but sustainable Nebraska property. --------------------------------- Last December, I bought the farm. Clearly I mean this in the literal, not euphemistic, sense. (Although I've spent some time pondering...

Unlocking Genetic Diversity with the Backyard Seed Vault Project

By Mat Rogers The 1979 children’s book Ox-Cart Man describes a colonial family who spends all year raising a crop and an ox, building the ox’s cart, and making mittens, brooms, and candles. Then the ox-cart man sets off to market to sell the crop and the mittens, brooms, and candles, then the ox, then the...

Goldman Prize winners fight against CAFO pollution, shark finning and monocultures

The Goldman Environmental Prize was awarded to six grassroots environmental heroes from around the world in San Francisco last Monday night. Three of the six 2010 winners are working directly in food-related areas. Lynn Henning's 300-acre corn and soybean farm in Lenawee County, Michigan, has twelve meat...

Bringing everyone to the table: A review of “PolyCultures”

A handful of recent movies - most notably "Food, Inc." and "Fresh" - have undoubtedly boosted the number of people with something to say about national food policy. And just as the local foods movement emphasizes supporting local farms and producers, filmmakers are beginning to take a closer look at the...

The Marin Carbon Project studies carbon sequestration

Soil carbon sequestration — the process of converting gaseous carbon dioxide into carbon in the soil — offers a promising (and possibly necessary) route to addressing climate change because it could be a massive carbon sink. Indeed, a report by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change estimated that use of...

Following the cycle of soil

In a cover article for Ode Magazine, Larry Gallagher describes the planet's soil problem — poor land-use practices destroy soil faster than nature can create it — and examines how farmers and others are trying to solve the problem. He starts with a visit to Ecology Action in California's Mendocino County, a...

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