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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...

Industrial ag can’t get enough federal bucks?

Snow us the money! David Goldstein, Washington correspondent for McClatchy newspapers, reports that three senators are standing up for the poor, neglected industrial agriculture industry against the wicked Know Your Farmer Know Your Food program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. From the story: Sens....

Michael Pollan on the rise of the food movement(s)

Pollan nation: In what is ostensibly a five-book review for the June 10 New York Review of Books, journalist Michael Pollan has an epic essay charting the emergence and character of the food movement. Or, as he puts it, "'movements,' since it is unified as yet by little more than the recognition that...

Ethicurean’s Marc interviewed on Berkeleyside

Marc my words: Ethicurean co-editor Marc Rumminger talks about which cookbook authors and local-food purveyors he admires for an interview on Berkeley Bites. His personal blog, Mental Masala, was recently named a blog with bite and featured on food rockstar Mark Bittman’s recently launched group site. Yay...

Buyer beware this butcher’s bullshit

It's a sad and telling sign of the SOLE food movement's popularity, when people use the movement's principles to market their beef and hide the bullshit behind the counter.  As Matthew Richter writes in "Mystery Meat" for Seattle's The Stranger, J'Amy Owens and William Von Schneidau, the people behind Puget...

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...

Russ Parsons looks beyond the farmers market

In an adaptation of his keynote address at the Small Farms Conference, Russ Parsons praises the farmers market — an institution that has had a "revolutionary effect" — but also calls it "one of the most inefficient business plans ever devised." He notes some of the flaws: they are only open a few hours a...

Food Corps puts new energy into school lunch programs

You've probably heard about service programs that put volunteer teaching assistants in classrooms of underprivileged schools or put new college graduated into troubled schools. A new program called Food Corps puts a twist in that old formula, sending volunteers into school kitchens and purchasing offices....

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...

In search of the self-pollinating almond

Giving bees the brush-off:  California almonds, a multi-billion dollar crop, are almost completely dependent on honey bees for pollination. During the short pollination season, a significant fraction of the U.S. honeybee colonies are in the almond orchards — in 2004, for example, sixty percent of the 2.5...

S.F. restaurants experiment with wine on tap

Kicking the bottle habit:  Instead of recycling bins overflowing with empty 750 mL bottles, you'll see reusable wine casks outside a handful of San Francisco restaurants. Long a tradition in Europe, these restaurants — which include such luminaries as Salt House, OTD, Delfina, and Frances — are give it a...

Aquaponics in the S.F. Bay Area

Getting hooked on aquaponics: Aquaponics — the combination of hydroponics and aquaculture — can be a great way to grow food in a small space, with little water and at low cost. In the S.F. Bay Area, a few organizations are building and selling systems. The Oakland-based company Kijiji Grows (kijiji is...

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