Currently Browsing: Cornification of America

Pollan paintings 1: Children of the corn

Life is full of compromises, particularly if you have a kindergartener living in the house. On a recent stormy weekend, I made the grand announcement that I was going to read all weekend long and that it was everybody's job to take care of me. That plan lasted about ten minutes. My son Frederick was antsy...

The origins of some “market signals” in agriculture and food

At a meeting of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association on January 5, 2008, Acting Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner had much to say about the current state of corn and renewable fuels. After extolling our nation's glorious efforts in making ethanol from corn, Conner commented: Our growing appetite...

Digest – Features: Azuluna veal, ethical meat in the UK, Minnesota experiment

Can veal be humanely raised?: Interesting Q&A (despite the dumb title) on rebuilding local meat infrastructure with Dr. George Saperstein of the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. He's created a rancher network under the name Azuluna Brands, for raising bull calves for veal that...

In defense of corn

It's cold, gray, and raining buckets here in Northern California, causing me to feel distinctly snacky. Problem is, the SOLE food lifestyle doesn't really support the quick, salty, fatty comfort food like I crave right now. I eyed a persimmon – too healthy. A couple of walnuts failed to satisfy. Then,...

Digest – Features: Food in ’08, immigration ideals, NPR on hormone-free labeling

Dietgeist predictions around the media: The Philadelphia Inquirer sees more "local, fresh, natural, organic" offerings on our horizon (although we shudder to think we might be getting them from convenience stores); "eco-friendly" and "farmers" (the "new food stars")...

The blame frame, part 2: Who wins, and who whines, when corn prices rise

In my last post, I took a lengthy look at the role that farmers play in the livestock production system. In case you didn't make it that far, here's my conclusion: In their role as feed-growers and animal-raisers, farmers are an important but virtually powerless piece of the system. Wedged between big...

Digest – Blogs: Salatin opines, Windy City to ban chickens, organic processors doing their part

Everything he wants to say should probably be illegal: The inimitable Joel Salatin riffs on the pitfalls of “sound science.” (Food Democracy) Buy fresh, buy local ingredients: Lainie deconstructs new research from the USDA that indicates many organic food manufacturers are sourcing locally and...

YERT goes to Iowa: All-corn, many-corn, and no-corn challenges

2007 is shaping up to be the Year of the Ear. Check out this corny segment from our acquaintances on Your Environmental Road Trip (YERT), who took a highly entertaining detour into Iowa's maze of maize....

Digest – Features: A woman’s place, corn-grower Q&A, Farm Bill failure looms

Uber-mom Frau Farmer: A profile of the very appealing sounding (to us anyway) Shannon Hayes, who is a third-generation farmer as well as a "newly minted paradigm, an exemplar of the pastoral." (New York Times) And don't miss Hayes' tart essay that inspired the coverage: "What I really feel...

“King Corn” preview and discussion in Berkeley draws crowd

Michael Pollan with "King Corn" stars Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney, and director Aaron Woolf, along with a corny hat that Pollan had in his backpack. As expected, Tuesday night's special event for "King Corn," featuring Michael Pollan and the three filmmakers, had a huge turnout, with...

Bay Area events: “King Corn” filmmakers to chat with Michael Pollan, audiences

Like the maize from which it takes its name, the documentary "King Corn" is conquering America. The film's message — that maybe, just maybe, the U.S. is growing too much subsidized cheap grain — obviously contains enough kernels of truth to discomfort some Big Ag folk. Its run was...

“King Corn” is really about zombies

    BoingBoing's Xeni Jardin has an entertaining interview for bbTV with the "King Corn" guys, shortly after their screening for Congress. Although they  look like they're getting used to wearing ties,  Ian Cheney's clearly starting to get bored with the "we eat too much...

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