Currently Browsing: Sustainability

Farming groups resort to Machiavellian defense of indefensible practices

Spin-dustrial ag: Two dozen of the nation's largest and best-funded farm groups have formed a coalition to counter poor publicity, reports the AP (LAtimes.com). What are they mad about? "Videos that show male chicks being put into grinders, egg-laying hens in battery cages and the mistreatment of hogs in...

Thanks, Jevons paradox! On why I won’t be replacing my spare fridge

A few weeks ago, my spare side-by-side fridge/freezer up and died. I was (and remain) pissed about this. It's a fancy-pants Samsung, about four years old, and the Sears repair guy said the compressor would cost $800 to fix -- 75% of what the fridge was new. "Samsung's great for TVs, crap for fridges," he...

An artisanal plea from a fed-up foodie

When you find me behind bars, locked up for a fit of lexical rage, please know that it was granola that pushed me over the edge. Not just any granola: "artisan granola." Presumably its makers meant artisanal granola, made in limited quantities using traditional methods, rather than crunchy-buttery-nutty...

The new New Urbanism incorporates food growing into urban planning

Let's rurbalize it!: While "farming is the new golf," in terms of surburban developments incorporating communal food-growing operations into their scope, urban planner Daniel Nairn sees many more advantages to embedding such land use into the fabric of a dense city block. In this interesting concept for a...

Fertilizer overuse can acidify soil

Another reason to dislike the N-word: Fertilizer overuse creates many problems, like aquatic dead zones, resource depletion and blue-baby syndrome. One impact that has been mostly out of sight is soil acidification. A group of scientists from China, the UK and the US has been examining soil in China, where...

Out of conservation, back to production

Good soil deed about to be uprooted: Millions of acres of environmentally sensitive lands are being pushed out of the federal Conservation Reserve Program and, most likely, back into production. The program was created to stabilize commodity prices while saving topsoil, improving water quality and creating...

Dispatch from Germany No. 2: Visiting three small but innovative farm-to-table enterprises

By Renee Ciulla As I wrote in my first post for Ethicurean, I’m a graduate student learning about Sustainable Agriculture in Europe who recently spent a semester at the University of Kassel in Germany. Its international organic agriculture program is located in the quaint village of Witzenhausen, surrounded...

Farm Labor Experts: The Solution is Not For Sale

Friend o' Ethicurean Twilight Greenaway writes about sustainable food for San Francisco's Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA), which nourishes, inspires and educates SF residents and visitors by running the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and other educational programs. We're big...

If biotechnology won’t feed the world, what will? Knowledge, says GE expert Doug Gurian-Sherman

Earlier this week, I asked plant pathologist and molecular biologist Doug Gurian-Sherman to explain some of the science behind genetically engineered crops and their potential — or lack thereof — to feed a more populous, climate-changing world. Today, President Barack Obama is unveiling a $15 billion plan...

Can biotechnology ‘feed the world’? Not likely, says genetic engineering expert Doug Gurian-Sherman

With food shortages provoking riots in recent years, and the world’s population increasing exponentially, Congress will soon be debating the next big U.S. aid package for developing countries. America currently spends about $2.5 billion on food aid, most of it to buy surplus U.S.-grown commodity grains to...

McDonald’s Europe to showcase “sustainable farming”

Potemkin potato growers?: McDonald’s Europe has launched a PR campaign to highlight those of its suppliers using "sustainable agricultural practices." The Flagship Farms program will showcase innovative farming practices on seven (to start) of the 500,000 European farmers supplying the company. (That's a...

Nobu’s no-no: The rise and fall of the bluefin tuna

With the Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin stocks plummeting to shockingly low levels, chef and restaurateur Nobu Matsuhisa (24 prestigious restaurants around the world) is under pressure from a battalion of critics to remove the fish from his menu until populations are sustainable. So far, Nobu's...

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