Currently Browsing: California

Golden State’s blueberry production up, prices in the red

Singing the blues: Through years of hard work, California farmers have dramatically increased their blueberry production, and the state is on track to become the third largest U.S. producer. Success took new, heat-tolerant varieties based on old tropical breeds, understanding the plants' soil and irrigation...

Inside David Mas Masumoto’s orchard

Peach paranoia: Anxiety, fatigue, obsession. These are some of the feelings experienced by peach grower extraordinare David Mas Masumoto (and author of such books as Epitath for a Peach). He is plagued by questions: Did it rain too much?  Too little? Did the April heat wave damage the trees? Farming is full...

New outlets for farmers

The prescription is fresh produce: Mary MacVean looks at some of the new ways small farms are reaching the public in the Los Angeles area, starting with Kaiser Permanente's establishment of farmers markets outside their medical centers (30 so far in four states) and purchase of  local produce for their...

Radical agtivism: California Senate’s new Food and Ag Committee chair

Flowers for Florez: We (heart) California Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, new chair of California's ag committee, which in January took the unprecedented step of adding "food" to its name. This piece from a trade newspaper looks at how he's broken with the herd on animal welfare, animal use of antibiotics, and...

Digest – News: Anti-biotics, working for the (corporate) man, and the price of obesity

More squealing from the porkers: The National Pork Producers Council objects to federal legislation introduced Tuesday by Rep. Louise Slaughter (no pun intended, really), the only microbiologist in the U.S. Congress, that would restrict the use of medically-important antibiotics in livestock production....

Digest – News: The California conundrum, Monsanto at large, and tuna testing (not to be tried at home)

A new growth export market - the revolving door: U.S. government agencies are imploring foreign countries to bring their food safety regulations up to the (arguably pretty low) U.S. par, but the buck doesn't stop there: countries like India are being pushed to develop regulations on GM crops, industrial...

Digest – News: Seeds grow, even in prison; allergy nuts; and the return of the pear

Growing hope: U.S. prisons are notoriously bad at rehabilitating inmates and preparing them to return to public life, but San Quentin is trying to change that. How? By providing an organic garden that residents can care for. "It reminds me of being with my grandmother," says one inmate. "It saved my life."...

All steriled up: Produce safety guidelines throw sustainability out, keep toxic bathwater

Readers may remember back in November when I announced the first installment of a two-part post on produce safety. It's taken me a few months to get around to it, but here we are: part 2! Photo of a "sterile farm" courtesy of the Wild Farm Alliance. Part 1 of this post found me sitting awkwardly at an FDA...

Digest – News: Dairy cows on the moove, Big Corn throwdown, a locavore loses it

Industry pail-out: California's dairy industry announces a plan to cull 300,000 dairy cows, or roughly 1/6th of the state's herd, in an attempt to raise market prices for milk from the $0.97/gallon producers have received recently. Mass sell-offs have happened before, but often the cows were bought by other...

Digest – News: Mega-McDonald’s, bathing moo-ties, and CA Senate embraces food

No budget, but an awesome mandate: The California state Senate reforms its agriculture committee - traditionally a buddy of the state's industrial produce contingent - to prioritize issues such as sustainable agriculture, food safety, animal welfare, and food security. Berkeley/Oakland Senator Loni Hancock...

Oprah show torpedos CAFOs, gives props to Prop. 2

As just about everyone probably knows, most of Oprah's Tuesday show was devoted to reporter Lisa Ling's "How We Treat the Animals We Eat" investigation. I don't have cable, and thought I could watch the episode one way or another but could not, which I feel stupid about. Fortunately friend o'Ethicurean...

Judge tells UDSA to stop interfering with the California election

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ruled that the USDA has been improperly inserting itself into California electoral politics by planning advertisements that would advocate against Proposition 2, an initiative on the November 4th ballot. Proposition 2, "Standards for Confining Farm Animals,"...

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