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“The Coming Plague”: The big book of nasty diseases

I first read “The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance” by Laurie Garrett nearly eight years ago. I have a penchant for “disease books,” and as Garrett’s book covers hemorrhagic fevers (Ebola, Marburg, Lassa, hantavirus, and Ebola), yellow fever, meningitis, swine flu, AIDS,...

Meet menhaden – before this ecologically critical fish vanishes

By Alice Friedemann Ever heard of menhaden? Probably not, although perhaps you're familiar with the fish’s other names: bunker, pogies, mossbacks, bugmouths, alewifes, and fat-backs. You may be surprised to learn they’re the most important fish in the Atlantic and Gulf waters. Menhaden are the vacuum...

Review: Real Food For Healthy Kids cookbook

I talk a lot of smack about sustainable food. About the unexpected pleasures of farmer’s markets, about voting with one’s fork, about "local economies" this and "food miles" that. But here’s my dirty little secret: it wasn’t that long ago that I fed my daughter a steady diet of chicken nuggets, mac and...

Learning to share: “Dinner at Your Door,” by Alex Davis, Diana Ellis, and Andy Remeis

Not quite two years ago, as our local meat CSA was in the works, I gathered with a few people to discuss “The Omnivore's Dilemma,” the Ethicurean, CSAs, and local food in general. One person turned to me and asked how they could make time for the shopping and cooking required to get away from the fast-food,...

What the health?: A review of “101 Foods That Could Save Your Life”

In the past year or so, the local college has started a Wellness Series of lectures designed to discuss various health topics designed to appeal to all members of the community. Unable to attend any of last year's, I thought I might try to catch at least one this time around, so recently I dragged a friend...

Well worth the wheat: Gene Logsdon’s “Small-Scale Grain Raising”

As the price of flour and other grain-based foods has risen, creative-minded people have begun to consider growing their own wheat, corn, rye, and other grains. Groovy Green noted last year that one bakery — the Hungry Ghost Bread company in Northhampton, Massachusetts — even offered grain seeds to their...

Paving over paradise: “The Garden” documents the demise of South Central Farm

By Elise McDonough For more than 10 years, a lush oasis flourished in South Central Los Angeles, surrounded by warehouses and industry. An incredibly beautiful place, the 14-acre community garden known as South Central Farm hosted towering trees, cacti, tropical fruits, and innumerable vegetables, herbs,...

Outta space?: R. J. Ruppenthal’s “Fresh Food From Small Spaces”

Though I've been lucky to "borrow" my friends' back yard for a garden this year, during the winter I still crave growing something green and edible. But in an apartment with insufficient amounts of direct sunlight, I sometimes find it difficult to grow much of anything. I know I'm not alone in having that...

Grass act: Gene Logsdon’s “All Flesh Is Grass”

As the problems of industrial meat production — CAFOs, excessive waste and pollution, worker safety, and the overuse of antibiotics, among many others — become more evident and more dangerous to public health, consumers are turning in greater numbers to local and/or organic meats and poultry, especially...

Review: New documentary “Food Fight” is more of a lovefest

Ethicurean headquarters in Oakland, CA, should have been the home stadium for a preview screening of "Food Fight," the new documentary by Chris Taylor. After all, this "story of culinary revolt" covers the damage wrought by industrialization of the food system and features star players such as Michael...

Celebrating food independence: A review of “Depletion and Abundance”

OK, quick check: everyone who is concerned about the economic crisis turning into a depression and causing food and fuel prices to rise and pockets to empty — whether for yourself, your parents, your children, your neighbors, your friends, or anyone — raise your hand. That covers about everyone, doesn't...

As the dirt turns (a pair of agricultural hope operas)

I grew up surrounded by farms. Though my family lived in a neighborhood on the very outskirts of our northern Ohio city, my school bus drove out into the country to pick up some of my farm-raised classmates. And in the summer, I spent the county fair week not only taking pride in my townie 4-H projects but...

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