Pollan blogs on corn ethanol and local-food resources
Did you know that foodie writer Michael Pollan (look for my interview on Tuesday!) has a blog? Probably not, because it’s hidden behind the cursed NYT Select subscription wall. Too bad — it’s a great blog, and deserves wider readership.
The latest entry reviews arguments against corn ethanol that will be familiar to readers of this blog, and concludes with this:
So why the stampede to make ethanol from corn? Because we have so much of it, and such a powerful lobby promoting its consumption. Ethanol is just the latest chapter in a long, sorry history of clever and profitable schemes to dispose of surplus corn: there was corn liquor in the 19th century; feedlot meat starting in the 1950’s and, since 1980, high fructose corn syrup. We grow more than 10 billion bushels of corn a year in this country, far more than we can possibly eat — though God knows we’re doing our best, bingeing on corn-based fast food and high fructose corn syrup till we’re fat and diabetic. We probably can’t eat much more of the stuff without exploding, so the corn lobby is targeting the next unsuspecting beast that might help chomp through the surplus: your car.
In another entry, he pulls together a list of resources to help people find local, sustainable food. It deserves to be freed from the insidious NYT wall, so here it is:
Center for Informed Food Choices (informedeating.org) advocates a diet based on whole, unprocessed, local, organically grown plant foods; its Web site contains a useful F.A.Q. page about food politics and eating well, as well as an archive of relevant articles.
Eat Well (eatwellguide.com) is an online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy and eggs. Enter your ZIP Code to find healthful, humane and eco-friendly products from farms, stores and restaurants in your area.
Eat Wild (eatwild.com) lists local suppliers for grass-fed meat and dairy products.
Food Routes (foodroutes.org) is a national nonprofit dedicated to “reintroducing Americans to their food — the seeds it grows from, the farmers who produce it and the routes that carry it from the fields to our tables.”
Heritage Foods USA (heritagefoodsusa.com) sells mail-order ‘traceable’ products from small farms — maple syrup, pole-caught tuna, grass-fed Kobe beef — whose labels provide every detail about how they were produced.
Just Food (justfood.org) works to develop a just and sustainable food system in the New York City region through projects including City Farms (a New York community garden program) and community supported agriculture (which connects regional farmers with produce-hungry city dwellers).
Local Harvest (localharvest.org) offers a definitive and reliable nationwide directory of C.S.A.’s, farmers’ markets, family farms and other local food sources.
Locavores (locavores.com), based in San Francisco, encourages people to eat only foods produced within a 100-mile radius of home. Their Food Web page offers an abundance of additional resources, including books, articles and Web sites.
Organic Consumers Association (organicconsumers.org), a research and action center for the organic and fair-trade food movement, maintains a comprehensive Web archive of articles about genetically engineered foods, cloning, food safety, organics and globalization.
Seafood Watch (mbayaq.org/cr/seafoodwatch.asp) — a program of the Monterey Bay Aquarium designed to raise consumer awareness about the importance of buying seafood from sustainable sources — offers a downloadable, pocket-sized, region-by-region guide to eco-friendly seafood.
Slow Food USA (slowfoodusa.org) is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to ecologically sound land stewardship and food production and to living a “slower and more harmonious” life.
Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture (stonebarnscenter.org) is a hands-on educational center and restaurant that aims to demonstrate, teach and promote sustainable, community-based food production on a working farm 30 miles from Manhattan.
Sustainable Table (sustainabletable.org) offers an introduction to the sustainable food movement and the issues surrounding it, plus resources for further investigation (the links for ‘Introduction to Sustainability’ and ‘The Issues’ are good places to start).
The U.S.D.A. Agricultural Marketing Service (ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets) includes a state-by-state listing of farmers’ markets across the United States.