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Elanor Starmer's Posts


Liquid goldbugs

Beware the water cowboys

For sale? An old water tower in Hachita, New Mexico.Photo: Ryan Thomas The history of the West is peppered with water cowboys. Just recall William Mulholland, whose role in Los Angeles' secret grab of water from Owens Valley, Calif., was made famous in the movie Chinatown, or Colorado's contemporary water baron, Aaron Million, who's pushing a $3 billion, privately funded scheme to funnel water to Colorado's Front Range. Experience has shown that with water comes power. The unique properties of water -- the fact that it is a limited resource required for survival and that it has no substitute -- …

Read more: Food


The right to bear farms

Can Congress make a food-safety omelet without breaking the wrong eggs?

What's HACCP-ening?: Egg-washing practices at small farms like this one come under scrutiny in Congress's current food-safety bill. Photo: Bart NagelIt's been a long two years since Congress started debating the passage of a new food safety law. While our legislators were busy pontificating, wave after wave of contaminated-food recalls washed across the country, leaving unsuspecting eaters gagging in their wake. Meanwhile, the internet has surged with rumors claiming that if passed, the bills will give the FDA the power to outlaw organic practices or backyard food-growing. Those rumors aren't true, but they're based on a real concern for how …


Running dry

Time to save our nation’s dairy farmers

This post orginally appeared on The Ethicurean. --------------------- Did you see that movie Flash of Genius? It follows the unlucky Robert Kearns, played by Greg Kinnear, as he spends his life (and his savings) perfecting the intermittent windshield wiper, only to have his idea snared and used without credit by the Ford Motor Company. He pursues lawsuits against Ford and other car companies out of principle, he says: It is simply not fair that all of his hard work enriches Detroit's Big Three while leaving him and his family virtually penniless. I've been thinking about that movie a lot lately …

Read more: Food


Siding with the Bushies?

Why a Bush veto of the farm bill is bad for the food movement (and the world)

My former boss in D.C. once said that if she ever found herself on the same side of an issue as the Bush administration, it was time to go back and look more closely: There must be a hidden agenda. That was the thought that struck me as I contemplated the administration's farm bill veto threat on Friday. I understand the calls from some in the sustainable-ag community to veto the farm bill (and thank Tom Philpott and the comment crew for outlining them). The argument appears to be that, while there were important wins, this farm bill does not …

Read more: Food, Politics