Tom Philpott

Tom Philpott was previously Grist's food writer. He now writes for Mother Jones.

Why federal farm support deserves a fresh look

Note: Over the course of three weeks, as Congress begins discussion of the 2007 farm bill, Victual Reality will be devoted to analyzing the political economy of farming and teasing out an agenda for a …

Edible Media: The chef as public intellectual

An NY chef’s searing op-ed on the Farm Bill

Edible Media takes an occasional look at interesting or deplorable food journalism on the web. Ann Cooper, Berkeley’s crusading lunch lady, is not the only chef intervening in the national debate around food and agriculture. …

Maverick chef Ann Cooper aims to spark a nationwide school-lunch revolution

Even the most intractable pathology can disappear, sometimes relatively quickly. A sign above a water fountain proclaiming “no coloreds” would cause any American to flinch today. Just half a century ago throughout the South, such …

Ethanol: the net-energy debate returns

Is ethanol skeptic Pimentel right after all?

In 2004, the USDA came out with a study (PDF) claiming that corn-derived ethanol delivers 67 percent more energy than it consumes in production. For many observers, including green-minded ethanol critics, the study delivered a …

The Mustache trumpets 'clean' coal

Tom Friedman, erstwhile Great Green Hope

Tom Friedman of the NYT gets a lot of love around here as the green movement’s great popularizer, someone whose plain-spoken pronouncements can convince politicians and plain folks alike to act on climate change, etc. …

Thoughts from a small farm during the midwinter lull

Before I became a farmer three growing seasons ago, I lived in Brooklyn, N.Y., and reveled in the array of top-flight local produce available from mid-spring to late fall. Long about January, though, a kind …

Make way CAFO-diesel

The latest beneficiary of biofuel subsidies: industrial feedlot operators.

So far, a huge amount of the government’s lavish support for biofuel has ended up on the bottom line of Archer Daniels Midland, the king of industrially produced, environmentally ruinous corn. Now another type of …

Why The Economist’s recent assault on “ethical food” missed the mark

Last month, the influential British newsweekly The Economist took the measure of the sustainable-food movement and found it wanting. “There are good reasons to doubt the claims made about three of the most popular varieties …

What we’ve learned from the biofuels series

Future or folly? Photo: iStockphoto After spending much of the last several months thinking about the biofuels boom and its implications in preparation for this special series, we’ve come to a few conclusions. Like other …

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