Tom Philpott

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

Corn ethanol: it really does suck

And cellulosic might too — plus it’s still a decade off

Yes, this is another bitter polemic against ethanol, but I want to make one point up front, because I sometimes forget to: The only concrete alternative energy/climate policy that our political class can agree on …

Following U.S. consumerism through the fields of China and Brazil

In what surely counts as one of the greatest feats in the history of global trade, the United States has essentially outsourced its manufacturing base to China in little more than a decade. It all …

Wal-Mart's organic bust

And another way forward.

On April Fool’s Day, Grist ran a fake bit on how Wal-Mart had “pulled the plug” on much-ballyhooed green initiatives, including its plan to to become the nation’s number-one organic grocer. “In the end, our …

Corn talk on Berkeley radio

Philpott talks ethanol

My face may be made for radio, but I don’t especially like the way my voice sounds. Even so, I accepted an invitation to talk ethanol on today’s Sunday Salon show on Berkeley’s KPFA radio …

Say it ain't so, Mario

A great chef pimps his name for industrial food

Mario Batali is a great chef and restaurateur. I’ve never had the chance to eat at his celebrated restaurants Babbo and Del Posto, but I have eaten several times at Otto, his relatively modest pizza …

Hot planet, poison fish

This one will hit harder in the global south

Climate change is affecting the oceans in any number of unpredictable ways. For example, under pressure from rising ocean temperatures (and toxic waste), coral reefs — those glorious engines of biodiversity — are degrading. I …

BBC on 'feeding the world'

The perils of cooking with greenhouse gas.

The BBC has issued a pretty clear-eyed report on food production and climate change, the podcast of which you can download here. The report makes no brief for sustainable ag, but it does cogently question …

Now’s the time to discover the myriad pleasures of growing food

“A natural diet lies right at one’s feet.” — Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution It’s springtime here on my mountain farm, and that means an explosion of activity. We’re starting seeds in one greenhouse, and …

Corn-based ethanol: the biggest greenwash ever?

Unintended or not, the consequences were predictable

It’s hard to imagine what politicians and corporate chiefs are intending to do by crafting a corn-based ethanol boom, beyond rigging public policy (and raiding the public purse) to generate huge private profits. But whatever …

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