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Twilight Greenaway's Posts

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Pesticides on trial [VIDEO]

On Dec. 3, the 27th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, anti-pesticide advocates are bringing the six largest pesticide companies to trial. Or rather, to something called The Permanent People's Tribunal, an international body that "officially facilitates the trial, lacking any set of binding national laws." According to a recent press release from the North American branch of Pesticide Action Network (PAN), a group of attorneys, witnesses, and jurors will approximate a process that puts the companies -- Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, Dow, and Dupont, or the "Big 6" -- on trial, for what PAN calls "their crimes against humanity, including …

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Talking vertical farms: An interview with Dickson Despommier

Your classic vertical farm rendering. Rendering: Blake KurasekIf you haven't seen the slickly rendered architectural models of farms growing in skyscapers, you probably live under a rock. When I first I saw one -- this was a few years back, they've been making their way around the internet for years -- I got a little tingly. Had the clean, green future of food really arrived? Since then, I've come to wonder about how realistic these models are, how likely it is that we'll ever really move farming out of rural areas and into skyscrapers, and whether it'd really be any …

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Ready to Talk Turkey?: Join us for a live Twitter chat on Tuesday, Nov 22

turk_talkWhere: The Twittersphere (and Grist.org)

When: Tuesday, November 22 at 1 p.m., East Coast /10 am, West Coast

Who: People with things to say about turkey, Thanksgiving, and aggressive napping

Why: Who gets any real work done in a holiday week, anyway?

This Thanksgiving, the hard choices begin well before Uncle Bob hits the whiskey. In fact, they start on the plate: Should you buy heritage bird? And why, as a Grist reader asked recently, are there so few "other alternatives between $7.50/pound heritage breed and $0.75/pound conventionally-raised turkeys."

This is a time when the whole nation comes together around food. So why not throw a few tough questions in the mix? And through the lens of this maligned, (but delicious!) species, no less (If nothing else, it'll give you something to talk about around the dinner table.)

Have you heard that 99% of conventionally raised turkeys are artificially inseminated? What really happens to the turkeys that get adopted? What does it really take to produce the 40,000+ birds (over a billion pounds of meat) Americans will eat in just one day -- plus a few million sandwiches afterward. Which reminds me: where does food waste enter the discussion?

Clearly these are juicy questions. I'll be co-hosting a live Twitter chat this Tuesday with Leslie Hatfield (@lesliehatfield) of Ecocentric (a blog about food, water, and energy, by the folks who brought you the Meatrix). We'll dive into these questions like so much holiday stuffing. And don't worry -- Thanksgiving's supporting players will make an appearance as well. For instance: Should we be worried about BPA in canned Thanksgiving foods like cranberry sauce, or the condensed milk that makes it so easy to bake a pumpkin pie "from scratch?"

Bring your questions and answers. We'll see you there!

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The Farm Bill: The view from the grassroots

The odds that most of us laypeople will have any opportunity to influence this year's Farm Bill process are looking awfully slim. Sure, there's still a chance the current, nearly opaque supercommittee process, and the piece of it now known as "the Secret Farm Bill," could break down. If that happens, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) said last week: It could proceed under a more normal legislative process through both the House and Senate committees early next year, or the current farm bill could be extended for a year, with the committees coming back to work on a new …

Read more: Farm Bill, Food

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The peaceful side of Oakland’s port shutdown march

See related slideshowI arrived at Occupy Oakland Wednesday a few hours before the planned march to the Port for what was supposed to be a teach-in about food justice. But by 3:30 p.m. the speakers had stopped trying to compete with the warring musical factions on either side of Frank Ogawa Plaza -- hip hop versus reggae -- and the event had devolved into one break-out session and a few people milling around holding signs about Big Food.      I found one food activist -- Paul Towers of Pesticide Action Network -- holding a smart sign depicting an octopus …

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slideshow

Occupied Oakland [SLIDESHOW]

Check out more photos from Wednesday's gathering and march in Oakland, Calif.

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Maude’s Market: Spreading local food in Monsanto country

Maude Bauschard, outside her local food market in St. Louis. Maude Bauschard sells local and sustainably produced groceries and runs a weekly community-supported agriculture (CSA) box from a small store she calls Maude's Market. This wouldn't sound like much if she were living in a city on one of the coasts, but Bauschard lives in St. Louis, Mo., or what she calls "the heart of Monsanto country." Literally: The city is home to the world headquarters of Monsanto, one of the world's leading producers of both herbicide and genetically engineered (GE) seeds. "So any sort of action -- even just …

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Will a ‘Secret Farm Bill’ be passed this week?

Photo: Jeff Cushner Update (Nov. 4, 2011): According to this SFGate article, the new bill is expected to be submitted to the congressional supercommittee as early as today (Friday). Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wisc.) (the same Kind who put forth the Kind-Flake amendment during the 2007-2008 Farm Bill process) has stepped up at the 11th hour to oppose the swift passage of a "Secret Farm Bill." He told SFGate's Washington D.C.-based reporter Stacy Finz: "Time is of the essence. This is a horrible process. It keeps Congress and the whole nation in the dark." An additional 26 additional members of congress …

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Harvesting change: Dispatches from a TEDx gathering on farmworkers [VIDEO]

Farmworker-turned-organic farm owner, Maria Catalán with translator. If there isn't a TED talk on it, how do we know it's worth talking about? That's how it can feel these days, as the short videos -- recorded at conferences around the world -- have slowly populated nearly every corner of the internet. There's a definite allure to watching geniuses break down big ideas into bite-size bits. But the foundation arm of sustainability-focused food service company Bon Appetit Management Company (BAMCO) chose to host a TEDx* conference on something most of us never see. Instead of featuring slick technologists or designers waxing …

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Fumigation nation: Battling pesticide use in California

Photo: sgraceTo drive through California's farm fields with a group of anti-pesticide advocates is to see the endless rows of strawberries, lettuce, and Brussels sprouts transform from a bucolic to an ominous sight. This happened to me on a recent tour of Santa Cruz and Monterey -- two coastal counties known for their cool-weather crops and a wide range of corresponding chemicals used to keep pests at bay. (In 2009 alone, conventional farmers in Monterey County used over 7 million pounds of pesticide, for example). Three advocacy groups -- Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR), Pesticide Action Network (PANNA), and Pesticide …

Read more: Food