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Response from Alton Brown

Celeb chef clarifies his relationship with Greenpeace

A couple of weeks ago, we ran an interview with Food Network chef Alton Brown about his new sustainability efforts. In the course of the piece, Roz Cummins asked him if he'd be willing to crew on a Greenpeace boat, and he said yes -- an answer that's apparently been repeated and miscontextualized all over the place. Brown dropped us a note to clarify his position. Here's what he has to say: Dear Editor, Just to set the record straight: Although I would be very interested in spending time on a Greenpeace vessel in order to learn more about the …

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What I saw at the Summit

Thoughts from the big organic confab in Boulder

Attending last week's Organic Summit, held within the tasteful confines of the St. Julien Hotel and Spa in Boulder, was a very, well, organic experience. It started with the hotel itself. The St. Julien, a human-scale building right in downtown Boulder, exudes calm. The lobby, a light, airy space overlooking a sun-dappled garden with mountain views behind, practically echoes with a low and relaxing ohhhmmm. As far as accommodations, I get drowsy just thinking about the sheets, whose thread count approaches infinity. Walk out into the rich-but-not-too-hot sun, and you find eminently walkable, liveable downtown Boulder, not the brutalist food-and-coffee …

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Three guidebooks for a dream vacation at your dining-room table

Eat your way around the world, without leaving home. If you had to choose one place in the world to go for a summer break, where would it be? For me, it would be a place I stayed once in Puglia, at the heel of Italy's boot. In 2003, my friends and I spent a week at an agriturismo operation -- a working organic olive farm that doubled as a kind of low-key rural hotel. Our quarters were in the cellar of a 17th century farmhouse, so during a heat wave that turned even the night into a cauldron, we …

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How the organic movement can regain its relevance

Buying organic makes you feel good ... but does it make you think? On June 25, I spoke at the Organic Summit in Boulder, Colo., to an audience consisting largely of people who work in the organic food industry. This column is an adapted version of my talk. In his wildly popular satirical blog Stuff White People Like, the Canadian writer Christian Lander recently made some tart observations about the place of organic food in North American culture. "White people need organic food to survive," he declared. "Where they purchase this food is as important as what they purchase. In …

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Fish and pigs and chickens, oh my!

Farm animals consume 17 percent of wild-caught fish

Here's a guest post from Jennifer Jacquet of the Sea Around Us Project and the UBC Fisheries Centre in Vancouver, B.C. ----- It is one thing to grind up wild fish to feed to farmed fish, but it is quite another to grind up these perfectly edible fish to feed factory-farmed pigs and poultry. After all, when is the last time you saw a chicken catch a fish? In the not-so-distant past, pigs and chickens ate grass, some grains, and food scraps. Today, in the throes of a perverse industrial food system that favors cheap protein and quick growth (with …

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Amazin' maize

Corn tries to look a little too sweet

This week's $4.8 billion merger of Corn Products International and Bunge Ltd. probably didn't catch your eye, but with revenues projected to increase 29 percent this year to $4 billion, you might consider paying attention -- for the sake of your belly and the environment. Corn syrup manufacturers are going on the offensive -- and that includes a charm offensive. The Corn Refiners Association -- an industry trade group -- launched a new marketing campaign yesterday that coincided with the announcement of the multi-billion dollar merger. Corn syrup is trying to clean up its image, but its glossy, interactive website …

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Iowa’s chefs and their farmer-suppliers get busy recovering from disaster

Roads and restaurants may be closed, but Iowa is getting back on its feet. Photo: Kurt Michael Friese The weather here in Iowa City has been gorgeous for more than a week. Is Mother Nature trying to make amends? While she smiles on us, she's still causing trouble for our friends to the south. The horrendous flooding continues, breeching nearly every levee it encounters in Missouri and Illinois, and leaving behind a litany of statistics that indicate the millions of lives affected. In Iowa alone, we've got 36,000 new homeless folks, and 3 million inundated acres of farmland. And then …

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Nitrogen madness

The costs of unsustainable agriculture

Here's a guest post from Rodale Institute CEO Tim LaSalle. ----- Tom Philpott is right to highlight the tremendous ecological debt we've built up by depending on nitrogen fertilizer to run our crop production system. Depending on mined and fossil-fuel produced nitrogen for our food is no more sustainable than depending on peaking oil and mountain-top removed coal for our energy. There's no more "cheap" food and fuel, because, really, there never was. The huge irony -- currently obscured by the psychological jolt of widespread shortages of food and fuel -- is that we were just learning of how not …

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Climate change ideas for On Day One

Day three of the UN Dispatch-Grist collaboration

The UN Dispatch-Grist collaboration continues today with a discussion of the top user-rated idea on On Day One: 'Eat the View,' by Roger Doiron. This idea was so popular, it even found its way into The New York Times. Here's what he suggests: Announce plans for a food garden on the White House lawn, making one of the White House's eight gardeners responsible for it, with part of produce going to the White House kitchen and the rest to a local food pantry. The White House is "America's House" and should set an example. The new President would not be …

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Florida will buy out sugar company to restore Everglades

Nearly 300 square miles of sugar plantation in the Everglades will once again become marsh, as Florida Gov. Charlie Crist announced Tuesday that the state will buy the land from U.S. Sugar Corp. If all goes to plan, the $1.75 billion deal may be the largest environmental restoration in the history of the United States. Environmentalists have long lamented the sugar industry's role in diverting and polluting the Everglades' water supply; the River of Grass is only half the 11,000 square miles it was in the early 20th century. U.S. Sugar, which has farmed the Everglades for nearly 80 years, …

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