Global weirding and the scrambling of terroir

Hail storms, tornadoes, and other weather anomalies are battering growers around the country. How can farmers, their seeds, and breeds learn to adapt to uncertainty itself?


Senate ag committee chair is opening up. Who's in line?

Blanche Lincoln, chair of the Senate agriculture committee, is headed for defeat. You won't catch me shedding tears over her exit, but who will replace her in this key role? A Big Ag politician, or one who might support Farm …

Climate & Energy

Obama's riding the (cellulosic) ethanol pony — here's why he should buck the trend

Like countless politicians before him, Obama is striving to shore up his political support in the Midwest by dangling goodies for the ethanol industry. This time, though, it's cellulosic ethanol -- which, I argue, isn't nearly as ecologically benign as …


What a 'sweet surprise'! HFCS contains more fructose than believed

A new study shows that assumptions about fructose/glucose ratios in high-fructose corn syrup have been way off. And since fructose is demonstrably worse for us than glucose, this could explain a lot.


With school-lunch reform on the rocks, it may be time to invest in 'smart cafeterias'

With Congress unable to pass meaningful school lunch reform, researchers are suggesting that simple changes to the lunchroom -- as easy as placing apples in a basket -- could have big effects.


Hitting the Big Apple's food-justice buffet

New York City is jam-packed with urban farms, community gardens, and food-justice projects. Not all of them are what they seem, I've discovered, but one has stolen my heart.

Business & Technology

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

Congress first started debating a new food-safety law two years and several massive food recalls ago. Meanwhile, rumors are flying about how S. 510 will outlaw organic practices or backyard gardening. Here's what the current bill could actually do -- …


A close encounter with China's sewer-oil trade

The Chinese diet uses tons upon tons of cooking oil every day. Some of it comes disgustingly from the waste stream. Here's how the government could flush the sewer-oil black market down the drain.


Ask Umbra on apples for halloween treats and costumes

Umbra weighs in on the virtues of apple-giving and suggests the best costumes to hand them out in. Have no fear, read about it here!