Best Served Cold

A tasting of seven organic ice cream flavors

This is part one of a two-part series on organic ice cream; look for our review of select non-dairy brands later this month. In my four-plus decades on this planet, I’ve gone through many transformations. One constant has been a devotion to ice cream. Tastes like heaven.Somewhere, there exists a photo of three-year-old me with an ice cream cone rammed into my face, which is marked with splotches of Rocky Road. My expression is focused, beatific, like a religious fanatic at prayer. To this day, I remember howls of adult laughter echoing around me. I didn’t give a damn — …

Food safety: How local can you go?

Photo: Beth RankinThe Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 (FSEA) draft, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Waxman on May 26, 2009 and is expected to move quickly through the House.  Consumers, farmers, and manufacturers alike all appear to be for a food safety bill, so the question is not whether a bill will be approved, but whether it will make our food safer.  Our food system is seriously broken in places, and at first glance, many elements of the FSEA are hard to argue with.  For example, the bill would provide the FDA with mandatory recall …

Food - Time = a Big Problem

Fixing food isn’t only about agriculture. Just ask Europe.

Michael Pollan spoke to Newsweek about the new documentary on our industrial food system Food, Inc. In his comments, he made some crucial points about differences between US and Europe that go beyond “food culture”: [T]hey have a better safety net [in Europe]. You can afford to spend 15 to 17 percent of your income on food if you don’t have to worry about healthcare, if you know you’re going to get, I don’t know, five weeks of vacation a year and your retirement is not in doubt. So one of the reasons we’re so dependent on cheap food is …

Tough row to hoe

Waxman-Markey, meet House Ag Committee

House Ag Committee: Like a combine thundering through a field.By all accounts, Thursday’s House Ag Committee hearing on the Waxman-Markey climate-change legislation went as expected: angry men blustered and fulminated and generally vented spleen. (See the Wall Street Journal’s coverage here and here; Farm Policy blog’s summary; and here’s links to the testimony of the hearing’s carefully selected witnesses.) Grist’s Kate Sheppard attended the hearing. She tells me that Committee members, especially Republicans, spent considerable time airing their doubts about whether climate change exists at all. Mostly, though, the farm-states’ finest got down to business: demanding that the legislation be …


Globesity: How climate change and obesity draw from the same roots

Photo illustration by Tom Twigg/GristYou’ve heard all the reasons before: We drive too much. We eat too much meat and processed food. We spend too much time with plugged-in devices—computers, TVs, air conditioners. But what problem are we talking about–climate change, or the worldwide rise in obesity? Both, according to Globesity: A Planet Out of Control?, a book by four public-health researchers who show how climate change and obesity draw from a shared web of roots. Both problems worsen as car culture spreads, desk jobs replace manual jobs, and carbon-intensive foods (including meat) become available to more and more eaters, …

One big dinner table

When it comes to food, we’re all in this together

Declarations of sovereignty and independence are not uncommon as rites of passage both for countries and teenagers. But what we typically see and what we experience is altogether different, both at home and in the world. Dependency and interdependency are the norm, whether we look at human relations, commerce, or biology. As the conservationist John Muir put it, everything is “hitched to everything else in the universe.” And perhaps this is as it must and should be. We dabble with danger when we act as if we are self-reliant and can “go it alone”, when in fact we are not …

Little feast on the prairie

From grass to grill, a Midwestern farm struts its stuff — and dishes up delicious lamb chops

The chefs of “Lambstravaganza.”The best part about my work with Slow Food USA is getting to experience new people, places, and especially great foods. Such was the case this past weekend as I traveled to join the members of Slow Food St. Louis for their fourth annual “Lambstravaganza” at Prairie Grass Farms just outside of New Florence, Mo. Prairie Grass Farms is in the capable hands of its third generation of Hillebrands. Dave Hillebrand runs the farm now, having inherited it from his father and grandfather before him. There they used to raise primarily row crops, but Dave took an …

Organically grown offsets

A climate policy for agriculture that works

A proven climate solution. Not since Earl Butz’s famous “hedgerow to hedgerow” comment of the 1970s have America’s farmers been at such a turning point. Food and farming policy in the United States is largely determined by the Farm Bill, behemoth legislation that comes around once every five years.  Yet, the current climate legislation–The American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES)–offers an unprecedented opportunity to rethink the way America farms.  Since the start of ACES, agriculture interests have had an unspoken, yet powerful voice in the bill. Ag was explicitly exempted from the “capped” sector, which meanth that from the …

Genetically modified offsets

Will Big Ag plow under Waxman-Markey?

Waxman and Markey prepare for the ag lobby. As the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill moves forward in the House, Big Ag interest groups are circling their plows and sharpening their pitchforks. Some of the largest corporations in the agribusiness sector–including the GMO-and-herbicide giant Monsanto–are pushing to control how agriculture would fit into the bill’s cap-and-trade scheme. The main agent for their will is House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), who has launched a veritable jihad to make sure the historic climate legislation hews to the interests of “production” (i.e., industrial) agriculture. Via Farm Policy blog, here’s an MP3 …

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