Short Answer: Yes

Quiz: Should I see the critically acclaimed documentary ‘Food, Inc.’?

A quiz, dear Grist reader, to determine if you should see the new documentary ‘Food, Inc.‘ (You start with 0 points. Total your points as you answer the questions.): Farmer Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm in Virginia.Photo: Food, Inc. Do you eat food? Yes, three-square meals a day. Add 1 million points. No, I’m not into that right now. Subtract 50 points. Have you read The Ominvore’s Dilemma? Yes, I loved it.  I own a signed first edition, and I have a poster of Michael Pollan in my bedroom. I can probably recite the text of the 2008 Farm Bill …

Go deep, organic!

Coleman’s elegant year-round vegetable production blueprint

The June National Geographic features a story The End of Plenty which starts off saying that even though humans produced a record amount of grain last year, we still had to dip into stockpiles from past years to feed ourselves. Sobering stuff. But then for solutions it goes deep on the same tired green revolution song and dance, and notes GMOs and the Malawi Miracle (hybrid seeds and a bag of fertilizer for every farmer) as points of hope. But at least it notes all the ways Borlaug’s theory has failed and gives time later in the piece to Vandana …

Running dry

Time to save our nation’s dairy farmers

This post orginally appeared on The Ethicurean. ——————— Did you see that movie Flash of Genius? It follows the unlucky Robert Kearns, played by Greg Kinnear, as he spends his life (and his savings) perfecting the intermittent windshield wiper, only to have his idea snared and used without credit by the Ford Motor Company. He pursues lawsuits against Ford and other car companies out of principle, he says: It is simply not fair that all of his hard work enriches Detroit’s Big Three while leaving him and his family virtually penniless. I’ve been thinking about that movie a lot lately …

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 …

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