Food

As ‘Food Inc.’ nears open, Eric Schlosser appears on Colbert

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c Eric Schlosser colbertnation.com Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Keyboard Cat   Steven Cobert is a brilliant comedian. Eric Schlosser may be our best investigative journalist after Seymour Hersh. Together, Colbert and Schlosser create … a typically random and zany Colbert interview. But they do give me a good excuse to announce that the documentary Food, Inc., which Schlosser co-produced, is opening next week in New York City, L.A., San Francisco, and a few other cities. I’ve only seen a few scenes, but it looks downright incendiary. The most interesting review …

Spare Tires

Food industry and longer commutes are making us fat

Recently I wrote about a study that looked across a few decades of data about housing and health. And we have written more than once about the relationship between the environment, location, health and price as it relates to food. Certainly there are systems issues that conspire against us when we try to make the right decision about food including the food industry. Blaming the food industry might be an easy thing to do. But a combination of policies that improve what we eat and encourage alternative transportation is the recipe we need to follow. Dr. Boyd Swinburn comes down …

Flu do they think they are?

Europeans demand investigation of the CAFO/swine flu link

Swine flu continues Maroon lagoon: Take a dip in a hog-waste cesspool? spreading across the globe, killing people–even (gasp) Americans. (Eleven have died in New York City alone.) Ho-hum. As I predicted a few weeks ago, the flu scare has skulked off the front pages and into the realms of historical amnesia, that vast American netherworld. Apparently, it will take mass quarantines, high death rates, and riots at hospitals to keep Americans thinking about the very real threat of flu pandemic for more than a week or two. Meanwhile, no one with authority seems to be investigating obvious possible links …

Treacherous waters

A new tool for navigating around overfishing and mercury taint

Chart by Neil Banas. Here’s a PDF version.   Not long ago, I arrived at a fishmonger (Carrboro, N.C.’s Tom’s Seafood) just before closing time looking for a main course — preferably one that didn’t wouldn’t contribute to stripping the oceans bare or addle my tired brain with lashings of mercury (courtesy of coal-fired power plants). The workers were breaking down the counter and trying to get out of there — but indicated they’d be happy to serve me. “What’s fresh and from around the North Carolina coast?” I asked the woman behind the counter. She didn’t hesitate. “This tilefish …

Anti-CAFO ads running in DC Metro

File this under intriguing. From Ag Professional (via a press release, I think) A new ad campaign is asking area commuters and people visiting Capitol Hill “Who’s hogging our antibiotics?” The series of ads, revealed in D.C. Metro stations and trains this week by the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, is part of the project’s national effort to end the misuse of antibiotics in food animal production. The group says up to 70 percent of human antibiotics are being fed to animals on factory farms, promoting the development of deadly strains of drug-resistant bacteria that can spread …

'Recovering from the Green Revolution'

NPR: Organic ag rises in India

Wouldn’t a bit of atrazine liven up this scene?India is a major player on the global stage–hub of the information-technology market, the world’s second most populous nation, and a nuclear power to boot. It would be a global-scale calamity if India’s food security became compromised–and that is exactly what’s happening, as NPR’s Daniel Zwerdling showed in three excellent reports last month.  In May, Zwerdling focused on the decay of industrial agriculture. His latest piece, which aired Monday, he turns to organic ag–which is becoming increasingly popular across the country as farmers grapple with declining soil quality and high costs for …

Sugary surprise

Would you like some GMOs in your coffee?

One cube or two? Jill Richardson made a good catch on the GMO crop front the other day. She dug up an article from a Boulder, CO newspaper that detailed the debate over local sugarbeet farmers’ request to plant GM seeds within the city limits. The farmers claim that without GM sugar beets, they’ll be unable to meet their Western Sugar Cooperative quota. But that’s not the reason I’m telling you all this (nor is it for the useful fact that sugarbeets have been a staple crop in Boulder for a century). I’m telling you all this because the article …

Trampling the rainforest

Greenpeace: your boots are made for climate change

These boots are made for … trampling the rainforest? A lot of eco-minded folks these days generally know where their food comes from. They’d never walk into a supermarket and plunk an anonymous ribeye into their cart. They understand the tremendous greenhouse-gas footprint of beef; if they consume it at all, they do so sparingly, buying directly from nearby farmers who manage their land well. But what about shoes? What about dog chew toys–and car interiors? Leather furniture? Food is only one part of our material culture that comes from agriculture. And these other agricultural products, too, emerge from processes …

The political economy of climate policy

Understanding offsets

As the struggle to pass the Waxman-Markey climate-energy bill showed, there is a certain price any political system is willing to bear for climate action. In China, that price is low. In the United States, it is medium. And in Europe, it is relatively high. But in every system, there exist two primary ways to reduce the costs of climate legislation to align it with that politically-determined price. One is by weakening the pollution reduction targets – something which provides zero benefit to the climate. The other is by including offsets – making it possible for emitters to get credit …

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