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 …

Buying the farm

Fighting for the right to grow food in L.A.

South Central Farm activist Kati Lopez with armload of fresh corn leaves.Black Valley FilmsJust how much trouble can one community garden start? For starters, three years of court proceedings, two eviction notices, one assault charge, countless allegations of corruption, and $16 million worth of fundraising. Even with all the legal crap, the gardeners still had to pay for manure. Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s Oscar-nominated documentary, “The Garden,” tells the story of a 14-acre plot in Los Angeles that became a community garden in 1992, a community-building effort undertaken in the wake of the Rodney King riots. For 12 years, the South …

Political engineering

Monsanto dropped a cool $2 million on lobbying in Q1 2009

Jolly gene giantSource: ETC Group Monsanto dominates the global market for GMO seeds like Microsoft dominates the operating-system software market.  You don’t skirt around antitrust enforcement like that without having good friends in Washinton. And to make friends, you’ve got have guys in suits working the Hill and the agencies. La Vida Locavore’s ever-enterprising Jill Richardson got her hands on Monsanto’s first-quarter lobbying disclosure form (PDF). Turns out, the GMO-seed giant spent $2 million pushing its agenda in Washington the first three months of the year. Conspiracy theorists fixated on a food safety bill called HR 875–insisting that Monsanto is …

Lunch drunk

Why the USDA’s squashing of Philly’s universal school lunch plan bites

The outcry over the USDA’s announced end to Philly’s excellent Universal Feeding program–a program that automatically enrolls poor children in the federal free school meal program and which I wrote about the other day–is getting louder. And the ironies are coming faster, as well. From today’s Inquirer: Sen. Arlen Specter and Gov. Rendell are protesting the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to end Universal Feeding here – a program wanted by New York and Los Angeles – and go with a plan that would cost the district $1 million more annually in paperwork and likely deprive meals to thousands of …

Slicing and dicing reality

From “local” Lays to Oprah’s KFC promo, hypocrisy abounds in the food world

War is peace, junk food is real food….Nobody likes hypocrites, despite the fact that everyone is a hypocrite to one degree or another: the smoker who tells her kids not to smoke; the closeted politician who works against gay rights; the police officer who throws the book at stoners but who himself gets high. But in the matter of marketing food, hypocrisy reaches a fever pitch. Take last month’s flap about Oprah Winfrey’s KFC promotion. While the MSM focused on the feeding frenzy that ensued, and the near-riots when KFCs across the country ran out of food or people couldn’t …

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