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Organic produce reduces kids’ exposure to pesticides, says study

Pesticide-free produce leads to pesticide-free kids, says a new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives. Young research subjects who ate conventional produce were found to have organophosphate residue in their bodily fluids, while kids who ate organic produce did not. Will wonders never cease.

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A noncarnivorous path to Super Bowl-snack nirvana

Three cheers for vegan snacks! Photo: iStockphoto I have tried and tried to learn about football. Many people have taken the time to sit patiently by my side while a game is on and gently whisper explanations like, "OK, see, there are a series of things called downs ..." Right away, my mind trails off. Despite my total lack of comprehension of anything that happens on the field, I enjoy Super Bowl parties: the spectacle, the ads -- and the snacks. This year I decided to challenge myself to make a Super Bowl-worthy vegan dish. I wanted to make something …

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Mad Flavor in the Bay Area: Coffee fetish

Blue Bottle generates more than just a caffeine buzz, but what does it mean?

In "Mad Flavor," I describe exceptional culinary experiences from small artisan producers. Mad Flavor is currently reporting from the San Francisco Bay Area. Now these guys obsess over coffee. I say that with affection. For years, I home-roasted my own green beans. I once owned a vacuum pot, and used it lovingly until it shattered. A famous Roman espresso bar once moved me to tears of joy. But I've never dropped 20 grand on a fancy brewing contraption. Oakland's Blue Bottle Co. did recently. At Blue Bottle's new downtown San Francisco café, customers snake around the corner and down the …

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Pesticide-free produce, pesticide-free kids

Organic food reduces organophosphate exposure in children

By now, I think most people understand that organic food is supposed to be healthier for you. But I think there are still some people who feel that the health benefits are a just a bunch of marketing hype. Well, this new study suggests that it ain't just hype -- organic produce really does reduce kids' exposure to some potentially risky pesticides. From the Seattle P-I: The peer-reviewed study found that the urine and saliva of children eating a variety of conventional foods from area groceries contained biological markers of organophosphates, the family of pesticides spawned by the creation of …

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Bittman on meat

In case you’d forgotten, industrial meat is a friggin’ nightmare

It's a little weird that no one on Gristmill has yet pointed to Mark Bittman's stellar NYT piece on the environmental ravages of industrial meat. Philpott, where you at? Anyway, it's amazing. Go read it. Here's a taste (ha ha): Growing meat (it's hard to use the word "raising" when applied to animals in factory farms) uses so many resources that it's a challenge to enumerate them all. But consider: an estimated 30 percent of the earth's ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, according to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization, which also estimates that …

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Will peak oil force the localization of agriculture?

Stuart Staniford says no. Sharon Astyk says yes. Jeff Vail also says yes.

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GMOs as environmental pollution

Schmeiser to play David to Monsanto’s Goliath again

Most of you will recall the high-profile battle fought by Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser when he was sued for growing their GM seed without tithing to the corporation for the privilege. Schmeiser insisted that Monsanto's patented DNA blew onto his land, but he lost an acrimonious fight in Canada's Supreme Court anyway. Now Percy's back for more. Schmeiser has filed suit against the agribusiness giant in his Bruno, Saskatchewan, small claims court for C$600, claiming damages when Monsanto's GM seed blew onto his land, which he had to pay to have removed so that he could plant mustard. His contention …

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USDA food-safety czar: Ethanol waste causes tainted beef -- and that's okay

Let cows eat vaccines along with distillers grains

In December, a study came out suggesting a link between distillers grains -- a waste product of the corn-ethanol process -- and a spike in cases of beef tainted with the deadly E. coli 0157 virus. You see, the government-mandated ethanol boom has dramatically pushed up corn prices. To cut costs, feedlot operators have been substituting cheap distillers grains for pricey corn. Thus in the past year or so, we've seen an explosion in use of distillers grain as livestock feed, especially for cows. When I heard about the possible E. coli 0157 link, I put two and two together …

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Eco-Farm: California dreaming

Notes on California’s big sustainable-farming conference

Note: This is another in a series of posts from Eco-Farm, the annual conference held by the Ecological Farming Association of California. At Eco-Farm, some 1,400-1,500 organic farmers, Big Organic marketers, and sundry sustainable-ag enthusiasts pack into a rustic, beautiful seaside conference hall an hour-and-a-half south of San Francisco to talk farming amid the dunes. Satan gave me a taco: Harvesting talent at Eco-Farm. Photo: Bonnie Powell, Ethicurean Eco-Farm is a bit like summer camp for sustainable-ag nerds. You wind up outdoors a lot, wandering from activity to activity, often pelted by rain. I loved it. No brain-sucking hotel conference …

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Eco-Farm: Buzz kill

A long-time beekeeper’s take on colony collapse

Note: For the next few days I'll be reporting from Eco-Farm, the annual conference held by the Ecological Farming Association of California. At Eco-Farm, some 1,400-1,500 organic farmers, Big Organic marketers, and sundry sustainable-ag enthusiasts pack into a rustic, beautiful seaside conference hall an hour-and-a-half south of San Francisco to talk farming amid the dunes. Long-time California bee keeper Randy Oliver gave an interesting session on apiary in an age of colony-collapse disorder. According to Oliver, "everything you've heard in the media about colony collapse is wildly exaggerated or wrong." He says there's no reason to go looking for a …

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