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GM crops reduce emissions and could be used as carbon offsets, says biotech company

Money paid to offset greens' sins by emission could go toward planting of genetically modified crops in China, if biotech company Arcadia Biosciences gets its way. Arcadia says its rice requires less nitrogen fertilizer, and farmers planting it should be rewarded with carbon credits for reducing their emissions of greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. The company has not yet convinced the Chinese government to allow farmers to sell genetically modified rice, nor swayed environmentalists skeptical of biotechnology.

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Gary Hirshberg

Yogurt CEO blazes green path

Check out Joel Makower on Gary Hirshberg, founder and head of Stonyfield Yogurt. Stonyfield was bought by French food conglomerate Danone last year, at which I point my kneejerk dirty hippie-ism kicked in and I assumed they'd sold out. Apparently not, though: All of which further empowered Hirshberg to pursue, and align, his dual missions of commerce and environmental sustainability. His $300 million-a-year company — built with almost no traditional advertising — has been carbon neutral since 1996, the first company to do so, long before it became corporate chic. And it's not just by writing a check to offset …

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The Big (Local) Apple

NYC invests in local-food infrastructure

While the farm bill wallows about in Congress, awaiting reconciliation between House and Senate versions, some state and local governments are making their own smart food policies, investing public resources in the worthwhile goal of rebuilding local food systems. A piece in last week's New York Times food section reminded me of that happy fact. The article, by Kim Severson, details an effort to build a permanent, in-door, year-round farmers market facility for New York City. I hope the effort succeeds -- and I hope the facility is farmer-owned. One thing this country needs is more farmer-owned retail space, so …

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Monsanto counts its cash

Seed-and-chemical giant sees its profit triple

In a gold rush, the firms that supply the gold diggers with tools -- not the gold diggers themselves -- make the highest and steadiest profits. That's a platitude, but it's also usually true. And it's now playing out in the boom in corn-based ethanol. Don't waste much time envying corn farmers. Sure, they've seen the price of their product double over the past year and a half or so. But they've also seen their costs inch up. Fertilizer, land rents (much of the farmland in the midwest is rented), pesticides, and seeds -- all have risen since the corn …

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An interview with Carol Moseley Braun about her biodynamic food company

This election season, Carol Moseley Braun isn't gunning to become the first black president or the first female president. (Been there, done that.) Instead, she's trying to break ground in another arena, one she considers vastly more satisfying than politics: food. Healthy, organic, biodynamic food. Carol Moseley Braun. Photo: AP / Seth Perlman In 2002, after a couple of decades in politics -- she served as an Illinois state senator from 1978 to 1987, a U.S. senator for Illinois from 1993 to 1999, and ambassador to New Zealand from 1999 to 2001 -- Brown founded Good Food Organics in Chicago. …

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Edible Media: Angry vegans with knives and pots

A full-flavored attack on industrial food

Edible Media takes an occasional look at interesting or deplorable food journalism on the web and off. I have to admit, when I think of vegan fare, I first picture little lumps of soy curd, swimming in a brown pool of Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids -- perhaps with a spear or two of oversteamed broccoli on the side. Then, when I think a little harder, I picture all the fantastic food that emerges without direct involvement of animals (though nearly all well-raised produce involves at least some contact with animals). I can picture the antipasti table at a simple trattoria …

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Meat Wagon: Get it while it's hot

Avoid burgers in Texas, Hillary gets charred for CAFO ties, and more

In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat industry. In a proper finale to an E. coli-tainted 2007, the USDA has issued a public-heath alert regarding 14,800 pounds of stolen hamburger meat down in Texas. Get this: the hot meat is "thought to be contaminated with E. coli bacteria." By my calculations, there is enough of the tainted stuff floating around Texas to produce no fewer than 74,000 quarter pounders. Texas Grist readers, don't say you weren't warned. Meanwhile, up in Iowa, Hillary Clinton is getting flack for anointing a shill for the CAFO (concentrated animal …

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Ammonium drifts into national parks

You may not be able to smell cow poop in Yellowstone, Glacier, and Rocky Mountain National Parks, but the air there has become increasingly contaminated with nitrogen compound ammonium, says a recent report from the National Park Service. Possibly originating in concentrated animal feeding operations, ammonium in the three parks -- as well as six other parks in Arizona, Idaho, South Dakota, and Utah -- was most likely borne in from the east by snow and rain, says the report. Ammonium can subtly alter ecosystems; for example, scientists are noticing Rocky Mountain's iconic wildflowers giving way to grasses. Says John …

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Edible Media: Deep south

Edna Lewis, late doyenne of traditional southern fare, in Gourmet

Edible Media takes an occasional look at interesting or deplorable food journalism on the web. The January issue of Gourmet is devoted to the food of the U.S. south -- probably our sturdiest regional culinary tradition. I adore southern cooking, and the issue had my stomach grumbling from start to finish. I can think of few dishes that sound as satisfying as "simmered greens with cornmeal dumplings" (page 37). Beyond the enticing recipes and food-porn photos, what really makes the issue work is the presence of the late Edna Lewis (1916-2006), the great food writer, chef, and canonizer of southern …

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Me Huckabee, you Jane

GOP (and Dem) candidates: red-meat-lovin’, veggie-hatin’

From a compilation of responses given to AP reporters throughout the year: FAVORITE FOOD TO COOK DEMOCRATS: Clinton: "I'm a lousy cook, but I make pretty good soft scrambled eggs." Edwards: Hamburgers. Obama: Chili. Richardson: Diet milkshake. REPUBLICANS: Giuliani: Hamburgers or steak on the grill. Huckabee: Ribeye steak on the grill. McCain: Baby-back ribs. Romney: Hot dog. SHUNNED FOOD ITEMS DEMOCRATS: Clinton: "I like nearly everything. "I don't like, you know, things that are still alive." Edwards: "I can't stand mushrooms. I don't want them on anything that I eat. And I have had to eat them because you get …

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