Time to fundamentally reassess the WTO's Doha Round

Food sovereignty needs to be the center of renewed negotiations

With each new event or international conference in 2008’s saga of economic and food crises, there are calls to complete the long-running Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations. The international players all act as if achieving a Doha agreement, seemingly any agreement, will help solve one or more aspects of these crises. The latest such conference was the G-20 Summit, Nov. 14-15 in Washington, D.C., called to coordinate actions on the financial and consequent economic crises that have spread from the U.S. to much of the world. The joint statement released at the conclusion of the G-20 Summit called …

Bad meat, bad air, bad health: Why do we still have CAFOs?

New research demonstrates that higher infant mortality rates surround CAFOs

Thanks to Proposition 2, Californians will soon phase out some of the most egregious confining animal conditions. However the rest of the country continues to utilize concentrated animal feeding operations for the production of meat, poultry and dairy products. CAFOs are industrial facilities that are designed to produce the most amount of meat in the shortest amount of time. In practice this means confining animals tightly together, often in unsanitary conditions, without access to the outdoors. According to the EPA, CAFOs divide into small, medium or large distinctions depending on the number of animals these facilities are confining. What’s most …

Competing offer for U.S. Sugar complicates Everglades restoration plan

Florida’s intent buy out a giant sugar operation in a move to restore the Everglades is being complicated by a competing offer from the Lawrence Group, a Tennessee farming company. sources:

In biodynamics, veritas?

The dirt on biodynamic and ‘authentic’ wines

In Checkout Line, Lou Bendrick cooks up answers to reader questions about how to green their food choices and other diet-related quandaries. Lettuce know what food worries keep you up at night.   Dear Checkout Line, What the hell is biodynamic wine and does it taste any better than regular wine? JeffColorado Dear Colorado Jeff, I appreciate the way you get to a point fast, so I’ll try to do the same. This is unlikely, given my digressive style, but who knows — optimism is back in style in America once again. The wine of which you speak is made …

Thanksgiving can reconnect families and revive traditions — like sweet potato rolls

Sweet potato rolls.Photos: April McGregerI remember the look on my grandfather’s face when I tried to politely explain that I couldn’t eat the giblet gravy or the dressing (known in other parts of the country as “stuffing”) that I had always relished. The reason, I informed him, was that I was a vegetarian; those old favorites contained turkey broth. He replied with a blank stare. It was a completely isolating experience. In a family where preparing and sharing food is our strongest form of emotional currency, my rejection of my family’s food was a rejection of their affection and a …

USDA close to approving relatively weak organic standards for fish

The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week inched closer to approving organic rules for fish for the first time that would let “organic” fish eat up to 25 percent of their diet from non-organic sources, a move which has irked organic advocates worried about sullying otherwise relatively strict standards for organic meat products.

USDA has crazy idea that organic cows should get time in pasture

Only cows that have gobbled grass in pasture for at least 120 days per year can produce milk labeled “organic,” according to draft rules issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Activists have long criticized a loophole that allowed organic-milk producers to keep their cows in giant feedlots, as long as they were fed organic grain.

Obama and the USDA

Monsanto’s man in the Clinton admin joins the transition team, and more

Update [2008-11-20 5:47:7 by Tom Philpott]: Correction: Jill Richardson of La Vida Locavore pointed me to an error in the original post. About former Monsanto vice-president and FDA official Michael R. Taylor, I had written that “He was particularly useful in the effort to prevent abstaining dairies from advertising their milk as rBGH-free.” Not so, Jill informs me. Taylor actually supported allowing dairies to label their milk rBGH-free, so long as they made no health claims. The error has been removed from the below text. I regret the error. Whither Obama’s food/ag policy? I don’t think I’m a jaded enough …

Industrial ag-onistes

Two studies point to ecosystem damage from factory-style farming

How does chemical-intensive, concentrated agriculture affect surrounding ecosystems — and ones that lie downstream from large operations? Seems like a key question, given that upwards of 95 percent of our food comes from such agricultural methods. Yet there has been surprisingly little study of it. For example, when the meat industry started to rapidly consolidate production into large concentrated-animal feedlot operations (CAFOs) in the 1970s, government regulatory agencies made little effort to find out how it would affect surrounding communities. So we essentially got an uncontrolled experiment –with residents of places like North Carolina’s Duplin County and Iowa’s Hardin County …

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.