Food

Bottled water, everywhere

Natural Hydration Council: drink more bottled water … please?

Bottled water sales growth may be "drying up," but the bottled-water industry is veritably gushing on the PR front. Here it is investing in a high-dollar sponsorship of the upcoming presidential campaigns, joining Anheuser-Busch, EDS (which specializes in "information technology outsourcing), BBH, a big U.K. advertising firm, and others. And over here, you’ve got water giants Nestle Waters, Danone, and Highland Spring rolling out the Natural Hydration Council. Right, because the only way to stay “naturally hydrated” is to package water into tiny plastic bottles and haul it around the globe. The NHC will "research and promote the environmental, health …

When the basil plants get out of control, reach for the mortar and pestle

Mortarin’ pesto. September in Iowa always brings the same delicious dilemma — what to do with all that basil. Few herbs are as surrounded by mythology and folklore as basil. Its origins are debated, but most seem to think it came from India. There, the plant offered innumerable culinary uses: A devout Hindu has a leaf of basil placed on his breast when he dies, as a passport to paradise. Basil figures in Christian tradition as well. It was the herb Salome used to cover the smell of decay from John the Baptist’s head. Then there’s Haitian Voodoo practice, where …

Dispatches From the Fields: Playing chicken with local food

Small-scale slaughterhouses are vital to the health of local food economies

In “Dispatches From the Fields,” Ariane Lotti and Stephanie Ogburn, who are working on small farms in Iowa and Colorado this season, share their thoughts on producing real food in the midst of America’s agro-industrial landscape. —– A trailer load of chickens. Photos: Ariane Lotti In the cold and dark that is 5:30 a.m. in North Iowa these days, I go out with Jan and Tim of One Step at a Time Gardens to load 129 sleepy and reluctant chickens out of their pasture pens and onto a make-shift chicken trailer. At nine weeks of age, the chickens are about …

FDA releases guidelines for developing genetically modified animals

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will today announce guidelines for the development of genetically modified animals, a step on the road to their broad commercialization. The agency is expected to ask companies developing genetically modified animals to report a range of information about how they were engineered and how the alterations could affect the animals’ behavior, health, and nutritional value. Companies will also be asked to provide minimal safety information such as how they intend to keep track of the animals and how the beasts will be kept separate from non-modified animals. But the measures are less than comforting …

Monsanto: herbicide powerhouse

The GMO seed giant expects Roundup to generate $1.8 billion in profits in 2008

Monsanto positions itself as a green company. “Using the tools of modern biology,” its website informs us, “we help farmers grow more yield sustainably so they can produce more and conserve more.” Compare that twaddle to this bit from Monsanto’s announcement on Tuesday: [Monsanto's Chief Financial Officer Terry] Crews will indicate that Monsanto’s Roundup® and other glyphosate-based herbicides business is on track to be above $1.9 billion of gross profit for the 2008 fiscal year, ahead of the previous forecast. Wow. Nearly $2 billion in profit, from Roundup alone. As recently as February, Monsanto was expecting to make $1.4 billion …

Slow Food Nation interview: Deborah Koons Garcia

Future of Food director on ‘making soil sexy’

Filmmaker Deborah Koons Garcia burst onto the sustainable-food scene with her 2004 documentary the Future of Food, a biting, well-researched indictment of Monsanto and genetically modified food. I caught up with her at Slow Food Nation to discuss her current project, a documentary about a topic dear to my heart: soil.

Slow Food Nation interview: Anna Lappé

Why climate change may have more to do with your shopping cart than your car

Anna Lappé might be called a green-diaper baby. Her mother, Frances Moore Lappé, brought out the seminal Diet for a Small Planet back in 1971, and has been agitating forcefully for a just, sustainable food system ever since. Her father, the toxicologist Marc Lappé, was an early, important, and persistent critic of the agrichemical industry. Anna has emerged in her own right as a leading voice in the sustainable food movement. In her work, she focuses not only on the depredations of industrial food, but also on the myriad alternatives to it that are bubbling up everywhere. In Grub: Ideas …

We young farmers, all over the world, we are citizens

The key political, economic, and cultural needs of young farmers

This piece is co-authored by Severine von Tscharner Fleming, 27, director of The Greenhorns and farmer/activist in the Hudson Valley of New York. —– Coast to coast, though there are thousands inspired to dig in and grow food, but it is currently only a dauntless few who manage to gain access to the land, capital, market-savvy, and technical skills that are essential to “make it” as a farmer. Those few are brave, strong, and delightful advocates of the purposeful life, but it will take more than a few to reclaim a food system of industrial monocultures, labor abuse, and factories …

Everglades restoration deal could still benefit Big Sugar

When Florida Gov. Charlie Crist announced in June that the state would buy 187,000 acres of land from U.S. Sugar Corp. to “jump start” an Everglades restoration effort, environmentalists cheered visions of flowing, fresh water and pristine, untouched habitat. But that may not turn out to be exactly the case. Crist initially said he would use the land to build a flow way between Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades, quenching the thirsty River of Grass with water untainted by phosphorus from sugar production. But for that plan to go forward, the state will also have to obtain 40,000 acres owned …

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