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The Whole Foods behemoth

Trade consultancy: Whole Foods will ‘consolidate supply chains’

Apparently, I'm not the only one who worries about what the Whole Foods-Wild Oats merger will mean for organic-foods suppliers. In a report published by Organic Monitor, a European-based consultancy working on contract for Decision News Media, analyst Amarjit Sahota has sounded an alarm about Whole Foods' growing power. Organic Monitor calls itself a "business research & consulting company that specializes on organic & related industries." You can read Sahota's full analysis here on the Decision News site, but here is some of what he had to say: Following the approval of its acquisition of rival Wild Oats, Whole Foods …

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Scientists and rats agree

Organic food is better for you

For years, studies showed no nutritional difference between organic and conventionally grown food. That's because scientists were looking at macronutrients -- vitamins A, B, C, and so on. But they've since learned that macronutrients are only part of the nutrition story. It turns out that there are all sorts of compounds like antioxidants and phytonutrients -- known collectively as micronutrients -- that fight cancer, impede aging, and maintain heart health. And if organic and conventional food are roughly identical in macronutrient content, organic appears to be far superior in terms of micronutrients. The latest evidence comes from a four-year study …

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Global warming's Halloween horror

Extreme weather wipes out pumpkin crop

Global warming threatens our 4th of July celebrations with droughts that have forced communities to scrap plans for fireworks displays. And it threatens our White Christmases with winter heat waves. And our Arbor Days with record wildfires. Now it imperils our Halloweens. In a story headlined, "Rain, Drought, Wipe Out Pumpkin Crops Across U.S.," Fox News reports the frightening news: Scorching weather and lack of rain this summer wiped out some pumpkin crops from western New York to Illinois, leaving fields dotted with undersized fruit. Other fields got too much rain and their crops rotted. Pumpkin production is predicted to …

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Organic food healthier than non-organic, research finds

Who woulda thunk: Organic food is healthier than pesticide-ridden food, according to preliminary results of a four-year study funded by the European Union. Researchers found that organic nosh contained more antioxidants (yum!) and less fatty acids (ew!) than non-organic. Organic milk was found to have up to 80 percent more antioxidants than conventional cow juice, as well as higher amounts of vitamin E. Organic wheat, tomatoes, cabbage, onions, and lettuce had up to 40 percent more antioxidants than their conventional counterparts, and potatoes, kiwi fruit, and carrots were found to have higher levels of vitamin C. The research has yet …

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Please respect the meat

A plea for higher food consciousness from My Name Is Earl

Here's a new anthem for all the veggies and vegans out there. It's from My Name Is Earl, a couple weeks ago. Darnell is a gentle soul who's in witness protection; his cover requires him to cook at the Crab Shack and ... kill crabs.

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Trick or tort

Does this Halloween skepticism make me a curmudgeon?

In a few days doorbells will ring and door-knockers will clack all over America. Our neighbor's children will appear in and out of costume with a bag pulled open or an upturned hand outstretched. Our reputations will be on the line, but what's the right thing to do? Shopping for treats to give the future of America has turned into a lose-lose proposition, in my humble opinion. Most of the stores are promoting bite-sized candy. These so-called treats come in tamper-evident packages -- from the point of view of the health and welfare of those little tykes, that's the only …

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Hell no, he won't CAFO

Edwards calls for moratorium on new industrial ag feedlots

I was going to ask why this didn't get more play, but then I remembered I had forgotten to post on it for a week, so I guess I'm part of the problem. Anyway, Edwards apparently called for moratorium on new or expanded CAFOs. Is this not a big deal? As far as I know, Edwards is the only candidate to do this. (Sounds familiar.)

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Pretty much business as usual

The Senate Ag Committee’s Farm Bill

No jaded observer will be surprised: The Senate Agriculture Committee yesterday released its version of the 2007 Farm Bill, leaving the subsidy mechanisms in the 2002 bill pretty well intact. I'm still trying to chase down details of the proposal, but here are a couple of tidbits. The big news is that the version contains a ban on meatpacker ownership of livestock. This is (potentially) huge. Currently, dominant meatpackers like Smithfield Foods and Tyson also raises hundreds of thousands of animals themselves each year. These "captive herds" give them enormous leverage over independent farmers, allowing these corporate giants to dictate …

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King Corn BoingBoinged

Interview with filmmakers behind corn expose

Xeni Jardin of BoingBoing interviews the filmmakers behind King Corn:

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More 'corn supremacy' stuff

A couple of additions to this week’s Victual Reality column

In this week's Victual Reality, we ran an interview I did recently with officials from the National Corn Growers Association and the American Farmland Trust. I edited the transcript in a certain amount of haste (it was right during the chaos of our Sow What? series on food and farming) -- and I left out a couple of noteworthy bits. See below the fold. </p I found it fascinating that these industrial corn guys can be pro-market zealots on one topic, and blithely dependent on government intervention on others. For example, I asked them about supply management -- the New …

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