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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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Seeds in the bank

Dialing local ag up from its very source

Here's a way to save for the future, one that may prove just as important as cash: a community farm, Red Gate Farm, in my town has started a grassroots seed bank to develop and disseminate local vegetable varieties, and it depends on its members to help grow the seeds out and contribute new ones. It's a great (and replicable) community project, with fingers deep in the area's history and culture. And with a climate on the fritz, indigenous seeds will likely play an increasingly important role in sustaining local agriculture.

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A conversation with a spokesperson for the National Corn Growers Association and his friend from the

The productivity of U.S. corn farmers should inspire awe. According to the U.S. Grains Council, the U.S. produces about 44 percent of the globe's corn crop -- that's more than China, the European Union, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico combined. Iowa alone, which produces a sixth of U.S. corn, produces about as much as the European Union. Hey corn spokesfolk, we're all ears. Photo: iStockphoto Corn underpins our industrial food system, showing up in a dizzying array of processed foods and serving as the main feed for poultry, dairy, meat, and egg production. Even given all of those uses, there was …

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FTC files appeal of Whole Foods’ Wild Oats buyout

In an unusual move, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is pursuing an appeal of a district-court ruling that allowed natural-foods giant Whole Foods to acquire its former competitor Wild Oats in August. The $565 million deal has already been completed, but the agency hopes the long-shot appeal will reverse it.

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U.K. organic certifier says air-freighted organics must meet “ethical standards”

Britain's main organic certifier, the Soil Association, has decided not to deny the organic label to air-freighted food, instead opting to require producers of flown-in fare to meet ethical standards similar to "fair trade" certification. The association decided that denying organic status to all flown-in food would unfairly hurt farmers and workers in poor countries. Only about 1 percent of organic food is air-freighted to the U.K., but the association is worried about the market's future growth. The "ethical standards" seek to ensure that workers are not subject to exploitative conditions and that they are guaranteed a fair wage. After …

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Pediatrician identifies five foods for parents to buy organic

Like the sound of organic food but don't have the wherewithal to overhaul your entire pantry? Parents should focus their funds on organic milk, potatoes, peanut butter, ketchup, and apples, says pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene. But that doesn't mean you're allowed to mash those five foods together and call it a healthy dinner.

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Along the Mississippi: Ponyshoe edition

$5 could be yours

It's morning in St Louis, and we're getting ready to talk with some of the movers and shakers in the world of riverfront greenways. While preparing, we ate at a greasy spoon where Jimmy Kimmel was on the teevee talking about his daily cross-country flights for this week's double-hosting duty. Yikes. On a side note, this meal was my third in a row involving white food products slathered in butter -- I've gotta be careful about that. But my health loss is your gain: I will send $5 to the first person who can correctly guess the four ingredients in …

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Soup bleg

So, it happens that a number of Gristies are having soup-based lunches today. Me, I'm having chili. Which prompted a comment from a colleague: "Well, that's a kind of soup, right?" Me: "Or is it a kind of stew?" Other colleague: "Or is stew a kind of soup?" So, a few seconds googling some intense research has confirmed that this is a contentious question -- even prompting a recent lawsuit -- but it has not revealed a definitive answer. Grist's audience seems rather food savvy. So we turn to you to bring clarity to this intolerable murk. Enlighten us.

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Our twisted Farm bill

An audio story about ag subsidies

This little radio story, from NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, tells the story of a sprawling ranch in Texas. It was the single largest recipient of federal farm subsidies between 1999 and 2005 -- receiving some $8.3 million, not for cattle, but for cotton. Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group says this: It's the exact opposite of what most taxpayers have in mind when they think of how their farm subsidy money is supporting agriculture. The farm is so big and so profitable, apparently, that it only applies for subsidies because "other cotton growers do," and because "the federal …

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