Clif Bar’s husband-and-wife CEO team talk about staying independent in a Big Organic world

Kit Crawford and Gary Erickson. Photo: Bart Nagel Walk into Clif Bar’s Berkeley headquarters, and you might think you’ve entered greenie-nonprofit world: multiple recycling stations, cruiser bikes kept for employees’ lunchtime use, and a fridge that serves as a pickup point for a local farm’s community-supported agriculture program. Vending machines peddle Amy’s Organic frozen meals and healthy snacks and drinks. A Coke machine provides the exception that proves the rule: Sustainability is a priority here. Hard to believe this is the headquarters of a company with estimated revenues north of $150 million last year. But Clif Bar’s atypical in lots …

Drinking at the public fountain

The new corporate threat to our water supplies

This is a guest essay by authors and filmmakers Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman. Their book Thirst exposed how the corporate drive to control water has become a catalyst for community resistance to globalization. This essay was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom’s kind permission. —– In the last few years, the world’s largest financial institutions and pension funds, from Goldman Sachs to Australia’s Macquarie Bank, have figured out that old, trustworthy utilities and infrastructure could become reliable cash cows — supporting the financial system’s speculative junk derivatives with the real concrete of highways, water utilities, …


Why factory farming must be stopped

This is sobering: single concentrated animal feedlots that create more waste than a large U.S. city. There is only one word for this: insane. If you’re going to eat meat, don’t support industrial meat operations.

Gates Foundation wants to boost local agriculture in developing nations

Local agriculture in developing nations will get a boost under an initiative unveiled Wednesday by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and United Nations World Food Program. Under the Purchase for Progress initiative, the WFP will supplement food aid with surplus crops bought at competitive prices from poor farmers. WFP currently purchases 80 percent of its food in developing countries, but only a very small amount of that comes directly from small farmers. Starting as a five-year trial program, Purchase for Progress aims to raise the incomes of 350,000 farmers in 21 countries. “Developing new ways for WFP to purchase …

ReGeneration Roadtrip: Digging the food justice movement

A visit to Alemany Farm in San Francisco

I drove right past Alemany Farm three times before I finally found it. That’s because I wasn’t looking up. The mostly volunteer venture that grows organic food (and green jobs) for low-income communities is located on a hillside, the rows and rows of green leafy goodness like rungs on a ladder leading skyward. Once I hiked the hill, though, I found a hard-working group of volunteers with hands in the dirt and smiles on their faces. And they were more than happy to tell me about their efforts to “sow the seeds for economic and environmental justice.” I spoke first …

It's no Portland

Oregon’s capital far behind its bigger sister

From LoveSalem: So we were talking about keeping chickens as part of a scheme for implementing the "Food Not Lawns" ideal (Victory Gardening for The New Reality). Someone thought you could keep hens but not roosters. Someone else thought you couldn’t keep either. It all led to an inquiry to the powers that be, who replied … Read the rest if you dare.

Bringing farming home

Thoughts on an ‘urban farm tour’ in Carrboro, N.C.

The Farm Tour culminates at Carrboro Community Garden. Photo: Maciek Kryzystoforski What’s a farm? I don’t want to get buried in technical definitions, but I’ll take a stab at an informal one: a substantial piece of productive land. When I step out my front door in Carrboro, N.C. — where I spend part of my time — I see plenty of plenty of open land, much of it planted in what might be seen as a cover crop: grass. Of course, the land isn’t contiguous. Streets, driveways and fences break it up; and single-family houses divide lots into two zones …

Annals of regulatory malfeasance

GAO: EPA has seriously botched CAFO oversight

Is the EPA leadership incompetent or malicious? The agency’s steady stream of oversights, lapses, and rotten decisions — which I tried to come to grips with here —  demands a reckoning. The answer appears to be a kind of toxic mix of the two: a malicious desire to please industry interests over public ones, leavened by a dose of sheer idiocy. The GAO has come out with a report confirming what everyone who has ever been near a factory animal farm (aka, a concentrated animal feedlot operation, or CAFO): the EPA has utterly failed to protect the public from pollution …

EPA slipping up on pollution control from factory farms, report says

The U.S. EPA has failed to control pollution from factory farms and has also been sluggish in determining risks to human health from huge concentrated animal-feeding operations, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. In recent years, the GAO said, consolidation in the livestock industry has spawned more and more factory farms that have also expanded in size; now, packing some 800,000 hogs or 140,000 cattle onto one property is not uncommon. Such a massive concentration of livestock, the report said, produces more waste in a year than the city of Houston. However, unlike Houston, the farms …

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