The misadventure capitalist

Khosla’s letter to Science backfires

Vinod Khosla has a letter in the Oct. 17 issue of Science ($ub. req’d) critiquing the Searchinger et al study: “U.S. croplands for biofuels increases greenhouse gases through emissions from land-use change.” Question: Why would …

U.N. initiative urges green global economy

Fear not: The economic, food, and climate crises can be tackled in one fell swoop, says the United Nations Environment Program. The organization launched a Green Economy Initiative Wednesday, comparing it to Franklin Roosevelt’s Depression-tackling …

Meat Wagon: Squashing beef

Consolidation in the beef industry has gotten too intense even for the Bush DOJ

Way back in March, Brazilian beef-packing behemoth JBS finished an extraordinary lunge into the U.S. market, having snapped up Swift, National Beef Packing, and the beef assets of Smithfield — the nation’s third-, fourth- and …

Grist to Mother Earth

I’ll be reporting from Slow Food’s Terra Madre conference in Turin, Italy

Yes, it’s a tough job, etc., etc. For the next week, starting Wednesday, I’ll be reporting from the ground in Turin, Italy, covering Slow Food’s biennial Terra Madre/Salone del Gusto event. Food activists and artisans …

Gates of heaven or hell?

David Rieff on the Gates Foundation’s ‘Green Revolution in Africa’

No development project in the sustainable-ag world generates more controversy than the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations’ efforts around agriculture in Africa. On the one hand, Gates officials say they have learned the hard lessons …

The story behind the corn industry’s cloying ad blitz

Put that fruit juice down and grab a Coke. Haven’t you heard? High-fructose corn syrup — the ubiquitous sweetener found in everything from soft drinks to ketchup — isn’t bad for you at all. It’s …

Whatever happened to cellulosic ethanol?

AP: cellulosic ‘not even close’ to being ready to satisfy government mandates

For a while, I’ve been wishing I had time to write a feature on cellulosic ethanol, the allegedly "green" biofuel that’s been "five years away" from commercial viability for about, oh, two decades.  Government mandates …

Two takes on World Food Day

Distributing industrial-ag commodities vs. reviving local-food economies

Across the globe in various ways, people are observing the U.N.’s "World Food Day." (Over on the Washington Post, Kim O’Donnel has a pointed "by the numbers" take on the event.) I’d like to compare …

World Food Day 2008: Cooking and food preservation come to the table

Age-old cooking and preserving techniques could relieve food insecurilty worldwide

Today is World Food Day, and it’s time to assess the prospects for the short- and long-term future of our food. As I write this, there are more than 100 million new starving people in …

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