Food

In a Minnesota project, free-range chickens spell broad-based economic development

Ecomomic splendor in the grass. I just completed a profile of one of the most exciting food production ideas I have seen in a long time.  Hillside Farmers Co-op. in Northfield, Minnesota, initiated by Latino immigrants, raises free-range chickens on …

The ‘small problem’ with GMOs and Africa

Drought in Ethiopia.The Des Moines Register‘s Philip Brasher is in Africa reporting on the potential for GMO crops to help alleviate hunger in the developing world. The current focus is on drought-tolerant crops for obvious reasons: I grew up in …

Are the oceans the future of food?

If the the future of food is hazy right now due to overconsumption, globalization, and climate change, the future of seafood is even murkier. The global fish catch topped out sometime in the 1990s, leaving many fish populations more or …

A quarter-century later, lessons from the world’s deadliest agrichemical disaster

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) leak at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India. The number of people affected, injured, and killed has been the subject of debate. But it seems clear that a half …

The localization of agriculture

In the United States, there has been a surge of interest in eating fresh local foods, corresponding with mounting concerns about the climate effects of consuming food from distant places and about the obesity and other health problems associated with …

Jonathan Safran Foer on his book ‘Eating Animals’

If you’re a meat eater, don’t read Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book Eating Animals. Unless, that is, you are a meat eater curious about the health of your body, the planet, or the animals you consume. The acclaimed author of …

Do diesel-based farmers dream of electric tractors?

Writer George Monbiot’s recent Peak Oil article entitled “If Nothing Else, Save Farming” included this comment: There are no obvious barriers to the mass production of electric tractors and combine harvesters: the weight of the batteries and an electric vehicle’s …

BPA Babies and Cash Registers

We’ve known for a long time that bisphenol-A (BPA) is bad for us. Study after study shows the ill-effects of this widely-used industrial chemical on our bodies–and in particular, on developing babies’ bodies. The list is pretty sobering: BPA’s been …

Soil carbon — a blind spot in the debate on carbon

COP15 looks like it may well be a cop out. The world was disappointed when it became clear Barack Obama would not get climate protection legislation through the U.S. Senate, endangering any meaningful global agreement. But a much earlier cop …