Serious about change? End the Jungle 2.0

We need to reform America's food safety system from the farm up

Another day, another disaster... In 1906, Upton Sinclair published his classic book The Jungle, awakening America's consciousness to the horrors of corruption in the U.S. meatpacking industry with the story of Chicago's stockyards. The Jungle …

Fumigating our way to climate change?

Popular fumigant found to be a potent greenhouse gas

Update [2009-3-14 16:17:10 by Tom Philpott]:The original version of this post, titled "Strawberry Surprise," contained errors that I regret. I had mistakenly read the below-linked account of an MIT study to mean that sulfuryl fluoride …

The cookie crumbles

Tom Vilsack shows you how to get to Sesame Street

Politico followed Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday as he made an appearance on Sesame Street with Cookie Monster. See the video for some shameless pandering to cookies, and a jab at beets:

Less is almost as much

Using less fertilizer has no meaningful effect on yield

Speaking of limiting the use of synthetic fertilizer, allow me to throw a little science your way courtesy of Science Daily and the USDA's Argriculural Research Service: From 1998 to 2008, the researchers evaluated and …

Spoiled indeed

Paul Roberts' MoJo article on farming gets big idea right and details wrong

I like Paul Roberts. I liked his book The End of Food. But I must admit that I was a bit underwhelmed by his recent article on sustainable farming in Mother Jones, "Spoiled: Organic and …

Immokalee Diary, part I

The human cost of industrial tomatoes

Do you know who picks your tomatoes? As Tom Philpott discovers during a trip to Florida tomato country, farmworkers suffer low wages, squalid living conditions, and even slavery.

Food unsafety

Who put the food companies in charge of food safety? We did.

Here's my plan to reform the food safety system -- take the asylum keys away from the inmates. The New York Times documents the absolute unmitigated disaster of our privatized, volunteer food safety system. But …

Spinning ag reform

Is a payment cut real reform or just tweaking with the numbers?

Tom Vilsack has certainly got farm-state legislators talking. The buzz generated by the Obama administration's proposal to cut "direct payments" to farmers continues to grow. Unfortunately, all the sturm and drang may be for naught. …

Alice under fire

Alice Waters' move into the political sphere is hitting some bumps

I'm hesitant to step in the middle of any debate over Alice Waters' contributions to food policy. But suffice it to say that, as she moves more and more aggressively into politics, she is taking …