Safeway agrees to animal-welfare standards for some products

One of the largest grocery store chains in the United States, Safeway, has agreed to increase animal-welfare standards for some of the animal-derived products sold at its stores. Chickens and pigs were the focus of …

Meat Wagon: Poultry-worker blues

OSHA looks the other way while poultry giants abuse workers

In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat industry. In an excellent muckraking report which underlines the importance of metropolitan newspapers, The Charlotte Observer has shined a bright light into one …

Cross pollination

Israel trades irrigation technology for access to India’s ag-gene bank

Israel is seeking to invest in Indian agriculture, according to this article in the India Times. The two powers signed a bilateral agricultural agreement a couple years ago; in the pact, India agreed to trade information on "genetic resources" from their crops in exchange for Israel's dryland farming expertise. As part of the agreement, Israel would share its expertise on water recycling and irrigation. It would also help India "intensify" its agricultural production, share greenhouse farming techniques and "livestocks feed, dairy equipment, and technology," according to the article. Israel's biggest dairy producer, TNUVA, is also interested in India's dairy industry. Will this be a good thing for Indian farmers or the environment? I have my doubts.

Biofuels not helpful in climate-change fight, new studies say

Photo: doskophoto Two new studies published in the journal Science conclude that growing and burning biofuels actually increases net greenhouse-gas emissions and exacerbates climate change. The new research questions the assumptions of earlier studies, making …

Lenten up already!

A Christian quest to cut carbon

With the start of Lent, Christians the world-over are praying, fasting, and giving alms in preparation for Easter. This often means also making some kind of sacrifice in the name of solidarity with the poor …

A reflection on the lasting legacy of 1970s USDA Secretary Earl Butz

Industrial agriculture lost one of its greatest champions last week: Earl “Rusty” Butz, secretary of the USDA under Nixon. Blustering, boisterous, and often vulgar, Butz lorded over the U.S. farm scene at a key period. …

Next market bubble: farmland!

Thanks to the ethanol boom, big investors are plowing cash into corn country

Big investors seem to have forgotten how to exist without some sort of speculative bubble. In the last decade, they’ve whipped cash from tech stocks to bonds to emerging markets to real estate to junk …

Edible media: Hole in the middle

New NYT pundit bravely defends GMOs, cloning

Edible Media takes an occasional look at interesting or deplorable food journalism on the web. The New York Times op-ed page appears to be grooming James E. McWilliams, a professor of history at Texas State …

A rose by an organic name -- would it smell as sweet?

What qualifies as a green flower?

Roses are red,Violets are blue,But if you want a greener choice,What the hell should you do? The NYT asks that very question (minus the poetic flair, of course) and struggles to answer it: And as …

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.