No farmers? No food

Much depends on finding a new generation to put dinner on the table

Every time I come in from my farm fields and tune into the news these days, the headline is about food: food prices, food scares, food shortages, food riots. Food has America's attention these days, but folks are overlooking a critical piece of the brewing crisis: a national shortage of farmers. We farmers make up a mere 1.6 percent of the U.S. population right now. Picture an inverted pyramid balanced precariously on its nose: that's our national food supply, with about 3 million of us feeding three hundred million of you. In food terms, our nation resembles an elephant perched on a pair of stiletto heels.

Not-so-organic salmon

USDA considers first-ever organic standards for farmed fish

You may have seen "organic salmon" on the menu in your favorite seafood restaurant or counter. Guess what? It's not organic, according to the USDA. It turns out that some fishmongers have been promoting their fish as organic with definitions of their own. This week, a USDA advisory panel will consider a key element of the country's first-ever standards for "organic" farmed fish, including salmon. The surprising news is that this standard -- if adopted -- could be a boon for both seafood consumers and conservation.

Mark Bittman

What’s wrong with what we eat

Powerful stuff.

The 'maverick' speaks on agriculture

McCain thunders against ag subsidies, vows fealty to trade agenda

Speaking before the National Restaurant Association on Monday, John McCain delivered a stirring rant against agriculture subsidies and the latest farm bill (text here.) No …

Federal food-aid package promotes GMOs

A $770 million food-aid package proposed by the Bush administration may also aid U.S. agribiz, as the feds have slipped in language promoting the use …

Food sovereignty

An alternative to global industrial agriculture

At the conclusion to an article on the global food crisis, Walden Bello discusses an idea put forward by an international farmer's group, Via Campesina:

Nitrogen bomb

‘Science': nitrogen as important as carbon in climate change

Speaking of the troubles associated with industrial agriculture and its fertilizer regime, check this out: The public does not yet know much about nitrogen, but …

The farm bill, Archer Daniels Midland's man at USDA, and me

I loathe the farm bill but can’t bring myself to accept the Bush administration’s party line

People keep asking me what I think about the new farm bill — the one that will soon likely become law, since both houses of …

Why that organic label on your milk doesn’t tell the whole story

Tastes great, but who’s paying the health-care bills? As a writer, one of my goals is to demystify farming for non-farmers — to remind people …