Food

Better homes and gardens

The NYT on urban farming

Viewed through a wide lens, the world’s troubles seem overwhelming: climate change, pointless war, spreading hunger, surging food and energy prices, etc. There’s a tendency to seek big-brush answers to these vast problems, to ask: …

Corny weather

FT: Midwest rains threaten U.S. corn crop

Remember in February, when a fertilizer magnate raised the specter of widespread famine if any of the globe’s big farming regions hit a rough patch this year? Here’s what he said: If you had any …

Umbra on soil health

Dear Umbra, I asked about fava beans about two weeks ago, and have not had a response back. I have had no luck researching it myself, and would really appreciate a response. I asked at …

Honeybee hives in U.S. seeing continued decline, survey says

Honeybee populations in the United States continued their decline last year, according to a survey of bee health by the Apiary Inspectors of America; U.S. commercial beekeepers saw the loss of 36 percent more hives …

Taking a pillow to a knife fight

Traditional print media and complex issues

On Saturday I received an email with a link to an article by Lisa Stiffler in Friday's Seattle Times. I'm going to use it to demonstrate how newspapers can muddy the water when it comes …

EPA not super-interested in keeping rocket fuel out of drinking water

There is a “distinct possibility” that the U.S. EPA will pass on restricting perchlorate in the nation’s water supplies, an agency official said Tuesday. Perchlorate, a rocket fuel ingredient that has been found at some …

<em>BusinessWeek</em> drinks the ethanol-spiked Kool-Aid

The newsweekly uncorks a whopper in defense of crop-based fuels

The massive biofuel mandate embedded in the 2007 Energy Act, signed amid much bipartisan hoopla, is coming under heavy fire. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that two dozen Republican senators have formally asked the …

Indian camels celebrate high oil prices

Rising oil prices have many Homo sapiens in a tizzy, but at least one species is celebrating high fuel costs: the camel. Finding it spendy to fuel their tractors, farmers in India are turning to …

More than money

Other conservation tools at stake in the Farm Bill, too

Although recent reports indicate that the new farm bill will provide a $4 billion increase for voluntary farmer conservation programs, there's more to the conservation policies in the bill than just money. Recent attempts by …