Farm City author cuts the foodie-elite snobbery from urban farming

Food writer and urban farmer Novella Carpenter is everything the elitist, foodie stereotype is not: she squat-farms near downtown Oakland, Calif., dumpster-dives to feed her rabbits, and offers to show anyone who still thinks otherwise exactly “what urban farming smells like.” Novella Carpenter and cute baby animals today, dinner tomorrow.Photo: Courtesy of Novella CarpenterIn Seattle while touring for her new book Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, Carpenter took a few minutes to give Grist the low-down-and-dirty on the up-and-coming trend of urban farming. From roof-top gardens to city chickens, an increasing number of city slickers are becoming …

It Could Be Verse

Climate-news poem: G8 edition

With deepest apologies to INXS. Congregate, heads of state, don’t be late, big G8Planet’s fate, cannot wait,Don’t stall debate or hesitate, designate your carbon rateA one world state, Italianate, on July 8, won’t abrogateA gentle trait, a balding pate, a girlish gait, pontificateWe’ll predicate our specs ornate, officiate, not deviateGreen groups berate, gesticulate, packed in a crate, their sounds abate.Congregate, heads of state, pasta ate, it was great. Fritter away more of your time by checking out previous verses.    Boom boom, ain’t it G8 to be

The Grist List: From Timberlake to Taco Bell

Justin Timberlake brings sexy back to green, and more

Photo: jurvetson via FlickrBring it on down to GolfersvilleJ Tee is bringing sexy back to green. The putting green, that is. And with eco-friendly practices par for this course, we’ll hold your wood any day, Mr. Timberlake.                            

Buzz Off

A guide to non-toxic pest control

You know how it goes: you’re in your kitchen, happily chopping veggies for that night’s meal, when an ant comes wandering by to check out the menu. Or you turn on the light in the bathroom and spot a silverfish scuttling away. Or you finally lie down for a well deserved rest, only to be plagued by the incessant whine of a bloodthirsty mosquito. This sucks.dr_relling via flickrThere’s a reason they’re called pests, and modern science has come up with plenty of sprays, baits, and potions to kill them or keep them at bay. But those remedies aren’t just bad …

Readin', writin', 'n' (global) warmin'

New group inspires teens to combat climate change

These high school students aren’t taking climate change lying down.“Who knows about those farting cows? Give it up for the farting cows!” Farting cows are definitely gross-out funny, but they also produce methane, which contributes to global warming. That’s why they get a shout-out in the multimedia presentation on climate change that the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) offers free of charge to Bay Area high schools. ACE (not to be confused with ACES) is an Oakland-based nonprofit that aims to educate teenagers about climate change in a way that’s hip, engaging, and might actually inspire them to action. “You’re …

Steel Yourself

Ask Umbra on paperback writers

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Hi Umbra, I’m in the book business, and there are many who try and make sure books never make it to landfills and are donated to worthy causes. However, I have been wondering for some time about the environmental impact of such authors as Danielle Steel, Nora Roberts, and Tom Clancy, whose books quickly become worthless, and how they feel about their environmental impact, and what if anything they are doing to improve the clearcutting they might be causing? Just a thought. Joe HoppeAustin, Tex. A. Dearest Joe, Is this misplaced blame? They are …

She shoots, she scores

Seattle Storm WNBA team shoots 3’s for trees

Photo: otakuchick via FlickrEvery three-point shot made by a Seattle Storm player this season will be a slam dunk for a local forest. Through a partnership with Carter Subaru, a local car dealership that promises to plant trees for every test drive, the Seattle Storm were able to plant 154 trees last year as part of their “3’s for Trees” campaign. This year, they’re aiming for even more trees planted on the Mountains to Sound Greenway, the scenic byway along I-90. Joining the ranks of other green sports stars, the Seattle Storm have also committed to reducing the footprint of …

food for thought

Not much convenience in “convenience foods”

Among all the responses to the new data showing we’re getting sicker and fatter, I was most struck by Kerry Trueman’s comment at Civil Eats that what we are really suffering from is “kitchen illiteracy.” Now, that’s the kind of insight which seems easy to dismiss. We all know it’s not about a lack of interest or knowledge — it’s about a lack of time, right? As I once asked, how can you fix the food system when you have to fight convenience? Working parents are forced by circumstances outside their control to buy processed food because cooking real food …


Mountaintop removal defenders disrupt July 4th music festival in West Virginia

The Mountain Keepers Music Festival took place this place this July 4th weekend at a park on Kayford Mountain in West Virginia, an event organized by the Keeper of the Mountains Foundation in solidarity against mountaintop removal mining. But Saturday’s fun was disrupted when some 20 supporters of Massey Energy, a coal company with mountaintop removal mining operations in the area, crashed the festival and threatened attendees verbally and with obscene  gestures. People who were there report that some of the pro-mining protesters were wearing Massey Energy-issued blue and orange shirts. “You get off our goddamn mountain!” yelled one heavyset …

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