Locavore

Ed Glaeser: Locally grown produce can shove it

Ed Glaeser, everyone's favorite urban economist, loves density and (he says) local, seasonal oysters. But he also says that, as a rule, locally grown produce can shove it, because in all cases density > any other public policy goal. Glaeser argues that urban farms will lead to less dense cities, which will increase the world's carbon emissions. Here's his math:

Locavore

Supporting mom-and-pop stores in food deserts

The Obama administration’s initiative to fight food deserts will help, not harm, mom-and-pop stores.Photo: arbyreedGary Nabhan and Kelly Watters are right that it will take a diversity of new and expanded fresh food stores to truly solve the crisis of inadequate access to healthy food in many low-income areas. Small grocery stores, farmers markets, and expanded convenience stores are all part of a comprehensive, sustainable solution to this challenge. But Nabhan and Watters miss the mark significantly when they assert that the $330 million federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) — backed by the Obama administration and a bipartisan coalition …

Locavore

Hungry for catfish? Stick out your hand [VIDEO]

You gotta love Mississippi: It’s a land of traditions, where tamales are popular and sticking your hand in a giant catfish’s mouth is a reasonable way to catch it. We experienced both on our way through the piney woods and rivers of the Magnolia State. Mississippi lived up to its other nickname — the Hospitality State — when we showed up at another stranger’s house and were welcomed by a bounty of southern hospitality and catfish. The actual act of noodling (or hand grabbin’, hand fishin’, etc.) for catfish is illegal elsewhere — until recently, you’d earn a misdemeanor in …

Locavore

What a hoe! — and other secrets of an orderly garden

Lookin’ sharp!Can you keep a secret? I think I’m in love. The object of my affection is about 5’4″, slender, and she’s the sharpest tool in the shed. Did I mention she’s a redhead? I’ve taken her out twice now, and we danced around the garden like we were made for each other. I’m talking, of course, about my new stirrup hoe. Equally enamoring is our new low tunnel — a temporary structure made of curved metal and special fabric that lets light and water in. My partner, Brian, keeps exclaiming, “How did we ever grow anything without a low …

Sustainable Food

Great places, great food (and beer): part two

You can’t have a great place without great beer.In part one of my musings on food and “great places,” I painted a bleak picture of the U.S. food landscape: one in which a handful of companies churn out mountains of low-quality food, competing not to see who can put out the best product, but rather to see who can most deftly and deeply slash costs. The fixation on cost-cutting gives rise to all manner of dysfunctions, including the erasure of skilled food trades like that of the butcher and the rise of a vast, low-wage, low-skill army of food-system workers. …

Locavore

Mushroom hunting and banjo pickin’ in the Ozarks [VIDEO]

I find a lot of the stories for The Perennial Plate by searching the internet — but when I stumbled upon banjo-playing mushroom farmers Curly Miller and Carole Anne Rose, I immediately fell in love. Then I learned that their operation is all organic, which gave me all the reason I needed to make the drive over bumpy dirt roads and across several streams to their farm way out in the Ozarks, where GPS and cell phone signals fade to nothing. Even though we only spoke on the phone briefly, Curly and Carole Anne treated me like an old friend and …