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Organic Food

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Just like how granny didn't do it

Forget farmers markets — I want to sell my pastured meat at Price Chopper

This pastured piggy went to Price Chopper.Photo: Kevin SteeleIt is time to make local passe. It is time to make regional the new local. Enough of farmers markets, CSAs, and direct on-farm sales. Yes, they are exciting -- they feel like they are getting us somewhere. And, to be honest and give them their due, they have gotten us somewhere. The reality, however, is that they will never get us there, whither goest we must if we want to make a change -- real change. I will say it as straight as I can: I want to see my pork …

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Co-oped, but not co-opted

Fed-up college kids take food buying into their own hands

Someone's forming a co-op, my lord: college students organize to create the food system they want. Photo: Kitty BolteSay you're a college student ready to eschew the standard pizza-burrito-pretzels-beer diet and start eating more whole, sustainably produced foods. Say you want to take it a step further and work to make healthy and ethical food widely available on your campus -- without having to pay gourmet grocery store prices. Well, you might consider starting a co-op. "There are so many students learning the theory behind food systems who are itching to put it into practice, and co-ops are the way …

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brand news

Your healthy alternative food may just be the same crap in different packaging [SLIDESHOW]

Looking to lower your impact? Here's your cheat sheet. GoodGuide offers greenness and social responsibility ratings, via web or app, for tens of thousands of products, including food, clothing, toys, and cleaning supplies. Obviously, it's massively useful to be able to look up a brand on your phone and see its health and environment score before you buy. But there's another interesting side effect of the GoodGuide website: Because it scores companies and not just products, you can use it to find out who owns your favorite brands. Even if you don't trace your meal all the way back to …

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Organic matters

The Economist dismisses organic ag, while also making the case for it

This isn't the only way.I've been reading The Economist's "Special Report on Feeding the World" (intro here). So far, it's typical Economist: compellingly written and impressively broad in scope -- but largely uncritical of the status quo. The report doesn't bring much new to the table, especially to those of us who follow the gloomy macro-analyses of thinkers like Lester Brown. Predictably enough, The Economist's perspective on the "feed the world" question is guided by the assumption, never much examined, that only high-tech, massive-scale farming can tackle the task of feeding the 9 billion people expected to be on Earth …

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WELCOME TO PORTLANDIA

Your guide to a great green weekend in Portland

Portland's swanky Sapphire Hotel.Photo: Sarah Gilbert Can you think of a greener city than Portland? Nope, didn't think so. The City of Roses occupies a warm, squishy spot in the hearts of many a biker, climate hawk, and nature-lovah. We asked you to share your fave local breweries, organic cafés, and green hangouts, and compiled your best ideas into a car-free guide to a great green weekend in Portland. Friday night Click to enlargeFrom the Amtrak or Greyhound station, arm yourself with $2.05 and follow these directions to the Portland Hawthorne Hostel (they work if you're coming from the airport …

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Thank you very mulch

Bayview Greenwaste provides fertile ground for San Francisco’s urban agriculture revolution

Hayes Valley Farm is flourishing where a freeway ramp used to be. (Photo by Zoey Kroll.) Just a few years ago, they were abandoned freeways, dilapidated back yards, and institutional dumping grounds. But today, thanks to San Francisco's urban agriculture renaissance, many of these pockets of underutilized land are being transformed. And one local company -- Bayview Greenwaste -- is playing a key role, by transforming waste into mulch, and giving it away. The city's largest agricultural experiment to date may be the Hayes Valley Farm, which is growing on the former site of a freeway ramp. The ramp was …

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DIY Culture

Ask Umbra on making yogurt at home, with or without electricity

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, I bought a yogurt maker in Germany eight years ago that consists of a glass jar and a sturdy styrofoam container. It cost about $20, works wonderfully, and doesn't require electricity. Why can't I find a similar product in the U.S.? KatherineCupertino, CA DIY that's easy to digest.Photo: Johnny StilettoA. Dearest Katherine, It’s not every day someone writes to ask a homemade yogurt question. DIY yogurt has some hippie stigma around it. It’s as if yogurt-making is something only crunchy types who make their own granola do. (Also an unfortunate stigma, as homemade …

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Pick your poison

What doesn’t kill you makes you gourmet

Editor's note: The following essay and map are excerpted from Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas and are republished with permission by UC Press as part of Grist's California agriculture series, an exploration of the people, farms, and issues shaping the state. Click for a larger version. The Bay Area is a tale of two valleys, places that call up very different associations. Napa Valley is the opposite of Silicon Valley, or likes to think so. Napa Valley is how the region is marketed, as upscale, arcadian, sensual, and leisurely; Silicon Valley is its other face, hectic, disembodied, corporate, and …

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Now that's Italian!

Reinventing the supermarket: How New York’s Eataly falls short

Eataly is nice, but there's still plenty of room left to reinvent the supermarket.Photo: Samantha DeckerThe American supermarket experience hasn't changed much in a half century. It's basically a connect-the-dots problem each consumer solves differently: How do you get in, get the things on your list, avoid those annoying people with the slow-moving carts, and get out as swiftly as possible?  In the process of solving the puzzle, we all get to know the commercial topography of our chief foraging zones very well: dairy, meat, breakfast cereals, canned soups. But then this: We get to the end of our shopping …