Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Sustainable Farming

Comments

Small is ornery

Maine towns reject one-size-fits-all regulation, declare ‘food sovereignty’

Photo: Chewonki Semester SchoolIn 2009, Maine farmer Heather Retberg learned that new regulations prohibited her from bringing her chickens to a neighbor's approved slaughtering facility. She’d have to invest some $30,000 she didn't have to build her own facility. So Retberg shifted her focus to raw dairy instead, selling directly to local neighbors. When she received a notice last year from the Maine Department of Agriculture that she needed a permit, requiring investment way above what she could ever hope to justify with her minimal sales, she’d had enough. She got together with four neighbors similarly upset with the new …

Comments

Frosted Flakes are (sort of) Grr-r-een!

How two 15-year-old Girl Scouts (and Grist readers) changed Kellogg’s

It'll take some willpower, but don't have "samoa" until they stop harming the planet.Photo: Laura TaylorWhen Kellogg’s announced this week that it is moving to limit the deforestation caused by the palm oil it uses to make Frosted Flakes, Keebler cookies, Rice Krispies, and Girl Scout cookies, it represented an enormous achievement for two 15-year-old girls from Michigan. You may remember Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen from my article two weeks ago, "Are Girl Scout cookies killing orangutans?" They’ve been working for several years to get Girl Scouts USA to switch from palm oil to more planet-friendly and healthier alternatives …

Comments

Eat your words

I’ve got a good food story to tell: yours [VIDEO]

The Perennial Plate has been creating weekly videos about real food in Minnesota for the past year. Today, we released our 52nd video: a trailer for our upcoming project. This spring, I will be travelling across the country for six months, documenting stories about good food in America. Each week we will be filming, editing, and releasing unique short films about sustainable eating ... and for that we need your help. We want this cross country film project to be made up of the stories you tell us. So, do you have an opinion about what good food is? Submit a story. Know of an …

Comments

Flyover country

I’m a rural resident. Where’s my subsidy check?

The view from Washington, D.C., of the rural Midwest: quaint scenery on the way to the West Coast. Photo: Scorpions and CentaursI've spent the majority of my life living in cities, albeit mostly small ones in Wisconsin that New Yorkers might not call metropolitan. Before I moved to Lyons, Neb., I lived in Washington, D.C. I truly appreciate the virtues of both urban and rural living. So it's hard to understand why some urbanites criticize rural folks because we choose to make our home in a place without traffic where you can see the stars. My brow furrowed a bit …

Comments

I love it when you call me big crop-pa

Our favorite hipster farmer band names [SLIDESHOW]

We here at Grist love us some Twitter. So it should come as no surprise that when we recently tweeted about the rise in farming hipsters, the hashtag meme #hipsterfarmerbands was born like a lamb in spring. From Pjörk to Pretty Girls Make Grains, we raked in some fantastic faux farmer band names. All of this would not have been possible without friend-of-Grist @michael_k. May we suggest you follow him immediately? He's got taste. In his honor, we created concert tees for our top five favorite #hipsterfarmerbands: Name by @honestfarm

Comments

One shell of a species

How to save the world’s oysters — and eat them, too

Consider the oyster -- carefully. Photo: Wally GobetzCross-posted from Cool Green Science. The headlines were enough to make you throw away your shucking knife: "More than 85 percent of [oyster] reefs have been lost due to overfishing, according to a new study," said The Independent. Foodie bloggers panicked over the news -- was it suddenly an eco-crime to belly up to the oyster bar? Would oyster eating be forced underground, like those little birds the French eat with napkins over their faces? Could you ever again enjoy shelling out for these delicious bivalves with a clear conscience? Yes, you should …

Comments

farm fresh faces

Farming is the new hipster occupation of choice

Twentysomethings don't know what to do with their lives. Industrial food can't be trusted. The public image of farmers is (slowly) improving -- but the average age is going up and up. These are perfect conditions for a new generation of farmers, people in their 20s and 30s who are starting small farms and joining networks of like-minded agriculture enthusiasts. The New York Times profiled a few. Mr. Jones, 30, and his wife, Alicia, 27, are among an emerging group of people in their 20s and 30s who have chosen farming as a career. Many shun industrial, mechanized farming and …

Comments

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 …

Comments

Flip the bird

How to cook and eat a whole duck [VIDEO]

Nose-to-tail eating sounds like a trend, but it's really just good practice. Indeed, even before British chef Fergus Henderson made "whole beast" cooking popular, the whole animal was getting used. Slaughterhouses big and small make sure to use every bit of every animal -- that's how they make their money: livers go into dog food, bones get made into gelatin, etc. The real treat of nose-to-tail is more about getting the whole animal onto your plate. And that comes down to a matter of supporting your farmer. They make more money selling a half a pig or a few ducks …

Comments

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 …