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Sustainable Food

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C is for Cruelty, and it's not good enough for me

Are Girl Scout cookies killing orangutans?

Yet another reason to feel bad about waking up in a pile of crumbs.Photo: Josh KenzerIt's Girl Scout cookie season, but Michigan scouts Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva are finding other ways to support the organization’s mission of "building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place" than selling those famous Thin Mints and Tagalongs. Many varieties of Girl Scout cookies include palm oil, the No. 1 culprit behind deforestation in Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia and Malaysia. When Madison and Rhiannon found out that Girl Scout cookies were destroying the forest homes of endangered wildlife …

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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 …

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your water wings for the dating pool

TreeShagger: 10 great green date ideas

Don't need no car to take me on a date. (Photo by Sara Hurt.)

Welcome to TreeShagger, our new column on green dating. If you've got green dating questions, send 'em our way!

So Valentine's Day came and went, and you're in the doghouse since you couldn't get a reservation at Olivebee's Factory? Cheer up, smuckers! Lean in close for some non-obvious, mostly cheap green date ideas, many of which I've tested for you myself. These aren't "green" in the sense that you're eating hummus and watching An Inconvenient Truth outside on a blanket made of stars -- boooring! -- but they're low-impact, legitimately fun things that don't require buying crap. Bonus points if you bike, bus, or walk! Ready?

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Buffalo soldier

Killing a bison and eating it raw [VIDEO]

My vegetarian girlfriend/camera operator refuses to watch this week's video, so I won't be insulted if you skip over it. I'll be more impressed, though, if you watch. The slaughter is followed by a recipe for bison tartare. When you've seen the farm, and the butchering process, raw is a non-issue. For those of you who have the lust for blood, or like to see where your meat comes from, this is another one for you. If you can call killing an animal humane, this is probably the most humane killing I've ever seen. The two bison were dead before …

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Grub we can believe in

Dear Obamas: Let’s move … on food policy reform

Gardening is great, but food policy reform is even better.Photo: The White HouseMichelle Obama recently celebrated the first anniversary of her Let's Move campaign to inspire healthier eating. But as the popular face of the Obama administration's advocacy for healthy, nutritious food, the first lady has conveniently side-stepped several critical consumer food issues like organics, genetically engineered food, fair markets for farmers and ranchers, and local and regional food economies. While Mrs. Obama has remained silent on these topics, the actions of the agencies that regulate our food under President Obama speak volumes. And progressives don't like what they are hearing. …

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Teat time

How to milk goats in freezing weather — and make chevre [VIDEO]

On the coldest day of the year (-25 degrees F), I went milking goats with my friend Lisa Ringer from Two Pony Gardens. The milk froze to the side of the pail in an instant, but the rest came inside for cheese making. Milking on that cold morning, I never thought that holding the warm teats of a goat could feel so good.  Chevre is about the easiest thing in the world to make -- as long as you've got a packet of starter and a goat on hand. Well, don't sweat the goat. High-quality store-bought goat milk works, too. …

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TRIX AREN’T FOR KIDS

Bad food makes kids dumber, study says

Look, ma! No nutrients!Photo: Amanda WestmontA new study says 3-year-olds who mostly eat processed foods have lower IQs five years later. (So Pop-Tarts and Sunny-D are why we're "falling behind" China in math and science?) The study, cited in The Guardian, examined the diets of 14,000 wee Britlets, based on what their parents reported feeding them. Three is the magic number: Your brain grows the fastest from birth to age 3, says The Guardian, and what kids eat at 3 affects intelligence later -- even if the kid's diet improves afterwards. Dumb and dumber: "Every one-point increase in the study's …