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  • Warm up over a bowl of chili — while planning your spring vegetable patch

    Editor’s note: Welcome to the first installment of Chef’s Diary, a new biweekly recipe column by Iowa-based chef Kurt Michael Friese. Follow the seasons with a professional chef — and get tips for cooking at home. Seeds of our content. Photo: run dorkas run As the last of last fall’s bounty comes out of the […]

  • Pushing for ‘fair food’ on campus in the land of hog factories

    Last year, a bunch of students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill got tired of the industrial dreck served up in the cafeteria. They discovered that the landscape around them was producing some amazing, chemical-free meat and produce and set about figuring out how to get some in school dining halls. Photo: […]

  • Why the USDA wants to stop local food

    This is one of those "in case you missed it" kind of posts. In yesterday's New York Times, Minnesota farmer Jack Hedin wrote an op-ed that shows very clearly how the federal deck is stacked against small, sustainable, local farms and in favor of Earl Butz's "get-big-or-get-out" mentality.

    The commodity farm program effectively forbids farmers who usually grow corn or the other four federally subsidized commodity crops (soybeans, rice, wheat and cotton) from trying fruit and vegetables. Because my watermelons and tomatoes had been planted on "corn base" acres, the Farm Service said, my landlords were out of compliance with the commodity program.

    I never ceased to be amazed at the all-encompassing power of the Golden Rule (The One Who Has the Gold Makes the Rules).

  • Will peak oil force the localization of agriculture?

    Stuart Staniford says no. Sharon Astyk says yes. Jeff Vail also says yes.

  • Eating extremely local pigs

    For pork lovers squeamish about hunting, check out this fascinating account of an intrepid urban farmer who doesn't let the fact she lives in the hood in Oakland, Calif., get in the way of her commitment to eating local. Very local. Like backyard local.

    So ... here's the piggies on day one.

    And last days.  Read up from the bottom. She's a beautiful writer, and she has some insightful things to say.

  • An Iowa chef takes issue with Time’s Joel Stein

    Regarding the article Tom mentioned yesterday, Joel Stein's Time article, "Extreme Eating": while Mr. Stein is of course free to eat whatever type of food he chooses, I must take exception to his contention that "Dodd was basically telling the Iowans that every night they should decide whether to accompany their pork with creamed corn, corn on the cob, corn fritters or corn bread. For dessert, they could have any flavor they wanted of fake ice cream made from soy, provided that flavor was corn."

    I am forced to question whether Mr. Stein has actually been to Iowa (outside of a presidential candidate's rally). While there is indeed a large amount of corn, soy, and pork grown here (more than anywhere in the world in fact), to say that this is all we can eat when we choose to eat locally is blindly absurd and typical of a bicoastal mentality that considers America's great heartland to be little more than "flyover states."

  • Joel Stein of Time takes a poke at the locavores

    The contrarian in me grinned when I read the concept. Time columnist Joel Stein pulls an anti-Pollan: He will cook dinner using only ingredients that traveled at least 3,000 miles from his home in L.A. And — deliciously — he will do his shopping at Whole Foods, which he declares “the local-food movement’s most treasured […]

  • NYC invests in local-food infrastructure

    While the farm bill wallows about in Congress, awaiting reconciliation between House and Senate versions, some state and local governments are making their own smart food policies, investing public resources in the worthwhile goal of rebuilding local food systems. A piece in last week’s New York Times food section reminded me of that happy fact. […]

  • Top green food stories of 2007

    “…to make whole what has been smashed…” — Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History All over the country, communities are organizing to establish food sovereignty. From low-income neighborhoods in Milwaukee to Detroit and Brooklyn, to the very heart of industrial agriculture, people are getting their hands dirty and building up their own alternatives […]