Savor our list of eco-conscious chefs, then dish on your own favorites in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Photo: David Sifry via Flickr Alice Waters, Chez Panisse, Berkeley, Calif., U.S. Thirty years ago, the words “imported from France” signified the height of status and taste on U.S. restaurant menus. Today, the […]
Interesting juxtaposition of stories:
First, an essay on what has become of organics, as it turns into what Fromartz calls "Organic, Inc."
Then, Energy Bulletin links to a story suggesting that some Brits might deny the organic label to food flown in from abroad.
And, of course, there's the post right here on Gristmill about labeling as an attempt to help consumers understand the effect of their purchases.
The issue boils down to the fact that our prices don't help consumers understand anything about food; in our perverse system, the food that has traveled the furthest at the greatest energy expense may often be the cheapest. As a smart man put it:
"Socialism collapsed because it did not allow prices to tell the economic truth. Capitalism may collapse because it does not allow prices to tell the ecological truth."
-- Oystein Dahle, former vice president of Esso for Norway and the North Sea
In today’s Victual Reality I discussed how a few companies dominate U.S. food production, and how their market girth weighs heavily on efforts to rebuild local-oriented, environmentally and socially responsible food networks. Now I’d like to add a few words on what might be done to remedy the situation. First of all, it’s important to […]
When I caught up with 100-mile dieters Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon a few weeks ago, they were just kicking off their book tour with a stop in Toronto, and I hadn’t even had a chance to read Plenty, in which they recount a year of local eating. Sure, I had the basic info — […]
Two years ago, Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon set out to see if it was still possible, in these hyper-globalized times, to live off food grown in your own ‘hood. The pair made a pact to dine on dishes culled from within a 100-mile radius of their Vancouver, B.C., home for an entire year. Their […]
“A natural diet lies right at one’s feet.” — Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution It’s springtime here on my mountain farm, and that means an explosion of activity. We’re starting seeds in one greenhouse, and finishing construction on another. Fields are being tilled, and we’re putting in the very first sugar-snap peas and spring onions. […]
The old thinking, as author and thinker Bill McKibben explains in today's LA Times, goes like this: bigger is always better, growth is good no matter what, and a booming stock market is the ultimate measure of our success.
McKibben illustrates the kind of lopsided priorities that naturally flow when we're ruled by the bottom line, pointing to a scarcely-reported White House report that said the U.S. would be pumping out almost 20 percent more greenhouse gases in 2020 than we did in 2000, our contribution to climate change going steadily up -- against all warnings to the contrary.
That's a pretty stunning piece of information -- a hundred times more important than, say, the jittery Dow Jones industrial average that garnered a hundred times the attention. How is it even possible? How, faced with the largest crisis humans have yet created for themselves, have we simply continued with business as usual?
New thinking, by contrast, might go something like this: measure what matters.
Over on the Biopact website -- probably the best website for up-to-date international news on bio-energy science and markets -- they have posted an interesting commentary, based on a BBC interview, on how small Kenyan farmers, Mr. Peter Ndivo and Mr. Samuel Mauthike, are affected by the confusion engendered by concepts such as "carbon footprints," "fair trade," and "food miles."
Biopact's message? Buy your vegetables and fruits locally, if you must, but please allow developing countries to supply your biofuels.
Note: This is the third of a three-column series on the 2007 farm bill. The first two columns are here and here. The author promises not to return to the topic for at least a few weeks — but will likely backslide from this pledge in his Gristmill blog posts. Can Bush point the way […]