Zero Percent Water
. Alan Heathcock visits the Central Valley in California to talk to farmers about the drought, hear their perspective, and see first-hand what the land looks like.
Monsanto Is Going Organic in a Quest for the Perfect Veggie
- "The lettuce, peppers, and broccoli—plus a melon and an onion, with a watermelon soon to follow—aren't genetically modified at all. Monsanto created all these veggies using good old-fashioned crossbreeding, the same technology that farmers have been using to optimize crops
for millennia. That doesn't mean they are low tech, exactly. Stark's division is drawing on Monsanto's accumulated scientific know-how to create vegetables that have all the advantages of genetically modified organisms without any of the Frankenfoods ick factor." [more inside]
Whey Too Much: Greek Yogurt’s Dark Side For every three or four ounces of milk, Chobani and other companies can produce only one ounce of creamy Greek yogurt. The rest becomes acid whey. It’s a thin, runny waste product that can’t simply be dumped. Not only would that be illegal, but whey decomposition is toxic to the natural environment, robbing oxygen from streams and rivers.... And as the nation’s hunger grows for strained yogurt, which produces more byproduct than traditional varieties, the issue of its acid runoff becomes more pressing. Greek yogurt companies, food scientists, and state government officials are scrambling not just to figure out uses for whey, but how to make a profit off of it.
Mark Lynas, author of several
books on climate change
and once a leading figurehead of the anti-GMO movement, has made an about turn on his opinions regarding GM crops
. In an address to the Oxford Farming Conference
, he stated:
"For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment. As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely. So I guess you’ll be wondering—what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist." [more inside]
"Farmer Bowman began purchasing Monsanto’s patented seeds in 1999 and, because of the licensing agreement, did not save any of the seed for future planting.
But he also bought so-called “commodity” seed from a local grain elevator, which acts as a clearinghouse for farmers to buy and sell seed.
But given that more than 90 percent of the soybeans planted in the area were Roundup Ready crops, the elevator’s seed was contaminated with Monsanto’s patented seed.
Farmer Bowman planted that commodity seed, which was substantially cheaper to purchase, to produce a second, late-season crop, which is generally more risky and lower yielding. He then used seeds generated in one late-season harvest to help produce subsequent late-season crops.
Monsanto sued him for patent infringement, and he lost." [more inside]
The Perennial Plate: An American Food Trip
is an online documentary series of short videos featuring "adventurous and sustainable eating" beginning in Minnesota and continuing around the US.
Industry regulators have known for years that Monsanto's Roundup herbicide causes birth defects
according to a newly released report
by Earth Open Source. Regulators knew as long ago as 1980 that glyphosate, the chemical on which Roundup is based, can cause birth defects in laboratory animals... Although the European Commission has known that glyphosate causes malformations since at least 2002, the information was not made public.
) [more inside]
How to feed 9 billion people:
The global food supply is starting to get tight, with increasing sensitivity to droughts and floods causing price spikes and food shortages. The UK commissioned a report to examine how to feed a planet
with a population that is set to increase to 9 billion by 2050. [more inside]
The Cornucopia Institute's Organic Egg Scorecard
ranks egg producers on a scale from 1 to 5 eggs,
using criteria like outdoor access, indoor space per bird, ownership structure, beak trimming and other factors
[pdf]. The scorecard is part of the Institute's new report, Scrambled Eggs: Separating Factory Farm Egg Production from Authentic Organic Agriculture
. The executive summary
[pdf] provides some political context.
"Whole Foods, Walmart, A&P, Costco, Meijer, Safeway, and Trader Joe's store-brand eggs all received the lowest possible rating in Cornucopia's study.
Getting Real About The High Price of Cheap Food.
Why the food we're eating is hurting us, the animals we eat, our world, and what people are trying to do about it.
No conflict of interest there, no sir.
Organic food fans and small farmers alike are saying if HR 875 is passed, it will mean the end of organic farming in the United States. An overstatement? Perhaps, but HR 875 has serious flaws. The bill, introduced by Rosa DeLauro last month (who happens to be married to Stanley Greenburg of Monsanto, the world's largest producer of herbicides, chemical fertilizers and genetically engineered seeds), is here
. [more inside]
"Dear Mr. President-Elect,
It may surprise you to learn that among the issues that will occupy much of your time in the coming years is one you barely mentioned during the campaign: food." Michael Pollan advises the next president on what he can and should do to remake the way we grow and eat our food. [Via]
The new face of hunger
-- “World agriculture has entered a new, unsustainable and politically risky period” says the International Food Policy Research Institute. Food riots have erupted in countries all along the equator because of soaring food commodity prices. So, where does the world get more food? If the extra supplies are to come mainly from large farmers in America and Europe, then they may be trapped in a farm subsidy Catch-22
. Increase production per acre? We just learned about the myth of GM crops (previously of MeFi
). All of this is why some are just sitting out Earth Day
Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear.
"Monsanto already dominates America’s food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Now it has targeted milk production. Just as frightening as the corporation’s tactics–ruthless legal battles against small farmers–is its decades-long history of toxic contamination."
After reading that beef has been recalled
from my local grocery store, I spent some time reading Mad Cow USA
a book written back in 1997 but not widely published because of fears of repercussions under the Texas food disparagement act. AlterNet has an article
written by one of the book's authors summarizing some of the key points of the book. Some claim that only ground beef is infected, while others claim that's bull
has a lot of good information on the topic, and it seems the powers that be are going to blame Canada
While Americans celebrate history by eating (I have two cookouts to attend tonight), take a look at history you can eat
. The Garden State Heirloom Seed Society is trying to make sure we don't lose the thousands of varieties of vegetables and fruit developed over the years.
Enjoy what may be your last royalty-free Christmas dinner...
Opinion solicitation: is either extreme right here? Is there a compromise solution that will satisfy both sides? Where do the rest of us (i.e., the food consumers) fit in to this?
We're overdue for a big disaster.
"Two years without a harvest? It would probably bust civilisation. People would survive all right. It really would cut us back, and that is the sort of thing nobody really prepares for. It's not some ecological poison or GM foods or nuclear that is going to get us, it is going to be some perfectly ordinary natural event."
Almost enough to make me stock canned goods again.