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plant sex in silico

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]
posted by kliuless on Mar 8, 2014 - 52 comments

Grow More GM, says former anti-GMO activist

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]
posted by rattleandhum on Jan 4, 2013 - 82 comments

It was the equivalent of comparing milk and Elmer’s glue on the basis of whiteness.

Like too many studies, the Stanford study dangerously isolates a finding from its larger context. It significantly plays down the disparity in pesticides...and neglects to mention that 10,000 to 20,000 United States agricultural workers get a pesticide-poisoning diagnosis each year. And while the study concedes that “the risk for isolating bacteria resistant to three or more antibiotics was 33 percent higher among conventional chicken and pork than organic alternatives,” it apparently didn’t seek to explore how consuming antibiotic-resistant bacteria might be considered “non-nutritious.”.... That the authors of the study chose to focus on a trivial aspect of the organic versus conventional comparison is regrettable. That they published a study that would so obviously be construed as a blanket knock against organic agriculture is willfully misleading and dangerous. That so many leading news agencies fall for this stuff is scary. Mark Bittman - That Flawed Stanford Study (SL NYTimes)
posted by beisny on Oct 3, 2012 - 38 comments

The Organic Egg Scorecard from the Cornucopia Institute

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."
posted by mediareport on Oct 5, 2010 - 69 comments

Infographics of the organic food industry

Infographics of the organic food processing industry. Infographics of the organic food retail and distribution industry. Infographics of the organic farming industry. Infographics of the seed industry structure. A QuickTime animation of the consolidation of the organic food industry. A QuickTime animation of the seed industry consolidation.
posted by slogger on Jun 28, 2010 - 14 comments

Think globally, act globally

Eating local, organic foods may not be the best option. The vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions stem from food production, not transportation, and production inputs for organic food are typically higher. Third world countries that have a food system that is organic and local by default are suffering from lack of infrastructure and investment in basic production technologies that could improve nutrition for millions of people. [more inside]
posted by stinker on Apr 28, 2010 - 153 comments

World hunger and the locavores

How Locavores Could Save the World (All Things Considered)
The latest yuppie craze could do more than just cut emissions -- it might also help feed the poor: "Monocultures are naturally prone to disastrous outbreaks of disease, which can wipe out an entire crop... people think of the locavores as solving a luxury problem of how to eat healthier and more delicious food in rich countries, and they're not asking whether they have anything to teach with respect to big questions like world hunger. That might be changing." (previously)
posted by kliuless on Mar 4, 2010 - 86 comments

Do kids need to learn gardening or more algebra?

"The suicidal dietary choices of so many poor people are the result of a problem, not the problem itself. The solution lies in an education that will propel students into a higher economic class, where they will live better and therefore eat better." So argues Caitlin Flanagan in the pages of The Atlantic against Alice Waters' idea that school curricula ought to teach children where food comes from and how to grow it (see The Edible Schoolyard).
posted by shivohum on Jan 12, 2010 - 124 comments

Messy, Painful, Bloody and Dirty

Critics of modern farming practice have swayed popular opinion in recent years. Now farmers are talking back. Farmer Blake Harris takes critics of farming to task for misrepresenting his trade. Another farmer says it's not so simple.
posted by chrchr on Sep 2, 2009 - 41 comments

We Are Peculiar People (Regarding Food)

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.
posted by Askiba on Aug 27, 2009 - 205 comments

Cuz I'm free...free rangin!

A recent study, commissioned by the UK Food Standards Agency, has found that there is no evidence that organically produced foods are nutritionally superior to conventionally produced foodstuffs. On the basis of a systematic review of studies of satisfactory quality, there is no evidence of a difference in nutrient quality between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs. The small differences in nutrient content detected are biologically plausible and mostly relate to differences in production methods. Who cares?
posted by Christ, what an asshole on Jul 30, 2009 - 123 comments

Local Food Movement Celebrates Victory at the White House

On Friday, Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II.
posted by jbiz on Mar 19, 2009 - 137 comments

So much for organic farming?

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]
posted by bitter-girl.com on Mar 18, 2009 - 56 comments

Spoiled: Organic and Local Is So 2008

Spoiled: Organic and Local Is So 2008 - Mother Jones asks what sustainable agriculture should really look like. Is it about food miles or should we all just eat less meat?
posted by patricio on Mar 5, 2009 - 103 comments

Rutabagas, Artichokes, Kiwis, Oh My!

FruitAndVeggieGuru – everything you need to know about the delicious fruits and vegetables you enjoy. Answers about how to lower your cholesterol or how to prepare asparagus. You’ll find loads of background and variety information, nutrition specifics, serving sizes, preparation ideas and care and handling tips.
posted by netbros on Jun 2, 2008 - 18 comments

Monsanto Milk

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."
posted by homunculus on Apr 3, 2008 - 77 comments

You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt.

Blooming is booming. Whether you prefer DIY or professionals, knowing what to plant and when can be daunting...unless you've got some really excellent websites on your side. And you do! Plantwire will help you find plants through conventional search, tags, or even by colour. Fine Gardening Magazine's site has much to offer: how-to section with videos, design ideas, and a fabulous plant guide. Garden Simply can help you achieve sustainable, organic gardening. Garden and Flower has several convenient guides on how to achieve gardening nirvana - including butterfly garden essentials! [more inside]
posted by batmonkey on Mar 28, 2008 - 20 comments

Five Easy Ways to Go Organic

Five Easy Ways to Go Organic [more inside]
posted by Dave Faris on Oct 25, 2007 - 43 comments

Eating locally

In the grand scheme of things, eating locally grown food may be more important than eating organically grown foods. To help you reach that goal, there's 100-Mile Diet, a blog that deals with the benefits and pitfalls of trying to eat only foods grown locally; The Eating Well Guide, which will help you find markets, restaurants, etc. that go along with the sustainable foodthink; and Local Harvest, which will help you find local and organically grown food sources. (PS. Now's probably the time to start signing up for your favorite CSA!)
posted by Dave Faris on Apr 12, 2007 - 55 comments

to buy or not to buy, that is the question.

Organic Foods... Consumer Reports spells out which organic foods are worth buying, and which you should skip.
posted by crunchland on Jan 10, 2006 - 34 comments

And the food had to be satisfying and taste good too, otherwise, what's the point?

The Challenge: Purchase, prepare and eat healthy, mostly organic meals on a food stamp budget. These are the results.
posted by anastasiav on Jan 4, 2005 - 65 comments

Ewe England Cheese Farmers

"We wanted to retire to something we knew nothing about, something we would find intellectually, physically and spiritually daunting." ~~ "I like goats. They're funny." ~~ "Our animals are vegetarians and don't do drugs." ~~"I can sort of get inside the head of the bacteria," she said. "I read about cheese in bed." ~~ "Oh, Lily," she said matter-of-factly. "Things didn't work out. We ate her." via NortonDC.
posted by onlyconnect on Jun 23, 2004 - 9 comments

Yeah, it's...Organic, yeaaah that's the ticket

"The directives have not changed anything. They are just clarifications of what is in the regulations that were written by the National Organic Standards Board" Think your "organic" food is pesticide free? Not if the Bush Administration has their way. War is Peace and all that jazz... via Grist Magazine
posted by Windopaene on May 21, 2004 - 10 comments

What exactly does "certified organic" mean?

What exactly does "certified organic" mean? The Consumer's Union has whipped up this good (if incomplete) idea of a resource for people to find out exactly what those so-called "eco-labels" mean. I had heard "free-range" means almost nothing, but didn't find info here on that. But I did learn a few things about how some labels are skewed by industry. Potentially a great site if they ever get around to populating their database and lose the dumb flash stuff.
posted by brookish on Feb 11, 2002 - 4 comments

In 2000, 40% of chickens sent to stores from seven plants was contaminated.

In 2000, 40% of chickens sent to stores from seven plants was contaminated. And this is just the one we've heard about. Between stories like this and the animal diseases in Europe, meat is looking less and less appetizing. It looks like what the food industry gets away with may finally be too outrageous to be ignored. Not to mention whether non-meat foods are processed with any more attention to sanitation than meats. Of course if they can get away with cutting costs this way, they will.
posted by aflakete on Mar 2, 2001 - 13 comments

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