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Inside and Out

Cao Hui is a Chinese artist who seeks the "inner reaches of things" like furniture, classical sculpture, and clothing. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 12, 2014 - 6 comments

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

Giving Back

"After two to three hours, the body is transformed into a sterile coffee-colored liquid the consistency of motor oil that can be safely poured down the drain, alongside a dry bone residue similar in appearance to cremated remains." GOOD magazine: The emergence of the sustainable death industry.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 17, 2013 - 93 comments

Your tax dollars at work

The book on Wood-Frame House Construction (with diagrams) is brought to you by the USDA Forest Service. Here is the full online index of USDA Agriculture Handbooks. They're public domain. [more inside]
posted by aniola on Dec 14, 2013 - 15 comments

The war against the organic mafia

Fraud in the organic farming sector has become a thriving international industry made up of a complex network of companies that bears all the marks of traditional organised crime. Excerpts.
posted by infini on May 22, 2013 - 48 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

"This post, dear reader, is 100% about cats."

Screw organic chemistry, I'm just going to write about cats. James Ashenhurst uses (sometimes highly unorthodox!) cat pictures to explain topics in stereocatmistry, starting with On Cats, Part 1: Conformations and Configurations. [more inside]
posted by beryllium on Dec 5, 2012 - 43 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

In Distrust Of Movements

Twelve years before Occupy Wall Street Wendell Berry imagined something like it. [more inside]
posted by eustacescrubb on Feb 4, 2012 - 53 comments

Organic Materials and Esthetic Shapes

Cedric Laquieze is a sculptor specializing in unusual creatures like fairy flowers and goddesses made from organic materials.
posted by netbros on Oct 30, 2011 - 6 comments

Monsanto alfalfa: coming soon to a field near you

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the sale of Monsanto's Roundup Ready alfalfa will be fully deregulated: USDA factsheet [PDF]. Advocates of organic agriculture are outraged, while the biotechnology industry supports the decision. Monsanto is also pleased by the USDA's action. [more inside]
posted by catlet on Jan 28, 2011 - 38 comments

Farmville, but for real.

Now that winter is officially here, maybe you're thinking about warmer times, and your vegetable garden. Here are some online tools and resources to help you plan your next bumper crop. Mother Earth News Garden Planner is an online app that can help you layout your garden, and once you've done that, it'll tell you when you should start planting, based on your location. It even takes into account things like successive sowing and crop rotation, all with an eye towards organic farming practices. (Don't like associating with the Mother Earthers? The same app is available via GrowVeg.com.) Considering more unusual varieties this year? How about heirloom varieties? Seed Savers Exchange | Victory Seeds | Seeds of Change. And of course, there's always Burpee for your more garden variety seeds. And be sure to check out these composting tips. Or if all of this is just too much work, you can always sign up for a share in a nearby CSA.
posted by crunchland on Dec 22, 2010 - 22 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

What is the USDA’s definition of organic?

What is the USDA’s definition of organic?
posted by rageagainsttherobots on Sep 20, 2010 - 53 comments

How Green is Your Golf Course?

One more thing to ease our collective guilt: Organic Golf. "Opened eight years ago, the club is thought to be the only completely organic golf course in the United States, its 18 holes groomed without the use of a single synthetic pesticide, fertilizer, herbicide or other artificial chemical treatment."
posted by Xurando on Aug 17, 2010 - 8 comments

One World Cafe

"There's no set menu, you pay what you can and a national chain is even testing out the business model. Eight years ago, One World Café opened up at 41 S. 300 East with a simple goal: feed hungry people in the community with good organic food. There was no cash register, and diners paid whatever they thought was fair."
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey on Aug 6, 2010 - 45 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

The Twain Shall Meet

Asia Snapshots "is a blog that examines topics in Asia through the perspectives of interesting people interviewed by a group of bloggers in Mainland China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and more." Meet Gao Qingrong and family, who along with seven other households are part of an organic farm co-op in Anlong Village, Sichuan. Or there's the tale of how one of the bloggers met Jun Jun, a male prostitute in Beijing; an encounter with Silang Laji, a road maintenance worker in Kham, a Tibetan region of China; and Gege, an enterprising journalist in Chengdu.Via
posted by Abiezer on Feb 28, 2010 - 4 comments

The Stuff Of Life

Space rock contains organic molecular feast Scientists believe the Murchison meteorite could have originated before the Sun was formed, 4.65 billion years ago. The researchers say it probably passed through primordial clouds in the early Solar System, picking up organic chemicals. [more inside]
posted by longsleeves on Feb 15, 2010 - 19 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

Every day we get closer to an epidemic that cannot be stopped.

The Meatrix: parts I, II: Revolting, and II 1/2.
posted by parudox on Apr 28, 2009 - 51 comments

Michelle Michelle We're Quite Contrary About How Does Your Garden Grow

The Local food movement's celebration over the white house garden was short lived. The White House has receive a letter from the Mid America CropLife Association, expressing disappointment that Obamas planted an organic garden. "As you go about planning and planting the White House garden, we respectfully encourage you to recognize the role conventional agriculture plays in the U.S in feeding the ever-increasing population, contributing to the U.S. economy and providing a safe and economical food supply. America's farmers understand crop protection technologies are supported by sound scientific research and innovation."
posted by Xurando on Apr 10, 2009 - 101 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

Antibiotics in organic vegetables and honey

Worried about antibiotics in your beef? Organic vegetables (and pirated honey) may be no better. 90% of animal antibiotics are excreted as dung which is then used as fertilizer. The amounts are smaller but cumulative, particularly in potatoes, lettuce.
posted by stbalbach on Jan 9, 2009 - 31 comments

Wildman of the Loire, Didier Dagueneau RIP

Wildman of the Loire, Didier Dagueneau RIP Didier Dagueneau, iconoclastic motorcycle driving beard-sporting winegrower of France's Loire valley, died today in a private plane crash. Dagueneau pushed winemaking in his region to a new level; his Silex (100 percent sauvignon blanc), farmed biodynamically on flinty soil, is a profound wine. I recently tasted the '99 Silex, one word: incroyable. A wine that redefines sauvignon blanc and makes you happy to be alive. Dagueneau also pushed younger colleagues like the cidermaker Eric Bordelet to pursue their craft at a higher level: the result is Bordelet's Granit pear cider, from 300 year old biodynamically farmed pear trees.
posted by Izzy on Sep 17, 2008 - 45 comments

Big Bad Wolves Need Not Apply

The first little pig built his house out of straw [previously]. The second little pig built his house out of sticks. The third little pig built his house out of bricks; but the relatively unknown fourth little pig built several structures of all sizes out of mud (and straw), and he wasn't a hippy. [more inside]
posted by 5MeoCMP on Aug 6, 2008 - 24 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

All-organic or none!

All One God Faith, maker's of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap, are suing thirteen cosmetic brands for using the term "organic" on products that include petroleum-based ingredients. And now, Olympic gold medalist Mark Spitz is suing them for using his name on their unique bottle labels (where he appears alongside folks like Jesus, Mohammed and Einstein). [more inside]
posted by snofoam on May 28, 2008 - 54 comments

Hive-minded

The barefoot beekeeper is Phil Chandler's blog about small-scale organic beekeeping. It offers videos and a forum, as well as a photo tutorial, How to Build a Top Bar Hive. [more inside]
posted by owhydididoit on Apr 23, 2008 - 16 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

Organic Cuba without fossil fuels.

Organic Cuba without fossil fuels.
posted by wilful on Jan 24, 2008 - 26 comments

I'll Buy That

Selling out is becoming trendy. Last fall, Burt’s Bees was sold to Clorox. It turned out then that former owner Roxanne Quimby bought out co-founder Burt himself in 1999 and sold 80% of the company to AEA Investors in 2004; this was just the final stroke of the pen. [more inside]
posted by bassjump on Jan 17, 2008 - 43 comments

Cuba: an accidental revolution

Cuba: The Accidental Revolution. Hasta la revolucion ? Maybe, but some revolution is dictated more by need than by politics. In this documentary, we are shown how Cuba is converting from oil-subsidized agricolture to organic agricolture with remarkable results. The presence of a police state isn't conveniently forgotten, as much as the facts that public education, public healthcare and limited, regulated free enterprise markets are helping Cubans in the transition from the illusion of freedom in a subsidized economy to a far less comfortable and rich, but more sustainable and independant economy.
posted by elpapacito on Oct 26, 2007 - 48 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

Free Range Campylobacter

Organic chickens more likely to make you seriously ill. Of course, just thinking about the conditions factory-raised chickens live in can make you ill as well, but Campylobacter can kill you.
posted by Kickstart70 on Jun 10, 2007 - 40 comments

Support your local Reptoid

Skeptoid: Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomena was born in October, 2006 to help fight the good fight against the overwhelming majority of noise in the media supporting useless alternative medicine systems, psychics preying upon the vulnerable, the erosion of science education in the classroom, xenophobia of advanced energy and food production methods, and generally anything that distracts attention and public funding from scientific advancement. Episodes feature such prominent MeFi discussion material as organic food myths, blood for oil, chiropractics, and SUVs. Links are to podcast transcripts. Full episode guide.
posted by arcticwoman on May 24, 2007 - 38 comments

the bees are o.k.

The mystery of the disappearing bees might not be much of a problem. That is if commercial bee keepers go organic. (previously 1,2)
posted by orgvol on May 17, 2007 - 62 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

Images of Aggregation

Images of Aggregation "These works come from a study of organic natural forms and their relationship to simple mathematical rules." See videos, and also, Images of Flow. [via]
posted by dhruva on Mar 11, 2007 - 9 comments

Food fight!!

In this corner: John "Mack Daddy" Mackey. In this corner: Michael "The Pollanator" Pollan. Mackey. Pollan. Mackey. Pollan. Mackey vs. Pollan!! (.rm file via)
posted by ericbop on Mar 1, 2007 - 5 comments

L.A. South Central Farm Receives Eviction Notice

L.A. South Central Farm Receives Eviction Notice 350 families have been growing organic produce on 14 acres in inner-city LA for over a decade. Now the owner wants them out -- so a warehouse for Wal-Mart can be built on the site. LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says he wants to see the farm saved, but the city can't afford to buy the land.
posted by Artifice_Eternity on Mar 4, 2006 - 53 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

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