How Ethanol Became a Wedge Issue in Iowa

How Ethanol Became a Wedge Issue in Iowa

As the “lamestream” media, late-night talk show hosts, and Sarah Palin impersonator-in-chief Tina Fey lapped up the former Alaska governor’s first remarks to Donald Trump’s “right-wingin’ bitter-clingin’” supporters, one of her most hilarious lines didn’t get the...
The Great Pumpkin Shortage Is Coming

The Great Pumpkin Shortage Is Coming

Pumpkin fever is back. The latest bout of this seasonal disorder has infected Hostess Twinkies and moved Starbucks to put a smidge of real pumpkin in its pumpkin spice lattes. Previously, the ubiquitous coffee purveyor used a common ploy: It evoked agrarian and...
New England Can Feed Itself: A Vision for Regional Food Resilience

New England Can Feed Itself: A Vision for Regional Food Resilience

Earlier this month, one hundred people gathered at a church in Jamaica Plain, MA, to consider this question: Can New England Feed Itself? The answer is yes, New England can feed itself – at least halfway. Food Solutions NewEngland’s Food Vision (pdf), a rigorous...
The Risky Business of Eating in America

The Risky Business of Eating in America

Long before human beings decoded the human genome or split the atom, they discovered that arsenic is very good at killing things. The ancient Romans prized it as a murder weapon because it could be mixed into food or drink without altering its color, taste, or smell....
Big Food Behemoths Embarrass their Organic Offshoots

Big Food Behemoths Embarrass their Organic Offshoots

National brand-name conglomerates are in a bind over California’s Right to Know Genetically Modified Food Act, a measure known as Proposition 37. Actually, it’s a double bind. First, these gigantic food companies are frantically scrambling to defeat this...
Avoiding a 21st-Century Dust Bowl

Avoiding a 21st-Century Dust Bowl

Mother Nature found a cruel way to demonstrate the difference between political rhetoric and reality when this summer’s record-breaking drought coincided with the writing of a new U.S. Farm Bill. The House Agriculture Committee’s draft 2012 Farm Bill will...
Why We Need the Food from Family Farms Act

Why We Need the Food from Family Farms Act

Although my Mississippi community has fared pretty well this summer, the worst drought since 1956 is jeopardizing more than half of U.S. cropland. Thousands of farmers are facing tough decisions, especially if they own livestock. Dairy farmers face a triple threat...
Healing Mother Nature’s Wounds

Healing Mother Nature’s Wounds

Nature’s on A downward path, Save her with Some voter wrath. America’s rare environmental victories often earn headlines. They might involve the successful blocking of a dangerous pipeline, a new mercury standard for coal, or perhaps the signing of a...
Let’s Resist Herbicide-Resistant Crops

Let’s Resist Herbicide-Resistant Crops

A Pioneer seed saleswoman introduced the first genetically modified crop to my central Missouri county in the winter of 1996 at a University Extension Soils and Crop Council meeting. She told us that if a farmer planted this genetically engineered soybean, then...
Climate Insurance

Climate Insurance

I feel uneasy sleeping in a house without functioning smoke detectors. I lock my doors at night. I salt my sidewalk when it’s icy. I always wear my seatbelt. Like most people, I prefer to minimize my chances of getting hurt or wrecking my car or house, despite...
Afghanistan’s Poppy War

Afghanistan’s Poppy War

For a symbol of how America’s decade-long war is going in faraway Afghanistan, look at the beautiful fields of red poppies flowering so bountifully there. Unfortunately, that bounty symbolizes the failure of an ambitious Western initiative against Taliban...

Alabama’s Immigration Aftershock

Ever since Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed the nation’s strictest immigration measure into law, he’s faced criticism from religious leaders and immigrant advocates. Now Bentley himself admits that the Republican-passed HB 56 needs to be retooled....
Occupy the Food System

Occupy the Food System

Farmers have been through this before — our lives and livelihoods falling under corporate control. It has been an ongoing process: consolidation of markets; consolidation of seed companies; an ever-widening gap between our costs of production and the prices we...
The Skinny on Farm Subsidies and Obesity

The Skinny on Farm Subsidies and Obesity

Obesity has reached epic proportions in the United States and its price tag is soaring. With one-third of adults and more than 12 million children and adolescents obese, the direct and indirect medical costs of this scourge total as much as $147 billion a year. The...