More Food News

A few more bites of food in the news, some tasty some less so.  But all surprisingly mainstream and of a consistent message regarding industrial agriculture v. sustainable agriculture. Only one of these has a future with humans in it.*

The Omnivore's Next Dilemma - Michael Pollan TED Talk

"What if human consciousness isn't the end-all and be-all of Darwinism? What if we are all just pawns in corn's clever strategy game, the ultimate prize of which is world domination? Author Michael Pollan asks us to see things from a plant's-eye view - to consider the possibility that nature isn't opposed to culture, that biochemistry rivals intellect as a survival tool. By merely shifting our perspective, he argues, we can heal the Earth. Who's the more sophisticated species now?" 

The Rise of the Locavore: Businessweek, May 20, 2008

“It's a movement that is gradually reshaping the business of growing and supplying food to Americans. The local food movement has already accomplished something that almost no one would have thought possible a few years back: a revival of small farms. After declining for more than a century, the number of small farms has increased 20% in the past six years, to 1.2 million, according to the Agriculture Dept.”

The Last Bite: Is the World's Food System Collapsing?: The New Yorker, May 19,  2008

"Even now, there is no over-all food shortage when measured by global subsistence needs. Despite the current food crisis, last year’s worldwide grain harvest was colossal, five per cent above the previous year’s. We are not yet living on Cormac McCarthy’s scorched earth. Yet demand is increasing ever faster. As of 2006, there were eight hundred million people on the planet who were hungry, but they were outnumbered by the billion who were overweight. Our current food predicament resembles a Malthusian scenario—misery and famine—but one largely created by overproduction rather than underproduction. Our ability to produce vastly too many calories for our basic needs has skewed the concept of demand, and generated a wildly dysfunctional market."

Monsanto's Harvest of FearVanity Fair, May 2008

"As interviews and reams of court documents reveal, Monsanto relies on a shadowy army of private investigators and agents in the American heartland to strike fear into farm country. They fan out into fields and farm towns, where they secretly videotape and photograph farmers, store owners, and co-ops; infiltrate community meetings; and gather information from informants about farming activities. Farmers say that some Monsanto agents pretend to be surveyors. Others confront farmers on their land and try to pressure them to sign papers giving Monsanto access to their private records. Farmers call them the “seed police” and use words such as “Gestapo” and “Mafia” to describe their tactics."

Where Industry Once Hummed, Urban Garden Finds Success: New York Times, May 20, 2008

"Among urban farms, Greensgrow distinguishes itself by being a bridge between rural producers and urban consumers, and by having revitalized a derelict industrial site, said Ian Marvy, executive director of Added Value, an urban farm in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn.

It has also become a model for others by showing that it is possible to become self-supporting in a universe where many rely on outside financial support, Mr. Marvy said."

Eating Better Than Organic, Time, March 2, 2007

"Then I heard about the farm shares run by Community Supported Agriculture (csa) programs. They sounded a little lefty to me at first, but it turns out csas are a wonderfully market-driven idea: you join with others in your community to invest in a local farm. At the beginning of the season, members pay the farmer a lump sum. Each week, or perhaps once a month in the winter, the farm delivers fresh vegetables (and, for more money, items like fruit, eggs and flowers) to a central location. Prices vary widely depending on where you live. The csa in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx costs just $220 for five months for those with a low income (food stamps accepted). The csa run by Angelic Organics in Caledonia, Ill., starts at $600 for 20 weeks of vegetables and goes north of $1,000 when you add fruit."

* And thanks to my peeps for sending me interesting links! You know who you are. 

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