USDA Image via Toronto pig save. Sadly many pigs don’t have it so good.
“When might it be punishable to report a criminal activity? When it takes place inside a poultry warehouse, slaughterhouse, or on a cattle feedlot. That’s the upshot of a new wave of so-called “ag-gag” bills passed in state legislatures around the nation, the latest of which, AB 343, was introduced in California last month. Continue reading →
I grew up in a small town, population 15000 if you counted every cow in the valley. Every morning I’d hear my dad walk in the kitchen, pour his first cup of coffee and turn on the radio. Paul Harvey’s voice wafted into my bedroom regularly, and along with that smell of fresh brewed Folgers, became a thread in the fabric of my childhood. I didn’t know anything about Paul Harvey’s politics, but I loved the way he owned a pregnant pause. Continue reading →
In case you haven’t heard of fracking, which is a way of extracting natural gas using underground explosions, check out this trailer for the recent documentary, Gaslands. You can watch the full movie on Netflix, in Canada at least. Netflix U.S. has a bigger choice so they probably have it too.
WARNING: If you click “read more”, you’ll see GROSS PHOTOS of cancerous lesions on wildlife.
“The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) hosted its 2012 Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) earlier this month. Sadly, the event once again (see last year’s report) demonstrated how this registered dietitians’ accrediting organization drags its own credential through the mud by prioritizing Big Food’s corporate interests over sound nutrition and public health.
Nutrition Conference or Junk Food Expo?
Academy “partners,” which enjoy top sponsorship status at the expo, included the National Dairy Council, Coca-Cola, and the Hershey Center for Health and Nutrition (yes, the chocolate company). Event “premier sponsors” includedGeneral Mills, PepsiCo, and Mars. As a dietitian, I am embarrassed that the nation’s largest nutrition trade organization maintains partnerships with companies that contribute to our nation’s diet-related health problems. Continue reading →
“I was at a food safety conference a few years back that focused on raw milk, and one state public health official concluded his remarks by saying, to effect, “I personally don’t see why we spend all this time going after raw milk. If people are going to be stupid enough to drink it, then let them go ahead and kill themselves.”
Then, at a raw milk symposium a couple years after that, I heard a raw milk proponent give the other side of the same mind-set. “You know, things will change over the next few years, because the people who oppose us will die off from all the junk food they eat,” she said, referring to the public health regulators. Continue reading →
“As reported in this week’s UK Guardian, Nina Federoff spoke about threats to science at a meeting of 8,000 professional scientists. The former Bush Administration official (and former adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) and GMO proponent described her “profound depression” at how difficult it is to “get a realistic conversation started on issues such as climate change or genetically modified organisms.” I too have agonized over our inability to talk seriously about climate change.
However—and this is no small matter—by conflating fringe climate-deniers with established scientists raising valid concerns about the effects of GMOs, Federoff undermines the scientific integrity that she purports to uphold. The hypocrisy is astonishing. Continue reading →
“I manage supply chains for Bon Appétit Management Company, which is another way of saying that my job is to think about chicken and pork. Not just the meat, but the lives of the animals themselves. I suspect there are few other non-meat-eaters whose corporate roles require them to think about farm animals as much as mine does.
But thinking about production systems and negotiating with suppliers can only go so far. Today, we’re saying that we’re fed up. Bon Appétit Management Company today announced that by 2015 all our pork will be sourced from companies that don’t use gestation stalls–the densely packed metal cages that imprison pregnant sows in spaces so tight they can’t even turn around. Imagine hundreds of 200-pound dogs confined that way all day, every day, and it should be easy to understand why this system is so egregious. Continue reading →
“A document leaked to the ETC group reveals that Canada is going to the UN to promote “terminator” technology: genetically engineered (GE) seeds designed to grow crops which can’t reproduce. These “suicide seeds,” designed solely to protect the patents and profits of multinational corporations, are currently forbidden from being planted outside the lab. The secret instructions to Canada’s delegation: block concensus on any other option than testing these seeds in the wild.
“Canada is about to launch a devastating kick in the stomach to the world’s most vulnerable farmers – the 1.4 billion people who depend on farm saved seed,” said ETC Group Executive Director Pat Mooney speaking from Ottawa. “The Canadian government is doing the dirty work for the multinational gene giants and the US government. Even Monsanto wasn’t prepared to be this upfront and nasty.”
Public outrage greeted “suicide seeds” when they were introduced in 1988. Monsanto, the company which developed the technology, was forced to back down when activists and scientists around the world warned of possible wild crop sterilisation through contamination. Continue reading →
“Urban farmer. Heirloom. Food security. Methane digester. These are just a few of the terms you’ll find in the Lexicon of Sustainability, a series of portraits that speak the language of a growing movement.
The project began with Douglas Gayeton’s first book, Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town, which portrayed the principles of the Slow Food movement as expressed in rural Pistoia, Italy. While on his book tour in the United States, Douglas encountered people who longed to connect with those cultural traditions. “We’re a nation of immigrants,” he says. “And a lot of traditions that were tied to food haven’t carried on from one generation to the next.” Continue reading →
Urban gardening book co-author Willow Rosenthal. Photo via the Civil Eats blog.
“After Novella Carpenter’s critically acclaimed memoir Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer came out, she and friend Willow Rosenthal, the founder of West Oakland gardening nonprofit City Slicker Farms, started talking about compiling a manual on urban gardening. “We always got these random emails like, ‘My chickens aren’t laying anymore!’” says Carpenter. So she and Rosenthal joked that they should write a book so they could reply: “Buy the book!”
Three years later, they can. Their new book, The Essential Urban Farmer, is a 500-page nuts-and-bolts guide to farming in the city–complete with sample garden designs, detailed illustrations, and photos of rabbit genitalia. Rosenthal, who is also a Waldorf School teacher and runs a small CSA in Berkeley, wrote the first two sections of the book: “Designing Your Urban Farm” and “Raising City Vegetables and Fruits.” Carpenter wrote the section called “Raising City Animals.” With advice on how to fix a chicken’s prolapsed “vent,” and a detailed how-to on eviscerating a chicken, it’s not for the squeamish. But then, neither is raising livestock. Continue reading →
"Bernard is right; the pathogen is nothing; the terrain is everything."
-- Louis Pasteur's deathbed words
"One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that 'an unjust law is no law at all'." (Martin Luther King - Letter from Birmingham Prison, Alabama)