Tag Archives: public policy

America is becoming a land without farmers, says USDA anthropologist

From Evaggelos Vallianatos at Independent Science News:

Abandoned farmhouse, Washington. Photo: Homini

The plutocratic remaking of America has a parallel in the countryside. In rural America less than 3 percent of farmers make more than 63 percent of the money, including government subsidies.

The results of this emerging feudal economy are everywhere. Large areas of the United States are becoming impoverished farm towns with abandoned farmhouses and deserted land. More and more of the countryside has been devoted to massive factory farms and plantations. The consequences, though worse now than ever, have been there for all to see and feel, for decades. Continue reading

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NPR on raw milk: between personal experience and government science

Below we have an excerpt from a piece written recently by National Public Radio’s ombudsman, in response to listener feedback. Listeners wondered why reporters and commentators on a publicly funded radio network would express opinions that cast doubt the wisdom of government policy and seemed to ignore what they viewed as established consensus among the public health community. An interesting question indeed:

“When it comes to raw milk, even a simple story can turn sour on some listeners. There’s an ongoing controversy over raw milk’s safety. Proponents hail its taste and nutrients. Adversaries worry about deadly food-borne diseases. Government regulators are caught in between, accused of being too lax, too stiff or too in bed with Big Dairy. Continue reading

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Alan Chadwick’s heritage, America’s oldest organic farming program, could fall victim to government austerity

From jmark at Civil Eats:

Image via Civil Eats blog.

“The U.C. Santa Cruz Farm & Garden  Apprenticeship changed my life. In the winter of 2005, I was burning the candle at both ends and burning myself out. I was working too hard, moving too fast, and my doctor had warned me that I was at risk of chronic fatigue. Then, that spring, I found myself living on an organic farm perched above the waters of Monterey Bay. Before I moved to the farm, my to-do list as an environmental campaigner had been packed with conference calls, protest organizing, and press conferences. After arriving at the farm, my biggest priorities became keeping the onions free of weeds, thinning the young fruits on the apple trees, and waking up early to cook for 35 other aspiring farmers.

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Killing during times of food shortage

From Charles Onyango-Obbo, on The Citizen.co.tz:

Witch doctors. Click for source.

If I had the power of God, I would have made every African president and any other politician read the May/June issue of Foreign Policy (FP) magazine (it’s available at the good news stands in Nairobi). Baptised the “Food Issue”, it examines in extremely brilliant and insightful articles the question of food prices around the world; and how much longer it will be before most of us go hungry.

One measure of good writing is that it should be able to shed light on things other than the direct subject it is tackling.FP’s “Food Issue” does that, because it also helps us to understand why we tend to have too many witches and evil witchdoctors in places like Africa; and why most of them are old women, or grey-haired old men. In Kenya last year, there was an epidemic of killing grey-haired men in the coastal area, and in the western region in recent months, the murder of witches has risen sharply. Continue reading

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Ontario prison farm supporters losing hope after 15 arrested in Kingston

From a report dated Aug 9, 2010, from the CTV news website:

Click on image above to go to CTV.ca site to view video of protest

“Protesters aiming to save prison farms say they’re losing hope after about 15 people were arrested Monday morning during a demonstration at a federal lockup in Kingston, Ont. Continue reading

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