Backyard Farming

Opinion: Proponents of urban homesteaders' backyard slaughter rights engage in exaggeration, omissions, other techniques similar to those used by industrial agriculture

By James E. McWilliams

The Atlantic 2011-10-12

Opinion: Self-sufficiency is a lot of work and it requires organization and improvisation, but it's no big deal; you just do it - if you're hungry

By Susan Gregory Thomas

The New York Times 2011-10-09

PepsiCo to work with Ethiopian farmers to grow more chickpeas; increased crop will satisfy hummus market, with leftovers for Wawa Mum, an anti-famine product

By Stephanie Strom

The New York Times 2011-09-20

In Burkina Faso, Yacouba Sawadogo is pioneer of tree-based approach to farming that has transformed western Sahel over last 20 years, but first, timber rights were returned to farmers

By Mark Hertsgaard

Scientific American 2011-01-28

In Texas border town, Homeland Security Department fence slices through crop lands, citrus groves, pastures, even roads, trapping tens of thousands of acres in no man's land

By Richard Marosi

Los Angeles Times 2011-02-28

Opinion: It's time to reduce work hours and alter balance between time and cash, to trim dependence on formal market by "self-providing," including small-scale agriculture

By Juliet Schor

The Nation 2010-05-24

Coal-fired power plant operating in Texas for nearly 30 years mostly without SO2 filters thought to have laid waste to former pecan groves; situation repeated across nation

By Ramit Plushnick-Masti

The Associated Press; Star Tribune 2010-12-28

Farmers cry foul over new route for high-speed rail that would cleave through California's prime cropland and nut and fruit groves, splitting fields, disrupting irrigation systems

By Rich Connell

Los Angeles Times 2010-12-27

Without arsenal of synthetic pesticides, herbicides available, organic farmers learn ways of bats, mint and larvae to harness natural systems as part of integrated pest management

By Jim Robbins

The New York Times 2010-11-29

New York beekeeper confronts unpleasant truth: Robitussin red of honeybees' abdomens told tales of where they'd been gathering - at maraschino cherry factory in Red Hook

By Susan Dominus

The New York Times 2010-11-29

Hayman sweet potatoes, ugly, sugary, creamy-white sweet, are heirloom variety prized by Maryland's Eastern Shore residents for generations and one moving into mainstream

By Lorraine Eaton

The Washington Post 2010-11-19

British beekeepers' group ends controversial practice of taking cash for endorsing leading chemical manufacturers whose products killed bees

By Alison Benjamin

The Guardian (UK) 2010-11-16

Certification, soil-building pushes costs of organic produce past those of industrially grown foods, but toxic chemicals aren't used, so they don't pollute air, water, soil

By Marshall Brain

The Seattle Times 2010-09-01

Opinion: With US slaughterhouses poised to kill more than 10 billion animals in 2011, concern grows over health, environmental woes of handling the inedible 60 percent of each cow

By James E. McWilliams

The Atlantic 2010-08-11

Massive egg recall proves a boon for small producers in Iowa

By Deb Nicklay

Globe Gazette (IA) 2010-08-26

At chicken swap in Pennsylvania, fans trade eggs, buy exotic chicks, but most agree that hobby can leave dent in wallet

By Deirdre Van Dyk

Time magazine 2010-07-12

Recession drives urban agriculture; Will Allen, who farms at a former plant nursery in downtown Milwaukee, leads effort, building community with vegetables

Center for American Progress 2010-07-21

Opinion: Nation's 8 million acres of public rangeland should be regulated according to intensive grazing principles to turn grasslands verdant and to increase soil health

By Sara Rubin

The Atlantic 2010-06-22

Temperature-sensitive bacteria found on plants may be part of malleable ecosystem that seeds precipitation and could be affected by crop variety, overgrazing, logging or warming

By Jim Robbins

The New York Times 2010-05-25

Though cheap food is pillar of economy, it is increasingly contested by groups citing its costs to society, environment, public health, animal welfare and gastronomy

By Michael Pollan

The New York Review of Books 2010-06-10

John Ameroso, urban farming pioneer responsible for teaching New Yorkers how to grow and sell food in the city, hangs up his hoe

By Tracie McMillan

The New York Times 2010-05-19

Dow-funded study warns of dioxin in beef, vegetables raised in Michigan's Tittabawassee floodplain; elevated levels in people linger after 10 years

By Eartha Jane Melzer

The Michigan Messenger 0000-05-11

Opinion: Free-range livestock face predators, insect pests and more parasites than confined animals dosed with antibiotics

By James E. McWilliams

The Atlantic 2010-05-10

Organic fields of mostly wheat produce lower yields, raise biodiversity 12 percent, cause neighbors to use more weedkillers than those using synthetic fertilizers, study shows

By Chris Benfield

Yorkshire Post 2010-05-05

Third-generation Louisiana rice farmer switches to growing brown jasmine rice and takes on maverick status

By Christine Muhlke

The New York Times 0000-00-00

Los Angeles uses stimulus money for new worker training program in management, maintenance of gardens using drought-tolerant plants, rainwater

By Susan Carpenter

Los Angeles Times 2010-03-09

Special fund to aid Mexico's poorest, smallest-scale farmers now subsidizing families of notorious drug traffickers, agriculture minister, other officials

By Tracy Wilkinson

Los Angeles Times 2010-03-07

Crop Mob draws volunteers who descend on a farm for afternoon to mulch, build greenhouses, pull rocks from fields

By Christine Muhlke

The New York Times 2010-02-28

In Haiti, farm assistance program expands to aid refugees; stopgap crops planned for between seasons

By Ianthe Jeanne Dugan

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-02-22

Profit-minded urban gardeners challenging City Halls to rewrite garden ordinances; expert suggests towns create one-stop-shop

By Raquel Maria Dillon

The Associated Press; The Christian Science Monitor 2010-02-16

USDA's new rules say organic dairy cows must graze on pasture for full length of local grazing season

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2010-02-12

Blog: 19,000-cow dairy lobbies to change pending grazing requirements for organic milk certification

By Barry Estabrook

Politics of the Plate 2010-01-27

National crisis brews as soil fertility, water tables diminish and Indian farmers despair

By Akash Kapur

The New York Times 2010-01-28

As environmentalists call for end to eating beef, vegetable-farming power couple begins to raise grass-fed version

By Lisa Abend

Time magazine 2010-01-20

Investor thinks farming 40 square miles of Detroit could be its salvation

By David Whitford

CNN 2009-12-29

In Detroit, investors see a future of urban farming to supply local food demand

By P.J. Huffstutter

Los Angeles Times 2009-12-27

Feds urge farmers to spread coal waste on fields though it contains mercury, arsenic, lead

By Rick Callahan

The Associated Press; Deseret News 2009-12-21

Israel decries produce labels specifying origin of Israeli settlement or Palestine

By Valerie Elliott

The Times (UK) 2009-12-12

USDA eyes hoop houses as key to longer produce availability, nationwide

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2009-12-16

Self reliance, open space, farming lure urbanites to rural life

Ruralpolitans - city and town dwellers who move to the country to adopt more self-reliant lifestyle, look at land as new safe investment, one they hope could prove more stable than their jobs and 401(k)s. Interest in small-scale hobby farming has bloomed. But murky well water, voracious weeds, assorted vermin add their own pressures. And: Home buyers drawn to nearby organic farms; developers see success, try concept on inactive farmland, even on formerly industrial land (click 'See also').

By Gwendolyn Bounds

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2009-12-02

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Local food movement lures politically aware 20-somethings

Growing pool of young, educated, politically motivated workers drawn to farming as national interest grows in local food, small-scale farms that embrace humane and eco-friendly practices. Farmer likes hiring college students because over season they can see food through from seed to farmers' market. For one 20-something, farming experience has provided greater appreciation for food he cooks at restaurant job: 'I really try to make vegetables a feature of the dish. Not just something to put on the plate to fill up space.' And: Read a blog about working on a farm (click 'See also').

By Mara Lee

The Washington Post 2009-10-25

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Olive groves a casualty of farmer-settler tensions on West Bank

Olive groves a casualty of farmer-settler tensions on West Bank

As usual at harvest time, tension between Palestinian farmers, Jewish settlers has risen over who controls the land. Olive tree for Palestinians is symbol of struggle and vital part of rural economy, thus a target for vandals. Nearly 500,000 olive trees have been destroyed in territories since 2000; Israel's army has cleared swathes of groves to create open areas in Gaza Strip, often taking big bites out of Palestinian land, and cut down thousands of trees near Jewish settlements. Palestinians and human-rights groups have repeatedly criticized Israeli army for failing to stop destruction.

By Al-Mughayir

The Economist 2009-10-15

Crops die as relentless blue skies parch Texas

Crops die as relentless blue skies parch Texas


In drought-stricken Texas, the water is saved for drinking. Agricultural losses already estimated at $3.6 billion and rising - in normal year, farmers, ranchers bring in about $20 billion. One-fifth of state, area larger than Massachusetts, New Jersey and Connecticut combined (click 'See also'), is experiencing 'exceptional' drought conditions, the worst category. Possible up-side: Texans may begin paying more attention to water management.

The Economist 2009-08-13

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Nonprofit groups link local produce supply with local demand

New nonprofits that aggregate and deliver local produce are popping up across U.S., could be missing link between supply of and demand for products grown nearby. Farmers appreciate delivery consolidation, ease of building relationships with bigger buyers. Among customers are elementary schools, independent grocers, restaurants. In Charlottesville, VA, negotiations are under way to sell to University of Virginia dining services, run by Aramark.

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-08-26

Opinion: Comfort in farmer's habit of naming each cow

Growing up on a diverse, chaotic family farm offered decent, varied lives for us and animals. Insipid, efficient food assembly lines produce unhealthy cheap food, mishandle waste and overuse antibiotics in ways that harm us. And it has no soul. Reassurance is in farmer who runs family dairy of 225 Jersey cows so efficiently that it can still compete with factory dairies of 20,000 cows. He names all his cows; they are family friends as well as economic assets. 'When I lose a cow, it bothers me. I kick myself.'

By Nicholas D. Kristof

The New York Times 2009-08-23

As planet warms, two approaches to feeding growing population

How do we feed burgeoning population in face of climate change? Classical economists failed to forecast transformation from industrial revolution. Cheap fossil fuels unleashed greatest increase in food, personal wealth, and people ever, enabling population to increase sevenfold since days of T.R. Malthus, who noted that population increases geometrically, while agricultural production increases more slowly. Reprise of Norman Borlaug's green revolution - with synthetic fertilizers, biotech seeds, pesticides, irrigation, monoculture, is backed by big foundations, but its flaws are reliance on fossil fuels, legacy of tainted soil, depleted aquifers. Agroecology means halting sole focus on maximizing grain yields at any cost and considering environmental, social impacts of food production. Research on small-scale diverse farming methods shows ability to sequester carbon, hold moisture--two key advantages for farmers facing climate change.

By Joel K. Bourne Jr.

National Geographic Magazine 2009-06-01

Urbanites find room for bees on apartment rooftops

Beekeeping attracts 'worried wealthy,' environmentally aware urban dwellers in England; firm that created popular Eglu, a chic chicken coop, now promises 50 jars of homegrown honey a year from its plastic Beehaus. Bee kit includes suit, lessons, but bees are extra. And: Capturing a swarming hive adds excitement, yields 50 pounds of honey in first season for intrepid beekeeper (click 'See also').

By Caroline Davies

The Guardian (UK) 2009-08-05

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Damp-loving fungus found on Maine's bluebery bushes

Valdensinia leaf spot, a deadly fungus that spreads easily and quickly in damp weather, found on wild blueberry crop in Maine. With this year's excessive rain, blueberry crop was one of Maine agriculture's bright spots; a bumper crop had been expected. Single dead leaf on a tractor or the bottom of a shoe is enough to infect an entire field; best treatment is to burn fields.

By Sharon Kiley Mack

Bangor Daily News (ME) 2009-07-28

Tomato growers battle late blight after cold, wet June

Tomato growers battle late blight after cold, wet June

Cornell University

Cool, wet weather in June set stage for 'explosive' rate of late blight infection in tomato plants across Northeast, mid-Atlantic and could drive tomato prices up. Signs include white, powdery spores; large olive green or brown spots on leaves; and brown or open lesions on the stems. Hot, sunny weather could slow disease spread.

By Julia Moskin

The New York TImes 2009-07-17

At farmers' market, legendary fruits, memories return

At farmers' market, legendary fruits, memories return

Persian mulberry trees grow to about 15 feet and bear juicy, high-sugar fruits that turn purple-black when ripe.

Behind mystique of California's Circle C Ranch and its famed produce (now returned to Hollywood Farmers' Market) is family drama. Kim Blain, both beloved, feared at markets, wouldn't sell to customers who displeased her; orchard was her passion. She defiantly planted heirloom, home garden varieties - muscat grapes, duke cherries, greengage plums - that few other growers would try. And: In early 2000s, orchard's Persian mulberries sparked friendly competition between chefs Sherry Yard and Nancy Silverton (click 'See also').

By David Karp

Los Angeles Times 2009-06-24

See also 

In quest for food safety, 'scorched earth' policy could affect farms nationwide

Panicked push for food safety leads to 'foolhardy' attempt to sanitize farm fields in California despite evidence suggesting industrial agriculture may be bigger culprit - and plan may go nationwide. To appease large produce buyers, farmers are poisoning ponds, ripping out vegetation harboring pollinators and filtering storm runoff. Fences and poison baits line wildlife corridors; dying rodents are leading to deaths of owls, hawks that naturally control rodents. Surprisingly little is known about how e.coli is transmitted from cow to table. And: Industry-generated food safety system no substitute for federal regulation, says food safety expert (click 'See also').

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2009-07-13

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USDA organic certification erodes as market share grows

USDA organic certification erodes as market share grows


As processed, packaged food makers increase market share of organics - now a $23 billion annual business - USDA bows to lobbying pressure, relaxes stringent standards to allow non-organic ingredients, additives, processing agents. National Organic Program, by not issuing growing, treatment, production standards, has created haphazard system that leaves private certifiers to set organic standards. And: USDA seeking replacement for Barbara Robinson, program's acting director (click 'See also').

By Kimberly Kindy and Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-07-03

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Opinion: Hard-line organic advocates miss larger points

Flavor, seasonality, locality trump organic. Between pure organics and reckless use of chemicals is huge gray area where most farming is done. Ignore this and you ignore mission of supporting small farmers who grow wonderful food. In California, roughly 85 percent of farms are owned by individuals or families, 75 percent are smaller than 100 acres. Earthbound Farm, which grows organics, now cultivates more than 40,000 acres. And: Purity of USDA 'organic' label questioned (click 'See also').

By Russ Parsons

Los Angeles Times 2009-07-01

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Foreign aid will shift to teaching skills rather than direct food donations

In shift, U.S. will focus on providing expertise, training, roads, infrastructure to boost agricultural productivity abroad rather giving emergency aid, USDA chief says. Nation is largest donor of emergency food aid - mainly crops grown by American farmers - but spends 20 times as much on food aid to Africa as it spends on programs that could boost food production. In 1980s, U.S. annual spending on African farming projects was $400 million-plus; by 2006 it had dwindled to $60 million.

By Mark Weinraub

Reuters 2009-06-29

Local food movement boosts women's turn toward farming

Women, turning to farming, get boost from popularity of farmers markets, buy-local programs, interest of well-heeled, eco-conscious shoppers. 'It's a great feeling to be able to grow food and to be able to share it with people,' says one, who started with vegetable garden and cow named Dinner. 'Being outside, growing food - it's just a great way to live.' More than one in every 10 U.S. farms is run by a woman.

By Lori Aratani

The Washington Post 2009-06-28

Calls grow for groundwater regulation in California

California faces growing pressure to regulate groundwater. Critics say refusal could prove catastrophic to state's $36 billion agricultural economy as well as to real estate. Advisory agency recommends regulating groundwater pumping statewide. Issuing emergency drought declaration in February, governor asked local governments and water districts for data on groundwater supplies.

By Felicity Barringer

The New York TImes 2009-05-14

Urban homesteading with T. Boone Chickens, Fluffy Bottom

Urban homesteading with T. Boone Chickens, Fluffy Bottom

Kelley Newsome/Backyard Poultry

The Dominique hen is a steady, reliable layer - of brown eggs.

Raising backyard poultry is as chic as growing your own vegetables. It's part of back-to-the-land movement whose proponents want to save on grocery bills, take control of their food supply, reduce carbon footprint of industrial agriculture. Poultry is natural next step in sustainable back yard; chickens produce eggs, devour kitchen scraps, add manure to compost pile. But some town officials are...chicken. And: A poultry magazine (click 'See also').

By Adrian Higgins

The Washington Post 2009-05-14

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Agricultural chemicals exposure linked to Parkinson's disease

People who lived next to fields where fungicide maneb or herbicide paraquat had been sprayed were, on average, about 75 percent more likely to develop Parkinson's, California study shows. And: Maneb often goes on potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce and corn; paraquat is used on corn, soybeans, fruit (click 'See also'). Map of their use mirrors areas of U.S. where people are more likely to die of Parkinson's disease.

Chicago Tribune 2009-04-20

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Perils of pollinators fuel backyard beekeeping

Perils of pollinators fuel backyard beekeeping

Big Stock Photo

Media coverage of threats to bees - colony collapse disorder, mites, pesticides, climate change, overworked commercial colonies - fuel interest in urban beekeeping, educating neighbors. On commercial scale, honeybees pollinate a third of nation's food supply and are crucial to California's agriculture industry. And: If honeybees die out, blue orchard bees might pollinate almonds, peaches, plums, cherries, apples and others (click 'See also').

By Lori Kozlowski

Los Angeles Times 2009-03-31

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Calves lost to fatal bleeding ailment in Germany

'Terrifying' bleeding disease killing two-to-three-week-old calves in Germany's cattle barns. 100-plus cases documented throughout country, most in Bavaria; number of unreported deaths believed to be much higher. As specialists frantically rule out causes, speculation grows on Internet; group of 600 farmers makes pilgrimage to pray to Black Madonna of Altötting (click 'See also').

By Philip Bethge

Der Spiegel 2009-03-27

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Vegetables absorb livestock antibiotics through tainted manure

Corn, potatoes, lettuce absorb antibiotics in soil fertilized with manure from livestock treated to increase growth, prevent infections. Nearly 70 percent of antibiotics and related drugs used in U.S. routinely fed to cattle, pigs and poultry - nearly 25 million pounds of antibiotics per year, advocacy group reports. Beyond encouraging development of resistant bacteria (click 'See also'), tainted manure can infiltrate water supplies as it percolates through soil into aquifers or runs off into waterways. Manure composting cut concentrations of some antibiotics up to 99 percent.

By Matthew Cimitile

Scientific American 2009-01-06

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Opinion: ID chips for livestock would cripple local food movement

National Animal Identification System, with high-tech ID chips, would reward factory farms and their use of antibiotics, confinement and unnatural feeding practices by requiring one tag per herd of poultry or swine, while crippling small farms (which supply local food movement) by requiring one tag per animal. Other beneficiaries: Meat exporters, manufacturers of animal tracking systems. Better plan: Limit industrial agriculture, stimulate growth of small farms, backyard food production. And: Mad cow scare of 2003 sped development of NAIS (click 'See also').

By Shannon Hayes

The New York Times 2009-03-11

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French government peddles glories of farming in ad campaign

French government peddles glories of farming in ad campaign

Big Stock Photo

As exodus continues from rural France, new, playful ad campaign aims to update image of farming to attract 'young blood. Farmers seen as guardians of rural and gastronomical heritage in country where each region boasts its own wine, cheese, sausage. And: Decision to enter farming helped by relative attractiveness of farm versus nonfarm earning opportunities and by ease of entry into farming as a business, says USDA (click 'See also').

By Eleanor Beardsley

National Public Radio/Morning Edition 2009-03-02

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New USDA head backs school gardens, food policy councils - and all eaters

Tom Vilsack, new USDA head, says agency constituency extends past commercial farming to those who eat. He backs creation of school, urban community gardens, which link what children eat to knowing where it comes from; creating state food policy councils; and in nurturing market for organic and whole foods. First challenge: Improve Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, up for renewal.

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-02-05

Livestock producers cutting back in Maryland

As cost of meat sinks below costs of raising it and certified slaughterhouses remain scarce, livestock producers in southern Maryland turn attention to other sources of income: greenhouse-grown vegetables, grain, specialty animals, agri-tourism or jobs off the farm.

By Jenna Johnson

The Washington Post 2009-01-03

Growing movement toward clucks, oinks, bleats in city

As local food movement gains popularity, urban dwellers think beyond salad gardens to laying hens for eggs and meat, backyard goats for meat and lawn control, bees for pollination and honey, and fish in unused swimming pools for lean protein. Then, they question rules against farming.

By Diane Peters

National Post (Canada) 2008-10-24

Opinion: It's time to refine farming, globally

With price of bread linked to that of petroleum, metal and other goods, and a billion people in extreme poverty, we must refine farming. Much of the world's best farmland in Russia, Ukraine, Africa produces nothing; poor infrastructure dooms 40 percent of world's food to rot. We need to invest in farming, make it globally desirable, productive, with tangible benefits.

By Doug Saunders

The Globe and Mail (Canada) 2008-10-25

Digging fish ponds yields myriad benefits in Malawi

In Malawi, where one in five adults has HIV/AIDS, ecologist digs backyard fish ponds for farmers and benefits accrue. Childhood malnutrition in region drops from 45 to 15 percent; affected households double income; residents eat more fresh fish and more corn grows via irrigation. Success means expansion into Mozambique, Zambia, but demand for fingerling tilapia has pushed prices up.

By David Biello

Scientific American 2008-08-20

Urban farmer wins 'genius grant' for push to make fresh food affordable

Urban farmer wins 'genius grant' for push to make fresh food affordable

MacArthur Foundation/youtube

Will Allen uses aquaculture and vermiculture, and heats greenhouses with composting.

Urban farmer in Milwaukee wins $500,000 MacArthur 'genius grant' (click 'See also) for developing farming methods and educational programs designed to provide healthy food to everyone. His nonprofit, Growing Power (, just expanded its program of selling bags of fruit and vegetables for $14 -- a week's worth for a family of four.

By Lee Bergquist

Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI) 2008-09-22

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Farmers' markets rise on ambience, food safety worries

Farmers' markets rise on ambience, food safety worries

Karla Cook/thefoodtimes

Perceived health benefits, ambience and food safety concerns turn shoppers from supermarkets to farmers' markets. 'Salmonella scares are good for business,' says Massachusetts vegetable farmer. Governor lauds markets for raising awareness of both agricultural diversity and need to preserve open space.

By Robert Knox

The Boston Globe 2008-08-28

From city girl to sustainable empire builder

From city girl to sustainable empire builder


Patti Moreno is Modern American Homemaker and Urban Homesteader (click 'See also') who's hardworking, media-savvy. Former city girl started kitchen garden to lose weight; will soon release DVD, garden goods line. Already host of PBS's Farmer's Almanac TV, she's now talking to Sundance Channel and Regis; also opens farm stand to neighbors.

By Carlene Hempel

The Boston Globe 2008-08-17

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From writer's garret to farm to book

From writer's garret to farm to book

Broadway Books

Twelve years ago, would-be writer finds that his tomato seedlings have outgrown his fourth-floor Brooklyn walkup so he returns to Pennsylvania roots to grow Black Krims, Cherokee Purples and Green Zebras, and chefs seek them out. His book tells the tale. And: Tim Stark figures he must be the only Princeton grad who sells tomatoes (click 'See also').

By Melissa Block

National Public Radio/All Things Considered 2008-08-08

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In Honduras, both biotech and hard-scrabble farming

Genetic engineering comes to Honduras corn fields, and country distributes seed, fertilizer to supplement pricey imported corn, rice. And: Transformation from farmer to agricultural entrepreneur in Honduras and other developing countries begins with seeds, fertilizer but requires decent roads, irrigation and help in using technology (click 'See also').

By Dan Charles

National Public Radio/Morning Edition 2008-08-07

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Opinion: Of respect for animals and childhood on farm

Opinion: Of respect for animals and childhood on farm

Proposition 2, which would ban factory farms in California from using small pens or cages, brings to mind childhood on Oregon farm. Of animals raised for food, two provided pause: Pigs, with their characters and obvious intelligence; and geese, many of which could overcome panic at slaughter time to step away from flock and comfort a doomed mate.

By Nicholas D. Kristof

The New York Times 2008-07-31

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Breeding out blight, fighting hunger with chestnuts

Breeding out blight, fighting hunger with chestnuts


The American chestnut tree once grew from Maine to Florida.

Hybrid disease-resistant chestnut touted as conservationist's dream: easily grown source of food, fuel and rot-resistant building material, says researcher. Chestnut flour predates wheat flour by a thousand years; it can be made into bread or pasta. Mario Batali, chef, says that pigs fed on chestnuts gives pork an intense, woodsy flavor. And: Breeding the blight out (click 'See also').

By Greta Cunningham

Minnesota Public Radio News 2008-06-07

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Growing project battles hunger

Growing project battles hunger

Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post

Volunteers plant potatoes that eventually will be harvested for food banks. Fresh produce gives needy people a sense of dignity, says worker.

Retired FEMA worker realizes vision in 40 acres of volunteer-grown watermelons, cantaloupes, green beans, beets, turnips, onions, corn, peas, cucumbers, potatoes, okra and lima beans - for charity. 'If we don't do something, then we're not going to close this poverty. Obesity. Diabetes. It's a gap we're not even trying to zero in on.' He says youthful volunteers 'almost through sensing it,' know the hungry kids in class.

By Jackie Spinner

The Washington Post 2008-04-13

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Gathering greens

Striving to create a metropolis that can feed itself, garden activists target the 5,000-plus private- and city-owned vacant sites in San Francisco as sites of temporary, volunteer-tended organic gardens. Landowners wouldn't be charged, produce would go to local food banks and maybe to farmers' markets. Skeptics wonder about water sources and hidden costs.

By Matthew Green

San Francisco Chronicle 2008-03-22

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Tree taking

Thieves, with a swipe of the chainsaw, remove source of maple syrup from Vermont farm, black walnut trees from Michigan park and butternuts from Ohio as timber prices rise with demand for American hardwood in Europe and China. But much timber theft, with victims older or poor, goes unreported or is grouped with general property theft and handled locally.

By Susan Saulny

The New York Times 2008-01-20

Sugar, sugar

Sugar, sugar

Some despair at erratic winter weather that has brought hail, thunderstorms and flooding to the Northeast, but maple sugar farmers are smiling. They know that the more varied the temperature, the sweeter the sap. They're cleaning their sugar houses and preparing to tap.

By Rinker Buck

The Hartford Courant 2008-01-12

Fowl play

Keeping chickens in the back yard is less work than a dog, says Colorado city dweller - and the bonus is the eggs. But, she cautions, check the municipal regulations before hatching the chicks, stay away from raucous roosters, and guard against coyotes, foxes, raccoons and bears.

By Cindy Sutter

Daily Camera (CO) 2007-12-21

Slow fans

Longtime farmer couple in Tennessee go organic, raise chickens, sell eggs, raise llamas, sell honey, garden year 'round, and now have started cooking classes to encourage converts to the Slow Food movement. They enlisted the help of local chefs, two of whom credit their grandmothers for igniting their passion for food.

By Melanie Tucker

The Daily Tiimes (TN) 2007-11-28

Chick hit

Chick hit

A laying hen (Karla Cook/thefoodtimes)

Urban chickens finding a niche between warehouses and vacant lots, but those who choose to raise up the chicks can please their neighbors with eggs, or annoy them with roosters, who tend to crow at sunup and other times.

By Jenny Gold

National Public Radio 2007-11-04

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Left out

Though many in sub-Saharan Africa depend on farming for their living, new study shows that World Bank has long neglected support for region and its most important client; poverty expert likens criticism to saying that Coca-Cola is bad at making soft drinks.

By Celia W. Dugger

The New York Times 2007-10-15

Endangered villages

As population ages, diminishes in rural Japanese communities, social services are cut for lack of use; with no way to get crops to market, isolated farmers let them rot in the fields, or abandon their farms and rice paddies, leaving soil to erode and slip into waterways.

By Masaki Takakura

Daily Yomiuri (Japan) 2007-10-06

Organic profit:

Pineapple farms paired with certified organic practices and local exporters are becoming the ticket out of poverty for rural Ugandans; country's export share of organic products, including passionfruit, dried mangoes, vanilla and sesame, now leads Africa.

By Evelyn Lirri

Daily Monitor (Uganda) 2007-05-28

Opinion: Coffee decline?

Uganda's robust coffee market, mostly the domain of family businesses, might be approaching bubble phase, considering damage from coffee wilt, advanced age of trees, and poorly managed soils.

By Tucungwirwe Rwamutega

Daily Monitor (Uganda) 2007-10-02

Corn conundrum

Praying to the god of corn has its price: nitrogen waste in the waterways, taxpayer money feeding the industry, low-nutrition meat from animals that eat it, but it provides a fertile field of medical research, and in Mexico, growing corn is the only way one farmer ensures his wife's tortillas have the authentic taste.

By Hugh Dellios

Chicago Tribune 2007-09-09

Teaching respect:

Norway's Bastoey Prison now operates with ecologically sound food production, solar panels, wood-fire heating instead of oil and strict recycling to teach its 115 inmates respect for environment and for others.

Backyard local:

Whether in miniscule back yards or near abandoned houses, urban farmers find every sunny spot and put it to use in effort to connect to their food; backyard chicken and egg trend in Salt Lake City is nothing short of coop d'etat.

By Chris Adamson

Salt Lake City Weekly 2007-08-23

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Hard harvest:

In northeastern Brazil, farmers use simple technologies and great persistence to harvest, pick, raise and slaughter, despite high temperatures, little rain and unfertile soil; they begin with a mud-patch, to hold rainwater to create oases of production.

By Isaura Daniel; translated by Mark Ament

Brazil-Arab News Agency