Opinion: House, Senate Ag panel leaders try to write new farm bill in private, with plans to take it to deficit committee to be enacted whole, without votes; farm bill sets food policy for 5 years

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2011-10-26

After heat devastates crop, ton of Runner peanuts that cost $450 a ton in 2010 now cost $1,150 a ton; price of peanut butter forecast to rise as well

By Tiffany Hsu

Los Angeles Times 2011-10-11

Monsanto's corn, genetically modified to resist biotech giant's glyphosate-based Roundup, falling victim to rootworms in northwestern Illinois fields

By Jack Kaskey

Bloomberg 2011-09-02

As low supply, high demand from China push corn prices up, Tyson Foods and Pilgrim's Pride, which together process 3.7 billion chickens yearly, add wheat to chicken feed

By Carolyn Cui

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-08-09

Algae growth suspected in wild boar deaths along French coast; some point to nitrate buildup from fertilizer used by region's farmers

By Kim Willsher

Los Angeles Times 2011-07-28

E. coli probe centers on 16 tons of Egyptian fenugreek seeds received by German importer in December 2009 and distributed to dozens of firms in at least 12 European countries

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2011-07-05

Opinion: As supplies of fruits, vegetables remain steady due to work of pollinators, we pay homage to resilience of honeybees and perseverance of their keepers

By Randal R. Rucker and Walter N. Thurman

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-06-22

Opinion: True cost of the 1 billion pounds of tomatoes Florida ships is told in detail and with insight and compassion by Barry Estabrook in his new book, "Tomatoland"

By Mark Bittman

The New York Times 2011-06-14

Food prices in China surge as torrential rain across south and east kills more than 100, triggers evacuation of half a million and leaves farmland devastated

Reuters 2011-06-19

Opinion: If you're keen to make the world's poorest people better off, it's smarter to invest in their farms and workplaces than to send them packing to cities

By Raj Patel

Foreign Policy 2011-05-04

USDA testing finds 34 unapproved pesticides on cilantro; researchers say growers may have confused guidelines for it and flat-leaf parsley, for which more pesticides are OK'd

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2011-05-31

Heavy rains, extreme temperatures, pollinator decline from pesticides imperils future of Ataulfo mangoes grown in Mexico, sold in U.S. as "champagne" variety

By Eric Niiler

Global Post 2011-05-26

Opinion: U.S. food production system depends upon widespread ignorance, but poor and working people most need new food system; they are sold unhealthiest foods and can least afford resulting medical problems

By Eric Schlosser

The Washington Post 2011-04-29

Opinion: For 2012 Farm Bill, eliminate corn subsidies and redirect $4 billion annually in federal funds to SNAP and other nutrition programs that target most vulnerable population

By Andrew Schiff Youli Lee

The Providence Journal 2011-03-28

Opinion: With bats saving U.S. farmers $22.9 billion a year in pesticides, it's crucial to fund research into cause, prevention of disease fatal to them - it will save a fortune later

The editors

The New York Times 2011-04-04

Letter to USDA head intensifies fight between those who see biotech as only way to feed rising population and those who fear that it produces food that is nutritionally lacking, environmentally dangerous

By P.J. Huffstutter

Los Angeles Times 2011-04-02

To growing cadre of eaters who care how their food is produced, agriculture wars under way are operatic, pitting technology against tradition in a struggle underscored by politics, profits

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2011-03-23

As food, oil prices rise and ethanol plants return to use, debate intensifies on whether corn ethanol is good for planet, taxpayers, global food supply - even car engines

By P.J. Huffstutter

Los Angeles Times 2011-03-02

Opinion: Government's unwillingness to label genetically modified foods and products that contain them is demeaning, undemocratic; without labeling, we have no say

By Mark Bittman

The New York Times 2011-02-17

Opinion: Food movement aligns consumers, producers, media, politicians and could create political, social and workplace transformation that environmentalists have failed to achieve

By Bryan Walsh

Time magazine 2011-02-15

Opinion: Agribusiness giants Monsanto and Syngenta restrict independent research on their genetically engineered corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, legally limiting research options

By Doug Gurian-Sherman

Los Angeles Times 2011-02-13

Food security portal identifies hot spots of need, civil unrest based on news, policy analysis, commodity prices, country profiles

International Food Policy Research Institute 2011-01-11

About $13 million in federal grants awarded to more than 2,400 farmers in 43 states to help pay for low-tech tunnels that add weeks, months to growing seasons

By Steve Karnowski

Los Angeles Times 2011-01-17

Public funding of campaigns, single food safety agency, breaking culture of corporate growth every quarter among nutrition professor Marion Nestle's wishes for food system

By Marion Nestle

The Atlantic 2011-01-18

In New Orleans, educational venture and commercial urban farm flourishes in wrecked neighborhood; students grow $2,500 of produce weekly which they sell at farmers' market, restaurants

By Charles Wilson

The New York Times 2011-01-15

Global ag employs more than 1 billion, accounts for $1 trillion of economy but also takes 70 percent of water withdrawals; small farmers key to maintaining food supplies, report says

Agence France Presse; Herald Sun (AU) 2011-01-13

Tunisian civic unrest may signal global food riots, economists say; woes began after fires in Russia, heavy rain in Canada, drought in Argentina, floods in Australia, low forecasts in U.S.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha

The Washington Post 2011-01-14

In future, UK subsidies will be more focused on 'public good' so farmers are paid for tending land, and true cost of producing food is reflected in price, says environment secretary

By Louise Gray

The Telegraph (UK) 2011-01-03

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

Lawmaker with a say in FDA budget says "we don't have the funding" for $1 billion over five years for food safety bill, but grocery lobby says what of $6 billion a year for corn ethanol subsidies?

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-12-22

Corn ethanol pits livestock industry against oil industry: "We've now ... inextricably linked the price of corn, to the price of crude oil, and I think we can't turn the clock back, that's the way it is," says economist

By Kathleen Masterson

National Public Radio/ Morning Edition 2010-12-22

FDA trying to persuade pharmaceutical firms to stop providing antibiotics to promote livestock growth; companies sold 29 million pounds of antibiotics in 2009 for use in food animals

By Philip Brasher

Des Moines Register 2010-12-19

Judge orders uprooting of hundreds of acres of genetically modified sugar-beet plants in Arizona, Oregon; Monsanto says it will appeal

By Scott Kilman and Bill Tomson

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-12-01

Incoming legislators' vow to cut spending brings farm subsidies into focus - they have brought money and jobs to districts, benefited some GOP lawmakers, families

By Mary Clare Jalonick

The Associated Press; 2010-11-14

Walmart says it wants to improve soil quality, conserve water and fossil fuels and sell more locally grown food; farmers wary of company's power to force changes without pay

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-11-07

Prices rise for grain-based food - from livestock to pasta - largely in chain reaction to growing demand for meat in China, India; drought, speculative trading also factors

By Julie Jargon and Ilan Brat

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-11-03

Despite problem of herbicide-resistant weeds in crop fields, there are no plans to restrict farmers' use of biotech crops linked to problem

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-10-09

Costs not calculated in consumer price of meat, other animal products include health, food safety, tax dollars to corn, soy farmers, environment, farm consolidation, animal welfare

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2010-09-23

Blackwater, through company owned by owner/founder, offered infiltration of activist groups to Monsanto; biotech firm paid Total Intelligence $127,000 in 2008, $105,000 in 2009, documents show

By Jeremy Scahill

The Nation. 2010-09-15

Mars, Hershey battle for credit on DNA sequencing of cocoa tree that could quintuple output; 70 percent of crop grown in West Africa, and supports several million small farmers

By Andrew Pollack

The New York Times 2010-09-15

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

Analysis: Evolution of potash, phosphate, nitrogen to hunted, strategic commodities illustrates growing links between globalization, demographics, agriculture, food security

By Javier Blas and Leslie Hook

Financial Times (London) (may require registration) 2010-08-27

Opinion: Brazil's agriculture system, underpinned by research, capital-intensive large farms, openness to trade, new techniques is worthy of study in face of slow-motion food crisis

The Economist 2010-08-26

Researcher, fielding three years of data from local farms that serve Chicago area, hopes to answer questions of whether foods grown locally or industrially are better for planet

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2010-09-01

In "Empires of Food," authors trace old civilizations that failed because they didn't account for soil erosion, overpopulation, weather changes, relying on technology, trade instead

By Riddhi Shah

Salon 2010-08-26

Big food companies spend millions of dollars lobbying lawmakers on pending legislation regarding child nutrition, water, pesticides, food safety, recycling, BPA, immigration

By Laurel Curran

Food Safety News 2010-08-11

In rebuttal to NYT opinion piece, experts say locavores care for community, biodiversity, local economy, fresh foods, flavor, joy of eating, well-treated workers, fewer wide-reaching food-borne illnesses, public policy, diet-related disease - and food mil

By Tom Philpott

Grist 2010-08-20

In Australia, Monsanto's patent applications for enhancement of meat, including pork with omega-3s, spur debate over ethics, legalities of claiming intellectual property over food

By Anna Salleh

Australian Broadcasting Corporation 2010-08-19

Opinion: Home cooking, storage account for 32 percent of all energy use in food system; energy budget spent on modern farming is one of wisest energy investments we can make

By Stephen Budiansky

The New York Times 2010-08-19

In aggressive bet that developing economies will drive up demand for global food supply, world's largest mining company makes bid for potash fertilizer producer

By Anupreeta Das, Scott Kilman and Liam Pleven

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-08-18

Judge revokes USDA's OK of GE sugar beets, citing inadequate assessment of consequences of transferring traits to other sugar beets, related Swiss chard, table beets

By Andrew Pollack

The New York Times 2010-08-13

Two types of transgenic canola found growing freely and have bred in North Dakota; scientists say discovery highlights lack of proper monitoring, control of GM crops

By Natasha Gilbert

Nature News 2010-08-06

Spread of superweeds, legacy of herbicide-resistant genetically modified seeds, shows need to regulate biotech, and to protect farming environment, House panel told

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-07-28

Group representing GM crop farmers in U.S. urges sanctions against EU for its moratorium on new biotech; many Europeans concerned over safety of technology

By Doug Palmer

Reuters 2010-07-27

Hospitals push to limit antibiotic use in livestock, pledge to improve quality, sustainability of food served; sector spends $9.6 billion on food and drink annually

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2010-07-18

Shortage of phosphate, necessary for plant growth, key component in DNA, looms but researcher sees abundance in compost, livestock and human manure, municipal waste

BusinessGreen/The Guardian (UK) 2010-07-14

Three variables will determine effects of climate change legislation on farm sector - production costs, biofuel sector, land use - says USDA study

USDA 2010-07-01

Despite reports of Roundup-resistant weeds with Monsanto's GM crops, U.S. farmers continue increase in acreage of biotech corn, soybeans

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-07-02

Agricultural research must broaden past production, integrate other disciplines, consider water, air pollution concerns, federal advisory group says

By David Mercer

The Associated Press; Deseret News 2010-06-29

FDA mulls OK of first GE animal that people would eat - salmon that can grow at twice the normal rate; labeling debate grows

By Andrew Pollack

The New York Times 2010-06-25

Terroir-true Alsatian winemakers, scientists square off over whether genetically modified grape vines could protect against vigor-sucking fanleaf virus

By Edward Cody

The Washington Post 2010-06-12

Opinion: Report's omission of potent methane, nitrous oxide emissions in organic agriculture provides opportunity to think beyond us vs. them

By James E. McWilliams

The New York Times 2010-06-02

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

Citing symbiotic relationship of technology and dairy cow manure, researchers see waste-to-fuel systems for data transfer networks within two years

By Ashlee Vance

The New York Times 2010-05-19

Researchers find link between ADHD, organophosphate pesticides used on commercially grown fruits, vegetables; researcher recommends buying organic

By Sarah Klein 2010-05-17

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

As gushing oil threatens Gulf Coast fishing and seafood industry, fishermen work furiously to harvest ahead of contamination

By Steven Gray

Time magazine 2010-05-02

Seed evangelist awarded "green Nobel," Goldman Environmental Prize for helping farmers reduce need for fertilizers, pesticides in Cuba

By Will Weissert

The Associated Press; San Francisco Chronicle 2010-04-19

Environmental concerns stop plans for 8,100-cow dairy farm in UK, but developers vow to return, and to "do whatever is best for the cows"

By Guy Montague-Jones News Media 2010-04-14

In ecological success story against grim history of over-fishing and pollution, Chesapeake Bay's iconic blue crabs make comeback

By David A. Fahrenthold

The Washington Post 2010-04-15

Michigan hospital begins growing vegetables to supply cafeteria, patient meals, farmers' market - and to support overall wellness, says CEO

By Dave Askins

The Ann Arbor Chronicle 2010-04-15

House passes bill on harmful algal blooms, which can be caused by runoff of agricultural fertilizers heavy in nitrogen, phosphorous

CQ Politics 2010-03-12

House passes bill on harmful algal blooms, which can be caused by runoff of agricultural fertilizers heavy in nitrogen, phosphorous

CQ Politics 2010-03-12

As Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution" shows, subject is political - from soda taxes to corn subsidies, it's about health care costs, environmentalism, education, agriculture, class, culture

By James Poniewozik

Time magazine 2010-04-05

It's unclear whether grass-fed beef - nutritionally superior to that from feedlots - means better human health, but its advocates cite humane practices, no antibiotics

By Tara Parker-Pope

The New York Times 2010-03-11

Costs of modern agriculture far greater, more insidious than price, logistics of eating vegetables from local farmers

By Felix Salmon

Foreign Policy 2010-02-26

Insurance company pairs with artisan-quality produce farm to provide fresh vegetables to policy holders

By Robert Higgs

The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 2009-05-11

Farm-state lawmakers upset that EPA, when calculating ethanol rule, didn't disregard land clearing abroad for croplands that compensate for using U.S. grains for fuel

By Ben German

The Hill 2010-02-03

In Pennsylvania, sustainable agriculture conference focuses on farming's future

By Candy Williams

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 2010-02-02

Farmers increasingly adapt satellite and precision technology for planting, irrigation and pesticide, fertilizer applications

By Clive Cookson

Financial Times (London) (may require registration) 2010-01-26

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

By Akash Kapur

The New York Times 2010-01-28

Lawmakers urge Vilsack to enact curbs on antibiotic use in livestock to reduce threat to human health

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-01-20

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

Ethiopia, where land ownership is illegal, leases swaths to big firms for commercial agriculture

By Xan Rice

The Guardian (UK) 2010-01-15

UK's new food strategy integrates policy across all agencies for first time since WWII - with a few omissions

By Felicity Lawrence

The Guardian (UK) 2010-01-05

Tomatoes, strawberries at risk as arctic air blasts Florida Panhandle

By Jeffrey Collins

The Associated Press; Chicago Tribune 2010-01-05

Opinion: Agricultural resilience crucial since food security, national security, climate change are all linked

By Neil D. Hamilton

The Des Moines Register 2009-12-27

Monsanto protecting dominance of genetically modified seeds, secret documents show

By Christopher Leonard

The Associated Press; Seattle PI 2009-12-14

Opinion: Global green action can start local, with food

The editors

The Independent (UK) 2009-11-29

'Propaganda planting' spurs UK town of Todmorden to grow green, local

By Joanna Moorhead

The Independent (UK) 2009-11-29

Protocol proposed for buying farmland in poor countries

New global protocol proposed to temper African farmland buying frenzy caused by growing population, scarce water supplies, climate change. South Korea bought huge areas of Madagascar recently while Chinese interests bought up large plots of Senegal to supply it with sesame. Accord could include ensuring pre-sale consent is given by local people as well as ensuring that smallholders do not lose out. First draft is expected to be released next spring. And: Analyst predicts civil unrest, with investing countries leaving trail of food scarcity for poor countries' local populations (click 'See also').

By Nick Mathiason

The Guardian (UK) 2009-11-02

See also 

Opinion: Nominee's pesticides position, experience don't match Obama's agriculture interest

Opinion: Nominee's pesticides position, experience don't match Obama's agriculture interest

Resume of Islam Siddiqui, nominated for chief agricultural negotiator, doesn't seem to square with administration's professed interest in more sustainable, less chemically dependent approaches to agriculture. His current job representing coalition of major pesticide players is to increase exports of agricultural chemicals; resume also includes Clinton-era draft of organic standards notoriously loose about allowing genetically engineered crops and use of sewage-sludge fertilizers to be labeled as 'organic.' And: Candidate worked previously for California Department of Food and Agriculture (click 'See also').

The editors

The New York Times 2009-11-04

See also 

Ban cow parts, chicken litter from cattle feed, coalition demands

Stop feeding poultry litter to cattle or face lawsuit and/or federal legislation effort, coalition of food and consumer groups tells FDA. Litter includes feces, spilled chicken feed, feathers, farm detritus. Chicken feed, feces contain tissue from cows, other mammals; feeding mammals to cows (which are herbivores) increases risk of mad cow, says expert. Chicken feed also can contain bacteria, antibiotics. McDonald's, nation's largest restaurant user of beef, also wants ban. And: For decades, farmers have used chicken litter as cheap fertilizer for other crops (click 'See also'). In court, Oklahoma says Tyson, Cargill, other poultry producers polluted million-acre watershed with runoff.

By Jerry Hirsch

Los Angeles Times 2009-10-31

See also 

Probing pig farms as overlooked risk to public health

Seeking answers to swine flu questions, experts study confined animal feeding operations. Many researchers think pig farming is serious, overlooked risk to public health. Indirect, indisputable proof, say virologists, is current H1N1 pandemic influenza, which likely began in a pig (H1N1 strain was identified in seven pigs at Minnesota State Fair in late summer). There is small but steady traffic of virus between America's 110 million pigs and the 120,000 people who care for them. Mathematical modeling suggests CAFOs can function as 'amplifiers' of pandemic strains.

By David Brown

The Washington Post 2009-10-25

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

See also 

Opinion: Feds must fill safety gaps in beef, other food production

Eating a hamburger should not be a death-defying experience. Too often it is (click 'See also'). Ground beef is major part of American diet. Government needs to quickly fill safety gaps in food production. Congress, USDA should make it illegal to discourage additional testing for pathogens, must give USDA more authority to recall foods or to shut down plants that keep sending out contaminated products. Administration should nominate strong undersecretary for food safety. That vacancy leaves a huge gap.

The editors

The New York Times 2009-10-10

See also 

Monsanto probed as part of inquiry into seed industry consolidation

Justice Department is investigating whether Monsanto violated antitrust rules in attempt to expand its market dominance of genetically engineered crops. In U.S., its patented genes are in majority of corn, soybeans. Probe is part of inquiry into consolidation in seed industry. And: From its origins as saccharin manufacturer, Monsanto has grown to global giant, dominating commodity seed stocks, buying seed companies and suing farmers it suspects of saving its seed from last year (click 'See also').

By Christopher Leonard

The Associated Press; ABC 2009-10-08

See also 

Some schools embrace buy-local movement but others left behind

Some schools embrace buy-local movement but others left behind


Click 'See also' for video of students pleading for better school food.

Buy-local trend, which has popularized farmers' markets, farm harvest subscriptions reaches some school lunch programs. Farm to school initiative started at a few schools in California, Florida, North Carolina in late 1990s; USDA says 2,000-plus such programs are active in about 40 states. Programs bring fresh produce into schools, gives local small-farm owners chance to break into new market, and lets students meet farmers who visit schools and explain their work. And: San Francisco students make video pleading for better school food (click 'See also').

By Jenna Johnson

The Washington Post 2009-09-24

See also 

Tipping point on farmed vs wild-caught fish seen for 2009

Sometime this year, half the fish, shellfish we eat will be farmed, not wild caught. Tipping point is reshaping oceans, livelihoods, diets. Environmental challenges include need to feed many small fish to bigger fish that consumers crave. Up to one-third of global catch goes to produce fish oil, fish meal that fish, poultry and pig-farming operations demand, which depletes stocks of forage fish - anchovies, sardines and menhaden, plus krill, food for penguins, whales (click 'See also') - a link expert says must be broken. Farmed fish might have eaten unused poultry trimmings, been vaccinated, consumed antibiotics or been selected for certain genetic traits.

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2009-09-20

See also 

Likely food-borne illness leaves uninsured woman with $29,000 bill

Case of e.coli, likely from cheeseburger at diner, leaves woman with $29,000 in medical bills. She fell ill two weeks shy of insurance coverage after getting new job that paid $33,000 salary. Hospital list prices, like those that victim was charged, don't match what private or government insurance pays. Only uninsured are billed those amounts.

By Jim Dwyer

The New York Times 2009-09-13

Investor: Rebuild food economy with 'Slow Money'

Investor launches Slow Money Alliance to bring tenets of Slow Food movement to finance. He want to create 'restorative economy' that rebuilds food, ecological infrastructure from seed companies to farms to markets, restaurants. Group explores investments that re-circulate within local economy, minimize environmental impact, stress diversity over monoculture, earn decent returns. And: Air, water, soil are new currencies, says Woody Tasch in his book on slow investing (click 'See also')

By Judith D. Schwartz

Time magazine 2009-09-11

See also 

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

See also 

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

Re-imagining Detroit's vacant lots as agrarian paradise

Detroit, with its 103,000 vacant lots, fertile soil, ample water, willing labor and desperation for decent food, can redefine urban economics. It can move away from factory-town model to economically diverse, self-sufficient, rural/urban community sustained by agriculture. All that's needed is political and community will. And: City may revise codes to allow for large-scale agriculture farms, commercial bee farms (click 'See also').

By Mark Dowie

Guernica 2009-08-01

See also 

Colleges, seeing need, add sustainability degrees, programs

While other students are in classrooms, about a dozen at Vermont's Green Mountain College are cutting hay, turning compost, gathering eggs as part of intensive course in sustainable agriculture. More than 80 schools now have hands-on and classroom-based farm programs, Rodale Institute says. And: Sustainability programs draw increasing numbers of students interested in green-collar jobs (click 'See also').

By Lisa Rathke

The Associated Press; USA Today 2009-07-09

See also 

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

Feds send different signals on GM alfalfa, sugar beets

Judge bans Monsanto's genetically modified Roundup Ready alfalfa until scientific assessment can show that new crop doesn't harm environment, but Obama administration has said it intends to continue Bush-era policies on GM sugar beets despite similar suit against them. Monsanto charges ahead on GM wheat, buying WestBred, a wheat genetics company. And: Sugar from genetically modified beets - like all other GM foods - isn't labeled; during approval process, EPA OK'd increase of glyphosate residues allowed on sugar beets by 5,000 percent. (click 'See also').

By Barry Estabrook of the Plate 2009-07-24

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

See also 

Whole Foods will test private label foods for genetic modifications

Whole Foods says it plans to test its private label products for genetically engineered organisms and begin labeling before end of year. Nonprofit Non-GMO Project is designed to test whether a product has met defined standards for presence of genetically engineered or modified organisms. FDA says as much as 75 percent of processed food in U.S. may contain components from GM crops. And: GMO sugar beet farmer uses solar power to aid in lifting 210-pound kegs of Monsanto's weedkiller, Roundup (click 'See also').

Pacific Business News (bizjournals) 2009-07-07

See also 

'Inert' ingredient in herbicide kills human cells, researchers say

Monsanto's weedkiller Roundup, commonly used on food crops, contains ingredient listed as inert but is potentially toxic, says French research group. The chemical, POEA, helps main ingredient, glyphosate, penetrate cells. In tests, PEOA killed human cells. Monsanto questions methods. Product, derived from animal fat, is allowed in certified organic products. And: EPA decision due in fall on petition of 250-plus environmental, health, labor organizations to change rules for identifying pesticides' inert ingredients (click 'See also').

By Crystal Gammon

Environmental Health News 2009-06-22

See also 

Review: Serving up a horror film for the dinner table

Review: Serving up a horror film for the dinner table

Food, Inc.

Needy family skips high-priced fruits, vegetables, choosing cheap fast food so dad can afford diabetes medicine.

"Food, Inc.," a mind-boggling, heart-rending, stomach-churning expose on food industry, makes case with methodical, relentless urgency of muckrakers trying to radicalize - or rouse - a dozing populace. And: Film shows we're living in a simulacrum, fed by machines run by larger machines with names like Monsanto, Perdue, Tyson that make everything (click 'See also'). We humans can win, but we should hurry, before Monsanto makes a time machine and sends back a Terminator to get rid of Eric Schlosser, Michael Pollan.

By Amy Biancolli

San Francisco Chronicle 2009-06-12

See also 

Tracking food-borne illnesses leads CDC to virus, chicken, poor sanitation

Leading cause of food-borne illnesses is a virus, mostly from restaurant workers who fail to wash hands, CDC finds. Salmonella bacteria was second. Among 17 individual food types, poultry was most common source of illness. Dairy products accounted for 3 percent of outbreaks, most from unpasteurized milk. And: In 2008, chicken sales increased 6.7 percent - three times overall growth rate for retail, food service meat (click 'See also').

By Gardiner Harris

The New York Times 2009-06-11

See also 

Under pressure, McDonald's to study alternative hen housing

Humane Society asks McDonald's shareholders to mandate phased-in use of eggs from cage-free hens, but fast-food giant tells them to reject resolution. Firm announces 2-year hen housing study - a delay, says Humane Society. Burger King, Hardee's, Quizno's, Carl's Jr., Denny's have agreed that up to 5 percent of egg purchases from U.S. suppliers will come from cage-free hens. And: Chain uses 3 billion eggs and 290 million chickens a year (click 'See also').

By Mike Hughlett

Chicago Tribune 2009-05-21

See also 

USDA head defends livestock industry practices

With flu epidemic focusing attention on pork production practices of crowded conditions, routine antibiotic use, USDA head defends industry against lawmaker's probing. Antibiotics are given to hogs to prevent disease and for weight gain. In recent study, nearly half the hogs and half the farmers tested were carrying antibiotic-resistant MRSA bacteria. And: Risks of industrial-scale animal production unacceptable, study says (click 'See also').

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2009-05-14

See also 

Food safety lapses worrisome, point to developing problems

Though most public health experts believe nation's food supply safer than in past, recalls, outbreaks worrisome; some incidents point to new problems. Safety advocates say woes show inadequacy of FDA, which regulates 80 percent of food supply. Interconnectedness of food system illustrated by peanut product recall from small Georgia plant that supplied several hundred customers - 3,913 products have been recalled.

By Andrew Martin and Gardiner Harris

The New York TImes 2009-05-11

Opinion: EPA must rescind OK of fungicide label touting

EPA must reverse its OK of supplemental label on soy, corn fungicide that suggests product improves 'plant health' in face of climate change stresses. Agency should demand proof of claims before approving any label, or programs to help farmers use fewer pesticides will be sabotaged. Label also will encourage massive applications of potent chemical on land where it isn't needed. And it opens floodgates for manufacturers of similar products.

By James E. McWilliams

Slate 2009-04-21

For scientists, hunt is on for Pig Zero and A(H1N1) flu origin

Swine flu virus, a blend of genes from Americas pigs, Eurasia pigs, doesn't yet show genetic proof that those pigs ever met. Shipping pigs between Canada, U.S., Mexico for fattening, slaughter is routine; legal movement of pigs across oceans is rare. Western hemisphere part of virus has carried an avian segment for at least 10 years, human segment since 1993. And: Virus gets new name - influenza A(H1N1) - after pork industry complains (click 'See also').

By Donald G. McNeil Jr.

The New York Times 2009-05-01

See also 

Swine flu is hybrid of two pig flu strains, researchers learn

Swine flu virus H1N1 is hybrid of two common pig flu strains - North American, described in 1930s, and Eurasian, described in 1979, new analysis shows. Earliest case was in La Gloria, Veracruz, near Granjas Carroll hog farm, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods. Researchers have warned that unsanitary conditions at industrial hog farms could prove a breeding ground for new flu forms. And: Internet chatter tracked 'four-alarm-fire' of infection in Mexico around Catholic holy week, a time of increased travel (click 'See also').

By Brandon Keim

Wired 2009-04-28

See also 

Opinion: White House garden as revolutionary emissions reduction agent

Michelle Obama's garden and her message of eating fresh-picked food is truly subversive: Change America's eating habits, improve health, cut emissions, change the world. Globally, agricultural sector releases more greenhouse gases (click 'See also') in growing, transporting, meat production than any activity except for constructing, heating, cooling buildings. Food sector should be priority in talks before Copenhagen meeting, where next round of emissions cuts will be decided.

By Mark Hertsgaard

The Nation. 2009-04-20

See also 

Opinion: Third try on Everglades, U.S. Sugar deal much improved

Revamped Florida-U.S. Sugar plan is reasonable compromise and good start on building reservoirs to protect from flood, drought and to clean up agricultural runoff that threatens wildlife, Everglades. Company gets partnership with state, subsidies. And: Current plan would buy 72,500 acres for $530 million, with option to buy the rest by 2019 (click 'See also').

The editors

The Miami Herald 2009-04-12

See also 

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

See also 

Analysis: Global appetites spur agriculture growth

Agriculture grows as more people achieve better nourishment through more grain, a lot more meat, much more milk. Meat and grain prices up 30 percent to 50 percent above averages a decade ago; demand for olive oil (replacing pork fat), continues to grow in China, elsewhere. Monsanto, other agribusinesses, posting strong gains; investment firms buy farmland in far-flung countries, including Morocco, Algeria, Pakistan, Syria, Vietnam, Thailand, Sudan and India.

The Economist 2009-03-19

Opinion: Switch from fish to land-based feed for pigs, poultry, pets

To maintain foundation of ocean's life, stop feeding small 'forage' fish to animals (click 'See also'), and farmed salmon, limit land-based livestock to land-grown feed, globally. Pork industry consumes 24 percent of fish meal and oil; poultry takes as much as 22 percent; pets, because chicken in pet food were fed fish, uses 10 percent of global supply. Swine, poultry industries will it costs too much. But once we used whales for fertilizer.

By Paul Greenberg

The New York Times 2009-03-22

See also 

Activists seek food/agriculture policy reform - beyond Obama garden

As Americans flock to farmers' markets and buy local at Wal-Mart, sustainable-food activists, who see cheap, processed, subsidized food as profiting agribusiness, causing (and deferring costs of) diet-related disease, ruined environment, seek fundamental change. Chef/gardener Alice Waters urges tripling of budget for school lunches (with costs shared by Department of Education - click 'See also'); author Michael Pollan wants diversified, regional food networks. But he worries about movement's lack of infrastructure.

By Andrew Martin

The New York Times 2009-03-21

See also 

Drought-defaced produce still tasty, ad campaign declares

Buy blemished fruit and vegetables, grower alliances say in response to Australians who want to help farmers affected by recent fires, floods, drought. Harsh weather, water, heat beget cosmetically-damaged produce that is otherwise tasty, nutritious. Met with government support, campaign is intended to alleviate shortages, price increases.

By David McKenzie

The Weekly Times (Melbourne, Australia) 2009-02-11

Opinion: One cost of cheap bacon may be fiery saucer-sized lesions in people

Doctor in tiny town sees link to hog farms and fiery, saucer-sized lesions of MRSA (superbugs, or flesh-eating bacteria) in too many patients. Infections likely came from routine overuse of antibiotics in feed. Our model of agriculture produces cheap bacon but evidence is building that shows it risks our health. And: Factory-farm pigs are infused with huge range of antibiotics and vaccines and doused with insecticides so they can survive in confined spaces; they are in state of dying until they're slaughtered (click 'See also').

By Nicholas D. Kristof

The New York Times 2009-03-12

See also 

Opinion: Obama's fast start offers hope to sustainability advocates

Early words, actions of Obama administration offer hope of reforms in agriculture, food policy that lead to environmental sustainability, healthy diets. Among pending questions: commodities payments versus agri-environment programs, placement of ethanol in alternative energy, agriculture and WTO Doha talks.

By Thomas Dobbs

The Dakota Day 2009-03-06

Weather hurt California grape harvest

Drought, wind, frost in California contributed to lower grape crush yield last year; down 6 percent statewide, more for some areas, varieties, according to state report. Light harvest offsets decreased sales due to recession, but wine is relatively recession-proof and shortage, higher prices loom. Bottom line: "We need more rain" in 2009, says broker.

By Dale Rim

Santa Barbara News-Press; The San Luis Obispo Tribune 2009-02-11

'Farm bloc' breached by urban senator for rich, food-savvy voters

'Farm bloc' breached by urban senator for rich, food-savvy voters

Kirsten Gillibrand signs onto Agricultural Committee, historically fortress for rural-state farmers, farm economy. Junior senator from New York represents one of world's largest, most food-savvy and economically influential urban markets. They say soybeans, she says farmers' markets, 'buy local' and farmland preservation.

By Sam Hurst

Gourmet/Politics of the Plate 2009-02-25

Higher produce prices forecast as drought idles farmland

Drought, now in third year, dries irrigation system and is likely to idle at least 60,000 workers and up to 1 million acres, lower remaining yields in heartland of California. Central Valley grows more than half of nation's fruit, vegetables and nuts. Zero water allocation was last set in 1992, but later that year was eased to 25 percent of regular amount.

By Steve Gorman

Reuters 2009-02-20

UN advice on averting 'environmental food crisis'

Inefficiency wastes half the food produced globally; one-third of grains fed to animals, which worsens poverty, environmental degradation, UN says. Double yields from organic farming a bright spot. Top tips: Regulate food prices, feed poor; back biofuels that don't compete with food, water; feed animals food waste and grains to humans; support small-scale farmers, resilient ecoagriculture; reduce wars, corruption and improve trade, infrastructure; limit global warming; publicize links between population, ecosystem.

Environment News Service 2009-02-17

On a pig farm, it's dung to dollars with biogas

In gleeful straw-to-gold move, Nebraska farmer funnels methane emissions from pig manure to generator, and power company writes him checks. But biogas energy has high start-up costs, and needs federal incentives. Other emissions-lowering practices: improving grassland diversity, spreading fertilizer more precisely and tweaking animal food. And: EPA's methane capture program for farms (click 'See also').

By Scott Canon

The Kansas City Star 2009-02-07

See also 

In wheat fields, risk of 'pending disaster' in global agriculture

Devastating wheat epidemic, Ug99, begins to take hold, exposing fragility of food supply in poor countries. Eighty percent of Asian and African wheat varieties now susceptible, along with barley. Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, major wheat producers, most threatened. And: Monsanto, Syngenta say their genetically modified wheat resists fungus, want ban on GM wheat lifted (click 'See also').

By Sharon Schmickle

The Washington Post 2009-02-18

See also 

Chronic wasting disease found in elk; some meat recalled

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) case quarantines elk herd in Minnesota; last case was found in 2006. Finding disturbs wildlife officials, who fear spread to wild deer. And: Seventeen pounds elk meat recalled over CWD concern; animal-to-human transmission of such diseases, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow), has raised theoretical concern (click 'See also'). Consumers directed to consult EPA on disposal.

By Doug Smith

Star-Tribune (MN) (may require registration) 2009-01-27

See also 

Obama vows stricter food safety oversight

In wake of salmonella outbreak linked to eight deaths, 500 illnesses, White House vows stricter oversight of food safety. New FDA head, more officials due in days; 'stricter regulatory structure' will prevent breakdowns in food-safety inspections, says Obama spokesman. Recent revelations about poor oversight - in federal regulatory system and peanut company - alarming, he says.

By Ben Fuller

The Associated Press; Los Angeles Times 2009-01-30

Probe widens over use of synthetics in organic fertilizers

Concern over use of synthetic chemicals in organic fertilizer grows as federal agents search site of Port Organic Products, a major producer. Earthbound Farm, others tighten scrutiny after report of California probe that caught another maker spiking its product (click 'See also'). State suspected Port Organic of using synthetic nitrogen back in October 2007. Nearly 60 percent of nation's harvest of organic produce comes from California.

By Jim Downing

The Sacramento Bee 2009-01-24

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State finds spiked organic fertilizer, then keeps it secret

After California officials catch organic fertilizer maker spiking its fish-chicken feather brew with synthetic - therefore banned - fertilizer in June 2004, they waited until January 2007 to require that company remove product from market, then kept findings secret for nearly a year and a half longer, records show. Some of state's largest organic farms - Earthbound, Driscoll's - were among customers. And: USDA probes delay; disciplinary action possible (click 'See also').

By Jim Downing

The Sacramento Bee 2008-12-28

See also 

Opinion: Use science, not ideology to map food, farm policy

Our consumer economy runs on cheap food. Though USDA should support research on sustainable and organic agriculture, embracing science is crucial to long-term food and farm policy that keeps food safe, inexpensive without wrecking environment, say former Sen. George McGovern and Marshall Matz, of World Food Program.

By George McGovern and Marshall Matz

Chicago Tribune 2009-01-04

Flow of water to California cities, farmers cut to protect fish

Water flow to California cities, San Joaquin farmers further reduced to protect endangered delta smelt, avert ecological collapse of water crossroads. Contamination, invasive species, power plant operations, climate all damaging Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, says water director. Agriculture interests want new reservoirs, homeowners urged to conserve.

By Bettina Boxall

Los Angeles Times 2008-12-15

Analysis: Obama's USDA pick hails from top corn, hog, ethanol state

Analysis: Obama's USDA pick hails from top corn, hog, ethanol state


If Tom Vilsack confirmed as USDA secretary, Iowa (No. 1 in corn, hogs, ethanol) will have one of its own heading agency that dispenses federal crop subsidies, controls nearly two million acres of Iowa land, regulates state's many slaughterhouses. He's sympathetic to agribusiness giants, supports biofuels, agricultural biotechnology. And: Former governor will oversee $95 billion budget, with bulk going to nutrition - food stamps, school lunches (click 'See also').

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2008-12-16

See also 

University links public health, agriculture on new site

New website offers access to information about public health, agriculture, and connects the two fields. Johns Hopkins University site, a project of its Center for a Livable Future (click 'See also') links communities, organizations, individuals. Site allows search of databases, vetted collection of reports, journal articles.

By Karla Cook

The Food Times 2008-12-14

See also 

Opinion: Reframe, reform USDA with secretary of food

Obama needs secretary of food, not USDA - to address health care, climate change, energy independence. 'Department of Food' would give primacy to America's 300 million eaters, cut influence of industrial farm lobby, which inflicts unhealthy food on children through school lunches and exacerbates crisis of obesity, diabetes. And: Petition lists terrific reformist candidates (click 'See also').

By Nicholas D. Kristof

The New York Times 2008-12-11

See also 

Palm oil feeds population surge at environment's expense

Palm oil production surges with population; one in 10 processed food items contains it and it's a source of biodiesel. Plantations planned in Brazil; S. Korea owns rights to half the available farmland of Madagascar, much of it rainforest, and plans corn, palm plantations. Slash-and-burn expansion of Cargill crop spews carbon, replaces tribal homelands, displaces orangutans, destroys rainforests - and raises farmers' living standards. And: 'Our Hungry Planet' series (click 'See also).

By Matt McKinney

Star-Tribune (MN) (may require registration) 2008-11-30

See also 

Investor creates new funding model that values air, water, soil

Investor creates new funding model that values air, water, soil

Chelsea Green

Personal connection to food must be added to calculus of investing, since air, water, soil are new currencies, says investor. Approach, he says in new book, could change current societal systems that accelerate climate change or mortgage-related debt crisis and also could link back to Main Street from Wall Street.

By Carleen Hawn

Ode magazine 2008-11-01

Opinion: Fuel crops with sunshine, not oil, to solve nation's big problems

To progress on health care crisis, energy independence and climate change, new president must wean food system from fossil fuel and return it to diet of sunshine. Next, new policy must strive for healthful diet for all; improve reliance, safety and security of food supply; promote regional food economies; and reframe agriculture as part of solution to environmental problems.

By Michael Pollan

The New York Times 2008-10-12

Rains latest challenge for Florida's citrus industry

Rains latest challenge for Florida's citrus industry

Florida DOACS

Asian citrus psyllid.

Steady, heavy rains increase woes of Florida's $9 billion citrus industry; juice prices go up at the supermarket. Soggy trees vulnerable to spread of citrus canker, which causes premature fruit drop. Another threat is invasive sap-sucking insect, already detected in all 32 citrus-producing counties in Florida, plus Louisiana and Texas.

By Hector Florin

Time magazine 2008-08-28

Senate committee urges restoration of pesticide, fertilizer usage survey

After protests from industry, environmental groups, Senate committee urges that USDA restore funding for surveying pesticide, fertilizer application on U.S. farms. But official says that without additional funding, $8 million program won't return. Higher standard would be implementing California's exacting reporting requirements nationally, says researcher.

By Erika Engelhaupt

American Chemical Society 2008-07-30

Sterile farm fields?

California farmers use poisons, traps, fences to keep frogs, tadpoles, squirrels and other wildlife out of fields, as directed by fresh-produce processors and food retailers. Wildlife ban is reaction to e.coli spinach contamination from 2006, but not all measures are justified by science. Critics say measures are draconian and are bad for human health and bad for wildlife.

By Jane Zhang

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2008-05-02

See also 

Salmon troubles

As salmon die by the millions off the coast of Chile, workers are laid off. Critics blame contaminated water, crowded pens and excessive use of drugs, some of which are prohibited in U.S. Largest producer of farm-raised salmon says as long as all were making lots of money and it went well, there was no reason to tighten standards. In 2006, FDA inspected 1.93 percent of all seafood imported.

By Alexei Barrionuevo

The New York Times 2008-03-27

See also 

Opinion: Defending agricultural biotechnology

Contrary to anti-biotech group's position, environmental impact from cross-pollination on seed and forage fields of Roundup Ready alfalfa is no different from that which exists conventionally. Anti-biotech movement goes past money lost to feeding and caring for people, and to the unavailability of biotech Golden Rice, with its high Vitamin A content that could prevent blindness in children.

By Harry Cline

Western Farm Press 2008-03-17

See also 

Pollinators threatened

Mysterious, mass die-off of hibernating bats in New York and Vermont is matter of extraordinary concern to scientists. Bats are major crop pollinators and pest control service - they eat crop pests, midges and mosquitoes. Crop yields could fall. Spelunkers say they're willing to stop caving in case humans are spreading the disease, which sometimes is marked by white, flaky fungus around nose.

By Beth Daley

The Boston Globe 2008-02-07

See also 

Smog ceiling

More than 10 years after vowing to force farmers to help clean the air, California cracks down on poisonous fumigants, which may idle thousands of acres in Ventura County. In those years, both acreage and pesticide use have grown. One quarter of the nation's strawberries, worth about $366 million, are grown there; in 2004, fumigants there created 4.8 tons of emissions a day.

By Marla Cone and Gregory W. Griggs

Los Angeles Times 2008-01-25

Fish story

Fish story

Adult pink salmon (Alaska Department of Fish & Game)

In challenge to common fish farming practice, Canadian researchers link parasites that breed in underwater cages to deaths of countless wild pink salmon and possible extinction of fish populations in some rivers and streams in eight years. But government agency wants further study and cites climate change, fishing practices and logging.

By Cornelia Dean

The New York Times 2007-12-13

See also 

Future agriculture

In our warming climate, some regions, including Canada, will produce more food, and others, at the mercy of droughts and floods (India and Africa), will produce less. Those areas will become dependent on major food exporters, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, Brazil and Argentina.

by Dan Charles

National Public Radio 2007-10-29

Opinion: Treating symptoms

Slashing commodities subsidies addresses only a symptom, not the problem of the farm/food bill. Real reform in federal farm policy will come from changing the message to farmers, which, since the early '70s has increasingly been: Produce as much as you can."

By Tom Philpott

Grist 2007-11-08

Growing damage

Ozone from burning of fossil fuels stands to damage crops, possibly reducing food production by 10 percent this century, MIT study shows. The study looked at temperature, carbon dioxide, and ozone, all of which are rising, and found that the net effect is especially harmful to heavily fertilized plants.

By Nancy Stauffer

MIT Energy Initiative 2007-10-26

Review: Bee documentary

PBS "Nature" report examines perils facing world's most popular pollinator, including mysterious colony collapse disorder, pesticide toxicity, and stresses connected to performing as traveling pollinators for fruit and vegetable growers.

By Susan Stewart

The New York Times 2007-10-27

Defenses down

Erythrina gall wasp, an accidental import from Africa, devastates groves of wiliwili trees used as wind shields for crops in Hawaii; desperate officials consider importing a Tanzanian wasp they hope might prey on it, but after mongoose import eschewed pesky rats for native birds, others are wary.

By Tomas Alex Tizon

Los Angeles Times 2007-10-15

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

Organic parameters:

After farm advocacy group files two complaints against Aurora Dairy and USDA threatens to revoke its organic certification, company agrees to remove organic label from some milk and to add pasture for cows.

By Andrew Martin

The New York Times (may require subscription) 2007-08-30

What's organic?

Keeping the organic label pure may be tough to do as Wal-Mart and other behemoths are ramping up; already the industry is split between true ideals (localism and sustainability, in addition to no pesticides) and those willing to sacrifice for growth.

By Jake Whitney

San Francisco Chronicle 2007-01-28

Money and power:

The farm/food bill, now in Senate, covers land conservation, food stamps, school snacks and foreign aid, but it's really about politics and money; House agriculture chair declares that advocates for change were pushing too hard, but Bush likely would veto its version.

By Stephen J. Hedges

Chicago Tribune 2007-08-13

Universal needs:

Running an organic garden is easy with a large staff, but techniques, detailed in "The Elements of Organic Gardening," by Prince Charles, are simple - good soil, black plastic, and keeping the chickens out.

By Charles Elliott

The New York Times (may require subscription) 0000-00-00

See also 

Fighting hunger:

Seattle's Lettuce Link, which teaches gardening, nutrition and cooking to low-income population, helps fill coffers of food pantries and hot meal food banks whose regular donors are on summer vacation.

By Ann Lovejoy

Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) 2007-08-17

See also 

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

See also 

Modified sugar:

Genetically modified sugar beet seed designed to resist Monsanto herbicide is gaining popularity among growers and processors, including American Crystal Sugar Co.; Wyoming Sugar Co., and Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative; farmers must pay $60 premium per acre, and GMO sugar won't carry special label.

Associated Press; CNN 2007-08-22


Oklahoma wheat seed crop damaged by untimely rains, which likely will force farmers to pay premium for next season's planting, but even distant sources are running low on supply and quality because of increased demand.

By Veronica Scoggin

The Enid News (OK) 2007-08-20

Sticky situation:

Sticky situation:

Bane and benefit both, blackberries cover the Oregon landscape with a thorny thicket but are high in antioxidants, show promise in tumor reduction, are a high cash crop, a primary food source for honeybees and other pollinators - and they're tasty as well.

By Joe Mosley

The Register-Guard (OR) 2007-08-11


Three books, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life," "Plenty: One Man, One Woman and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally," and "Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future," explore the omnivore's dilemma, but only Bill McKibben, in "Deep Economy," looks at global problem.

By Laird Harrison

The News & Observer (NC) 2007-08-19

Parched fields:

After scramble to plant more acreage in corn and cash in on ethanol craze, deepening drought and scorching temperatures shrivel farmers' dreams of record corn harvest in South and Southeastern states.

By Jim Nesbitt

The Sun-News (SC); McClatchy Newspapers 0000-00-00

Orphan organics?

Though customers spend more than $14 billion a year on organics and depend on USDA label even for imports, USDA infrastructure, with nine staffers and a $1.5 million budget, languishes; other departments spend about $28 million a year on organic research, data collection and farmer assistance, but the department spent $37 million subsidizing farmers who grew dry peas, an $83 million crop, in 2005.

By Andrew Martin

The New York Times (may require subscription) 0000-00-00

Review: No time

Judging from plastic bottles clogging the landfills and SUVs clogging the highways, the news that we're killing ourselves and our world hasn't kicked in, so that makes "The 11th Hour," an unnerving, surprisingly affecting documentary, essential viewing.

By Manohla Dargis

The New York Times 2007-08-17

Growing lessons:

Vermont school, working with local farmers and agricultural experts, plants garden designed to feed its 200 students homegrown vegetables at lunchtime, teaching a way of life, not only nutrition or fitness.

By Nicole Orne

Brattleboro Reformer (VT)

Organics shortage:

Despite higher profits and rising demand for organic corn and soybeans, few farmers switching over, forcing food companies to import organic soybeans from China and pay nearly double what they paid for organic corn last fall.

By Paula Lavigne

Des Moines Register 2007-08-12

Backyard bonanza

Taking cue from Cuba, Vancouver gardener and agricultural scientist sows seeds of what he hopes will be an urban gardening movement that provides a locally grown alternative to modern and usually distant agribusiness.

By Nicholas Read

Vancouver Sun 2007-08-13

Fish in decline:

Overfishing, poaching and pollution have depleted worldwide fish stocks to 10 percent of normal; for every pound of shrimp harvested, 10 pounds are discarded, along with turtles and dolphins, conservationists report.

By Eviana Hartman

Washington Post

See also 

Future farms:

For Toronto, Tokyo and other urban sites, Columbia University professor conceives of vertical farming in tall buildings, with each floor hosting hydroponically grown crops, including grains, as well as small livestock such as pigs.

By Eviana Hartman

Washington Post

See also 

Disappearing aquifer

To irrigate crops, farmers have pumped billions of gallons annually from the Ogallala Aquifer, a lake under parts of Great Plains states, but now, water table has dropped steeply, forcing new "dryland" methods of farming for conservation.

By Debbie Elliott

National Public Radio


"The Zen of Fish," and "The Sushi Economy," offer lessons in how global economy works, dangers of over-fishing and how it thrives on demand, and why trout might not be the best choice for eating raw (think tapeworms).

By Stuart Biggs 2007-08-08

Blame it on corn?

Ethanol craze blamed for high prices across the supermarket, but other factors include surge in global food demand, high oil prices, uncooperative weather, and the slide of the dollar against other world currencies.

By Barrett Sheridan

Newsweek magazine

Locavore's dilemma:

Local food advocates trumpet food miles, but the Life Cycle Assessment, with comprehensive accounting of all resources that go into food network, from fertilizer to electricity, offers clearer picture; meanwhile, air shipping is the most fuel-intensive, and the fastest growing sector of food transport.

By Drake Bennett

The Boston Globe

Wheat increase:

With ethanol craze and escalating corn prices taking all the attention, worldwide drought has gone almost unnoticed, but it is driving wheat prices up; breadmakers are paying more for flour and weak dollar makes U.S. wheat attractive.

By Jeff Cox


New interactive map allows users to tract proliferation of factory farms by state and county - even number of animals - and it raises questions of whether we pursue the logic of industrialism to its limits, and how badly will it harm the landscape, the people who live in it and democracy itself?

The editors

The New York Times (may require subscription)

See also 

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

Saving water

Coca-Cola, Nestle, and L├Ąckeby Water Group join other food, drink producers in UN agreement to use water more efficiently; lack of access to clean water and sanitation undermines humanitarian, social, environmental, and economic goals.

By Ahmed ElAmin


Current agricultural policies distort food costs, waste billions of taxpayer dollars, and subsidize a handful of large farming operations that raise a few selected crops - and subvert subsistence farmers across the globe by dumping cheap surplus goods at below-market prices.

By Senator Richard Lugar and Representative Ron Kind

The Modesto Bee (CA) 2007-07-15


On the 25th anniversary of its release, Victor Schonfeld recalls the events that led to his creation of "The Animals Film," a British documentary using evocative, exploratory cinematography techniques to illuminate factory farming.

By Victor Schonfeld

The Guardian (UK) 2007-07-05

Food/Farm bill:

It's a $70 billion annual bill, and before, only agribusiness cared, but a tsunami of activists now believes that its subsidies for corn and soy encourage diet-related disease and climate change; instead, they advocate money for sustainable and organic food production, agricultural conservation and for a priority on fresh, local fruits and vegetables.

By Carol Ness

San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: Proud of rBST:

Despite activists' efforts to bamboozle public, price-conscious customers appear happy buying milk containing synthetic hormone, and squeezing more milk from cows via drugs saves natural resources, reduces corn prices, greenhouse gas emissions and manure production; in a more rational world, customers would choose milk so labeled.

By Henry I. Miller

The New York Times (may require subscription) 2007-06-29