Unselling Bad Food Choices: Panelists at Cooking for Solutions Offer How-to

Is it possible to “unsell” bad food choices in favor of selling more healthful and environmentally friendly ones? That was the topic of a recent panel at the Sustainable Food Institute at Cooking for Solutions, sponsored by the Monterey Bay Aquarium,  earlier this month.

“Consumer demand is not static. It’s constructed. And it can be shifted,” said author and sustainable food advocate Anna Lappé, who spoke on the panel. She noted that thoughtful messaging campaigns in media are apt to go viral–specifically short videos–which are proving to be a way to do just that. Read more

Agrarian Trust: Investing in the Future of Young Farmers

You may not get to own it, but a patch of soil could be yours, young farmer–if you find the right tools and partnerships. This was a core takeaway message at last weekend’s Agrarian Trust Symposium in Berkeley, California. The gathering drew over 800 young farmers, food movement thinkers, and potential land patrons seeking to expand the discussion around land transfer and the difficulties facing many young farmers in search of a place to farm. Read more

What Does a Post-Antibiotic Era Look Like?

Antibiotics are becoming dangerously impotent, resulting in two million infections and 23,000 deaths each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But what happens when we lose these drugs altogether? Reporter Maryn McKenna explores the dramatic implications of that question for the Food & Environment Reporting Network (FERN) in its first collaboration with Medium.com in a piece out today called “Imagining the Post-antibiotics Future.” Read more

New FERN Story Looks at Antibiotic Resistance in Livestock

In the latest report by the Food & Environment Reporting Network, out today in May/June issue of Eating Well magazine, looks at the growing issue of antibiotic resistance due to the routine use of antibiotics in livestock production. Reporter Barry Estabrook, author of the New York Times bestselling book Tomatoland, details how livestock are fed a diet laced with low “sub-therapeutic” doses of antibiotics, not to cure illness, but to make the animals grow faster and survive cramped living conditions. Read more

Reclaiming the Kitchen: In Conversation with Michael Pollan

In his latest book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, author and journalist Michael Pollan investigates the lost art of cooking, apprenticing himself to bread bakers, fermentos, pitt masters, and others to learn how to take back the kitchen. We sat down to chat with Pollan about why cooking is empowering, how to feed your superorganism, and to get his thoughts on the current state of the food movement. Read more

First In-Depth Report on Potential Impact of Fracking on Food

In the midst of the domestic energy boom, livestock on farms near oil-and-gas drilling operations nationwide have been quietly falling sick and dying, according to the latest report by Food & Environment Reporting Network. Elizabeth Royte wrote the cover story, “What the Frack Is in our Food,” for the December 17, 2012, issue of The Nation magazine.

“In Pennsylvania, the oil and gas industry is already on a tear—drilling thousands of feet into ancient seabeds, then repeatedly fracturing (or ‘fracking’) these wells with millions of gallons of highly pressurized, chemically laced water, which shatters the surrounding shale and releases fossil fuels,” Royte writes. “New York, meanwhile, is on its own natural-resource tear, with hundreds of newly opened breweries, wineries, organic dairies and pastured livestock operations—all of them capitalizing on the metropolitan area’s hunger to localize its diet. But there’s growing evidence that these two impulses, toward energy and food independence, may be at odds with each other.”

The story, the first in-depth look at the potential impact of fracking on food, cites the first and only peer-reviewed report, published earlier this year, suggesting a possible link between fracking and illness in food animals. It includes 24 case studies of farmers in shale-gas states whose livestock have experienced neurological, reproductive, and acute gastrointestinal problems after being exposed—either accidentally or incidentally—to fracking chemicals in the water or air. Read more