Test-Tube Scramble: This Scientist Has a Fix For Our Protein Problem

Food scientists don’t get the best rap in the sustainable food world. And that’s understandable, since most spend their days working to improve the mouth feel of Velveeta and perfect the flavorpacks in Tropicana.

But not all food scientists are the same. Take Joshua Klein, of Hampton Creek Foods, for instance. He’s the head of biochemistry research and development for a start-up working furiously to replace eggs in many of our most popular foods with more humane and more affordable plant-based proteins. And he might make some people think a little differently about the role scientists can play in fixing what’s wrong with our food. Read more

Farm Bill 2014: Business as Usual for Big Agriculture

“This isn’t your father’s Farm Bill.” These were the optimistic words of Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, in a statement on her Web site Tuesday, after the Senate voted to finally pass a farm bill. The $1-trillion dollar, five-year bill had been in the works for over two years, prompting food and agriculture companies to spend $150 million in lobbying dollars.

And let’s face it, any movement in Congress feels long overdue and a little relieving these days, simply because it’s just so rare. But does this new bill really represent a radical departure from farm bills past? Not so much. Read more

Another Reason to Change the Way We Farm: Toxic Algae is Choking Our Lakes and Rivers

You’ve probably heard about the giant dead zones that expand and take shape every summer in the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay, driving away fish and wildlife and leaving miles of barren, underwater deserts in their wake. You may also know that one of the biggest causes of these dead zones is runoff polluted with excess farm nutrients from both synthetic fertilizer and big livestock facilities. Now, toxic algae, the dead zone’s evil twin, and another product of too much nitrogen and phosphorous coming from farmland, is vying for equal attention. According to a new report released yesterday from the National Wildlife Federation and Resource Media (including this helpful interactive map), lakes and rivers in 21 states saw severe cases of toxic algae blooms in 2013. Read more

The Woman Behind the New GMO-Free Meat Label

In June, Claire Herminjard, a purveyor of organic grassfed beef, received some great news. After nearly a year of making her way through red tape and government paperwork, and collaborating with several other food companies, the news broke that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had approved a new label for GMO-free meat. As a result, the owner of Northern California-based Mindful Meats could finally use the Non-GMO Project Verified label on her beef. Read more