Cutting Food Stamps? No GMO labeling? More ethanol subsidies? Last Farm Bill five years ago? Congress can’t get their act together, but young people can. Real food policies must start from the ground up and today on Food Day, students are making that happen. Read more
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Imagine a country where ideologues bent on land reform turn agriculture into the plaything of the world’s richest investors, and poor local farmers are locked out of millions of acres prime agricultural land. Then stop imagining some African country run by a despot and his friends and start picturing the United States. Rural America is on the cusp of one of the greatest transfers of land in its history and no one’s talking about it. Read more
Where would the food movement be if it were not for Wendell Berry? His book, The Unsettling of America, is the seminal work looking at how our industrial food system has effected our land and our culture. At 79 years old, he is still dedicating himself to shifting our environmental consciousness. This week, Bill Moyers profiles Berry, one of America’s most influential writers, a passionate advocate for the earth, whose prolific career includes more than 40 books of poetry, novels, short stories, and essays, in Wendell Berry: Poet & Prophet. Read more
The tropical paradise of Kauai, Hawai’i has become ground zero for genetically modified organism (GMO) research and development (R&D) testing over the past decade. GMO giants Syngenta, DuPont Pioneer, BASF, and Dow AgroSciences dump over 18 tons of pre-diluted, restricted-use pesticides on Kauai annually with their R&D seed operations. Today, Kauai residents are fighting back with Bill 2491. Read more
The famed UK chef/activist, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, has a lot to share with an American public hungry for great recipes as well as important food for thought. I had the pleasure of having breakfast with Fearnley-Whittingstall and he shared with me his passion for vegetables, how he wants to help change people’s lives, and his inspiring work to help raise awareness about the importance of how and what we eat. Read more
In the Basque Country—an autonomous community in Northern Spain—the official unemployment rate for young people lingers around 40 percent, but some estimate it might be even higher. It’s a region where the steel and manufacturing industries once dominated, but have since faced huge declines. Finding a first-time career, or returning to an old one for that matter, is increasingly difficult. Read more
So you’ve tried raising chickens and bees and now you’re ready to take your animal husbandry skills to the next level. How about a cow? According to Joann S. Grohman, author of Keeping a Family Cow, the recently updated edition of her 1975 book The Cow Economy, finding and keeping a bovine friend might be easier than you think. Read more
David Gumpert is an advocate and a journalist who writes almost exclusively about raw milk, private food buying clubs, and the conflict around various government attempts to regulate the two. In his new book, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights, Gumpert delves deeply into an array of legal cases brought against small producers selling their food outside the commercial realm and raises the question: “Is there such a thing as private food?” Read more
Editor’s note: In honor of National Farmers Market Week, we bring you a view from the other side of the market stand.
I’ve spent over 1,000 Saturdays and Sundays selling at farmers markets, and even after all this time I still love to answer questions. Farmers markets are one of the few places where customers can directly connect with their food, meeting face-to-face with the people who grew it. Questions are expected at market, and even encouraged. From livestock breeds to production practices, organic certification to chemical usage, I’ve been asked just about every food-related question under the sun.
What do you get when you cross a U-pick and a CSA (community supported agriculture) membership? The Masumoto Family Farm adopt-a-tree program. For the last nine years, peach and nectarine lovers in California have filled out “adoption forms,” paid $600, and made the trip to this Fresno-based organic farm for two consecutive summer weekends to harvest between 350 to 450 pounds of fruit from their adopted tree. Read more