Many of us will ante up the extra dollar or two for sustainable food, or food that we believe closes the gap between producer and consumer, knowing that where we spend our money has power. But how does that approach apply to the other things we consume?
For years, everyone from Michael Pollan to Alice Waters has been talking about the “true cost of food.” The reasoning is pretty straightforward: Consumers don’t pay the real cost of food because many of the harms done to the environment or public health as a result of industrial farming practices are currently not included in cash register prices.
Urban farms are almost a cliché these days. Since the mid-2000s, media attention and increasing grassroots efforts have looked to urban farming as a kind of cure-all, a way to address a whole range of social, ecological, and economic problems facing cities and their residents. While I don’t want to dispute these ideas, I am interested in a more nuanced understanding of what it takes to make an urban farm “work.” How can these farms go beyond the hype? What challenges do urban farms face?
What does it really take to be a Bay Area farmer these days? The Kitchen Table Talks discussion series addresses the question at next week’s event, hosted by 18 Reasons in San Francisco on Wednesday, February 19, at 6:30.
“Funny” isn’t the first word that comes to mind of when we think of the organic food industry. But a coalition of mid- to large-sized organic food companies—including Earthbound Organics, Stonyfield, Annie’s, and Organic Valley—hopes to change that.
What do women farmers, the next generation of sustainable food activists, and bikes have in common? They’re all part of a project called Shifting Gears.
Last Friday, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced that no water would be delivered [PDF] this year from the State Water Project to its twenty-nine public water agency customers—a first in the Project’s 54-year history. These deliveries help supply water to 25 million Californians and roughly 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland. DWR also announced that allocations to Sacramento Valley agricultural districts would be cut in half.
“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.