When you buy a pound of hamburger in the grocery store, you’re likely to be bombarded by an incredible assortment of labels. With all-natural, grass-fed, free-range, pastured, sustainably sourced, and certified organic options to choose from, it’s not easy to parse which beef is actually the best.
The majority of America’s farms rely heavily on herbicides—lots of them. So when the World Health Organization (WHO) classified the United States’ most widely used weed-killer, glyphosate, as “probably” carcinogenic to humans three months ago, it was big news.
Now, the same group–the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has concluded that 2,4-D, another commonly used weed killer, is “possibly” carcinogenic to humans. Here’s what you need to know about the decision and the chemical, which is the third most-widely used herbicide in the U.S.
On an April evening in northwest Washington, D.C., 11 gardeners sat at picnic tables watching Eriks and Andrejs Brolis, co-owners of Urban Farm Plans, a landscape design company and urban farm school. Some participants looked as if they’d hurried straight from the office, wearing dresses or button-down shirts; others sported T-shirts and jeans.
When he nestled the pea seeds into the ground just shy of spring this year, he had not only pored over a national magazine cover story lauding their distinctiveness, but The French Laundry’s Chef de Cuisine David Breeden had been pestering him for months to procure them to grow in the showcase garden of this landmark Yountville, California, restaurant.
It’s almost impossible to remember Life Before Yelp–that far away time when finding a nearby restaurant or shop required a travel guide, phone book, or recommendation from a friend. Now it’s easy to pinpoint exactly what you’re looking for online, whether it’s a budget-friendly pizza place that takes credit cards or a wine bar with small plates and a back patio.
When Moose Koons offered to buy overripe, misshapen, and undersized fruit from farmers in Palisade, Colorado, their reactions were all the same. “They thought we were nuts!” he recalls.
The recent sale of Applegate Farms to the giant food conglomerate Hormel came as a surprise to many in the food world who saw Applegate as an important alternative to corporate-run meat production.
But the sale wasn’t unique; in fact, it was part of a much larger pattern. From Kashi to Stonyfield, and Celestial Seasonings to Honest Tea, big food companies, hoping to capitalize on increasing consumer demand for organic and “natural” foods, have been snapping up small operations for years.
Second-generation organic peach grower David “Mas” Masumoto describes the difference between a farming disaster and a crisis this way: A disaster is when he harvests nothing, while a crisis is when he’s not making any money. Four years into California’s worst drought in history, and like many West Coast farmers, he’s in crisis mode.