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Farm Aid & MakerFaire: Go Forth & Be Fertile, Not Futile!

For such a young nation, we’re having an awful lot of senior moments. Where the hell did we misplace those keys to a peaceful and prosperous future? Where’s our legendary American ingenuity? Why do we throw up our hands when the pie isn’t big enough instead of just rolling up our sleeves and rolling out more dough? But not all senior moments are bad. When 94 year-old Pete Seeger unexpectedly strolled on stage at Farm Aid last Saturday in Saratoga Springs, NY, the crowd went wild. Clutching his iconic banjo, the sharp-as-a-tack senior delivered a soft yet stirring rendition of “If I Had a Hammer.” Read more

California Chefs Join Together to Fight Fracking

Chez Pannise chefs Alice Waters and Jerome Waag yesterday launched a chefs’ petition urging their colleagues to take a stand against fracking in California. Working in collaboration with Food & Water Watch, founding member of Californians Against Fracking, the chefs are concerned about the threat fracking poses to the world-renown food and wine grown, served and sold in California. The petition includes a letter calling on Governor Brown to place a moratorium on fracking now. Read more

Food, Farms, and Fracking in California

Jim Leap, an organic farmer in Aromas, California, had his first introduction to fracking a year ago when a bunch of large trucks showed up at his property and workers started putting out data loggers. When he asked what was they were doing, he was told that they were mapping earthquake faults. 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

Natural Gas Fracking: Ruining Your Lunch

With the documentary movie Gasland making its national debut on HBO just last week, the nation is now more aware of the environmental issues natural gas fracking poses. What you might not have heard is that many farmers in upstate New York fear the impact that natural gas drilling will have on our grasslands and water, and ultimately our livelihoods. It is an issue that could threaten New York City’s food shed but many do not realize what is at stake. Read more