In a precedent-setting decision last month that received scant national coverage, a federal district court judge in Washington State ordered a CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation), also known as a factory farm, to monitor groundwater, drainage and soil for illegal pollution resulting from its grossly inadequate manure management practices in violation of the Clean Water Act. This first-ever ruling holding a CAFO accountable for its pollution was a result of a lawsuit by the nonprofit Community Association for Restoration of the Environment (CARE) against the Nelson Faria Dairy in Royal, Washington. The ruling upholds the terms of a 2006 settlement CARE had with the dairy’s previous owners, which the current owners subsequently ignored. Read more

Syndicated eco-columnist and Master Gardener Annie Spiegelman (AKA “The Dirt Diva”) offers practical tips on organic gardening, composting and planting along with guidance and gripes on marriage, motherhood and “having it all.” A cynically optimistic horticulturist, Spiegelman offers positive reinforcement and moral support as a gardener who’s made all the mistakes, and has lived to tell how to make peace with snails, fungi, bacteria (and your boyfriend). Civil Eats caught up with the Dirt Diva to dish about her new book, Talking Dirt: The Dirt Diva’s Down-to-Earth Guide to Organic Gardening. Read more