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Winds of Change: Antibiotics in Livestock

16. September 2010

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Winds of Change: Antibiotics in Livestock

The New York Times has a really good piece on the coming rules regarding the amount of antibiotics that can be given to confinement livestock. Now, after decades of debate, the Food and Drug Administration appears poised to issue its strongest guidelines on animal antibiotics yet, intended to reduce what it calls a clear risk [...]

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Entering the Genetic Age: Enviropig and GMO animals

15. September 2010

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Entering the Genetic Age: Enviropig and GMO animals

The October 2010 edition of Popular Science landed in my mailbox today with a brief overview of the genetically modified Enviropig.  I would give you a direct link but, for some reason, Popular Science does not publish its magazine articles online.  It’s not that big of a deal because the article isn’t even good enough to [...]

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Organic Food Isn’t For The Birds

3. June 2010

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Organic Food Isn’t For The Birds

It turns out birds aren't bird brains when it comes to what they eat. A number of species of birds have been shown to choose foods that contain higher levels of healthy things like protein and antioxidants and lower levels of not-so-healthy things like heavy metals and pesticides. Since they're such finicky eaters, scientists figured to let them choose between conventionally and organically grown food, and see which they deemed better for them. The vote was unanimous: birds prefer non-organic.

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The Protein Problem: Eating Healthy While Making The Least Ecological Impact

10. March 2010

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The Protein Problem: Eating Healthy While Making The Least Ecological Impact

It would be great if we could just stop eating meat all together. But there's one problem - we need complete dietary protein, and about 60 grams a day of it. This is what I call the Protein Problem: the problem is that we need a lot of protein, nutritionally speaking, but producing it is an ecological nightmare. If you've read my post about why protein is so nutritionally important, you know that meat is simply the best source of complete dietary protein. But is becoming vegetarian and eating tofu the solution to our protein problem? Unfortunately, it's not that simple.

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GMOs: Does Regulation Ensure Safety?

17. February 2010

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GMOs: Does Regulation Ensure Safety?

The public's biggest concern when it comes to GMOs is their safety. There are a lot of misconceptions about genetic engineering. When pressed on science of GMOs, I have often heard people fear that the genetically modified material in the foods they are eating will somehow mutate their DNA too. While logically it sounds like that makes a bit of sense, scientifically its nonsense. So how do we test for and ensure that GMOs are safe? Allow me to introduce you to the complex world of genetic technology regulation. Image credit: kevin dolley on flickr.

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Where are Africa’s Farming Superheroes? A Look at African Child Malnutrition

15. February 2010

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Where are Africa’s Farming Superheroes?  A Look at African Child Malnutrition

As a part of her African agriculture series, Rachel Zedeck of the Medea Group wants to shift your perceptions of a food crisis away from the image of the starving child (above) to that of new opportunities crucial in changing the way we respond to childhood malnutrition.

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GMOs: Frankenfood or Evolutionary Advance?

10. February 2010

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GMOs: Frankenfood or Evolutionary Advance?

Why are crops and animals being modified? What GMOs are currently on the market? What new GMOs are being created? Good questions... (thanks to klar!! on flickr for that cool art.)

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The Truth About Organic Farming

22. December 2009

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The Truth About Organic Farming

Certified organic sales are now $52 billion/year, worldwide. The large market is fueling a lot of myths out there about organic foods and there is even more propaganda supporting these organic methods that is rarely understood. It's like your mother used to say: just because everyone is jumping off a bridge doesn't mean you should do it, too. I only want to point out that not everything is as it seems. So here are some of the myths of organic produce, and the realities behind them.

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Making the Connection Between Sustainable Seafood and Nutrition

18. November 2009

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Making the Connection Between Sustainable Seafood and Nutrition

You have a lot of choices as a consumer. Those choices alter the marketplace. You influence what kind of movies Hollywood produces when you stand in line to buy tickets, debating between an action thriller and a romantic comedy. And the choices you make when it comes to your dinner, particularly which fish you pick for the 16 pounds of seafood the average American eats every year, drive the fisheries hauling in over 11 billion pounds of fish annually. Choices make a difference, not only from an economic perspective, but from a nutritional and ecological one.

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Food System 2.0: Can New Approaches Make Local Food Happen?

9. October 2009

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Food System 2.0: Can New Approaches Make Local Food Happen?

What is the price of food? $3.99 for a gallon of milk? $0.99 for an energy bar? Complex market and policy forces make those prices. Its a process that starts far from the point of sale. Centralizing our food into fast food chains and supermarkets causes the farms that feed the system to scale up into mega-sized operations. The idyllic, diverse farms of American lore were long ago converted into monocrop fields of staple grains, hog farms with hundreds of thousands of head and distribution centers bigger than football fields. But how do you make food scale back to something more reasonable, a new system in which communities connect with the food being grown there? Is it even possible, nay desirable? We saw a couple examples of new approaches to these questions in the San Francisco area during our Tour of America recently. One deals with technology while the other with community. Both are necessary components in what should become Food System 2.0. (Thanks to Flickr User Fazen for the cool shot).

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