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Book Review: The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

30. September 2009

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Book Review: The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

When looking for books about nutrition and eating, it's hard not to stumble up Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food. But this is not a review of those books. While both interesting and worth the a read by anyone nutrition-conscious, it is one of Michael Pollan's other books that is one of the best books I've ever read, and simply I cannot bring myself to discuss In Defense of Food or Omnivore's Dilemma when there is a more stunning work to be mentioned. Published in 2001, The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World is . It looks at the interplay between humans and plants. It's not a nutritional guide, it's an exploration of our own nature and, more importantly, the plants that exploit it.

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Can Biodiversity and Agriculture Coexist? How Super Metrics Made Wildlife Enemy #1 on the Farm (Day 4)

29. September 2009

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Can Biodiversity and Agriculture Coexist?  How Super Metrics Made Wildlife Enemy #1 on the Farm (Day 4)

Think back to a time before agriculture existed. Hawks pounced on squirrels, coyotes chased field mice and bison roamed the Great Plains. Then came Homo sapien. As super hunters, we first decimated the populations of any large animals we found in Africa. It's from that background we begin to examine a tough question – can biodiversity exist in a world of monocrop staples like corn and rice, amphibian crushing pesticides, and food safety protocols that explicitly make farmers keep sterile fields free of small animals? The answers are varied from those we have spoken to on the Nutrition Wonderland Tour of America.

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Food Safety as a Marketing Tool: USDA Monterey Hearings on NLGMA (Day 3)

25. September 2009

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Food Safety as a Marketing Tool: USDA Monterey Hearings on NLGMA (Day 3)

Nutrition Wonderland is now up in Monterey, CA as part of our Tour of America and today we are attending the first of the USDA's hearings on nationally adopting the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA). This new proposal, dubbed the NLGMA, would extend the existing agreement that covers California and Arizona across the entire nation – even extending into Canadian and Mexican imports.

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David vs. Goliath: A Maasai Warrior, Regional Food Crisis & Agricultural Innovation (The Backpack Farm Program)

23. September 2009

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David vs. Goliath: A Maasai Warrior, Regional Food Crisis & Agricultural Innovation (The Backpack Farm Program)

Welcome Rachel Zedeck of the Medea Group who explains to a Western Audience some of the problems going on in Eastern Africa, specifically how an inadequate agricultural system fails its own people. She puts forward a new solution - the Backpack Farm Program - and explains how it could help the people. It was late in 2007 when I first arrived in Southern Sudan by way of Kenya, to research a new model of socially responsible agricultural development. Within a year and half, I was emotionally raw and physically exhausted. My personal battle with African development models had taken its toll. Even with several years of field experience in post conflict countries, I was ready to quit and crawl home.

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Is the Strawberry the Future of American Agriculture? (Day 1)

22. September 2009

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Is the Strawberry the Future of American Agriculture?  (Day 1)

Nutrition Wonderland's first stop of the journey is an exceptionally beautiful place called Oxnard, California. It anchors a rapidly growing area but more importantly, it is the principal city in the Oxnard Plain – one of the most productive agricultural areas in the world. Known as the Strawberry Capital of the World, Oxnard also grows cucumbers, peppers, herbs, oranges, lemons, tomatoes, lima beans – the list goes on. As it turns out, a delicately crafted piece of legislation and high yield crops are all that stands between the region turning into a concrete jungle like formerly agricultural Orange County. Read on to understand the pressures being faced there.

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