Food and Farming

The Farm Bill’s Wasteful Welfare Program

The Farm Bill’s Wasteful Welfare Program

Some aspects of American agriculture are quite odd. For example, to meet a farmer these days, you don't need to venture out to the hinterland. Thousands of our farmers are city slickers. And they're really slick, for many of them neither plant nor harvest wheat,...

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Taking Stock of Factory Farm Pollution

Taking Stock of Factory Farm Pollution

One of the biggest drawbacks of the factory farms producing most of our food is the amount of pollution they generate. Factory farms, which raise the bulk of our chickens, hogs, and turkeys, and house most of our dairy cows, are one of the nation's largest sources of...

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Junking Food Is Bad for Everyone

Junking Food Is Bad for Everyone

Several years ago, I worked in a grocery store bakery. At the end of each day, we threw away piles of perfectly good food. Before the store closed, employees walked down each aisle, checking the expiration dates of bread, bagels, and cookies to toss out whatever...

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Raise the Sub-Minimum Wage

Raise the Sub-Minimum Wage

As the fast food workers' minimum wage campaign gains momentum, another group of workers is expanding the fight to address one of the least-known economic outrages. You may not realize it, but the measly $7.25 an hour McDonald's and other fast-food giants pay their...

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Bossing the Poor Around

Bossing the Poor Around

I spent a few months on food stamps this year. As a single woman in San Diego, I qualified for $70 a month — less than a dollar per meal. But I'm lucky and I'm unusual because many of my friends are farmers and gardeners and I know how to forage wild foods. Determined...

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Squeezing More Profits from Crummy Tomatoes

Squeezing More Profits from Crummy Tomatoes

"I'm 98 percent confident we can make a tomato that tastes substantially better," Professor Harry Klee recently exulted to The New York Times. Hmmm. Excuse me, professor, but "substantially better" than what? One of Momma Nature's own heirloom varieties perhaps? No,...

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The USDA’s Reckless Plan

The USDA’s Reckless Plan

My friend Jim, a farmer, jokes about bringing a bowl of manure and a spoon to the farmers' markets where he sells his beef. "My beef has no manure in it, but you can add some," he'd like to tell his customers. I'm sure you'd pass on manure as a condiment. But unless...

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Back to School Lunch

Back to School Lunch

"It tastes like…" my six-year-old friend paused to search for a word disgusting enough to describe school lunch. "Throw up," she concluded. Her sister, a fifth grader, nodded in agreement. Really? I've heard fantastic reviews of the cafeteria director there. No doubt,...

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Razing the Garden of Eden

Razing the Garden of Eden

The Bible tells us that the Garden of Eden was heaven on Earth — until Adam ate that apple. Then all Hell broke loose. Now, Arlington, Texas, has updated this tale. At about 7:30 in the morning of August 2, a SWAT team of armed police agents, code enforcement...

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