Food and Farming

Big Ag’s Legal Engineering

Big Ag’s Legal Engineering

As this spring began, another branch in the biotech giant Monsanto's sweep around any meaningful regulation of its products burst into bloom. Monsanto and its fellow "Big Six" pesticide and biotech companies — Syngenta, Dupont, Bayer, BASF, and Dow Chemical — pulled...

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A Plateful of Justice

A Plateful of Justice

When my father immigrated to the United States from Mexico in the mid-1980s, his first job was washing dishes at a Furr's Fresh Buffet restaurant in New Mexico. It paid the state-mandated minimum wage of $2.90 per hour. My father sent a portion of his scant earnings...

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A Dubious Honor

A Dubious Honor

Global pork titan Smithfield has ranked second among food production companies on Fortune magazine's 2013 list of "Most Admired Companies." Before untangling how terribly strange and ironic this is, I'd like to address just what "most admired" means, and how the...

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Why I’m a Chick with Chicks

Why I’m a Chick with Chicks

In the span of a few years, I've gone from weird to trendy. Why? I keep chickens — in San Diego. Here's one sign of how times have changed. In 2009, the local newspaper's editorial page excoriated me for trying to change local laws to allow chickens. Last year, the...

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Eat Your Weeds

Eat Your Weeds

You might not be a master gardener, but odds are you grow one of the world's healthiest vegetables in your yard every year. It's a superfood that packs more calcium, iron, magnesium, and Vitamins C, B6, E, and K than an equal amount (by weight) of spinach. And, if you...

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Drawing the Line on Big Beer

Drawing the Line on Big Beer

Millions of Americans will enjoy a beer tonight. The vast majority of them probably won't realize that the wide variety of brands they see in the stores, bars, and restaurants come from just two foreign-based multinational companies that control 80 percent of the U.S....

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True Colors are to Dye For

True Colors are to Dye For

A friend and I once tricked his kids on St. Patrick's Day. Maybe "tricked" is too strong of a word for what we did: The festive green pasta we served was spinach fettuccine, but we didn't admit that it contained traces of the vegetable. The pasta didn't taste at all...

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Perturbed by Pesticides

Perturbed by Pesticides

The nastiest looking insect I've ever seen crawled out of a hole near a dead stump in my garden the other day. I was weeding there, and I'm sure I disturbed it. To be honest, I was scared. This thing looked like it could bite me and it would hurt. I briefly considered...

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These Laws Make Me Want to Gag

These Laws Make Me Want to Gag

Do you have a right to know where that steak on your plate came from? Should it be legal to photograph chicken farms and dairy cows? Big Agriculture says you don't and it shouldn't. Armies of Big Ag lobbyists are pushing for new state-level laws across the country to...

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Lose Your Lawn

Lose Your Lawn

Have you taken your hounds fox hunting lately? You haven’t? Well, maybe you’ve gone to visit a friend’s estate in a horse and carriage? You haven’t done that either, have you? Most of the popular trends of 19th century British aristocracy are not the norm in 21st...

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