You may have noticed that the price of eggs has gone up. That’s partially due to the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza epidemic that decimated poultry farms across 15 U.S. states this spring. The death toll from the flu and culling has surged to over 48 million birds. The bulk were egg-laying hens, many concentrated in massive...
The modern farm lobby has many similarities with the Republican Party like denying climate change and calling for the repeal of Obamacare in policy books. Until today, DC based ag lobbyists have largely adhered to a peace accord similar to the GOP 11th Amendment axiom made famous by Ronald Reagan to not attack other...
Consumer preference for more ethical and healthy fare is driving change in food and farming. Animal welfare concerns are often at the heart of this change. Spurred by activists exposing cruel treatment of livestock, many operations have made welcome and humane improvements in how farm animals are handled. Still, it seems every week another...
Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is a prototypical rural conservative, in that he decries government involvement while championing federal agriculture subsidies and mandates for corn ethanol. Where he breaks from the herd is the Senator’s laudable, principled stand against gross inequity in the farm subsidy program by fighting year after year for payment limits to mega farms...
Food historian Rachel Laudan touched a nerve last week when a long ago published essay “A plea for culinary modernism” resurfaced on Jacobin magazine. The gist of her thinking is that the good food movement is unjustly ignoring the efficiency and bounty our industrialized food system produces. From an interview of Laudan by Washingtonian’s...
When Congress talks food and farming, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) is there. From 2011 to 2014, she was chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and she remains a ranking member with enormous influence over what our nation eats. Stabenow shepherded the latest farm bill, which was signed into law in February 2014, after a...
There’s a growing public fight brewing over industrial agriculture’s water pollution. The most prominent scuffle is the Environmental Protection Agency’s highly contentious Waters of the US rule. At the local level much of the heat is centered on the recent lawsuit filed by the Des Moines’ Water Works over fertilizer derived nitrate run-off. Minnesota...

TJ’s Garden

Spent a lovely morning touring Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. The garden was just starting to erupt. From the official Monticello site: Thomas Jefferson’s 1,000-foot-long, terraced vegetable garden is the true American garden: practical, expansive, casual, diverse, wrought from a world of edible immigrants.  Aside from its diverse population of mostly introduced crops, the Monticello garden...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas over environmental concerns has driven some residents desperate for extraction income to consider secession. As told by the LA Times: Chief among those decisions has been the fracking ban, Price said. Local disappointment was sharpened by the knowledge that friends living...