Agriculture, Food & Fiber

EcoIntelligence agriculture, food, and fiber articles, speeches, and interviews.This section contains articles, reports, interviews, book and anthology excerpts, PowerPoint presentations, and presentation transcripts on agriculture, food, and fiber. Topics include sustainable agriculture, industrial agriculture, the world food supply, factory farming, chemical and pesticide use, animal rights, fisheries, local food, organic produce, gardening, and more.

Agriculture, food processing, shipment, preparation, and consumption have large impacts on both our health and the health of natural ecosystems. Global warming and urban growth are reducing the land and water resources available to meet our global food needs, while poplulation growth and more people eating higher on the food chain are increasing those needs. Chemicals used in the food production process harm farm workers, farm animals, soils, freshwater quality, and river and ocean ecosystems. To meet our current food needs without negatively affecting future generations, it is critical that we implement sustainable practices at every step in the food system, from farm to plate.

"" America Has Reached Peak Cow: Why It’s Time To Reconsider The Human-Bovine Partnership. Interview with Denis Hayes and Gail Boyer Hayes. Gail explains that “Americans eat far more beef than people of any other country except Argentina and little Luxembourg. Two-thirds of us are obese or overweight, and the majority of the medical community says it would be better to not consume so much red meat.” Denis goes on to say “we need to make changes that will protect and benefit both cows and people, because the cows are just putting too much of a demand on our natural resources.” Interview >>

Ethanol Could Leave The World Hungry. Article by Lester Brown. The myth that corn is a cure-all for our energy woes is leading us toward a potentially dangerous global fight for food. While crop-based ethanol - the latest craze in alternative energy - promises a guilt-free way to keep our gas tanks full, it could leave much of the world hungry. Article >>

"" Ethanol's Failed Promise. Article by Lester Brown and Jonathan Lewis. The "food-to-fuel" mandates should be changed because they do not move "America toward energy independence and mitigate global climate change... the evidence irrefutably demonstrates that this policy is not delivering on either goal. In fact, it is causing environmental harm and contributing to a growing global food crisis." Article >>

The Ethical Gourmet. Book excerpt by Jay Weinstein. The book's subtitle sums it up well: "How to Enjoy Great Food That Is Humanely Raised, Sustainable, Nonendangered, and That Replenishes the Earth." Book Excerpt >>

From The Ground Up: The Story Of A First Garden. Book excerpt by Amy Stewart. From The Ground Up is a chronicle of the seedlings and weeds, cats and compost, worms and watering that transform a tiny plot of earth into a glorious garden. From planting the seeds her great-grandmother sends to battling snails, gophers, and aphids, Stewart takes us on a tour of her coastal garden and shares the lessons she's learned the hard way. Book Excerpt >>

"" Full House: Reassessing The Earth's Population Carrying Capacity. Article by Lester Brown and Hall Kane. This article discusses Brown and Kane's book on carrying capacity. It projects that over the next 40 years the world will face massive grain deficits in Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and China as populations grow. Article >>

"" The Global Population Conundrum. Interview with Lester Brown. Between now and 2050, three billion people will join the six billion-plus that already live on this planet. How will we possibly feed them? Lester Brown has been consumed by this question for decades. Interview >>

The Humble Honeybee. Article by Reese Halter. Honeybees are incomparable little creatures. Not only do bees pollinate 75 percent of all the world’s food crops, but also all the cotton we wear. Honeybees produce an astounding 2.6 billion pounds of honey each year for humans. Honeybees and humans share many things: we socialize, dance, touch, feel, mimic one another, sleep, enjoy nicotine, caffeine, even vote, and we both get sick. Article >>

The Meat Of The Matter: The U.S. Livestock Industry Creates More Greenhouse Gas Than Transportation. Article by Jim Motavalli. Ask most Americans about what causes global warming, and they’ll point to a coal plant smokestack or a car’s tailpipe. They’re right, of course, but perhaps two other images should be granted similarly iconic status: the front and rear ends of a cow. Article >>

Think Globally Act Locally. Book excerpt by Jay Weinstein. “Seasonality” has become a catchword for modern chefs seeking to prove the authenticity of their regional foods. But many consumers ask, “Why not use Costa Rican asparagus in midwinter if it looks good?” Book Excerpt >>

Washington Post.com on Green Eating. Online Q&A with Jay Weinstein. Looking to make your fridge a little greener and dinner plate a little more ethical? Sprig's editor Jeanie Pyun and food contributor Jay Weinstein take questions and suggestions online about green cooking and eating, and on everything else having to do with living a life that is both stylish and environmental. Q&A Transcript >>

The Zen Of Gardening In The High And Arid West: Tips, Tools, And Techniques. Book excerpt by Dave Wann. The Zen Of Gardening is a mix of stories, how-to advice, and simple, doable projects ideal for gardeners in the high and arid landscapes of the West. For gardeners of the high plains and mountains who are "meteorologically and topographically challenged," who routinely grapple with wild weather swings, high elevations, and scarcity of water, Wann offers inspiration and invaluable practical advice for success. Book Excerpt >>

 

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