Daniel Charles http://wemu.org en Can Wal-Mart Really Make Organic Food Cheap For Everyone? http://wemu.org/post/can-wal-mart-really-make-organic-food-cheap-everyone It could be another milestone in organic food's evolution from crunchy to commercial: Wal-Mart, the king of mass retailing, is <a href="http://news.walmart.com/news-archive/2014/04/10/walmart-and-wild-oats-launch-effort-to-drive-down-organic-food-prices">promising</a> to "drive down organic food prices" with a new line of organic food products. The new products will be at least 25 percent cheaper than organic food that's on Wal-Mart's shelves right now.<p>Yet we've heard this before. Sat, 19 Apr 2014 09:07:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 44607 at http://wemu.org Can Wal-Mart Really Make Organic Food Cheap For Everyone? Plant Breeders Release First 'Open Source Seeds' http://wemu.org/post/plant-breeders-release-first-open-source-seeds A group of scientists and food activists is launching a <a href="http://www.news.wisc.edu/22748">campaign</a> Thursday to change the rules that govern seeds. Thu, 17 Apr 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 44496 at http://wemu.org Plant Breeders Release First 'Open Source Seeds' Can Fish Farms Thrive In The USA? http://wemu.org/post/future-clean-green-fish-farming-could-be-indoor-factories Why hasn't fish farming taken off in the United States?<p>It's certainly not for lack of demand for the fish. Slowly but surely, seafood that's grown in aquaculture is taking over the seafood section at your supermarket, and the vast majority is imported. The shrimp and tilapia typically come from warm-water ponds in southeast Asia and Latin America. Mon, 07 Apr 2014 21:57:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 44033 at http://wemu.org Can Fish Farms Thrive In The USA? Farmers Need To Get 'Climate Smart' To Prep For What's Ahead http://wemu.org/post/farmers-need-get-climate-smart-prep-whats-ahead The planet's top experts on global warming released their latest <a href="http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/report/final-drafts/">predictions</a> this week for how rising temperatures will change our lives, and in particular, what they mean for the <a href="http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/WGIIAR5-Chap7_FGDall.pdf">production of food</a>.<p>The report, sadly, is massive and excruciatingly hard to digest. Thu, 03 Apr 2014 18:14:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 43856 at http://wemu.org Farmers Need To Get 'Climate Smart' To Prep For What's Ahead Food Giants Want 'Sustainable' Beef. But What Does That Mean? http://wemu.org/post/food-giants-want-sustainable-beef-what-does-mean McDonald's made a big green splash a few months ago by <a href="http://www.aboutmcdonalds.com/mcd/sustainability/signature_programs/beef-sustainability.html">announcing</a> that it will start buying "verified sustainable" beef in 2016.<p>A chorus of voices responded, "What's 'verified sustainable' beef?"<p>McDonald's, it turns out, is part of a group that's trying to come up with an answer. Tue, 25 Mar 2014 16:45:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 43361 at http://wemu.org Food Giants Want 'Sustainable' Beef. But What Does That Mean? Top 5 Ways Asparagus, A Rite Of Spring, Can Still Surprise http://wemu.org/post/top-5-ways-asparagus-rite-spring-can-still-surprise As the snow melts, even in Minnesota, and daylight lingers into evening, people who like to eat with the seasons know what's coming: asparagus.<br /> Thu, 13 Mar 2014 18:44:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 42786 at http://wemu.org Top 5 Ways Asparagus, A Rite Of Spring, Can Still Surprise In The New Globalized Diet, Wheat, Soy And Palm Oil Rule http://wemu.org/post/new-globalized-diet-wheat-soy-and-palm-oil-rule These days you can fly to far corners of the world and eat pretty much the same food you can get back home. There's pizza in China and sushi in Ethiopia.<p>A new scientific <a href="http://www.ciatnews.cgiar.org/2014/03/03/globalized-diet-more-food-less-diversity-more-associated-risks/">study</a> shows that something similar is true of the crops that farmers grow. Increasingly, there's a standard global diet, and the human race is depending more and more on a handful of major crops for much of its food.<p>At the same time, all over the world, people are eating a bigger variety of foods. Tue, 04 Mar 2014 08:50:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 42297 at http://wemu.org In The New Globalized Diet, Wheat, Soy And Palm Oil Rule Why The 'Non-GMO' Label Is Organic's Frenemy http://wemu.org/post/why-non-gmo-label-organics-frenemy It's easy to think of "organic" and "non-GMO" as the best buddies of food. They sit comfortably beside each other in the same grocery stores — most prominently, in Whole Foods Market. Culturally, they also seem to occupy the same space. Both reject aspects of mainstream industrial agriculture.<p>In fact, the <a href="http://www.nongmoproject.org/">increasingly successful</a> movement to eliminate genetically modified crops — GMOs — from food is turning out to be organic's false friend. Fri, 28 Feb 2014 18:20:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 42197 at http://wemu.org Why The 'Non-GMO' Label Is Organic's Frenemy Chickens That Lay Organic Eggs Eat Imported Food, And It's Pricey http://wemu.org/post/chickens-laying-organic-eggs-eat-imported-food-and-its-pricey The other morning, I found myself staring at something strange and unfamiliar: empty grocery shelves with the word "eggs" above them. The store, a Whole Foods Market in Washington, D.C., blamed, in another sign, the dearth on "increased demand for organic eggs."<p>This scene is unfolding in grocery stores across the country. But Whole Foods' sign wasn't telling the whole truth. Thu, 27 Feb 2014 21:40:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 42159 at http://wemu.org Chickens That Lay Organic Eggs Eat Imported Food, And It's Pricey The System Supplying America's Chickens Pits Farmer Vs. Farmer http://wemu.org/post/system-supplies-our-chickens-pits-farmer-against-farmer After reading Christopher Leonard's <em>The</em> <em>Meat Racket</em>, a <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/02/19/276981085/is-tyson-foods-chicken-empire-a-meat-racket">broadside</a> against the contract-farming system, I decided to take a closer look at it.<p>I drove to North Carolina and ended up in the kind of place that supplies practically all of our chickens: a metal-sided, 500-foot-long structure near the town of Fairmont.<p>In the dim light, I see 30,000 little chicks scuttling around on the floor. Thu, 20 Feb 2014 08:40:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 41790 at http://wemu.org The System Supplying America's Chickens Pits Farmer Vs. Farmer Is Tyson Foods' Chicken Empire A 'Meat Racket'? http://wemu.org/post/tyson-foods-chicken-empire-meat-racket Christopher Leonard's new exposé on the chicken industry, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Meat-Racket-Takeover-Americas/dp/1451645813/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392403784&sr=8-1&keywords=meat+racket">The Meat Racket</a>, doesn't devote much ink to the physical object on our plate, the chicken meat itself.<p>Instead, Leonard focuses on the economic machinery that delivers the meat to us, or, as he puts it, "the hidden power structure that has quietly reshaped U.S. Wed, 19 Feb 2014 08:44:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 41740 at http://wemu.org Is Tyson Foods' Chicken Empire A 'Meat Racket'? How American Food Companies Go GMO-Free In A GMO World http://wemu.org/post/how-american-food-companies-go-gmo-free-gmo-world Quite possibly, you've noticed some new food labels out there, like "Not made with genetically modified ingredients" or "GMO-free." You might have seen them on boxes of <a href="http://www.cheerios.com/en/Articles/cheerios-and-gmos#.UvAOhD1dV8E">Cheerios</a>, or on <a href="http://murrayschicken.com/images/poop/Non-GMO_Chicken_Card_New.pdf">chicken meat</a>. Tue, 04 Feb 2014 08:40:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 41067 at http://wemu.org How American Food Companies Go GMO-Free In A GMO World Soil, Weedkillers And GMOs: When Numbers Don't Tell The Whole Story http://wemu.org/post/soil-weedkillers-and-gmos-when-numbers-dont-tell-whole-story I love numbers. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but I think a good bar graph can be worth a thousand pictures.<p>But three times in the past few days, I've come across statistics in reputable-looking publications that made me stop and say, "Huh?"<p>I did some investigating so you don't have to. And indeed, the numbers don't quite tell the story that they purport to tell.<p>So here goes: My skeptical inquiry into statistics on herbicide use, soil erosion, and the production of fruits and nuts.<p>First, weedkillers (and GMOs). Mon, 27 Jan 2014 17:07:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 40721 at http://wemu.org Soil, Weedkillers And GMOs: When Numbers Don't Tell The Whole Story Should Farmers Give John Deere And Monsanto Their Data? http://wemu.org/post/should-farmers-give-john-deere-and-monsanto-their-data Starting this year, farmers across the Midwest can sign up for a service that lets big agribusiness collect data from their farms, minute by minute, as they plant and harvest their crops.<p><a href="http://www.monsanto.com/products/pages/fieldscripts.aspx">Monsanto</a> and <a href="http://www.deere.com/wps/dcom/en_INT/regional_home.page">John Deere</a> are offering competing versions of this service. Wed, 22 Jan 2014 22:14:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 40512 at http://wemu.org Should Farmers Give John Deere And Monsanto Their Data? A Green-Movement Website Shakes Up The Debate Over GMOs http://wemu.org/post/green-movement-website-shakes-debate-over-gmos A <a href="http://grist.org/series/panic-free-gmos/">26-part series</a> on genetically modified food was not Nathanael Johnson's idea. And he didn't realize it would take six months, either.<p>Last year, Johnson was hired as the new food writer for Grist, a website for environmental news and opinion. Grist's editor, <a href="http://grist.org/article/2011-09-12-meet-scott-rosenberg-grists-new-executive-editor/">Scott Rosenberg</a>, was waiting with an assignment: Dig into the controversy over GMOs.<p>GMOs "were a unique problem for us," says Rosenberg. Fri, 10 Jan 2014 17:19:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 40054 at http://wemu.org A Green-Movement Website Shakes Up The Debate Over GMOs This GMO Apple Won't Brown. Will That Sour The Fruit's Image? http://wemu.org/post/gmo-apple-wont-brown-will-sour-fruits-image If you (or your children) turn up your nose at brown apple slices, would you prefer fresh-looking ones that have been genetically engineered?<p>Neal Carter, president of <a href="http://www.okspecialtyfruits.com/">Okanagan Specialty Fruits</a>, in British Columbia, Canada, certainly hopes so. His company has created the new, non-browning, <a href="http://www.arcticapples.com/">"Arctic" apples</a>, and he's hoping for big orders from despairing parents and food service companies alike. Wed, 08 Jan 2014 21:21:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 39976 at http://wemu.org This GMO Apple Won't Brown. Will That Sour The Fruit's Image? How Mass-Produced Meat Turned Phosphorus Into Pollution http://wemu.org/post/how-mass-produced-meat-turned-phosphorus-pollution It's a quandary of food production: The same drive for efficiency that lowers the cost of eating also can damage our soil and water.<p>Take the case of one simple, essential chemical element: phosphorus.<p>Phosphorus is one of the nutrients that plants need to grow, and for most of human history, farmers always needed more of it. Thu, 02 Jan 2014 10:22:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 39714 at http://wemu.org How Mass-Produced Meat Turned Phosphorus Into Pollution Here's How Young Farmers Looking For Land Are Getting Creative http://wemu.org/post/heres-how-young-farmers-looking-land-are-getting-creative Across the country, there's a wave of interest in local food. And a <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2011/12/12/143459793/who-are-the-young-farmers-of-generation-organic">new generation</a> of young farmers is trying to grow it.<p>Many of these farmers — many of whom didn't grow up on farms — would like to stay close to cities. After all, that's where the demand for local food is.<p>The problem is, that's where land is most expensive. Tue, 31 Dec 2013 22:15:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 39678 at http://wemu.org Here's How Young Farmers Looking For Land Are Getting Creative Top German Chocolate Maker Fights For Its 'Natural' Reputation http://wemu.org/post/top-german-chocolate-maker-fights-its-natural-reputation If you're selling food in Germany, "natural" is good. It's a place that distrusts technological manipulation of what we eat.<p>Witness, for example, a <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/12/17/251959392/is-a-500-year-old-german-beer-law-heritage-worth-honoring">500-year-old law</a> that allows beer-makers to use only three ingredients: water, barley and hops. Tue, 24 Dec 2013 13:32:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 39419 at http://wemu.org Grasslands Get Squeezed As Another 1.6 Million Acres Go Into Crops http://wemu.org/post/grasslands-get-squeezed-another-16-million-acres-go-crops As the year winds down, we here at NPR are looking at a few key numbers that explain the big trends of 2013.<p>Today's number: 1.6 million.<p>That's 1.6 million acres — about the area of the state of Delaware.<p>That's how much land was removed this year from the federal <a href="http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=copr&topic=crp">Conservation Reserve Program</a>, or CRP, which pays farmers to keep land covered with native grasses or sometimes trees. Sun, 22 Dec 2013 10:05:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 39341 at http://wemu.org Grasslands Get Squeezed As Another 1.6 Million Acres Go Into Crops Call the FBI! China Is Trying To Steal America's Seeds! http://wemu.org/post/call-fbi-china-trying-steal-americas-seeds If you think grains of rice or kernels of corn are free gifts of nature, think again. Seed companies — and the FBI — take a very different attitude, and walking off with the wrong seeds can land you in very serious trouble indeed.<p>In two apparently unrelated cases this week, federal prosecutors arrested citizens of China and charged them with stealing seeds that American companies consider valuable intellectual property.<p>One case involves corn in Iowa; the other, genetically engineered rice in Kansas. Fri, 13 Dec 2013 22:31:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 38989 at http://wemu.org Call the FBI! China Is Trying To Steal America's Seeds! Drug Companies Accept FDA Plan To Phase Out Some Animal Antibiotic Uses http://wemu.org/post/drug-companies-accept-fda-plan-phase-out-some-animal-antibiotic-uses If drug companies follow <a href="http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm378100.htm">guidance</a> issued Wednesday by the Food and Drug Administration, within three years it will be illegal to use medically important antibiotics to make farm animals grow faster or use feed more efficiently.<p>The FDA's announcement wasn't a big surprise; a draft version of the strategy was released more than a year ago.<p>The bigger news is that the two biggest veterinary drug companies, <a href="http://www.elanco.us/">Elanco</a> and <a href="http://www.zoetis.com/">Zoetis</a>, said Wednesday that Wed, 11 Dec 2013 22:00:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 38881 at http://wemu.org Drug Companies Accept FDA Plan To Phase Out Some Animal Antibiotic Uses Pepsi Pressured To Fight Big Sugar's 'Land Grab' http://wemu.org/post/pepsi-pressured-fight-big-sugars-land-grab The anti-poverty group Oxfam is <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/pressroom/pressrelease/2013-11-22/oxfam-files-shareholder-resolution-urging-pepsico-address-land-grabs">asking</a> Pepsi's shareholders to approve a resolution that, if passed, would force the company to disclose its sugar suppliers and investigate whether those suppliers are implicated in "land grabs" that unfairly take land from the poor.<p>Pepsi's archrival has already announced its own anti-land-grab initiative. Sat, 23 Nov 2013 18:46:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 38137 at http://wemu.org Pepsi Pressured To Fight Big Sugar's 'Land Grab' Organic Farmers Bash FDA Restrictions On Manure Use http://wemu.org/post/organic-farmers-bash-fda-restrictions-manure-use Many organic farmers are hopping mad at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and their reason involves perhaps the most underappreciated part of agriculture: plant food, aka fertilizer. Thu, 21 Nov 2013 08:22:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 38024 at http://wemu.org Organic Farmers Bash FDA Restrictions On Manure Use Philippines Disaster Rekindles Fight Over Food Aid Rules http://wemu.org/post/philippines-disaster-rekindles-fight-over-food-aid-reform Emergency aid, including stocks of food, started arriving this week in cyclone-devastated areas of the Philippines; more is on the way.<p>The first wave of aid — <a href="http://www.wfp.org/stories/philippines-typhoon-wfp-sends-high-energy-biscuits-survivors">high-energy biscuits</a> designed to keep people alive when food is scarce — arrived via airlift. Huge shiploads of rice will be needed in the weeks and months to come. And exactly how the U.S. Fri, 15 Nov 2013 08:01:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 37765 at http://wemu.org Philippines Disaster Rekindles Fight Over Food Aid Rules