Articles from March 2010



Using Recess Appointment, Obama Sneaks Pro-GMO, Pro-Pesticide Lobbyist into Key Agricultural Post

Not in Siddiqui’s back yard.  The Obama administration’s schizophrenic approach to agriculture policy —making PR gestures toward local, organic, and sustainable farming with one hand, while nudging ahead the agendas of agribusiness giants like Monsanto and Dow Chemical with the other—was on full display this weekend when the president used a recess appointment to install [...]

Good Reads: The Town that Food Saved–At Last, A Thoughtful Look at Local Food Systems

  The words “local, seasonal, sustainable” have been repeated so often and with so little thought that they have become soothing background noise, feel-good mood-music for any socially conscious eater worth his or her naturally obtained organic sea salt. So it’s refreshing to encounter a book that treats the subject intelligently. Was it Holden Caulfield [...]

Inspector General Blasts USDA’s Lax Oversight of Organic Laws

That faint, “We told you so” ringing in your ears might be coming from the folks at the Cornucopia Institute, the Wisconsin-based watchdog group that has being complaining for years that the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) enforcement of federal organic laws was, to put it kindly, pathetic, clearly favoring industrial operations who bent (or broke) [...]

Bye-Bye Bluefin

It was great while it lasted. This week, at a meeting in Qatar, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) took a big step toward making sure that Atlantic bluefin tuna will no longer be classified as endangered. Instead, the species soon may be classified as extinct. Under intense lobbying pressure from Japan, [...]

Raising a Stink: Neighbors Win $11-million Lawsuit Against Foul-Smelling Factory Hog Farm

Where I live in Vermont, the occasional whiff of manure is considered a minor inconvenience, one worth putting up with to live in this bucolic state, like mud in April, blackflies in May, mosquitoes in June, frost in September, leaf-peeping tourists in October, and snow for much of the rest of the year. Don’t get [...]

Give Estabrook a hug! “Politics of the Plate” Nominated for Treehugger.com’s Best of Green Award in the Food Website Category

I am flattered to announce that Treehugger.com, the font of cutting-edge reporting about all things sustainable, announced earlier this week that Politics of the Plate.com has been nominated for the 2010 Best of Green Award in the Best Food Website category. I’m left speechless. Okay, not quite. Treehugger says that the awards, “are our annual [...]

Obama Administration Supports Protection for High-Profile Bluefin, But Will Anybody at CITES Speak out on Behalf of Equally Endangered Sharks?

News this week that the United States had come out in support of giving endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna protection under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was hailed as a major victory by environmental groups. “The Obama administration’s decision to support a CITES Appendix I listing of Atlantic bluefin [...]

To Market! To Market! USDA Offers $5 Million in Grants to the Smallest of the Small Farmers

The 2008 farm bill contains $35 billion in pork earmarked as subsidies to the huge agribusinesses that produce the bulk of our corn, wheat, and soybeans. In comparison, the $5 million (million, not billion) in grants the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) made available this week for the Farmers’ Market Promotion Program seems like [...]