The Gospel According to Agribusiness

Photo by Joel Drzycimski on Unsplash Originally Published on Real Food Media, July 25, 2019 This piece is an abridged excerpt from the Iowa chapter of my book, Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food, which was the July 2019 book selection by Real Food Reads, which published this excerpt along with a podcast interview. In the beginning — 1926 — Agribusiness created corn, or so it proclaimed. It hadn’t, of course: 7,000 years earlier, the Mesoamerican gods had beaten them to it. What Agribusiness actually created thousands of years later was hybrid corn, and it declared that hybrid corn was the only corn that mattered. And Agribusiness saw that it

World Hunger is on the Rise

Let’s face it: The U.S. is not feeding the world Originally published on Heated x Mark Bittman, July 22, 2019 For the third straight year, U.N. agencies have documented rising levels of severe hunger in the world, affecting 820 million people. More than 2 billion suffer “moderate or severe” food insecurity. During the same period, the world is experiencing what Reuters called a “global grain glut,” with surplus agricultural commodities piled up outside grain silos rotting for want of buyers. Obviously, growing more grain is not reducing global hunger. Yet every day, some academic, industry, or political leader joins the Malthusian chorus of warnings about looming food shortages due to rising

Blood on Our Hands: How We Help Drive Immigration North

In September 2014, a U.S. official from The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives estimated that half the weapons available on El Salvador’s black market were made in the United States.(Wes Bausmith / Los Angeles Times) Originally published on Common Dreams, July 23, 2019 Each month tens of thousands of migrants arrive at our southern border. They’re “seeking a better life”…right? Isn’t that why families leave loved ones to trek vast distances facing untold dangers? Certainly, it’s the story that fits our cherished image of our nation as a land of opportunity like none other. Recently, though, I felt ashamed that I—someone who wants to believe she’s well informed—had overlooked

Impossible Foods, Impossible Claims

The company has courted ethical foodies, but how sustainable is this meat alternative? Originally Published on Medium, July 22, 2019. Impossible Foods — maker of the veggie “burger that bleeds” — is the latest darling of the food-tech world. Its stardom is driven largely by its claims that the burger is better for the planet than the real thing: But what’s actually in its signature patty raises big questions. Despite these questions, Forbes has given it glowing coverage; The New York Times has served up front-page column inches. Katy Perry, Questlove, and Jay-Z are all investors. And the company is already shorthand for a dot-com wunderkind. At a recent tech conference I attended more than o

Response to Costica Bradatan's article, “Democracy is for the Gods”

To Costica Bradatan, “Democracy is for the Gods” is dangerously misleading. Democracy, understood as an ever-evolving practice, is the only social form able to meet the deepest human needs beyond the physical: Our need for power (having a “say”), meaning, and connection in community. Yet, Costica Bradatan claims democracy is unnatural, painting humans as essentially cutthroat and thus no different from “the animal realm.” He ignores anthropologist's findings that we are in fact the most social species, evolving to our dominant role in large measure because of our especially evolved capacities for cooperation, empathy, fairness. We have what it takes. However, to continue the journey of democ

Agroecology as Innovation

Feature Image Courtesy of Markus Winkler on Unsplash Originally Published on Food Tank, Tuesday, July 9, 2019 Recently, the High Level Panel of Experts of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released its much-anticipated report on agroecology. The report signals the continuing shift in emphasis in the UN agency’s approach to agricultural development. As outgoing FAO Director General Jose Graziano da Silva has indicated, “We need to promote a transformative change in the way that we produce and consume food. We need to put forward sustainable food systems that offer healthy and nutritious food, and also preserve the environment. Agroecology can offer several contributions to this


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