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Feeding your mind, saving the planet >>

The Latest from AgMag

Monday, September 20, 2010

A big reason that food products derived from corn are so pervasive in America’s diet today is that for decades taxpayers have given corn growers incentives to grow as much as possible through the skewed federal farm subsidy system.

Friday, September 17, 2010

It’s now a done deal. After Congress in July rebuffed several attempts by Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) to win funding for an agriculture disaster aid package that would send generous checks to large Arkansas farms for minimal losses, the White House quickly offered to finance the payments administratively.

Key Issues: 
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We're all used to hearing Big Food and Big Ag brag about America having "the safest food supply in the world," usually as a warm-up for complaining that EWG and other critics of our food system are, well, out to lunch. But the facts about food safety - food poisoning in particular - are nothing for the richest country in the world to crow about.

Key Issues: 
Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Recent government-sponsored tests at more than a dozen California farms found that organic strawberries were tastier and more nutritious than conventionally grown berries. On top of that, the organic berries had longer shelf life and left the soil in better condition.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Discussions in Congress on reforming America's broken food and farm policy in the next farm bill have already begun. Lots of voices are chiming in from the pro-food and sustainable agriculture circles on ideas for change. With the proliferation of food knowledge being spread by television and celebrity chefs, and the engagement of the First Lady on food and nutrition issues.

Key Issues: 
Thursday, August 12, 2010

In the months since we spoke with Chef Ann Cooper about her school lunch project, she's been crafting a new plan to get healthy foods into the mouths of America's kids.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

With its new blog, Mission Organic Made Easy, the Boulder, Colo.-based Organic Center (TOC) delivers on its promise to communicate all the good reasons to eat food devoid of harmful agrichemicals and to use natural products untainted by toxic chemicals.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A controversial White House pledge to spend $1.5 billion to retroactively compensate farmers for 2009 crop losses -- and thereby boost the reelection prospects of Arkansas Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln -- will mean a six-figure windfall for hundreds of plantation-scale, highly subsidized rice and cotton farms across the South, a new Environmental Working Group analysis shows.

Key Issues: 
Monday, August 2, 2010

The large, industrial growers of corn floated a trial balloon recently (July 20) in an attempt to justify continued taxpayer subsidies that have totaled $73.8 billion since 1995 for the ubiquitous crop. What stirred them up was that even hard-core subsidy defenders in Congress have begun talking about the need to give commodity subsidies a haircut in light of the worsening federal deficit.

Key Issues: 
Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The conflagration that embroiled the US Department of Agriculture last week (July 19) over the knee-jerk dismissal of an African American official who was falsely accused of reverse discrimination is only the latest travesty at an agency that has a notorious record on racial issues.

Key Issues: 
Monday, July 26, 2010

Hopes for comprehensive legislation to combat climate pollution evaporated Thursday (July 22) after months of wrangling in the Senate. In its place Senate leaders are proposing what is being billed as an “oil-spill only” bill with a few added energy provisions.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Over the past decade, organic produce sales have soared from 3 percent of the retail produce market in the U.S. in 2000 to nearly 11 percent last year, to $9.5 billion. According to surveys by the Organic Trade Association, organic produce’s precipitous trajectory barely slowed when the global financial crisis took hold in late 2008.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

As AgMag noted the other day, Massachusetts has decided to rewrite its rules for renewable energy to exclude electric-only power plants that would burn biomass, often in the form of whole trees. Ian A.

Key Issues: 
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

In an bid to garner support for legislation to address the looming danger of climate change, Midwest senators are reportedly pressing to attach a long-term extension of biofuel tax breaks to a Senate energy bill being crafted by Democratic leaders. The Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), currently set to expire on Dec. 31, pays oil companies $0.45 per gallon in the form of tax credits to blend ethanol with gasoline.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Last week began with a front page story in the San Francisco Chronicle (July 5) detailing the links between increased fertilizer run-off due to corn ethanol production in the Mississippi River Basin to the swelling Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

Friday, July 9, 2010

In a sharp about-face, Massachusetts officials have decided that biomass-fueled, electric-only power plants do not qualify as renewable energy sources because of the growing awareness that these facilities actually boost greenhouse emissions for decades, rather than helping to combat global warming.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

On the first of the July, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a plan to put everyone who lives or works in the Chesapeake Bay watershed on a "rigorous pollution diet" intended to cut back on the quantities of nitrogen and phosphorus runoff that have turned large portions of the bay into oxygen-deprived "dead zones."

Friday, July 2, 2010

2010 won’t be all lemons for BP. Sure, the company will be best remembered for blowout preventers, top kill and Tony Hayward, but along the way the oil giant stands to make a killing from its investment in the US ethanol industry and the special tax breaks that come with it. In fact, the company could pull in well over half a billion dollars in ’10 alone, courtesy of the US taxpayer.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The  decades-old momentum behind federal farm subsidies delivered $13.4 billion to farmers in 2006, according to the latest update of the Environmental Working Group's Farm Subsidy Database website. Now including 2006 USDA data, the new website shows that from 1995 to 2006 or the past 12 years, taxpayers have sent over $177 billion in subsidies to farmers.

Key Issues: 
Saturday, June 26, 2010

Well, as we do each year, EWG released (on June 19) the latest Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce and as we suspected, eaters around the country are still concerned about high levels of toxic pesticide residue on their fruits and veggies.