Chances are you live a stone’s throw away from a Thai restaurant in your neighborhood, and you’ve got a go-to local favorite for pad thai. These days I often find myself traveling north of Berkeley, where there’s quite a few wonderful Thai eateries clustered in Albany, El Cerrito and San Pablo locales.
Documents show that Food and Drug Administration scientists allowed 18 drugs to be sold to farmers despite a risk to human health. Critics say the agency now needs to get companies to commit to phasing out the drugs given to animals at low doses to make them grow faster.
Numbers don’t lie, but they can sometimes tell a misleading story. Three times in the last week, we came across farm statistics that painted a picture not quite backed up by facts on the ground.
Farmers can now deliver data from their fields, minute by minute, to big agribusiness companies like Monsanto or John Deere. Those companies promise to use the data to help farmers make money. But some farmers worry that it could threaten their privacy and give the big companies too much power.
Whole Foods recently decided it would not buy produce from farmers who used treated sewage sludge, also known as biosolids, on their fields. But scientists say this is a mistake — the material is safe and benefits the environment in lots of different ways.
Marijuana cultivation is booming along the state’s North Coast. But these plantations, critics say, guzzle enormous amounts of water while also spilling pesticides and fertilizers into waterways that are important sources of the West Coast’s salmon species.
A small Canadian company has created a genetically engineered apple that doesn’t go brown when you slice it. It’s waiting for approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But some apple producers are worried that this new product will taint the apple’s wholesome, all-natural image.
The world’s largest hog and pork buyer wants its contract farmers to move pregnant sows out of constrictive crates and into group houses, generally considered more humane, by 2022. The move is significant because independent farmers supply about 40 percent of the company’s sows.
Across the country, there’s a wave of interest in local food, and a new generation of young farmers wants to grow it. But many aren’t buying land. Instead, they’re renting it.
This year, 15 bills in 11 states attempted to make undercover videos on farms illegal. Not a single one passed. Activists say a broad-based coalition that tapped the grass-roots concern for animal welfare helped defeat the measures.
Salinas, Calif., is just an hour from Silicon Valley, but production at many local lettuce farms is decidedly low-tech. City officials here decided it’s time for an upgrade — and have hired a venture capital firm to help Salinas transition into a high-tech agricultural hub.
Sarah Ramirez left a high-prestige career to bring California’s bounty of unsellable fruit to food banks in the state’s Central Valley. Her grassroots organization is trying to address a regional conundrum: While many area farms end up with imperfect fruit that can’t be sold to supermarkets, local farmworkers struggle to afford fresh produce.
Many can’t afford to buy the fresh produce that grows all around them, and some areas that grow enormous amounts of produce are among the highest in the nation when it comes to food insecurity.
When it comes to making livestock agriculture more sustainable, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. That’s the conclusion of a study of livestock around the world.