The map above is just one example of Vox’s “40 Maps that explain Food in America“. Some are more related to agriculture than others; all are fascinating.
We’d been waiting to see what happened when Wal-Mart introduced organics into 2,000 more stores, at discount prices. Turns out it’s not looking good so far: “Critics worry the Arkansas-based retailer will “Wal-Mart” organic food, pushing farms to relocate to unregulated regions abroad while undermining organic standards at home.”
Is the farmland boom over? Modern Farmer takes a look.
We know all about the connections between neonicotinoid pesticides used in industrial agriculture and bee deaths, but it turns out there’s a similar connection between the same pesticides and the decline of butterflies.
Speaking of bees, a slightly hopeful ray of light comes from our own Sea-Tac Airport, where beekeepers are trying to breed colonies of more resistant, hearty bees. Also recommended: click through to the YouTube video illustrating the bees’ “waggle dance”.
In The Making Of Megafarms, A Mixture Of Pride And Pain, NPR’s Salt Blogs offers a brief examination of one region in Kansas, and the forces that make for farmers running megafarms via computer from a suburban development 3 hours away. Meanwhile, the communities actually adjacent to the farms are boarded up at a pace that shows no sign of slowing.
The federal government has awarded a $750,000 grant to Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman to investigate the merits of organic farming in eradicating pests without the use of chemicals.
A good general overview from the Los Angeles Times about young people taking up organic farming.
Are you a self-identified “foodie“? Mark Bittman challenges us to re-think the word, and hopes that “more conscious foodies understand that producing food has an effect beyond creating an opportunity for pleasure…It’s rewarding to find the best pork bun; it’s even more rewarding to fight for a good food system at the same time.”
And finally, “Stop Romanticizing Farming,” a somewhat controversial piece about whether that romanticization is helpful or harmful, as “the craze for rustic, weather-beaten barns, long farm tables and the other aesthetic trappings of traditionally conceptualized farm life has reached a fever pitch.”