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“Guerrilla Grafters” Seek to Bear Fruit on Streets of San Francisco – March 9, 2012

Food Vigilantes Take on City Prohibition on Sidewalk Fruit Trees

We’re all familiar with the story of a certain famous tree that bore forbidden fruit. Here’s a story of trees that are forbidden to bear fruit at all  — and the story of people who are working to change that.

Photo by Randy RobertsonThe Guerrilla Grafters follow a fine and ever-expanding tradition of benevolent urban
mischief-makers, from yarn-bombers to grammar vigilantes, but go one better by
literally adding new growth — and free food — to city streets.

San Francisco, like many cities, prohibits fruit-bearing trees on sidewalks and other public right-of-ways due to health and safety hazards. The fear is that fallen, rotten fruits attract… more

by: Brian Scoles

(1) Comments

Feed 9 Billion People, Cut Out the Food Waste – January 26, 2012

Improving Food System Efficiency Shouldn’t be Hard

I’ve been hearing this “9 billion” figure a lot lately. Nine billion people on the planet by 2050. It’s a big number, and most of the extensive coverage in papers, magazines, and blogs jump straight to the issue of food: how are we going to feed all 9 billion?

Photo by Gabriel AmadeusOne testament to the increased awareness of food waste is the new wave of
popularity for dumpster-diving. But this kind of scavenging isn't always easy.

Most articles jump straight to scientific and political solutions. The Economist touted the latest agronomic practices: matching the “best plants, fertilisers, fungicides, and husbandry” to get higher crop… more

by: Brian Scoles

(1) Comments

Commonsense: Mercury in Fish Ain’t Good for You – December 14, 2011

Yet EPA’s Plans for New Mercury and Air Toxic Standards Face Sabotage by House Republicans

What’s that you have pinched between your chopsticks? That’s not… tuna, is it? Oh, please no. Not during Mercury Awareness Week.

Photo by Flickr user PacificbroTuna could be a bad dinner choice for some.

Ok, so that was actually last week. But tuna is still a dangerous choice for dinner. It’s well known that mercury, emitted by coal-fired power plants in the U.S. and around the world, settles into rivers and oceans and bioaccumulates in fish, particularly large ones like tuna. Those who eat fish regularly face significant risks of mercury poisoning.

The danger is most severe for pregnant women and small children. In the 1950s, methylmercury… more

by: Brian Scoles

(1) Comments

Who’s Greener? Who Cares? – December 8, 2011

To be Sustainable, Green Movement Must Embrace Hypocrisy and Halfway Solutions

All I wanted was some sugar. Oh, for the days when such an errand was simple.

photo of a plot of plants in a wet environmentJohn Cavanagh photoRice seedlings at Danilo Atilano’s small organic farm in the Phillipines.

I found myself in an aisle at Berkeley Bowl West, with a fancy earth-toned pouch of raw cane sugar in each hand. The brown one was certified fair trade but not organic; the blue one was certified organic but not fair trade. I looked at the fair trade pouch, and imagined a crew of decently paid, self-respecting worker-owners casually spraying their crops with… more

by: Brian Scoles

(4) Comments

Local Food, meet Local Legislation – November 18, 2011

While Congress Cooks Up a Secret Farm Bill, Some Towns Get Creative in Supporting Small-Scale Agriculture

Our Congress – that cherished body of lawmakers which recently caved to lobbying pressure to call pizza a vegetable, and now has a single-digit approval rating lower than that of BP during its oil spill – may be on the brink of passing a disastrously short-sighted agricultural plan. The good news is that some small towns and small farmers aren’t waiting around to find out, but first, we’ll go to the Capitol for some doom-and-gloom.

Photo by Flick user zenguinoftheseaAlemany urban farm, San Francisco. The new farm bill will reinforce our government’s
fine tradition of leaving small, organic, and non-conventional farmers out in the… more

by: Brian Scoles

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