THE NUMBER ONE THING WE CAN DO TO PROTECT EARTH’S OCEANS...

May 31, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment Strict agreements and governance over our bodies of water is the only way to conserve them for years to come. By Liza Gross  BILL MOYERS  & CO. Scientists know how to cure many of the ills plaguing ocean waters farther than 200 nautical miles from shore, beyond the jurisdiction of nations. Restricting fishing, shipping and deep seabed mining in biodiversity hot spots would go a long way toward restoring ocean health, they say. (Photo by Stephen Coates/AFP/Getty Images) This post originally appeared at Ensia.com. When New England fishers complained of working harder and harder to catch fewer and fewer fish, Spencer Baird assembled a scientific team to investigate. Though a fishery failure would once have seemed inconceivable, Baird wrote in his report, “an alarming decrease of the shore fisheries has been thoroughly...

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5 Superfoods You’re Probably Not Eating...

May 30, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] It’s time to move beyond kale and quinoa. By Reynard Loki / AlterNet By some estimates, the state of American health looks pretty grim. And much of it is directly tied to poor diets. Based on current trends, one in three American adults—about 146 million people—will be suffering from type 2 diabetes by 2050, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That year, say researchers at Harvard University, 42 percent of Americans will be obese, up from the current figure of 35 percent. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that in 2000, partially because of a surge in meat consumption, the average American ate almost 20 percent more calories than he did in 1983. The problem isn’t only that we’re eating too much, but that we’re eating a lot...

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WHY THERE’S A SEARING ETHIOPIAN DROUGHT WITHOUT AN EPIC ETHIOPIAN FAMINE...

May 15, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] governance By Andrew C. Revkin Photo Cattle are led in search of water in Ethiopia’s Oromia region.Credit Nancy McNally / Catholic Relief Services I hope you’ll read “Is the Era of Great Famine Over,” an Op-Ed article by Alex de Waal, the executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University, which has a program tracking famine trends. Filing from Ethiopia, which is in the midst of a potent drought but — for a change — not a calamitous famine, de Waal made these core points:  How did Ethiopia go from being the world’s symbol of mass famines to fending off starvation? Thanks partly to some good fortune, but mostly to peace, greater transparency and prudent planning. Ethiopia’s success in averting another disaster is confirmation that famine is elective because, at its...

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This Is the County With the Worst Childhood Hunger in America...

May 14, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] In some parts of Arizona, the child hunger rate is twice as high as it is nationally. By Sarah McColl / TakePart  VIA ALTERNET hungry little girl Photo Credit: EduardSV/Shutterstock David Martinez vividly remembers a boy who visited a mobile food pantry in Apache County, Arizona, where fresh fruits and vegetables were available for free to those who needed them. “He was maybe five or six, and he was so excited about getting an orange,” said Martinez, an advocacy and outreach specialist at the Phoenix-based St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance. “You’d think he would be more concerned about getting an Xbox. But he was really excited about oranges. A kid should be excited about learning and playing and growing, not worried about where their next meal is coming from.” When Feeding America issued its...

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URBAN AGRICULTURE CAN’T FEED US, BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S A BAD IDEA...

May 11, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Research shows that the social and cultural benefits of city farms and gardens far outweigh the number of people they can feed. Urban farm near low-income housing in Chicago. (Photo: Linda N./Flickr) Willy Blackmore is TakePart’s Food editor.   Growing up in Iowa is a good way to become familiar with what a field of corn looks like. My eye is more readily drawn to its shiny, lopping leaves and the spike of an unopened tassel than to most any other plant. Driving across Los Angeles, as I do far too often, the crop still catches my eye, but the plots that it grows on here look nothing like the rolling farms back home that each measure in the thousands of acres. Instead, it’s a small berm pushed up against a park fence...

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3 Disturbing Facts You Need to Know If You Eat Sashimi...

May 4, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment One in three pieces of sashimi is from fish caught by Taiwanese fishing vessels. And that spells trouble. By Yen Ning / Greenpeace   VIA ALTERNET Phetchaburi – September 7 – Local vendors are collecting fish in famous fishing village, which 90% of foreign workers is Burmese. September 7, 2014 Phetchaburi Thailand Photo Credit: SARAPON/Shutterstock   If you eat imported seafood, chances are you’ve eaten Taiwan caught fish, so when we’re talking Taiwanese seafood, we’re talking about an industry that has an impact on all of us.   Tuna transshipment on the high seas in the Indian Ocean. In a race to make as much profit as possible, Taiwan’s fishing industry has long been linked to environmental abuse. But what is becoming clearer is that where there are environmental abuse, human rights abuses...

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HOW WILL WE FEED THE MEGACITIES OF THE FUTURE?...

May 3, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] More people are moving to urban areas, and making new connections with rural farmers will be necessary to feed them. Urban agriculture in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. (Photo: Sergio Ruiz via SPUR/Flickr) Tove Danovich is a journalist based in New York City.   Urban farms may provide a delicious source of delicate salad greens, honey, and even the occasional eggs, but they’re a long way from feeding entire cities. As rural areas continue to house much of the world’s poor, the question of who feeds these dense, agriculture-scarce areas becomes even more important. Linking small or subsistence farmers to urban markets could provide a way out of poverty for them, as well as opportunities for developing better infrastructure, creating new jobs along the way. More people already live in urban areas...

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How a Virginia Nonprofit Is Helping Veterans Launch Careers in Farming...

Apr 27, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Food The innovative program tackles two issues: the aging population of farmers and military veterans looking for new careers. By Lani Furbank / Food Tank  VIA ALTERNET Old farmer displays his American pride by holding the U.S. flag Photo Credit: Brocreative/Shutterstock A nonprofit organization in Virginia has designed a potentially beneficial solution to two looming social issues in American society: the aging population of farmers and military veterans looking for new careers. The Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture’s Veteran Farmer Program aims to develop a new cohort of farmers by providing opportunities and support to veterans. The Center excels at community-focused programming that provides access to healthy food and establishes connections between local farms and consumers in the D.C. metro area. These programs include a Mobile Market that distributes produce to underserved communities and...

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KANSAS GOVERNOR JUSTIFIED KICKING 15,000 PEOPLE OFF FOOD STAMPS...

Apr 25, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Alan Pyke THINK PROGRESS CREDIT: AP Photo/John Hanna) Gov. Sam Brownback (R-KS)   For over five years now, Kansas has served as an economic policy experiment for anti-tax, small-government conservatives. Their lab work is costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars, crippling public service budgets, and making life harder for low-income families without reducing the state’s poverty rate at all. With his political star beginning to tarnish, Gov. Sam Brownback (R) came to Washington on Wednesday to discuss his poverty policies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. At one point, the embattled governor justified his policy of forcing people off of food stamps if they can’t find a job by likening low-income and jobless people to lazy college students. The event was convened around a policy he pioneered: Reinstating a rigid...

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The Creepy Way Processed Food Packaging Messes With Your Hormones...

Apr 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] A new study shows common plastic packaging steeps food in industrial chemicals. By April M. Short / AlterNet As if it weren’t already enough of a headache to find non-toxic, safe and healthy food to eat, a recent study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspective reveals that the packaging used to contain certain food products can impact your hormones. Researchers for the study found that people who eat more fast food have significantly increased rates of phthalates—industrial chemicals used to make plastics—in their systems. The study authors attribute the trend to those chemicals seeping from plastic packaging into foods. The study asked 8,877 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examinations Surveys between 2003 and 2010 to report all the food they had eaten within last 24 hours. Participants also donated a urine sample...

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CLIMATE CHANGE MAY TURN CROPS INTO JUNK FOOD...

Apr 19, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] TAKE PART DAILY   Tove Danovich is a journalist based in New York City. Rising CO2 levels will make plants produce more carbohydrates and fewer nutrients and protein. (Photos: Neil Howard/Flickr; Lew Robertson/Getty Images)   Plants love carbon dioxide. Higher levels of CO2 in the air increase the rate of photosynthesis—it’s why planting more trees helps to clean the air, after all. For a time, that love had some scientists convinced that the world’s greenery could keep CO2 levels in the atmosphere in check—but research has now shown not only that plants alone can’t halt the rise of CO2 but that the increase will make food crops less healthy for human consumption. According to one new study, higher carbon dioxide levels could turn healthy fruits and veggies into junk food. According to a report...

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INTENSE FARMING PRACTICES CAN HELP SAVE WILDLIFE...

Apr 16, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] TAKE PART DAILY Human population growth means we need to farm more efficiently so we don’t plow what’s left of the world’s natural habitat. (Photo: Chris Winsor/Getty Images) Richard Conniff is the author of House of Lost Worlds: Dinosaurs, Dynasties, and the Story of Life on Earth, and other books.   You probably don’t think agricultural intensification could ever be a good thing. And you certainly wouldn’t expect an argument for more of it in a column about wildlife. But here’s the deal: If we don’t figure out how to grow more food on less land, we’re going to have to plow under what little remains of the natural world and turn it into farmland. And we have to figure it out fast, because there are going to be 10 billion people to...

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WASTED FOOD LAYS A HEAVY BURDEN ON THE CLIMATE...

Apr 13, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] TRUTHDIG  Tim Radford     About one-third of all food produced never reaches a plate. (Taz via Flickr) This Creative Commons licensed piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—By mid-century, an estimated one-tenth of all greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture could be traced back to food waste, according to new research. Human use and misuse of land accounts for up to a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, and farming directly contributes at least 10%, and perhaps twice as much. Yet roughly one-third of all food produced never makes it to the plate. “Reducing food waste can contribute to fighting hunger, but to some extent also prevent climate impacts like more intense weather extremes and sea-level rise,” says lead author Ceren Hic, a scientific assistant at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact...

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Meet Monsanto’s Evil Twin, an Industry That Does Major Damage and Gets Shockingly Little Attention...

Apr 13, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Food Chemical fertilizer pollutes the environment, disrupts the climate and damages human and animal health. By Martha Rosenberg, Ronnie Cummins / AlterNet Farmer fertilizing wheat with nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium fertilizer Photo Credit: oticki/Shutterstock What do you know about the worldwide chemical fertilizer industry? If you’re like most people, not much. There’s plenty of press coverage and consumer awareness when it comes to genetically engineered food and crops and the environmental hazards of pesticides and animal drugs. But the fertilizer industry? Not so much, even though it’s the largest segment of corporate agribusiness ($175 billion in annual sales), and a major destructive force in polluting the environment, disrupting the climate and damaging public health. Learning the facts about chemical fertilizers and the companies that produce them will give you yet another reason to boycott...

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Move Over Pesticides: Could Traditional Plants Hold the Secret to Saving Crops From Pests?...

Apr 11, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Environment Researchers are building on age-old practices to reduce food loss in Africa. By Rachel Cernansky / Ensia   VIA ALTERNET BUIKWE REGION, UGANDA – JULY 26: An unidentified farmers working on their fields on July 26, 2004 in Buikwe region, Uganda. People in rural areas of Uganda depend on farming. Photo Credit: Pecold/Shutterstock Without any effort at all, Hawa Saidi Ibura crushes dried beans, one at a time, between her fingers outside her home in Endagaw, a village in northern Tanzania. She’s holding a basket of a type of red bean eaten all over East Africa, but these beans are skeletons of what they once were. She harvested them from her farm less than a year ago, but insects have since ravaged her storage room—eating the nutrition out of the beans and out...

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One-Third of All Food Produced Globally Never Finds Its Way Onto a Plate...

Apr 9, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Food The majority of food waste ends up in landfills where it releases methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times stronger than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. By Nicole Mormann / EcoWatch  VIA ALTERNET April 8, 2016 It’s easy not to think about food waste when your rotting tomatoes and days-old casserole dishes are hidden away in the back of the refrigerator—out of sight, out of mind. But when it comes time to clean it out, you have to face a lot of waste food, money and the resources that took to produce it. While food waste has made a rapid rise in terms of public awareness recently, new research suggests that the future effect could end up accelerating climate changeat a worrisome rate in coming years. According to a study released Thursday by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact...

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We’ve Changed a Life-Giving Nutrient Into a Deadly Pollutant—Can We Change It Back?...

Apr 6, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   Environment In the process of producing food, we’ve inadvertently filled our planet with toxic forms of nitrogen. By Elizabeth Grossman / Ensia   VIA ALTERNET A lot of dead fish on the beach Photo Credit: Brandon Seidel/Shutterstock Coastal dead zones, global warming, excess algae blooms, acid rain, ocean acidification, smog, impaired drinking water quality, an expanding ozone hole and biodiversity loss. Seemingly diverse problems, but a common thread connects them: human disruption of how a single chemical element, nitrogen, interacts with the environment. Nitrogen is absolutely crucial to life — an indispensable ingredient of DNA, proteins and essentially all living tissue — yet it also can choke the life out of aquatic ecosystems, destroy trees and sicken people when it shows up in excess at the wrong place, at the wrong time, in...

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5 Disturbing Facts Big Food Doesn’t Want You to Know...

Apr 5, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] A few inconvenient truths you might need to know before tucking into that next bite of shrimp, beef or bacon. By Martha Rosenberg / AlterNet April 4, 2016 Photo Credit: Franck Boston / Shutterstock From mercury in tuna and wood pulp in parmesan cheese to ground beef treated with ammonia to retard E. coli (“pink slime”), the press does a good job exposing the dangerous and deceptive practices of Big Food. The problem is, the public forgets about the food risk or contamination, assuming that reform is in the works and that is just fine with Big Food. Often nothing changes. For example, many thought the problem of mercury in tuna had been solved since it has been so widely reported. But Time recently wrote “the latest analysis shows that eating fish the way the...

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GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS CAN THRIVE AS THE WORLD WARMS...

Apr 4, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Alex Kirby / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG     Rice harvesting in Indonesia. (Curt Caremark / World Bank via Flickr) This piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—Genetically engineering photosynthesis in plants could take advantage of rising global temperatures and increased levels of carbon dioxide, US scientists say. They believe this could achieve much higher yields on the same amount of land and help to stave off the prospect of widespread hunger as human populations increase. Researchers at the University of Illinois report in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B on their experiments with an enzyme that can determine the rate of photosynthesis—the way that plants use light to produce oxygen and organic compounds—and a molecule linked to plant growth They say field tests have shown that their...

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Attention Vegans: Your Salad Was Probably Grown With the Blood and Bones of Dead Animals...

Apr 1, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   Photo Credit: Juan-Calderon/Flickr C If you want to eliminate animal products from your diet, stock-free farmers want your business. By Ari LeVaux / AlterNet Meat lovers will be forgiven if they feel like the wagons are circling around their protein of choice. The raising of animals for food has been implicated in a host of ethical, environmental, humanitarian and animal welfare problems, while eating animals is increasingly blamed for various health problems. Livestock production is widely considered responsible for some 18 percent or more of greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why the United Nations and several countries have formally recommended people eat less meat in order to curb the climate crisis. Meat probably gives you cancer, notes the World Health Organization, and contributes to world hunger, according to hunger advocates who point out...

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THIS PROGRAM WILL MAKE CUTTING CARBON EMISSIONS LUCRATIVE FOR FARMERS...

Mar 30, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Climate by Natasha Geiling CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Mark Isbell   When Mark Isbell, a third-generation rice farmer in central Arkansas, tallies up his profits for this year, he’ll count a few extra dollars from a unique source: the greenhouse gases that his 3,200-acre farm didn’t emit. Isbell is part of a small group of farmers participating in a new project piloted by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), in conjunction with the USDA, and approved by the American Carbon Registry. The program encourages rice farmers in California and the Mid-South to adopt a series of greenhouse-gas mitigating practices on their fields by allowing them to cash in on the carbon emissions that they offset using California’s carbon market. “You always have to be looking forward,” Isbell told ThinkProgress. “It seems like this is the...

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THE NETHERLANDS’ NEW DIETARY GUIDELINES TAKE MEAT OFF THE MENU...

Mar 25, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Natasha Geiling CREDIT: Shutterstock   The Dutch government has a new message for its residents: when it comes to meat, less is more. This week, the Netherlands Nutrition Centre — a government-funded program that creates dietary guidelines — issued a recommendation that people eat no more than two servings of meat per week. According to National Geographic, it’s the first time that the Nutrition Centre has placed a hard limit on the amount of meat a person should consume. The Centre released its recommendations after nearly five years of studying the health and ecological impacts of an average Dutch diet. The new guidelines recommend that a person should consume no more than 500 grams (or a little over a pound) of meat per week. Of that, no more than 300 grams should...

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Food Companies Plan to Label GMOs—but Is There More to the Story?...

Mar 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Companies’ change of heart may mask a larger strategy to pass a rival bill. By Katherine Paul and Ronnie Cummins / AlterNet Photo Credit: Burtmurno/Flickr Creative Commons The world’s largest food corporations have spent hundreds of millions of dollars (some of it illegally) to avoid being required to label the genetically engineered ingredients in their products. But with the July 1 deadline for complying with Vermont’s GMO labeling law on the horizon, a handful of the largest multinational food corporations have announced they will now label GMOs—not solely because they will be forced to, but because as General Mills claims, they believe “you should know what’s in your food and how we make ours.” Have consumers won the GMO labeling battle? Have these food companies that so fiercely fought to keep labels off their products really split...

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THIS IS WHAT CLIMATE CHANGE LOOKS LIKE...

Mar 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By grumpynerd   VIA DAILY KOS   Food rioting in Algeria, 2011. Source:Wikimedia.org It’s important to express solidarity with Belgium at this time of grief and fear, but we have to also start thinking longer term about these kinds of events.  One of the overlooked factors leading to the Paris and Brussels attacks is something we’ll be living with a long time: climate change. We have to start making this point: regional political instability and the resulting export of terrorism are climate change problems. And no doubt we’ll be ridiculed for saying that. “Don’t be ridiculous,” some people will say,”the problem is radical Islam.” Well the Assads have ruled over radical Islamists for decades, and have ruthlessly but successfully put down past Islamist risings.  So what was different about 2011?  This was: Source: USDA Now note that...

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SPRING IS HERE, SO LET’S EAT ALL OF ITS BEST, MOST SUSTAINABLE VEGETABLES...

Mar 23, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Ramps, artichokes, and green garlic are in season, but they aren’t all grown equally. Artichokes. (Photo: Kotomi Creations/Flickr) Mar 23, 2016 Jane Lear is a regular contributor to TakePart. She was on staff at ‘Gourmet’ for almost 20 years.   Longer days and warmer weather mean that early spring greens and other things are starting to appear in the markets and not a moment too soon. Here are a few updates for you. The passion—nope, make that frenzy—this pungent wild allium inspires every year never ceases to amaze. From March through May, ramp festivals will be in full swing in Appalachia and beyond—and many chefs, home cooks, and the foragers they depend upon will do whatever it takes to get their hands on some. In May 2015, I wrote about the abusive overharvesting...

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SEED BANKS ARE SUPPOSED TO ENSURE FOOD SECURITY, BUT THEY’RE MISSING CRUCIAL PIECES...

Mar 23, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Natasha Geiling CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Mari Tefre/ Global Crop Diversity Trust Svalbard Global Seed Vault at night   Seed banks are supposed to be a safeguard against terrible food shocks, a sort of last line of defense if something terrible — a megadrought, a virulent disease, a war — wipes out a staple crop. But a new study found that the banks themselves are missing crucial pieces: crop wild relatives, which contain key genetic diversity that could help domesticated crops adapt to a changing climate. …over 70 percent of the crop wild relatives are not sufficiently preserved in global gene banks In a study published Monday in Nature Plants, a coalition of international scientists embarked on a first-of-its-kind effort to map the representation of crop wild relatives — crops that are genetically...

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OVERFISHING IS AS BIG A THREAT TO HUMANITY AS IT IS TO OUR OCEANS...

Mar 20, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE GUARDIAN As market leader John West commits to sustainably sourced tuna, WWF Australia CEO says the move will drive fishery reform, helping to provide food security for Pacific islanders as well as save vulnerable marine species A fisherman in the Philippines with a tuna catch. John West Australia has joined forces with WWF and the Marine Stewardship Council to source only sustainable tuna. Photograph: Jürgen Freund/WWF Australia Dermot O’Gorman is the CEO of World Wildlife Fund Australia     There has never been a more urgent time for seafood businesses and fishing nations to make a commitment to sustainability. The world’s oceans are in trouble, with marine life plummeting and the people who are dependent on the sea for income and food left increasingly vulnerable. Data shows populations of fish and other...

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NEW DANISH SUPERMARKET SELLS THE THINGS NOBODY ELSE WANTS AT A DISCOUNT...

Mar 14, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Other stores toss food that’s perfectly safe to consume. WeFood sells it at a discount. Alexandra Ma Editorial Fellow, The Huffington Post A new supermarket that opened in Copenhagen, Denmark this week sells the products other stores don’t want. WeFood sells food, cosmetics and household items that other stores had rejected — either because they neared their expiration dates, had been wrongly labeled or had damaged packaging — but are still legal to sell and safe to consume. The store’s goods are priced 30 to 50 percent lower than those in regular supermarkets, according to WeFood. WeFood is a joint project from Fødevarebanken, or “The Food Bank,” a Danish nonprofit that distributes surplus produce to homeless shelters, and DanChurchAid, a religious charity that works to eradicate poverty, HIV/AIDS and hunger. All of the store’s proceeds will...

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HERE’S A REALISTIC PLAN TO SLASH FOOD WASTE...

Mar 9, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Nathanael Johnson  GRIST If you are unconvinced that food waste is a problem, then there are plenty of boggling stats to make you come to Jesus: The United States spends $218 billion a year producing food that nobody eats — amounting to 40 percent of all food grown. We devote roughly 80 million acres to grow food just for the garbage bin — an area three-quarters the size of California. But what are we supposed to do? I assume you, like me, are already eating your onion skins (unsurpassable fiber!) and adding your coffee grounds to your smoothies? Or maybe I’m just getting a little eccentric after hearing all the anti-food-waste messages without any concrete plan for action. That’s why I was excited to see the pragmatic, step-by-step plan just released by...

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The U.S. Has Approved Industrial Aquaculture in Deep Offshore Waters for the First Time — and It’s a Huge Step Backwards...

Mar 6, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] If the U.S. public had known the extent of harms that industrial agriculture would cause, we would have never allowed it to become the norm. By George Kimbrell, Sylvia Wu, Cristina Stella / Center for Food Safety VIA ALTERNET   Aquaculture Photo Credit: shutterstock The tragedy of industrial agriculture, the unwise adoption of inherently unsustainable forms of food production over the past generation, has cost us dearly in environmental destruction and public health. From millions of acres of monocultured, genetically engineered, pesticide-promoting crops to inhumane and filthy, water-and-air-polluting Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), the dominant paradigm for current crop and animal production on land in the United States relies on intensive and toxic inputs. These include animal feed and feed additives, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals, and pesticides and other synthetic chemicals, which have irreparably damaged our farmlands and native...

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