Friday, April 06, 2012

Ethan's Farm and Food Roundup

EthanTwo recent studies have found that chickens are being fed some pretty scary chemicals. These include arsenic, caffeine, and the active ingredients in Prozac, Benadryl and Tylenol. The researchers had intended to test only for antibiotics. But assays for other chemicals and pharmaceuticals didn’t cost extra, so researchers asked for those results as well. What they learned shocked them.

The USDA has proposed a move that would hand over poultry inspection duties from USDA inspectors to employees on the assembly lines, while the inspectors would shift their focus to bacteria testing around the facility. The new program aims to prevent diseased birds from making it to the supermarkets, but inspectors say that the program may result in just the opposite.

Monsanto is threatening to sue the state of Vermont if they pass a bill that requires the labeling of foods containing GMO ingredients. Legislators have been dragging their feet on the bill, and it seems that they are trying to prolong the process until the court adjourns in just four weeks. Despite heavy support from the public, legislators seem to be standing down in the face of corporate intimidation.

With 98% of Colorado already in a drought since the beginning of 2012, there is a fierce battle over the water resources that are left in the state. Gas and oil companies seeking water for fracking purposes are outbidding farmers, and the result could be devastating for an already struggling agricultural climate.

Bright Farms, a greenhouse developer, is set to start work on a 100,000 square foot rooftop garden project in Brooklyn. The hydroponic greenhouse will be the largest in the United States - and possibly the world - producing over a million pounds of produce each year--without using any dirt!

No one has ever said farming is easy on your body. A story in The Atlantic tells about Ann Cure and her ongoing battle between beets and bruises, carrots and cuts, and how it is all worth it in the end. As an owner of an organic farm, she summed up her work simply: “Your hands are going to bleed.” Ann's story is an excerpt from the book Greenhorns: 50 Dispatches From the New Farmers' Movement (Storey Publishing).

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