What We’re Reading: January 25, 2014

The take away from this week’s roundup? We’re all connected in the global food system, for better or for worse. Our editors see the glass half full with these links.

The take away from this week’s roundup? We’re all connected in the global food system, for better or for worse. Our editors see the glass half full with these links:

Gabrielle Langholtz: First, two caveats: this is a video, so I technically didn’t read it.

And I  generally don’t advocate saving the world by buying one brand of bottled beverage (or other packaged food) over another. But Chain of Good is a silly, cinematic riff on the serious themes I read and write about all year long: that the food-purchasing choices we make have far-reaching consequences. Let’s make them good ones.

Marissa Finn: The Only Way to Have a Cow — Orion Magazine
I never met a vegetarian until I went to college, but as soon as I left home, I was surrounded by herbivores. I became fascinated by the concept. When I was assigned to read Bittman’s Food Matters for a food politics class, I decided to give it a try myself. Bittman is still my go-to for almost-vegetarian (flexitarian, VB6, whatever) reading material, but McKibben’s article really got to me. He gives the facts, describes the reasoning behind his food choices and concludes that if meat is raised correctly, eating steak does not make you a horrible person. He writes, “I doubt McDonald’s will be in favor. I doubt Paul McCartney will be in favor…. But it’s possible that the atmosphere would be in favor, and that’s worth putting down your fork and thinking about.”

Brian Halweil: If Urban Farming Took Off, What Would Boston Look Like? — The Boston Globe
This piece is a bit Blade Runner-esque in its stratospheric speculations — from vertical farms to green basements. But the legalization of commercial farming in Boston is a game changer at a time when there continue to be all sorts of hurdles to raising and making our own food. Like the legalization of beekeeping in New York, Boston’s shift will set in motion investment and interest in scaling up urban food production even further.

Lauren Wilson: The Elders of Organic FarmingNY Times
If one were to have told the first self-proclaimed organic farmers that certified organic food would one day represent $31.5 billion in sales, I doubt few would have believed. The popular notion of what started as a marginal practice has certainly acquired different meanings suited to different interests throughout recent decades; the term can describe everything from a personal philosophy to government-enforced production standards. Many among the movement’s founders might argue that the appropriation of the term has caused it to lose its radical force, but as a part of a younger generation, I would reply that the broadening of the word’s scope has helped pave the way for an alternative food system on a global scale. There’s plenty of work to be done to ensure that “organic” as an agricultural model retains its integrity, but I am thankful for their dedication and influence that has reached far beyond these elders’ small plots.

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