Here are some interesting articles on food- and farm-related issues that recently appeared in the papers:
From Hoof to Dinner Table, A New Bid to Cut Emissions: Elisabeth Rosenthal of the New York Times reports on a project that a group of Dutch farmers have taken on: they’re cooking pig manure and using the methane gas produced to make electricity. While unpleasant, the project is a curtain-raiser on the issue of farm animals and carbon emissions they release into the atmosphere – more so than cars, buses and airplanes, according to the article. The animals belch methane and nitrous oxide, gases that are many times worse for the environment than carbon dioxide because they trap heat more efficiently. The gases are also released through livestock manure. With global meat consumption expected to rise as China, India and other emerging countries prosper, this issue will only get worse.
Obama’s ‘Secretary of Food’?: In his op-ed in the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof bemoans the ills of factory farming and calls upon President-elect Obama to pick a “bold reformer” as agriculture secretary or rather “Secretary of Food,” Kristof’s preferred name for the country’s top ag position.
Oops, I just read this in today’s New York Times. It looks as though President-elect Obama has picked his agriculture secretary – former Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa. The two-term governor, originally from Pittsburgh, is a strong advocate of ethanol and other biofuels.
How Green Can a Christmas Tree Be?: If you’re looking for a “green” Christmas tree this holiday season, read this article by Anne Raver. Many trees are sprayed with pesticides, which may wind up in people’s homes. Trees at city lots, big-box stores or large garden centers, she writes, are typically shipped in from large plantations where pesticides are applied.