Tag Archives | Food

These 10 companies make a lot of the food we buy. Here’s how we made them better.

Behind-the-brands-illusion-of-choice-graphic-2048x1351

via OxFam America:

It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but it’s true: There really are 10 companies that control most of the food and drinks you’ll find in the grocery store. Between them, these giants—whose revenues add up to more than a billion dollars a day—own hundreds of common brands, from Cheerios to Ben & Jerry’s, Odwalla to Tropicana. (See the infographic above to learn more.)

So why should these huge companies care about doing business responsibly? First, because their global operations touch countless lives. “These corporations are so powerful that their policies can have a major impact on the diets and working conditions of people worldwide, as well as on the environment,” wrote Alexander E.M. Hess in USA Today.

Second, because shoppers these days think about factors like fairness and sustainability—and we’re increasingly (and successfully) demanding that the brands we buy do the same. These food companies may be big, but no company is too big to listen to its customers.

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After 35 Years I Tried Magic Mushrooms Again—Here’s What Happened

Darron Birgenheier (CC by-sa 2.0)

Darron Birgenheier (CC by-sa 2.0)

via Reset.me:

Though I began researching Acid Test, a book about the revival of research into the use of psychedelic drugs for healing, in 2007, my interest in the subject really began 30 years earlier, when I was a college student at the University of Florida. The UF campus is surrounded by a rural landscape, including thousands of acres of palmetto and pine-studded pasturage used to raise cattle. My friends and I had learned to slip gingerly through barbed wire fencing and, keeping an eye out for shotgun-wielding ranchers, hunt for recently deposited piles of cow dung, from which sometimes sprouted the creamy, brown-tipped caps of psilocybin mushrooms. We plucked the mushrooms with rising excitement, as if we were pulling nuggets of pure gold from a mountain stream instead of fungi from cow shit. We knew the power contained within. Steep them in a pot with tea and drink, and before long we would see the world, and ourselves, from a novel vantage point.

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“They Did What They Liked”: Chevron and Dow on Trial

Jonathan McIntosh (CC BY 2.0)

Jonathan McIntosh (CC BY 2.0)

via Dissent Magazine:

“They want me to be bankrupt, they want my wife to leave me, they want me to jump off a building,” says Steven Donziger, a lawyer based in New York City whose team won an unprecedented judgment against Chevron in 2011. That year, an Ecuadorean court found Texaco guilty of having polluted close to 2,000 square miles of the Amazon basin with crude oil, toxic wastewater, and other contaminants. The country’s Supreme Court eventually ordered the company’s successor, Chevron, to pay $9.5 billion for environmental remediation, medical treatment, and other relief for those affected. But Donziger’s victory painted a bull’s-eye on his back. The lawyer says he’s been watched; that he’s had laptops, thousands of documents, bank statements, and tax returns seized by court order and handed to Chevron’s lawyers; and that friends and supporters have been turned against him by threats of ruinous lawsuits.

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Flight of the RoboBees

opensource.com (CC BY-SA 2.0)

opensource.com (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via AdBusters:

Colony Collapse Disorder (ccd), initially referred to as “mystery disease” when it surfaced at the beginning of the 20th Century, remains mysterious. Here’s what we know: Bee populations around the world are falling to pieces and the implications are cataclysmic. No more honey for your toast, nor pollen for your flowers, which means no more flowers. Or plants. Or food. Or life.

The most convincing theory as to the root cause of CCD is the decades-old use of neonicotinoid insecticides — a class of neuroactive pest killers that are chemically similar to nicotine and were initially developed by Shell Oil as an “environmentally friendly” alternative to traditional pesticides. And while these chemicals have been kinder to the mammalian class, they’ve ravaged the anthophilous.

As the rapid advancement of CCD began to reach feverish levels in June of this year, President Obama created a task force charged with solving the mystery within 180 days.

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Carbon Colonialism: How The Fight Against Climate Change Is Displacing Africans

Homes burn following the eviction of their inhabitants by the Kenya Forest Service (FKS)

Homes burn following the eviction of their inhabitants by the Kenya Forest Service (FKS)

via Mint Press News:

Since the launch of a World Bank sponsored conservation programme in west Kenya eights years ago, the Bank-funded Kenya Forest Service (FKS) has conducted a relentless scorched earth campaign to evict the 15,000 strong indigenous Sengwer community from their ancestral homes in the Embobut forest and the Cherangany Hills. The pretext? The Sengwer are ‘squatters’ accelerating the degradation of the forest.

This October, with violence escalating, pressure from campaigners finally elicited a public response from World Bank president Jim Yon​g Kim, who promised to help facilitate “a lasting, peaceful resolution to this long, unfinished business of land rights in Kenya.”

But according to British film-maker Dean Puckett, who is currently on the ground in Embobut forest in west Kenya capturing extraordinary footage of recent events, the plight of the Sengwer has only worsened dramatically since Kim’s intervention.

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Junk Food for Profit: Fat, Sick and Addicted

Tavallai (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Tavallai (CC BY-ND 2.0)

via News Junkie Post:

“We are what we eat,” as the old adage says. “If you eat a hamburger one day, then its atoms and molecules will end up making your cell walls and different organs and tissues,” explains Logan McCarty, a lecturer on chemistry, chemical biology, and physics at Harvard University. For humans, as for other animals, it is essential to replace regularly the atoms and molecules in the body, and the food that we ingest supplies these atoms and molecules to fuel indispensable chemical processes and generate new cells.

Food is related to cellular division for an elegant reason: cells suffer damage over time, and division continuously replaces the old and dying cells with new ones. Mitosis and meiosis, the two different division processes, cannot create something from nothing. So the body incorporates new atoms and molecules from our food into dividing cells to generate fresh ones.

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The Exponential Benefits of Eating Less

Or, “Eat Less You Pig.” James McWilliams explains why eating less food—whole food and junk food, meat and plants, organic and conventional, GMO and non-GMO—would do a lot more than just better our personal health, at Pacific Standard:

There’s one T-shirt in my drawer that I don’t wear, mainly because I think it’s sort of offensive. It reads: Eat Less You Pig.

A nutritionist gave it to me. She had the shirts made because she was tired of the endless hand wringing over what it meant to eat ethically, eat environmentally, eat to optimize personal health, and so on. Rather than debating the fine points of the carbon sequestration of grass-fed systems or the amount of glyphosate sprayed on GMOs or the yield potential of organic agriculture versus conventional or whether animals suffer on “humane” farms, she simply wanted a few choice words that would cut through the fog and free us from the burden of culinary complexity.

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Hard Evidence: does GM cotton lead to farmer suicide in India?

Cotton has become a controversial crop in India. captrosha, CC BY-ND

Cotton has become a controversial crop in India. captrosha, CC BY-ND

In response to yesterday’s article, “Monsanto’s GMO Creations Caused 291,000 Suicides in India,” we had a Facebook commenter share this article with us.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

Read the original article.

By Ian Plewis, University of Manchester

Arguments surrounding the use of genetically modified crops and whether they are the solution to the world’s problems of food supply and public health are no nearer to resolution than when GM was introduced.

In Europe, there is widespread opposition to GM crops, with import or cultivation of many GM foods prohibited by EU regulations. In the Americas, and to a lesser extent in Asia, regulations are less stringent and a substantial proportion of the area used to grow corn, soybean and cotton is planted with GM seeds.

The agri-business companies responsible for developing the seeds, notably Monsanto, are frequent targets of anti-GM campaigners.… Read the rest

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Where GMOs Hide In Your Food

GMO Full Disclosure AdvocateThe mighty (alright, once-mighty) Consumer Reports picks up the GMO labeling cudgel:

More than 70 percent of Americans say they don’t want genetically modified organisms in their food, according to a recent Consumer Reports National Research Center survey of 1,000 adults. The trouble is, it’s hard to avoid them. Consumer Reports’ tests of breakfast cereals, chips, soy infant formulas, and other popular products found that GMOs lurk in many packaged foods—including some that carry labels suggesting that they don’t have these controversial ingredients.

In more than 60 countries, manufacturers must label foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. But GMO labeling isn’t required in the U.S. Yet our survey found that 92 percent of Americans want genetically modified foods to be labeled. And concerns about the potential health and environmental risks of GMOs coupled with an unwillingness on the part of the federal government to mandate labeling are leading many states to take action on their own.

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Food 2.0

Krispy Kreme DoughnutsThe next big thing for many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors is food. Paul B. Farrell explains ‘Food 2.0′ at MarketWatch:

  • Silicon Valley: “The Next Start-up Craze” is “Food 2.0” predict MIT Technology Review’s editors. “They are taking on corporate giants such as ConAgra, General Mills, and Kraft that spend billions on research and technology development.” Still, you can bet a successful new food-tech start-up is likely to have one of the Big Ag firms along as a venture partner or later as buy-out sugar-daddy.

  • Big Ag’s Monsanto: The global food industry, especially Big Ag capitalists like Monsanto, which controls 27% of the global seed market, is already having trouble feeding a global population of seven billion today. You can bet your corn futures that Monsanto will need many new ag technology breakthroughs if it expects its stock to double again like it had the past four years. And Big Ag is already facing heavy backlash over genetically modified food as it is.

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