Here's a sampling of articles from 2010-2013:


Is Coconut Water Too Good to Be True?

‘Parks and Recreation’ is joking about it, Rihanna is selling it, and you’re probably buying it—but is this beverage boom good for farmers? Read more on TakePart.

Surprise: Antibiotics Are Allowed in Organic Apple and Pear Farming

Jack Jones (who asked that his real name not be used) takes care of a small organic pear orchard for a farmer south of the San Francisco Bay Area. This spring, as the trees have begun to blossom, he’s been spraying them with a small amount of the antibiotic tetracycline to prevent a disease called fire blight. Read more on TakePart.

 Kathleen Franklin

Kathleen Franklin

Throwing Together a Meal, One Swap at a Time

A number of food swaps are popping up around the Bay Area. Taking cues from the food co-operatives of the 1970s, these urban dwellers are restructuring their food economies around face-to-face relationships. Read more at the New York Times.

How Hot is That Pepper? Unpacking the Scoville Scale

In 2007, the Naga Bhut Joloki or “Ghost chile” was named the hottest pepper on earth. Then in 2010 the Naga Viper stole the title. And in 2012 the Trinidad Scorpion Moruga Blend moved into the lead. And for good reason. The Scorpion ranks at round 2 million heat units on the Scoville scale. (For comparison, tabasco sauce has 2,500–5,000 Scoville heat units or SHU.) What exactly does that mean? Read more on


Dinner Discussion 33 

Some people collect items; Leif Hedendal collects dinner companions. Every month for the last three years he has made his dream dinner party list. He thinks big, including a range of activists, artists, writers, filmmakers, farmers and musicians he’s met, read about or encountered in some way. Then—and here’s what sets him apart from the rest of us—Leif simply invites them to join him for what he calls a Dinner Discussion ... To see the lists alone you might think this is some kind of networking event, but the meals couldn’t feel further from that. Guests simply eat, chat (or observe) and go home feeling a little more connected and a little more cared for. Read more on the Kinfolk website (subscription required).

Smooth as Silk: How big brands milk small farmers for all they’re worth

Silk soy milk makes an interesting case study of consolidation in the organics industry. You see, for years all the soy milk it sold was certified organic. And by the mid-2000s, the brand had become such a powerful market force that it was keeping a significant portion of organic soy farmers in business. Read more on Grist.

Feed your soil — and the rest will follow

Soil health doesn't matter. That is, unless you want to protect crops against drought, keep excess nutrients out of lakes and oceans (think: dead zones), and absorb carbon greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Read more on Grist.


Confined dining: A primer on factory farms and what they mean for your meat

In regulatory lingo, these meat factories are called “concentrated animal feeding operations,” or CAFOs. (Pronounced “cay-fo.”) Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about them — and a few things you’d probably rather not know.  Read more on Grist.

Don’t box me in: The unstoppable growth of CSA-style produce delivery

Is the growth of the CSA model watering down the concept? Or simply connecting more eaters to sustainable food.  Read more on Grist.


Beyond red lists: The power of community-supported fisheries

The Community-Supported Fisheries (CSF) movement -- provides a regular delivery of local seafood, or what are essentially CSAs for fish. And — just like farm-based effort that took hold in the ’90s — CSFs might just be a game changer for both eaters and the environment. Read more on Grist.

The food movement’s final frontier: Taking care of workers

Rita (not her real name) cuts pork on a line she says has sped up considerably in recent years. The factory has reduced its staff, but demands the same amount of work from the employees that remain. She has to move fast, with a sharp knife, on her feet, for eight to 10 hours a day. “I’ve never seen so many people with heart problems,” she said of her co-workers over the phone recently. “I think it’s because of the stress. Where there used to be four of us, now there are two people. [The managers] say, ‘You all can do this.’” Read more on Grist .

Meatifest destiny: How Big Meat is taking over the Midwest

When the Des Moines Register ran a front-page story last week calling into question the growth of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in the state, it wasn’t environmentalists or animal rights activists who went on record against the facilities. No, the article featured ex-hog farmers who have been vocal in opposing new factory farms, as well as several Iowans who don’t want to see huge facilities — nor the “poo lagoons” that go along with them — take over the landscape. Read more on Grist.


Oakland Homesteading School Caught in Trademark Tussle

A Pasadena-based family holds rights to "urban homesteading," much to local homesteaders' surprise. Read more at the Bay Citizen.