Archives – May, 2012
- by Jill Richardson
This story was first published by Alternet and is being cross-posted by the Center for Media and Democracy’s Food Rights Network.
Driving through Ngong Hills, not far from Nairobi, Kenya, the corn on one side of the road is stunted and diseased. The farmer will not harvest a crop this year. On the other side of the road, the farmer gave up growing corn and erected a greenhouse, probably for growing a high-value crop like tomatoes. Though it’s an expensive investment, agriculture consultants now recommend them. Just up the road, at a home run by Kenya Children of Hope, an organization that helps rehabilitate street children and reunite them with their families, one finds another failed corn crop and another greenhouse. The director, Charity, is frustrated because the two acres must feed the rescued children and earn money for the organization. After two tomato crops failed in the new greenhouse, her consultant recommended using a banned, toxic pesticide called carbofuran. (more…)
May 25, 2012
A downer cow at a California dairy was recently found to be infected with an “atypical” strain of “bovine spongiform encephalopathy” (BSE), or “mad cow” disease. There has been some significant media coverage of the case, and the USDA wants the media to know they are not pleased.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) press secretary, Courtney Rowe, issued a memo saying there were an “unfortunate amount of misleading articles meant for our public.”
But the Columbia Journalism Review‘s analysis of the coverage concluded that “it’s hard to find many articles that fit her description. The media have covered the story rationally, for the most part, shunning both alarmism and indifference. . . . The media have exaggerated many public-health scares, to be sure, but not this time.” (more…)
May 14, 2012
- by Rebekah Wilce
Atrazine Indicator Species Portrait (Source: Abigail A. Allan)
Herbicide manufacturer Syngenta had an interesting way of celebrating Earth Day this year, touting the joys of pesticides.
The multinational conglomerate sent out a press release during the approach to Earth Day exclaiming that “modern farming is grounds for Earth Day celebration” because, it continues, “conservation tillage and no-till farming are responsible for significant environmental benefits often overlooked by Earth Day observers.” These “no-till” farming techniques, which reduce erosion and fuel use, depend “on the ability to control weeds, demonstrating the importance of the 50-year-old herbicide atrazine.”
Some scientists, including agricultural economist John Ikerd and toxicologist Warren Porter, are not buying the “atrazine is great for Mother Earth” spin. (more…)
May 7, 2012