• Make Them Sweat The Big Stuff

    A society reveals its values, priorities and distribution of power in the way its rulers punish deviant behavior. Here are some examples for you to ponder:

    Members of Congress were in an uproar recently over a MoveOn.Org political advertisement in the New York Times titled "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" The following copy alerted readers to their belief that he may likely testify before Congress as a political General reflecting the rosy views on the Iraq war-quagmire by his commander-in-chief, George W. Bush. >> Read the Full Article
  • Pesticide Exposure Tied to Asthma in Farmers

    Exposure to several commonly used pesticides appears to increase the risk of asthma, US researchers report.

    This finding stems from a study of nearly 20,000 farmers, which was presented Sunday at the European Respiratory Society Annual Congress in Stockholm.
    >> Read the Full Article
  • 'Healthy' restaurants help make us fat, says a new study

    If you're like most, you eat worst at healthy restaurants.  The "health halos" of healthy restaurants often prompt consumers to treat themselves to higher-calorie side dishes, drinks or desserts than when they eat at fast-food restaurants that make no health claims, according to a series of new Cornell studies.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Australia gives more money to drought-hit farmers

    The Australian government on Tuesday announced an extra A$714 million ($621 million) to help farmers survive a record-breaking drought.

    About 65 percent of Australia's viable agricultural land is currently in drought, with 23,000 farming families on some form of drought relief payments.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Frog deformities blamed on farm and ranch runoff

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Horrific deformities in frogs are the result of a cascade of events that starts when nitrogen and phosphorus from farming and ranching bleed into lakes and ponds, researchers said on Monday.

    These nutrients from fertilizers and animal waste create dramatic changes in aquatic ecosystems that help a certain type of parasitic flatworm that inflicts these deformities on North American frogs, researchers said.

    "You can get five or six extra limbs. You can get no hind limbs. You can get all kinds of really bizarre, sick and twisted stuff," Pieter Johnson, an ecologist and evolutionary biologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder who led the study, said in a telephone interview.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Offer Your Guests and Staff the Best Coffee: Fair Trade Certified

    There is a pretty good chance you are drinking coffee while reading this column. I am one of those rare individuals who has never had a cup of coffee. Never. That’s probably a good thing with the price of java rising faster than petroleum. Speaking of which, did you know that coffee is the world’s second most valuable traded commodity? It is just behind petroleum. According to San Francisco-based Global Exchange, coffee is the United States’ largest food import.

    The United States primarily purchases coffee from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, and Vietnam. It also buys coffee from Indonesia, Costa Rica, Peru, El Salvador, Ecuador, Venezuela, Honduras, Uganda, Thailand, Nicaragua, India, and Papua New Guinea. Take another look at the caffeinated concoction swirling before you. It traveled a long way to get to your coffee cup.
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  • Worldwatch Perspective: With the 2007 Farm Bill, the Local Goes Global

    The 2007 Farm Bill, a critical piece of legislation that highlights America’s agricultural priorities, has been on lawmakers’ agendas this fall. With the authority of the 2002 Bill due to run out by the end of the year, more than 65 proposals put forward by the U.S. Department of Agriculture are in need of extension or reauthorization. The Farm Bill is also seen as evidence of the U.S. government’s commitment to rural areas, and is recognized for its investments in alternative energy sources and food production. >> Read the Full Article
  • Australia's drought may cut wine vintage by half

    Australia's drought could cut the 2008 wine grape vintage by more than half, industry groups said on Monday, cutting into a A$3 billion ($2.6 billion) a year export business and possibly forcing hundreds of winemakers out of business.

    The 2008 vintage is likely to fall to between 800,000 tones and 1.3 million tones, compared with a normal seasonal crop of about 1.9 million tones, according to Wine Grape Growers and Winemakers' Federation of Australia.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Palm prices seen falling if U.S. cuts biofuel subsidy

    PANAJI, India (Reuters) - Global palm oil prices, which have been on the boil for the last couple of months, could ease from January if the United States cuts incentives it gives to biofuel producers, a leading analyst said.

    "Palm oil prices are likely to reach 2,000 to 2,100 ringgit per tonne by March, down from the current levels of around 2,600 ringgit per tonne," James Fry, managing director of London-based LMC International, told reporters at a conference in India.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Nutrient levels in conventional foods declining

    The title of a newly-released report from The Organic Center tells a sad but timely story: “Still No Free Lunch: Nutrient levels in US food supply eroded by pursuit of high yields.” >> Read the Full Article