Archive for the ‘Organic Farming/Local Food’ category

Where Do You Get Your Veggies?

April 22, 2010

For some families in Milwaukee and Madison, the answer is from  a weekly box they pick up from a local farmer. I looked at the community-supported agriculture movement in a post for CSA subscriptions are booming, but I found  some problems for both farmers and consumers.

The story begins:

The local food movement is providing a noticeable boost this spring to Wisconsin farmers who sell seasonal-vegetable subscriptions to families in the Milwaukee and Madison areas.

“We’re having a real growth spurt,” says John Hendrickson, a senior outreach specialist with UW-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “Local food has just been exploding.”

In Milwaukee, more than a thousand people turned out at a March open house at the Urban Ecology Center. Fourteen farmers offered subscriptions in a program called community-supported agriculture (CSA).

“We saw a lot of people from the suburbs this year,” says coordinator Jamie Ferschinger. “The idea of fresh, local food, and getting it from someone you know, is starting to spread.”

Madison’s CSA program is far bigger. Consumer demand has so grown that the organizers moved the CSA open house from Olbrich Gardens to the much larger Monona Terrace Convention Center, where a record 42 farmers talked to about 1,700 interested consumers.

Read more here.

Questions for Michael Pollan

April 7, 2010

My interview with Michael Pollan is another piece from the recent past that I wanted to post here. We talked at his home in Berkeley for an hour plus. He is impressively, almost frighteningly,  articulate. But that should be no surprise to his readers. The story ran in the November 2008 issue of The Progressive. It begins:

Michael Pollan has got people talking. His recent books, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, have captured the public imagination, setting off countless coffee shop discussions, dinnertime arguments, and oh-so-many blog posts.

Even more impressively, his exploration of modern-day agriculture and the dysfunctional American diet has prompted his readers to look at their own eating habits with a new sense of understanding and often a desire for change.

Read more here.

At the Organic Farming Conference

March 8, 2010

This was my third year of covering the annual gathering of organic-farming advocates in La Crosse.  It’s always an interesting experience because of the unusual mixture of commerce and ideology.

As I said in the advance story  for “The gathering is a combination pep rally, reunion, trade show, Chautauqua, political rally and big-time party for farmers who share a common mission of fighting industrialized agriculture and its dependence on chemical additives.” Read more here.

In a post-conference story, I detailed how the Wisconsin organic community is split by the new, tougher  pasture rules being enforced for dairies. Read about it here.

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