Valuable Mutants

He rolled the dice again. This time, he was mimicking what he and his colleagues have been doing quietly around the globe for more than a half-century — using radiation to scramble the genetic material in crops, a process that has produced valuable mutants like red grapefruit, disease-resistant cocoa and premium barley for Scotch whiskey. […]

Live and Let Diet

When our distant ancestors invented farming ten thousand or so years ago, they began altering these and other wild plants to make them more productive, easier to grow and harvest, and more enjoyable to eat. To date, four hundred generations of farmers and tens of thousands of plant breeders have played a role in redesigning […]

Gamboling Across Britain

Bright green hills hedged with vivid gold or white and dotted with scattered woolly lumps — many larger ones accompanied by one or more springy smaller ones. Springtime in the English and Scottish countryside means lambs, lots and lots of lambs. I am familiar with the cartoon lambs that leap and bound and wiggle their […]

The Plot Thickens

“So whether it’s redeveloping dying malls or re-inhabiting dead big-box stores or reconstructing wetlands out of parking lots, I think the fact is the growing number of empty and under-performing, especially retail, sites throughout suburbia gives us actually a tremendous opportunity to take our least-sustainable landscapes right now and convert them into more sustainable places.” […]

The ‘Vores

    “Heaven sends us good meat, but the Devil sends cooks.” ~ David Garrick Preparing dinner that night was complicated. Among the two extended families present we had vegetarians, a vegan, and people that were gluten- and lactose-intolerant. The three different pans of lasagna, salad and bread got everyone something to eat. Dessert was […]

Want Fries with That? (“You say potato…”)

“No food can afford a more decisive proof of its nourishing quality, or of its being peculiarly suitable to the health of the human constitution.” ~ Adam Smith We sat in a circle holding our fists in front of us and she circled us singing, “one potato, two potato,” etc. and bumping our fists with […]

Soiled

“…farmers are learning a lesson that resonates throughout human interactions with the natural world: People reap more benefit from nature when they give up trying to vanquish it and instead see it clearly, as a demanding but indispensable ally.” ~ Jaques Leslie “If you’ve never heard about the amazing potential of regenerative agriculture and land […]

Hot Food?

Since 2009, the world has been stuck on a single narrative around a coming global food crisis and what we need to do to avoid it. How do we feed nine billion people by 2050? ~ Sara Menker “Take a look,” he showed me a photo of a basket of apples wrapped in cellophane. “Apples […]