New Leaf New York: From Pharma to Farm


Put down that hamburger
December 8, 2008, 2:06 am
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The meat industry has some ‘splainin’ to do.  This week and next, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including environmental ministers from 187 countries, meets in Poznan, Poland, to discuss the meat (har!) of a new treaty to help ameliorate global warming.

Though the panel has plenty of ideas on fuel, factories, and the other usual suspects, the arena of agriculture still falls behind when it comes to solutions on how to effectively curb emissions.  Some proposals include methane capture — collecting pig manure, heating it, then using the methane captured from the process to add electricity to the local power grid — or engineering feed that produces less methane in the first place.

But many believe that meat production and consumption on the scale we see today is simply not sustainable, no matter how much we reverse-engineer what goes into or comes out of our livestock.  With the higher global demand for meat, especially from developing countries such as China and India, we’re losing rainforest and other land, and expending more fuel to transport and refrigerate it; some say that our best hope is simply to reduce meat consumption altogether. Continue reading



Sisters doing it for themselves
July 14, 2008, 4:40 pm
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The New York Times reports that, according to the Department of Agriculture, 20,000 farms in the Northeast alone are run by women.  Not only that, but: “There are 80 percent more women who are farmers than there were 20 years ago in the United States, even as the number of farms has decreased.” These statistics surprised me, but in the best way possible!  Moving out of the city to work on a farm is a far-fetched fantasy of mine; I’d have so much to learn, not the least of which is learning to hate living in New York, and I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Farmers like Barbara Shinn, Diane St. Clair (who owns Animal Farm in Orwell, VT — har, har!), and Nova Kim (pictured), among others featured in the article, all happily engage in sustainable, organic and biodynamic practices, which they’re refining all the time.  Most of these farmers sell to food co-ops, farmers’ markets and CSAs.  These women are doing amazing things right here in the Northeast, and to say I look up to them would be an understatement!