Category Archives: farming

The Problem of Abundance

“I’ve become obsessed,” Thompson wrote, “with a policy agenda that is focused on solving our national problem of scarcity.” His solution boiled down to abundance—increasing the supply of doctors, nurses, homes, infrastructure, nuclear energy, and so forth. Thompson, who as a moderate liberal is a scarce commodity all by himself, proposed a number of policy fixes he felt certain would lead us to abundance and thus repair all that is broken with the country.

Is Invasive Species Dining The Next Frontier?

Whether it’s raccoon-size rodents called nutria using massive chompers to clear-cut Louisiana marshes into mud flats or shrubby Japanese knotweed smothering local flora up and down the East Coast, there are thousands of examples with people thoughtlessly introducing a species into a new environment, then battling to bring it under control. Invasives have cost the world an estimated $1.3 trillion by ruining agricultural yields, undermining tourism, and hurting public health over the past half century. Even worse, these outlaws are responsible for roughly a third of extinctions over the past 500 years, including, in 2021, the loss of the Maui ʻākepa bird and a Hawaiian variety of flowering mint. There are now 4,300 nonnative types of wildlife in the United States destructive enough for conservationists to label them as invasive.

The bold idea to eat them out of existence occurred to conservation biologist Joe Roman 20 years ago, when he developed the concept of invasivorism. Back then, it was considered more a topic for quirky cocktail conversation than a serious scientific discussion. Over time, however, Roman, based at the University of Vermont, has watched the stars align, with research and chefs like Paine advancing the practice, and individuals in general taking an interest in the ecological consequences of their gustatory habits.

The meat industry blocked the IPCC’s attempt to recommend a plant-based diet

In the published report, the line was changed to “balanced, sustainable healthy diets acknowledging nutritional needs,” skirting a direct mention of beef and dairy, what a sustainable diet actually looks like, or any reference to the Western and largely wealthy countries that should most urgently start eating less meat.

While Monday’s IPCC report was the result of synthesizing years of research, Brazil and Argentina have been diligently pushing to delete references to “plant-based diets,” meat as a “high-carbon” food, and “Meatless Mondays” for years, according to a previous draft leaked in 2021 and analyzed by Unearthed, Greenpeace’s investigative outlet.

All UK honey tested in EU fraud investigation fails authenticity test (food systems require new labeling mechanisms to create transparency)

Adulteration of honey with cheap sugar syrup has been exposed in a new investigation by the European Commission, which found 46% of sampled products were suspected to be fraudulent. Ten honey samples from the UK all failed the tests. They may have been blended or packaged in Britain, but the honey probably originated overseas.

Cows vs. Chemists: The Health Debates Over Plant-Based Meat

People who eat fewer animal products do so because they think it’s better for them. In a 2019 Gallup poll, 23% of Americans reported reducing meat consumption in the prior year (5% were eating more). Of those eating less meat, 90% cited health reasons, and fully 70% named health a major concern — big gaps from concern over the environment, food safety, or animal welfare.7 And global surveys by Euromonitor and Veylinx show similar patterns.

As the name suggests, plant-based meats have capitalized on the plant-based diet trend, and no company more so than Beyond Meat. The company’s IPO prospectus detailed the company’s “strong belief” that Beyond products can “help address concerns related to human healthclimate change, resource conservation and animal welfare.” Ethan Brown, the company’s CEO, leans into health claims in particular. In 2021, he told The New York Times that “a No. 1 priority” is to “make sure people understand that our products are actually better for them than animal protein.”

The vertical farming bubble is finally popping because energy is expensive and lettuce is cheap

Gordon-Smith says that most vertical farms in the U.S. are a long way from profitability. “Based on an analysis we did for a large private-equity firm, we don’t actually see a scenario where in the next 10 years vertical farming will compete with field-grown at scale in North America,” he says. Right now, he says, the economics make the most sense in the Middle East, where extreme heat makes outdoor growing impractical and consumers currently pay high prices for imported greens.

Mushroom Chocolate Brand Alice Invites Consumers Through The Looking Glass

Amid a mushroom renaissance in the U.S., new products are coming online that reflect the consumer’s desire to utilize fungi in all of its forms. Mushrooms are not limited to the psychoactive kind, psilocybin, but include a vast web of functional mushrooms.

Australia becomes first country to recognise psychedelics as medicines

Australia has become the first country to recognise psychedelics as medicines, after the Therapeutic Goods Administration took researchers by surprise and approved the psychedelic substances in magic mushrooms and MDMA for use by people with certain mental health conditions.