Monday, August 30, 2010

Time Magazine Fails Again

Time Magazine recently printed a pretty underwhelming article, "What's So Great About Organic Food?." It's such a disappointment when the major media picks up an important topic and completely fumbles it, as Jeffrey Kluger does in this piece.

Monday, August 23, 2010

HFCS! iiieeeeee!!!!

I've been wondering what the deal is with health and high fructose corn syrup. Luckily, the blog Science-Based Medicine has done my homework for me.

The author relates that "a diet high in fructose has been shown to cause — or at least contribute to — hyperlipidemia, obesity, insulin resistance and cardiac disease." Cautioning that not only HFCS contains fructose, he summarizes:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Evolving Pesticide Resistance

It's been estimated that genetic resistance to every pesticide that will ever be invented already exists in some microbe in some field, somewhere in the world (simply because there are so many individuals of each species). If you invent an incredible new spray that kills, say, Phytophthora infestans, you'd know that somewhere in the world there is a little P. infestans mycelium or spore that is already resistant. If you start spraying thousands and thousands of acres with your new pesticide, you may have a season or a few without late blight, but it's only a matter of time before this little guy gets into your field and finds a smorgasbord all for himself.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We(eat)ding

The dominance of weeds in our community garden plots is truly unbelievable. You'd be forgiven for mistaking the whole thing for a crop of oilseed rape. Although several of the plots are well-tended and fenced (can you see the fences?), the majority of the field is completely yellow with Brassica flowers.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Panis Ex Machina

Encountering primitive technology is a visceral experience for me. The real meaning and intention of tools can still be seen in the early stages of human invention - before they're wrapped in metal shielding and anonymous plastic curves.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Development FAIL

We've had lots of 90F days in the field and the corn is popping! I've heard that at the height of a Midwestern summer, the corn grows so fast you can literally hear the plants popping (as air spaces in the internodes open up).

Upstate NY isn't exactly in the record-breaking 300 bushel club (and in fact a lot of our corn gets fed to dairy cattle whether it produces grain or not) but we've been very busy de-tasseling and pollinating all the same.*

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