Green Food: An A-to-Z Guide

Green Food: An A-to-Z Guide

Encyclopedias

Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney & Paul Robbins

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Abstract

This third volume in the SAGE Series on Green Society lays out the contours of the field of agri-food studies. It draws on scholars working in the fields of political ecology, rural sociology, geography, and environmental studies to paint a picture of the past, present, and future of agriculture and food. It provides readers with a basic understanding of the institutions, practices, and concepts to identify what is and is not a "green" food. Because food is so intimately connected to our daily lives, the food system offers perhaps the most promise to make change in a sustainable direction. This volume addresses what a sustainable and green food system might look like, what policies would help realize it, and what kinds of tradeoffs we face ...

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    • About the Editors

      Green Series Editor: Paul Robbins

      Paul Robbins is a professor and the director of the University of Arizona School of Geography and Development. He earned his Ph.D. in Geography in 1996 from Clark University. He is General Editor of the Encyclopedia of Environment and Society (2007) and author of several books, including Environment and Society: A Critical Introduction (2010), Lawn People: How Grasses, Weeds, and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are (2007), and Political Ecology: A Critical Introduction (2004).

      Robbins's research centers on the relationships between individuals (homeowners, hunters, professional foresters), environmental actors (lawns, elk, mesquite trees), and the institutions that connect them. He and his students seek to explain human environmental practices and knowledge, the influence nonhumans have on human behavior and organization, and the implications these interactions hold for ecosystem health, local community, and social justice. Past projects have examined chemical use in the suburban United States, elk management in Montana, forest product collection in New England, and wolf conservation in India.

      Green Food General Editor: Dustin Mulvaney

      Dustin Mulvaney is a Science, Technology, and Society postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. His current research focuses on the construction metrics that characterize the life cycle impacts of emerging renewable energy technologies. He is interested in how life cycle assessments focus on material and energy flows and exclude people from the analysis, and how these metrics are used to influence investment, policy, and social resistance. Building off his work with the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition's “just and sustainable solar industry” campaign, he is looking at how risks from the use of nanotechnology are addressed within the solar photovoltaic industry. Mulvaney also draws on his dissertation research on agricultural biotechnology governance to inform how policies to mitigate risks of genetically engineered biofuels are shaped by investors, policy-makers, scientists, and social movements.

      Mulvaney holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master of Science in Environmental Policy, and a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering, both from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Mulvaney's previous work experience includes time with a Fortune 500 chemical company working on sulfur dioxide emissions reduction, and for a bioremediation startup that developed technology to clean groundwater pollutants like benzene and MTBE.

      Introduction

      Our food and agricultural systems have undergone a tremendous change in the 20th century. Less common now are the pastoral ways in which we have come to imagine agriculture, such as the images found on a milk carton. Agriculture and the food system have become thoroughly industrialized and increasingly globalized. A plentiful supply of cheap fossil fuels has helped to power mechanization, produce the fertilizers and pesticides, and lengthen distance from farm to plate. The result is a carbon-intensive food system that keeps food prices cheap, while large retailers and processors continue to extract value from farmers at increasing margins. The result of this transformation is an agrifood system with an enormous productive capacity, but one that causes considerable environmental burdens and that has exacerbated problems with poverty and food distribution.

      The extent to which our agricultural system has become dependent on fossil fuel-based fertilizers; highly mechanized planting, harvesting, and processing; and high-tech seed has changed significantly the systems on which past agricultural practices depended. Our existing food and agricultural production systems have a long list of environmental and social impacts that suggest the need for a more sustainable agrifood system. Not only are there these externalities cause by agricultural production, but the resource intensity of the industrial food system overall could be undermining its future prosperity. For example, most agricultural soils, once rotated out of production, and once enriched with nearby farm animals, are now treated with chemicals intending to kill all of the living matter in the soil. The soil, far from its previous state as a collection of carbon and living organisms, and as a reservoir of essential nutrients, is now a sterile environment for controlled growth and pest control. Water from conventional farms now contains high levels of nitrogen pollution, salts, and other fertilizer and pesticide runoff, preventing the water's reuse, and creating anoxic zones where rivers drain into the sea, such as the infamous Mississippi River “dead zone.”

      The changes to our food system have not just affected how food is produced, but they have also considerably changed how the agrifood system is organized. Industrial concentration has marked the 20th century in agriculture as food and agriculture companies have vertically and horizontally integrated to dominate entire sectors; grain transportation, meat packing, agro-chemical manufacturing, and seed production are just some examples of agricultural sectors that are dominated by only a handful of large, multinational firms. This in and of itself has implications as the decisions made in several small boardrooms of multinational corporations to pursue one technology or another can have a considerable and lasting effect on the landscape and on human health.

      These changes have shaped consumer expectations of the food system. Consumers demand that their food purchases defy the logic of seasons. They want tomatoes and strawberries in the cold of winter. They want consistent-tasting fast foods. This is happening while consumers have become more distant from the food they eat, and less aware of what it takes to get a food from the field to the factory to the plate.

      The move toward green food is part of a reaction to the degradation and violence of industrial agriculture. The development has many roots in animal rights movements, appropriate technology movements, and back-to-the-land movements, among many others, each with its own motivations for action. The slow food movement, for example, emerges out of the hope to combat the spread of fast-food, reintroducing the cultural rituals of eating that require more time spent at the table in conversation, as opposed to the fast-paced meals eaten in the car. Evidence for the popularity of this new green food movement can be seen in the growth of organic agriculture and the constantly evoked statistic of its 20 percent annual growth in sales and revenues. The popularity and growth of farmers markets also shows evidence of this burgeoning agrifood movement. Food consumption is central to any individual's daily routine. So in many ways the environmental and social impacts of food production are closely tied to our individual choices as consumers. Hence, there is political space for those who want to see more food labeled and food's content disclosed where it currently is not.

      Often lacking from the mainstream discussion of green foods, but critical to the question of environmental justice, is the treatment of agricultural workers. The improper treatment of agricultural workers has a long storied past—one could point to John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath for an earlier account—but it continues today. Many agricultural and food system workers are minorities or immigrants, many of whom lack legal rights. The story of agricultural labor in the United States and Mexico has an interesting twist. Some of the cheap labor that has always come through the United States was recently driven to migrate from Mexico's corn-growing regions after the North American Free Trade Agreement helped the United States dump corn into the Mexican market at very low prices, undercutting local producers. Those farmers without a market for corn had little to sell but their labor, and their seasonal migrations result in remittances back to their communities. The story shows how food production in many industrialized countries is strongly influenced by everything from government policies on trade to consumer fads. We hope this volume speaks to the numerous issues and challenges we face in order to change our approach to eating.

      These entries help lay out the contours of the field of agrifood studies. They on scholars working in the fields of political ecology, rural sociology, geography, and environmental studies to paint a picture of agriculture and food's past, present, and future. They look to provide the reader with a basic understanding of the institutions, practices, and concepts to help identify what is and is not a green food. Because food is so intimately connected to our daily lives, it could be that the food system offers the most promise to make changes in a sustainable direction.

      What constitutes an actual sustainable and green food system is still an open question. There are many unresolved questions about what it should look like, what policies would help get it there, and what kinds of tradeoffs we face in deciding which path to choose. This volume should provide people interested in food and agricultural systems with the basic analytical and conceptual ideas that help explain why our food system looks the way it does, and what can be done to change it.

      Dustin Mulvaney General Editor

      Reader's Guide

      List of Articles

      List of Contributors

      Abbott, J. Anthony, Stetson University

      Adams, Rachel, Stanford University

      Alkon, Alison Hope, University of the Pacific

      Allen, Patricia, University of California, Santa Cruz

      Ambinakudige, Shrinidhi, Mississippi State University

      Bacon, Christopher M., University of California, Berkeley

      Boslaugh, Sarah, Washington University in St. Louis

      Cantor, Alida, California Institute for Rural Studies

      Chaplin-Kramer, Rebecca, University of California, Berkeley

      Coffman, Jennifer Ellen, James Madison University

      Cohen, Nevin, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Art

      Corfield, Justin, Geelong Grammar School, Australia

      Darby, Kate, Arizona State University

      Davis, Jason, University of California, Santa Barbara

      de Souza, Lester, Independent Scholar

      Donnet, M. Laura, Austral University

      Edwards, Ferne, Australian National University

      Evans, Tina Lynn, Fort Lewis College

      Finan, Ann, Whitman College

      Galt, Ryan E., University of California, Davis

      Gifford, Richard B., University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton

      Gillon, Sean, University of California, Santa Cruz

      Golden, Elizabeth L., University of Cincinnati

      Graddy, Garrett, University of Kentucky

      Harris, Edmund M., Clark University

      Hilimire, Kathleen Elizabeth, University of California, Santa Cruz

      Howard, Philip H., Michigan State University

      Iles, Alastair, University of California, Berkeley

      Ingram, Mrill, University of Wisconsin, Madison

      Islam, Md. Saidul, Nanyang Technological University

      Jain, Priyanka University of Kentucky

      Johnson, Paul

      Henry University of Durham

      Kearns, Carol Ann, Santa Clara University

      Kramer, Daniel, Independent Scholar

      Kte'pi, Bill, Independent Scholar

      Lopez, Anna Carla, San Diego State University

      Marshall, D. Jones, University of Kentucky

      Matthews, Todd L., University of West Georgia

      McAfee, Kathleen, San Francisco State University

      McClintock, Nathan C., University of California, Berkeley

      McCullen, Christie Grace, University of California, Davis

      McKendry, Corina, University of California, Santa Cruz

      Melcarek, Hilary, University of California, Santa Cruz

      Minkoff-Zern, Laura-Anne, University of California, Berkeley

      Monsen, Katie L., University of California, Santa Cruz

      Neff, Mark, Arizona State University

      Neo, Harvey, National University of Singapore

      Okamoto, Karen, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

      Packwood Freeman, Carrie, Georgia State University

      Panda, Sudhanshu Sekhar, Gainesville State College

      Phadke, Roopali, Macalester College

      Phillips, Catherine, Bishop's University

      Pisani Gareau, Tara, University of California, Santa Cruz

      Plec, Emily, Western Oregon University

      Pokrant, Bob, Curtin University of Technology

      Poyyamoli, Gopalsamy, Pondicherry University

      Putnam, Heather R., University of Kansas

      Rausch, Lisa, University of Kansas

      Roka, Krishna, Penn State University

      Sampson, Devon, University of California, Santa Cruz

      Schmook, Birgit, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR)

      Smith, Susan L, Willamette University College of Law

      Soria, Carlos Antonio Martin, Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina Instituto del Bien Común

      Tan, November Peng Ting, National University of Singapore

      Thomas, Marcia, New York University

      Trevino, Marcella Bush, Barry University

      Tyman, Shannon, University of Oregon

      Vachta, Kerry E., Wayne State University

      Vynne, Stacy, University of Oregon

      Waskey, Andrew Jackson, Dalton State College

      Weissman, Evan, Syracuse University

      Whalen, Ken, American University of Afghanistan

      Williams, Akan Bassey, Covenant University

      Yuhas, Stephanie, University of Denver

      Green Food Chronology

      12,000–6,000 B.C.E.: During the Neolithic Revolution, early humans learn to domesticate plants and animals, developing agriculture and the beginnings of settlements in the Fertile Crescent. Previously gathered plants, including grains and legumes, are sowed and harvested, and wild sheep, goats, pigs, and cattle are herded instead of hunted. The earliest forms of storage create food surpluses, which ensure the growth of fledgling cities.

      4000 B.C.E.: The Egyptians discover how to make bread using yeast. The Chinese discover how to use lactic acid bacteria to make yoghurt, molds to produce cheese, and fermentation to make vinegar, soy sauce, and wine.

      4000–3000 B.C.E.: In a seemingly simultaneous innovation, civilizations in Europe and the Middle East use oxen to pull sledges and plow fields.

      3200 B.C.E.: The wheel is used in Ancient Mesopotamia.

      2500 B.C.E.: Ancient Sumerians make use of the natural occurring element sulfur as the first known use of an insecticide, applying it to their crops.

      1202: King John of England proclaims the first English food law, the Assize of Bread, which prohibited adulteration of bread with such ingredients as ground peas or beans.

      1673: Spanish scientist Francesco Redi compares two competing theories to explain why maggots appear on rotting meat. He observes that meat covered to exclude flies does not develop maggots, whereas uncovered meat did.

      1700: The British Agricultural Revolution begins at the start of the century and describes a period of the next hundred years in which significant increases in agricultural production support an unprecedented population surge.

      1724: Anton van Leeuwenhoek uses his microscopes to make discoveries in microbiology. He is the first scientist to describe protozoa and bacteria and to recognize that microorganisms might play a role in fermentation.

      1801: American pioneer John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, wanders the American West, planting orchards of apples. He becomes a legend in his own time for his generous ways and passion for nature.

      1820–1975: Over this period, worldwide agriculture productions double four times.

      1870: Forty-seven percent of gainfully employed Americans are engaged in agriculture.

      1888: Vedalia beetles are imported from Australia to control fluted scale on citrus, marking the first successful biological control program of a crop pest.

      1898: The Association of Agricultural Chemists establishes a Committee on Food Standards headed by Dr. Harvey Wiley, who is later the main proponent of the Pure Food and Drugs Act.

      1902: Congress appropriates $5,000 for the Bureau of Chemistry to study chemical preservatives and coloring and their effects on digestion and health. Dr. Wiley's studies draw widespread attention to the problem of food adulteration. Public support for passage of a federal food and drug law grows.

      1906: U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt signs the Pure Food and Drugs Act, effectively creating the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) is the specific branch that oversees food. Now a part of the Department of Health and Human Services, the FDA regulates the safety of foods, dietary supplements, drugs, vaccines, cosmetics, and other products. The CFSAN is responsible for about $240 billion worth of domestic food in the United States. The passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act coincides with the Meat Inspection Act.

      1910: Wild blueberries are domesticated.

      1911: In U.S. v. Johnson, the Supreme Court rules that the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act does not prohibit false therapeutic claims but only false and misleading statements about ingredients.

      1924: Austrian scientist Dr. Rudolf Steiner gives a series of eight lectures outlining the principles of biodynamic farming. His lectures are then published in the book Spiritual Foundations for the Renewal of Agriculture. Biodynamic farms use organic principles and, today, are a registered trademark of a U.S.-based corporation.

      1933: The FDA recommends a complete revision of the obsolete 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act.

      1939: German scientist Paul Müller discovers that the chemical compound dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) is a very effective insecticide. In the decade to follow, manufacturers begin to produce large amounts of synthetic pesticides, and their use becomes an industry standard. Many years later, DDT would be at the heart of national outrage over irresponsible pesticide usage.

      1940: Lord Northbourne writes Look to the Land, outlining the fundamental tenets of organic farming.

      1943–1964: During these years, Mexico transforms its wheat industry and goes from importing half of its wheat to exporting half a million tons a year. The progress in Mexico sparks worldwide interest in new agricultural developments. U.S. Agency for International Development Director William Gaud coins the term “Green Revolution” in a speech, saying, “These and other developments in the field of agriculture contain the makings of a new revolution. It is not a violent Red Revolution like that of the Soviets, nor is it a White Revolution like that of the Shah of Iran. I call it the Green Revolution.”

      1950: The Delaney Committee starts congressional investigation of the safety of chemicals in foods and cosmetics, laying the groundwork for future legislation.

      1954: The U.S. Congress passes the Miller Pesticide Amendment, spelling out procedures for setting safety limits for pesticide residues on raw agricultural commodities.

      1954: The first large-scale radiological examination of food is carried out by the FDA when it receives reports that tuna suspected of being radioactive is being imported from Japan following atomic blasts in the Pacific. The FDA begins monitoring around the clock to meet the emergency.

      1958: The Food Additives Amendment is enacted by the U.S. Congress, requiring manufacturers of new food additives to establish safety. A provision prohibits the approval of any food additive shown to induce cancer in humans or animals.

      1959: Three weeks before Thanksgiving, U.S. cranberry crops are recalled for FDA tests to check for aminotriazole, a weed killer found to cause cancer in laboratory animals. Cleared berries are allowed a label stating that they had been tested and had passed FDA inspection—the only such endorsement ever allowed by the FDA on a food product.

      1960: The Color Additive Amendment is enacted by the U.S. Congress, requiring manufacturers to establish the safety of color additives in foods, drugs, and cosmetics.

      1962: Rachel Carson's Silent Spring is a national phenomenon, first in serial form in the New Yorker and then as a hardcover best seller. This exhaustively researched and carefully reasoned attack on the indiscriminate use of pesticides sparks a revolution in public opinion. Specifically, the book deals with the controversial chemical DDT, which is widely used to controls insects and other pests. Carson claims that DDT is digested by birds and causes them to lay thinner eggs, resulting in detrimental effects on the greater ecosystem. She also accuses chemical companies of promoting disinformation and lobbying public officials to ignore the dangers of modern farming practices. Historians of popular culture will later mark Silent Spring's publication as a turning point in the consciousness of American consumers. In the decades to follow, extensive legislation is passed as a result of civil unrest over food production, especially on large, agro-intensive farms.

      1962: The Consumer Bill of Rights is proclaimed by U.S. President John F. Kennedy in a message to Congress. Included are the right to safety, the right to be informed, the right to choose, and the right to be heard.

      1966: A unified national system of food packaging labeling is established when the U.S. Congress requires manufactures to identify the product, the name and place of business, and the net quantity for all interstate commerce.

      1969: The White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health recommends systematic review of thought-to-be-safe substances in light of the FDA's ban of the artificial sweetener cyclamate. President Nixon orders FDA to review its list of approved substances.

      1969: The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is established as a function of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is responsible for administering the nation's domestic nutrition assistance program. The FNS eventually creates the Food Stamp Program, National School Lunch Program, Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, and many others.

      1971: Several national and international groups convene to create a worldwide network of research centers under the same heading, the Conservative Group on International Agriculture Research. The group works to promote green revolutions, especially in developing nations.

      1973: The first certified organic farming cooperative, California Certified Organic Farmers, begins with a group of 54 farmers who adhere to published standards promoting small-scale farming without harmful chemicals. By 2008, membership includes more than 1,800 farmers, controlling over 500,000 acres of land in 29 states and five other countries.

      1973: DDT is officially banned. Historians will point to this moment as a watershed moment in the green food industry, as national opposition to end chemical additives in food production comes to head.

      1977: The Saccharin Study and Labeling Act is passed by the U.S. Congress to stop the FDA from banning the chemical sweetener but requires a label warning that the substance has been found to cause cancer in laboratory animals.

      1980: Genetic engineer Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty, working for General Electric, develops a bacterium capable of breaking down crude oil, which he proposes to use in treating oil spills. He requests a patent for the bacterium in the United States but is turned down by a patent examiner because the law dictates that living things were not patentable. In a 5–4 ruling, the Supreme Court sides in favor of Chakrabarty, citing: “A live, human-made micro-organism is patentable subject matter under [Title 35 U.S.C.] 101. Respondent's micro-organism constitutes a ‘manufacture’ or ‘composition of matter’ within that statute.”

      1983: Austria becomes the first country to develop official national guidelines for organic farming.

      1985: First known as the Organic Foods Production Association of North America, the Organic Trade Organization (OTA) is established as a membership-based business group for the organic industry in America, Canada, Mexico and other countries. The goal of the organization is to coordinate the efforts of organic farming groups and to educate society about the benefits of organic food production. Founded in 1997 as part of the OTA, the Organic Materials Review Institute provides organic certifiers, growers, manufacturers, and suppliers with independent reviews of products intended for use in certified organic production, handling, and processing.

      1985: The U.S. federal government establishes the Conservation Reserve Program as a cost-sharing program for farmers that actively protect the environments in which they work. In the following years, four other “Farm Bills” are passed with amendments.

      1985: The Organic Crop Improvement Association forms as a nonprofit organization providing research and certification to organic growers, processors, and handlers across the globe. Incorporated in 1988, the group now has offices in Canada, China, Mexico and Japan, as well as several other nations.

      1987: Several simultaneous developments occur with genetically modified (GM) plants. Calgene Inc. receives a patent for the tomato polygalacturonase DNA sequence, used to extend the shelf life of fruit. Advanced Genetic Sciences Inc. conducts field trial of a recombinant organism—a frost inhibitor—on a strawberry patch in the United States.

      At the Waite Institute in Adelaide, Australia, scientists genetically modify a type of soil bacteria that causes crown gall (a disease that damages the roots of stone fruits). They remove the disease-causing gene and replace it with a gene that protects the plant from crown gall. The GM bacteria are successfully tested on almond seedlings.

      In the United Kingdom, genes are added to potato plants to make them produce more protein and increase their nutritional value. Research into other foods includes removing allergy-causing proteins from peanuts.

      1988: The Sustainable Agriculture Research Education program is implemented by the USDA to provide grants promoting environmentally friendly small-scale farmers.

      1989: Low-input sustainable agriculture (LISA) becomes widespread on American farms, decreasing the use of chemical applications.

      1990: The FDA is given the authority to require the modern food labeling on most foods regulated by the agency. It also requires that terms claims like “high-fiber” and “low-fat” meet standards set by the CFSAN.

      1990: As retail sales of organics reach $1 billion in the United States, Congress passes the Organic Foods Production Act, requiring that the USDA develop national standards and regulations for organically produced agricultural products. More than a decade passes before the department completes the task with the National Organic Program (NOP).

      1993: The U.S. Congress implements the Revised General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the new North American Free Trade Agreement, significantly lowering international trade barriers.

      1994: A USDA study indicates that 1.13 million U.S. acres are devoted to certified organic production.

      1994: U.S. state-regional trade groups sponsor the first trade mission of organic suppliers to Japan. The state-regional groups sponsor missions to Japan each year thereafter and add missions to Europe in 1999 and 2000.

      1994: The first genetically engineered food product, the Flavr Savr tomato, receives FDA approval.

      1996: Transgenic, or genetically modified (GM), plants are developed for various purposes: resistance to pests, herbicides, or harsh environmental conditions; improved shelf life; increased nutritional value; and many more. GM plants become widespread in America and in Europe, sparking international concern over how to legislate modified plants and animals.

      1997: A sheep named Dolly is cloned from the udder cell of an adult sheep. The development sparks international controversy as popular culture recognizes the real, tangible possibility of widespread cloning in the near future.

      1999: The United Kingdom doubles assistance for farmers converting to organic production.

      2000: The USDA releases the second proposed NOP. The Secretary of Agriculture announces other initiatives to stimulate the U.S. organic sector: organic research, pilot projects on crop insurance, and marketing orders and market news reporting for organic fruits and vegetables. Organic industry members and consumers send over 275,000 comments to the USDA on their proposed National Organic Standards. The program unifies all organic foods under a cohesive national agenda and creates the organic seal, which appears on products that meet criteria.

      2000: The USDA's Economic Research Service releases a major study on the status of organics in the United States, showing that certified organic crop land more than doubled during the previous decade and that some organic livestock sectors—eggs and dairy—grew even faster.

      2000: The genetic code of the fruit fly Drosophila is published. Drosophila is the “lab rat” of the genetics world and is used in experiments to investigate genes and gene function.

      2001: The USDA passes the Final Organic Rule after reinstating prohibitions on irradiation, sewage sludge, and genetically engineered seed.

      2002: The U.S. Congress signs the NOP into law. It regulates all aspects of organic food production, processing, transportation, and retail sale. Any farmer or food producer with sales exceeding $5,000 must be certified by the USDA to use the word “organic” to describe their products. The USDA Certified Organic Seal begins appearing on food products in grocery stores and markets. The NOP does not regulate nonfood organic products, such as health and beauty products.

      2002: The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act is passed to address water and other environmental issues. Programs include the Conservation Security Program, which created a reward system for eco-conscientious farmers.

      2002: Researchers sequence the DNA of rice, the main food source for two-thirds of the world's population. It is the first crop plant to have its genome decoded.

      2003: A group is established by the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, charged to develop an action plan to deal with the nation's obesity epidemic from the perspective of the FDA. In March 2004, the group releases “Calories Count: Report of the Obesity Working Group,” which addresses issues connected to the food label, obesity therapeutics, research needs, the role of education, and other topics.

      2003: The National Academy of Sciences releases “Scientific Criteria to Ensure Safe Food,” a report commissioned by the FDA and the USDA, which invokes the need for continued efforts to make food safety a vital part of the overall public health mission.

      2004: Australian researchers use gene mapping techniques to identify genes for tenderness and toughness in beef, allowing breeders to select stocks containing the “tender” gene.

      2005: Lasers replace stickers by writing on fresh fruits, making individual pieces traceable and trackable.

      2005: The gene sequence of the cow is published.

      2006: According to a survey by Vegetarian Journal, 6.7 percent of Americans say they never eat meat and 2.3 percent are strict vegetarians, eliminating fish, seafood, and poultry from their diet.

      2007: The FDA concludes that food and food products derived from cloned animals or their offspring are as safe to eat as those from noncloned animals. At the same time, the European Food Safety Authority concludes that antibiotic resistance marker genes in modified plants do not pose a relevant risk to human or animal health or to the environment.

      2008: In July it is reported that a certified organic powdered ginger has been found to be contaminated with the banned pesticide Aldicarb. The organic ginger was certified organic by two USDA-accredited certifying agents in China. Under Chinese law, foreigners may not inspect Chinese farms.

      2008: Research indicates that bisphenol A, a chemical found in many plastic beverage bottles, is believed to leach carcinogens into liquids.

      2008: Twenty countries have labeling programs using shared criteria under the umbrella of Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International in Germany. In the United States, there is certification for chocolate, cocoa, coffee, flowers, rice, fresh tropical fruits, sugar, tea, and vanilla. The term Fair Trade Certified is registered and certification is administered by TransFair USA.

    • Green Food Glossary

      Green food glossary
      A

      Added Sugars: Sugars and syrups, such as corn syrup, that are put in foods during processing or preparation. Added sugars do not include naturally occurring sugars such as those that occur in milk and fruits.

      Antibiotic-Free Protein: Poultry, pork, and lamb that does not come from animals that have been given antibiotics as a feed stimulant.

      Antioxidants: Antioxidants are chemical compounds that work to protect the body from cell damage by inhibiting oxidation, rendering free radicals—molecules with one or more unpaired election—harmless. Some research indicates that this process improves general health and helps prevent degenerative diseases.

      B

      Biodynamic: Methods of farming that combine organic policies, including crop rotation, animal and mineral preparation, and the rhythmic influences of the solar system; originally made popular by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner.

      Biodynamic Agriculture: An older, and in many ways more rigorous, process than organic farming, Biodynamic Agriculture sustains soil productivity and ensures habitat protection with the use of organic pest controls, crop rotation, and the cyclical properties of nature. The process aims at creating a greener planet through self-sustaining farms and healthier soil, while producing better food that is rich in nutrients. Biodynamic is a registered trademark, owned by Demeter USA.

      Bovine Growth Hormone: A synthetic hormone given to dairy cows to maximize milk production. Some evidence suggests increased risk for breast and prostate cancer in humans who drink milk from cows given this and similar hormones. Approved in 1993, today about 15 to 20 percent of U.S. dairy cows are injected with the hormone. Also known as rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin) and rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone).

      BPA or Bisphenol A: Recent research shows that this chemical, found in plastic beverage bottles, is believed to leach carcinogens into the liquid. Active studies may recommend bottlers make a change to the plastic used in many liquid containers.

      C

      CAFE Practices: Coffee and Farmer Equity (CAFE) Practices are a set of socially and environmentally responsible guidelines for producing, processing, and buying coffee. They were established in 2001 by coffee giant Starbucks in cooperation with Conservation International, a nonprofit environmental group.

      Cage-Free Eggs: Cage-free eggs are laid by hens that are not kept in typical cages. This does not always mean they are organic, as conditions are not heavily regulated and cage-free operations often confine the animals by densely packing them into enclosed areas.

      California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF): An independent organization that provided the first official certifications for all stages of organic food commercialization, including farming, processing, and sale. They operate in 29 states and five foreign countries.

      Carob Bean Gum, Carrageenan, and Locust Bean Gum: The most widely used and thought to be effective natural food preservatives. They are derived from plant gums and seaweeds.

      Certified Agent: Certified agents audit independent organizations and organic farms to ensure that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) standards are being upheld.

      Certified Humane Food: The Certified Humane Raised & Handled program is an inspection, certification, and labeling program for meat, poultry, egg, and dairy products from animals raised to humane care standards. The program is a voluntary, user-fee based service available to producers, processors, and transporters of animals raised for food. The USDA verifies the inspection process of the Certified Humane Raised and Handled program.

      Certified Organic: Food products that meet or exceed standards set forth by the USDA NOP. Products “made with organic ingredients” include 70 percent organic ingredients and cannot contain the organic label. “Organic” products must have at least 95 percent organic ingredients and may feature the USDA organic seal. “100% Organic” is the most stringent standard but does not count water or salt.

      Closed Herd: A herd of animals that lives its entire life on a farm. Outside animals can spread diseases—mad cow for example—causing many farmers to quarantine their livestock. Because herds of animals for organic products cannot be treated with antibiotics, maintaining a closed herd is essential.

      Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): A subscription-based farming system in which individual shares of a farm are purchased and, on a routine basis, shareholders are provided with an assortment of in-season fruits and vegetables and other groceries. In 2008, more than 1,500 CSAs were operating nationwide, with shares costing anywhere from $20 to $900.

      Composting: The act of recycling organic matter back into the Earth, creating a nutritious mixture that enriches the soil. Compost is typically made up of lawn clippings, vegetable scraps, and untreated papers. When these materials are combined, they make for an environmentally safe fertilizer.

      Cover Cropping: A means of using crops that provide temporary protection for delicate seedlings as well as provide a canopy for seasonal soil protection and improvement between normal crop production periods. Used on organic farms, cover cropping is a natural way of shielding fragile plants from the weather. Cover crops are also called “green mature crops.”

      Crop Rotation: A system of planning in which crops vary from season to season. No single crop is planted in the same field twice in two seasons. Crops grown successively in the same field will rapidly deplete the minerals in the soil. By employing crop rotation, farmers ensure that their fields are bountiful for years longer. The USDA NOP highly recommends, and in many cases requires, that certified organic farms use crop rotation.

      F

      Fair Trade: Products branded with the fair trade label are produced and imported from developing nations in which workers are often subject to substandard conditions and compensation. Fair trade labeling assures consumers that farmers are paid a better-than-conventional wage and are trained in sustainable agriculture practices.

      Farmers Market: Farmers markets are where local farmers gather to sell their produce or specialty goods in a specific place at a designated time. All food bought at a farmers market is probably not produced using green or organic practices, but in general, the selection of organic food is broader than at a supermarket.

      Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA): Passed by the U.S. Congress in 1996, the FQPA amendments changed the way the Environmental Protection Agency regulates pesticides by requiring a new safety standard—“reasonable certainty of no harm”—that applies to all pesticides used on foods.

      Free Range: A reaction to the unnatural and sometimes unethical treatment of animals used for food, especially chickens, the term free range refers to any product related to, or produced by, animals that live their lives primarily in outside spaces and that are permitted to graze and forage freely. Non-free range animals used for commercial food products typically spend their whole lives in a crowded, confined feeding lot before slaughter.

      G

      Genetically Engineered (GE): GE foods have foreign genes inserted into their genetic codes. Almost any living thing can undergo some type of genetic engineering; the most widespread use typically involves plants. For instance, certain strains of rice have been altered to be more resistant frost or flooding, saving thousands from starvation. GE practices are sometimes referred to as bioengineering or biotechnology.

      Genetically Modified Organism (GMO): A plant, animal, or microorganism that is transformed by genetic engineering. Something that is the result of this process is called a “product of genetic engineering,” or a “derivative of GMOs.” Although GMOs, especially crops such as rice or corn, create an otherwise impossible food supply for impoverished nations worldwide, their use is considered by some in the scientific community to be dangerous. They claim that the health of the population and the environment is at risk as a result of insufficient knowledge about the safely and predictably modified plant genomes.

      Green: The term that refers to products made from materials that are recycled, renewable, or otherwise environmentally friendly.

      Green Tea: Tea that is made from fermented dry leaves, raising the antioxidant level significantly over black tea. A recent European study concluded that a specific compound in green tea helps prevent cancer cells from growing.

      Guarana: A South American plant whose seeds contain caffeine, added to soft drinks as a stimulant.

      H

      Humus: The result of organic material being decomposed into a dark soil-like material that contains plant nutrients.

      I

      Integrated Pest Management (IPM): The use of different techniques in combination to control pests—typically insects that feed on commercial crops—with an emphasis on methods that are least harmful to the environment and most specific to the particular pest. For example, pest-resistant plant varieties, regular monitoring for pests, pesticides, natural predators of the pest, and good stand management practices may be used in combination to control or prevent particular pests.

      International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM): IFOAM's mission is to lead, unite, and assist the organic movement in its full diversity with a goal of worldwide adoption of ecologically, socially, and economically sound systems that are based on the principles of organic agriculture.

      Irradiation: Exposure to ionizing radiation to kill any form of bacteria. Critics claim that irradiation can be used to mask poor handling of products, which leads to other kinds of contamination. Food irradiation is a synthetic process that is not allowed in organic production.

      N

      National Organic Program (NOP): In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the Organic Food Production Act, which called on the USDA to establish national standards for growing, processing, and marketing organic products. NOP was established to create a system of criteria for certifying organic food by the USDA. The program unifies all organic foods under a cohesive national agenda and creates the organic seal, which appears on products that meet criteria.

      National Organic Standards Board (NOSB): A government-appointed panel that advises the NOP in assisting in the development of standards for substances to be used in organic production and to advise on any other aspects of the implementation of the NOP.

      Natural: Sometimes incorrectly confused with their organic cousins, natural foods do not contain additives or preservatives, but ingredients may have been grown using conventional farming methods or GE grain. Also called “all-natural.”

      No Preservatives: A food product that is made without ingredients used for the purpose of extending its shelf life. Typical chemical preservatives include nitrates, nitrites, butylated hydroxytoluene, and sulfites.

      Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA): NOFA is a nonprofit organization of nearly 4,000 farmers, gardeners, and consumers working to promote healthy food, organic farming practices, and a cleaner environment. NOFA has chapters in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

      O

      Organic Consumers Association (OCA): A research and action center for the organic and fair trade movements that campaigns for a myriad of environmental issues. The OCA is a proponent of labeling for GE food.

      Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA International): This nonprofit, member-owned organization is one of the world's oldest and largest leaders in the organic certification industry. The OCIA promotes environmental protection policies and is dedicated to providing the highest quality organic certification services and access to viable global markets.

      Organic Farming: Coined in 1940, the term organic farming is derived from the concept of the farm as a living organism. Organic farming is a form of agriculture that relies on crop rotation, compost, and environment friendly pest control and excludes synthetic fertilizer and pesticides. The IFOAM defines organic farming as “a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects.” Organic farming also excludes all types of growth or feed stimulants and any genetic modifications.

      Organic Matter: Anything that is composed of a once-living organism that is capable of decay or a process of decay. Compost used in organic farming is entirely made from organic matter.

      Organic Trade Association (OTA): The OTA is a membership-based business association that focuses on the organic community in North America. The OTA's mission is to promote and protect the growth of the organic industry to benefit the environment, farmers, the public, and the economy. The OTA is a member of IFOAM.

      P

      Persistent Toxic Chemicals: Detrimental materials, such as Styrofoam or dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), that remain active for a long time after their application and can be found in the environment years, and sometimes decades, after they were used.

      Pesticide: A general term for chemicals used to destroy living things that interact with crops and animals that are considered pests. There are many specific forms of pesticides including insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and rodenticides, used to eliminate the organisms for which they are named.

      Q

      Quality Assurance International, Inc. (QAI, Inc.): U.S. based and USDA accredited, QAI is a for-profit corporation, considered by most to be the global authority in organic certification services and has certified more than a quarter of a million organic products worldwide. QAI offers organic certification under the National Organic Program for producers, processors, private labelers, distributors, retailers, restaurants, wild crop harvesters, greenhouse, mushrooms, and facilities. QAI also offers “fiber certification” under the American Organic Standards.

      R

      Rainforest Alliance: A U.S.-based conservation group and certifier that sets rigorous environmental standards for coffee, cacao, and other products to protect the rainforest. Its seal ensures that farms have met environmental and social standards including biodiversity, conservation, and ecosystem protection, as well as worker protection, health care, and education for children of the farm workers.

      S

      Soil Association Certification Ltd.: The United Kingdom's leading organic certification organization. Their criteria is used for up to 80 percent of the organic food sold in that country.

      Sustainable: In agriculture, the term sustainable means capable of being maintained with minimal long-term effect on the environment. Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals: environmental stewardship, farm profitability, and prosperous farming communities. Sustainable development recognizes the need to work with living environments in a balanced manner.

      Sustainable Seafood: The act of not overfishing, causing the possibility of extinction or adverse effects on a habitat.

      U

      United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): Established by President Lincoln, the USDA is an umbrella organization encompassing all aspects of farming production that has executive and legislative authority to ensure food safety and protect national resources. Active operating units include the NOP, Agricultural Resource Service, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Risk Management Agency, and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

      W

      Wild-Crafted: A plant gathered in the wild in its natural habitat from a site that is not maintained under cultivation or other agricultural management.

      Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and http://organic.org

      Green Food Resource Guide

      Green food resource guide
      Books

      Agrios, G.N. Plant Pathology. San Diego, CA: Academic Press Inc., 1988.

      Allen, Patricia and Debra van Dusen, eds. Global Perspectives on Agroecology andSustainable Agricultural Systems. IFOAM International Scientific Conference. Santa Cruz: University of California Press, 1988.

      Altieri, Miguel A. Agroecology: The Science of Sustainable Agriculture. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995.

      Altieri, Miguel A. and Susanna B. Hecht. Agroecology and Small Farm Development. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1990.

      Barrow, C. J. Environmental Management and Development. London: Routledge, 2005.

      Borlaug, Norman E. Norman Borlaug on World Hunger. San Diego, CA: Bookservice International, 1997.

      Borlaug, Norman, et al. Vetiver Grass: A Thin Green Line Against Erosion. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1993.

      Carroll, C. Ronald, et al. Agroecology. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1990.

      Committee on Sustainable Agriculture and the Environment in the Humid Tropics, National Research Council. Sustainable Agriculture and the Environment in the Humid Tropics. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1993.

      Committee on the Role of Alternative Farming Methods in Modern Production Agriculture, National Research Council. Alternative Agriculture. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1989.

      Conca, Ken and Geoffrey Dabelko, eds. Environmental Peacemaking. Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center, 2002.

      Conway, Gordon R. The Doubly Green Revolution: Food for All in the 21st Century. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998.

      Dahlberg, Kenneth A. Beyond the Green Revolution: The Ecology and Politics of Global Agricultural Development. New York: Plenum, 1979.

      Diehl, Paul and Nils Gleditsch Petter, eds. Environmental Conflict. Boulder, CO: WestviewPress, 2001.

      Edens, Thomas C., et al. Sustainable Agriculture and Integrated Farming Systems. 1984 Conference Proceedings. Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1985.

      Edwards, Clive A., et al. Sustainable Agricultural Systems. Ankeney, IA: Soil and Water Conservation Society, 1990.

      Fluck, Richard C., ed. Energy in Farm Production. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1992.

      Gadgil, Madhav and Ramachandra Guha. Ecology and Equity. London: Routledge, 1995.

      Gliessman, Stephen R. Agroecology: Researching the Ecological Basis for Sustainable Agriculture. New York: Springer, 1990.

      Global Environment Facility. Producing Results for the Global Environment. New York: Global Environment Facility, 2005.

      Griffiths, T. and L. Robin, eds. Ecology and Empire. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997.

      Kidd, Charles and David Pimentel. Integrated Resource Management: Agroforestry for Development. San Diego, CA: Academic Press Inc., 1992.

      Lal, Rattan and B. A. Stewart. Soil Degradation. New York: Springer, 1990.

      Mandelker, D. R. Environment and Equity: A Regulatory Challenge. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1981.

      Manwaring, Max, ed. Environmental Security and Global Stability. Lanham, MD: LexingtonBooks, 2002.

      Marsh, George. Man and Nature. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965.

      McIsaac, Gregory and William R. Edwards, eds. Sustainable Agriculture in the American Midwest: Lessons From the Past, Prospects for the Future. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994.

      McLaren, Digby J. and Brian J. Skinner, eds. Resources and World Development. Chichester, UK: Wiley, 1987.

      Meffe, G. K. and C. R. Carroll. Principles of Conservation Biology. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 1994.

      Mepham, T. B., et al. Issues in Agricultural Bioethics. Nottingham, UK: Nottingham University Press, 1995.

      Merchant, Carolyn, ed. Major Problems in American Environmental History, 2nd edition. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2005.

      Metcalf, Robert Lee and Robert A. Metcalf. Destructive and Useful Insects: Their Habits and Control. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993.

      Myers, Norman. Gaia: An Atlas of Planet Management. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1993.

      Olson, Richard K., ed. Integrating Sustainable Agriculture, Ecology, and Environmental Policy. Binghamton, NY: Food Products, 1992.

      Perrin, Constance. Everything in Its Place: Social Order and Land Use in America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992.

      Pimentel, David, ed. World Soil Erosion and Conservation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

      Pimentel, David and Charles W. Hall. Food and Natural Resources. San Diego, CA: Academic Press Inc., 1989.

      Postel, Sandra. Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcity. New York: Norton, 1992.

      Schwab, Jim. Deeper Shades of Green: The Rise of Blue-Collar and Minority Environmentalism in America. San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1994.

      Sen, Amartya K. Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981.

      Shiva, Vandana. The Violence of the Green Revolution: Third World Agriculture, Ecology, and Politics. London: Zed Books, 1991.

      Snow, Donald. Inside the Environmental Movement: Meeting the Leadership Challenge. Washington, D.C.: Island, 1992.

      Thurston, H. David, et al. Slash/Mulch: How Farmers Use It and What Researchers Know About It. Ithaca, NY: Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development, 1994.

      Treoh, Frederick and Louis Thompson. Soils and Soil Fertility. New York: Oxford UniversityPress, 1993.

      Turner, B. L., II, et al., eds. The Earth as Transformed by Human Action: Global andRegional Changes in the Biosphere Over the Past 300 Years. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

      Journals

      Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment (Elsevier Science)

      Alternatives (Alternatives Inc.)

      American Naturalist (Thomson Corporation)

      Amicus Journal (National Resources Defense Council)

      Biodiversity and Conservation (Chapman and Hall)

      Biological Conservation (Elsevier Science)

      BioScience (American Institute and Biological Sciences)

      Conservation Biology (Blackwell Publishing)

      Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology (Taylor and Francis)

      Ecological Economics (International Ecological Economics)

      Ecologist, The (Ecosystems Ltd.)

      Environment (Voyage Publications)

      Environmental Action (American Chemical Society)Environmental Science and Technology (Center for Environment and Energy Research and Studies)

      Environment and Behavior (SAGE Publications)

      Global Environment Politics (MIT Press)

      Human and Ecological Risk Assessment (Taylor and Francis)

      Human Ecology (Springer Science and Business Media)

      International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology (Taylor and Francis)

      Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry (American Chemical Society)

      Journal of Environmental Economics and Management (Academic Press)

      Journal of Environmental Management (Academic Press)

      Journal of Environment and Development (SAGE Publications)

      Nature (Palgrave Macmillan)

      New Scientist (Reed Business Information)

      Planning (Oxford University Press)Population and Environment (Center for Environment and Population) Progressive (Progressive Inc.)

      Science (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Sierra (Sierra Club)Society and Natural Resources (Routledge)

      Trends in Ecology and Evolution (Oxford University Press)

      Waste Age (Prism Business Media) Whole Earth Review (Point Foundation)

      Websites

      Certified Humane Foods http://www.certifiedhumane.com

      Demeter Association http://www.demeter-usa.org

      Ecology and Society http://www.ecologyandsociety.org

      Ecorazzi http://www.ecorazzi.com

      Fair Trade Organization: http://www.TransFairUSA.org

      Food and Drug Administration http://www.fda.gov

      Growing Green Co-op http://www.goinggreenevents.com

      National Agricultural Law Center http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org

      National Agricultural Library http://www.nal.usda.gov

      National Resources Conservation Service http://www.nrcs.usda.gov

      The New York Times Dot Earth Blog http://www.dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com

      U.S. Department of Agriculture http://www.usda.gov

      U.S. Environmental Protection Agency http://www.epa.gov

      U.S. Green Party http://www.gp.org

      Worldwatch Institute http://www.worldwatch.org

      Green Food Appendix

      Green food appendix
      Community-Supported Agriculture

      http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/csa/csa.shtml

      This website, part of the National Agricultural Library of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, offers information on the history and current state of community-supported agriculture in the United States, a method of agricultural production and distribution in which a group of consumers invests in a local farm and receives shares of the harvested crops in return. It includes information useful to both farmers and consumers, as well as links to information about related topics including sustainable agriculture, alternative plants and crops, grazing systems and alternative livestock breeds, organic production, and ecological pest management. It also includes links to several resources that allow searching to find participating farms in a geographical area, news items about community-supported agriculture, and academic and governmental reports about the growth of community-supported agriculture.

      Food Safety—From the Farm to the Fork

      http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/index_en.htm

      This website is part of the Health and Consumer Protection site of the European Commission. The guiding principles of the commission's food program are explained in its White Paper, downloadable in 11 languages from this site: it covers all aspects of the food chain from production through processing, storage, transport, and retail sale. Further information relating to food safety is organized into eight topics: general food law, animal nutrition, labeling and nutrition, biotechnology, novel food, chemical safety, biological safety, and official controls. A separate section is devoted to topics of current concern, including BSE (mad cow disease), genetically modified food and feed, and Salmonella. Many commission reports and publications are available for download from this site, as are speeches and press releases.

      Genetically Modified Organisms

      http://www.newscientist.com/topic/gm-food

      This website, created by the London-based international weekly journal New Scientist, includes basic information about genetically modified (GM) organisms and articles and editorials from the magazine on different topics pertaining to genetic modification. Like the journal, the articles are intended for a general audience and are reports of scientific developments rather than peer-reviewed research. The website does not advocate for or against GM products but provides an overview of their history and current use and the differing opinions regarding them. Topics covered in the articles include GM food crops, genome smuggling, the possibility and ethics of breeding livestock that are unable to feel pain, and the potential for GM crops that could reduce greenhouse emissions. The website also contains links to organizations involved in the GM debate including the World Health Organization, the Institute of Food Science and Technology, the Royal Society, and the Friends of the Earth.

      National Organic Program

      http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/nop

      This website, created and maintained by the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, explains the National Organic Program that develops and administers standards for organic agricultural products sold in the United States (including those produced abroad) and certifies agents to inspect the production and handling of products sold as organic. The website is directed primarily toward professionals in agriculture and the food industry but also contains much information of use to journalists, politicians, and consumers interested in knowing exactly what it means when a product is sold bearing the “USDA Organic” seal. Basic information about the history of the program, its purposes, and current regulations are available from the website and from downloadable fact sheets covering topics such as the process of obtaining certification and grading and labeling standards. The website also includes the national list of prohibited and allowed substances, a searchable interface to locate accredited certifying agents by region, and news items about the program.

      Oldways

      http://oldwayspt.org

      Oldways is an international nonprofit organization that partners with scientists and academics to promote healthy food and lifestyle habits. Oldways is best known for promoting the Mediterranean Diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and fish and olive oil as a healthy alternative to the traditional American diet based on meat, dairy, and refined grains. In partnership with the Harvard School of Public Health and the World Health Organization, Oldways introduced the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid in 1993 as an guide to healthy eating that draws on the traditions of Crete, Greece, and southern Italy circa 1960 and offered it as a healthier alternative to the food pyramid that the U.S. Department of Agriculture was then promoting. Oldways has also created an Asian Diet Pyramid, Latin American Diet Pyramid, and Vegetarian Diet Pyramid that make nutritional recommendations drawing on the traditions of those cultures. Further information about the pyramids is available from the Oldways website, as is information and recommendations about other health and nutrition topics including whole grains, sugar, coffee, and seafood.

      Slow Food

      http://www.slowfood.com

      Slow Food is an international nonprofit organization founded in 1989 to support local traditions and combat the spread of fast food around the world. The Slow Food website is available in English, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, and Arabic and includes links to national Slow Food websites. The site includes the Slow Food Manifesto (written by Folco Portinari in 1989) and information about the history of the slow food movement, current projects, and upcoming events. Specific focuses of the website include taste education (reawakening and training the senses to enjoy food and also encouraging local food production), defending biodiversity (including the Ark of Taste that catalogs animal breeds, fruit and vegetable varieties, and specific dishes that are in danger of disappearing), and linking producers and coproducers to encourage consumers to take an interest in where and how their food is produced. Many Slow Food publications, including newsletters, books of traditional recipes, and their annual report, are available for download from this website.

      Sustainweb

      http://www.sustainweb.org/about

      Sustain is a British organization representing about 100 national public interest organizations that advocate food and agriculture practices that improve the welfare and health of people and animals, improve the environment, enrich society and culture, and promote equity. The website includes information about many food-related issues including healthy school food, protecting children from junk food marketing, the contribution of farming to climate change, connections between food and mental health, and information about the environmental and health impact of common food products. Many Sustain publications, including policy recommendations and reports covering everything from carrot production in the United Kingdom to the nutritional quality of food marketed to babies and young children, can be downloaded from the website, which also acts as a clearinghouse for news items relevant to healthy food and sustainable agriculture.

      Sarah Boslaugh Washington University in St. Louis
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