“We did a study in 2010 that looked at the six upper Midwest states, and we found that enough produce could be grown to supply the population of these six states on the land of one Iowa county,” said Lehman during a presentation at The Chicago Farmers Farmland Forum.
“So, if we really want to reach a lot of people and diversify agriculture, we’re looking at a very small piece of agriculture,” Lehman said.
“But we are sitting in the middle of row crop agriculture, so we started to ask about the local market for grains that could be grown in corn and soybean rotations,” she said. “We set out to create a value chain going from university researchers creating new varieties to millers, distributors and bakers.”
Article by Stephen S. Wade
One of the clearest indicators that regional grain-sheds are starting to thrive is the rise of local bakeries. From Skowhegan, Maine to Spokane, Washington, cities large and small have seen a renaissance of whole-grain bakers using freshly milled flour. And though local grains and can be more expensive than commodity counterparts—it’s not uncommon to find a loaf of bread priced at $10 or more—their customers are apparently willing to pay for it. At least some Americans seem to accept that bread that costs more to produce, and is baked by skilled bakers who make sustainable livings, will also cost more to buy.
Food production dominates land, water and fertilizer use and is a greenhouse gas source. In the United States, beef production is the main agricultural resource user overall, as well as per kcal or g of protein. Here, we offer a possible, non-unique, definition of ‘sustainable’ beef as that subsisting exclusively on grass and by-products, and quantify its expected US production as a function of pastureland use.
Article by Marcus Woo
Unlike most microbiomes, which contain up to thousands of species, fermented foods like sourdough, sauerkraut and kimchi have only a few to a couple of dozen species, making them easier to study. At the same time, they share commonalities with more complex microbiomes. For example, the microbiome on cheese rinds is similar to that on your skin.
Article by Tamar Haspel
I’m supertired of superfoods. And it’s not just because I really don’t want to drink chaga tea. It’s because the game of finding some nutrient in some food and making wildly improbable assertions about the consequent effect on human health is a clicky gimmick by which unscrupulous marketers and audience-hungry media prey on credulous consumers.
Article by Benjamin Wolfe
It’s difficult to connect the dots throughout our complex food system. Although it is rarely demonstrated scientifically, we generally accept that what happens on farms impacts the quality of our food. For microbial foods, the raw materials we use in fermentation can introduce different microbes depending on how those materials were produced. A recent study in Italy of sourdough fermentation demonstrated that organic vs. conventional farming can affect the quality of sourdough bread. This exciting new research highlights the role that microbes play in shaping food quality as it moves along the path from farm to fork.
article by David Montgomery
One of the biggest modern myths about agriculture is that organic farming is inherently sustainable. It can be, but it isn’t necessarily. After all, soil erosion from chemical-free tilled fields undermined the Roman Empire and other ancient societies around the world. Other agricultural myths hinder recognizing the potential to restore degraded soils to feed the world using fewer agrochemicals.