Food and Agriculture

We need to fix our broken food system—and science can help us do it. UCS food experts highlight solutions to ensure that every American has access to healthy, green, fair, affordable food.


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Latest Food and Agriculture Posts

Where Your Brews Come From: A Deeper Dive into Barley for Beer

, Kendall Science Fellow

While the summer is in full swing, a season often full of barbecued food and adult beverages, this is a good time to think about what it takes to make a truly local brew. Michigan is a great case study to understand the challenges of localizing the craft beer supply chain, so in this post I’ll focus on barley grown there. Read more >

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Photo: US Department of Agriculture/flickr

Trapped in an Endless Cycle of Corn, Farmers Need Better Choices

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Another July 4 has come and gone, and that old saying about a farmer’s corn this time of year (“knee high by the Fourth of July”) is a thing of the past too. Nowadays, the corn plants in many fields around the country are more like waist-high (or even taller!) in early July, and growing fast. But while a bumper harvest of corn seems like a good thing, the dirty little secret in corn country is that a glut of the stuff is wreaking havoc on farm families, on rural economies, and on all of us as taxpayers. Read more >

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Book Review: The Global Climate and a Defense of Beef

, scientific adviser, Climate and Energy

Defending Beef, by Nicolette Hahn Niman, paints a picture of a better beef system, less damaging to the climate and the environment generally than the current system is. This is a vision I applaud, and one that my colleagues in the UCS Food and Environment program are researching. However, the book also raises scientific issues that I feel are worth exploring, since the dominant beef production system we have in place today, both globally and domestically, has some real problems. Read more >

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Biodiesel (Charts and Graphs Included!)

, senior scientist, Clean Vehicles

Most discussions about biofuels center on ethanol, but biodiesel—a diesel-substitute made from vegetable oils and animal fats—is increasingly important as well. But where does biodiesel come from, and what does it mean for the climate? Like most important things, the answers aren’t black or white—but they’re critical to get right. Read more >

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Map of the US highlighting the hypoxic "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico and the watershed that feeds it. Photo: NOAA

There’s Nothing Average About This Year’s Dead Zone Forecast

, Kendall Science Fellow

Yesterday, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its annual forecast for the size of the Gulf of Mexico “dead zone” – an area of coastal water where low oxygen is lethal to marine life. They say we should expect an “average year.” That doesn’t sound so bad, but as we wrote last year, the dead zone average is approximately 6,000 square miles, or the size of the state of Connecticut. Average is not normal. Read more >

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