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Food and Agriculture

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Regardless of the Groundhog’s Shadow, Farmers and Scientists are Planning for Spring

With much of the country blanketed in snow, Groundhog Day comes around routinely as a happy reminder that spring is around the corner, plus or minus a few weeks. Even though Punxsutawney Phil predicted that we have more winter ahead of us this year, farmers and agricultural researchers are already busy planning for green pastures and fruitful fields. Read More

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If You Build It, Will They Come? The Relationship Between Healthy Food Access and Consumption.

Over the past several years, the term “food desert” has become prevalent in nutrition research and policy and is used to describe areas with a lack of access to fresh, healthy foods. The United States Department of Agriculture defines food desert as “urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food.” Read More

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Big Sugar Bad for Babies, CDC Scientists Say—but Food Industry Disagrees

A new CDC study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, tells us something about infants and sugar that is worrisome, though not especially surprising if you’ve been following the food industry’s efforts to mislead the public and influence the science and policy on added sugar. Read More

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You Are What You Eat—And What It Eats Too

Guest Bogger

Liz Carlisle
Fellow, Center for Diversified Farming Systems

Berkeley, CA

A dozen years ago, a New York Times Magazine article titled “Power Steer” changed the way Americans thought about meat. “We are what we eat, it is often said,” wrote author Michael Pollan, “but of course that is only part of the story. We are what what we eat eats too.” Read More

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Introducing Food Access: A Tale of Two Grocery Shopping Trips

Sunday is grocery shopping day.

As I sit on the couch sipping my morning coffee, my husband walks over and asks, “What do you want to make for dinner this week?” I reach for a pen on our coffee table and a piece of paper. Before we head out to the store, we make a list of what we’re cooking for dinner each night of the week. Read More

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President Obama’s State of the Union: What to Expect, and What to Hope For

In his State of the Union speech next Tuesday night, President Obama is expected to focus heavily on challenges like economic inequality and international terrorism. But he is also likely to address at least some of the issues that UCS works on directly, such as climate change and energy. Here’s a quick take on what he may say on these issues, as well as some things he should say, but probably won’t. Read More

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What Was the Top #ScienceFail for 2014?

Science isn’t easy. Scientific research is often difficult, tedious, and can take years to come to fruition. And it’s because it takes such dogged effort to reach solid scientific conclusions that we trust the work scientists do. Unfortunately, too many politicians and institutions reject or distort scientific conclusions they don’t like.

We all lose when political spin runs roughshod over evidence scientists have uncovered regarding risks to our health and well-being. Sadly, such incidents are now commonplace enough to have their own hashtag: #ScienceFail. Here are our nominations for the worst cases of #ScienceFail for 2014. Read More

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Weighing In on Obesity—What BMI Can Tell You

In public health, one of the first steps to addressing a problem is defining it. The second, measuring it. Most Americans are aware that our country has an obesity problem—in adults as well as children—in part because of our unhealthy food system. But how do researchers gauge the extent of the problem, and what do we know about whether it is increasing? Read More

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We’re Number One! – In What Our Land Can Do for the World’s Climate

You hear the phrase “we’re number one!” from Americans fairly often, usually in relation to sports or politics. Now new research from the Union of Concerned Scientists shows  that there’s another domain where it applies. It’s not as an assertion of superiority, and probably never will lead to a chant at the Olympics, the World Cup or even the UN climate negotiations. Rather, it’s in terms of our potential to use our land sector – that is, agriculture and forests – to reduce our global warming pollution and avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

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Groundbreaking Study Shows How Sustainable Farming Practices Can Improve Yields

As the human population rises, so too does the anxiety about whether there will be enough food for all. Many have suggested that sustainable agriculture methods, such as organic production, are not suited to large scale adoption as a means of providing a reliable food source. Yet considering that our industrial agricultural system generates a plethora of environmental and public health problems, we have a real conundrum. How can we possibly secure sufficient food quantities without sacrificing the quality of our health or our planet’s? Read More

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