sustainable agriculture


Book Review: Cowed’s Message is Less but Better Beef

, scientific adviser, Climate and Energy

There’s a lot to be learned from Cowed, by Denis Hayes and Gail Boyer Hayes. It’s about cows, but the eclectic topics range from the scandalous coverup of mad cow disease, to the origin of modern cattle from the legendary aurochs (i.e. the “Ur-ox”), to the gender politics of the cowboy, to the federal government’s subsidy of beef over-grazing on our public lands, to a visit to a dairy farm run by robots. Yet there’s a serious underlying theme as well—that the U.S. needs a fundamental transformation of its relationship to the cattle industry. Read more >

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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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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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Your Memorial Day Beer Choice Can Support Sustainable Farmers and Local Economies

, Kendall Science Fellow

In the spirit of enjoying adult beverages this Memorial Day weekend (responsibly, of course!), I want to share a bit about the burgeoning craft beer industry in the United States and why the trends are encouraging for sustainable farming and local economies. Read more >

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Four Things to Think About When Heavy Spring Rains Fall

, Kendall Science Fellow

Spoiler alert: It’s more than just packing an umbrella.

As a kid I remember repeating the phrase in the spring “April showers bring May flowers.” Now, in my adult life as a weather-conscious agricultural scientist, I cannot help but think about how spring rain brings with it not just the promise of pretty flowers, but also the damage of floods. Read more >

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