Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Tom Philpott writing for Grist

Tom Philpott, the farmer, weblogger, and mad-scientist inventor of genetically modified bitter greens (just kidding about that last part), has started a cool gig writing for the online environmental magazine Grist.

Philpott offers fair praise for the Bush administration's comments on farm subsidies:
Long the bane of environmentalists and sustainable-agriculture proponents, the U.S. agriculture-subsidy system has drawn some unlikely new critics: top Bush administration officials. Speaking before a food-industry trade group last week, USDA chief Mike Johanns, the reliably pro-Big Ag former governer of subsidy-rich Nebraska, complained that in fiscal year 2005:

92 percent of commodity program spending was paid on five crops -- corn, wheat, soybeans, cotton and rice. The farmers who raise other crops -- two thirds of all farmers -- received little support from current farm programs.

Later, he deplored what he called "trade-distorting subsidies. " And Monday, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman published an op-ed in the Financial Times offering to slash farm support, so long as Europe and Japan follow suit.

Looking around Grist, I see lots to like. Here, advice columnist Umbra Fisk offers a nice informative account of the environmental advantages of vegetarian diets over meat-centered diets.

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