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The Rise of the Robot Farmer

John Harris The Guardian
Tiny automated machines could soon take care of the entire growing process. Fewer chemicals, more efficient – where’s the downside?

Wendell Berry’s Right Kind of Farming

Gracy Olmstead New York Times
Agricultural choices must be made by these inescapable standards: the ecological health of the farm and the economic health of the farmer.

food

The Humble Cabbage Connects History and Cultures

David Bacon Civil Eats
Workers packing cabbage heads coordinate with each other to work quickly Photographer David Bacon shares stunning images of farmworkers harvesting cabbage the old-fashioned way, and writes that the ubiquitous if undervalued vegetable is actually a shared cultural touchstone.

How Rice Farming May Have Spread Across the Ancient World

Lizzie Wade Science
Hunter-gatherers didn’t learn farming themselves, or from their immediate neighbors, but rather from distant people moving into their territory—a pattern that may have played out throughout this part of the globe.

food

America’s First “Food Spy” Traveled the World Hunting for Exotic Crops

Anna Diamond Smithsonian Magazine
David Fairchild demonstrates a new crop spraying technique in 1889. A new book, The Food Explorer, tells the story of botanist David Fairchild who, in the 1890’s, sleuthed out over 200,000 kinds of fruits, vegetables and grains around the world. Thanks to his findings, the USDA distributed many new seeds and crops to farmers throughout the states.

Twinkies, Carrots, and Farm Policy Reality

John Ikerd Civil Eats
An agricultural economist writes that treating Twinkies and carrots as the beginning and end of the farm subsidies discussion distracts from useful public discourse.

food

4-H: Indoctrination Nation

Sarah McColl Modern Farmer
The nonprofit National 4-H Council accepts donations from a veritable who’s who of Big Ag: Monsanto, ConAgra, DuPont, and Altria each gave at least a million dollars in 2015. A lot of cultural norms around gender and sexuality are directly illustrated by the history of 4-H.
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