Food & Food Culture

3:22am

Thu January 2, 2014
The Salt

How Mass-Produced Meat Turned Phosphorus Into Pollution

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 8:27 am

A dead carp floats in water near the shore at Big Creek State Park on Sept. 10 in Polk City, Iowa. Like many agricultural states, Iowa is working with the EPA to enforce clean-water regulations amid degradation from manure spills and farm-field runoff.
Charlie Neibergall AP

It's a quandary of food production: The same drive for efficiency that lowers the cost of eating also can damage our soil and water.

Take the case of one simple, essential chemical element: phosphorus.

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1:53am

Thu January 2, 2014
The Salt

Food As Punishment: Giving U.S. Inmates 'The Loaf' Persists

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 1:49 pm

Lisa Brown for NPR

In many prisons and jails across the U.S., punishment can come in the form of a bland, brownish lump. Known as nutraloaf, or simply "the loaf," it's fed day after day to inmates who throw food or, in some cases, get violent. Even though it meets nutritional guidelines, civil rights activists urge against the use of the brick-shaped meal.

Tasteless food as punishment is nothing new: Back in the 19th century, prisoners were given bread and water until they'd earned with good behavior the right to eat meat and cheese.

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9:24am

Wed January 1, 2014
The Salt

Tummy Beer, Coffee Maker Cooking And Mini-Fasts: 2013's Most Read

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 9:10 am

Latte art, debunking Julia Child and dishwasher cooking: 2013 had something for everybody.
NPR staff

As we review our most popular posts of 2013, we can't help but notice some patterns, dear readers. It seems that you gravitate towards stories on the escapades of bacteria inside the gut, dieting, icky-looking school lunches and cooking tips ranging from how to handle raw chicken to coffee maker and dishwasher cooking.

And that's just fine with us, since those are some of the food stories we love, too.

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1:04am

Wed January 1, 2014
The Salt

Malawian Farmers Say Adapt To Climate Change Or Die

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 9:42 am

Villages in the Lower Shire valley of Malawi, like this one named Jasi, rely heavily on subsistence farming and steady rainfall, and are struggling to produce steady harvests.
Jennifer Ludden/NPR

Rain is so important in Malawi's agriculture-based economy that there are names for different kinds of it, from the brief bursts of early fall to heavier downpours called mvula yodzalira, literally "planting rain." For generations, rainfall patterns here in the southeast part of Africa have been predictable, reliable. But not now.

In the village of Jasi, in the hot, flat valley of Malawi's Lower Shire, farmer Pensulo Melo says 2010 was a disaster.

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3:15pm

Tue December 31, 2013
The Salt

Here's How Young Farmers Looking For Land Are Getting Creative

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 6:02 pm

Chris and Sara Guerre are among a growing number of farmers who have made the choice to rent land to farm instead of buy because of increasing property values.
Zac Visco for NPR

Across the country, there's a wave of interest in local food. And a new generation of young farmers is trying to grow it.

Many of these farmers — many of whom didn't grow up on farms — would like to stay close to cities. After all, that's where the demand for local food is.

The problem is, that's where land is most expensive. So young farmers looking for affordable land are forced to get creative.

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