cowsWhen people think of the organic food movement, their thoughts will often wander to images of upscale urban grocery stores and the fancy clientele that patronize them. But the early days of organic food production certainly wasn’t led by city slickers. In fact, more than 20 years ago a group of Amish farmers developed one of the nation’s first major organic agricultural operations. Centered around the small town of Kalona, Iowa, this collection of primarily dairy farmers has thrived on Continue reading

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June 27, 2017

daniel-orthDuring the 1990s and early 2000s, studies showed that Americans drank an average of more than 50 gallons of soda per person. In the years that followed, however, soda began to lose its appeal as consumers increasingly avoided sugary drinks. American soda consumption has since shrunk to an average of 38.5 gallons per person. In the meantime, many of these former Coke and Pepsi drinkers switched to bottled water, which now exceeds soda in terms of total volume sold.

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eelkeAccording to estimates from the U.N., by 2050 the global food industry will need to produce 455 million tons of meat annually in order to keep up with demand. Today’s meat makers already produce 259 tons per year, leaving behind an enormous environmental impact in the process. More than 70 percent of the world’s water consumption comes from meat and dairy production along with 38 percent of land use and 19 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Environmentalists fear that Continue reading

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March 17, 2017

PolinaMarinovaFor many modern consumers, the origin of their food is just as important as its nutrition stats. That’s why high-end grocery stores like Whole Foods often specify which farms their meat and vegetables come from, sometimes even including detailed stories about their staff and methods. Still, even this attention to detail isn’t enough for some discerning eaters. In order to ensure they know exactly where their food comes from, these consumers can pool their resources together to purchase a cow Continue reading

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February 21, 2017

KellyAs winter winds down, people across the country will start throwing their fleece jackets into the wash for one last spin before months of closet storage. While many people won’t think twice about one load of laundry, unfortunately the environmental effects of this routine task will linger for a long time. Unlike cotton or wool, synthetic fleece releases tiny plastic fibers into wastewater that flows into lakes and rivers. These non-biodegradable materials then bind with other chemicals and cause health Continue reading

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January 20, 2017

Ensuring clean water for everyone on the planet is one of the major environmental challenges facing future generations. In this video, a Chilean engineer demonstrates his invention that draws vapor from the air and turns it into drinkable water. If he succeeds in making the machine smaller and cheaper, it could provide an immense benefit to communities that lack access to clean water.

Questions:

  1. Why does Hector Pino need to continue refining his product?
  2. Once fully developed, should Pino form Continue reading
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January 5, 2017

AndrewMagillWhen David Malcolm took over his family’s sprinkler system business in 1992, he intended to run the company the same way that his father had over the last few decades. But that soon changed once he picked up an old project that his dad started just before he died: finding another use for a low-flow sprinkler designed for farming. At first Malcolm thought he solved the problem by installing the sprinkler heads on hoses and using them to patch up Continue reading

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November 3, 2016

DanPhifferSince its founding in 1973, the outdoor apparel brand Patagonia has strived to make quality goods in an ethical manner. This combination of strong values and superior products has allowed the company to grow into an $800 million brand. But over the years Patagonia has run into a number of roadblocks in their quest to “build the best product” and “cause no unnecessary harm.” For example, in 2010 an animal rights group revealed that the company had been buying goose Continue reading

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October 27, 2016

Although the world’s population is always increasing, the physical size of the globe stubbornly remains the same. As a result, humans might soon face a shortage of some key resources, including food with high protein content. But here’s where the humble cricket hops in: while many Americans may consider them pests, crickets can be a nutritious and environmentally sustainable food source. This video takes a look at the ways one cricket farm operates and how its owners hope to market Continue reading

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September 2, 2016

As Americans become more health conscious eaters, food companies have taken advantage of this trend by producing an abundance of items labelled “organic” and “natural.” However, one of these words is not like the other. This video takes a look at what “natural” means when it appears on food packaging and how this potentially misleading word could soon be subject to stricter regulation.

Questions:

 

  1. What is the difference between the words “organic” and “natural” when it comes to food Continue reading
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