April 26, 2013 Today's commercial coffee production is based on only a tiny slice of the genetic varieties that have grown since prehistoric times. And that's a problem, because it leaves the world's coffee supply vulnerable to shocks like climate change, or the leaf rust currently ravaging Latin American coffee farms.
April 24, 2013 It doesn't take much effort to find bags of coffee with labels that promise social and environmental improvements. But each one of these certification programs promises something different for the farmer and the land — and every promise involves some compromises.
April 22, 2013 Coffee is social stimulant, solitary pleasure, intellectual catalyst. It also connects us to far corners of the globe. From small specialty farms in Guatemala to large, industrial operations in Brazil and unexpected corners of the world, like Vietnam, the world's morning cup of joe makes quite a journey.
April 19, 2013 This week's explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. plant in Texas reminds us of the "cursed" side of the nitrogen that powers most of agriculture around the world. Through habit or necessity, we've come to depend on it. But there are costs.
April 10, 2013 The change that may matter most for the proposal's chances of success, though, is purely bureaucratic. The White House wants foreign food aid to be funded through the U.S. Agency for International Development instead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
April 4, 2013 Rumors abound of a major shakeup in the works for U.S. food aid programs. The U.S. would give aid groups money to buy food wherever they could get it cheapest and quickest, rather than shipping abroad commodities bought in the U.S. Already, groups that profit from the current system are mounting a fight.
March 25, 2013 Neonicotinoids are pesticides widely used to coat the seeds of agricultural plants, especially corn. But some evidence suggests these chemicals may also be poisoning bees. A tell-tale clue: reports of massive bee die-offs that all took place during corn-planting season.
March 8, 2013 Two giant honey packers have admitted to buying millions of dollars in mislabeled honey from China. Honey industry insiders have long suspected this misuse, but it's the first time any U.S. packer has admitted to it.
March 1, 2013 When it comes to pollinating our favorite crops — from coffee to watermelon — honeybees can't do it alone. Wild bees in the field play a critical role in creating bumper crops, a massive new study reports. But these bees are disappearing, and scientists say the rise of crop monocultures is partly to blame.
February 26, 2013 When it comes to protecting the environment and issues like worker well-being and women's rights, 10 of the world's biggest food producers get failing grades from Oxfam, an activist group for the poor.
February 22, 2013 The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers may get a record harvest of corn, and a higher supply of soybeans and wheat in 2013. The corn harvest is expected to be up nearly 40 percent over last year's drought-crippled level.
February 21, 2013 Federal officials say executives from the now-defunct Peanut Corp. of America knowingly distributed peanut products that were contaminated with salmonella. The charges stem from a 2009 salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 700 people.
February 19, 2013 Farmers in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska converted 1.3 million acres of grassland into soybean and corn production between 2006 and 2011. Images derived from satellite data confirmed that changing landscape, which spells bad news wildlife and for soil integrity in some parts.