Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Old MacDonald Had a Factory

Everywhere it is introduced, factory farming creates ecological and public health disasters, from new animal and human diseases to air and water pollution to the loss of livestock genetic resources. Factory farms crowd hundreds of thousands of animals together with little natural light or fresh air, creating a ripe environment for breeding disease. Waste from the animals is collected in large lagoons where it can seep into nearby waterways, contaminate groundwater, and spread a sickening stench for miles. Workers in meat processing plants work long hours in miserable conditions and have among the highest accident rates in the United States. All of this is done with an eye towards minimizing costs and maximizing profits with little regard for human, environmental, or animal welfare. Rethinking the global meat industry is not just about keeping factory farms safe from disease outbreaks and mitigating their environmental effects. The real challenge, and the real reward, will come from taking a different approach to the way we raise food. Reversing the factory farm tide will require thinking about farming systems as more than a source of economic wealth. We must recognize that preserving prosperous family farms and their landscapes and raising healthy and humanely treated animals are their own form of affluence.
So writes Danielle Nierenberg in the State of the World 2006. Is this really the future we want?


The Miracle of Farming: Toward a Bio-Abundant Future

Charles and Perrine Hervé-Gruyer’s Le Ferme du Bec Hellouin is a celebrated model of innovative, ecological agriculture in Europe, connected to national and international organizations addressing food security, heralded by celebrity chefs as well as the Slow Food movement, and featured in the inspiring César and COLCOA award-winning documentary film, Demain (Tomorrow).In this excerpt from their […] Read More

Sow Seeds: Stop Walking Around Doing Nothing

“In the last one hundred years, 94 percent of seed varieties available at the turn of the century in America and considered a part of the human commons have been lost.”That’s one of the key takeaways in award-winning author and activist Janisse Ray’s book, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food. In her book, Ray […] Read More

True or false? Figs contain dead wasps

They are trees of life and trees of knowledge. They are wish-fulfillers … rainforest royalty … more precious than gold. They are the fig trees, and they have affected humanity in profound but little-known ways. Gods, Wasps and Stranglers tells their amazing story.Fig trees fed our pre-human ancestors, influenced diverse cultures and played key roles […] Read More

Imagination, Purpose & Flexibility: Creating an Independent Farmstead – Q&A (part 1)

Twenty years ago, the land that authors Shawn and Beth Dougherty purchased and have come to name the Sow’s Ear was deemed “not suitable for agriculture” by the state of Ohio. Today, their family raises and grows 90% of their own food.Such self-sufficiency is largely the result of basing their farming practices around intensive pasture […] Read More

Eight Seed-Saving Myths

You don’t have to move to Svalbard, Norway in order to have access to a seed bank.Author and plant breeder Carol Deppe believes that every gardener should have her own seed bank. Even if you aren’t a seed saver, you should have your own seed bank. Even if you never experience any disaster beyond the […] Read More
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