As 2013 rapidly approaches, it seems like a good time for reflection on the past year, and the major issues and points of interest in food, agriculture, and the environment. While I did not have a chance to pull together a list of my own, others have done the heavy lifting...Grist, as always, does not fail to disappoint in this department, either. In an article on The Year in Food and Farming, Grist's food editor laid out the top ten stories of 2012 (most of which I had written related posts):
- The worst drought in half a century in the Corn Belt of the US...and it's apparently not over yet!
- Organic agriculture made headlines, including the consolidation of the industry and a study arguing that the organic label does not necessarily mean healthier.
- Legislation on labeling GMOs did not pass in California, but the fight is only beginning, beyond mere identification of ingredients.
- 'Pink Slime' in ground beef grossed out the Nation.
- A 2012 Farm Bill never manifested itself, but I still have high hopes for the future...
- Small fish that feed big ones are at risk, and moreover, that fish on your plate may not be what you think it is.
- Local food is scaling up - I write about local a lot, but not often about the infrastructure needs to bring the largely small-scale farming to the next level.
- If you are eating meat, Grist tackled the questions of how much and from where.
- Farm labor, the invisible cogs behind our food system, and how it's garnered more attention in the past year.
That about sums it up. Lot's of discussion around policy (or rather, the lack thereof) that would encourage sustainability. And also, more recognition in the mainstream about the importance of climate change for agriculture. Livestock is naturally relevant to both of those issues. I would add that since a report came out last year on food losses and waste, that has also been a rising topic of discussion over the past 18 months or so. Looking forward to seeing how all these issues continue to develop in 2013...and stay tuned for more!
And yes, it is still Friday on the West Coast!