Food and agriculture can yield a bounty of local stories for many environmental reporters. That's because agriculture is historically adapted to the growing conditions in many specific locations — and because many of its environmental impacts are local as well.
"Curry spices could hold the key to reducing the enormous greenhouse gas emissions given off by grazing animals such as sheep, cows and goats, scientists have claimed."
"The Monsanto Company agreed to pay the Environmental Protection Agency a $2.5 million penalty for selling mislabeled bags of genetically engineered seed."
Just as harmful to the Gulf of Mexico as the BP oil spill is the annual "dead zone" whose increase in recent years has been driven by nitrogen fertilizer used to produce corn ethanol in the U.S. heartland.
"California pesticide regulators plan to approve a new agricultural chemical called methyl iodide for the state's coastal strawberry fields, allowing levels of exposure that the state's own experts say will put farmworkers and bystanders at risk."
"Earth-friendly perennial grain crops, which grow with less fertilizer, herbicide, fuel, and erosion than grains planted annually, could be available in two decades, according to researchers writing in the current issue of the journal Science."
"Scientists say methyl bromide threatens the ozone layer, and its alternative, methyl iodide, is a threat to workers and their families."
As drought blankets much of the western U.S. and Canada, so do grasshoppers, Mormon crickets, and other associated bugs. The cyclical insect infestations, which are occurring in pockets in every state west of the Mississippi and in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, range from light to very severe.
"The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a federal judge had erred in prohibiting the planting of Monsanto’s genetically modified alfalfa seed until a federal government agency completed a detailed environmental review."
Small-scale farmers who want to grow and sell meat locally have been hampered by federal regulation of slaughterhouses. Now mobile slaughterhouses are helping those farmers get back in the game.