I’m always fascinated by how ideas percolate up into the culture and become bona fide trends.

An idea is sparked, acted upon, talked about…and suddenly everyone is doing it.

The DIY trend is one example. While I was formulating the idea for DIY Delicious in early 2008, the social, economic, and political conditions that gave rise to the book were also working on other people’s psyches, but in different ways. The results: websites and businesses like Food in Jars, Punk Domestics, and Farm Curious, movements like Yes We Can, and Canning Across America, as well as countless books on DIY Dairy, canning, curing, and pickling. It’s as if these ideas are just floating out there in the ether waiting to alight on someone’s brain.

ColumnWhy bio-plastics aren’t as green as you think.

When was the last time you attended an event where food and drink was sold in disposable vessels?

If you’re an EcoSalon reader, it’s likely that after consuming your food or beverage you examined the container carefully to see if it was made from corn (or another plant product). And if it was, you probably then looked around for a compost bin to throw it in. Did you find one?

I’m guessing you didn’t and, left without much choice, you threw it in the garbage, maybe feeling a little uneasy, but consoling yourself with the thought that at least the container wasn’t made from petroleum, and it would break down. Right?


There are two problematic factors in potato, corn, and other plant-based plastics, which are often called “bioplastics.”

October 28th, 2010 By Haven Bourque

The USDA has a law on the books that levels the playing field between family farmers who raise cattle, hogs and poultry and the large meat packers who purchase their livestock and bring it to market. It’s called the Packers and Stockyard Act, and its overseen by the USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration or GIPSA. But don’t tussle with that mouthful because it doesn’t explain what you need to know about the complex livestock market system. Just keep reading. GIPSA makes sure small producers have equal access to market that larger producers do. It’s fair competition, which is, of course, the American way.

Sounds great, right? And just in time for the good food revolution. But instead, this law has been gathering dust because the USDA hasn’t enforced it. New proposed rules (previously covered here on Civil Eats) amending the act would prevent large meat packers from artificially lowering the price of cattle, hogs and lamb. But four companies control over 80 percent of the U.S. meat market, and these “Big Four” are fighting an effort to strengthen the rule.