Category Archives: food & farm

food & farm

Monsanto Who?

“So I’m writing this story about Monsanto,” I said to my friend.

corn field, image credit: James Jordan

corn field, image credit: James Jordan

“Who?”

“Monsanto.”

“Never heard of them.”

My husband’s career in agriculture spans nearly 30 years. I take it as a given that everyone’s heard of Monsanto.

The company is one of the big dogs in farming and biotechnology. If you live in St. Louis, as I did for almost 13 years, you know Monsanto. If you eat food raised in the United States, it’s possible Monsanto has been involved in the production of that food in some way.

But I discovered from talking with my friend that there are people who don’t know Monsanto or what they do. And then there are a lot of people who only know what they’ve heard from activists and Food, Inc.

With that in mind and with the guidance from my editors at BlogHer, I tried to write a story that gives readers some context for what Monsanto does and communicates the thoughts of four women I interviewed who work there.

Please click over to read Listening to the Women of Monsanto on BlogHer. Your classy comments and shares are appreciated. 

Listening to the Women of Monsanto

Megan Brown & Janice Person at Monsanto Research Plot, image credit Janice Person

Click to read Listening to the Women of Monsanto. Megan Brown (L) and Janice Person (R) at a Monsanto research plot, image credit: Janice Person

Have a great weekend!

photo credit: James Jordan via photopin cc

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Filed under blogging, food & farm, women's studies

God Made a Farmer

Did you see this ad on the Super Bowl last night? My husband Jeff and I sat mesmerized through Paul Harvey’s eloquent reading.

Jeff and I have both spent time working in or with advertising agencies. At the end of this commercial, we declared, “Now that was a good ad!” It was magical really. Here’s why:

The alchemy between the creative and the client worked. The Richards Group agency and the marketing people at Ram Trucks obviously shared a vision that allowed the creative to flourish. It’s rare when this happens, but the result is genius. On message, on target, emotive, evocative.

We were hanging on the edge of our seats. We wanted to know: Who was responsible for this commercial? The payoff came silently at the end of the two-minute spot. We own a Ford, but we’ll remember Ram.

farm sky

farm sky

It captured the essence of the American farmer. Many jobs are strenuous, underpaid, and thankless, but farming stands in a class all its own. The farmer is an entrepreneur. The farmer assumes all the risks, performs executive decision-making side-by-side with menial tasks, and endures browbeating from people who’ve never set foot in a field. And yet the farmer perseveres, spurred on by love of the land, the work, the life, and the noble mission of feeding people.

The message was elevated, and so was the viewer. This commercial told a story without dumbed-down slapstick comedy or sexualized crudeness. The visuals were simple, beautiful, dignified—the makings of great theater. We applaud and request an encore.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 NLT

What were your impressions of this ad? What were your favorite Super Bowl commercials?

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Filed under America, food & farm

Reader’s Choice ’12: Standing Up for Chick-fil-A

Pam Thompson knows timing is everything.

Pam Thompson

Pam Thompson

The mother of six children (six!), Pam’s blog is understandably called It’s Time for More Coffee! Pam makes every second count.

You may recall the battle boiling back in the sweltering heat of July. Gay rights activists sniped at Chick-fil-A’s founding family for personal contributions they made to organizations that support the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman. The activists’ irritation with the Cathy family had been building for years. Last July it reached a fevered pitch.

BlogHer published an op-ed from a woman who was boycotting Chick-fil-A and the Boy Scouts. I watched for the rebuttal post. I waited and waited to see the other side of the story. When no alternative response came, I pitched BlogHer my own.

First published here as Why I Will Eat Mor Chikin, BlogHer accepted my story and syndicated it the week of the BlogHer Conference in New York, vaulting the post to my most-read story this year.

The BlogHer audience came unglued with its publication. Many readers dialogued with civility, but many did not. I received hateful comments and tweets from strangers. More importantly, I received messages of support and solidarity from strangers, too. People were reading, relating, agreeing, and praying. One message of courage came from a pastor in North Dakota whom I’d never met. Soon I connected with his wife online. She is Pam Thompson.

Timing is everything, and everything belongs to God.

Pam’s Reader’s Choice is:

Standing Up for Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A cow at family event

click to read Standing Up for Chick-fil-A on BlogHer

readers choice

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Filed under America, faith, food & farm, life

Reader’s Choice ’12: What Organic Food Is and Is Not

Nothing ages me faster than calling my niece “Dr. Whetstine.” 

Jena Whetstine & Jessica Brotherton

Jena Whetstine (right) with sister Jessica Whetstine Brotherton at Jessica’s wedding

Professor Jena Whetstine has her Ph.D. in chemistry. My collegiate career, on the other hand, did not include one hour of chemistry. Does psychology still count as a science? 

Our family is exceedingly proud of this accomplished young woman, all her siblings, and cousins. She is, and they are, beautiful on the inside and out with the easy-going, never-met-a-stranger warmth and sense of humor my husband’s family exudes.

Jena picked this post because as a chemist she found it “very entertaining.” Humor wasn’t exactly what I was going for, but you never know with chemists.

Jena’s Reader’s Choice is: 

What Organic Food Is and Is Not

bell peppers

click to read What Organic Food Is and Is Not

readers choice

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Reader’s Choice ’12: Where’s the Beef?

Anna Petersen

Anna Petersen

Many of you met Anna Petersen (aka Chef Nusy) earlier this year when she requested I add her selection to the Reader’s Choice 2011 list

When I asked what her choice for 2012 would be, she was ready. “Having kids eat healthier is a great thing,” she said. “But trying to do it in a one-size-fits-all manner has never, ever worked.”

Law school is on the horizon for this fencer-immigrant-chef-student. Anna’s lobbying skills combined with her determination and common sense promise to make her one excellent attorney.

Anna’s Reader’s Choice is:

Where’s the Beef?

Where's the Beef?

click to read Where’s the Beef?

readers choice

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Filed under America, food & farm

Reader’s Choice ’12: Moon Walk

Anne Burkholder and her husband Matt are the only two Dartmouth graduates who live in rural Nebraska. 

Anne Burkholder

Anne Burkholder

Anne and Matt have worked his family’s diversified farm for 15 years. He farms 5,000 acres of alfalfa and she is “boss lady” of a 3,000-head feedyard.

This past June, the Burkholder’s farm was featured in BusinessWeek, and earlier this month, Anne appeared on RFD-TV. Her blog Feedyard Foodie is a steady, intelligent voice in today’s turbulent conversations about animal welfare and ranching.

Anne carefully selected her Reader’s Choice post. “I love it because being alone with God and nature is my favorite thing to do,” she said. “It soothes the soul—centers your perspective—and lends itself to feelings of hope and promise.”

Oh, how I long for that this Christmas. Anne’s Reader’s Choice is: 

Moon Walk

in the field

click to read Moon Walk

readers choice

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Reader’s Choice ’12: Food Fright

Remember Ryan Goodman?

Ryan Goodman

Ryan Goodman

He’s the young cowboy we visited last March. He’s been quite busy since then. Besides full-time graduate school, Ryan’s been blogging his passion for agriculture on CNN’s food blog Eatocracy.

You read that right: C-N-N.

Ryan graciously agreed to take a moment out of his celebrity schedule to be in our little Reader’s Choice feature. Meanwhile, our friend Dairy Carrie let me hijack his blog as a Bandita. I’ve never been a Bandita before! 

See my surprise guest post today on Ryan’s blog Agriculture Proud. But first, Ryan’s Reader’s Choice is:

Food Fright

click to read Food Fright

click to read Food Fright

Reader's Choice 2012

 

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Famous Ham Sammies Recipe from Beyer Beware

Today we’re linking to two recipes from one magnificent cook. It’s a double dip of deliciousness!

First, we’re cooking a famous ham sammies recipes from my friend Leah at Beyer Beware as part of our instead of hot dogs series. Second, today also happens to be Monday, the day of the week Leah posts her Hunk of Meat Mondays feature recipe. Visit Beyer Beware for Leah’s latest feature, Philly Cheese Sloppy Joes. And click this link to see the recipe details for our dish:

King’s Hawaiian Roll Ham Sandwiches

As kitchen entertainment, my helper and I cook the ham sammies:
(Video link: http://youtu.be/C5bSBf6oOew)

Leah told me these ham sammies were addictive, and she’s right. The “secret sauce” makes these babies special. A few simple steps transforms ham sandwiches from simple to super.

Nice job, Leah. Carnivores everywhere sing your praises!

ham sammies

famous ham sammies

 For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. Proverbs 15:15 NLT

Might as well face it, you’re Addicted to Love and ham sandwiches…

If you make this recipe, let me know how you like it!

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Filed under family & friends, food & farm, recipes

Faster Than a French Fry

french fries

faster than a french fry

Posts have been flying out of here faster than a french fry out of a Happy Meal. Here’s a recap of what’s been published where, including links you may have missed.

Back on BlogHer
Lisen and I are on BlogHer this week, fearlessly discussing biotech foods (GMOs, genetically modified organisms) and California’s Prop 37. Whether you live in CA or not, this measure has huge repercussions for food, farm, and those of us who buy groceries. Please drop by to read the point-counterpoint post and add to the conversation.

Carolina on My Mind
“The number one reason I’m voting for Mitt Romney can be summed up in two words: North Carolina.” That’s the opening line to my post Why Mitt Romney Has My Vote, featured today on Project Underblog. Earlier this week, Project Underblog featured my letter to Facebook founder, Dear Mr. Zuckerberg.

Mobilizing Moms
mastering mommy brainYesterday my guest post The Mommy Vote Counts appeared on Mastering Mommy Brain. I was honored to write this nonpartisan post encouraging moms to vote. Often we don’t recognize our own strength. “Mommy, your vote is wanted and it counts. Your voice needs to be heard in this conversation.” Read more in The Mommy Vote Counts.

Yum-O
Our recipe series of what to eat instead of hot dogs continues. We’ve cooked up two delicious meals so far, Tex Mex Lasagna and Crockpot Southern Greens. Expect more to come.

Katie Pinke, The Pinke Post

Katie Pinke, The Pinke Post

Love to North Dakota
My blogging sister Katie Pinke had a little surprise this past week. Her blog’s URL was mistakenly listed as expired and sold to someone else! Her blog of five years disappeared. Fifty hours and mountains of frustration later, her blog was restored with a new URL—just in time to launch a new series North Dakota November. Please go by and give Katie some blogging love at ThePinkePost.com. I’m so glad she’s back online.

keep calm and vote for rom

keep calm

Polar Opposites
A special thank you to those of you who subscribe. I appreciate you sticking with me through a WordPress glitch that temporarily stopped email updates. For those of you who don’t subscribe yet, it’s easy and free. As a bonus, you get to catch my misspells and typos before I do. For example, the emailed version of Should Christians Vote? instructed voters to go to the poles on November 6th rather than to the polls… Now wouldn’t that be a hoot?

That’s all the news that’s fit to blog today. Rest up this weekend. Next week promises to be a doozie!

The Lord gives strength to His people;
the Lord blesses His people with peace. Psalm 29:11 NIV

Love Me Good by Michael W. Smith.

Have a great weekend!

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Filed under blogging, family & friends, food & farm, writing & reading

When Carrots Expire

Consider the humble bag of carrots.

bag of carrots

humble bag of carrots

There it goes down the conveyor.

down the conveyor

there it goes

Whoosh!

down the conveyor

whoosh!

But wait! Look at the date on the package.

date on the bag of carrots

11.09.12

Best if used by 11.09.12. 

By then, the election will be over. We hope.

If the carrots can make it, so can you.

Hang on. It may come down to the wire.

But don’t give up!

Smile and think of the day when carrots expire.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

Don’t Give Up by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. A little melodrama goes nicely with beta carotene.

Name a root vegetable without repeating any named in the comments before yours.

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Filed under America, food & farm, humor

Crockpot Southern Greens Recipe from A Half-Baked Life

The quest for easy and delicious recipes continues. Today we’re cooking Southern comfort food in a crockpot. There are so many things right with that last sentence, I don’t know where to begin.

Our recipe comes from Justine at A Half-Baked Life. Justine writes stories of luxurious prose and caps them off with delicious recipes. Genius. Click the link for today’s recipe details and to enjoy the exquisite writing that goes with it:

Crockpot Southern Greens with a Kick
by A Half-Baked Life

Now watch me cook this, simple and quick:
(Video link: http://youtu.be/5ubJ20mshZU)

crockpot southern greens

crockpot southern greens

If you have a crockpot, you can totally do this. I cannot believe how easy it was and how complex the flavors. The “kick” Justine adds sets these greens apart. This dish makes a great meal or unexpected side to accompany an entrée. It’s the perfect earthy and warm recipe for cold autumn evenings.

Thank you, Justine at A Half-Baked Life, for bringing this savory recipe to us. Bon appétit!

For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. Proverbs 15:15 NLT

Alison Krauss & Union Station with The Lucky One. Greens are lucky, right?

If you make this recipe, let me know how you like it!

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Filed under family & friends, food & farm, recipes

Tex Mex Lasagna Recipe from The Wife of a Dairyman

Last week, I reached out to some of my favorite cooking bloggers because I was in dire need of new recipes. Today I made the first recipe in the series. It’s from my friend Nancy at The Wife of a Dairyman. Click this link for the details:

Tex Mex Lasagna by The Wife of a Dairyman

Here’s how it cooked up in my kitchen.
(Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FJC1J4iPq4)

tex mex lasagna

tex mex lasagna

The results were fabulous. If you like Mexican food, you’ll love this recipe. It’s more sophisticated than tacos, but still simple to make. I served it with chips and queso, fresh tomato, shredded lettuce, salsa, and more sour cream (of course!).

You can easily alter the recipe with another meat like ground turkey, diced chicken, or steak. You can also bake it with lower fat cheese and leave out the sour cream, as Nancy suggests, for a low fat version. For more spice, turn up the heat with your favorite seasonings and peppers.

Thank you, Nancy at The Wife of a Dairyman, for a new favorite. Bon appétit!

For the despondent, every day brings trouble;
for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. Proverbs 15:15 NLT

Kick it up a notch with Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin.

If you make this recipe, let me know how you like it!

 

 

 

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Filed under family & friends, food & farm, recipes