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farming | John Feffer
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Pig Farming in Poland

I know a bit about dairy farming since I spent my summers growing up in the dairy country of Vermont’s Northern Kingdom. But my knowledge of pig farming is all second-hand and comes mostly from Annie Proulx’s novel That Old Ace in the Hole, a devastating indictment of industrial farming in Oklahoma. What remains in my memory are the huge holding ponds of pig excrement and the unholy smell. So...
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Menu for a Hot Planet

In many ways the human race hit the skids when we stopped throwing spears and gathering berries. Once we started planting seeds and harvesting the produce, we grew shorter, fatter, sicker, and considerably more overworked. An alien visiting from another planet during that critical transition period to a more settled existence might easily have thought that we were being domesticated by our...
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The Countryside Strikes Back

Nearly one-third of Hungarians live in rural parts of the country. Surprisingly the rural population in Hungary, as a percentage of the population, is larger than in Bulgaria. But agriculture has declined steadily as a value-added portion of GDP – from over 15 percent in 1989 to 3.5 in 2010. There are a number of reasons for why the rural economy has declined. Partly it was a function of market...
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Going Organic

Ten years ago I visited Slovenia to do a report on organic farming for the Bay Area-based organization Food First. I was drawn to the former Yugoslav republic because it had recently joined with several neighboring Italian and Austrian provinces to create the world’s first organic bioregion – the Alpe-Adria. Organic farming made a lot of sense for Slovenia since its farms were relatively...
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Rebirth of the Countryside

Farming practically collapsed in East-Central Europe after 1989. First came the dissolution of the collective farms, then came the influx of agricultural products from the West, and finally came integration into the European Union. Although some countries didn’t have collective farms (Poland) and other countries have yet to join the EU (Serbia, Albania), the pattern of a sharp drop in...
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