bm262 Urban Farming in Philadelphia

While many focus on the global food price and the fate of food exports, in many places around the world, groups of people are growing and selling food locally.  Mill Creek urban farm in Philadelphia is one of these places. My guests, farm founders Jade and Johanna explain how Mill Creek works, and how they relate to their community, the city, and even the global picture.

They also recommended the following article about small farmers and their role in feeding the world.

We Discuss:

  • – The activities of the farm
  • – Relations with the community
  • – Funding of the project
  • – Reflection on the global food crisis
  • – Changes in demand and interest in Urban Farming over the past years
  • – Access to green spaces in cities
  • – Gentrification and the survival of the urban farm
  • – Other forms of Urban agriculture


Pinback – Blue Harvest

The Roots – Criminal (feat. Truck North & Saigon)

bm261 The Undereported Story of the Soy Industry

Soy is often looked at as the alternative bean, beloved ingredient for vegetarians and concerned citizens worldwide. Yet what do we know about the soy industry? How is soy being produced, by who, for who, and to what effect? My guest, Nina Holland of the Corporate European Observatory, sat down with me to explain how it all works, and what we should know about our soy.


Soy as food/feed/fuel

Genetically Modified Soy

Who Owns the Farms

Situations in different parts of South America

Comparison to Europe

GM Soy Lobby in the EU


So-called responsible soy

Independent farmers

Solutions/Advice for People



  • Vinicious Cantuaria – Corre Campo
  • Tom Brosseau – In My Time of Dyin

Questions About Soy

Among the more typical responses if I ever mention that I’m a vegetarian, is the inevitable question of why. Normally I entertain the question, though I’m usually thinking of how unfair it is to get this question since I never ask non vegetarians why they are what they are.

Frequently I refer to how cattle are raised, the hormones, the odd practice of feeding dead animal parts to animals which eventually led to foot and mouth, and that sort of thing. The more combative people will respond with the “don’t you worry about how your plants are being raised, what goes into your vegetables?” To which I normally respond, “Yes. I worry.”

I’ve just begun to look more closely at the soy industry, as I’m a drinker of Soy Milk, and there is often soy in some of my meals as well as the soy pudding I enjoy eating every now and then. No doubt an astute smarty-pants reader of my blog will leave a long comment about the horrors of soy farming. Let me try to mention some of that to save him/her the trouble:

In places such as Paraguay, soy expansion has had a negative impact on water, the environment in general, and the way of life of many small farmers. In Brazil, in the state of Mato Grosso for example, the booming soy industry had led to the clearing of more and more rain forest.

I realize this might only be the tip of the iceberg. But at the same time, this does not summarize what soy means to the world, because I want to hear about the good it can do, and especially the realm of sustainable soy cultivation.

I recently found an organization based here in Amsterdam, “A Seed”, who specialize in reporting on this issue and can also explain how things work with sustainable soy. I’m in contact with them and an interview for the podcast will be coming soon. Lets see what I learn.