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Patrick Baron

Patrick Baron

CLF-Lerner Fellow

Center for a Livable Future

CLF-Lerner Fellows Volunteer Day at Boone Street Farm

2013-boone-street-farm-01-smallThe CLF-Lerner Fellows enjoyed a sunny Saturday afternoon last weekend volunteering in East Baltimore at Boone Street Farm, a small community farm managed by a former CLF staff member, Cheryl Carmona. We braved the brisk-not-quite-freezing weather and warmed ourselves by planting, cleaning, weeding and performing other farm tasks with Cheryl and several members of the Boone Street Farm community to help wind down the season at the farm.

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Boone Street Farm is a member of the Baltimore Farm Alliance, a network of local urban farms (including the CLF Aquaponics Project) that are dedicated to increasing the viability of urban farming in Baltimore and improving access to high quality urban-grown foods. Cheryl and the team at Boone Street Farm are doing an amazing job involving their community in the ongoing effort to transform Baltimore’s food landscape, one vacant lot at a time. Read More >

The Fast and the De-Feathered: Proposed Processing Rule Puts Health at Risk

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to tour a poultry processing plant in Salisbury, Maryland. Our visit was eye-opening and overwhelming in many ways; to me, the most shocking aspect of the operation was its speed. Two USDA inspectors sat by a mechanized assembly line. Every fraction of a second, a robotic arm presented one of the inspectors with the viscera (guts) of a chicken carcass. The inspectors handled the viscera and took a quick glance at each carcass, checking for tumors, fecal contamination and other obvious signs that the carcass might pose a food safety risk to consumers. Occasionally, one of the inspectors would pluck a chicken off the line and toss it in an orange bin marked “USDA REJECT.” Read More >

Sweetening the Deal for CAFOs: Hidden Subsidies for IFAP in the 2012 Farm Bill

How are concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) profiting from Farm Bill subsidy programs targeted at U.S. crop farmers? How are these “hidden subsidies” for industrial farm animal production (IFAP) hurting more sustainable food animal producers? The answers to these questions lie—and are at stake—in the convoluted world of the 2012 Farm Bill legislation.

To say that the Farm Bill is both large and complex is understating the obvious. This legislation impacts every aspect of our food system. One role that the Farm Bill has is to dole out billions to subsidize various producers and industries of the U.S. food economy. A large portion of these programs subsidize crop production. The largest recipients of the most federal dollars through these programs are corn and soybean producers. Read More >