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The Pitchfork

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James McWilliams is "a historian and writer who's books include Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong, How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly and A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America. My writing on food, agriculture, and animals has appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, The Washington Post, Slate, Forbes, Travel and Leisure, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Texas Observer."

  • Chipotle's Food Safety Problem
      If your brand has anything to do with food, the last place you want it to appear in is the Food Poison Journal. But that's exactly where the Chipotle Mexican Grill recently found itself, prominently placed in a headline confirming its most recentE. coli outbreak. Thirty-nine people in Washington and Oregon came down with E. coli O26 after (...more)
    12 Nov 2015 at 9:10am       

  • Citizen Monkey
      As a writer who covers animal issues, I routinely get alerts from public relations firms seeking ink on the case du jour of animal abuse. These press releases typically detail horrific instances of decrepitude—piglets being flung to the ground and tossed into the trash and the like. Earlier this month, though, I was brought [...] (...more)
    5 Nov 2015 at 3:45pm       

  • Approaching 50
      During mile 1 of my first 50-mile race, as darkness lifted from a perfect Vermont morning, I did what a lot of people do when they think they might be in over their head—I started talking to strangers. By mile 5, I had acquaintances. By mile 10, I had friends. By mile 12, I [...] (...more)
    30 Oct 2015 at 2:06pm       

  • Gourds
      A version of this piece ran in the New York Times in 2006.  This time of the year, the windows of America are beginning to be dotted with carefully carved jack-o'-lanterns, but in a week or so, the streets will be splotched with pumpkin guts. Orange gourds will fly from car windows, fall from apartment [...] (...more)
    26 Oct 2015 at 10:53am       

  • One Beautiful Sentence
    “It seemed to him that the grey dawn lasted so long here, the country was a long while in coming to life.” –Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927)   Mark Rothko, “Black on Grey” (1970) (...more)
    22 Oct 2015 at 2:34pm       

  • The Freegan Solution
    Last month the United States Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency agreed to establish the “first ever national food waste reduction goal.” The program is not only notable for its ambition—it aims to reduce food waste 50 percent by 2015—but for the diversity of its participants. An array of churches, corporations, charitable (...more)
    19 Oct 2015 at 6:56am       

  • Do We Have a Contract With Animals?
      My last three columns have explored philosophical defenses for eating animals. I've done this from the perspectives of utilitarianism, animal rights, and contractualism. My intention with this series has been, in part, to reiterate how difficult it can be to justify eating animals, but also to defuse the off-putting “total abstinence” dictum (...more)
    5 Oct 2015 at 7:11am       

  • One Beautiful Sentence
    “I was learning something from the paintings of Cézanne that made writing simple true sentences far from enough to make the stories have the dimensions that I was trying to put in them.” –Earnest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast (1964) L’Estaque with Red Roofs, 1885 (...more)
    22 Sep 2015 at 7:08am       

  • Why “Humane” Meat Cannot Survive The Meat Market
    Perdue, the fourth-largest chicken company in the United States, is a giant among giants in the agribusiness world. Recently, it purchased Natural Food Holdings, which owns Niman Ranch, a niche meat producer known for its comparatively impressive welfare and sustainability standards. News of Niman's acquisition was generally greeted with the big (...more)
    18 Sep 2015 at 10:21am       

  • Ant Armies In Agriculture
    A recent study found that ants offer a better form of agricultural insect control than chemical insecticides. If indeed true, this finding would appear to be excellent news for the prospect of veganic farming.  I therefore  find the idea very exciting. With predatory insects, farmers could grow plants for people to eat without exterminating other [...] (...more)
    2 Sep 2015 at 6:55am       

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