A View From Outside the Hearing

I want to take a moment and step back from all the news about the Boston FCC hearing that has emerged over the past 24 hours. In cases such as these, the rhetoric can get pretty heated and accusations, assertions and interpretations can get recast, reframed, and re-imagined as the story spreads across the Web. I’ll admit, as one of the people who sat for hours at the bottom of the stairs that led up to the FCC hearing, that it’s exciting to see the coverage of Comcast’s underhanded techniques. But in the back-and-forth, it’s easy to fixate on some minor detail of the story, picking apart Comcast’s statement or over-analyzing on-the-ground accounts. Continue reading


Eating Our Bombs

Bread bombs pinWhen I was growing up I had a fairly substantial button collection. Many spent the long arc of their life in a box, collector’s items only. However, there were a few that I wore constantly – lapel declarations – pinned to jackets or backpacks. They changed over time, charting out my moral development in pin pricks and political slogans, but there was one that I still have today. It was a small white button with roses on it that read “Bread not Bombs.” It was aged and must have been passed down from my parents. The simple juxtaposition of bread and bombs seemed to epitomize my idea of justice back then. Bread or bombs. Creation or destruction. Life or death.

While my understanding of justice has deepened and grown much more complicated since then, I still find something profoundly moving in that simple statement. Recently a number of things have reminded me of that pin. Each of these reminders has reasserted the simple, yet powerful choice that button suggested, while also serving to complicate my ideas about both bread and bombs. Continue reading

Sinclair Wants Your Local Station

The Big Media giant that made waves during the last election for its heavy-handed biased coverage, is setting its sites on more local stations in more communities across the US.

Research shows that locally owned broadcast TV and radio stations give more time to local news and public affairs programs that are of concern to local people. Additional research shows that local ownership leads to a greater diversity of viewpoints on the airwaves. And common sense suggests that a large number of local owners in a given community are going to foster more competition than a few mega corporate owners. These three principals – localism, diversity, and competition – are at the heart of the FCC’s mission. Continue reading


I stumbled upon this poem the other day and really appreciated it. While it is not explicitly about food, it touches on some of the themes that reoccur on this blog: planting, making, protest, etc… In part, it was that it reminded me of the title of a book by the democratic/radical educators Myles Horton and Paulo Freire: We Make The Road By Walking. But there was more than that. The lack of punctuation leaves every line open, full or potential and possibility. The way that so many lines end in verbs seems to fill the poem with movement and action. The fact that each person who reads it could imagine something different coming after the line “we will make,” as though they are speaking the poem themselves. It just seemed like a good reminder that every day we are moving, building, planting and making change possible. Continue reading

Farming in Vegas

From VerticalFarm.comIn recent posts I have been writing a good deal about the intersection of farming and urban landscapes. However, nothing I had imagined up to this point prepared me for the news that surfaced earlier this month that Las Vegas was planning to build an agricultural high-rise. Billed as a groundbreaking new era in urban sustainability, the thirty-story “vertical farm” is estimated to cost $200 million, and will supposedly feed more than 70,000 people a year. One has to ask, is this a bold experiment in local food or simply a new version of industrial agriculture?

One thing is clear, the plan for the vertical farm is not intended to meet the needs of local people in Las Vegas. This is no community supported super-farm. It is however, another kind of CSA: casino supported agriculture. The primary funders of the veggie-tower are Las Vegas casinos who have already laid claim to the majority of the produce which would be grown there. Continue reading

FCC Rules Go from Bad to Worse

On Feb. 4, the Federal Communications Commission finally released the details of the devastating rule change it voted on back in December. These new rules would allow one company to own both a major newspaper and a radio or TV station in the same media market – tossing out a ban on “cross-ownership” that has been in place for more than 30 years.

The new rules have gone from bad to worse since FCC Chairman Kevin Martin put forward his proposal in a New York Times op-ed and companion press release. The final published rules amount to wine for Big Media, which will get rich off the public airwaves, and vinegar for the public who will be left with less diversity and competition in their local news. Continue reading