In Who Grows Your Food? (November/December 2004), I read about how the economics of farming has changed. Most shocking, "in 1950, farmers got 50 cents out of every retail food dollar; now they receive less than 20 cents." What to do about this? Meet the farmers at your local farmers' market, as I did today for the first time. The selection and prices were indeed a pleasant surprise. Cheryl Kohr
Redondo Beach, California
We don't have a factory farm up the street, but we do have them in Texas and they are harming small communities, polluting our groundwater, and sending us a poor product.
I'm just a local lady in the suburbs, but I think activism is where you find it. I contacted several local family farms that have eggs, poultry, and beef products. I change stores to get other items I want. I ask the butcher, the meat manager, or the store manager. They want my business and my good report to my friends.
Meats grown with this special care are more expensive, but you know what? They are of higher quality than less expensive ones. And better for you (no hormones, antibiotics, chemicals). I'm worth it. Gwenn Lasswell
One positive direction would be for consumers to eliminate some of the middlemen. We should buy fewer foods that are highly processed. Purchase raw fruits and vegetables instead of precooked and processed food — corn instead of corn flakes. Look for a true farmers' market and stock up in the harvest season. Buy in bulk and freeze or can for the off-season. Michael Lilly
CORRECTIONS & CLARIFICATION
On page 37 of "A Tale of Two Immigrants" (November/ December 2004), we published numbers from a 2001 Census Bureau document indicating that immigration to the United States was "somewhere between 350,000 and 1.37 million" each year. Our story should have stated that this range referred to net (not total) immigration. More recently the bureau broadened that range, projecting between 324,000 and 1.65 million in 2005. Looking back to the period from July 2003 to July 2004, the bureau estimates net immigration was 1.22 million.
In the same article, we misspelled the name of the founder of the National Immigration Forum: he is Rick Swartz. Letters pertaining to "A Tale of Two Immigrants" will be published in our May/June issue.
In "Wild & Whitewashed" (November/December 2004), we inaccurately credited Lewis and Clark with the first scientific discovery of the buffalo and the fairy slipper orchid, Calypso bulbosa. Astute readers informed us that buffalo were already well known in the eastern United States at the time, and the botanist Linnaeus described the fairy slipper in a book published in 1753, half a century before Lewis collected it in 1806. One reader suggested that we should have called those shaggy beasts of the plains bison, eschewing their common name. (Strictly speaking, buffalo refers only to bovines native to Asia and Africa, such as the water and the cape buffalo.) Those who wish to be biologically impeccable should take heed.
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