The market for locally-grown food has seen dramatic growth over the last decade. Despite this boost in sales and popularity, evidence suggests that the economics behind the movement still don't favor the farmer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has new programs to try to prop up small-scale operations, but many local farms only survive because they scrape by on below-market wages, or by doing without things like insurance. Many economists say despite the charm of local food, there are relatively few benefits in terms of energy efficiency, quality or cost. They say that we shouldn't knock our system of region specialization and distribution, and that farmers markets, fun though they are, are not good economic models.
Dan Brown, author of the blockbuster The Da Vinci Code, is back with his first novel in four years. Inferno follows academic hero Robert Langdon on a chase through Italy as he attempts to avert a biological catastrophe.
Designer Katie Shelly's upcoming cookbook offers 50 illustrated recipe "blueprints" for basic meals — from simple snacks to more hefty dishes like eggplant Parmesan. She hopes they'll inspire any level of cook to improvise in the kitchen.
The bipartisan immigration overhaul proposed by the Senate's Gang of Eight has been the target of scores of amendments. So far, the bill has largely held its own, but its prospects for getting through Congress are uncertain.
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