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(article, Liz Crain)
These last few weeks, I’ve ambled around the blog backcountry and discovered several ethically minded food blogs. This week’s blog (the third installment in my ethical-blog series) comes straight out of Washington, D.C. Like so many D.C. blogs, this one is political — but of a different sort than the usual wonkish fare. p(blue). Blog: The Free Radical Report Average posts per month: 12 Bloggers: Richard and Mary Morris Ages: 46 Blog place of origin: Washington, D.C. Richard and Mary Morris came to the subject of healthy food out of sheer necessity. Several years ago the two were both unhealthy and, especially in Richard's case, dangerously obese. But they turned their lives around and focused on the importance of holistic health and food/body/politics integrity. Their website Bread and Money launched in the summer of 2004, and their spin-off blog, The Free Radical Report, launched in the spring of 2006. Both blogs reach out with comprehensive posts ranging from demystifying diet pills and critiquing “cholesterophobia” to trumpeting compost and rethinking school-lunch programs. [[block(sidebar). h1. Liz's faves [[block(smalltext). My favorite posts on this blog are "The USDA: Promoting a Pig's Diet for Humans," "Why contaminated spinach may be the least of our worries," and "FoodWars: Attack of the Clones." ]] ]] What's the most satisfying part of blogging? Blogging is the 21st-century manifestation of the centuries-old ritual of call-and-response. Its popularity is a reflection of a common practice in traditional cultures where a designated "caller" makes a statement and the rest of the community responds. The result is something that sounds very much like the give-and-take between a lead singer and a choir. That’s what blogging is: the song of our culture, the pleasures and the pains that define who we are. Blogging allows each of us to call and to respond. That’s what I love about it most, the two-way communication. Which kinds of posts on The Free Radical and Bread and Money have the most effect on readers? Judging by the feedback I get via emails and when I speak to audiences in person, readers get the biggest kick out of three types of articles. First, there are the posts that focus on the politics of food, like the one I wrote on the National Animal Identification System and another on raw milk. [%image RichardMary float=right width=200 caption="Richard and Mary Morris are a lot healthier than they once were."] Next comes the recipe posts. An article with a recipe for pemmican was wildly popular. Finally, the posts about real people who see the quality of their lives improve after transitioning to a healthier diet seem to have the most effect on people. If readers have time to read only one post on The Free Radical or Bread and Money, which one would you have it be? I’m tempted to steer them toward one of the older articles that I wrote in the early days, but I believe the post that best captures the essence of why I do what I do is an article I wrote last summer. It’s called “Forty Days on the Farm: Reconnecting with Food at the Source.” This story describes a summer internship I did on a working farm in Vermont. It gets to the heart of why food, farmers, and sustainable agriculture are so important, perhaps better than any other article I’ve posted. p(bio). Liz Crain is a writer based in Portland, Oregon.