Jenny’s Food & Ag Update July 28, 2015


  • John Oliver: America’s Food System Is Out of Whack (AlterNet)                                                                                          Sell by dates are total B.S…
  • Farming May Have Started Way Earlier Than Scientists Thought (Huffington Post)                                Researchers have found evidence of plant cultivation at 23,000-year-old site.
  • Study: The Origin of Cultivation and Proto-Weeds, Long Before Neolithic Farming (PLOS One)
  • Organic Farmers and Whole Foods Reach Ceasefire Over ‘Responsibly Grown’ Ratings (Civil Eats)        After a public letter from farmers, the company has offered to reconsider the way its produce rating program responds to organic practices.
  • Carnivorous Figs: The Relationship Between Wasps and Figs (Contra Costa Master Gardeners)
  • Belcampo Meat Co. delivers (Meat + Poultry)                                                                             Belcampo Meat Co. is breaking out of the butcher shop.
  • Smart Farming (Craftsmanship)      Suggested articles, books and websites of alternative paths for soil conservation…
  • Big Organic farming isn’t as clean as we may have thought (Grist)
    • Study: Does certified organic farming reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production? (Texas Grass Fed Beef)
  • A Battle Royal To Keep McDonald’s Out Of Historic Food Hub In Paris (NPR)
  • Palm Oil Is In Everything – And It’s Destroying Southeast Asia (Huffington Post)                                  Cultivating the product, found in most processed foods and cosmetics, kills animals and displaces people


School Food

  • When Schools Serve Pizza and Corn Dogs for Lunch, These Companies Make Bank (Mother Jones)  Food corporations rake in millions from junk-laden school lunches, a new report finds.
  • Report: Who’s Making Money from Overweight Kids? (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)



  • A Starting Wage of 15 an Hour: The New Normal? (NYT)
    • Fight for 15 Keeps on Stepping (Huffington Post)                                                                                  … “thousands of federal contract workers walked off their jobs yesterday, led by the Senate’s cafeteria workers…”
  • Bill That Lets Bosses Fire Single Women For Getting Pregnant Gains Steam (Huffington Post)


Business & Economy

  • This Sliding Scale Café Takes Food Access to the Next Level (Civil Eats)                                                                                 At the Denver based SAME Café, customers pay what they can.
  • CCOF and Whole Foods Market Announce Adjustments to Responsibly Grown Ratings (Farms Reach)
  • McDonalds franchisees have never been this depressed (MSNBC)                                            Sales continue to drop…
  • Starbucks to open location in Ferguson (MSNBC)                                                            Starbucks will be opening new store location in low-income and under privileged communities across the country…




Gleaning, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • 4 Big Recycling Myths Tossed Out (Mother Jones)                                                                                           No, “blue bins” are not what’s causing America’s trash problem.


Water & Our Oceans

  • Drought-Stricken California Is Exporting 100 Billion Gallons of Water a Year in the Form of Cattle Feed (AlterNet)                                                                            Profitability trumps practicality as most of the state’s thirstiest crop ends up feeding cows in China.
  • Chris Christie Is Turning Tap Water Into a Private Commodity (The Nation)                                                                A new law pushed by the governor makes it even easier for towns to sell public utilities to private corporations.
  • In Flint, Michigan, Overpriced Water is Causing People’s Skin to Erupt in Rashes and Hair to Fall Out. (The Nation)                                                                                               As the nation’s infrastructure falls apart, water is becoming more expensive and less safe.
  • Fracking Linked to Heart Conditions and Neurological Illness (AlterNet)                                                              People who live near fracking sites suffer higher rates of heart conditions and neurological illnesses, says new research.
  • ‘The Great Fish Swap’: How America Is Downgrading Its Seafood Supply (NPR)


Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

  • House Botes To Ban States From labeling GMO Foods (Huffington Post)                                 “Regardless of what consumers want, they won’t be told,” said one opponent.
  • Amendment In The Nature Of A Substitute To HR 1599 – “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015” (House Agriculture Committee)
  • House, Senate members introduce $15 federal minimum wage bill (Al Jazeera)                                              Bernie Sanders, Keith Ellison and others join campaign by striking workers to raise nationwide minimum wage
  • House Agriculture Committee Says “No” to GMO Labeling, What’s Next? (truthout)
    • Food Disaster : Republicans Stomp on GMO Labeling (AlterNet)                                                                   If passed, a new bill will only escalate the assault on our health, and the health of Planet Earth.


GMOs/Cloning/Food Technology/Synthetic Biology/Nanotechnology

  • Systems Biology Group, International Center for Integrative Systems: GMO Soy Accumulates Formaldehyde & Disrupts Plant Metabolism, Suggests Peer-Reviewed Study, Calling for 21st Century Safety Standards (The Cornucopia Institute)
    • Study: Do GMOs Accumulate Formaldehyde and Disrupt Molecular Systems Equilibria? Systems Biology May Provide Answers (Scientific Research)







  • Will the Worst Bird Flue Outbreak in US History Finally Make Us Reconsider Factory Farming Chicken? (The Cornucopia Institute)                                                                                              Or factory farming of any thing?


Healthy/Safe Food

  • Junk Food Isn’t Just Making People Fat – It’s Making Them Stupid (takepart)                                                                  New research suggests that gut bacteria may be the key to understanding the effect of sugar and fat on brain function.
  • Study: Fat, sugar cause bacterial changes that may relate to loss of cognitive function (Oregon State University)
  • European Safety Review of Aspartame a Whitewash, Says CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest)

The Mighty Zucchini

Produce of the Week

The gourd family is a huge, diverse world in the veggie universe. Ranging from melons to squashes and, even, the cucumber. The most popular squash is probably the pumpkin.  Celebrated in the fall with lattes and jack o’lanterns, but little is known about its cousin– the zucchini.

Zucchinis from Grow Calgary!

The zucchini is a summer squash. And technically, is a fruit! It is actually a part of the zucchini flower. However, it is prepared and eaten like a vegetable– which is probably why we think it is a vegetable.

Hold up, I think they think I’m a vegetable.

Zucchinis will grow in our temperate climate, and is found throughout the world. It can grow to be about 3 feet! Generally, the smaller it is, the sweet it will taste. You can harvest it about 45 – 60 days after planting or about a week after flowering. It is recommended to cut off the zucchini with a sharp knife or scissors rather than breaking them off the vine.

The zucchini and other summer squashes have thin edible skin and soft seeds, and the flesh of summer squash is tender and very perishable. Summer squashes are generally harvested and eaten as immature fruit and should be used within a few days of harvesting.

Zucchinis can be stored in the refrigerator for up to ten days. If you have more than you can possibly eat in ten days, cut off the ends, slice, cube or shred and freeze in food-grade freezer bags.

So why should you eat it? Because there are so many benefits such as:

Visit our farm to harvest a zucchini today! Or check us out on Pinterest for more zucchini facts, gardening tips and recipes.

Source: Canadian Gardener

Jenny’s Food & Ag Update, July 14, 2015

  • 45 Cities Will Sign Urban Food Policy Pact on World Food Day in Milan (

US cities that has signed on: Chicago, New York,

  • 13 Brilliant Inventions That Changed the Way You Eat, All Created by Women (Spoon University)
  • How a Modern Root Cellar Could Help Small Farms Sell Food Year-Round (Civil Eats)
  • Primed for Battle: helping plants fight off pathogens by enhancing their immune systems (The Conversation)

Civilization as it is known today could not have evolved, nor can it survive, without an adequate food supply. Norman Borlaug

  • American adults still aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables (The Verge)
    • Adults Meeting Fruit and Vegetable Intake Recommendations – United States, 2013, CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
  • Avanti Food & Beverage food hall in LoHi on Leading edge of national trend (Denver Post)

… Avanti is more like a restaurant incubatore…

  • Baltimore Restaurant Shuts Down for 5 Days to Feed the Homeless Free Food (Nation of Change)



  • 23 Cents an Hour? The Perfectly Legal Slavery Happening in Modern-Day America (AlterNet)

The government (UNICOR aka Federal Prison Industries) and corporations have a pool of powerless, exploitable workers in skyrocketing prison populations.

  • 12 Mainstream Corps Benefiting From The Prison Industrial Complex (Popular Resistance)

McDonalds, Wendy’s, Walmart, Starbucks, stove assembly and a hot of other products… Pay is between $0.90 to $4.00 per day…

The products that prison labor is producing…

  • How Migrant Farmworkers Are Cross-Pollinating Strategies and Winning (Labor Notes)
  • Faced With I-9 Immigration Raid During Negotiations, Chicago Meatpacking Workers Walked Off the Job (In These Times)
  • The Anti-Union Bosses’ Group Fighting Fast Food Organizing Is Now Going After How Care Workers (In These Times)

Can workers centers and unions create a movement strong enough to fight back?

  • Al Jazeera Documentary Shows Mexican Farmworkers’ Struggles in Historic Strike (In These Times)

Business & Economy

  • Effects of the California drought on farming is regional and coastal farms are thriving (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Gleaning, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

Water & Our Oceans

  • Pennsylvania Residents Near Fracking Sites Report Health Problems (Center for Effective Government)
    • Document Released Show PA Fracking Health Complaints, Negligence of State Agencies’ Response (Food & Water Watch)

A coalition of farmers and vintners, doctors and lawyers, clean energy companies and reluctant do-it-yourself activists are fighting for the future of the Finger Lakes region.

State can’t ding some farmers who keep taking water, raising questions about wider implications.

  • Iceland Ratifies Treaty to Deny Port Access to Illegal Fishing Vessels (The Pew Trust)

Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

  • USDA Will Verify Non-GMO Labels Through Their Process Verified Program (Nation of Change)
  • Connecticut Just Passed a Law Requiring Bosses Who Steal Workers’ Wages to Pay Them Back Double (In These Times)

“I’d say wage theft is the biggest crime wave in the country”

GMOs/Cloning/Food Technology/Synthetic Biology/Nanotechnology

For small-scale farmers who scored a major victory against the biotech giant, it’s all about planting local, GMO-free seeds.

  • Meet the New GMO Mosquito: Millions Carrying the “Kill Switch Gene” Already Released (AlterNet)

If much of today’s news seems unreal to you, that’s because corporations are spoon-feeding it to the media. Big food companies are now sponsoring “boot camps” for reporters on the issues of “feed the world’s growing population.”


  • ‘Safe’ Subs(titutes) for Harmful Chemical in Plastics May Be Just as Risky to Healthy (Yahoo!)


General Mills announces their commitment to stop selling eggs from caged hens, joining Aramark, Compass Group, Dunkin Brands, Hilton, Kellogg, Nestle, Sodexo, Starbucks, and Walmart.

Healthy/Safe Food


  • Classes on Indigenous Farming, with Cuauhtemoc Villa, information and registration

The Seeds Have Been Planted.

The grass can be greener, beans stalkier, and bellies fuller.

I originally heard about Grow Calgary at the Social Media Breakfast last month. Grow Calgary is a 100% volunteer-run organization whose mission is to make donations to the Calgary Food Bank by living up to the motto that “all Calgarians should have access to fresh, local food.”

I was hooked on the concept. As I learned more about the stunning statistics I couldn’t sleep at night.

Source: Calgary Food Bank

There is not a single profile of who uses the food banks– from single parents to families with unexpected emergencies. Many factors come into play, but one fact does stand out. Every single person deserves the right to food dignity. That is, the right to the access to food, fresh produce and healthy food sources.

I wanted to do something to help. I thought to myself what can I do? I’m not a farmer. The closest thing I have to a ‘green thumb’ is wearing green polish. So, I decided to visit the Grow Calgary Farm with my sister, Jane. Together, we are going to blog, post, tweet, IG, Pin and do everything we can to raise awareness of the extraordinary organization that is Grow Calgary.

To learn more and to volunteer visit today!

Grow Calgary