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


  • Food is Free in a City Near You (Civil Eats)    From Austin to Iowa City, a new kind of sharable community garden is springing up.
  • A world network of seed information is taking root (Sci Dev Net)                                                                                    Efforts to preserve and protect plant information are accelerating – but not without risks…
  • Former Black Panther Launches Oakland Urban Farm to Give ex-Prisoners a Fresh Start (Civil Eats)                    Veteran activist Elaine Brown has hatched a plan that begins with a farm, and could bring about a renaissance in an under resourced neighborhood.
  • Why Some Canadian maple Syrup Producers Are Defying Their ‘Cartel’ (NPR)
  • In Southern California, Oil and Farming Don’t Mix (Civil Eats)                                                                                          How a small farm survived an oil disaster with some faith and a little help from friends.
  • Why Are We Drawn To Heirloom Fruits and Veggies? They’re ‘Edible Memory’ (NPR)
  • Kite Hill CEO: We want to change the entire dairy landscape (Food Navigator)                                                         If current trends continue, almond milk will account for an astonishing 19% (dollar share) of the US retail dairy and dairy alternative beverage market in 2019…
  • We Tell Ourselves Stories to Lean to Eat Bugs (takepart)                                                                             Researchers are hoping to create a cultural context for eating insects and, in turn, helping to save the environment.
  • Why is a Paris suburb scrapping an urban farm to build a car park? (The Guardian)                                      With the UN climate conference putting Paris in the eco-spotlight this year, the impending closure of R-Urban, a project at the forefront of urban sustainability, seems curious – not least in its timing.
  • They Want to Pave This Urban Farm and Put Up a Parking Lot (takepart)                                                                      A Paris suburb’s R-Urban project was hailed as an innovative way to bring fresh food to the community.
  • Oh, Nuts! Why California’s Pistachio Trees Are Shooting Blanks (NPR)                                                                               This year, many of the pistachios gown in California’s San Joaquin Valley are missing the green fatty meat that nut lover crave. Instead, they’re empty inside, the result of drought, heat and weather pattern changes…
  • With Effort, the Northeast Is Once Again Becoming a Breadbasket (Edible Manhattan)              Amid the modern wheat-related gloom and doom, a small group of true believers have been working diligently to reconfigure our relationship with wheat.
  • Climate Change 2015: Growing Risks, Critical Choices (Climate Council, AU)
    • Report: Climate Change 2015: Growing Risks, Critical Choices (Climate Council, AU)                                       Australians will pay $7 Billion a year more because of increasing drought…


Food Insecurity, Hunger & Obesity

  • Rate Of US ‘Food Insecurity’ Stubbornly High (Huffington Post)                                                                                Despite an improving economy, many Americans struggle to get enough good food.
  • Big Data Helps Show a Different Face of Hunger in America (takepart)                                                       Mapping food insecurity in Washington, DC, could change the way food banks serve those in need.


School Food



  • Your Next Cup of Tea Could Be Supporting Child Slavery (takepart)                                                                   An investigation from BBC News is just the latest to reveal the human rights violations happening in Assam, India.
  • Real Median Hourly Wages Continue To Drop Around The Country (Huffington Post)                       “Some workers’ wages are so low that employers are not able to push them down any further.”
  • Low-Income Workers See Biggest Drop in Paychecks (NYT)
  • Report: Occupational Wage Declines Since the Great Recession: Low Wage Occupations See Largest Real Wage Declines (National Employment Law Project)
  • How the on-call irregular scheduling harm the American workforce (The Conversation)
  • New AFL-CIO Report: Landmark Year in Collective Bargaining Will Raise Wagers for Millions (AFL-CIO)
  • The Evidence Keeps Piling Up: Unions Are Good For US Workers (Very Good) (Common Dreams)                           ‘When working people speak with one voice, our economy is stronger, and all workers do better.’


Business & Economy

  • Meat processors under fire as beef farmers complain of exploitation (ABC News)
  • This Zero-Waste Grocery Store Has No Packaging, Plastic or Big-Name Brands (Nation of Change)
  • Chipotle Says It Dropped GMOs. Now a Court Will Decide If That’s Bullshit. (Mother Jones)                          Turns out, proving that your food is GMO free is pretty difficult
  • Chipotle’s Sustainable Pork Producer Just Sold Out to Big Ag – but Maybe That’s a Good Thing? (takepart)  Perdue Farms, a leading poultry producer, is buying pioneering meat company Niman Ranch.
  • Niman Ranch Pork: Now Brought to You by Perdue (Mother Jones)
  • What the Sale of Niman Ranch Could Mean for Farmers (Civil Eats)                                                                             With further consolidation in the meat market, some experts worry about the watering down of a once truly sustainable brand.
  • McDonald’s Continues Image Shift With Move to Cage-Free Eggs in North America (WSJ)
    • McDonald’s Announces It’s Making the Transition to Cage-Free Eggs (Organic Authority)                      The company uses a reported 2 billion shell and liquid eggs per year – or around 4 percent of the eggs produced in the US…
  • The Decline in Labor’s Share of Corporate Income Since 2000 Means $535 Billion Less for Workers (Economic Policy Institute)



  • French Farmers Take To The Streets Of Paris With 1,000 Tractor Protest (Modern Farmer)


Gleaning, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • Dumpster diving for dinner: do you have what it takes to eat ‘freegan’ food? (The Conversation)
  • Composting in New York City Just Got Easier (takepart)                                                                                             By recycling food scraps and other organic waste, New Yorkers are fertilizing local businesses and reducing the city’s carbon footprint.


Water & Our Oceans

  • Megacity drought: Sao Paulo withers after dry ‘wet season’ (The Conversation)
  • Killing the Colorado (ProPublica)                   The river that sustains 40 million Americans is dying – and man, not nature, is to blame.
  • The Drought Isn’t Just a California Problem (Mother Jones)                                                                                               A rundown of the Western State in the middle of serious dry spells
  • Here’s What I Saw in California Town Without Running Water (Mother Jones)                                                  Thanks to the drought, many people in East Porterville can’t cook, shower, or flush the toilet at home.
  • Seafood Companies Bolster the President’s Fight Against IUU Fishing (TriplePundit)
  • Temporary ban on fishing reflects how fragile Arctic ecosystem is (The Conversation)


Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

  • USDA Expands Farm Safety Net, Offers Greater Flexibility for Beginning, Organic and Fruit and Vegetable Growers (Sustainable Cities Collective)
  • California Becomes First State to Label Monsanto’s Roundup As a Carcinogen (EcoWatch)
  • California Is About to Ban Those Little Pieces of Plastic in Your Toothpaste and Face Scrub (Mother Jones)
  • California Is Fining a Company Listed on Starbucks’ Bottle Water Labels – for Making the Drought Worse (Mother Jones)
  • First Soda, Now Salt: New York City Slaps Warning Labels on Restaurant Menus (takepart)                              Gotham’s board of health is cracking down on sodium-packed meals from chain eateries.

GMOs/Cloning/Food Technology/Synthetic Biology/Nanotechnology

  • EU Regulators have found hidden viral gene in commercial GMO Crops and Monsanto’s hypocrisy on how GMOs are so unique that are patentable but substantially equivalent that don’t need to be labeled (Seattle Organic Restaurants)
  • Do Seed Companies Control GM Crop Research (Scientific American)                                                          Scientists must ask corporations for permission before publishing independent research on genetically modified crops. That restriction must end
  • Food Industry Enlisted Academics in GMO Lobbying War, Emails Show (NYT)
    • The Puppet masters of Academia (or What the NY Times Left out) (Independent Science News)
    • University Scientists Caught Conspiring with Monsanto to Manipulate Public Opinion on GMOs (EcoWatch)
    • Monsanto Brings on Academics to Push ‘Benefits of GMOs’ (Info Wars)                                                           As former pro-GMO scientists change their tunes
  • Dealing with the rational fear about GMOs and global catastrophe (grist)
    • The Precautionary Principle (with Application to the Genetically Modification of Organisms) (Nissim Nicholas Taleb)



  • ‘Incredible News for Bees’: Court Rejects EPA Pesticide Approval (Common Dreams)                        Neonicotinoid known as sulfoxaflor may not be used in the US until EPA obtains necessary scientific research
  • Bees Have Their Day in Court – and Win Big (takepart)                                                                                                  A federal appeals court overturns the government’s approval of a powerful new pesticide linked to pollinator deaths.




  • How did wild boar become farmyard pigs? Genetic data reveals the answer (The Conversation)


Healthy/Safe Food

  • Beyond Kombucha: The Fizzy, Healthy World of Fermented Drinks (takepart)                                      Probiotic-packed beverages are popping up all over the place.
  • The Biggest Cause of Death Around the World Is Something We Can Fix (takepart)                                                 An analysis of 23 years of data from 188 countries reveals the top killers of people across the globe.
  • Study: Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 79 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or cluster of risks in 188 countries, 1990-2013: a systemic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 (The Lancet)
  • Farms Without Wildlife Don’t Produce Safer Food, Study Finds (Civil Eats)                                                            Sterile monocropping does not result in fewer pathogens in produce, say researchers at the University of California.