Jenny’s Food & Ag Update, November 29, 2015

  • Fighting Pests With Sound Waves, Not Pesticides (takepart)                                                                                Scientists have invented a device that uses acoustics to mimic the mating call of an insect that has been devastating Florida’s orange groves. Question is, can this technique be used for other insects?
  • The Curious Case of the Antidepressant, Anti-Anxiety Backyard Garden (Yes!)                                                Whether it’s microbes in the dirt or fresh air – or both – researchers do know this: Gardening is strong medicine.
  • 8 Colorful Ways Countries Around the World Give Thanks for Their Harvest (takepart)
  • On Thanksgiving, There Is Such a Thing as Free Lunch (takepart)                                                                                           Some restaurants that say open on the holiday celebrate by giving food away to benefit their communities.
  • Jim Hightower: What Exactly Are We Celebrating on Thanksgiving? (AlterNet)                                 We face a momentous choice: a food future rooted in the ethic of sustainable agriculture or in exploitative agri-industry.
  • Ahead of Thanksgiving, Tribes Earn New Grants to Support Local Food and Farming (takepart)                    Moving toward food sovereignty is good for the stomachs and souls of Native Americans.
  • Native Americans mark Thanksgiving with mixed feelings, and a meal on LA’s skid row (LA Times)
    • The “Honorable Harvest”: Lessons From an Indigenous Tradition of Giving Thanks (Yes!)
    • Decolonize Thanksgiving (California Institute For Rural Studies)
    • What’s Missing From Our Thanksgiving Menus? Justice for Farm Workers (Huffington Post)
    • Why Are Organic Cranberries So Hard to Find? (Civil Eats)
    • The Effects of Cranberry Bogs on Area Flora and Fauna (McAlester College)
    • The Turkey Report (Clear Food)
    • From Holiday Bird to Cold Cuts, Take a Scientific Look at What’s in Your Turkey (takepart)        California lab brings high-tech scrutiny to the search for the perfect bird.
  • Wild turkeys are tough old birds. Here’s why you should hunt and cook them (grist)                                                         If you have never eaten wild turkey, you should.                              Note: they do need to be cooked differently…
  • Less Meat Consumption Critical to Achieve Global Climate Goals (TriplePundit)
    • If We’re Going To End Factory Farms, We Need To Eat Way Less Meat (Huffington Post)                 Meat consumption is down after decades of growth, but the US still eats more of it than any other country.
  • ‘Decolonize Your Diet’ With Healthy Plant – Based Mexican Cooking (takepart)                                                    A new cookbook explores a cuisine built around healthy native crops that predate the arrival of Europeans in the Americas.
  • There’s A Burger That Costs $300k. We’re Not Kidding. (Huffington Post)                                           Who’s actually buying this stuff?
  • If you can’t stand the heat (The Economist)                                                                                          How farmers in poor countries are responding to climate change
  • Global Trade Won’t Solve the Food Shortages Brought on by Climate Change (Nation of Change)
  • What Americans Can Learn From a Beautiful French Film About Farming (Civil Eats)                                              After Winter, Spring looks at radical changes in modern agriculture through the lens of a tiny French village.


Food Insecurity, Hunger, & Obesity

  • American Hunger-Related Healthcare Costs Exceeded $160 Billion in 2014, According to New Study (In These Times)                                                                                          Food insecurity, especially for children, remains near record high despite the Great Recession’s official end.
  • 160 Billion: The Health Costs of Hunger in America (Bread for the World)                                                              This is what we found with Meals on Wheels, less food, worse health outcomes. No surprise.
  • One Nice Meal Won’t Cut It – How You Can Really Help the Hungry This Thanksgiving (AlterNet)        Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, was clear that soup lines weren’t the answer to poverty.



  • A Bill of Rights That Puts Workers Above Corporations (In These Times)                                                                          It’s up to the voters of Spokane, Washington.
  • In New York, Farmworkers Rally for 1 Cent of Dignity (The Nation)                                                                                    The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has won battles with McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Chipotle, and Taco Bell. Is Wendy’s next?
  • Eric Schlosser on the People Behind Our Food (Civil Eats)
    • Food Workers, in Their Own Voices (East Bay Express)                                                                                         A new oral history project attaches a face – and a voice – to the people who feed America.
  • Workers Say Turkey Processing Jobs Are Thankless (Takepart)                                                                                              Top producers have pledged reform, but workers say meeting holiday demand causes injuries and pays too little.
  • World’s First Robotic Farm to Produce 30,000 Heads of Lettuce Per Day (EcoWatch)
  • Why the Sharing Economy Is Harming Workers – And What Must Be Done (Nation of Change)
  • World’s First Robotic Farm to Produce 30,000 Heads of Lettuce Per Day (EcoWatch)
  • “I often had to skip meals”: Senate Dining Room Workers Want a Union, Say They’re Living in Poverty (In These Times)


Business & Economy

  • New York Times and Washington Post Journalists Failed to Disclose Sources’ Funding From Monsanto (AlterNet)                                                                                          Also: New Yorker, The Atlantic, ABC News, Forbes and others. This is unacceptable collapse of journalistic standards.
  • Walmart’s Wage Increase Is Hurting Its Stock Price—and That’s OK (The Nation)                                                            The stock market doesn’t take long-term economic growth into account very well, so why do we look to it to see if higher wages are succeeding?
  • Tesco agrees $12m payout to US shareholders over accounting scandal (The Guardian)                                            UK’s biggest retailer sued after overstating 2015 first-half profit by £263m, causing a hit on stock prices when the error came to light. Tesco is the UK’s largest grocer…
  • Coke Adds Fraud: Exposing the Beverage Giant’s Shady Research Practices (AlterNet)                                                    One of America’s once-most-trusted brands funds research downplaying the link between sugary drinks and obesity.
  • APNewsBreak: Emails reveal Coke’s role in anti-obesity group (Associated Press)
  • Coca-Cola Was Less Than Hands Off With the Anti-Obesity Group It Funded (takepart)                          Emails obtained by The Associated Press show that the relationship went beyond a simple donation.



  • To Protest Walmart on Black Friday, Organizers Are Seeking Food for Underpaid Workers (Mother Jones)                                                                                        They’ve got 1,000 collection drives planned.


Gleaning, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • Need $23,000 Worth of Chocolate Health Bars? Dumpster Dive (takepart)                                                                   Meet the Canadian couple who survived on food-waste-only diet for six months.
  • Can We End America’s Massive Food Waste Problem? (Yes!)                                                                                      Almost half of America’s food is thrown out every year. Despite the popularity of things like local markets and farm-to-form initiatives, the US food system remains a heavily industrialized, wasteful business.


Water & Our Oceans

  • As Brazil’s Largest City Struggles With Drought, Residents Are Leaving (NPR)
  • Running dry: How the drought is forging a new California (SF Chronicle)                                                Californians are living through a slow-motion natural disaster, a four-year drought that is combining with record heat to challenge the state in unprecedented ways.
  • California’s Drought Impacts Agriculture, Employment (California Institute For Rural Studies)
  • More California Farmers Switch To Almond Growing, Update on Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Water (California Institute For Rural Studies)
  • Top of the Food Chain: Fine Dining Pushes for Sustainable Seafood (takepart)                                            Salmon and shrimp may be popular fare, but leading chefs prove that less familiar local seafood can earn top honors.


Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

  • EPA Turnaround on Toxic Herbicide ‘Huge Victory for Future of Food’ (Common Dreams)                        Revoking Enlist Duo approval, agency sides with green groups and pulls brakes on ‘lethal cocktail of chemicals’ Yes!
  • US (EPA) Changes Mind, Nixes Weed Killer Toxic to Monarch Butterflies (takepart)                                    Agency reverses course a year later on weed-killing herbicidal cocktail that could further threaten declining monarch butterfly populations.
  • Water Pollution Trading Programs Under Fire as Report Finds Lax Oversight, “Shell Games” Put Waterways at Risk (DeSmog)
  • Congress Isn’t Delivering the Progressive Food Policy Americans Want (takepart)                                                        Even as substantial majorities of voters say they want an overhauled progressive food system, lawmakers remain stuck in the status quo.
  • States Battle Cities Over Minimum Wage (Huffington Post)                                                                                               16 states have laws forbidding local municipalities from raising the minimum wage, and/or benefits, via ALEC…
  • California Climate and Agriculture Legislative Roundup (California Institute For Rural Studies)


GMOs/Cloning/Food Technology/Synthetic Biology/Nanotechnology

  • Costco Joins a Host of Retailers Refusing to Sell GMO Salmon (takepart)                                                                     The second-largest retailer in the world is now one of more than 60 US supermarket chains rejecting the laboratory fish.



  • Dangerous Pesticides Are Being Found In Colorado’s Weed (Huffington Post)                                                The state doesn’t yet require marijuana businesses to conduct pesticide testing, leading to a “buyer beware” market.



  • Scientists Say They’ve Found the ‘Missing Link’ on Bees and Pesticides (care2)



  • Jack in the Box and General Mills Commit to Sourcing Cage-Free Eggs (TriplePundit)
    • Jack in the Box Says ‘No’ to Birds in the Cage (AlterNet)                                                                                           Five to 10 years is a long time for chickens to remain in cages, but Jack in the Box’s announcement is still great progress – 5 to 10 years? CAFO chickens are usually culled after one to two year… (Farm Sanctuary)
  • Even at Whole Foods’ Best Farm (Diestel Family Turkey Ranch), Turkeys Suffer (Huffington Post)


Healthy/Safe Food

  • Chipotle Shares Plummet as E. Coli Outbreak Spreads (takepart)                                                                                          Cases have been reported in six states.