Jenny’s Food & Ag Update April 3, 2016

  • Seed Banks Are Supposed To Ensure Food Security, But They’re Missing Crucial Pieces (Think Progress)         … over 70 percent of the crop wild relatives are not sufficiently preserved in global gene banks…
  • Climate change threatens staple crops in Africa, study says (CarbonBrief)
    • Study: Timescales of transformational climate change adaptation in sub-Saharan African agriculture (Nature)
  • Setting New Standards for Grassfed Dairy (Civil Eats)                                                                                    Grassfed dairy is popular, but is it all that it’s cracked up to be? A new standard hopes to legitimize (and protect) the label.
  • 80% of New England Forests, Once Cleared for Farmland, Have Come Back (Good News Network)
  • So What Exactly Is Kosher Salt, Since Salt Is Already Kosher To Begin With? (Huffington Post)
  • For Tokyo’s Famed Fish Market, A Dreaded Death And A Hopeful Rebirth (NPR)
  • The Presidential Candidates Seriously Don’t Care About Our Food Supply (Huffington Post)
  • Agricultural Aftershocks: How Japan is Combatting a Decline in Farming (Modern Farmer)                                    The earthquake, tsunami, and resulting nuclear disaster that rocked Japan’s Tohoku region in March of 2011 dealt a series of sharp blows to the 70,000 farmers living in Fukushima prefecture…
  • Fear of Chickens Is Surprisingly Common, and It’s Called Alektorophobia (Huffington Post)


Hunger, Food Access & Insecurity, Obesity & Malnutrition

  • Researchers Discover a Crazy Simple Way for Kids to Fight Obesity, and It’s Not About Eating Less (AlterNet)                                                                                                A new study shows that making water fountains more available in schools can help children keep the pounds off.
  • Water Dispensers a Low-Cost Tool in the Fight Against Childhood Obesity, Finds IESP Study (NYU)


School Food

  • Public-Private Partnerships Offer School Kitchen Grants to More Districts (Pew Charitable Trusts)
    • USDA Press Release No. 00034.16: USDA, NFL, Fuel Up to Play 60 Partner to Award $35 Million to Help Schools Serve Healthier Meals, Strengthen Childhood Nutrition (USDA)
  • Who Decides What Your Kids Have for Lunch? (Worcester Food & Active Living Policy Council)



  • ‘Food Chains’ Documentary Reveals the Human Cost in Our Food Supply (AlterNet)                                        Featured in Bernie Sanders ad, the film tells the remarkable story of a group (CIW) of farm workers who took on the powerful supermarket industry – and won.
  • Undocumented Immigrants Contribute Over $11 Billion to Our Economy Each Year (The Nation)                The notion that they do nothing but drain pubic coffers is a myth.
  • Riveting Photos Of Migrant Workers Remind Us Who Really Harvests Our Food (Huffington Post)


Business & Economy

  • Coca-Cola says it spent more on health research and partnerships than it previously disclosed (US News & World Report)                                                                          The world’s biggest beverage company first disclosed its spending on health related efforts after coming under fire for its funding of Global Energy Balance Network, a group that said its mission was to fight obesity. That group has since disbanded.
  • Removing Artificial Ingredients Helped Turn Around Cereal Sales (takepart)                                                                General Mills is selling more Cheerios, Lucky Charms, and other products, reversing losses suffered last year.
  • Starbucks and Domino’s Close All Locations in Belgium Following Terrorist Attacks (The Daily Meal)
  • The CEO of Starbucks won’t keep promises to his workers, but wants an end to “cynicism” (Quartz)
  • Second Eatsa (modern automat) leads to crowds, delays in the (SF) Financial District (SF Chronicle)
  • Not So Family Friendly: If Olive Garden gives millions of meals to the needy, a waitress asks, why am I on food stamps? (Quartz)
  • Tesco’s fictional farms: a marketing strategy past its sell-by date? (The Guardian)                                                        Boswell Farms and Woodside Farm might sound like the perfect pace to source your sausages from. The problem is, they don’t exist. Shouldn’t the supermarket chain be concentrating on giving consumers accurate information instead?
  • Another Major Food Company (Mars) Announces Nationwide GMO Labeling (takepart)                                  Not only will Mars label products made with genetically engineered ingredients, but it said it could support a federal mandatory labeling law.



  • Gulf Coast Residents Crash Oil lease Auction, Chanting ‘Shut It Down’ (Think Progress)
  • Animal Rights: “A Very Noble Cause” or Terrorism? The State Just Can’t Decide (truthout)                                          The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) was crafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council…
  • ‘Gasland’ Director Josh Fox Arrested at ‘Pancakes Not Pipelines’ Protest (AlterNet)


Gleaning, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • Starbucks Will Now Be Delivering Unsold Food to Hungry Americans (The Daily Meal)
  • Elevating Food Waste from the Dumpster to the art Gallery (takepart)                                                                  Artist Aliza Eliazarov’s tableaux of rescued food highlight just how much Americans waste.


Food Fraud/Scandals

  • This Non-Profit Wants To Increase Transparency In The Seafood Market (Huffington Post)                        Oceana want us to know exactly how fish gets from the sea to our plates.


Water & Our Oceans

  • Report: Water: At What Cost? The State of the World’s Water 2016 (WaterAid)                                                    … the poorest people in the world are paying the highest price for safe water – and calls on governments to act now for universal access.
  • Coal Plants Risk Global Water Shortage (truthout)                                                                                            The world’s 8,359 coal power plant units consume enough water each year to meet the basic needs of one billion people…
  • Power Plant Is Using A Fake Farm To Avoid The Clean Water Act, Groups Allege (Think Progress)
  • Recycled water is good for your health, UCLA researchers say (University of California)
  • The madness of drinking bottled water shipped halfway round the world (The Guardian)                                       We can’t get enough of it, but the long-term environmental impacts of bottling and transporting water across countries are doing more damage than we realize.
  • Un-bottling Water (Earth Island Journal)          Bottled water and our national parks…
  • New Research Offers Much-Needed Hope For Our Oceans (Huffington Post)
    • Study: Global fishery prospects under contrasting management regimes (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
  • Not a Fish Tale: Humans Are Ingesting Plastic Thanks to Ocean Pollution (truthout)
  • The World’s Largest Fish Are Missing (truthout)                                                                              Researchers say the biggest whale sharks have disappeared over the past two decades, raising concerns about the long-lived giant fish.
  • Study: Error and bias in size estimates of whale sharks: implications for understanding demography (Royal Society)
  • Japan Killed Hundreds Of Whales For ‘Research’ And The International Community Is Enraged (Think Progress)


Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

  • Food-based dietary guidelines – Sweden (FAO)                                                                                          The Swedes were the first to take the environment into consideration in nutrition policy…
  • Saudi Arabia phasing out of wheat production completed (FAO)                                                                                              The measure reflects strong concern over the depletion of local water reserves…
  • United Kingdom Proposes Soda Tax in Ongoing Fight Against Obesity (Nation of Change)
  • Think the DARK Act Was Defeated? Not So Fast (TriplePundit)                                                                                        This has gotten quite strange and is indicative of our current political landscape; Senate Bill 764 now includes Marine Conservation, Defunding Planned Parenthood Act ( and now the DARK Act (SA 3450)
  • Feds Study More Bees for Protection as Endangered Species (truthout)                                                                       For the second time within a year, the federal government has decided to study whether it needs to step in to try to save bees…
  • White House Responds To Western Governors’ Call For Action On Drought (Think Progress)
  • Iowa’s 60 Million Laying Hens Aren’t Being Monitored by Food-Safety Inspectors (takepart)                  Inspections were halted last year in order to avoid the spread of bird flu… both state and federal food-safety inspections were halted…
  • Deal reached to boost California’s minimum wage to $15, avoiding ballot box battle (LA Times)
  • Alabama Governor Blocks Minimum Wage Increase After Raising Staffers’ Salaries 80% (Nation of Change)    Alabama currently has the 48th highest poverty rate in the country, yet their Governor refuses to give them anything above the ridiculously low federal minimum wage.
  • Workers’ Rights On The Chopping Block in North Carolina Anti-LGBT Backlash (Think Progress)                    This law did pass and was signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory, all on the same day…
  • In win for beekeepers, Minnesota links insecticide to damaged hives (Star Tribune)                                            In the first test of a landmark environmental law, Minnesota has compensated two beekpeers whose hives were severely damaged last spring…
  • West Virginia Will Drug Test Poor People Who Need Welfare (Think Progress)                                                    West Virginia is joining ten other states in drug testing those utilizing the safety net, it has been suggested that if states are going to test those collecting state payments, why aren’t others collecting state payments, such as legislators?
  • A Lexington County (Indiana) farming operation has paid a $1 million fine for hiring as many as 350 workers in the US illegally (Daily Journal)
  • Flint Water Crisis Could Spur Changes to Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law (PEW Charitable Trusts)
  • Vacant Walmart Sites create Giant Big-Box Stumbling Blocks for Local Governments (Route Fifty)              Public Libraries, Senior Centers, Museums? And the opportunity local governments to support local businesses that support the local economy…


GMOs/Cloning/Food Technology/Synthetic Biology/Nanotechnology

  • Tiny Vermont Brings Food Industry to Its Knees on GMO Labels (Organic Consumers Association)
    • General Mills Will Start Labeling Its GMO Products This Summer (Huffington Post)            Vermont’s new law forced General Mills to change its labeling standards for everyone.
  • Still Life with Mass Hysteria: Are GMOs Really That Bad? (Modern Farmer)                                                  This article does bring up some issues usually not discussed, there is still an issue rarely talked about; ‘nutritionally equivalent’, a GMO product may have the same amount of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrient, but are they comprised of the same amino acid, fatty acids, and carbohydrate, fiber, mineral, vitamin, and phytonutrient composition?



  • Are Your Easter Lilies Poisoning This California Town? (truthout)                                                                                    Evidence mounts that the intense pesticide use required to cultivate the delicate bulbs is causing health problems for residents and harming populations of endangered species.



  • What Do the Birds and the Bees Have to Do With Global Food Supply? (Audubon)                                                      A new report from the United Nations suggests that the loss of certain pollinating species could threaten the plant’s food supply.
  • Report: Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Service: Pollination



  • If You Truly Care About Social Justice, Then You Might Want to Think About Who It Is Exactly You’re Eating (AlterNet)
  • The swift rise of cage-free eggs reveals Americans’ changing view of the moral universe (Quartz)
  • Meet Anya Fernald, the First Lady of Livestock (Modern Farmer)                                                                                             Leave it to a woman to revolutionize cattle ranching. Anya Fernald has a major beef with the meat industry, so she founded Belcamp, America’s premier eco-conscious source for carnivores.


Healthy/Safe Food

  • Stop Freaking Out About How Much Protein You’re Getting (Mother Jones)                                                     You’re probably eating too much, and it’s ruining the planet.
  • Study: Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change cobenefits of dietary change (National Academy of Sciences)
  • Eating Less Meat Could Save up to $31 Trillion (and Many Lives) (Civil Eats)                                                          Switching to a plant-based diet, says a new study, can not only reduce premature death and significantly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, it could also radically cut healthcare and environmental costs.



  • The True Cost of American Food Conference                                       April 14 – 17, 2016                                                                                                     San Francisco