Jenny’s Food & Ag Update April 15, 2016


  • America’s Appetite For Organic Food Triggers A Natural Farming Boom (Huffington Post)                              There’s been a 300 percent increase in certified organic operations since 2002.
  • Treating Soil A Little Differently Could Help It Store A Huge Amount Of Carbon (Think Progress)
  • Burgeoning Effort to Restore Native Food in an Unlikely Food Desert (Civil Eats)                                              Salmon and berries that once nourished a network of tribes in California’s Klamath Basin are now scarce. This effort hopes to reverse the trend.
  • Kids Plant Michelle Obama’s White House Kitchen Garden for the Last Time (takepart)                                Eight years of growing vegetables on the South Lawn has helped to change conversations about food and diet in the US
  • Researchers Say Fairtrade Chocolate Isn’t So Sweet for Women Farmers (takepart)                                          Female growers in Ghana may have a more difficult time joining certified coops than their male counterparts
  • 10 Inspiring Films on Food + Farming: Who Do You Think Should Win the People’s Choice Award? (EcoWatch)
  • Funding the Next Green Revolution (The Progressive Farmer)                                                                                                AS Government Resources for Ag Research Have Shrunk, New Strategies Have Emerged to Raise Money
  • Resort to heritage (Down To Earth)          Bangladesh is betting big on its traditional form of farming: floating gardens. Can it help climate-proof the country?
  • Farm Confessional: How to Tell People You’ve Decided to Become a Farmer (modern farmer)
  • Here’s a Great Way to Make Juice Even More Wasteful and Expensive (Mother Jones)
  • I spirulina the new kale? A Thai startup is bring back the tiny green algae (The Guardian)
  • Your Quinoa Habit Really Did Help Peru’s Poor. But There’s Trouble Ahead (NPR)
  • From Cows to Concrete: New Book Provides History of Ag in Los Angeles County (UC Food Observer)


Hunger, Food Access & Insecurity, Obesity & Malnutrition

  • Farmer Is Shocked To Hear His Son’s Classmate Is Hungry. His Solution Is Stupefying (Shareably)
  • Food gap widens in South Sudan, say UN agencies (Down To Earth)                                                                          2016 cereal deficit about 53% higher than last year; food prices rise as markets collapse
  • Study: Worldwide trends in diabetes since 1980: a pooled analysis of 751 population-based studies with 4.4 million participants (The Lancet)
  • Study: Trends in adult body-mass index in 200 countries from 1975 to 2014: a pooled analysis of 1698 population-based measurement studies with 19.2 million participants (The Lancet)
  • Is Samoa’s Obesity Epidemic A Harbinger For Other Developing Nations (NPR)
  • Poverty Creates a Vicious Cycle of Food Insecurity and Poor Health (Huffington Post)


Gleaning, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • 800-Pound, Cattle-Munching Gator Shot Dead (Huffington Post)                                                                                              A monster alligator, said to weigh 800 lbs., was recently hauled out of Florida’s marshes after being blamed for snacking on a landowner’s cattle, and now this ravenous reptile, given to charity, will be a meal for some hungry humans.
  • Can a Bottle Made From Algae End the World’s Plastic Addiction? (takepart)                                                                          The all-natural container is biodegradable.

School Food

  • Let them eat kale: How a school lunch lady cracked the picky eater code (



  • From ‘Extreme’ to Enacted (The Nation)           Across the country, activists and low-wage workers are showing that the changes we need will come if people organize and force them.
  • In US, a bold economic experiment begins on the minimum wage (The Globe and Mail)
  • Millions Of Workers Just Won The Right To Paid Time To Care For Loved Ones (Think Progress)
  • (India’s) Farmers demand law for guaranteed income (Down To Earth)                                                              Participants voice concern on drought, farmers’ suicide and water conservation, among other issues
  • These Jimmy John’s Workers Were Fired Illegally. Five Years Later, they Might Get Their Jobs Back. (Huffington Post)                                                                                          The long wait shows just how weak our labor laws are.


Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • This Organic Strawberry Farm Is Giving Its Workers The Benefits They Deserve (Huffington Post)                    Like full dental and health care coverage, stock options, and low-cost housing.
  • Food processing in a time of drought (New Food Economy)                                                                                          How mindful manufacturers manage water restrictions
  • Monsanto Reports Lower Earnings, Profits Amid Pressure From Consumers, Vermont GMO Label Law (Nation of Change)
  • Big Seed: How The Industry Turned From Small-Town Firms To Global Giants (NPR)                                                    A new round of industry consolidation is now underway. Multibillion-dollar mergers are in progress, or under discussion, that could put more than half of global seed sales in the hands of three companies…
  • PR Firm Attacks Organic Food, Then Pitches Itself to Organic Companies (Huffington Post)
  • Sugar Crash: US Soda Consumption Hits 30-Year Low (takepart)                                                                                            The industry-wide slump in 2015 was even worse for the leading cola brands.
  • When Is Big Food Not Big Food? When It’s Funding Your Favorite New Snacks (takepart)
  • The Impossible bet (New Food Economy)       Impossible Foods has $183 million in venture funding and a vision of plant-based meat, but still no product. Are we worried yet?
  • Why It’s Time to Crowd-Source Our Neighborhoods and Build Up America’s Local Economies (AlterNet)
  • CoBank Surprises Wall Street: Investor Backlash Hits Farm Credit (The Progressive Farmer)



  • Food Not Bullets: Hunger Pans of Starving Farmers Met by a Barrage of Bullets (


Food Fraud/Scandals


Water & Our Oceans

  • Keystone Pipeline Shut Down After Oil Spill in South Dakota (EcoWatch)
    • Oil Leak From Keystone Pipeline 89 Times Worse Than Originally Thought (Think Progress)
    • Keystone leaks and reminds us why we’re glad there isn’t an XL pipeline out there (grist)
  • High Levels of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Found Near Fracking Wastewater Site (EcoWatch)
  • How Global Water Standards Save Lives and Create Better Jobs (AlterNet)                                                                  Every hour, 38 workers die from water-related diseases.
  • For Millions of People El Niño Brings Drought Instead of Rain (takepart)                                                                  The dry weather in sub-Saharan Africa is drastically reducing harvests and raising staple-crop prices.
  • Reservoirs Are Filling Up, but California’s Drought Isn’t Over (takepart)                                                              Federal irrigation allocations grant just 5 percent of requested water in some of the state’s key agriculture regions.
  • California’s Snow is Finally Back – But the Drought Is Far From Over (Mother Jones)
  • Your Child Could Be Drinking Lead-Tainted Water in School—and You’d Never Know It (Mother Jones)
  • Toxic Teflon Chemical, C8, Found In Tap Water in Several States (Earth Island Journal)
  • Twin Tunnels Threaten San Francisco Bay (Earth Island Journal)                                                                                      Should local salmon be pushed to extinction?
  • Fighting to Bring Back a Once Abundant – and Delicious – American Fish (takepart)                        Overfishing has made enjoying shad a dining experience full of conflicts.
  • Removal of 4 Dams to Reopen 420 Miles of Historic Salmon Habitat on Klamath River (EcoWatch)
  • A Tiny Island Territory Has An Ambitious Plan For Ocean Protection (Think Progress)


Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

  • France Approves Plan To Completely Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides (neonicotinoids) (Nation of Change)
  • ‘Anti-Farmer’ Billboards: Senators Ask EPA’s Inspector General to Investigate Ties to Environmental Groups (The Progressive Farmer)
  • USDA Secrecy and Corporate Angribusiness: Why Should Organics be Different? (In These Times)
  • Animals Raised for Organic Meat Will Soon Have a Better Quality of Life (takepart)                                                          The USDA is finally adding new animal welfare standards to its certification program for livestock.
  • ‘Action Plan’ to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs Doesn’t Take the Right Action (takepart)
  • Tiny Forage Fish At Bottom Of Marine Food Web Get New Protections (NPR)
    • National Marin Fisheries Rule: Fisheries Off West Coast States; Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 1, Final Rule (Federal Register)        Amendments to the Fishery Management Plans for Coastal Pelager Species, Pacific Coast Groundfish, US West Coast Highly Migratory Species, and Pacific Coast Salmon
  • For The First Time, A State Just Banned Neonicotinoids, A Pesticide Threatening Pollinators (Think Progress)
  • Jerry Brown to sign paid family leave expansion in California (Sacramento Bee)                                                      Bill will increase benefits for people who take time off to care for family member
  • Texas Companies Save Millions by Opting Out of Workers’ Comp, Study Finds (Houston Press)                                 … as the expense of the injured workers…
  • Don’t Fall Down on the Job in Texas: Employers Don’t Have to Provide Injury Coverage (Houston Press)
  • Florida: All-Natural But Still ‘Imitation’? The Strange Case Of The Skim Milk Label (NPR)                                            A Florida diary farmer has had to dump hundreds of gallons of skim milk from her creamery because she doesn’t add vitamins back in. Legally, that makes it an “imitation milk product.”
  • Flint water crisis prompts schools nationwide to test water for lead (The Guardian)                                                EPA data shows 278 schools and daycare centers across the country violated federal lead level requirements with the past three years


GMOs/Cloning/Food Technology/Synthetic Biology/Nanotechnology

  • Africa’s Traditional Crops Under Threat as Big Ag, Gates Foundation ‘Donate’ GMO Technology (EcoWatch)
  • Monsanto’s Willing Executioners (truthout)                                                                                  Monsanto keeps pushing genetically modified food through the approval process in spite of widespread public revulsion…
  • These Charts Show Every Genetically Modified Food People Already Eat in the US (Time)
  • In a Surprise Win for Democracy Over Corporate Power, GMO Labeling Has Arrived (Nation of Change)
  • What Will Happen When Genetically Engineered Salmon Escape Into the Wild? (AlterNet)                                    The FDA has failed to fully examine the risks this new species of salmon.



  • A New Study Suggests That Even The Toughest Pesticide Regulations Aren’t Nearly Tough Enough (FERN)
    • 97% of Endangered Species Threatened by 3 Common Pesticides (EcoWatch)              Chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion
  • EPA Releases Draft Biological Evaluations of Three Chemicals’ Impacts on Endangered Species (EPA)
  • Conservation Groups and Municipalities Urge Ban on Rat Poisons in California (Earth Island Journal)



  • These Photos Capture The Startling Effect Of Shrinking Bee Populations (Huffington Post)                          In rural China, humans pollinate flowers by hand.
  • More Evidence that Monarch Butterflies Should be Listed as Threatened (Civil Eats)                                        New research shows that the butterflies may be more vulnerable to extinction than we previously thought.


Healthy/Safe Food

  • Americans Are Gorging Themselves on Cheap Meat (Mother Jones)                                                                          Other countries advise eating less meat. Why is US meat consumption spiking?