Jenny’s Food & Ag Update May 30, 2016

  • This New Neighborhood Will Grow Its Own Food, Power Itself, And Handle Its Own Waste (Fast Co.)        ReGen Village, outside of Amsterdam, doesn’t need a grid or food systems. It’s a model for a future, fully closed-loop settlement.
  • Can This Market Be a Model for Getting Good Food Into Neighborhoods Shaped by Racism? (Civil Eats)                                                                                         After years of planning, West Oakland’s People’s Community Market may finally come to fruition. Can it help counteract the decades of oppressive policies that shape today’s ‘food deserts’?
  • Activist’s generosity blooms in Parkdale garden: Porter (Toronto Star)                                                      Activist filmmaker John Greyson donates land to Parkdale Land Trust for community garden.
  • Vandana Shiva: Small Farmers Are Foundation to Food Security, Not Corporations Like Monsanto (EcoWatch)
    • Vandana Shiva: Women Around the World Are Leading the Fight Against Corporate Agriculture (truthout)
  • To Survive The Bust Cycle, Farmers Go Back To Business School Basics (NPR)
  • Bike-Powered Farming Program Turns Laws Into Urban Farms (AlterNet)                                                                  Eating locally is ideal, and what could be more local than plucking food right from your own yard?
  • It Finally Happened: A Herd of Goats Has Taken Up Residence in Prospect Park (Pacific Standard)                      It’s not the first time livestock will roam one of our nation’s urban green spaces.
  • Drought, Fire, And Now Healing In A California Farm Community (Food & Environment Reporting Network)                                                                                        After four years of drought, Calaveras County faced a historic fire and then devastating soil erosion once rains came. Farmers are now fighting to recover.
  • This is what life would actually be like without processed food (The Washington Post)
  • Green Machine: Met the Sports Car Made From Cannabis Hemp (AlterNet)                                                                        A Florida environmentalist hopes his hemp car could lead the charge in making carbon neutral vehicles.
  • (CA) North Coast marijuana growers fear a takeover by ‘Big Alcohol’ (LA Times)                                Marijuana distributors will take 30%, leaving farmers and dispensaries with little profit. And what part with Big Pharma play?
  • ‘Invisible Army’ Of Immigrant Women Finds Its Voice Through Cooking (NPR)
  • Wilson Soar Grill Stores the Sun’s Energy for Nighttime Fuel-Free Grilling (inhabitat)


Hunger, Food Access & Insecurity, Obesity & Malnutrition

  • Across Africa, the worst food crisis since 1985 looms for 50 million (The Guardian)                                              A second year without rain threatens to bring catastrophe for some of the poorest people in the world. Donor countries, in the grip of wars and refugee crises, have been slow to pledge funds. But by the time they do, it could be too late.
  • Zimbabwe’s Mugabe Pardons Hundreds of Female Inmates Amid Prison Food Shortages (Huffington Post)
  • What If All Farmers’ Markets Took Food Stamps? (Pacific Standard)                                                                        It might improve our health, but by how much remains uncertain. Either way, it’s a boon for most farmers’ markets.
  • Why Work for Welfare Doesn’t Work (Pacific Standard)                                                                                  Challenging our policies and perspectives on welfare and hunger.
  • Dieting Failure: The Real Reason It Is So Hard to Keep Weight Off Once Lost (AlterNet)                                                Why do newly thin people often regain the weight they struggle so hard to lose?


Healthy/Safe Food

  • 5 Superfoods You’re Probably Not Eating (AlterNet)                                                                                                It’s time to move beyond kale and quinoa.
  • Researchers have found a ‘striking’ new side effect from eating fast food (The Washington Post)
    • Study: Recent Fast Food Consumption and Bisphenol A and Phthalates Exposures among the US Population in NHANES, 2003 – 2010 (Environmental Health Perspectives)
  • 7 ‘Toxins’ in Food That Are Actually Concerning (AlterNet)                                                                                                Stick to single ingredient, whole foods as much as possible.
  • Asian Seafood Raised on Pig Feces Approved for US Consumers (The Cornucopia Institute)


Gleaning, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • Whatever Happened to Advanced Biofuels? (Scientific American)                                                                                Cellulosic ethanol continues to struggle to use inedible crop waste to match ethanol from corn – and fossil fuels
  • The New Plastics Economy initiative launches (The Guardian)                                                                                            The New Plastics Economy initiative, which envisages improved after-use pathways for plastics, kicks off this week


Children & School Food

  • Green-Roofed Farming Kindergarten Teaches 500 Vietnamese Children How to Grow Their Own Food (inhabitat)



  • Work Less, Live More (Yes!)                    Working fewer hours could help save our economy, our sanity, ad the planet.
  • Bay Area restaurant labor violations draw notice amid changing employment policies (San Jose Mercury News)                                                                      Wage theft, minimum wage violations, overtime, meal/rest breaks, human-trafficking…
  • The hidden horrors in poultry plants (Socialist Worker)
    • Study Reveals Just How Brutal Meat and Poultry Work Is for Workers (In These Times)
    • We Don’t Know How Many Workers Are Injured At Slaughterhouses. Here’s Why (NPR)
    • Report: Workplace Safety and Health: Additional Data Needed to Address Continued Hazards in the Meat and Poultry Industry (US Government Accountability Office)
  • How Austin Became the First Southern City to ‘Ban the Box’ for Job Seekers With Felony Histories (AlterNet)                                                                                                    A movement led by formerly incarcerated people has beat back discriminatory hiring practices in the heart of Texas.
  • Millions More Workers to Get Overtime Pay – Thanks, Obama (AlterNet)                                                                      4.2 million people will automatically become eligible for overtime pay.
  • Revolt of the ‘Chapulines’: After Strike Indigenous Mexican Farmworkers Vote To Unionize (In These Times)                                                                                            San Joaquin Valley Oaxacan farmworkers vote to join the United Farm Workers…


Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • US Importers Bought About 44,900 Tonnes of Organic Corn From Romainia (Agriculture Magazine)
  • Monsanto and Bayer May Merge, Creating a Company That Would Control Nearly a Third of the World’s Seeds (AlterNet)                                                                                                 The new mega-chemical/seed company would control 29% of the world’s seed market and 24% of the pesticide market.
  • The Monsanto-Bayer Merger That Could Change Agriculture (Pacific Standard)                                                       The German pharmaceutical giant’s $62 billion offer would acquire all of Monsanto’s stock shares.
  • Oregon Voters Reject Nestlé’s Water Grab (AlterNet)                                                                                      Detractors of Nestlé’s plan said the country needs its water for its citizens, agriculture and wildlife.
  • Cascade Locks city council continuing with Nestlé plans despite passage of 14-55 (Hood River News)
  • The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare (NYT)                                                                                            To Blott was a corporate defense attorney for eight years. Then he took on an environmental suit that would upend his entire career – and expose a brazen, decades-long history of chemical pollution.
  • What drought? Nestle plans $35 million plant to bottle water in Phoenix (AZ Central)
  • Why the sugar industry hates the FDA’s new Nutrition Facts label (The Washington Post)
  • Baby carrots are not baby carrots (The Washington Post)                                                                                    These are not true baby carrots, they are ‘baby carrots’ carved from ‘ugly’ carrots, utilizing seconds that otherwise would be wasted…
  • Progressive Nonprofits That Oppose the New Overtime Rules for Low-Income Workers are hypocrites (In These Times)
  • The Hourly Wage Needed to Rent a 2-Bedroom Apartment Is Rising (City Lab)                                                            A new report maps how much the average American has to earn to comfortably afford a modest rental in every US state.
  • Obscene: Average American Worker Pull in $37k, While Your Typical Big Company CEO Rakes in $12.4 Million (AlterNet)
    • Average CEO Raise Last Year Amounted to 10x What Most Workers Made In Total (Common Dreams)
  • Why Giving Breaks to Huge Corporations When We Could Invest Public Money Down the street? (Yes!)              Cities and states fork over an estimated $70 billion each year to large companies that don’t need public assistance to thrive. We could spend that money on our own neighborhoods.
  • As union membership has fallen, the top 10 percent have been getting a larger share of income (Economic Policy Institute)
  • Even the IMF – the IMF! – Turns on Neoliberalism (Common Dreams)
    • Neoliberalism: Oversold? (IMF)
    • As Wealthy Surge, US Poor and Middle Class Incomes Have Gone Backward (Common Dreams)        Poorer households saw their income drop from a median of $26.373 in 1999 to $23,811 in 2014, according to new research



  • Why McDonald’s might be the most important battle in the fight for fair wages (fusion)
    • Demanding ‘What We Need to Survive,’ Workers to Descend on McDonald’s Shareholders Meeting (Common Dreams)                                                                                          Fast food giant also faces renewed calls to ditch controversial ‘McTeacher’s Nights’


Food Fraud/Scandals

  • 60 Tons of Honey Illegally Imported from China Seized by Federal Authorities in Chicago (abc7Chicago)


Water & Our Oceans

  • Oregon schools shut off water fountains after lead found (Seattle Times)
    • Superintendent Ways Sorry For Letting Students Drink Lead Tainted Water (Huffington Post)            One school reportedly used the water for more than a week after test results came back.


  • What’s the True Cost of Fracking? This Eye-Opening Infographic May Surprise You (AlterNet)                                  … there are at least 1.7 million fracked wells Across the United States…
  • After years of drought and overuse, the San Luis Valley aquifer refills (High Country News)                                How an over-taxed basin is getting its water use under control.
  • Yosemite waterfalls roaring following four years of drought (SF Chronicle)                                                                      The drought is not over, but we did have water for the moment…
  • For the Endangered American Eel, A Long, Slipper Road to Recovery (Yale Environment 360)
  • The Pipeline Company Responsible for the Santa Barbara Country Oil Spill Has Been Indicted (Pacific Standard)                                                                                              But it will take years for researchers to fully assess and respond to the environmental impact.
  • The Effects of the Santa Barbara Oil Spill, One Year Later (Pacific Standard)                                                            Catching up with a scientist who conducted surveys of humans and sea creatures in the wake of last year’s oil spill at Refugio Beach.
  • Great Barrier Reef: UN report lead author ‘shocked’ all Australian references removed (The Guardian)
  • Biodegradable plastic ‘false solution’ for ocean waste problem (The Guardian)


Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

  • China just said what the US never has: Eat less meat (grist)
  • Taiwan Recalls Quaker Oats Products Imported From US After Detecting Glyphosate (Nation of Change)
    • Glyphosate Use as a Pre-Harvest Treatment: Not a Risk to Food Safety (Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service)
  • Many grain growing state’s Cooperative Extensions have information on their websites for the use of glyphosate and 2,4-D for grain pre-harvest (Michigan State University Cooperative Extension)
  • Weekend Work Emails Are Now Illegal In France (Huffington Post)                          “The right to disconnect” has been codified in law.
  • Tribes Create Their Own Food Laws to Stop USDA From Killing Native Food Economies (Yes!)                        From blue corn to bison, narrow federal food-safety codes impact tribal food systems. But advocates are writing their own food laws to preserve Native food sovereignty.
  • Hoopa Valley Tribe: San Luis Settlement Agreement Will ‘Forever Condemn Tribe to Poverty’ (Daily Kos)
  • Toxic Substances Will Now BE Somewhat Regulated (The Atlantic)                                                        How the first ever update to the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 finally came to pass – and what it lacks
  • US Government’s Own Report Shows Toxic TPP “Not Worth Passing” (Common Dreams)                               “This report indicates the TPP will produce almost no benefits, but inflict real harm on so many workers.”
  • Report: Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: Likely Impact on the US Economy and on Specific Industry Sectors (US International Trade Commission)
  • Defense Authorization Bill Will Open Great Lakes to Invasive Species (Daily Kos)                                                    … provisions inserted in the National Defense Authorization Bill that passed the US House of Reps on 5/18/16 would eliminate present, hard-won protections under the Clean Water Act controlling invasive species in the Great Lakes system…
  • IRS Returns Bakery’s Money After 3 Years. Now It Want To Put The Owners in Prison (Huffington Post)     Another small business gets chewed up and spit out by the civil asset forfeiture machine.                                                                                                   This is how we fund our federal, state and local governments under austerity…
  • So-called fiscal conservatives in Idaho passed unconstitutional (ag-gag) law, taxpayers stuck with the bill (Daily Kos)
    • Idaho ban on undercover filming of farm abuses called unconstitutional by federal judge (Daily Kos)
  • Challenge to (CA) state’s shark-fin ban fails in US Supreme Court (SF Chronicle)


GMOs/Cloning/Food Technology/Synthetic Biology/Nanotechnology

  • National Academy of Sciences Find Genetically Engineered Crops Not the Solution to World Hunger (Center for Food Safety)
  • Hawaii Is Eyeing GMO Mosquitoes To Save Birds From Extinction (Huffington Post)                                                    The controversial new technology was developed to stop the spread of Zika, but could it also help fragile bird populations?


  • Nine Out of 10 Americans Tested Positive for Monsanto’s Cancer-Linked Weedkiller Glyphosate (AlterNet)
    • UCS Presentation Reveals Glyphosate Contamination in People Across America (Organic Consumers Association)
  • Monsanto Ordered to Pay $46.5 Million in PCB Lawsuit in Rare Win for Plaintiffs (Nation of Change)



  • Deciphering the Mysterious Decline of Honey Bees (New Republic)
    • How Rising CO2 Levels May Contribute to Die-Off of Bees (Yale Environment 360)                                   As they investigate the factors behind the decline of bee populations, scientists are now eyeing a new culprit…
  • 20,000 Bees Would Not Leave This Woman’s Car Alone (Huffington Post)                                            “One theory was that the queen was trapped in my car and the swarm were following her.”



  • The Inner Lives of Chickens: 5 Things You Never Knew About Your Beloved Birds (modern farmer)
  • Undercover Investigation Eposes Shocking Neglect at Third Largest Pig Farm in US (Nation of Change)