Jenny’s Food & Ag Update June 6, 2016


  • More (Central) Valley farmers opting to go organic (The Business Journal)                                                                Organics are the single-fastest growing segment in the food industry today – and more Central Valley farmers are taking notice.
  • ‘Overwhelming’ Evidence Shows Path is Clear: It’s Time to Ditch Industrial Agriculture for Good (CommonDreams)                                                                                              New report looks at why, given negative outputs, a massive shift to agroecological approaches hasn’t yet taken hold
  • Report: From Uniformity to Diversity (International Panel of Experts on sustainable Food Systems)
  • Farmers Are the New Climate Warrior (The American Prospect)                                                                                          Meet the Environmental Defense Fund’s Robert Parkhurst, the man working to create a market for farm-based carbon sequestration.
  • Biodiversity Continuum Chart Download: How to Conserve Biodiversity on the Farm: Actions to Take on a Continuum from Simple to Complex (Wild Farm Alliance)
  • Can fine dining make climate change palatable? (New Food Economy)                                                                            This restaurateur couple is betting San Francisco diners will warm up to The Perennial
  • Let’s GROW! (Talin’ Trash with UHN)                   I am thrilled and delighted to introduce our first wheelchair accessible garden at Toronto Rehab, Bickle Center!
  • Urban Garden Aims To Bridge Gap Between ‘Old’ And ‘New’ Harlem (Huffington Post)                    “Anyone who cares about this community wants to make sure the identity there remains strong.”
  • Let them eat dirt! Our obsession with hygiene is jeopardizing our children’s health (The Telegraph)
  • Andrew Coppolino’s top 10 reasons for shopping at farmers’ markets (Canadian Broadcasting Co)              From nutrition to convenience, economics to social engagement, Andrew’s list is food for thought
  • All Aboard: Floating Food Forest Prepares for Debut Voyage in New York (takepart)                                            Food produced on Swale will be free to the public.
  • Your Next Hamburger May Come With a Side of Endangered Wolf (takepart)                                                              A group argues for adding wildlife conservation facts to nutrition labels.
  • Beans Could Be the Low-Tech Solution to Food’s Biggest Problems (takepart)                                                      As the world gets hotter and drier, pulses may be key to feeding us.
  • New Jerseyans Chew Over What To Call Their Favorite Pork Products (NPR)
    • Doctors’ ‘Drug of Last Resort’ Is Falling Prey to Antibiotic Resistance (takepart)                                      Coli bacteria that is resistant to colistin has now been documented in both a woman and pig living in the United States.
  • With re-creation of 1500s garden, a reminder of when herb knowledge was a survival tool (The Washington Post)


Hunger, Food Access & Insecurity, Obesity & Malnutrition

  • Crisis Narratives and the Ongoing Drought in Ethiopia (truthout)                                                                                     Ethiopia is currently the grip of its worst drought in half a century. More than 10 million people – over 10% of the population – are affected by drought related food insecurity…
  • Food Deserts aren’t The Problem (Slate)  Getting fresh fruits and vegetables into low-income neighborhoods doesn’t make poor people healthier… poverty itself is making people ill…


Gleaning, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • Is it Really Worth the Convenience? 6 Ways Plastic is Harming Animals, the Planet and Us (One Green Planet)                                                                                Remember, single use plastics were not ubiquitous until after 1982


Healthy/Safe Food

  • General Mills Recalls Flour Over Possible Link To E. coli Outbreak (Huffington Post)                                               Kashi Co also announced a recall of one variety each of its granola and granola bars.


Children & School Food



  • Efficiency up, turnover down: Sweden experiments with six-hour working day (The Guardian)
    • Sweden introduces six-hour work day (Independent)                                                                        Employers across the country including retirement homes, hospitals and care centers, are implementing the change
  • Even After Minimum Wage Hikes, Workers Could Still Be Getting Robbed (The Nation)                                              The new wage laws will increase minimum wages, but won’t strengthen the wage-enforcement system.
  • These 7 Household Names Make a Killing Off of the prison-industrial (labor) Complex (US Uncut)          4 of the seven are food corporations…
  • Aging in the Fields: No Alternative But to Keep Working (Capitol & Main)                                                                    After working for 40 years harvesting vegetables in California, Consuelo Mendez tried retirement, but soon was forced to get another job. Now She makes $11.79 an hour.
  • The Hidden Cost Of Cheap Pizza (Huffington Post)                                                                                  Sorry to say it, but America’s favorite comfort food is anti-worker.
  • This Lawsuit Against Domino’s Could Be Huge for Workers (The Nation)                                                                                The New York attorney general’s wage-theft suit could pave the way for unionizing workplaces across different owner-operators.
  • Pictures Show the Mysterious Disease That’s Killing Field Workers (National Geographic)        Photographer Ed Kashi documents how chronic kidney disease is affecting rural India.


Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Four National Obesity Forum members resign over controversial report publication (Food Navigator)
  • Immigrant Moms Were Told They Can’t Have Jobs – So They Started Their Own Tamale Co-op (Yes!)        Employment options for undocumented immigrants are often extremely limited. These single moms have found a solution.
  • Seeds of Change: Corporate Power, Grassroots Resistance, and the Battle Over the Food System (Dollars & Sense)
  • Almost Everything America Calls a Breakfast Staple Is Corporate Myth (AlterNet)                                                    From cereal to orange juice.
  • Why the Breakfast Most Americans Will Eat Today Is a Corporate Scam (AlterNet)                                                        Wake up and smell the McCafe: Cold cereal, donuts, and orange juice are breakfast staples because somebody somewhere wanted money.
  • Shareholders Confront McDonald’s ‘McTeacher’s Nights’ Inside Their Annual Meeting (AlterNet)        McTeacher’s Nights remain a point of controversy.
  • Brooklyn’s fancy artisanal-food businesses are getting chewed up (Crain’s)                                                              Companies that launched the gourmet-food-production scene in 2008 fed New York City’s manufacturing revival. Now entrepreneurs are finding their dreams wiped out by rents and regulations
  • Dow-DuPont Merger Will Cripple Farmers and Food Sovereignty, Groups Warn (Common Dreams)
    • Walmart, Gap, H&M Called Out for Global Worker Exploitation and Abuse (Common Dreams)
  • Why a $15 Minimum Wage Can’t Fix America’s Affordable Rent Crisis (takepart)                                                      People living in San Francisco need to earn $44.02 to be able to pay for the average tow-bedroom apartment.



  • Call to ‘Save Oceans, Protect Workers’ Goes Airborne as Greenpeace Targets Walmart (CommonDreams)                                                                                    ‘Walmart can no longer hide the very real threat of labor abuse and ocean destruction with its insufficient policy statements and greenwashing’
  • My View: McDonald’s can easily afford to give us a raise (rrstar)                                                                                            Fight for $15 Chicago


Food Fraud/Scandals


Water & Our Oceans

  • In Alabama, 100,000 people told not to drink water due to contamination (Reuters)
    • At least 33 US cities used water testing ‘cheats’ over lead concerns (The Guardian)                      Guardian investigation reveals testing regimes similar to that of Flint were in place in major cities including Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia
  • First Flint – Now Philly? (The American Prospect)
  • Congress Weights Help To Pay Escalating Household Water Bills (circle of blue)                                            We will further publicly fund privatized public water utilities…
  • Portland (CT) joins three Connecticut towns in banning fracking waste (Middletown Press)
  • Company Apologizes for Oil Train Disaster it Acknowledges Was Inevitable (Common Dreams)                    “We’re playing Russian roulette. I think the industry is perfectly willing to put a gun to our heads and risk our lives for the sake of making money. It is abundantly clear this enterprise is unsafe, unsustainable and they don’t know how to manage it.”
  • Oregon oil-train crash damaged town’s water and sewer systems (The Guardian)                                                          Area surrounding derailment site remains evacuated days after Friday crash with officials from small town Moiers say vital services are not working.
  • Ground-Breaking Agreement Marks First Voluntarily Limits to Industrial Fishing in Arctic (EcoWatch)
  • Fish & Chips: How Seattle’s Drugged-Up Effluent Is Affecting Puget Sound (Seattle Weekly)                            Hint – it involves what goes down our toilets.
  • More Than A Third Of The Coral Is Dead In Parts Of The Great Barrier Reef (Huffington Post)                   Huge portions of the structure have been damaged by the area’s biggest bleaching even ever
  • More Dredging Near Florida’s Endangered Corals Could Spell Disaster (takepart)                                Conservation groups are demanding federal officials reevaluate a plan to expand a shipping port near threatened coral reef species.
  • Fish Prefer Eating Dangerous Plastic Pollution (takepart)                                                                                          When European perch were exposed to polystyrene miroplastics, their survival rate dropped, a new study shows.
  • Study: Environmentally relevant concentrations of microplastic particles influence larval fish ecology (Science)
  • Now Is the Time to Protect Our Ocean’s Treasures (takepart)                                                                                              We have the largest expanse of ocean of any country in the world, and it’s our responsibility to protect it…


Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

  • EU Commission Backs Down on Long-Term Glyphosate Approval, Seeks Last Minute Extension (EcoWatch)
  • Passing Ban, Scottish Parliament Declares: ‘No Ifs, No Buts, No Fracking’ (Common Dreams)                              Non-binding fracking ban signals ‘growing consensus that stopping climate change means we have to say no to new fossil fuels like fracked gas.’
  • (Colombian) Families of Death Squad Victims Allowed to Sue Chiquita Executives (CommonDreams)          US judge permits federal lawsuit against corporate executives for funding far-right paramilitary group in Colombia
  • Swiss Reject Plan To Give Themselves A Guaranteed Basic Income (Huffington Post)
    • Switzerland to vote on universal basic income (Independent)
    • A Monthly Income Just for Being Human, and Other Sensible Ideas (Yes!)                                              Economist Guy Standing explains why Switzerland’s just the first of many places looking for a solution to rising inequality.
  • The Economic Idea Embraced by Milton Friedman and George McGovern Makes a Comeback (Capital & Main)
  • Summer Break for Polluters: Congress Bows to the Chemical Lobby on Toxics Regulation (GreenPeace)
  • Federal (EPA) Report Show Dimok (PA) Water Unsafe (DeSmog)                                                                                          Back in 2012 the EPA made a starling announcement, shaking up the battle over fracking in one of the nation’s highest-profile cases where drillers were suspected to have caused water contamination.
  • EPA Finds Widely-Used Weed Killer Could Threaten Animals (Think Progress)                                                            It should come as no surprise that atrazine is a threat to is a threat to humans, animals and our watersheds…
  • EPA: Refined Ecological Risk Assessment for Atrazine
  • Widely Used Hormone Disrupting Pesticide Putting Million at Risk, Including Infants and Children (AlterNet)                                                                                                  EPA tests repeatedly found atrazine – the second most used herbicide in the US – in drinking water sources that exceed levels of concern for infants and children.
  • USDA Sec. Vilsack advocates for mandatory, national GMO Labeling at OTA Policy Conference (Food Navigator)


GMOs/Cloning/Food Technology/Synthetic Biology/Nanotechnology

  • More Big Retailers Say ‘No’ to GMO Salmon (EcoWatch)                                                                                          After the Canadian approval of GMO salmon nearly 80 major food retailers have committed to not selling GMO salmon…
  • Organic Farmers Are Not Anti-Science but Genetic Engineers Often Are (Independent Science News)
  • Genetically modified Golden Rice falls short on lifesaving promises (Washington University St. Louis)
  • Bt Corn Raises Questions (The Progressive Farmer)                                                                                        Refuge-in-a-Bag Corn May Speed Up Bt Resistance
  • EPA Under Fire on Bt (The Progressive Farmer)                                                                                Inspector General Demands Better Control of Bt Resistance by EPA


  • Finally, Some Good News About The Future Of Bees (Huffington Post)                                                                            The solution for declining bee populations may be in the wild.
  • Honey Bees Are in Decline, but There’s Another, Unsung Bee Who Could Save the Plant’s Food Supply (AlterNet)                                                                                          Gentle, good-natured and hardworking, mason bees are more efficient pollinators than honey bees – and can help orchard growers and everyday gardeners get more from their plants.
  • How to raise and manage orchard mason bees for the home garden (University of North Carolina)
  • Can Planting More Milkweed Save Monarch Butterflies? It’s Complicated (NPR)
  • What you can do in your garden to help bees and butterflies (Toronto Globe and Mail)



  • Solved: The Mystery Of The Bearded Chickens (NPR)
    • Study: A Complex Structural Variation on Chromosome 27 Leads to the Ectopic Expression of HOXB* and the Muffs and Beard Phenotype in Chickens (PLOS)
  • Moose Are Invading Farm Fields (takepart)   In southern Canada, the unusual visitors have created new problems for drivers and growers.
  • Immune Booster (The Progressive Farmer)  As the cattle industry responds to consumer demand for less antibiotic use, a new tool for control of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) in young cattle is making its mark.