Jenny’s Food & Ag Update August 23, 2016

  • Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) farm wins 2016 Farm Family of the Year (Hastings Star Gazette)                                                                                        HAFA Farm, a 155-acre research and incubator farm in Vermillion township, is being honored as a 2016 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota.
  • Here’s What the World’s Top Chefs Are Making at the Olympics (Mother Jones)                                    Mouthwatering food makes its way to a lively neighborhood in Rio.
  • Here’s One Big Reason to Avoid Avocado Toast (Grub Street)
    • How Your Guacamole May be Killing Butterflies in Mexico (AlterNet)                                                                                                                   In the mountains of Michoacan, farmers have illegally destroyed swathes of forest to make room for lucrative avocado farms.
  • Why the African American museum’s food focus will go beyond soul (The Washington Post)
  • Naomi Starkman Doesn’t Think We Can Disrupt the Human Nature of Food (Edible Manhattan)              … we need to be more thoughtful about the food – and ag-tech we actually need.
  • Trump announces farm and rural advisory team (AgriPulse)                                                                                                It’s all about big ag…
  • Farmer Olympics in Petaluma: From compost shoveling to watermelon tossing (The Press Democrat)
  • Mexico’s Zapatista Movement May Offer Solutions to Neoliberal Threat to Global Food Security (truthdig)


Hunger, Food Access & Insecurity, Obesity & Malnutrition

  • Welfare Reform is 20 Years Old and It’s Worse Than You Can Imagine (Mother Jones)
  • Why This Food Bank is Turning Away Junk Food (Civil Eats)                                                                                            D.C.’s Capital Area Food Bank will no longer accept candy, soda, or sheet cake beginning September 1st.
  • Some Online Grocery Companies Are About to Start Taking ‘Food Stamps’ (Civil Eats)                                                      This spring, the USDA is expected to launch a pilot that will allow a limited number of internet food delivery services to start accepting SNAP payments.
  • US Soldiers Are Relying on Millions of Dollars in Food Stamps to Survive (truthout)


Gleaning, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste


Healthy/Safe Food

  • Americans Are Gorging on Meat in Amounts Not Seen in Decades (AlterNet)
    • Americans Are Eating More Meat, But Not For The Reasons You Might Think (Huffington Post)          Experts say an oversupply of chicken, not increased demand, is to blame.



  • Why You Should Treat Your Employees Like Your Most Loyal Customers (Fast Company)
  • Famous Restaurant Chain (Darden) Busted in Elaborate Scam to Rip Off Workers (US Uncut)
    • Why Your Employer Really Wants To Pay You With A Prepaid Debit Card (Business Insider)
  • Convention For The 64 Million Americans Paid Less Than $15/Hour (Huffington Post)
    • Minimum Wage Activists Turn Their Focus To The South (Buzz Feed)                        The Fight for 15 movement says it will push to raise the minimum wage in the states and cities of the “former Confederacy.”
  • McDonalds Could Be Held Liable For Franchise Wage Theft, Federal Judge Rules (The District Sentinel New Co-op)
  • Fruits of labor: sunny California is no paradise for farm workers (The Guardian)                                                                The bucolic fields of southern California entice many families for a ‘pick your own’ day out, but it’s a very different reality for those working under the sun
  • A Business Owner’s Legal Guide To Cooperative Conversion (SELC, Co-Op Law)                                             Including conversion models, case studies, and sample documents


Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • US Importers Bought About 44,900 Tons organic Corn From Romania (Successful Farming)
  • How the Corporate Food Industry Is Taking Desperate Steps to Fight Animal Reforms (AlterNet)                      The worst offenders claim factory farming is “green.”
  • Syngenta shares jump after US clears ChemChina deal (BBC News)                                                                        Shares in Swiss agribusiness group Syngenta have risen 12% after its takeover by ChemChina was given the go-ahead by the US regulator.
  • Disputed Coca-Cola Plant Shut Down in India: Deteriorating Groundwater Conditions Lead to Closure (India Resource Center)                                                                            Over exploited ground water, denying the community and farmers their right to water, ground water contamination…
  • Healthy Snack Invented on Indian Reservation Now Faces Stiff Corporate Competition (AlterNet)
  • High-tech quinoa bowl restaurant Eatsa opens near campus (The Daily Californian, University of California)
  • Companies Could Make Money By Helping Consumers Go Green (University of Washington Conservation Magazine)
    • Study: Online purchasing creates opportunities to lower the life cycle carbon footprints of consumer products (Proceedings of the nation Academy of Sciences of the United States of America)
  • Food Advertising Can Change Brain Activity in Kids (takepart)                                                                                  Businesses spend $2 billion a year marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.



  • 350,000 People Call on Gov. Brown to Stop Irrigating Crops With Oil Wastewater (EcoWatch)
  • Strategize, organize… Take Action! Wendy’s Boycott Summit to set the stage for huge 2016-17 season ahead (CIW)


Food Fraud/Scandals

  • Is that food fake or real? One man wants to help us learn how to tell the difference. (Boston Globe)


Water & Our Oceans

  • Yellowstone fish deaths: 183 miles of river closed to halt spread of parasite (The Guardian)
  • Tap Water Is Clearly Better Than Bottled Water – Here’s Why (AlterNet)                                                              Americans spend $12 billion on bottled water each year when they could be drinking from the tap for free.
  • Indiana Lawmaker: East Chicago Lead Problem Mirrors Flint Crisis (CBS Chicago)                                          Ban on all fishing, rafting and other river activities in the US river will remain until fish stop dying, say officials
  • This Region Is Twice Flint’s Size – And Its Water Is Also Poisoned (Mother Jones)                                              California’s agriculture boom means nitrate-tainted water for a least 212,000 people.
  • Economic Analysis of the 2016 California Drought for Agriculture (UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences)
    • Why the heck isn’t drought-stricken California measuring water? (grist)
    • How Nestlé Gets Away With Pumping California’s Water for Next to Nothing (Los Angeles Magazine)      The company pulls millions of gallons from a nearby creek – while paying an annual fee that’s lower than some gym memberships
  • When in drought: the California farmers who don’t water their crops (The Guardian)
  • Vote of a lifetime: Alaskan town decides whether to stay or go in face of climate change (Reveal)
  • Your Favorite Fish Could Be In Danger Of Being Overeaten (Huffington Post)                                                     “If you want to see tuna around for your children, you should probably stop eating so much of it.”
  • All Caviar Is Expensive – but It’s Not All Sustainable (takepart)                                                                                                  The wild beluga sturgeon is endangered, but US aquaculture provides delicious alternatives.


Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

  • The world is getting better at paid maternity leave. The US is not. (SunSentinel)
  • Subsidizing Waste: How Inefficient US Farming Policy Costs Taxpayers, Businesses, and Farmers Billions (Union of Concerned Scientists)
  • EPA scolded for failing to turn in its very important ethanol homework (grist)
    • Cashing in on Cellulosic Ethanol: Subsidy Loophole Set to Rescue Corn Biofuel Profits (Independent Science News)
  • The Nightmare Continues: California’s Broken Child Care Subsidies System (truthout)
  • When a City Passes a Soda Tax, Who Pays? (takepart)                                                                                            Taxes are levied against beverage distributors – but if the costs aren’t passed along to consumers, the policies don’t work.


GMOs/Cloning/Food Technology/Synthetic Biology/Nanotechnology

  • UC Davis Sued for Failing to Release Public Records on GMOs and Pesticides (EcoWatch)
  • How the GE Food Venture Has Been Chronically Dependent on Deception (Independent Science News)
  • Millions Spent, No One Served: Who Is To Blame for the Failure of GMO Golden Rice? (Independent Science News)



  • Monsanto Just Made a Massive Mistake (Mother Jones)                                                                                                One of its weed killers (dicamba) seems to be wiping out valuable crops, too. Ooops.
  • Souped-Up Weedkilling Robot Could Make Monsanto’s Toxic Herbicides Obsolete (March Against Monsanto)
  • Methyl Bromide Is Out. What’s Next For California’s Strawberry Industry? (UC Food Observer)
  • Holding Monsanto Accountable for Growing Public Outcry Over the Danger of Glyphosate (EcoWatch)



  • Cottoning On To The Importance Of Pollinators (University of Washington Conservation Magazine)
  • Controversial Pesticides Threaten Not Just Bees, But Butterflies, Too (University of Washington Conservation Magazine)
    • Study: Increasing neonicotinoid use and declining butterfly fauna of lowland California (The Royal Society Publishing)



  • Britain’s wildlife ‘crisis’ with more than 120 species at risk of extinction due to intensive farming (The Telegraph)
  • Animal intelligence has been widely underestimated, says primatologist Frans de Waal (The Washington Post)
  • Here’s Proof That the Humane Treatment of Farm Animals Is Now a Mainstream Issue (AlterNet)              Less than a decade ago, not one of the nation’s major newspapers opposed the cruel confinement of animals on factory farms. Today, virtually all of them do.
  • Save the Chicken (Slate)                                    A few decades ago, no one cared abut chicken welfare. Now all our eggs are about to be cage-free. Why?