Jenny’s Food & Ag Update June 14, 2017


  • The Politics of Food: The More Things Stay the Same, the More They Change (Food First)
  • Organic foods backed by landmark report warning pesticides far more dangerous than was thought (The Telegraph)
  • Study reveals tremendous benefits of eating less meat (treehugger)
    • Study: Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change cobenefits of dietary change (Proceedings of the National academy of Sciences)
  • Tomatoes Hate Cucumbers: Secrets of Companion Planting + Popular Planting Combinations (The Homestead)
  • ABC News May Have to Pay Billions of Dollars Because of “Pink Slime” (Mother Jones)                                          But the food industry brought it on itself.
  • Eating on the Brink: How Food Could Prevent a Climate Disaster (Civil Eats)                                                                        To address climate change, we must talk about food.
  • We Know for Sure That Bread Is Unhealthy – for the Environment, at Least (AlterNet)        Scientists have uncovered the true cost of a loaf of bread, and the planet is paying a dear price.
  • Here’s a Rare Glimpse of the Local People Impacted by the Destruction of Indonesia’s Rainforests (AlterNet)
  • Farmers Union: Agitate, Organize, Educate, and Cooperate (National Farmers Union)
    • Our Chemical-Dependent, Profit-Driven, Industrial Age Complex is Not Going Quietly (In These Times)
  • World’s first commercial carbon sucking machine turns greenhouse gas into fertilizer (Nation of Change)
  • A Farm Journalist Tells Farmers What They’d Rather Not Hear About Climate Change (NPR)
  • Beyond organic: How regenerative farming can save us from global catastrophe (Nation of Change)
  • As Climate Change Threatens Food Supplies, Seed Saving is an Ancient Act of Resilience (Yes!)
  • Fractal planting patterns yield optimal harvests, without central control (Phys.ORG)                                              Bali’s famous rice terraces, when seen from above, look like colorful mosaics because some farmers plant synchronously, while other plant at different times. The resulting fractal patterns are rare for man-made systems and lead to optimal harvest without global planning.


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding & Production

  • How this ninth-generation Californian got his start in organic farming (LA Times)
  • California Farmers: How the State Feeds a Nation (LA Times)                                                                                              … There are other fascinating tidbits scattered through the report. For example, while there are plenty of large farmers in California – 8,700 earned more than $500,000 in 2012 – they are vastly outnumbered by smaller farms – a little more than 61,000 earned less than $100,000…
  • California Agricultural Production Statistics (California Department of Food and Agriculture)
  • Women Small-Holder Farmers, Key Drivers for Sustainable Production (Inter Press Service)
  • Farmers Face Uphill Battle in Right to Repair Tractors (Civil Eats)                                                                              Manufacturerers have out-lobbied and outspent equipment owners 28 – 1.
  • Can America’s Farms Survive the Threat of Deportations? (The Atlantic)                                                              In upstate New York, both workers and the farmers who employ them fear more aggressive immigration enforcement.
  • Desire for their labor, rejected as neighbors. Farmworkers in California face hostile communities (LA Times)
  • Trump’s rash departure from Paris agreement leaves farmers worse off (The Hill)


Food and Culture

  • Blackfeet Researcher Leads Her Tribe Back to Traditional Foods (Yes!)                                                                            Forced assimilation destroyed most nations’ diets, but now Native youth are learning to integrate local foods back into their daily lives.
  • 100 years after it disappeared, a giant Florida watermelon is brought back to life (Tampa Bay Times)
  • Thee Battle Over Kooks Burritos Led to Death Threats and International Outrage. We Invited Portland Chefs to Weigh In. (Willamette Week)                                                  The story about Kooks provided tinder for a cultural inferno.


Hunger, Food Access & Security, Obesity & Malnutrition

  • How Do We End ‘Food Apartheid’ in America? With Farms Like This One (AlterNet)                                            SoulFire Farm in upstate New York delivers fresh, nutritious food to poor communities.
  • Why Can’t America Solve the Hunger Problem? (Citylab)                                                                                            The new book Big Hunger: The Unholy Alliance Between Corporate America and Anti-Hunger Groups agues that food bans and pantries don’t chip away at underlying issues that keep people food-insecure.     
  • The Food Stamp Program Is An Overwhelming Success. That Might Also Be Its Downfall. (Huffington Post)
  • Alabama counties cut 85% of their food stamp participants with no work in sight (Daily Kos)
    • ‘I’ve got to make $15 stretch’: Food stamp cuts hit Alabama’s Black Belt hard (


  • Trump wants to start charging stores to accept food stamps (cnbc)
    • Donald Trump wants to charge retailers a fee for accepting food stamps as payment from the poor.
    • The food stamp fee would be reassessed every five years.
    • Budget office predicts $2.4 billion in new revenue from the fee, which is seen hurting independent grocers more than big chains.
    • Separately, the Trump administration is proposing $191 billion in cuts over the next decade to the food stamp program.
  • Why It Was Easier to Be Skinny in the 1980’s (The Atlantic)                                                                                       A new study finds that people today who eat and exercise the same amount as people 20 years ago are still fatter.
  • Study: Secular differences in the association between caloric intake, macronutrient intake, and physical activity with obesity (Obesity Research & Clinical Practice)


Gleaning, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • The Truth About Meal-Kit Freezer Packs (Mother Jones)                                                                                        They’re big. They’re filled with goo. And they’re rapidly accumulating in a landfill near you.                                                                                                     It’s not just the freezer-packs, every thing in that meal kit is wrapped in plastic, more to contaminate our environment and oceans…


Healthy/Safe Food

  • Organic foods backed by landmark report warning pesticides far more dangerous than was thought (The Telegraph)
    • Report: Human health implications of organic food and organic agriculture (European Parliament)
  • Scientists’ Study Sweetens Connection Between Cancer, Sugar (University of Texas at Dallas)
  • Chances Are, Your Soft Serve Ice Cream Is Filled With Funky Ingredients (Huffington Post)


Children & School Food

  • Press Release: Text To Find A Free Summer Meals Site Near You (No Kid Hungry)
    • Fresh California Fruits & Vegetables in summer meals for all kids. Now. (summer meals)
  • Delivering Summer Meals to Rural, Low-Income Kids with Retired School Buses (Civil Eats)                    The Lunch Express, a project from the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee, aims to feed kids and families during summer break in a region where on in four children lives at or below the poverty line.
  • A startup for millennial parents is banking on a $55 billion food opportunity no one talks about (Business Insider)                                                                                          Meal delivery service for baby…
  • Two East Bay schools, with chef Alice Waters’ help, commit to serving all organic meals next year (East Bay Express)



  • DA: East Bay buffet owners stole $6.5 million, forced workers to live in racially segregated dorms (East Bay Times)
  • ‘I just don’t call out sick anymore at all’: New report says Walmart punishes employees for taking sick days (Business Insider)
  • Walmart is asking employees to deliver packages on their way home from work (SF Gate)
  • ‘An Idea Whose Time Has Come’: Lawmakers Roll Out Plan to Expand Worker Ownership (Common Dreams)                                                                                    ‘Giving workers a seat at the table and their fair share of the profits they help produce is one way to even up the playing field and give hardworking Americans a chance to create an economy that works for everyone’



  • Veteran Organizer Gives Inside Look at the First $15 minimum Wage Campaign (In These Times)                 The Fight for $15 and Trump resistance movement are teaming up “for a world where working for one of the riches corporations means you’ll never wind up homeless.”
  • Massive March on McDonald’s Take On “Donald Trump of Corporations” (Common Dreams)                   The Fight for $15 and Trump resist
  • Wendy’s Board Chairman and billionaire investor Nelson Peltz to rabbis: “I have plenty of rabbis in my life… “ (Coalition of Immokalee Workers)



  • Wild Bees Can Help Honey Bees – How Your Yard Can Supoort Them (Yes!)
  • How Grizzlies, Monarchs and Even Fish Can Benefit From US Highways (ensina)                                            Roads often present perils for wildlife – but with good planning, they can benefit animals instead.



  • Resistance to last-ditch antibiotic has spread farther than anticipated (nature)                Emergence of colistin resistance in farm animals around the world takes researchers by surprise.                                                                               We have know this is coming since the early 1970s, where is the surprise?
  • With New Leadership on the Way, Public Health Experts Demand WHO Take on Factory Farms (Common Dreams)                                                                                          “The harms caused by large-scale, industrial animal farming are global in nature and felt beyond those who consume meat, dairy, and eggs,’ states a new open letter


Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Despite Many Challenges, Grassfed Beef Could Go Mainstream (Civil Eats)                                                                    The first in-depth analysis of the industry found the niche market has the potential to scale up to compete with conventional beef.
  • Report: Back To Grass: The Market Potential For US Grassfed Beef (Stone Barns Center)
  • Behind a corporate monster: How Monsanto pushes agricultural domination (Green Left Weekly)
  • The Astounding Size of the Marijuana Economy Dwarfs 10 of America’s Most Popular Food and Drink Staples (AlterNet)
  • Backers of Honduran dam opposed by murdered activist withdraw funding (The Guardian)
  • After Coal, a Small Kentucky Town Builds a Healthier, More Creative Economy (Yes!)                            Catering, farmers market, farmacy program, commercial kitchen, commercially packaged food products, maple syrup…
  • A report that analyzed every minimum-wage hike since 1938 should put a bunch of nonsense ideas to rest (Business Insider)
    • Report: Raise Wages, Kill Jobs? Seven Decades of Historical Data Find No correlation Between Minimum Wage Increases and Employment Levels (National Employment Law Project)
  • Earn minimum wage in the US? You can afford to live in exactly 12 counties (The Guardian)


Food Fraud/Scandals/Weird

  • The Deceptive Art of Food Fraud (The Atlantic)                                                                                  The long history of fake foods includes horse-meat hamburgers, oil-and dust-peppercorns, and corn-syrup honey.
  • How millions of cartons of ‘organic’ milk contain an oil brewed in industrial vats of algae (The Washington Post)                                                              Schizochytrium algae is fed corn syrup…
  • DHA in ‘Organic’ Milk comes from Algae Fed Corn Syrup (The Cornucopia Institute)
  • Wisconsin Corn Mill Explosion Leaves At Least 1 Dead, 11 Injured (Huffington Post)


Water & Our Oceans

  • Michigan Health Chie Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter For Role In Flint Water Crisis (Huffington Post)
  • The black-woman-owned business is trying to bring Flint clean water once and for all (mic)
  • Over resident opposition, Trump administration approves Atlantic blasting (ThinkProgress)            Seismic testing is strongly opposed along the Eastern Seaboard.
  • In The Fishing Industry, Gear Recycling is Finally Catching On (ensia)                                                                             Old fishing nets clutter harbors and kill sea life. But entrepreneurs are changing that.
  • Hundreds of Dead Seabirds, Sea Lions Wash Up In Southern California (Huffington Post)                                The likely culprit is a toxic algal bloom, fueled by warmer ocean temperatures.
  • In the Depths of the Oceans, Human Activities are Beginning to Take Their Toll (ensia)                                         Once seen as too remote to harm, the deep sea is facing new pressures from mining, pollution, overfishing and more.


Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

  • USDA Announces Farm to School Grant Awards – California among top recipients (CDFA)
  • There’s a New Way to Make Walmart Pay For The Food Stamps Employees Rely On (The Intercept)
    • Release: Rep. Khanna Introduces the Corporate Responsibility and Taxpayer Protection Act (
    • Report: Walmart Workers Cost Taxpayers $6.2 Billion In Public Assistance (2012) (Forbes)
    • Report: The High Public Cost of Low Wages (UC Berkeley Labor Center)
  • Trump Budget Enables Sales of America’s Wild Horses to Foreign Slaughter: Here Are 5 Better Ideas (AlterNet)                                                                                            From ecotourist attractions to border patrol mounts, wild horses are far more valuable alive than dead.
  • The EPA’s Inspector General Is Probing Whether An Agency Staffer Colluded With Monsanto (Huffington Post)                                                                                          The investigation comes in response to documents released in a court case of whether the herbicide glyphosate causes cancer.
  • How Chicken Farmers are Getting Clucked in a Supermarket Near You (In These Times)
  • Stand Up for Family Farmers – Pass the Farmer Fair Practices Rules (National Farmers Union)
  • Ontario becomes 2nd province to go ahead with $15 an hour minimum wage (Canadian Broadcasting Corp.)


GMOs/Cloning/Food Technology/Synthetic Biology/Nanotechnology



  • Roundup revealed: Glyphosate in our food system (Nation of Change)                                                                American regulators are dismissing key scientific data and continuing to raise the allowable limits for glyphosate residue in food.
  • What We Know About Chlorpyrifos, The Pesticide The EPA Thinks Is Bad But Won’t Ban (Forbes)
  • Iowa’s oak trees are sick, and some say farm chemicals are to blame (The Des Moines Register)             … There’s not much you can do about it, unless herbicide applied to corn and soybean fields is stopped, according to a DNR district forester.



  • Peasant Agroecology Schools and Peasant-to-Peasant Method of Horizontal Learning (Via Campesina)



  • Slow Food Nations, Denver Colorado                                                           July 14 – 16, 2017                                                       
  • National Heirloom Exposition, 7th Annual                                       September 5 – September 7, 2017, 9am – 9pm                         Sonoma County Event Center at the Fairgrounds                               1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa, California 95404



  • The Agroecology of Urban Farming: An Intensive Short Course (The Cooperative New School for Urban Studies and Environmental Justice)