Jenny’s Food & Ag Update July 21, 2017


  • You’ll Be Shocked to Lean We Have Good News About Food (Mother Jones)                                                           On pesticides, farm animals, and Michelle Obama’s legacy, no less.
  • Eating Local – More than Ever – Is a Political Act (Civil Eats)                                                                                              The Independence Day, a reflection on how eating might become a deeper, more powerful source of communal strength in a political moment when we most need it.
  • Bronx co-op building gets an elegant, High Line inspired green roof (Curbed New York)                                      The 30,000 square food garden features winding paths, a gazebo, and more
  • Your Chocolate Might Have Survived This Fungus in Ecuador (Yes!)                                                                          Half of all cacao grown in Ecuador is ruined by disease called frosty pod rot. But farmers, exporters, and chocolate-makers are finding sustainable ways to combat it.
  • The chocolate milk survey revealed our ignorance of science, but not in the way you think (The Point)


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding & Production

  • Rise of mega farms: how the US model of intensive farming is invading the world (The Guardian)        Demand for cheaper food and lower production costs is turning greed fields into industrial sheds to process vast amounts of meat an poultry
  • UK has nearly 800 livestock mega farms, investigation reveals (The Guardian)                                                      US-style intensive factory farming of poultry, pigs and cattle is sweeping across the British countryside – raising concerns over animal cruelty
  • Nonprofit Helps California’s Asian-American Farmers Grow Their Businesses (NPR)
  • The One Thing My Farm Training Never Covered: Racism (National Young Farmers Coalition)
  • America’s Farmers Turn to Bank of John Deere (The Wall Street Journal)                                                          With banks more tentative, machinery maker raises financing to growers, keeping them as customers but feeding menacing debt
  • California Heat Wave Kills Thousands of Cattle and Overwhelms Dairy Industry (
  • Ward County (NR) Commissioners ask to halt cloud seeding following farmer criticism (KFYR TV)
  • This shipping-container farm could someday solve the food desert problem (Washington Post)
  • A former USDA inspector writes a thriller about the dark world of dairy cattle slaughter (New Food Economy)  It’s not always a pretty business.


Food and Culture

  • Decolonising Food Systems and Sowing Seeds of Resistance (African Center for Biodiversity)
  • Can Taro Farming Heal Hawaii? (Civil Eats)  A Maui farmer is reconnecting the health of the land to the health of his people.
  • A thriving food culture is making Viroqua (WI) the place to be (Le Crosse Tribune)
  • Edible Doom And Gloom: LA’s Most Expensive New Restaurant Wants to Depress You for Dinner (The Hollywood Reporter)


Hunger, Food Access & Security, Obesity & Malnutrition

  • Bride Throws Party For The Homeless After Canceling $30,000 Wedding (Huffington Post)
  • SNAP Works (Huffington Post)                    Access to food stamps in childhood has long-lasting education and health benefits.


Gleaning, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • Urban Gleaning Grows Up (Civil Eats)        From branch-sensing technology and drones to supporting refugees, the urban gleaning movement is ripe with innovation.
  • Wasted food could feed a healthy diet to two-thirds of Americans (The New Food Economy)
  • Is It Really So Offal? ‘Ugly Food’ Boot Camp Entices Chefs And Diners (NPR)
  • Good Lord, The World Is Using Almost 500 Billion Plastic Water Bottles A Year (Fast Company)                      We’ll hit 580 billion by 2021
  • Plastic pollution risks ‘near permanent contamination of natural environment’ (The Guardian)                      First global analysis of all mass-produced plastics has found humans have produced 8.3bn tonnes since 1950s with the majority ending up on landfill or oceans


Healthy/Safe Food

  • The Kings of ‘Rotten Eggs’ Are Going to Jail (AlterNet)                                                                                          Jack and Peter DeCoster, the former heads of Quality Egg Co., were finally punished for their role in a Salmonella outbreak.
  • Egg mogul Jack DeCoster sickened 56,000 people. He’ll serve just three months in prison (The New Food Economy)
  • ‘We’re Losing More People to the Sweets than to the Streets’: Why Two Black Pastors are Suing Coca-Cola (The Washington Post)
  • (Un)Happy Macaroni and Cheese Day: Toxic Chemicals Discovered in 10 Varieties of Macaroni and Cheese Powders (Environmental Health Strategy Center)


Children & School Food

  • Check Out These Apps That Help Kids Find Free Meals in the Summer (modern farmer)



  • Monsanto’s Foes Are Branching Out (Bloomberg BNA)
    • Monsanto Just Got Hit With a Lawsuit It Didn’t See Coming (Mother Jones)                                              Migrant workers say they weren’t paid minimum wage for their work in the company’s fields.
  • Work sick or lose pay? (Economic Policy Institute)                                                                                            The high cost of being sick when you don’t get paid sick days
  • Chinese Laborers Built Sonoma’s Wineries. Racist Neighbors Drove Them Out (NPR)
  • San Francisco chefs leaving for rural areas in search of work-life balance (SF Chronicle)



  • The global struggle of the local peasant (AlJazeera)                                                                                              Free trade agreements scripted by powerful governments and corporations destroy rural areas. Peasants will resist them!
  • Poverty Wages, Deportations, Wage Theft, Cockroaches: Farmworkers Demand Dignity From Ben & Jerry’s (Truthout)



  • field tested: Neonics are really, truly bad for bees (Pesticide Action Network)
    • Pesticides Are Harming Bees – But Not Everywhere, Major New Study Shows (NPR)
    • Country-specific effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on honey bees and wild bees (Science)



  • An unlikely alternative to antibiotics: cayenne, sage, and cinnamon (The New Food Economy)
    • The Meat Industry Refuses to Track Drugs on America’s Farms – and It’s making Superbugs Worse (Mother Jones)                                                                          Alternatives to antibiotics exist, but farmers have no way to know when to use them.
  • This Beef Farmer Had a Change o Heart and Sent His Cows to a Sanctuary (AlterNet)                                                More than 60 cows will now get to live out their natural lives in peace.


Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • (Australian) Wholesalers on notice as grower group demands more transparency and fair pricing for farmers (ABC News AU)
  • ‘The Restaurant Of Order Mistakes’ Hires People With Dementia So Every Order Is A Surprise (Diply)
  • Big Food Snaps Up More Independents (Good Food World)                                                                                            Today it was announced the Campbell’s will buy Pacific Foods, producer of organic and natural soups and broths, plant-based milks, and more. Last week, Hain Celestial snapped up Better Bean Company…
  • If Ben & Jerry’s Is Progressive, Why Won’t It Protect Its Farmworkers? (In These Times)        Remember, Ben & Jerry’s has been owned by Unilever since 2000
  • 1984 at the Grocery Store (Other Words)    Amazon is buying Whole Foods, and that’s bad news for humans
  • Why Whole Foods’ Small Suppliers Think Amazon Will Be Good For Them (NPR)                                                            The small companies that gave Whole Foods its local-food image are relieved to see Amazon taking over. But their hope may collide with the online retailer’s cost-cutting tactics.
  • Shoppers benefit from fierce Albany/North Berkeley grocery competition (East Bay Times)      New Albany (CA) Sprouts triggers ‘food fight,’ lower prices
  • Egg prices are at a record low, and nobody’s buying cage-free (The New Food Economy)
  • Impossible Foods CEO: we want to eliminate all meat from human diets (The Guardian)                                We can produce the food that people crave without using livestock, pledges Pat Brown founder of the ‘veggie burger that bleeds’
  • Detroit’s Underground Economy: Where Capitalism Fails, Alternatives Take Root (In These Times)    Over decades of poverty, Detroiters have fostered a resilient informal economy based on trust.
  • Monopoly Capitalism in Action: How Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods Could Affect Us All (Truthout)
    • Amazon’s Brave New Future: A Whole Foods where cheaper groceries come at a cost (Salon)
  • What happened when Walmart left (The Guardian)                                                                                              In West Virginia, the people of McDowell County can’t get jobs, and recently lost their biggest employer – the local Walmart store. They describe the devastating loss of jobs, community and access to fresh food


Food Fraud/Scandals/Weird

  • Impostor Imports (The Cornucopia Institute)                                                                                                To understand how the surge of organic imports is affecting organic farmers in the United States, one only has to talk to farmers…
  • Preference Or Prejudice? Central Europeans Ask Why They Get Cheaper Ingredients (NPR)


Water & Our Oceans

  • A New Zealand River Has Human Rights. Now Will Modern Law Come to Its Senses? (Yes!)
    • Ganges and Yamuna rivers granted same legal rights as human beings (The Guardian)                          Indian court cites the Whanganui in New Zealand as example for according status to two rivers considered sacred
  • Native Americans sue frackers over manmade earthquakes in Oklahoma (Nation of Change)                                  “If an earthquake comes through here and destroys the buildings, we can rebuild,. But if you pollute our water, we’re done.”
  • As Pruitt Guts Water Rules, EPA Will Allow Fracking Waste Dumping in the Gulf of Mexico (Truthout)
  • Global use of wastewater to irrigate agriculture at least 50 percent greater than thought (Science Daily)
  • ‘People Power Defeating Corporate Power’”: Atlantic City Says People Have Say Over Their Water (Common Dreams)                                                                                                “A ringing endorsement of the work done by community members to save their water system from a corporate takeover.”
  • Why Coastal Tribes Are Growing Clam Gardens That Look Like Asian Rice Fields (Yes!)
  • The First Offshore Shellfish Ranch Opens in the US, on the LA County Coastline (LA Weekly)
    • Catalina Sea Ranch                                                First offshore shellfish ranch in US Federal Waters
  • Restaurants Are Returning Their Empty Oyster Shells To The Ocean To Rebuild Decimated Reefs (Fast Company)                                                                                               A partnership between a nonprofit and waste-management company in Mobile, Alabama has already diverted 2.8 million oyster shells from landfill.
  • Seven right whales found dead in ‘devastating’ blow to endangered animal (The Guardian)
  • Fish Farming Is So Filthy That Salmon Are Getting Lice (AlterNet)                                                                                                    A study published in 2015 noted that factory-farmed salmon become “so depressed they give up on life.”
  • Salmon (farmed) retail prices set to leap owing to infestation of sea lice (The Guardian)                                  Wholesale cost rose 50% in 2016 as fish farmers from Scotland to Norway and Chile tried to tackle parasite problem
  • Study: Fish on Factory Farms So Stressed and Depressed They “Give Up On Life” (Mercy For Animals)


Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

  • New Rules Against Animal Cruelty Raise The Stake For India’s Beef Wars (NPR)
  • EPA – Approved Dicamba Is an Airborne Menace and Some States Are Banning It (modern farmer)
  • Trump Administration Gives Industry More Time to Adopt New Nutrition Fact Label (NPR)
  • “Why the hell am I paying more for this?” Major egg operations houses “USDA Organic” hens at three per square foot (The Washington Post)
  • The USDA is Helping Industrial Hydroponics Water Down the Definition of Organic Farming (In These Times)
  • (California) Farmers seek help from Sen. Kamala Harris. What did they want most? Hint: Starts with ‘w’ (Fresno Bee)                                                                                  Agricultural leaders and farmers pressed their case for a reliable water supply, immigration reform and their fair share of the Farm Bill during a roundtable discussion with Sen. Kamala Harris…
  • (California) State Seizes Farina’s Liquor License To Recover $274K In Unpaid Taxes (hoodline)
  • Republicans in several states are lowering the minimum wage – yes, you read that right (Salon)                              With the political world focused on the health care battle, Republicans in at least four (Missouri, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine) seek to cut wages
  • Missouri Republicans Lower St. Louis Minimum Wage From $10 to $7.70 (Huffington Post) and St. Louise minimum wage will drop from $10 to $7.70 (CNN)
    • Missouri’s governor says raising the minimum wage will take money out of peoples pockets’ – so he’s lowering it (Business Insider)
    • Why the Minim Wage in St. Louise Is Going… Down (Governing the State and Localities)
  • Maine’s new food sovereignty law put local control over local foods (Bangor Daily News)
    • Maine’s new food sovereignty law means neighbors can sell each other raw milk (The New Food Economy)
  • Monsanto’s Glyphosate to Be Listed on California’s Cancer-Causing Substances List (Care2)                      It is a victory for environmental and health activists everywhere: glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and other pesticide products, will officially be on California’s list of cancer-causing substances beginning July 7…
  • Minneapolis Just Adopted a $15 Minimum Wage in a Landslide Vote (AlterNet)                                                        City council members credit the hard work of grassroots labor organizations.


GMOs/Cloning/Food Technology/Synthetic Biology/Nanotechnology

  • Flacking for GMOs: How the Biotech Industry Cultivates Positive Media – and Discourages Criticism (The Progressive)
  • This Documentary Wants to Teach People About GMOs, But Experts Call It Propaganda (Munchies)        Marion Nestle’s response? “At this point, I think the less said about this film, the better.”
  • “Food Evolution”: Propaganda for Public Support of GMOs (Food First)
  • Food Politics: This Blog No Longer Accepts Comments, Thanks to GMO Trolls (EcoWatch)
  • Have the ‘Food Evolution’ Fimmakers Mistreated Moms? (AlterNet)                                                                    The documentary negatively portrays the entire organic food movement.



  • Organic food backed by landmark report warning pesticides far more dangerous than was thought (Telegraph UK)                                                                                            Who ever thought that eating neurotoxins was safe, or petrochemicals?
  • Arkansas just banned the weedkiller that damaged hundreds of farmers’ crops this year (grist)
    • Worry over dicamba grips Arkansas farmers (Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette)
    • Farmers Say This Weedkiller Is Also Killing Their Soybean Plants (Mother Jones)                            Hundreds of complaints led to the Arkansas Plant Board to vote for a temporary ban on dicamba.
  • How hard is it to find products with these toxic chemicals? Shockingly easy. (Environmental Defense Fund)



  • NOFA Summer Conference                                                                       August 11 – 13, 2017                                                                               Hampshire College                                                                                       Amherst, MA                                       


  • Using Gardens to Build Community: Summer Institute For Educators                                                                                                             August 15, 2017                                                                                 Poughkeepsie Farm Project 51                                                     Pughkeepsie, NY                                   
  • Yale Food Systems Symposium                                                           September 29 – 30, 2017                                                                                   Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies                               New Haven, CT                                   
  • Undoing Racism In The Food System                                                   October 9 – 12, 2017                                                                                           Soul Fire Farm                                                                                             Petersburg, NY                               


  • NESAWG It Takes A Region Conference                                       November 9 – 11, 2017                                                                                     Lord Baltimore Hotel                                                                                   Baltimore, MD                                       
  • Community Food Systems Conference                                       December 5 – 7, 2017                                                                                     Boston Park Plaza Hotel                                                                                 Boston, MA