Jenny’s Food & Ag Update August 12, 2017


  • “Our idea of food sovereignty is based on a framework of solidarity and support for each other – not hatred” (La Via Campesina)
  • FoodShare’s Sunshine garden grows nourishment for the soul (The Toronto Star)                                            Garden at CAMH’s Queen St. location gives patients, volunteers a “magical” place to be themselves while building employment and social skills.
  • The future of urban agriculture is up in the air! The means urban ag policy has to be more grounded! (Medium)
  • The Mad Cheese Scientists Fighting to Save the Dairy Industry (Bloomberg)                                              Amid an historic glut, a secretive, government-sponsored entity is putting cheese anywhere it` can stuff it.
  • White Lady From Hell Moves to Harlem, Immediately Goes to War Against Ice Cream (Fusion)
  • ‘Allergic’ diners driving chefs crazy with picky demands (The Daily Telegraph AU)
  • San Franciscans have been making avocado toast for more than 130 years (SF Chronicle)
  • Real-Life Plague of Katydids Hits the American West (modern farmer)                                                                                 A mysterious plague of insects has hit the American West in insane concentrations – up to 70 bugs per square meter. Where do they come from?
  • Can San Jose Revitalize Local Food and Farms in Silicon Valley? (Civil Eats)                                                                    Amidst scarce housing and vanishing farmland, a new report charts a course for better co-existence for tech and ag by 2040.
  • How a California dairy farmer beat Tesla to the electric truck (New Food Economy)


Farming, Farmers, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • Farmland owned by foreign interests on the rise (Center for Rural Affairs)
    • Foreign Investors Are Snapping Up US Farms (Mother Jones)                                                                          American farmland is becoming popular with overseas investors – and that’s making people nervous.
  • Can San Jose Revitalize Local Food and Farms in Silicon Valley? (Civil Eats)                                                                  Amidst scarce housing and vanishing farmland, a new report charts a course for better co-existence for tech and ag by 2040.                           The Valley of Heart’s Delight, the Santa Clara Valley, was the largest producer of stone fruit in the world in the 1960s. I remember as a child running through orchards eating apricots, cherries and plums, varietals we rarely see now…
  • New research: synthetic nitrogen destroys soil carbon, undermines soil health (grist)                          Old article, but worth the reminder…
  • Farmers’ estimates of herbicide (dicamba) damage top 120,000 acres (Arkansas Online)

Food and Culture

  • Decolonize Your Diet (Yes!)                                    Love your Mexican food? Traditional indigenous food from Mexico is misunderstood in the US – and is actually among the world’s healthiest.
  • “six days a week, and sometimes seven” The Strength & Entrepreneurship Of An Elderly Woman (Edge of Humanity Magazine)


Hunger, Food Access & Security, Obesity & Malnutrition

  • Four Charts That Show Who Loses Out if the White House Cuts Food Stamps (The Conversation)


Healthy/Food Safety

  • How the Food and Drug Companies Ensure That We Get Sick and They Make Money (AlterNet)          Despicable: Corporate Profits at the Expense of Our Health
  • Why You Should Think Twice Before Getting Ground Beef From the Supermarket (Huffington Post)


Food Fraud/Scandals/Weird

  • McDonald’s Worker Posts Vomit Worthy Photos Of An Ice Cream Machine (Huffington Post)
  • Louisiana man found guilty of using fake farms to steal $1.6 million form USDA (New Food Economy)



  • Another year of congressional inaction has further eroded the federal minimum wage (Economic Policy Institute)
  • The women confronting California’s farm conditions (High Country News)                                                  Female farmworkers face sexual assault, pesticide exposure and low wages.
  • While regulators debate pesticide safety, California farmworkers keep getting sick (The New Food Economy)
  • As California’s labor shortage grows, farmers race to replace workers with robots (LA Times)
  • Help wanted in the vineyards (New Food Economy)                                                                                            The nation’s harsh debate over immigration is reducing the labor supply in America’s vineyards. A drop in production could cost small wine making communities thousands of jobs and billions of dollars.
  • Monsanto Faces Class Action Suit Over Allegedly Violating Two Federal Labor Laws (EcoWatch)
  • Long Island beer distributor strike ends, workers to keep pensions (New Food Economy)
  • The Shocking, Unmatched Pain That Wal-Mart Took to Avoid Unions (AlterNet)                                                      Wal-Mart managers were supposed to contact corporate headquarters the moment they sniffed even a hint of union activity to get support in quashing labor reform.



  • Pittsburgh officials may have to ‘deflect’ attention from lead-contaminated water (The Guardian)
  • No water for poor people: the nine Americans who risked jail to seek justice (The Guardian)                                  To live without water means no bathe time for your kids, no cooking and no useable toilets. As the city of Detroit cut water to 83,000 homes since 2014, nine activists put their bodies on the line to protest.



  • Nesting aids make agricultural fields attractive for bees (University of Würzburg)



  • A Eat Here: Ewe Gotta Eat Here: Flock of sheep make lunch out of Montreal parks (The Star)                                Six ewes and four lambs were carefully herded along the sidewalk from one park to another to fulfill their jobs as eco-friendly lawn mowers.
  • Study: antibiotic use in India’s chicken industry is a looming disaster (Food & Environmental Reporting Network)
    • Study: The Prevalence of Extended-Spectrum Beta Lactamase-Producing Multidrug-Resistance Escherichia coli in Poultry Chickens and Variation According to Farming Practices in Punjab, India (Environmental Health Perspectives)
  • Don’t Worry About New Alabama Mad Cow, Ways CDC, but Fact Suggest Otherwise (AlterNet)        Government agencies protect big agriculture at the expense of our health.
  • Four Out of Five Americans Want Factory Farm Abuses to End: Here’s How You Can Help (AlterNet)        The majority of consumers are happy to pay more if it will help reduce animal suffering.


Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Campbell’s to GMA: No Soup for You (Supermarket News)                                                                                                … (Campbell’s will) withdraw its membership from the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) at the end of the calendar year…
  • Court Rules Against General Mills Motion to dismiss in ‘100% Natural’ Lawsuit (AlterNet)                                The DC Superior Court says it’s reasonable consumers wouldn’t consider Nature Valley granola bars that contain glyphosate “natural.”
  • Pepsico, Unilever and Nestlé accused of complicity in illegal rainforest destruction (The Guardian)      Palm oil plantations on illegally deforested land in Sumatra – home to elephants, orangutans and tigers – have allegedly been used to supply scores of household brands, says new report
  • Amazon-Whole Foods Could Transform US Farming (Medium)                                                                                                And food stamps will help them do it.
  • What’s on the table at Amazon’s secret meeting with cattle ranchers? (New Food Economy)
  • Organic ranchers eye Amazon distribution ahead of Whole Foods deal (Reuters)                                                            If Amazon’s grass-fed supply chain ends up being as off-limits as its data centers, that won’t be an encouraging sign for the future of agriculture.
  • Report: Back To Grass: The Market Potential For US Grassfed Beef (Stone Barns Center)
  • Corporate Agricultural Dumping: Growing the Wealth Gap (                                                      When agribusiness corporations export food at artificially low prices, they widen the economic divide between the global North and South – and within rural America.
  • How We Can Transition to a “Bottom Up” Economy (Yes!)                                                                                          Three ways to rewire the economy for equality and ecological sustainability


Water & Our Oceans

  • What Our Tap Water Says About the Way We Farm (Civil Eats)                                                                              Agricultural runoff pollutes tap water supplies nationwide, and hits low-income rural communities hardest. A new tool from EWG helps connect the dots.
  • Pennsylvania watershed contaminated with radioactive material and endocrine-disrupting chemicals (The Watchers)                                                                                    Hydraulic fracturing has enabled a domestic oil and gas boom in the US, but its rapid growth has raised questions about what to do with the billions of gallons of wastewater that result. Researchers now report that treating the wastewater and releasing it into surface waters had led to the contamination of Pennsylvania watershed…
  • In Colorado Fracking Fight, Emails Show Constituents ‘Begging’ Lawmakers For Help (International Business Times)
  • Urban Farming and Water Conservation: A Way of Life on the City Farm (University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources)
  • How Midwestern Farmers Could Help Save the Gulf of Mexico (Mother Jones)                                                              This cool technique can rescue sea creatures and soil – so why aren’t more farmers using it?
  • A Trillion – Ton Iceberg Broke Off Antarctica and All I Can Think About Is Food (Yes!)                                            Climate change is getting worse, and policy makers are ignoring one of the biggest factors.
  • 5 Things to Know about the Trillion-Ton Iceberg (Scientific American)                                                                          An iceberg the size of Delaware is now on the move


Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

  • Canada’s Surprising New Proposed Health Guide Favors Plant-Based Foods and Ignores Industry Input (The Food Revolution Network)
  • Senate bill introduced by Alaska’s Murkowski would mandate GMO fish labeling (Seafood Source)
  • The dark side of Trump’s much-hyped China trade deal: It could literally make you sick (The Washington Post)
  • EPA Greenlit This Pesticide Linked to Brain Damage. Eight Senators Are Fighting Back (Mother Jones)  A new bill would put an agricultural ban on chlorpyrifos.
  • Trump’s pick for USDA’s “chief scientist” may actually be illegal (New Food Economy)
    • Press Release: President Trump Illegally Nominates Non-Scientist to Lead Science at the USDA (Union of Concerned Scientists)                                                Statement by Ricardo Salvador, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Trump pick for USDA science post has drawn darts for lack of technical background and Science at the USD (Science Magazine)
  • Trump officially nominates climate denying conservative talk radio host as USDA’s top scientist (ThinkProgress)                                                                                                Sam Clovis, a former Trump campaign advisor and one-time conservative talk radio host, has no background in the hard sciences, nor any policy experience with food or agriculture.
  • Shocker: Trump’s USDA Appointees Are All Hacks (Mother Jones)                                                                      There’s a former Dow exec, a soybean rep, and a business Prof who once called Trump a “cancer on conservatism.”
  • Democrats in US Congress Urge Review of Amazon’s Whole Foods Deal (US News & World Report)
  • Five reasons the Dems’ Better Deal could be a big deal for food (New Food Economy)                                              The new platform explicitly addresses corporate consolidation. At least new we’re talking about it.
  • Kansas SWAT Raid Over Tea Leaves and Tomato Garden Outrages Federal Judges (AlterNet)            The 10th Circuit laid into the cops who used tea leaves in the trash and a visit to garden store to target a suburban family in a hoped-for pot bust.                                                                                                                                         I posted about this when it happened back in 2012…
  • A New Law in New Jersey Is Combating Climate and Hunger – at the Same Time (AlterNet)                            Governor Chris Christie signed a bill that aims to cut the Garden State’s food waste in half by 2030.
  • Senate, No. 3027, State of New jersey, 217th Legislature, Introduced February 27, 2017


GMOs/Cloning/Food Technology/Synthetic Biology/Nanotechnology

  • Keith Kloor’s Endearing Love Affair With GMOs (Huffington Post)                                                                                  New York University’s adjunct journalism professor has curious ideas about science and reporting



  • 100,00 Pages of Chemical Industry Secrets Gathered Dust In An Oregon Barn for Decades – Until Now (The Intercept)                                                                                                … 100,000 pages of documents obtained through legal discover in lawsuits against Dow, Monsanto, the EPA, the US Forest Services, the Air Force, and pulp and paper companies, among others…
  • The Poison Papers        Documenting the Hidden History of Chemical and Pesticide Hazards in the United States
  • “Poison Papers” Snapshot: HoJo Transcript Illustrates EPA  Collusion with Chemical Industry (PR Watch)
  • Poison Fruit (The Intercept)                                   Dow Chemical Wants Farmers to Keep Using a Pesticide Linked to Autism and ADHD
  • Reuters vs. UN Cancer Agency: Are Corporate Ties Influencing Science Coverage? (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting)
  • Court Rules Against General Mills Motion to Dismiss, Says It’s Reasonable Consumers Wouldn’t Consider Glyphosate Containing Nature Valley Granola Bars ‘Natural’ (EcoWatch)
  • Reuters vs. UN Cancer Agency: Are Corporate Ties Influencing Science Coverage? (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting)
  • Nearly a third of food samples in CFIA testing contain glyphosate residues (CBC News)                                        Levels of herbicide exceeded acceptable limits in 1.3% of all foods, 3.9% of grains among 3, 188 foods tested
  • Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Tests Positive for Roundup Herbicide Ingredient, Glyphosate (Organic Consumers Association)
  • A day in the life with dicamba damage (Prairie Farmer)
    • Dicamba damage tops 2.5 million acres, mostly in Midwest and South (The Food & Environment Reporting Network)



  • Agriculture of the Middle                  Research, education and policy strategies that keep farmers and ranchers on the land