Jenny’s Food & Ag Update August 12, 2018


  • The Inspiring Women Reshaping the Food System (Civil Eats)                                                                                        From farmworkers and graziers to entrepreneurs and advocates, these women are leading the change for more just and sustainable food.
  • Meet the Once-Homeless Chef Using Food to Fight Poverty (Vice)                                                                            “You can’t do anything positive with your life unless you’re stabilized, and you can’t be stabilized on an empty stomach.”
  • What Are We Getting from Voluntary Sustainability Standards for Coffee? (Center for Global Development)
  • LA’s Incentive for Urban Farming Fails to Take Root (City Lab)                                                                                          Hardly any lots have received a tax break so far under the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones program.
  • Why Are So Many Migrants Leaving Guatemala? A Crisis in the Coffee Industry Is One Reason (Time)
  • The Chinese Are Eating More Meat Than Ever Before and the Planet Can’t Keep p (Mother Jones)              “In the end, per capita meat consumption in China is still half that of the United States.”
  • How Factory Farm Pollution Harms the Quality of Life in rural Communities (In These Times)
  • Why the Midwest’s Food System is Failing (Civil Eats)                                                                                          The heavily agricultural states in the middle of the country aren’t actually feeding their people. But the 2018 Farm Bill offers an opportunity to change that.
  • Do Fair Trade Labels Actually Mean Anything? (AlterNet)                                                                                        How to know if what you’re purchasing helps that poor person of color in the brand’s marketing.
  • How an Obsession with Fruit Took Me on the Adventure of a Lifetime (National Geographic)
    • This Adventurer Risked His Life to Discover Good Food (National Geographic)                            David Fairchild brought lemons, Japanese cherry trees, and decent beer to the U.S.
  • 4 Environmental Activists Are Killed Every Week So We Can Have Snacks, Meat and Coffee (Huffington Post)                                                                                          “We don’t want to any more bloodshed,” said the child of one slain land defender.
  • How Brexit will kill the sandwich (Politico)                                                                                The UK imports a lot of meat, cheese and salad from Europe to satisfy its lunchtime cravings.
  • Not just a fad: the surprising, gut wrenching truth about gluten (The Guardian)                                                      While just 1% of the UK is allergic to the proteins that cause coeliac disease, many others suffer with gluten related digestive problems. Some researchers believe mass produced food is to blame
  • Study: Glyposate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance (US National Institute of Health)
  • Fertilizer destroys plant microbiome’s ability to protect against disease (UC Berkeley)                            Nitrogen based fertilizer is synthesized from atmospheric nitrogen and natural gas which are poisons. We use nitrogen gas to preserve foods in Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP, think about that baby lettuce from Trader Joe’s that lasts so long) Which kills microorganisms. And we are all aware that petrochemicals are poisons…
  • ‘I Still Have Hope’ (Grub Street)                    How one New York – trained chef is bouncing back – and helping Puerto Rico – after Hurricane Maria.


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • Venezuela’s Marching Campesinos Meet Maduro, Denounce Corruption & Revolutionary ‘Reversals’ (Venzuelanalysis)
  • American Farmers Want Trade Partners Not Handouts – An Agricultural Economist Explains (100 Days in Appalachia)
  • Hawaii was once a local milk mecca. On Oahu, there’s just one dairy left (New Food Economy)                      How Oahu’s last dairy, Naked Cow Dairy, beat the odds – one wheel of squid ink brie at a time.
  • In A Record Year, Almond Growers Are Nervous (Modern Farmer)
    • Almond Farmers Are Reeling From Chinese Tariffs (WSJ)                                                                    Prices for California almonds have fallen by more than 10% over past two months
  • Trump’s Tariffs Are Screwing Farmers. Many Still Won’t Blame Him. (Huffington Post)                                “We’re just hoping this doesn’t last a long time.”


Seeds & Cultivars


Food and Culture

  • Archaeobotanical evidence reveals the origins of bread 14,400 years ago in northeastern Jordan (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
  • Restoring culturally relevant food systems to Native American and Immigrant populations (UC Berkeley)
  • For many Muslim grocery shoppers, a shifting definition of ‘halal’ (The Conversation)
  • In Oakland’s most exciting restaurants, incredible food and social activism go hand in hand (Mic)
  • People Have Reacted Accordingly to Mayonnaise Flavored Ice Cream’s Debut (Time)


Hunger, Food Access & Security, Obesity, Malnutrition, and Nutrition

  • Low – Income Americans on SNAP Still Can’t Afford to Eat Healthy (Civil Eats)                                        Federal nutrition assistance only covers about half the amount it would cost a family to follow the federal guidelines for a healthy diet.
  • Food Aid Doesn’t Cover the Price of Food in Almost Every County in America (City Lab)
  • How the Other Half Eats (City Lab)        SNAP benefits add up to $1.86 per person, per meal. Here’s what that looks like.
  • A Pioneering Massachusetts Program Helps Low Income Residents Eat Healthier and Supports Local Farmers (Civil Eats)                                                                                        The Healthy Incentives Program connects SNAP to farmers’ markets and boosts the local economy.
  • New York State Reaches Agreement to Keep SNAP Benefits Working at Farmers Markets Nationwide (Modern Farmer)
    • Farmers’ Market SNAP Crisis Gets ‘Emergency Support,’ But No Long Term Fix (Grub Street)
  • How “Greens, Beets, and Tomatoes” Turned Around This Historically Black Church (Mother Jones)  “I was frustrated with the dynamic of seeing the food that we needed and not being able to afford it.”
  • Reducing food insecurity among households with children is still a challenge for the United States (Brookings Institution)
  • How the Lack of Affordable Vegetables is Creating a Billion-Dollar Obesity Epidemic in South Africa (Inter Press Service)
    • Report: At the Bottom Of The Food Chain: Small Operators Versus Multinational Corporations In The Food Systems Of Brazil, Mexico And South Africa (DST-NRF Center of Excellence in Food Security)


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • Hungry for change: urban foragers take the law into their own hands (The Guardian)                                Municipal parks are generally off limits to foragers, but in Seattle there’s a newfound hunger to maintain this tradition in cities
  • Only a third of plastic food packaging can be recycled, councils say (The Guardian)                                              Scrap ‘smorgasbord’ of plastics used in packaging, town hall chiefs tell manufacturers


Healthy/Food Safety

  • With Culinary Medicine, Doctors Are Finally Learning About Food (Huffington Post)                                            It picks up where basic (and brief) med school nutrition education leaves off, and it’s making doctors better at their jobs.
  • Chefs Serve Hospital Food That’s Better for Patients, Employees – and the Planet (Foodtank)
  • This Cheesecake Factory Burrito Is Equal To 7 Sausage McMuffins (Huffington Post)                              If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, this might just ruin your day.
  • Cattle operation may have caused #. Coli outbreak linked to romaine, FDA says (New Food Economy)    Monday’s announcement is the first indication that the agency suspects water contamination from animal agriculture may have been the outbreak’s original source.
  • Chicken’s Salmonella Problem Is Worse Than You Think (Mother Jones)                                                                          And cooking the shit out of it won’t necessarily protect you.
  • Almost Every Kind of Wild Fish Is Infected with Worms (Vice)                                                                                          Ever have a nice meal at a fancy restaurant, plop down $75 for a wild seafood dinner, then get home and open the container of leftovers to see worms wriggling out of your fillet? It may be better to go with farm-raised fish after all.
  • Live Worms Slither Out of Half Eaten Fish Dish, Restaurant Somehow Mad at Customer (Vice)                    A Jersey Shore restaurant is upset with a diner for putting them on blast.
  • Even More Snacks Are Being Recalled Over the Salmonella Fears Affecting Goldfish and Ritz Crackers (Time)
  • Almond Milk Recalled For Possible Cow’s Milk Contamination (Huffington Post)                                                “Milk inadvertently was entered into the processing equipment for almond milk,” said a spokeswoman for HP Hood, maker of Blue Diamond Vanilla Breeze.
  • Premade Wraps and Salads Sold at Trader Joe’s, Walgreen’s, and Kroger Contaminated With Parasite (Modern Farmer)


Food Fraud/Scandals/Weird/Funny

  • Man sues McDonald’s, Coca-Cola over alleged spiking of drink with heroin replacement (The Hill)
    • McDonald’s Apologizes to Woman For Serving Her Cleaning Solution Instead of Coffee (Time)
  • Rogue Goats Take Over Idaho Neighborhood (Huffington Post)                                                                                        These goats on the lam were supposed to be working when they were found eating up a quiet suburban street.



  • Bring back home economics class because our kids lack basic life skills (Dallas Daily News)


Children & School Food

  • Breastfeeding is about health; formula is about profits (Marin Independent Journal)                Health experts say toddler formula is unnecessary, and some argue it could be harmful to growing kids.
  • The Breastfeeding Boom, The Baby Formula Industry Is Turning To Toddlers (Huffington Post)



  • The Supreme Court Just Helped Chipotle Boot 2, 814 Workers From a Wage Theft Lawsuit (Huffington Post)                                                                                            A judge’s order shows the real-world effects of the court’s decision to let employers force workers to give up their right to class-action lawsuits.
  • A Popeye’s worker says she was fired after she blew the whistle on unsanitary conditions (Yahoo)
  • Hotel Workers Back New Law (California) Ending Secrecy in Harassment Cases (Capitol & Main)            Non-disclosure agreements have become targets for #MeToo advocates, since they bar women from discussing their stories of workplace sexual harassment. Proposed California legislation could change that.
  • People over profit: Famed Seattle fish market sold to longtime employees – instead of highest bidder (Daily Kos)



  • Tomato Canning as Protest: How a Community Resisted Corporate Farming (Yes!)                                    A Missouri town’s summer ritual brings much needed support to small family operations.



  • In Wisconsin and Minnesota, goats are used to combat invasive species (Wisconsin Gazette)


Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Plant Based Food Sales Hit $3.3 Billion Last year – And Will Only Grow From Here (One Green Planet)
  • Smithfield Foods Ordered To pay Millions In Damages To Neighbors Of Hog Farms (Huffington Post)                                                                                            The North Carolina farms “generate many times more sewage than entire towns.”
  • Nestlé misled consumers about GMOs in its food products lawsuit alleges (Money Watch)      Nestlé is facing a federal class-action lawsuit in Los Angeles alleging it sold products labeled as having “No GMO Ingredients” with genetically modified organisms.
  • Mission accomplished? Once scarce, the Impossible Burger has hit the mainstream (SF Chronicle)
  • Chipotle Slapped With Lawsuits Following Ohio Foodborne Illness Outbreak (Eater)                              Nearly 400 people have reported falling ill
  • Robert Reich: Almost 80% of US workers live from paycheck to paycheck. Here’s why (The Guardian)          America doesn’t have a jobs crisis. It has a ‘good jobs’ crisis – where too much employment is insecure, and poorly paid
  • How Many Workers Must Live In Poverty For McDonald’s CEO To Make $21.8 Million? (Forbes)
    • 52 Percent of Fast Food Workers Need Government Assistance to Make Ends Meet (Eater)
    • Why Companies Fear Disclosing CEO-to-Worker Pay (Bloomberg)
    • (US) CEOs earn 361 times more than the average US worker – union report (Reuters)
    • European CEO pay ratios highest in UK, France and Germany (Board Agenda)                                                      CEO pay is 94 times in the UK, 91 times in France, 89 times in Germany, 71 times in the Netherlands, and 40 times in Sweden’s largest companies
  • As Workers’ Wages Continue to Fall Under Trump, Analysis Shows CEO Pay Is Way Higher Than Typically Reported (Common Dreams)                                            “The data is out: CEOs are cashing in their huge benefits from the [Trump tax cuts], meanwhile workers’ wages are declining and Americans are struggling to afford rising healthcare premiums.”


Food Fraud/Scandals/Weird

  • Lawsuit Alleges that Canada Dry Ginger Ale Contains No Actual Ginger (Vice)                                                                  If the plaintiff’s claims are true, ‘high fructose corn syrup ale’ might be a more accurate name for the drink.


Water & Our Oceans

  • Farmers are drawing groundwater from the giant Ogallala Aquifer faster than nature replaces it (The Conversation)
  • Fracking industry is cannibalizing its own production, increasing spill risks (Nation of Change)                      How will this turn out? Don’t ask the industry experts because they admit they have no idea.
  • Reminder of ‘How Often Fracking Pipelines Blow Up’: 7 Hospitalized After Series of Explosions in Texas (Common Dreams)                                                                      The incidents occurred in a region that “is crisscrossed by oil and gas pipelines” and where fossil fuel production is “booming”
  • Here’s How Toxic Tap Water Can Send You Scrambling for Something Safe to Drink – and Why It Might Become the New Normal (AlterNet)                                              Toledo was the first large US city where toxic algae blooms made tap water unsafe to drink. But it may not be the last.
  • Fish Are Losing Their Sense of Smell (Nexus Media)                                                                                                  At stake? Their survival and the livelihoods that depend on them.


Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

  • Which retailers profit from food stamps? Journalists have been asking for years – and we may never know (New Food Economy)
  • US government failing millions by paying below $15 an hour, study finds (The Guardian)
  • Court Orders EPA To Ban Chlorpyrifos, A Pesticide Linked To Brain Damage In Kids (Huffington Post)      Pediatricians warned that keeping it on the market put “all children at risk.”
  • Court bans popular farm pesticide defended by Trump. What it means for farms, workers, kids (Sacramento Bee)
  • The Zombie Guest Worker Bill (Capitol & Main)                                                                              Republican immigration reform proposals may be dead, but Republican guest worker proposals live on.
  • Growing Pains: Guest Farm Workers Face Exploitation, Dangerous Conditions – Part I (Capital & Main)                                                                                        Many migrant workers in California on H-2A temporary agricultural visas are forced to contend with unsafe working conditions, wage theft and other labor law violations.
  • Growing Pains: Guest Farm Workers Face Exploitation, Dangerous Conditions – Part II (Capital & Main)                                                                                              The influx of migrant agricultural workers brought to the US on temporary visas means increased competition for resident laborers – and less bargaining power.
  • Trump Administration Lifts Ban On GMOs, Bee Killing Chemicals In Wildlife Refuges (Huffington Post)      The Defenders of Wildlife CEO called the decision to scrap the Obama-era policy “an insult to our national wildlife refuges and the wildlife that rely on them.”
  • Trump administration lifts ban on pesticides linked to declining bee numbers (The Guardian)        Environmentalists say lifting the restriction poses a grave threat to pollinating insects
  • House Farm Bill Would Increase Food Insecurity and Hardship (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)
    • Paul Ryan Is Holding the Farm Bill Hostage Over Food Stamps (Mother Jones)                                                The House will only approve a farm bill that squeezes SNAP recipients; the Senate won’t let that happen
  • In Latest Attempt to Harm Struggling Families, Trump Urges Lawmakers to Push One Million Americans Off Food Stamp Program (Common Dreams)                          “So weird the Trump administration isn’t putting work requirements on its capital gains tax cut.”
  • A Closer Look at Who Benefits from SNAP: State by State Fact Sheets (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)
  • Survey: Nearly Tow-Thirds of Americans Oppose Cuts to SNAP Program (John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)                                                                                Majorities also support investing resources in new farmers
  • Why punitive work-hours tests in SNAP and Medicaid would harm workers and do nothing to raise employment (Economic Policy Institute)
  • Trump’s ag relief program will benefit factory farms, not family farmers (Wisconsin Gazette)


GMOs/CRISPR/Cloning/Synthetic Biology

  • Despite Ban and New Labels, Study Reveals ‘Large-Scale Illegal Presence’ of GMOs in India’s Food Supply (Common Dreams)                                                                                        “We were shocked to know the scale in which GM foods have penetrated the Indian market.”
  • Selective fertilization with phosphite allows unhindered growth of cotton plants expressing ptxD gene while suppressing weeds (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)


Technology/Food Technology/Nanotechnology

  • How scientists are hijacking plant skeletons to make lab-grown steaks (New Food Economy)
  • Growers Are Beaming Over The Success Of Lasers To Stave Off Thieving Birds (NPR)



  • Wind-Blown Pesticides An Issue In Courtrooms, Communities Across US (Harvest Public Media)
  • Federal Suit Alleges Companies Knew Dicamba Would Drift, Monsanto Created monopoly (Harvest Public Media)
    • Drift damage from dicamba estimated on more than a million acres this year (Wisconsin Gazette)
  • Monsanto ordered to pay $289m as jury rules weedkiller caused man’s cancer (The Guardian)
    • Monsanto ‘bullied scientists’ and hid weedkiller cancer risk, lawyer tells court (The Guardian)
    • First trial alleging Monsanto’s Roundup causes cancer goes to jury (Reuters)
    • Doe Monsanto’s Roundup cause cancer? Trial highlights the difficulty of proving a link (The Conversation)