Jenny’s Food & Ag Update August 20, 2018


  • Former Tyson Foods CEO Brings Chicken Farming To Rwanda – But Can It Last? (NPR)
  • Americans Eat Too Much Free Food at Work, US Government Warns (Newsweek)
    • Large study finds workplace foods contribute to unhealthy eating (EurekAlert)                              Employees eat more than 1,000 calories a week at work and most of it is obtained for free
  • (UK) McDonald’s to cut cheeseburgers and chocolate milk from Happy Meal menu (The Guardian)



Farming, Farmers, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • Calgary urban farm questions why the government needs all of its land for ring road (The Star)


Seeds & Cultivars


Food and Culture

  • Tracing the Overlooked Legacy of the Silk Road’s Fruits and Nuts (Atlas Obscura)                                                            A new archaeobotanical study is helping shift the historical record.
  • Arboreal crops on the medieval Silk Road: Archaeobotanical studies at Tashbulak (PLOS One)
  • World Champion Squirrel Cook-Off (Atlas Obscura)                                                                                                An ardent celebration of a humble source of protein.
  • Climate Change Threatens Midwest’s Wild Rice, A Staple For Native Americans (NPR)
  • Our 14,400 Year Old Relationship with Bread (Scientific American)                                                                        New evidence from Jordan is challenging what we thought we knew about hunter gatherer diets
  • Delicious Purple Beans Connected One Chef to Her Family’s Culinary Past (Mother Jones)


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

  • Create a Brexit-ready food cupboard? Many can’t afford their next meal (The Guardian)                                  The leave camp is selling hardship as a badge of honor. That’s because its proponents won’t be the ones facing shortages
  • UK: “They hadn’t eaten all day: food banks tackle (summer) holiday hunger (The Guardian)
    • Food banks shouldn’t even exist. Don’t let them become the new normal (The Guardian)                  (Food) Benefit cuts and an unjust social order have left hundreds of thousands hungry in one of the richest countries in the world       Does this all sound familiar?
  • California Protects Low-Income (SNAP) Access to Farmers Markets (Capitol and Main)


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • Earth Has a Hidden Plastic Problem – Scientists Are Hunting It Down (Scientific American)                      Trillions of tiny particles generated by our plastic-reliant society are polluting environments worldwide


Healthy/Food Safety

  • Baby Food Tests Find 68 Percent Contain ‘Worrisome’ Levels of Heavy Metals (EcoWatch)                        Testing published by Consumer Reports found “concerning levels’ of toxic metals in popular US baby and toddler food.
  • These bars are made with “100 percent natural whole gain oats” – and glyphosate (New Food Economy)    Consumers don’t expect chemicals in their natural foods, says the latest lawsuit accusing a “natural” product of dirty dealing.
  • The Roundup Chemical Found Responsible for Cancer Might Also Be in Your Cereal (Mother Jones)    Glyphosate – deemed “probably carcinogenic” – sticks around on snack and breakfast foods.
  • Roundup for Breakfast? Weed Killer Found in Kids’ Cereals, Other Oat-Based Foods (EcoWatch)
  • Glyphosate Pre-Harvest Aid in Small-Grains (North Dakota State University)
  • Glyphosate Used to Kill and Prepare Crops for Harvest (The Cornucopia Institute)
  • ‘This Is Very Strange.’ An Illness Outbreak Possibly Related to an Ohio Chipotle Remains a Mystery Two Weeks Later (Newsweek)


Food Fraud/Scandals/Weird/Funny

  • Hungry Thief Wanted After Nearly $100,000 Worth Of Ramen Noodles Stolen (Huffington Post)


Children & School Food

  • Study: Children have better nutrition when they live near forests (Nation of Change)                                                  The data show that forests aren’t just correlated with improvements in people’s diets. We show that forests cause these improvements.
  • Adolescents’ cooking skills strongly predict future nutrition well-being (EurekAlert)                                  Confidence in cooking ability led to fewer fast food meals, more meals as a family, and more frequent preparation of meals with vegetables in adulthood, according to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
  • The Problem With School Lunch: How The Wealth Gap Is Shaming Students (Huffington Post)                The school lunch is symbolic of America’s socioeconomic and food disparities.



  • Demanding Wide-Reaching Reforms and an End to Slavery, Inmates in 17 States Plan Prison Strike (Common Dreams)                                                                                  “Every single field and industry is affected on some level by prisons, from our license plates to the fast food that we eat to the stores that we shop at.”
  • Ben & Jerry’s ‘Milk With Dignity’ {act With Farmworkers Seems To Be Paying Off (NPR)
  • Arkansas’ minimum wage fight will be on the ballot in November (Think Progress)                                          Arkansas’ current minimum wage is $8.50.
  • Trump’s visa crackdown is hitting Maryland’s crab industry hard (Think Progress)                                            Businesses on the coast are reeling.




Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Stop Meat Companies from Rigging the Grass-fed Market (Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy)
  • Chipotle is adding bacon to the menu, and it reveals how drastically the chain has had to change in the wake of its E. coli scandal (Business Insider)
  • Man Who Fought Monsanto Will Leave a Lasting Legacy (Civil Eats)                                                                        When Dewayne “Lee” Johnson was awarded $389 million for damages related to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he didn’t just triumph over Monsanto. He also may have created a path forward for thousands of similar plaintiffs.
  • What does the Monsanto verdict means for thousands of pending cases? (Food, Agriculture, and the Environment)
  • Why were damages in Monsanto’s Roundup trial so high? Not only is the giant liable, but it cause harm deliberately (New Food Economy)
  • How Monsanto Plants Stories, Suppresses Science & Silences Dissent to See a Cancer-Linked Chemical (Democracy Now)
  • Monsanto Cancer Ruling Sparks Backlash Around the Globe (EcoWatch)
    • Australian farmers body says Roundup cancer ruling is ‘in blatant ignorance’ of science (The Guardian)                                                                        (Australian) National Farmers’ Federation says US court ruling that weedkiller causes cancer sets a ‘reckless precedent’
  • Monsanto loses another court case over its widely used weed killer (SF Chronicle)                                                The (CA) state supreme Court rejected a challenge by Monsanto Co. on Wednesday to California’s decision to list the main ingredient in its Roundup herbicide as a cause of cancer…
  • Homebase to review sale of Monsanto weed killer after US cancer Verdict (The Guardian)            Roundup was ruled by a Californian jury to have caused Dewayne Johnson’s Lymphoma
  • US bosses new earn 312 times the average worker’s wage, figures show (The Guardian)
  • Where even Walmart won’t go: how Dollar General took over rural America (The Guardian)
  • Inside Mexico’s Anti-Capitalist Marketplaces (In These Times)                                                                                        How some Mexicans re using barter and alternative currencies to build an economy beyond profit.


Food Fraud/Scandals/Weird

  • Police Chief Defends Use Of Taser On Elderly Woman Cutting Flowers (Huffington Post)                            Martha Al-Bishara, 87, was carrying a knife to cut dandelions and didn’t understand the officers’ orders, her family said.
  • A Restaurant In Maine Replaced Their Crinkle-Cut Fries With Straight Fries And Angry Customers Are New Harassing Them (BuzzFeed)                                                                      One angry diner even threatened to physically fight one of the owners. Really?


Water & Our Oceans

  • Australia: Calls for environmental water entitlements to be sold to drought affected farmers (The Guardian)  Politicians and farmers say water should be diverted to crops to keep hers alive
  • Salting the earth: North Dakota farmers struggle with a toxic byproduct of the oil boom (NBC News)                                                                          The state of North Dakota doesn’t even know how many acres of cropland have been damage by saltwater spills, a byproduct of the local oil boom.
  • Current List of Saltwater Spills in North Dakota 2008 – Current, Last Updated: August 9, 2018          To date there are 871 reported saltwater spills since January 2, 2008
  • Fracking is destroying US water supply, warns shocking new study (Think Progress)
    • Study: The intensification of the water footprint of hydraulic fracturing (Science Advances)
    • Fracking Water Use Skyrockets, Creating 1,440 More Toxic Wastewater (Huffington Post)
    • Water use for fracking has risen by up to 770 percent since 2011 (
  • Roundup Chemical Linked To Cancer Used To Kill Weeds In The (Sacramento, San Joaquin) Delta (CBS Sacramento)
    • Glyohosate Sprayed on GMO Crops Linked to lake Erie’s Toxic Algae Bloom (EcoWatch)
  • Florida Declares State Of Emergency As Red Tide Spreads (Huffington Post)                                                  The harmful algae bloom has fouled the state’s waters for months.
  • Pollution is slowing the melting of Arctic sea ice, for now (The Guardian)                                                            Human carbon pollution is melting the Arctic, but aerosol pollution is slowing it down


Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

  • This Small Caribbean Island (Dominica) Is Waging A Big War Against Plastic (Huffington Post)      Dominica’s government plans to ban plastic and Styrofoam food containers and utensils by 2019.
  • Five Red Flags for Food, Farming and Fair Trade Under the UK’s New Brexit Plan (Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy)
  • How a Pair of Kentucky Pols Are About to Legalize Hemp (Politico)                                                                The non-psychoactive sister plant of marijuana is a favorite with farmers, and it will get a lot easier to grow if Congress removes it from the list of banned drugs. The DEA is not happy.
  • Report detailing lead poisoning in young children on army bases draws fire from lawmakers (Think Progress)                                                                                          More than 1,000 young children living on army bases were found to have elevated lead levels.
  • Stalling Trump’s ‘Illegal Rubber-Stamp’ of Keystone XL, Federal Court Orders Full Environmental Review (Common Dreams)                                                                                        “This is a huge win for the landowners and Tribal Nation members whose water and environment would be forever threatened by this dangerous tar sands project.”
  • It’s official: This fall America will harvest more soybeans than ever. But who’s buying? (New Food Economy)
  • Trump Quietly OK’s Bioengineered Farming on Wildlife Refuges (The Nation)                                                                      By rescinding an Obama-era regulation, the administration is giving a green light to agribusiness on protected lands.
  • Why the Trump Administration is Going to War with the Wine Industry (Vice)                                                        The Treasury Department is going after US businesses that both import and export wine. Buckle up and hoard the pinot.
  • San Antonio passes paid sick leave ordinance, joining Austin in fight against top Texas Republicans (The Texas Tribune)                                                                                              A similar measure passed by Austin earlier this year is tied up in court. And dozens of Republican state lawmakers have lined up against the ordinance.


GMOs/CRISPR/Cloning/Synthetic Biology

  • Regulate new GE techniques? US (never) vs. EU (Yes) (Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy)
    • The USDA reorganizes for its “customers,” throws science under the bus (Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy)
    • Risk associated with off-target plant genome editing and methods for its limitation (Emerging Topics In Life Sciences)


Technology/Food Technology/Nanotechnology



  • Toxic neighbor: Monsanto and the poisoned town (The Guardian)                                                                                       Almost a century ago, Monsanto opened a chemical factory in Anniston, Alabama. Mathieu Asselin spent years photographing this damaged landscape – including a creek where the waters run red.
  • 3M knew about the dangers of PFOA and PFOS decades ago, internal documents show (The Intercept)