Jenny’s Food & Ag Update September 2, 2018


  • When The US Government Tried To Replace Migrant Farmworkers With High Schoolers (NPR)
  • The Farm Group that’s Part of Rural America’s Crisis (Open Market Institute)                                              Austin explains how the Iowa Farm Bureau is hurting rural communities.
  • Prevalence trends tell us what did not precipitate the US obesity epidemic (The Lancet)
  • Chef Ron Freeman Wants to Bring Better Ramen to the Incarcerated (NPR)                                                    The Los Angeles area chef is on a mission to make his low-sodium ramen a commissary staple.
  • The Organic Food Industry Thrives On Regulation (Other Words)                                                                                    Without strict standards, the organic label would become worthless. So why is the White House rolling them back?
  • One pound of cheese makes nine pounds of whey. Where does it all go? (New Food Economy)
  • For Bordeaux’s Winemakers, Rising Temperatures Bring A Reckoning (Huffington Post)                      France’s famous vintners will need new grapes that can withstand a warmer climate – and produce wine that remains both fine and French.
  • Seaweed: The ‘Superfood’ That Could Help Fight Climate Change (Huffington Post)


Farming, Farmers, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • Berry Farmers Break Free From Big Agriculture (Yes!)                                                                                        These farmworkers created an organic o-op that guarantees fair wages and healthy working conditions while preserving indigenous heritage.
  • Launching the Next Generation of Latinx Farmers in Washington’s Skagit Valley (Civil Eats)    The region is home to handful of training programs helping to support new farmers and local food producers.
  • Paying It Forward (Oregon Tilth)           Farmers mentoring farmers to make the transition to organic more manageable
  • Farm concerts don’t make farmers any money. So why do farmers host them? (New Food Economy)


Seeds & Cultivars

  • The Corn of the Future Is Hundreds of Years Old and Makes Its Own Mucus (Smithsonian)                                  This rare variety of corn has evolved a way to make its own nitrogen, which could revolutionize farming


Food Culture & History

  • If you want to save the world, veganism isn’t the answer (The Guardian)                                                        Intensively farmed meat and dairy are blight, but so are fields of soya and maize. There is another way
  • Before You Try to Decolonize Your Diet, Read This (Yes!)                                                                                              A new book digs into the paradoxes of American Indian diets most people don’t know.


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

  • Federal Court: First Amendment Protects Sharing Food With Homeless People (Forbes)
  • Hungary Intentionally Denying Food To Asylum-Seekers, Watchdog Groups Say (NPR)
  • UK: We’re in a new age of obesity. How did it happen? You’d be surprised (The Guardian)                                          It’s not that we’re eating more, that we exercise less, or that we lack willpower. The shaming of overweight people has to stop
  • We already know climate change will make our crops less nutritious. Now we know how that will impact our health (New Food Economy)
  • Delay eating breakfast and eat dinner early if you want to lose body fat – new study (The Conversation)
    • Time-restricted eating can overcome the bad effects of faulty genes and unhealthy diet (The Conversation)


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • Philadelphia’s Prison System is Fighting Food Waste and Recidivism with an Organic Farm (Civil Eats)                                                                                              The unique prison program diverts 685 tons of food waste a year into compost and is training inmates to farm without chemicals.
  • Norway Has A Radical Approach To Plastic Pollution, And It’s Working (Huffington Post)                                    So why isn’t the US following suit?


Healthy/Food Safety

  • ICE detainees are supposed to eat nutritious food three times a day – they don’t (The New Food Economy)
  • Michigan’s Failed Effort to Privatize Prison Kitchens and the Future of Institutional Food (Civil Eats)      Private companies took over the state’s prison kitchens, inedible and inadequate food was just the tip of the iceberg – now other institutions outsourcing foodservice on notice.                                    Finally! Let’s hope this spreads across the country.


Food Fraud/Scandals/Weird/Funny

  • Will Anyone Be Held at Fault Over Flint? (City Lab)                                                                                              As the Michigan city’s water crisis drags on, the state’s highest-ranking health official faces criminal charges. But he’s still on the job.
  • Top State Health Official to Stand Trial for Flint Water Crisis Role (PBS)
  • Official charged with manslaughter over deaths linked to Flint water crisis (Think Progress)                    Officials knew of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak months before they told the public, emails show.
  • Oil from BP spill pushed onto shelf off Tampa Bay by underwater currents, study finds (Tampa Bay Times)


Children & School Food

  • Cuts to Oakland Free Dinner Program Felt by Thousands of Students as School Resumes (KQED News)
    • After School Supper Is the Latest Casualty of Oakland Unified Budget Cuts (East Bay Express)



  • Farmworkers Are Dying from Extreme Heat (Mother Jones)                                                                                    There’s a new push to force the government to stop the problem.
  • Facing rising temperatures and pollution, farmworkers are being left behind by Florida lawmakers (Think Progress)                                                                                              For years, activists have focused on pesticides and immigration issues. Now, they’re turning to warming temperatures.
  • Farm workers still have to pick fruit in unhealthy air conditions (KIMA TV Yakima, WA)
    • ‘A smokestorm is imminent’ Spokane’s hazardous air now worse than Beijing and Delhi combined (Think Progress)                                                                      Surrounded by wildfires, Washington state sees worst air quality in history.
  • Washington (state) has already had nearly 900 wildfires in 2018 (K5News)
  • Smoke from hundreds of wildfires darkens skies over British Columbia (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)
  • Denver International Airport Workers Will Ask Voters for a $15 Minimum Wage (Westword)
  • Labor Day Surprise: Union membership grows by 81,000 in pro-business Texas (Dallas Morning News)
  • Small business owners are getting a new incentive to sell (their businesses) to their employees (The Conversation)                                                                                              The federal government just made it a lot easier to form an employee owned business.
  • Historic Federal Law Gives Employee Owned Businesses Access to SBA Loans (Nonprofit Quarterly)
  • USDA Grants to Fund Co-op Education for Business Owners in Pacific Northwest (Nonprofit Quarterly)



  • Major prison strike spreads across US and Canada as inmates refuse food (The Guardian)                      Prisoners stand against forced labor and other indignities amid reports of action in California, Washington state and Nova Scotia
  • US inmates stage nationwide prison labor strike over ‘modern slavery’ (The Guardian)                            Organizers say prisoners across the country are expected to refuse to work, hold sit-ins and even stage hunger strikes
  • ICE Detainees Join Nationwide Prison Strike, Many Refusing To Eat: Organizers (Newsweek)
  • Prisoners nationwide on strike over poor conditions and forced labor – including firefighting (Think Progress)

Incarcerated people are often on the frontlines of natural disaster recovery and relief.

  • Detainee Speaks Out from Hunger Strike in Northwest Detention Center (Democracy Now)
  • As prison strikes heat up, former inmates talk about horrible stat o labor and incarceration (USA Today)
  • The ‘Modern Day Slavery’ Of Prison Labor Really Does Have A Link To Slavery (Huffington Post)



  • A bee economist explains honey bees’ vital role in growing tasty almonds (The Conversation)
  • Pesticide Touted as Neonicotinoid Replacement Still harms Bees (EcoWatch)                                                                    As evidence builds that neonicotinoids harm bees and other pollinators and bodies like the EU move to ban them, the agricultural sector is casting about for something to replace what is currently the most used type of insecticide worldwide.



  • Building the Mecca of Heritage Poultry in Kansas (Civil Eats)                                                                                    Heritage poultry breeder Frank Reese has been hatching a plan to build the Good Shepherd Institute for two decades. Now, with help from MASS Design Group, it has moved one big step closer to reality.
  • Was Your UTI Triggered By Raw Chicken? (Mother Jones)                                                                                                  A new study says a strain of E. coli “could be causing 30,000 to 40,000” urinary tract infections in the US every year.


Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Hamdi Ulukaya of Chobani Talks Greek Yogurt and the American Dream (NYT)                                                          A Trukish immigrant of Kurdish descent, Mr. Ulukaya brought Greek yogurt to the mainstream. Along the way, he began hiring refugees, a move that drew threats from fringe websites and far-right commentators.
  • 8 Restaurant Chains Agree To End ‘No Poach’ Agreements Under Threat of Lawsuit (NPR)
  • Krogers Will Phase Out Plastic Bags By 2025 To ‘Protect Our Planet’ (Huffington Post)
    • Miami Beach Wants to Expand Its Ban on Plastic Straws (Miami New Times)
    • San Francisco bans plastic straws, joining these California cities (The San Diego Union-Tribune)
      • American Airlines Joins Efforts To Eliminate Plastic Straws, Stirrers (Huffington Post)
  • Bayer’s Monsanto faces 8,000 lawsuits on glyphosate (Reuters)
    • Along with Monsanto, Chemical Giant Bayer Inherits Its Pests (Mother Jones)                                                  From dicamba drama to crop-chomping caterpillars.
  • Profiting Off Poison (Other Words)              A court found that Monsanto knew its signature Roundup chemical could cause cancer, but sold it anyway.
  • Vietnam demands Monsanto pays compensation for Agent Orange victims (Yahoo News) and Monsanto court ruling bolsters the hope for millions of Vietnamese Agent Orange victims (Viêt Nam News)
  • General Mills Faces Lawsuit Over Glyphosate in Cereals (EcoWatch)                                                  Monsanto’s – and now Bayer’s – glyphosate problem is also a headache for General Mills. The Cheerios maker could face a class action lawsuit alleging the company failed to warn consumers about traces of the controversial herbicide in its products.
  • General Mills To Remove ‘Natural’ Label From Granola Bars After Glyphosate Lawsuit (Forbes)
  • The federal government markets prison business as the “best-kept secret” (Vox)                                                      The Department of Justice says prison labor is good for a company’s bottom line.
  • The UNICOR (Federal Prison Industries program trade name) Services Business Group: The Onshore Advantage (UNICOR)
  • Pigs Aren’t the Only Ones Suffering From North Carolina’s Industrial Hog Farms (Truthout)
  • Lab-Grown Meat and Traditional Meat Producers Turn to Government to Solve Industry Disputes (Interesting Engineering)
  • A Weekend In and Around Hudson, Massachusetts (Modern Farmer)                                                                        “Local first” is the mantra in this progressive small town…


  • Taxpayers Are Subsidizing Corporations That Pay CEOs Hundreds of Times More Than Workers, Study Shows (Common Dreams)                                                                  Author says the findings should fuel the movement to “use the power of the public purse to crack down on corporations that refuse to share the wealth.”
  • Study: Executive Excess 2018: How Taxpayers Subsidize Giant Corporate Pay Gaps (Institute for Policy Studies)


Water & Our Oceans

  • Safe Drinking Water for All (NYT)      California lawmakers are considering a plan to help poor communities afflicted by contaminated water. It could be a model for the nation.
  • Study: National trend in drinking water quality violations (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
  • Tax on California water revived to clean up drinking water – but it’s voluntary (Sacramento Bee)
  • Detroit turns off every public school’s drinking water due to high levels of lead, copper (Think Progress)        For Michigan, it’s just the latest turn in the state’s ongoing water crisis.
  • Pueblo (CO) City Schools disables or repairs nearly 50 water fountains due to lead (KRDO TV)
  • Kansans drank contaminated water for years. The state didn’t tell them. (The Wichita Eagle)
  • Why a New Fisheries Bill Is Being Dubbed the “Empty Oceans Act” (Mother Jones)                                              Five ways H.R. 200 could “undercut the important role science plays in management decisions.”
  • Corporate Food Brands Drive the Massive Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico (Truthout)
    • Report: Flunking The Planet: Scoring America’s Food Companies on Sustainable Meat (Mighty Earth)


Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

  • ‘We’ve Made History’: Ireland Joins France, Germany and Bulgaria in Banning Fracking (EcoWatch)      Ireland is set to ban onshore fracking after its Senate passed legislation on Wednesday that outlawed the controversial drilling technique.
  • New ‘Groundbreaking’ Bill Would Put Firm Pause on Out-of-Control Food Industry Mega-Mergers (Common Dreams)                                                                    “Consolidation has now reached a point where the top four firms in almost every sector of the food and agriculture economy have acquired abusive levels of market power,” said Sen. Cory Booker, who introduced the legislation
  • Why is Trump slashing the USDA’s independent research arm? Look at its findings (The New Food Economy)
  • Department of Labor Gives Federal Contractors a License to Discriminate (Truthout)
  • Agriculture Department Will Pay $4.7 Billion To Farers Hit In Trade War (NPR)
    • USDA to buy $1.2B in goods, offer $5B in aid to farmers hurt by trade war (ABC News)
    • The Winners and Losers of Trump’s Tariff Bailout (Mother Jones)                                                                    The president is about to shower some farmers with extra subsidies. Guess who gets chosen.
  • Dairy Farmers Say Denting Supply Management In NAFTA Deal Would Be ‘Devastating’ (KTIC)
  • Feds extract penalties in crashes that killed five migrant farm workers (The New Food Economy)
  • Victory! Court Rejects Trump Administration’s Claim That Organic Animal Standards Withdrawal Cannot Be Challenged (Center For Food Safety)
  • Virginia regulator won’t revoke pipelines’ water permits despite major environmental violations (Think Progress)                                                                              Extensive damage to streams and other water sources fails to sway Virginia regulators.
  • As Florida chokes on red tide, governor denies environmental malpractice (The Seattle Times)
    • Red Tide’s continuing toll: The 554 dead manatees in 2018 already surpasses last year’s total (Tampa Bay Times)
  • California Moves to Ban Fishing Nets Blamed for Killing Numerous Species (EcoWatch)
  • Southern Cities Are Passing Paid Sick Leave – But Republicans Won’t Let Them Have It (In These Times)
  • Santa Rosa City Council Unanimously Bans Roundup at City Parks (Organic Consumers Association)
  • Berkeley’s new urban agriculture ordinance encourages residents to grow their own food (Berkeleyside)
  • Proposed Farm Bill amendment could negate local food laws in Maine (Bangor Daily News)
    • R. 4879 – Protect Interstate Commerce Act of 2018, Sponsor: Rep. King, Steve                                                  To prevent States and local jurisdictions from interfering with the production and distribution of agricultural product in interstate or foreign commerce, and for other purposes                                              What of States Rights?
  • Districts of House Negotiators Get $9.3 Billion In Farm and Food Aid (Daily Yonder)                                                    Forty-seven members of the House of Representatives are serving on a committee to hammer out a farm bill compromise with the Senate. They represent 1.7 million households that receive nutrition benefits and 230,000 farms that receive farm payments.



  • Environmentally-Caused Disease Crisis? Pesticide Damage to DNA Found ‘Programmed’ Into Future Generations (EcoWatch)
    • Study: Atrazine induces complete feminization and chemical castration in male African clawed frogs (NIH)
  • West Texas Vineyards Blasted By Herbicide Drift From Nearby Cotton Fields (NPR)