Jenny’s Food & Ag Update September 16, 2018


  • This Chef Is Fighting Gentrification With Hot Chicken (Yes!)                                                                                        Tunde Wey’s dinner series – slash – public art project raised $50,000 to address Nashville’s affordable housing crisis
  • ‘Shocked and disappointed’: Pair of researchers say they felt pressed by federal wildlife officials to bury risk on endangered beetle (The Washington Post)
  • Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues (Scientific American)                                Generating three centimeters of top soil takes 1,000 years, and if current rates of degradation continue all the world’s top soil could be gone within 60 years, a senior UN official said


  • Fake news and the “other white meat”: How pork became poultry, and why it matters (Salon)                                    The iconic ad campaign changed what we thought we knew about meat, and set the sage for the age of spin.
  • Europe’s meat and dairy production must halve by 2050, expert warns (The Guardian)                            Policymakers, farmers and consumers face ‘deeply uncomfortable choices’, says author of report advising urgent reduction of unsustainable livestock sector
  • Report: What is the Safe Operating Space for EU livestock? (Rural Investment Support for Europe)


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding, & Fishing

  • ‘I still have a farm. Yeah, I am a farmer!’ says 113 year old North Dakota woman (Grand Forks Herald)
  • ‘This Is Life or Death for Us’: Mexico’s Farm Movement Rejects New NAFTA Agreement (Common Dreams)                                                                                       Donald Trump and Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s lame-duck conservative president, are trying to push through new trade deal, but farmers are rising up in opposition
  • Watch how organic farmers use tractor-mounted flamethrowers on weeds and pests (boingboing)
  • There’s a ‘Scallop War’ Raging in the English Channel and It’s Getting Violent (Munchies)                          Footage from the clashes between French and British scallop fishers included scenes of boat-bumping, rock-throwing, and inexplicably smoking boats.


Food Culture & History

  • After decades, Native American tribes are regaining their fishing rights. But are there any fish left? (New Food Economy)                                                                                            Like many tribes in the Pacific Northwest, the Yurok had to fight hard to gain fishing rights in their ancestral river. Now they fight to keep it healthy.
  • In Washington, a farm-to-table restaurant tried to serve the best local fish. Instead, it stumbled into a debate over tribal fishing rights (New Food Economy)
  • In Flatbush, Little Caribbean Food Tours Help Preserve West Indian Culture (The Village Voice)
  • ‘White People Food’ Is Creating n Unattainable Picture Of Health (Huffington Post)                                                There’s a perception in the black community that eating healthy means eating like white people, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
  • The New Era Of Kosher Wines You Should Try For Rosh Hashanah (Huffington Post)                              It’s not your grandparent’s Manischewitz
  • The Bizarre Fad Diet Taking the Far Right by Storm (Mother Jones)                                                          “Canivorism” advocates claim meat will cure health woes, replenish masculinity – oh, and piss off liberals.
  • According To History, We Can Thank Women For Beer (Huffington Post)                                                  Beer consumption has been so disproportionately linked with men that it’s easy to forget women were the original brewers. Now, they’re staking their claim again.


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

  • Immigrants, fearing Trump crackdown, drop out of nutrition programs (Politico)                                        Both documented and undocumented immigrants fear that accepting federal aid could make them ineligible for a green card if rules are changed.
  • Food apartheid: the root of the problem with America’s groceries (The Guardian)
  • We already know climate change will make our crops less nutritious. Now we know how that will impact our health (The New Food Economy)                                                  A new study shows this nutrient decline will mean that, by 2050, an additional 175 million people worldwide will be deficient in zinc, and 122 million more won’t be eating enough protein.


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • 6 Photos That Show Just How Ridiculous Plastic Packaging Has Become (Huffington Post)
  • A Massive Floating Boom Is Supposed To Clean Up The Pacific. Can It Work? (NPR)
    • Half of dead baby turtles found by Australian scientists have stomachs full of plastic (Independent)  Study suggests younger reptiles are particularly vulnerable to pollution


Healthy/Food Safety

  • Thousands of California home cooks have no idea they’re breaking the law every day (New Food Economy)                                                                                          By selling or trading food with neighbors, contributing dishes to the church BBQ fundraiser, or peddling tamales on the street, home cooks violate food sales and safety laws. But new legislation aims to make them “Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operators” instead.


Food Fraud/Scandals/Weird/Funny

  • $100,000 reward offered to find person putting needles in Australia strawberries (Independent)      ‘Someone is trying to sabotage the industry but also in doing that, they are putting babies’ and children’s and families’ lives at risk’
  • Mountain Dew Mistakenly Tells Scotland to Masturbate for ‘Epic Thrills’ (Munchies)                                              Gives a whole new meaning to ‘Do the Dew.’


Children & School Food

  • 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.



  • Study: Minimum Wage Hikes Are Paying Off (New York Magazine)
    • Study: The New Wave of Local Minimum Wage Policies: Evidence from Six Cities (Institute for Research on Labor and Employment)
  • A post-Great Recession overview of labor market trends in the United States and California (Institute for Research on Labor and Employment)
  • Challenging forced labor in immigrant detention centers (Looking South)
    • Court allows claims to move forward against private prison company that profits from forced labor of detained immigrants (Southern Poverty Law Center)                     A federal court has ruled that a private court has ruled that a private prison company can be held liable for forcing detained immigrants to work for as little as $1 a day to clean, cook, and maintain an immigration prison it operated in Georgia.
  • Is Prison Labor the Future of Our Food System? (Food First)                                                                                Prisoners are being used to fill the growing shortage of farmworkers – shortages that in large part are caused by the US immigration enforcement system.
  • Founding Farmers’ Restaurant Group Settles a Class Action Lawsuit From Employees for $1.49 Million (Eater)
    • Restaurant Group Agrees to $1.49M Pay, Sick Leave Settlement (Bloomberg Law)                        A restaurant group with locations in the Washington, DC, area agreed to pay up to $1.49 million to settle claims it didn’t provide sick leave required by a city law and underpaid tipped employees.
  • A Labor Day tribute to restaurant workers, cooking and serving food they can’t afford to eat (Salon)                I made 12 bucks an hour in a place where the tasting menu cost $400. Capitalism at its worst, but I don’t regret it
  • Your Labor Day reading List: five stories that will help you understand the workers behind what you eat (New Food Economy)
  • Whole Foods workers are moving to unionize. Read the letter sent to employees nationwide (The New Food Economy)                                                                                          “We cannot let Amazon remake the entire North American retail landscape without embracing the full value of its team members.”
  • Thousands Of Marriott Workers To Vote On Multi-City Strike (Huffington Post)
    • Hundreds of hotel workers march in San Francisco for better pay (San Francisco Chronicle)
    • Thousands of Chicago Workers Are Out On the First City Wide Hotel Strike In Over a Century (In These Times)
  • Fed Up With Sexual Harassment, McDonald’s Workers Are Going On Strike (Labor 411)                            Emboldened by the #MeToo movement, McDonald’s workers have voted to stage a one-day strike next week at restaurants in 10 cities in hopes of pressuring management to take stronger steps against on-the-job sexual harassment.
  • What History Books Left Out About Depression Era Co-ops (Yes!)                                                                                    It would seem that a movement that provided livelihood for more than 300,000 people in California alone would merit discussion in the history books.





  • ‘Like nicotine’: Bees develop preference for pesticides, study shows (The Guardian)                                      Insects’ acquired taste for pesticide-laced food is similar to nicotine addiction in smokers, say scientists



  • Investigation Exposes Animal Abuse at US Supplier to World’s Largest Meat Company (Truthout)


Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Nestle says slavery reporting requirements could cost customers (Sydney Morning Herald)
  • Bob’s Red Mill Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Glyphosate Weedkiller Contamination (Organic Consumers Association)
  • California Farm Bureau sells out farmers, hands John Deere a monopoly over tractor repair (Bongboing)
  • Maine’s small wild blueberry farmers struggle on what they’re raking in (Portland Press Herald)                Fierce competition from Canada, a glutted marketplace and inequitable USDA buybacks have made cultivating this iconic Maine crop a brutal business.
  • Price of Maine wild blueberries tumbles to lowest point in more than 30 years (Portland Press Herald)
  • Filipino Fast-Food Giant Jollibee Serves Spaghetti, Burger Steak and Fried Chicken – This Is What Two New Yorkers Made Of It (Independent)
  • How do Whole Foods shoppers feel about Amazon’s $1 trillion milestone? Look at their Yelp reviews – and the foot traffic (The New Food Economy)
  • Why Care about Independent, Locally Owned Businesses? (Institute For Local Self-Reliance)
  • Inflation hits 6-year high, wiping out wage gains for the average American (Chicago Tribune)
  • The Chemical-Free Food Movement Turning Dusty Land Into Fertile Paradise (Huffington Post)                    It’s called permaculture, and advocates say it could feed the world.
  • Is the Second Farm Crisis Upon Us? (Civil Eats)                                                                                Farmers across the country are in a state of emergency with diary and grain producers, new farmers, and farmers of color being hit the hardest.
  • The Consolidation of the American Harvest (Bloomberg)
  • Minnesota farmers consider asking for government help as trade war worsens downturn that started years ago (Star Tribune)                                                                                      The escalating trade war is imposing new burdens on Minnesota’s vast and economically important agricultural sector.
  • The economy my be booming, but early half of Americans can’t make ends meet (LA Times)


Food Fraud/Scandals/Weird

  • (Great Britain) More Than a Fifth of Meat Samples From Supermarkets and Restaurants Found to Contain DNA From Animals Not On the Label (Independent)
  • School Cops Busted for Selling Soda to students (Munchies)                                                                                            The side hustle grew out of Connecticut’s ban on soda in public schools.


Water & Our Oceans

  • This Is How Much Water it Takes To Make Your Favorite Foods (Huffington Post)
    • Report: The Green, Blue and Grey Water Footprint of Crops and Derived Crop Products (UNESCO-IHE)
    • Report: The Green, Blue and Grey Water Footprint of Farm Animals and Animal Products (UNESCO-IHE)
  • Torrential Rain Triggers Cole Spill In North Carolina (Huffington Post)                                                                            Duke Energy said the collapse displaced about 2,000 cubic yards of ash…
  • How do you make California water wars worse? Get the Trump administration involved (Sacramento Bee)
  • Pennsylvania: Energy Transfer Partners’ Pipeline Explodes Because of Rain (Earth First Journal)          The pipeline had only been in operation for one week…
  • Pipeline that Exploded in Pennsylvania Part of Push to Build Fracking-Reliant Petrochemical Network (Desmog)
  • More than half PA gas wells used ‘secret’ chemicals for fracking or drilling, report says (State Impact Pennsylvania)
  • Injecting wastewater underground can cause earthquakes up to 10 kilometers away (Nation of Change)        The important insight of this study is sedimentary rock injection is not a safer alternative to basement injection.
  • Oregon Reaches Critical Drought Levels after Driest Summer West of the Cascades in 40 Years (Willamette Week)
  • UN Makes a Bold Move to Protect Marine Life on the High Seas (Scientific American)                                   More than 190 nations are hammering out a treaty as industry rushes to cash in
  • Eyes on the High Seas (Anthropocene)        Illegal fishing is getting harder, thanks to public surveillance from space
  • Oyster shells used to end up in landfills. Now, they’re being turned into castles for baby oysters (New Food Economy)


Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

  • France becomes first country in Europe to ban all five pesticides killing bees (The Telegraph)
  • A handful of companies control American agriculture. Cory Booker wants to change that (New Food Economy)                                                                                              The New Jersey Senator has introduced a bill to halt the mergers and acquisitions that have hamstrung small-scale producers for decades.
  • Congress Finally Can Tell Hemp From Pot (The Atlantic)                                                                                            For almost 50 years, hemp has been lumped together with heroin, LSD, and Ecstasy, but new legislation could soon make the crop legal for farmers still struggling from the loss of tobacco.
  • Court orders ban of top-selling pesticide, says EPA violated law, ignored scientific studies (Chicago Tribune)
  • Documents Show Financial Entanglements Between Trump’s USDA Pick and Agribusiness (Texas Observer)                                                                                      Mindy Brashears, a Texas Tech animal scientist nominated by Trump to lead the food safety arm of the USDA, is deeply imbedded in the agribusiness industry.
  • Trump rolls back worker safety rules (Politico)                                                                                    ‘We want to protect our workers,’ Trump said in 2017. But his administration has weakened measures designed to keep them safe.
  • Hey, Army Corps of Engineers – Show Us Your Work in Your DAPL Report (Natural Resources Defense Council)
  • Bernie Sanders’ BEZOS Act would tax Amazon for its employees use of federal assistance (New Food Economy)
  • Hawaii Shows States’ Power to Regulate Pesticides (Civil Eats)                                                                                                  A new state law banning chlorpyrifons and regulating agrochemical companies is the result of nearly a decade of grassroots community organizing, and the first in the nation.
  • Michigan Legislature Approves Initiatives for $12 Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave (Eater)        Republicans aim to keep the issues off the November 6 ballot
  • Why Labor Is Holding Its Applause for Michigan’s Latest “Workers’ Rights” Measures (In These Times)
  • (California) Gov. Brown signs bills to block Trump’s offshore oil drilling plan (LA Times)
  • Why an Oakland pop-up restaurant was shut down for being ‘illegal’ (Berkeleyside)
  • The House Is Trying to Sneak These Controversial Changes Into the Farm Bill (Mother Jones)                            Even if the SNAP work requirements don’t make it through, these three wrinkles could.
  • How the Farm Bill Could Keep You from Banning Roundup at Your Kid’s Playground (Civil Eats)                  A lesser-known provision in the House farm bill would prevent cities and counties from setting their own rules about pesticides on public land. And it would reverse current bans in 155 communities.              And once again, what of states rights?
  • City Official Farm Bill Preemption Letter to Senate Ag Committee (Friends of the Earth)
  • About 2 Million Low-Income Americans Would Lose Benefits Under House Farm Bill, Study Says (NYT)


GMOs/CRISPR/Cloning/Synthetic Biology

  • Researchers to Release Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes in Africa for First Time (Scientific American)
  • Experts: Non-GMO Certification of GMO-Derived Sweetener Sets a ‘Dangerous Precedent’ (EcoWatch)


Technology/Food Technology/Nanotechnology

  • This is Roquette Science (Anthropocen)       How computerized arugula (aka roquette) farms take over the world



  • Study: Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance (US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health)
  • These Farmers Switched to Organic After Pesticides Made Their Families Sick (Civil Eats)                                  After seeing parents fall ill from cancer or die, many farmers are switching to organics to protect themselves and their children.
  • How the EPA and the Pentagon Downplayed a Growing Toxic Threat (ProPublica)                                                   A family of chemicals – know as PFAS and responsible for marvels like Teflon and critical to the safety of American military bases – has now emerged as a far greater menace than previously disclosed.
  • New Science Shows Bee-Killing Pesticides Are Unnecessary on Most Farms (Civil Eats)                  Alternatives are available for neonicotinoid insecticide seed coatings, saving farmers money and better protecting the environment.