Jenny’s Food and Ag Update October 8, 2018


  • Bayview ‘Growers Market’ provides healthy food options grown by and for the neighborhood (San Francisco Examiner)
  • Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid Stages Its Most Crucial Benefit Concert in a Generation (Billboard)                          “The crisis farmers are in now is even worse than 1985, because there are fewer farms left to lose,” says John Mellencamp, co-founder of Farm Aid. “They have a whole system stacked against them.”
  • What Hurricanes Warn Us About the Future of Food (Medium)                                                                                  Whether from floods or fires or climate change0induced natural disasters, when roads collapse and interstate commerce grinds to a halt, we all find ourselves vulnerably dependent on the food at hand.
  • Wisconsin On Pace To Hit Highest Loss Of Dairy Farms In 4 Years (Wisconsin Public Radio)                          Fewer dairy herds in Wisconsin due to continued economic pressures
    • Wisconsin dairy farmers, in debt and out of options, turn to GoFundMe for bailout (Journal Sentinel)
  • An Amazing Reaction Happens When a Plant Gets Hurt, Making Them More Similar to Animals (Science Alert)
  • Everyone agrees the country needs new farmers. Trouble is, they can’t afford land (New Food Economy)   Nearly 100 million acres of US farmland will change hands in the next few years, but most of it will go to investors and developers. Now, two online tools aim to help a new generation of farmers find land and demystify the cost of owning it.
  • Agriculture Has a Sustainability Problem – and It affects Your Business. Here’s Why (Inc.)                           The way you connect to other companies and industries is a web bigger than you ever imagined.
  • In Farm Country, Grappling With the Taboo of Talking about Climate Change (Civil Eats)                Despite the heated political rhetoric on both sides of the issue, the realities of the changing climate are driving farmers of all stripes to take action.
  • New global study reveals the ‘staggering’ loss of forests caused by industrial agriculture (Science)


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • CSA Farmers Must Navigate Obstacles to Get Fresh Food to NYC’s Low-Income Tables (City Limits)
  • North Carolina Produces 60% of the Country’s Sweet Potatoes. The Crop Is in Trouble. (modern farmer)
    • North Carolina supplies the nation’s sweet potatoes. Florence has put this year crop in doubt. (Charlotte Observer)
  • Racing Against the Harvest, Custom Wheat Cutters Struggle to Stay Relevant (Civil Eats)                                        For nearly 100 years, itinerant workers known as “Wheaties” have followed the Great Plains wheat trail, cutting ripening grain from south to north. Climate change, global markets, and the depopulation of rural America are now casting doubt on the future of their way of life.


Seeds & Cultivars


Food Culture & History

  • Luz Calvo Wants to Decolonize Your Plate (East Bay Express)                                                                                      The Oakland resident and ethnic studies professor aims to preserve healing indigenous food traditions through a cookbook and art exhibit.
  • Archaeologists Find Oldest Example of Nutmeg-Spiced Food, Just in Time for Fall (Gizmodo)


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

  • Calfresh, a ‘lifesaver’ for Bay Area college students struggling to buy groceries (KTVU2)
  • Freezers taped shut, food dangling from ceilings: How food pantries are preparing for Hurricane Florence (New Food Economy)                                                             Food insecurity increases in the wake of devastating storms. And that makes food pantries and their game time decisions more critical than ever.
  • The Scientific Case for Eating Bread (Medium)                                                                                       The widespread vilification of bread isn’t supported by strong research


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • Humans, Fish and Other Animals Are Consuming Microfibers in Our Food and Water (Truthout)
    • As Synthetic Microfibers Infiltrate Food, Water and Air, How Can We Prevent Future Release? (Ensia)                                                                          Scientists and manufacturers are looking for ways to keep synthetic microfibers from getting into the environment in the first place
  • Plastic Pollution Is Now Spreading From Ocean Food Chain Into Land Animals, Thanks to This Insect (Science Alert)
  • We Can Ban Plastic Straws, But America’s Eating Habits Are The Real Problem (Huffington Post)
  • Austin, Texas, Bans Restaurants From Throwing Away Food Waste (Huffington Post)                            Eateries will now have to donate or compost leftover food.


Healthy Food & Food Safety

  • Medi-Cal Home-Delivers a New Prescription: Healthy Meals (Capital & Main)                                     California’s Medically Tailored Meals pilot program could lead the medical industry, and especially insurers, to include nutrition as part of overall health care.
  • Jeffrey Sachs: Sugar Addiction Is A Sign Of Our Broken Food System (Huffington Post)                              The economist and adviser on the UN chief takes aim at large food companies that “peddle food and drink that is bad for people.”
  • Cafeteria Food: What the tray Says About Us (East Bay Express)                                                                                        From hospitals to schools, mass-produced meals aren’t what they used to be.
  • Hospitals Take Aim At ‘The Greatest Health Threat Of The 21st Century’ (Huffington Post)
    • Global Climate and Health Forum: Call To Action                                                                                    10 Priorities: #4 Build local, healthy, and sustainable food and agricultural systems.
  • Apples Or Fries With That? When It Comes To Kids Meals, Fries Are Hard To Beat (NPR)
  • Cargill recalls 66 tons of ground beef after deadly E. coli 026 outbreak (Food Safety News)                              The recall began with 132,000 pounds, and was increased the next day to 66 tons.
    • More than 132,000 pounds of ground beef are being recalled after one death and at least 17 illnesses (Business Insider)
  • 5 Million Pounds Of Beef Have Been Recalled Due To Salmonella Risk (Huffington Post)                                            At least 57 people have become ill following a possible outbreak of salmonella stemming from Arizona-based meat producer JBS Tollenson, Inc.
  • What Sparked An E. Coli Outbreak In Lettuce? Scientists Trace A Surprising Source (NPR)


Food Fraud, Scandals, Weird & Funny

  • Maine Asks Restaurant To Stop Giving Lobsters Cannabis Before Boiling Them (NPR)                                                  The state of Maine has asked the owner of a lobster restaurant to stop giving cannabis to lobsters in order to get them high before they die.


Children & School Food

  • More US Children Eating Fast Food, Despite Health Concerns (EcoWatch)
    • Report: Parents’ Reports of Fast-Food Purchases for Their Children: Have They Improved? (UConn Rudd Center)


Labor, Unions & Coops

  • Labor Conditions at Starbucks-Certified Plantation Deemed Analogous to Slavery (Truthout)
  • Trillion Dollar Company Led By CEO Worth $100+ Billion Gives Workers 25 Cent Raise (Labor 411) and Amazon raises minimum wage for US and UK employees (The Guardian)                                                                      I guess he changed his mind…
  • Amazon training videos coach Whole Foods staff on how to discourage unions (The Guardian) Guardian obtained internal videos sent to Whole Foods management, coaching them on how to watch for unionizing
  • Life as a Farmworker in Yuma’s Lettuce Fields (Civil Eats)                                                                                       Each winter, the fields of Yuma, Arizona, grow half a billion heads of iceberg lettuce. This is what it’s like to work as a lettuce harvester in those fields.
  • Climate Change Isn’t Just Making It Difficult For Farmworkers. It’s Putting Their Lives In Danger (Huffington Post)                                                                                  Hotter temperatures can increase heat-related illnesses, reduce paychecks and even kill those who labor outdoors.
  • Disney Resort hotel workers approve a new contract with a $15-an-hour minimum wage (LA Times)
  • Striking Hotel Workers Say “Slow Season” Is No Excuse for Losing Health Care (Truthout)
  • The Co-op Farming Model Might Help Save America’s Small Farms (Civil Eats)                                                Amid a nationwide rise in worker-owned businesses of all types, small farms across the country are foregoing traditional farm ownership and reaping the benefits of cooperative farming.



  • Workers across the Midwest arrested at rallies for higher wages, right to unionize (Think Progress)                “Every month is a struggle just to get by.”
  • MeToo’s hidden activists? Working class women (The Guardian)                                                                                    Janitors and fast-food workers, not celebrities, are ground zero of the MeToo movement. Time to shift the focus to them
  • The Simple Request of the McDonald’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Protests (The Atlantic)                                      The strike, like most #MeToo-era advocacy, reveals the those who’ve dealt with workplace misbehavior don’t desire vengeance so much as an acknowledgment of the harm that’s been wrought.
  • McDonald’s workers are about to walk out of their jobs to protest sexual harassment (Vice News)
    • McDonald’s Workers Strike Over Sexual Harassment In The Workplace (Huffington Post)                          The strike comes after the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund filed 10 sexual harassment complaints on behalf of women employed by the fast-food giant.
    • McDonald’s workers across the United States are on strike to protests sexual harassment (Mic)
  • As Florida chokes on red tide, governor denies environmental malpractice (Seattle Times)        Republican Governor Rick Scott, now running for the US Senate against the Democratic incumbent, Bill Nelson, nickeled, dimed, slashed and ignored Florida’s environmental protections for almost eight years.
    • Red Tide Protesters Drive Florida Gov. Rick Scott From Campaign Stop (Huffington Post)           “Red Tide Rick has got to go.” Shouted demonstrators as waves of   dead fish buried beaches.
  • Rock Band Occupies Palm Oil Tanks With Activists Protesting Deforestation (EcoWatch)                                    … activists, including members of Greenpeace and the Indonesian rock band Boomerang, occupied a palm oil refinery owned by Wilmar International, the world’s largest palm oil trader to protests deforestation in Indonesia.



  • Study: Roundup Weed Killer Could Be Linked To Widespread Bee Deaths (NPR)
    • Study: Glyphosate perturbs the gut microbiota of honey bees (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA)



  • The War On Drugs – In Your Bacon (Huffington Post)                                                                                Factory farming risks pushing us into a post antibiotic world, but consumers are demanding change.
  • A deadly pig disease raging in China is bound to spread to other Asian countries, experts warn (Science)
    • African swine fever (ASF), a deadly virus in pigs and wild oars, continues to spread in China and will almost certainly wreak havoc in other countries in Asia soon.
  • There’s Only One Way For Grass-Fed Cattle To Be A Sustainable Farming Practice (Huffington Post)            With a growing demand, two Harvard researchers attempt to answer that question.


Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • A food hall, run only by women of color and immigrants, is challenging the “boys’ club” of kitchens (Mic)
  • How commercial kitchens support the cottage food industry, helping startups realize their dreams (Inlander)
    • Spokane County Interstate Fair offers free lessons in growing, preparing and preserving food (Inlander)
  • The man who beat Monsanto: ‘They have to pay for not being honest’ (The Guardian)
  • Cornell Alliance for Science is a PR Campaign for the Agrichemical Industry (USRTK)
    • Email communications between Alison Van Eenennaam and Sarah Davidson Evanega (Chemical Industry Documents UCSF)
  • The Pros And Cons Of Food Delivery And Meal Prep Services (Huffington Post)                                                    Is outsourcing your shopping and meal prep really worth the money and environmental impact?
  • Vegan Fast-Food Chain Amy’s Drive Thru to Open Second California Location (Livekindly)
  • Class Action Lawsuit Alleges LaCroix Contains Ingredients Used In Cockroach Insecticide (3 CBS Philly)
  • Nestle says slavery reporting requirements could cost customers (Sydney Morning Herald)
  • Soylent meal replacement gets UK launch (BBC News)                                                                                      Meal replacement drink Soylent will launch in the UK on Thursday with a different formula to its US equivalent.                                  Remember, this is the stuff that was making people sick in the US in 2016
    • Soylent: meal-substitute company admits products making people sick (The Guardian)                            The California startup announced its meal powder makes people ill just days after finding similar problems with Soylent Bar
  • The Rise of the Zombie Small Businesses (The Atlantic)                                                                                      What your chicken dinner says about wage stagnation, income inequality, and economic sclerosis in the United States
  • Under Trump, CEO Pay Soars While Employee Wages Decrease – And Tax Cuts Could Make the Gap Even Bigger (Newsweek)
    • Study: Top CEO’s compensation increased 17.6 percent in 2017 (Economic Policy Institute)          The ratio of CEO-to-worker compensation grew 312 to 1
  • Unions Play a Critical Role in Wealth Creation for People of Color, Research Says (Bloomberg)
    • Union Membership Narrows the Racial Wealth Gap for Families of Color (Center for American Progress)
  • On the minimum wage one thing is clear: you get what you pay for (The Guardian)                                        Academic studies have provided encouragement for both supporters and opponents of raising the minimum wage. Smart business owners already know the answer


Food Fraud, Scandals & Weird

  • Seattle sea cucumber poachers reeled in $1.5m (The Guardian)                                                                        Washington man faces prison for role in years-long operation to poach and sell 250,000 lb. of poorly understood creature


Water & Our Oceans

  • The Navajo Nation Is Experiencing a Water Crisis (Color Lines)                                                                                                  In Indian Country, 26,000 homes lack access to safe water and/or sanitation services.
  • Grand Canyon uranium mining ban upheld as supreme court declines to hear challenge (The Guardian)                                                                                    Court says extraction ban is among cases it refuses to review, in victory for environmental groups and Native American Communities
  • While Nestle extracts millions of liters from their land, residents have no drinking water (The Guardian)
  • In the Heart of the Corn Belt, an Uphill Battle for Clean Water (Yale Environment 360)                            Runoff from farms and feedlots has badly polluted Iowa’s waterways, more than half of which do not meet federal quality standards. Now, an unlikely coalition is calling for stricter controls…
  • California’s Looming Water Pollution Problem (Pacific Standard)                                                                                            In California’s Central Valley, the oil industry has been dumping wastewater into unlined – and under-regulated – ponds, threatening the state’s limited groundwater the humans who rely on it.
  • Fracking Chemicals Dumped in Allegheny River a Decade Ago Still Showing Up in Mussels (Earth Island Journal)                                                                                          New study shows that strontium is making its way into the food chain
    • Study: Accumulation of Marcellus Formation Oil and Gas Wastewater metals in Freshwater Mussel Shells (Environmental Science & Technology)
    • Study: Sources of Radium Accumulation in Stream Sediments near Disposal Sites in Pennsylvania: Implications for Disposal of Conventional Oil and Gas Wastewater (Environmental Science & Technology)
  • Oil Drillers’ Attempts to Avoid Earthquakes May Make Them Worse (Scientific American)                        Shallow wastewater injections – supposedly safer – can cause big, far-flung quakes, study says
  • “Wild, Wonderful” West Virginia’s Decapitated Mountains and Deformed Fish (Scientific American)            A scientist documents the poisoning of the state’s waters by the coal industry
  • High And Dry: Swiss Army Airlifts Water To Cows In Drought-Stricken Mountains (NPR)
  • Florence Kills An Estimated 5,500 Pigs, 3.4 Million Chickens And Turkeys In North Carolina (Huffington Post)                                                                                      There are also farms cut off from vital supplies like animal feed, a state official said.
    • Hurricane Florence Is Turning North Carolina Into A Toxic Stew o Pig Poop, Sewage, and Coal Ash (Vice News)
    • These Photos of Submerged North Carolina Livestock Farms Are Devastating (Mother Jones)                  Millions of animals have perished.                                                                  And what of contamination from all that chicken litter?
    • Press Release: Sanderson Farms, Inc. Provides Update on Hurricane Florence Damage
    • Even Before Florence’s Floods, North Carolina’s Factory Farms Were Deadly to Their Neighbors (Mother Jones)                                                                                    …who are disproportionately poor, African American, and Native American.
    • Thousands of Dead Fish Cover North Carolina Roads After Floodwaters Recede (Time)
    • Climate Dystopia: When Hurricanes Hit Industrial Agriculture (Medium)


Government, Regulations, Policy & Farm Bill

  • China hits back at Trump, adds tariffs to $60B of US made products (NBC News)
    • Iowa farming’s $2.2 billion trade loss could ripple through state’s economy (Des Moines Register)                                                                            You think?
    • Trump’s Tariffs Will Make Food and Clothing Pricier for Americans (Bloomberg)
    • Walmart says customers will see higher prices due to Trump’s China tariffs (WJLA Washington DC)
  • Nicola Sturgeon (First Minister of Scotland) tells Amazon to ditch slave wages or lose millions in handouts freeze (Daily Record)                                                                                          The First Minister has lost patience with the web giant after their failure to bring fair working standards and pay staff the Living Wage.
  • As aid checks go out, farmers worry bailout won’t be enough (PBS)                                                        Farmers across the United States will soon begin receiving government checks as part of a billion-dollar bailout to buoy growers experiencing financial strain from President Donald Trump’s trade disputes with China.
    • Farmers Say Aid Won’t Cover Tariff Damage (WSJ)                                                                              USDA has begun make payments to farmers affected by trade conflicts
  • 5 People Died From Eating Lettuce – But Trump’s FDA Still Won’t Make Farms Test Water For Bacteria (AlterNet)                                                                                            For more than a decade, it’s been clear that there’s a gaping hole in America food safety
  • As More Cities Push For Paid Sick Leave, States Push Back (Huffington Post)                                                  Twenty-two states bar cities from mandating paid sick leave.
  • Governor Brown Signs Bill Legalizing Street Vending in California (KTLA5)
    • Selling street food is no longer a crime in California, easing fears of jail time and deportation (Mic)
  • Federal Court Rules in Favor of North Carolina’s Farmworkers Unions (modern farmer)                                   In 2017, North Carolina’s farm bill included a provision that prevented farmworkers in the state fro organizing.
  • In North Carolina, Big Ag Tells You What Is ‘Milk’ (Huffington Post)                                                                               New legislation in North Carolina has placed pressure on the Food and Drug Administration to review their rules regarding the labeling of milk and limits the ability of residents to hold big-ag operations accountable for pollution.                                                                                      This sounds a lot like Missouri’s legislation that ‘meat’ can only be used for derived from “… livestock or poultry.”
  • What’s the beef? Missouri’s attempt to silence speech about veggie burgers (The Hill)
  • (New York) City’s Milk Buying Could Help Farmers in Crisis and Workers in Need (City Limits)
  • Bad Farm Policy Contributes to Natural Disasters (Common Dreams)                                            Unfortunately, the Washington power structure cares little for the environment or working families
  • Congress Leaves Farmers Hanging Right Before The Election (Huffington Post)                                Negotiators wanted to keep the pressure on by not doing a short-term extension. But it’s rural lawmakers who are feeling the pressure most.
  • The ocean is brown, the crabs are dead and the smell is unbearable. Welcome to Florida (Miami Herald)


Food Science, Technology & Nanotechnology

  • Science Reveals How Fruit Keeps A Lid On Ripening Until The Time Is Right (NPR)



  • Publisher: Roundup Studies Failed to Fully Disclose Monsanto’s Role (EcoWatch)
    • Monsanto’s Role in Roundup Safety Study Is Corrected by Journal (Bloomberg)                          Bayer AG’s defense of Roundup weed killer may take a hit after an academic journal said Monsanto Co. didn’t fully disclose its involvement in publishing research finding the herbicide safe.
  • ‘Natural’ Bread Tests Positive for Glyphosate (EcoWatch)                                                                                              Of course they do, many Cooperative Extensions recommend using glyphosate as a pre-harvest aid for small grains…
  • Despite knowing PCBs were dangerous, Monsanto kept profiting for decades (Inlander)                              Spokane is now suing, and the ‘Poison Papers’ show why
  • A Drifting Weedkiller Puts Prized Trees At Risk (NPR)                                                                                  Dicamba drift, again…