Jenny’s Food & Ag Update, October 20, 2018



  • Tacoma man grows organic food to give away for free (King5)                                                                                          A Tacoma man sets out a table in front of his house with free organic produce that he grows in his backyard. He aims to fill a need in his neighborhood and build community at the same time.
  • What if there was a prize for food sovereignty? (The New Food Economy)                                                                There is – and it’s an emerging alternative to the far better known, lucrative, and contentious World Food Prize.
  • The Promise and Peril of Mexico’s Wine Revolution (Mother Jones)                                                                          Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe is booming – worrying some its residents.
  • America Isn’t Ready for the lanternfly Invasion (Bloomberg)                                                                                      A bizarre pest from Asia is spreading fast putting billions of dollars’ worth of resources at risk.
  • Will Americans Embrace A Zeal For Eel? This Maine Entrepreneur Hopes So (NPR)                    North America’s rivers were once filled with eel, but we ate so many they are now endangered and therefore protected
  • American Eels: Restoring a Vanishing Resource in the Gulf of Maine (Gulf of Maine Council)
  • Goat Meat Could Save Our Food System, But We’re Too Afraid To Eat It (Huffington Post)                                        Not only is goat often referred to as the healthiest of red meats, but It’s good for the planet, too. And, yes, it actually tastes good.
  • Good News For ‘Green’ Brews: Consumers Say They’ll Pay More For Sustainable Beer (NPR)
  • Samin Nostrat Wants Everybody to Cook (The Atlantic)                                                                                      The Bay Area chef believes that great food can be both beautiful and accessible. Her new Netflix series, based on her celebrated cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, might just help her deliver that message
  • Flood carries a piece of the Mountain Valley Pipeline into the hands of opposing land (farmer) owner (The Roanoke Times)
  • Slaughter-Free Meat Is An Answer To Our Cruel And Broken Food System (Huffington Post)
  • Urban Farming organization Visualizes a Franchise Model to Produce Fresh Fish and Vegetables (EcoWatch)
  • Coffee Rust Threatens Latin American Crop: 150 Years Ago, It Wiped Out An Empire (NPR)


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • The Potato Whisperer (Atlas Obscura)        Manuel Choqque Bravos delicious, colorful creations adored by world class chefs.
  • As Trump Demonizes Immigrants, These US Farmers Aren’t Having it (Huffington Post)                Immigrant workers perform grueling jobs that many Americans won’t do. And Farmers know it. A Wisconsin program builds a deeper understanding between them.


Land and Soil

  • US boasts 6.5 million acres o organic certified land with 460 new operations in 2018 (Ag Update)



  • We Feed the World: photo stories of farmers fighting climate change in five continents (The Guardian)
    • ‘Crisis is a way of life’” helping farmers cope with devastating climate change (The Guardian)
  • To Address the Climate Crisis, We Must Completely Rethink How We Produce and Consume Food (In These Times)                                                                                Market-driven solutions won’t cut it.
  • Agroecology as a Tool of Sovereignty and Resilience in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria (Civil Eats)      Two member of Organización Boricuá, which recently won the Food Sovereignty Prize, discuss lessons learned from organizing on the front lines of climate change.
  • The Giant Corporations Behind Your Burgers And Milk Have A Terrifying Climate Secret (Huffington Post)                                                                                Together, five companies have a climate footprint bigger than Exxon, Shell or BP, but we don’t talk about it.
  • Bye-Bye, Beer? Brewers Say They’ve Got a Plan On Climate Change (NPR)
    • Beer Prices Could Double Because Of Climate Change, Study Says (NPR)
    • Study: Decreases in global beer supply due to extreme drought and heat (Nature)
    • Trouble brewing: climate change to cause ‘dramatic’ beer shortages (The Guardian)                      Extreme weather damage to the global barley crop will mean prices spike and supply problems, according to new research
  • Extreme weather could trigger a global beer shortage that causes prices to skyrocket worldwide (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • A Shortage of Beer and Fries? Climate Change Hits Europe Where It Hurts (EcoWatch)
  • Wineries and vineyards clash over how to handle grapes affected by wildfire smoke (San Francisco Chronicle)


Seeds & Cultivars

  • Scientists thought they had created the perfect tree. But it became a nightmare. (Seattle Times)
  • This Seed Bank Preserves Biodiversity by Opening Its Doors to Farmers (Gastro Obscura)                                  The Ethiopian institution pioneered a new model.


Food Culture & History

  • How the Navajo Nation Is Reclaiming Food Sovereignty (Civil Eats)                                                                    Through cooking classes, outreach, and social media, a new generation of Native Americans are reconnecting to Indigenous foodways.
  • Canada’s Wild Salmon Caravan Connects Future Of Fish And Indigenous People (NPR)
  • Fire and Agroforestry Are Reviving Traditional Native Foods and Communities (Civil Eats)                                  In Northern California, the Karuk and Yurok tries are burning away decades of forest management practices and revitalizing their foodways and communities.
  • The Chile Pepper Rivalry Heats Up Between New Mexico’s Hatch And Colorado’ Pueblo (NPR)
  • Ancient Maya: Astronomers, Farmers… And Salt Entrepreneurs? (NPR)
    • Research Report: Salt and marine products in the Classic Maya economy from use-wear study of stone tools (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA)
  • How a Uruguayan Meat Factory Became Iconic Worldwide (Atlas Obscura)                                                                          The former factory is now a UNESCO world heritage site.


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

  • Food Banks Reap Unexpected Bounty From Trade Disputes (The Wall Street Journal)                                  US government set to deliver $1.2 billion in products bought from farmers as tariff relief
  • Connecting the dots: The trade war with China and feeding America’s poor (Food Politics by Marion Nestle)
  • Sloppy science bears substantial blame for Americans’ bad eating habits (LA Times)
    • Brian Wansink, the Cornell Professor Known or His Fun Food Research, Retires Amid Scandal (Mother Jones)                                                                        Accused of misconduct, he stands by the integrity of his work.


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste


Healthy, Food Safety

  • Should Canadians Be Worried About American Milk Quality? (Huffington Post)                                                    A dairy expert weighs in on commons misconceptions in the wake of USMCA.
  • Maseca Corn Flours Test Positive for Toxic Residues of Monsanto Weedkiller (OCA)                                        Leading international brand also tests positive for genetically modified organisms, despite marketing claims of ‘100 percent natural.’
  • Is LaCroix Safe? Yes. Natural? That’s Complicated (Mother Jones)                                                                                                    A new lawsuit underscores the ambiguity of food labels.
  • Pret A Manager Says Second Person Died After Allergic Reaction To Sandwich (Huffington Post)                            The news of the death follows a British coroner’s ruling that the sandwich chain’s product labeling is inadequate.
  • Walmart, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s are recalling thousands of pounds of ready-to-eat salads (Business Insider)                                                                                      Here we go again, this is the second recall since August 1, 2018: Health alert issued for salad s, wraps from Kroger, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens due to parasite concern (CNN)


Food Fraud, Scandals, Weird & Funny

  • This Cornell Food Researcher Has Had 13 Papers Retracted. How Were They Published in the First Place? (Mother Jones)
  • In Germany, an Entire Vineyard of Grapes Has Gone Missing (Gastro Obscura)                                                Police suspect a rival grape-grower got a little jelly.
  • A Museum Dedicated To Disgusting Food Is Opening In Sweden (Huffington Post)                                                From century eggs to maggot-infested cheese, this museum is home to 80 of the world’s most disgusting foods.


Labor, Unions & Coops

  • “Papá, I don’t think you should go to work today.” (The California Sunday Magazine)                                                  The dread and hope of migrant farmers and families
  • Farmworkers face illness and death in the fields (High Country News)                                                                      ‘The reality is that the machinery of growers is taken better care of than the lives of farmworkers.’
  • ‘Crops go unharvested and animals go uncared for. ‘ Concerns about Washington farmworker shortages grow (Seattle Times)
  • 1,000 unfilled jobs forcing meatpackers to sweeten benefits pot (Ag Update)                                                                  On any given Monday, America’s biggest supplier of ground beef has 1,000 jobs unfilled, pushing Cargill Inc. to aggressively sweeten the pot on benefits to retain existing workers and hire new ones…
  • Sun-Maid strike ends with new contract (Hanford Sentinel)                                                                                              … more than 500 Sun-Maid workers went on strike for two weeks…
  • As Midterms Approach, Fast Food Workers Plans Strikes in Battleground States (Truthout)
  • The Food Industry Has Been Notoriously Hard To Organize. Could These Tactics Bring It New Life? (Huffington Post)                                                                                      These organizing tactics aren’t traditional, but they are helping unions make some headway in the food and drink industry.
  • A Boos for the Worker-Owned Economy (Yes!)                                                                                                  A new measure will make it easier for retiring owners to sell their businesses to employees – and save jobs into the bargain.



  • A New Study Shows How Mushrooms Could Save Bees. Yes, Mushrooms. (Mother Jones)                                “If we could knock down viruses in honey bee colonies, it could lead to greater health in other pollinators.”



  • Will California finally get the cage-free bill they’ve been seeking? (The New Food Economy)                                     A decade after Proposition 2 passed, voters want firm, clear parameters on how much space to allow farm animals.
  • California’s Latest Push for Cage-Free Eggs (Mother Jones)                                                                                          A new ballot initiative seeks to expand upon a 2008 law that didn’t go as far as many hoped.
  • Calves in Confinement (The Intercept)   Gruesome footage of dairy calves exposes a gaping loophole in California’s landmark animal welfare law.
  • Police Arrest 58 Activists After Factory Conditions Exposed at ‘Free Range’ Perdue Supplier (Common Dreams)


Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Aspiring Maine credit union wants to lend exclusively to farms, food producers (Bangor Daily News)
  • Long Meadow Ranch Takes a Full-Circle Approach to Farming in Wine Country (KQED)                                Visitors to St. Helena, Napa Valley’s chic epicenter, frequently stop at the Farmstead, a restaurant, café, farmstand, and general store know for seasonal, locally grown, and organic fair…
  • Soda Companies Are Waging A Cynical War On ‘Grocery Taxes’ (Huffington Post)                                      Corporate-backed campaigns to on sugary beverage taxes are misleading voters.
  • StarKist Faces $100 Million Fine For Fixing Tuna Prices (Huffington Post)                                      Prosecutors allege that the industry’s top three companies conspired between 2010 and 2013 to keep prices artificially high.
  • Scotland’s $2 Billion (farmed) Salmon Industry Is Thriving – But At What Cost? (NPR)
    • Report: Review of the Environmental Impacts of Salmon Farming in Scotland (Scottish Association for Marine Science)
  • No Cash Needed At This Café. Students Pay The Tab With Their Personal Data (NPR)
  • People of color have the highest obesity rates in the US. Food marketing is part of the problem (Vox)        University of San Diego marketing professor Aarti Ivanic discusses how race and food marketing intersect.
  • 28 Pie Charts That Show Female Representation in Food (Eater)                                                                                          How far have we come since “The Gods of Food”?
  • The World’s 50 Best List Will at Least Try to Include Women in 2019 (Eater)                                                          The awards’ voting academy will gender-balanced in 2019, but the organization will keep its controversial “best female chef” award
  • How lobbyists for Monsanto led a ‘grassroots farmers’ movement against an EU glyphosate ban (Greenpeace)
  • ‘The world is against them’: new era of cancer lawsuits threaten Monsanto (The Guardian)
    • Lawyers: CRT Corrections of Glyphosate Review Only Tells Half the story (Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman)
  • Texas companies paid $654M more in tariffs this summer than the last amidst Trump’s trade war (The Dallas Morning News)


Food Fraud, Scandals & Weird

  • California’s almond harvest has created a golden opportunity for bee thieves (Reveal)


Water & Our Oceans

  • When In Drought: States Take On Urgent Negotiations To avoid Colorado River Crisis (NPR)
  • Latest: Tribes gain more leverage over Western water (High Country News)                                                          A recent ruling could settle the unresolved ground water rights of early 240 tribes.
  • Fracking is destroying US water supply, warns shocking new study (Think Progress)
    • Study: The intensification of the water footprint of hydraulic fracturing (Science Advances)
  • Why 1 million Californians lack safe drinking water (High Country News)                                                  Rural, cash-strapped communities don’t have the means to treat contaminated water.
  • Oysters On The Half Shell Are Actually Saving New York’s Eroding Harbor (NPR)
  • Plastic Pollution Has Increased A Hundredfold In The South Atlantic (Huffington Post)                        “This is a very big wake-up call.”


Government, Regulation, Policy & Farm Bill

  • Trump signs ‘Save Our Seas Act’ to boost clean-up efforts in world’s oceans (UPI)
  • ‘So much water.’ Trump moves to slash environmental rules on Delta, putting farms before fish (Sacramento Bee)
  • How an Algorithm Kicks Small Businesses Out of the Food Stamps Program on Dubious Fraud Charges (The Intercept)
  • Trump tells May to abandon ‘unjustified’ food (safety) standards for Brexit trade deal (Business Insider)
    • Insect filled chocolates, rat hair noodles, and maggot orange juice: The reality of a Brexit trade deal with Trump (Business Insider)
  • Trump team makes controversial change to allow chicken plants to operate at faster speeds (The Washington Post)                                                                                  What of worker safety, public health, and animal welfare?
  • San Diego approves ban on polystyrene with grace period for small restaurants (San Diego Union Tribune)
  • The Farm Bill Expired – Now What? (Mother Jones)                                                                        Republicans and Democrats in the House couldn’t agree on what the bill should include.
  • It’s not just tariffs. The stalled farm bill threatens demand for American food overseas (The New Food Economy)
  • A Change to Farm Bill Conservation Efforts Could Spell Disaster for the Corn Belt (Civil Eats)                             As lawmakers debate whether or not to merge two crucial farm conservation programs, the future of arm pollution in Iowa – and other Midwestern states – hangs in the balance.
  • GOP plant to get Americans off food stamps puts 4 million children and seniors at risk (Vox)  Republican work rules will do more harm than good.                  Remember, there is a reason we implemented the food stamp program and it is part of the Farm Bill…


GMOs, CRISPR, Cloning & Synthetic Biology


Food Science, Technology & Nanotechnology

  • The Future Of Food (Quartz)                            A four part series                                                                                                        As global climate change worsens and the population expands, humanity must produce more food in the next 50 years than it has in the past 10,000. Are lab-made meat and automation the key to farming in the future, or must we tend to the soil we already have?
  • Forcing the Farm (etc Group)                      How Gene Drive Organisms Could Entrench Industrial Agriculture and Threaten Food Sovereignty
  • Death by Fertilizer (grist)                          Nitrogen fertilizer is a disaster. Abandoning it would be a bigger disaster. Now a dozen billionaires are funding an alternative.



  • Glyphosate and dicamba herbicides increase antibiotic resistance in bacteria (GMWatch)                            Antibiotic resistance development in bacteria increased b a factor of up to 100,000 times faster than occurred without the herbicide
  • Study: Agrichemicals and antibiotics in combination increase antibiotic resistance evolution (PeerJ)
  • Nationwide Class Action Lawsuit Targets Dupont, Chemours, 3M, and Other Makers of FPAS Chemicals (The Intercept)                                                                                          The Teflon chemicals
  • Despite A Ban, Arkansas Farmers Are Still Spraying Controversial Weedkiller (NPR)                                                      … soybeans were damaged in 2017 by dicamba, a popular weedkiller that’s prone to drifting into neighboring fields. Some farmers in the state are defying efforts by regulators to strictly limit use of the chemical.
  • Ancestors’ exposure to DDT may contribute to obesity, study says (LA Times)                                          Exposure to the pesticide DDT could be playing a role in high rates of obesity three generations later, new study says.
  • Study: Ancestral dicholorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) exposure promotes epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of obesity (MBC Medicine)