Jenny’s Food & Ag Update November 20, 2018


  • Alexandria Oasio-Cortez Learned Her Most Important Lessons from Restaurants (Bon Appétit)
  • ‘Farming saved my life.’ Veteran turns to the land for PTSD therapy and a new beginning. (The News and Observer)
  • Taquero Drives Out To Wildfire Evacuation Camp, Feeds Hundreds Left Homeless By Blaze (Latin Live)
  • How A Ragtag Group Of Oregon Locals Took On The Biggest Chemical Companies In The World – And Won (The Intercept)
  • Catch me if you can: How the paiche plague in Bolivia’s Amazon is making its way onto menus (Independent)
  • China Plows Ahead With Modern Farming as American Tariffs Drive Up crop Costs (Wall Street Journal)                                                                         The trade fight gives Beijing fresh incentive to beef up a sector dominated by small farms with low crop yields


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • What’s Behind the Crippling Dairy Crisis? Family Farmers Speak Out. (Civil Eats)                                                          In the Northeast, the dairy crisis is shuttering generations-old diaries. Can the crisis become a rallying political issue?
  • What’s the Big Problem With Paper Pots? (Modern Farmer)                                                                                           An efficient Japanese potting system has come under minor fire in the past year. What’s the deal?


Land and Soil

  • Rare microbes lead scientists to discover new branch on the tree of life (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)                                                                Hemimastigotes are more different from all other living things than animals are from fungi



  • Natural Climate Solutions Could Cancel Out a Fifth of US Emissions, Study Finds (Inside Climate News)                                                                                      Low-tech, time-tested forest, farm and land management techniques are effective, cheap and carry benefits well beyond tackling climate change.
  • Crab Fishers Sue Fossil Fuel Industry Over Climate Change Damage (Inside Climate News)                   The lawsuit by the largest West Coast commercial fishing association seeks to hold 30 companies accountable for harming shellfish and livelihoods as the ocean warms.


Plants, Seeds & Cultivars

  • The Last Tree Standing (Modern Farmer)  For thousands of years, breadfruit grew in the Pacific Islands, where it was a staple in locals’ diets. It’s time to give it another look.


Food Culture & History

  • Decolonizing Cuisine with Mak-‘amham (KCET)                                                                                              … two Ohlone chefs are revitalizing Ohlone language, food practices and adapting them for a modernist palate.
  • Young Women are Reviving Indigenous Food Traditions Online (Civil Eats)                                                                     A new generation of Native Americans is celebrating its food culture and promoting food health – with the help of social media and YouTube-friendly videos.
  • Black Migrants: Photographs of California’s Forgotten agricultural Past (Civil Eats)
  • A Bronze Age tomb in Israel reveals the earliest known use of vanilla (Science News)                               Jugs that date to about 3,600 years ago hold traces of the aromatic substance


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

  • This misinterpreted Bible verse is behind Republican efforts to deny food to poor people (Raw Story)
  • This Community is Addressing Food Insecurity, One Grocery Store at a Time (Civil Eats)
  • How Nutritious Is That Fish? To Find Out, Ask Its Relatives (EcoWatch)                                                            Eels and anchovies don’t look or act much alike. One is sinuous and shy, the other is a bright flash of silver in a school of thousands…


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • France’s war on waste makes it the world’s most sustainable country (World Economic Forum)
  • The Biggest Source of Plastic Trash You’ve Never Heard of (ensia)                                                                                    From acres of sheeting to miles of twine, farms use billions of pounds of plastic each year. What can we do to reduce the impact?
  • The Problems With Bioplastics (Eastbay Express)                                                                               People mistakenly try to recycle them, thereby contaminating the waste stream. Plus, they’re not really compostable.


Healthy Food & Food Safety

  • India is awash in palm oil, and health takes a hit (Food & Environmental Reporting Network)        From traditional snacks to fast food, the cheap oil is everywhere. Rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease – already high – are rising.
  • Watch The Iceland Christmas Ad Which Will Never Be Shown After Authorities Banned It (LBC UK)
  • Food Stamps For Soda: Time To End Billion-Dollar Subsidy For Sugary Drinks? (NPR)


Food Fraud, Scandals, Weird & Funny

  • Australian Police Arrest 50 Year Old Woman After Needles Found In Strawberries (Huffington Post)   Police have said that the accused worked as a supervisor at a strawberry farm in Queensland.


Children & School Food

  • France’s Crisis Epidemic of Limbless Babies (Daily Beast)                                                                    Doctors are confounded on why kids from two rural French towns were born without parts of their arms and hands between 2012 and 2013.
  • What School Lunches Have to Do With Fixing Wealth Inequality (Yes!)                                                        Dismantling a capitalist food system could begin with schools, which nationwide spend about $3 billion on food contracts.


Labor, Unions & Coops

  • Your Halloween Candy’s Hidden Ingredient: Child Slave Labor (Mother Jones)                                          Chocolate makers say they’re tackling the problem, but progress is scant.
  • Arkansas and Missouri Approve Minimum Wage Increases (Truthout)
    • The Fairness Project                              Also: Massachusetts Passed $15 minimum wage            Michigan passed Paid Sick Leave                                                            San Antonio, TX passed Paid Sick Leave
  • Dozens of Farmers Continue to Harvest Despite Proximity of (California) Fires (NBC Los Angeles)
  • New Department of Labor Numbers Show Farmers Are Increasingly Turning to this Controversial Visa Program (Mother Jones)                                                             Positions certified for the H-2A visa are up 21 percent over last year.



  • Hemp fields offer a late-season pollen source for stressed bees (Science News)                                                   Low-THC cannabis attracts a wide range of bee species collecting for larvae



  • Meet Winston: America’s First Certified Therapeutic Rooster (Modern Farmer)                                               From the moment he dons his red bandana, he’s ready to comfort people in pain. Just how good is Winston? Good Enough to have earned a testimonial letter from the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic.
  • Three month after jury awarded millions in hog-waste lawsuit, trial begins in another case (The News and Observer)
    • Odor, flies and noise. Hog farming goes on trial again with high-stakes federal lawsuit. (The News and Observer)                                                                                    A high-stakes, month-long trail against the world’s largest pork producer () began in Raleigh…
  • As cruel industrial pig farming persists in the EU, one million citizens demand change (Euractiv)


Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • From field to city: Are direct deliveries a viable business model for farmers? (Euractiv)
  • The Beverage Industry Has Figured Out a Legal End Run Around Soda Taxes (Mother Jones)                                 It worked in the state o Washington on Tuesday.
  • Chocolate giant Cadbury ‘still pushing orangutans towards extinction by wrecking habitat for palm oil’ (Independent)
    • These everyday household products all contain unsustainable palm oil (Hastings & St. Leonards Observer)
  • Why Co-ops and Community Farms Can’t Close the Racial Wealth Gap (Yes!)                              Circulating local dollars can’t create wealth when there’s not enough to begin with.
  • Trump’s tax cuts will help the Walton family more than Walmart workers (Market Watch)                     A study suggests there’s a world of difference between the tax benefits enjoy by these workers and their employers
  • Walton Wealth: An Analysis of the Last 16 Years of Corporate Dividend Tax Breaks for the Riches Family in the US (Making Change At Walmart, UFCW)
  • 1,100 economists warn that Trump is repeating one of the biggest mistakes of the Great Depression (Business Insider)


Water & Our Oceans

  • Fifty Towns in Connecticut Have Now Banned Fracking Waste (Food and Water Watch)                           More wins for an inspiring grassroots movement to protect community health
  • US shale firms offer $100 million to aid Texas, New Mexico (Reuters)                                                               And what of the environmental damage?
  • Hormone-Disrupting Weed Killer Taints Tap Water for Millions in Corn Belt (Environmental Working Group)
    • A Valuable Reputation (The New Yorker)                                                                              After Tyrone Hayes said that a chemical was harmful, its marker pursued him.
  • Breathing Toxins For My Birthday (Food and Water Watch)                                                                                       Red tide has been impacting the Western coast of Florida or months in horrifying ways





Government, Regulation, Policy & Farm Bill

  • Trump has only distributed a fraction of promised bailout funds for farmers hurt by tariffs (Think Progress)                                                                                      Less than $900 million of $12 billion bailout program has actually been given to US producers.
  • Chinese – owned pork producer to get money from (US tariff) bailout program spurred by China’s tariffs (The Washington Post)
  • Scientists warned this weed killer (Dicamba) would destroy crops. EPA approved it anyway (Reveal News)
  • EPA Plans to Allow Unlimited Dumping of Fracking Wastewater in the Gulf of Mexico (Truthout)
  • USDA won’t name turkey plants, despite 164 illnesses and 1 death (Food Safety News)                                 It appears that the USDA has finally released the source organizations…
  • Almost 46 tons of raw ground turkey recalled for link to Salmonella Reading outbreak (Food Safety News)
  • Report: EPA Unable to Assess the Impact of Hundreds of Unregulated Pollutants in Land Applied Biosolids on Human Health and the Environment (EPA)
    • EPA Watchdog Questions Safety of Sewage Used as Fertilizer (Bloomberg)                                                     This issue is still not settled after the San Francisco Organic Biosolids fiasco in 2010?
  • USDA sued for not requiring verification for ‘humane’ labeling (Food Safety News)
  • California is banning the sale of eggs from caged hens (World economic Forum)
    • California Votes To Ban Cages For Hens, Give Farm Animals More Room (Huffington Post)   Proposition 12 may change the way farms nationwide treat their chickens, pigs and calves.
  • California pesticide regulators recommend new chlorpyrifos restrictions (The Californian)
  • Republicans Are Making A Deal On Food Stamps And Farm Subsidies (Huffington Post)                      With Democrats taking over the House, Republicans are eager to pass the farm bill.


GMOs, CRISPR, Cloning & Synthetic Biology

  • Genetically Engineered American Chestnut Tree Called ‘Trojan Horse’ at Opening Door to Commercialize GE Trees (Stop GE Trees)
  • Is The Pentagon Modifying Viruses To Save Crops – Or To Wage Biological Warfare? (NPR)


Food Science, Technology & Nanotechnology



  • Industry studies show evidence of bias and misleading conclusions on widely used insecticide: Scientists (Environmental Health News)                                                          Data just doesn’t add up behind industry conclusions on chlorpyfrifos – a controversial insecticide linked to brain impacts for children.