Jenny’s Food & Ag Update for December 2, 2018


  • Unlike a Globalized Food System, Local Food Won’t Destroy the Environment (Turthout)
  • José Andrés is nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, congressman confirms (The Washington Post)                                                                      Sometimes the greatest act of peace is to feed another human being.
  • Doria Robinson on how urban agriculture can heal a community’s imagination (Rob Hopkins)
  • This Veteran Learned the Value of American Wool in the Army. Now He’s Raising His Own Sheep. (Civil Eats)
  • The Gates Foundation’s Ceres2030 Plan Pushes Agenda of Agribusiness (Truthout)                                  The new Gates Foundation endeavor aims to infiltrate scientific literature in order to push the agenda of agribusiness.
  • There’s a New Hazelnut Spread in Town and It Wants to Take On Nutella (Munchies)                                            The Barilla Group is set to launch the palm oil-free Crema Pan di Stelle in January of next year.
  • Dominique Crenn Becomes First Woman In the United States To Earn 3 Michelin Stars (Huffington Post)    The stars, award to Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, mark a milestone for female chefs in America.
  • San Francisco Chef Becomes First Woman in US to Receive 3 Michelin Stars (NBC Bay Area)


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • New CDC Data Shows That Farmers Don’t Have America’s Highest Suicide Rate (Mother Jones)          But the problem hasn’t gone away.
  • ‘Farming While Black’: A Guide To Finding Power And Dignity Through Food (NPR)
  • The Cow-Milking Robots Keeping Small Farmers in Business (The Atlantic)                                                            Around the country, dairy farms are struggling to stay open, embracing technology may be one way to make them more efficient.
  • Wisconsin dairy farmers barely hanging on as crisis deepens with no end in sight (Journal Sentinel)
  • Illinois Farmers Put Rare Pig Back On Dinner Table To Save It From Extinction (NPR)
  • Strict Amazon protections made Brazilian farmers more productive, new research shows (The Conversation)
  • Are artisanal foodie brands ruining a California national park? (The Guardian)                                                    Herds of cows provide meat and airy for influential purveyors, but environmentalists’ say they despoil the landscape                                            I grew up not far from these farms on what is now the Point Reyes National Seashore, and watched the transition to the National Seashore.


Land and Soil

  • For a New Generation of Farmers, Accessing Land is the First Step Toward Tackling Consolidation (Civil Eats)
  • Eliot Coleman: Organic is a System of Agriculture That Acknowledges the Pre-Eminence of Soil Life (The Cornucopia Institute)



  • Global food system is broken, say world’s science academies (The Guardian)                                                          Radical overhaul in farming and consumption, with less meat eating, needed to avoid hunger and climate catastrophe
  • If We Want To Transform the Food System, We Must First Transform Ourselves (Eva Perroni)
  • Study suggest meat and dairy industry on track to surpass oil companies as biggest greenhouse gas emitters (
  • Palm Oil Was Supposed to Help Save the Planet. Instead it Unleashed a Catastrophe. (NYT)                  A decade ago, the US mandated the use of vegetable oil in biofuels, leading to industrial-scale deforestation – and a huge spike in carbon emissions.
  • Oregon and California crabbers sue fossil fuel companies (Oregon Live)
    • West Coast crab fishers file ‘industry against industry’ climate change lawsuit (Think Progress)            The suit opens up a new frontier in climate change litigation.


Plants, Seeds & Cultivars


Water & Our Oceans

  • Is a New Toxic Danger Threatening California? (Capital and Main)                                                                                        PFAS compounds are found in clothing, carpeting, furniture, food packaging, non-stick cooking products and fire-fighting foams. They’ve been lined in humans to cancers and hormonal disruptions, as well ad developmental, reproductive, and immune system problems.
  • History and Use of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) (Interstate Technology Regulatory Council)
  • Page 8 has a list of consumer products containing PFAS, it is everywhere, that said the fact that is also found in food packaging, medical products, and personal care products is unbelievable.
  • Too soon for Hudson River (PCB) dredging to be deemed complete, Dutchess (County) Exec Molinaro says (Daily Freeman)

Food Culture & History

  • Why Most of America Is Terrible at Making Biscuits (The Atlantic)                                                                                  There’s a scientific reason that no one outside the South can nail the iconic baked good.
  • The Thanksgiving Tale We Tell Is a Harmful Lie. As a Native American, I’ve Found a Better Way to Celebrate the Holiday (Time)


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

  • Hidden Hunger: A Bay Area Paradox (San Francisco Chronicle)                                                                                  While the Bay Area booms, more than 870,000 people remain food insecure. That’s more than the entire population of San Francisco. How did this happen?
  • Overview: How families slip through    On in 10 Bay Area residents earns too little to cover the cost of living; of those, 62 percent earn too much to qualify for food stamps
  • The Mother: Two meals a day                       A San Francisco family tries to get by on two meals a day, and a higher paying job might make the problem even worse
  • The Pastor: Tending the hungry                     In San Jose, a pastor feeds an immigrant community that avoids food banks
  • The retired teacher: Dire straits in Marin                                                                                        A former Mill Valley teacher who never thought she’d need the food bank faces a hardscrabble retirement
  • The Seniors: In Facebook’s shadow        Low-income seniors in East Palo Alto support each other through meals and laughter
  • The Doctor: The quest to provide healthy solutions                                                                                  Meet the UC San Francisco professor who is fighting food insecurity and drawing attention to the links between poor health and a poor diet
  • In Trump’s America, Immigrants Are Afraid to Apply for Food Stamps (Mother Jones)                                        A new study shows SNAP participation rates dropped 10 percent this year – after a decade of steady increase.


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • Enormous amounts of food are wasted during manufacturing – here’s where it occurs (The Conversation)
  • One in six points of milk thrown away each year, study shows (The Guardian)                                            Analysis suggests 116 million tonnes of dairy products are wasted globally, with almost half lost before they ever reach a store


Healthy Food & Food Safety

  • It’s still not safe to eat romaine lettuce (Vox)                                                                                            But investigators are getting closer to the source of the outbreak. Keep holding off on those Caesar salads.
  • Avoid all romaine lettuce, CDC warns amid E. coli outbreak (Dallas News)                                                          Here we go again, this is the second outbreak in 2018
  • What To Know About The Romaine E. coli Outbreak Ahead of Thanksgiving (Huffington Post)
  • In Throes of Turkey Salmonella Outbreak, Don’t Invite Illness to Your Table (Truthout)


Food Fraud, Scandals, Weird & Funny

  • The Great Virginia Grape Heist (The Atlantic)                                                                                          And other tales of agricultural banditry
  • Jell-O Is Jumping in o the Internet’s Weird Slime Obsession with Its Edible Ooze (Munchies)                  Personally not that interested in eating muck that’s been kneaded with craon particles and carpet fibers, but maybe you are!
  • Pet Peacock Runs Away from Home And Takes Up With Wild Turkeys (Huffington Post)                                     A Vermont couple is trying to recapture Pea, who has been on the run for around 6 weeks.


Children & School Food

  • A Local Foundation Seeks to Revolutionize School Lunch Programs Across the County (303 Magazine)


Labor, Unions & Coops

  • US retail workers face long hours, poor pay and ‘anxiety through the roof’ on Black Friday (The Guardian)
  • There’s a (UK) Christmas crisis going on: no one wants to kill your dinner (The Guardian)                                    People don’t want to work in abattoirs (slaughterhouse) any more.
  • Population Growth Doesn’t Equal Wage Growth in These Cities (Pew Charitable Trusts)
  • Workers Battle Trump Appointees on the National Labor Relations Board (The Progressive)  Rather than encouraging collective bargaining and protecting workers’ freedom of association, the new leadership is making racial changes to Board policies, paving the way for corporate interests to dismantle unions.
  • The Gender Wage Gap Is Even Worse Than You Thought (Huffington Post)
    • Report: Still a Man’s Labor Market: The Slowly Narrowing Gender Pay Gap (Institute For Women’s Policy Research)
  • America’s wealthiest family owns Walmart. They can afford to pay workers $15 an hour. (USA Today)
  • One Restaurant’s Simple, Remarkably Effective Way to Shield Servers from Sexual Harassment (Mother Jones)                                                                                        “No one starts by reaching their hand down someone’s shirt.”
  • Many California Farmworkers Forced to Stay Behind During the Wildfires (NPR)
    • California’s farmworkers are still working despite deadly wildfires (Think Progress)                      Some of the state’s most vulnerable communities are bearing the brunt of climate change.
  • During California wildfires, farmworkers say they felt pressure to keep working or lose their jobs (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Months After Hurricane Florence, Undocumented Farmworkers Still Struggle to Recover (Civil Eats)
  • One of America’s Poorest Cities Has A Radical Plan To Remake Itself (Huffington Post)                                  “We’re creating pathways into the economy for people who’ve been shut out,” says Cleveland’s evergreen Cooperative.



  • Mexico’s Endangered Stingless Bees Mysteriously Find A Sweeter Home In Cuba (NPR)                              A combination of hurricanes, pesticides and logging is leading to the decline of these unique bees, called Melipona beecheii…. The native peoples of the Yucatan practiced bee husbandry for thousands of years…
  • Cuba’s organic revolution (The Guardian)                                                                                      The collapse of the Soviet Union forced Cuba to become self reliant in its agricultural production…
  • Scientist unveils blueprint to save bees and enrich farmers (The Guardian)                                                              Urgent planting of wildflowers will attract pollinators and boost farmers’ food crop, expert to tell UN. It is not just bees that are disappearing, but all of our insects.
  • The Insect Apocalypse Is Here (NYT)                                                                            What does it mean for the rest of life on Earth?


Animals, Fish & Seafood

  • In a rate wildlife success story, the wild turkey population is exploding in California (Salon)                      They are everywhere, I first had them come into my front garden back in Oakland, CA 2007
  • Why the biggest Thanksgiving lie may be the turkey on your table (AlterNet)
    • Moneyball for Turkeys (The Atlantic)      After decades of making turkeys bigger, breeders are hoping new technologies can make them better.
  • Tossing a Bird That Does Not Fly Out of Plane (The Atlantic)                                                                                                  A Thanksgiving story about the limits of human empathy
  • ‘We’ve bred them to their limit’: death rates surge for female pigs in the US (Huffington Post)                            With sows producing 23 piglets a year on average, intensive farming is called into question over rise in animals suffering prolapse
  • Abuse of animals rife on farms across Europe, auditors warn (The Guardian)                                                              Europe-side investigation says intensive farming systems increase the risks of poor animal welfare
  • Activists condemn ‘disgusting attacks’ on pigs as two men convicted of cruelty (The Guardian)        Prosecution based on secret footage obtained by rights charity Animal Equality at Fir Tree farm in Lincolnshire
  • ‘Desperate need’ for better farm antibiotic use data (BBC)                                                                                    Sheep and cattle farmers in Wales have been urged to record what antibiotics they are using on their animals.
  • The return of the giant cutthroat trout (Al Jazeera)                                                                                        Anglers and conservationists celebrate as Nevada’s state fish returns to ancients spawning ground


Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Tesco and WWF bid to ‘halve environmental impact’ of UK groceries (The Guardian)                            UK’s largest retailer falls short of removing palm oil from own brand foods in sustainability drive
  • New Archive Reveals How the Food Industry Mimics Big Tobacco to Suppress Science, Shape Public Opinion (Civil Eats)
  • Marion Nestle: Superfoods Are a Marketing Ploy (The Atlantic)                                                                            Blueberries and macadamia nuts aren’t that good for you.
  • The Organic Food Industry Forges Its Own Path to Expand Growth (Civil Eats)                                          Should organic farmers and processors pool their money to create their own “checkoff” program used for industry-wide research and marketing match like other food industries do?
  • Bison bars were supposed to restore Native communities and grass-based ranches. Then came Epic Provisions (The New Food Economy)
  • A New Economic Model for the South: Ditch Corporate Welfare and Fund Agricultural Co-ops (In These Times)
    • Report: Agricultural Cooperatives: Opportunities and Challenges for African American Women in the South (Institute for Policy Studies)
  • America’s monopoly problem, in one chart (Vox)                                                                                      From cell phone providers to beer to cat food, consumers have a lot fewer choices when it comes to buying – even if they don’t know it.
  • Report: American’s Concentration Crisis (Open Markets Institute)
  • More and more companies have monopoly power over workers’ wages. That’s killing the economy (Vox)    The trend can explain slow growth, “missing” workers, and stagnant salaries.
  • The Supreme Court just quietly gutted antitrust law (Vox)                                                                                              A decision in favor of American Express will make it easier for big tech to pressure workers, suppliers, and customers.
  • Farm bankruptcies have doubled under Trump – and the worst is yet to come (AlterNet)                                          We all knew this was coming.



Government, Regulation, Policy & Farm Bill

  • South Korea closes dog slaughterhouse amid activist pressure (The Guardian)                                                Animal rights groups hope closure of complex will lead to ban on dog meat consumption
  • French Government Starts Phase-Out of Glyphosate With Online Farmer Platform and Herbicide Tax (Sustainable Pulse)
  • Hemp Is Finally About To Go Fully Legit In The US (Huffington Post)                                                                                  For almost 50 years, hemp has been considered a schedule I substance alongside more potent strains of marijuana. Congress is finally set to change that.
  • The First-Ever National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Was Just Unveiled – And It’s a Game Changer (In These Times)
  • GIPSA is Dead; the Fight for Producer Protections Continues (Organization for Competitive Markets)      In a move designed to take a thorn out of the side of the world’s largest meatpackers, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue put the final nail in the coffin of the Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA)…
  • A New EPA Rule Would Allow Factory Farms to Avoid Reporting Air Pollution (Civil Eats)
    • Trump’s EPA concludes communities don’t have the right to know about potentially toxic emissions (Think Progress)                                                                        Industry supporters describe potentially toxic emissions as “normal odors” from animal waste.
  • Trump farm bailout checks coming to Wisconsin vary from thousands to a few dollars (Journal Sentinel)
    • Dozens of Iowa farmers get lass than $25 from Trump tariff assistance, data show (Des Moines Register)
    • A $12 Billion Program to Help Farmers Stung by Trump’s Trade War Has Aided Few (NYT)
    • Lost jobs, shrinking growth, and rotting crops – here are the ways Trump’s trade war is hurting America (Business Insider)
  • US trade deal would flood Britain with ‘cheap, inhumanely produced’ bacon (The Guardian)            Trade deal would open door to meat containing banned growth promoters, from pigs kept in conditions banned in UK, industry leaders warn
  • City Not for Sale: Baltimore Voters Push Back on Privatization (Bloomberg)                                           Measure to keep water works public passing by wide margin
  • Huge (Sacramento – San Joaquin River) Delta water deal backed by Dianne Feinstein, Jerry Brown, Kevin McCarthy (Sacramento Bee)                                                                                    The politics of water in California have been debated and fought over since before California became a state in 1850.                  Understanding that the California Central Valley consisted of approximately 5 million acres of permanent, seasonal and tidal wetlands, these wetlands have now been reduced by 90%. These wetlands were primarily fed by the Delta and (US Fish & Service)                                                                            Additionally, approximately 1/3 of the San Francisco Bay and estuary has been filled in between 1850 and 1980, when the City of Berkeley was stopped from filling in a large portion of their shoreline. The SF Bay is currently 550 square miles. (Save the Bay)

What does this have to do with the Delta? The Delta is what feeds the remaining wetlands of the northern Central Valley and the San Francisco Bay. (Save the Bay)

All of this before we even talk about saving the salmon (at least 3 species), Delta Smelt (at least 3 species,) sturgeon, and 48 other species, some of which are non-native, like Stripped Bass. (UC Davis)

  • California Governor Jerry Brown Signs Bill to End Use of Drift Gillnets (PEW Charitable Trusts)            Congress should take similar action to protect marine life
  • (MI) Senate Republicans vote to scale back Michigan minimum wage, paid sick leave laws (The Detroit News)
    • Background: Michigan GOP lawmakers adopt minimum wage, sick leave plans with aim to amend (The Detroit News)                                                                          Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature on Wednesday approved citizen-initiated legislation raising the state’s minimum wage to $12 per hour and requiring paid sick leave, a move designed to make the proposals easier to change.
  • Mind The Junk Food: London To Ban Ads For Unhealthy Eats On Public Transportation (NPR)
  • After years of debate, LA legalizes sidewalk vending: ‘This means freedom’ (LA Times)


GMOs, CRISPR, Cloning & Synthetic Biology

  • Tanzania orders destruction of Monsanto/Gates’ GM trials due to illegal use for pro-GM propaganda (African Centre For Biodiversity)


Food Science, Technology & Nanotechnology