Jenny’s Food & Ag Update, December 16, 2018


  • Feeding the Whole City: Atlanta, Georgia (Politico)                                                                                  The young food workers of this bustling New South metropolis use food to achieve social equity.
  • In Milwaukee’s poorest zip code, fruits and vegetables become powerful weapons for saving young boys (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
  • ‘Our Food Systems Are Failing Us’: 100+ Academies Call for Overhaul of Food Production (EcoWatch)
  • More trouble for embattled farmers in the Midwest (Star Tribune)                                                        Family operations are hurt by glut of some crops as well as trump’s tariffs.
  • 127 countries are now working to ban single-use plastic (Fast Company)                                                    Countries are making good progress on regulating plastic bags and bottles – but need to do some serious work to address the more invisible plastic particles in cleaning products and cosmetics.
  • French Food Actually Sucks Now, Says Head of French Tourism Council (Munchies)                                          French ambassador and tourism council head Philippe Faure says food in the provinces is “lamentable” and “not good.” How the mighty have fallen.                                                                                                                                      I would agree, last time I was in France I found the food in restaurant, cafés and bistros in the Loire Valley were awful, good food could be found in expensive places, and the old style shops had good food…
  • How Atlanta Is Turning Ex-Cons Into Urban Farmers (Politico)                                                                                      An ambitious activist is using the local food movement to help break the cycle of incarceration.
  • Should Vegans Have the Same Protections as Religious People? A ‘Landmark’ Case Will Decide (EcoWatch)  In the UK, it is unlawful for an employer to fire and employee based on their religion or belief. By the same toke, is it ok for an employer to fire an employee if they are ethical vegans?


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • Indiana group is suing USDA over the way it gives money farms with thousands of animals (IndyStar)


Land and Soil



  • The Meat Heavy Menu At The UN’s Climate Conference Show Shocking Hypocrisy (Huffington Post)


  • Ravenous for Meat, China Faces a Climate Quandary (undark)                                                                                      On the whole, the country consumes 28 percent of the world’s meat – twice as much as the United States. An that figure is only set to increase.
  • As the Glaciers Melt, These Farmers Have A Plan To Save Their Vulnerable Land (Huffington Post)  Herders in one of the most biodiverse place on earth are reviving ancient traditions to cope with climate change.
  • Soil and Seaweed: Farming Our Way to a Climate Solution (Scientific American)                                          We can sequester carbon and improve our nutrition through regenerative farming of land and sea
  • Climate change is making soils saltier, forcing many farmers to find new livelihoods (The Conversation)
  • Not So Sweet: Climate Change Means Slow-Growing Sugar Maples, Study Finds (NPR)
  • Americans have planted so much corn that it’s changing the weather (grist)
    • Research: Twentieth Century Regional Climate Change During the Summer in the Central United States Attributed to Agricultural Intensification (AGU100)


Water & Our Oceans

  • It’s Official: Injection of Fracking Wastewater Caused Kansas’ Biggest Earthquake (EcoWatch)
  • This town is like thousands that are vulnerable to contaminated water, with no fix in sight (CNN)
  • Journalism Project Shines Light On Why So Many Lack Water Service In Central Appalachia (Daily Yonder)
    • Stirring the Waters: Investigating why many in Appalachia lack reliable, clean water (Lexington Herald Leader)
  • A New Lawsuit Blames the Trump Administration for Ruining Oysters (EcoWatch)                                              By failing to document the effects of acidification in coastal waters


  • Even corals deep down on the ocean floor can’t escape humanity’s impact (Salon)                        Climate change, industrial fishing, offshore drilling and deep sea mining are all threats to the ocean floor.


Food Culture & History

  • The explosive dominance of soy over a century went unnoticed by most Americans – except for those growing it. (New Food Economy)
  • Battling the Scourge of ‘Embalmed Milk’ (undark)                                                                                          How an obscure Indiana public health official pioneered the campaign against tainted dairy products at the turn of the 20th century.


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

  • There’s a Hunger Crisis in north Carolina (Truthout)
    • Report: Many North Carolinians continue to struggle to afford enough food, especially in households with children (NC Policy Watch)
  • Living Homeless in California: The University of Hunger (Capital & Main)                                                                            A January study found that 11 percent of students on the California State University’s 23-campuses reported being homeless during the past year. At Humboldt State nearly a fifth said they’d been homeless at one point during 2017.


  • Kentucky congressman questions food stamps: ‘If healthcare is a right, is food as well?’ (Market Watch)
  • The world’s most nutritious foods (BBC)  After analyzing more than 1,000 raw foods, researchers ranked the ingredients that provide the best balance of your daily nutritional requirements – and they found a few surprises.


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste


Healthy Food & Food Safety

  • The United States has an Epidemic of Processed Food – and it’s Killing Us (Medium)
  • The US Appetite for Sugar Has Skyrocketed (The Atlantic)                                                                              Americans are eating too much of the sweet stuff, and a staggering portion of it is coming from drinks like soda.
  • What Do Americans Think About Food Additives and GMOs? (Scientific American)                                    About half think they’re unhealthy; the other half aren’t especially concerned
  • 12 Million Pounds Of Beef Now Under Recall Over Salmonella Risk (Huffington Post)                                Nearly 250 people in 26 states have contracted salmonella poisoning, the USDA says.


Food Fraud, Scandals, Weird & Funny

  • Restaurant Owner Says Photos of Opossums Running Around the Kitchen Are No Bid Deal (Munchies)  My noodle & Bar’s owner acknowledged that there had been an opossum in his restaurant, but said that it was “like three months ago.”
  • Why Are Arsonists Targeting Montreal Pizzerias? (Munchies)                                                                                  Three recent Molotov cocktail attacks have local restaurant owners shaken.


Training & Education


Children & School Food

  • Shelby County bus driver goes the extra mile after weather cancels breakfast (abc3340)
  • Preschoolers Served Pine-Sol Instead Of Apple Juice In Snack Mix-Up (Huffington Post)
  • Waste not, want not (grist)                      Schools waste $5 million a day in uneaten food. Here’s how Oakland is reinventing the cafeteria
  • Town hires debt collector to get families to pay for school lunches (Think Progress)                                              School officials in Carnston, Rhode Island are getting aggressive in seeking payment from parents in arrears for their kids’ meals.


Labor, Unions & Coops

  • Michigan Is the Latest Example of the Restaurant Lobby Subverting Democracy (Talk Poverty)

Minimum wage increases are popular, but lawmakers keep overturning them.


  • Marriott Hotel Strike Ends With San Francisco Workers Winning Better Pay (Huffington Post)          Thousands of workers reached an agreement with the nation’s largest hotel chain after a multi-city, non week strike for better pay and protections.
  • Amazon workers in New York just announced their plan to unionize (Vox)                                                        “We are not robots, we are human beings.”


Pollinators & Insects

  • Butterfly sanctuary expected to be plowed over for Trump’s border wall (CBS News)
    • Most Diverse Butterfly Center in the US to be Bulldozed for Trump’s Border Wall (EcoWatch)


Animals, Fish & Seafood

  • Waterkeeper Alliance and EWG Hurricane Florence Flooded Poultry Operations Housing 1.8 Million Birds, Investigation Finds (Environmental Working Group)
  • Scary Map Shows Where Animal Poop Is Turning into Deadly Ammonia Pollution (Live Science)
  • Without drastic changes, Idaho’s wild steelhead are on a path to extinction (Idaho Statesman)


Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • The Trouble With Tuna: ‘A Lot of Millennials Don’t Even Own Can Openers’ (The Wall Street Journal)  StarKist, Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea deal with Slumping market amid competition from fresher options.
  • Tuan Fish Is Struggling Because ‘Millennials Don’t Even Own Can Openers’ (Food & Wine)
  • PR company accused of using ‘tobacco lobbyist tactics’ to promote weedkiller linked to cancer (Independent)                                                                              Roundup maker Monsanto reportedly funded campaign to defend chemical
  • See How Well the GOP Tax Scam Is Creating Jobs? Walmart Announces Plans for 360 Robot Janitors (Common Dreams)                                                                                      The company still faces calls to raise its minimum hourly pay, but machines don’t ask for a living wage
  • Dollar stores are feeding more Americans than Whole Foods, and it’s leading some communities into crisis (Business Insider)
    • Dollar Tree is one of the only chains that Amazon can’t beat – and it runs the most appalling store we’ve ever seen (Business Insider)
  • The Hard Truths of Trying to ‘Save’ the Rural Economy (NYT)
    • Report: 2018 Distressed Communities Index: From Great Recession to Great Reshuffling (Economic Innovation Group)
    • Report: Countering the geography of discontent: Strategies for left-behind places (Brookings Institute)
    • Saving the heartland: Place-based policies in 21st Century America (Brookings Institute)


Government, Regulation, Policy & Farm Bill

  • Trump administration finalizes rollback of school lunch regulations championed by Michelle Obama (Yahoo! News)
  • Justice Department urges Supreme Court against hearing cage-free egg lawsuit (The New Food Economy)  … Should the Supreme Court take the DOJ’s lead, it would effectively validate and uphold California’s first-of-its-kind legislation, which bans the sale of eggs laid by hens in confinement…
  • EPA’s New Water Rule Will Gut The Clean Water Act (The Intercept)
    • EPA’s Own Data Refutes Justification For Clean Water Act Rollback (The Intercept)
    • Government Agencies Make Waves With New Definition for Waters of the United States (WOTUS) (Growing Produce)
    • The EPA’s new Dirty Water Rule risks millions of people’s drinking water supply (NRDC)
    • Trump administration poised to strip protections from up to two-thirds of California streams and millions of acres nationwide (LA Times)
  • Clean Up 14-Year Oil Spill or Face $40K Daily Fine, Feds Tell Taylor Entergy (EcoWatch)
  • Buried in Wisconsin Republican’s lame-duck legislation: Drug-testing requirement for food stamp applicants (New Food Economy)
  • Outgoing Michigan GOP Governor Signs Bills Gutting Minimum Wage Hike, Paid Sick Leave (Huffington Post)
  • Missouri voters said no to ‘right to work.’ Republican lawmakers want it anyway. (St. Louis Dispatch)
  • “Natural” chicken can’t be given antibiotics, or confined indoors, says California judge (New Food Economy)                                                                                      That might sound obvious. But in the absence of strong regulations, a raft of lawsuits are trying to change the fact that “all-natural” can mean, well, almost anything.
  • The Art of the Farm-Bill Deal (The Atlantic)  The $867 billion legislation doesn’t include stringent new work requirements for food-stamp recipients long sought by conservatives.
  • A Boost for Farmers Who Aren’t Old and White (The Atlantic)                                                                                          The farm bill on Trump’s desk funds programs that help make farming more accessible
  • The Farm Bill Ignores the Real Troubles of US Agriculture (NYT)                                                                                  True farming reform means adjusting the system to support small and midsize producers and cultivating a more sustainable system of agriculture.
  • The Farm Bill’s Winners And Losers (Forbes)
  • How Paul Ryan is selling his food stamp loss (Politico)                                                                                  The compromise farm bill is stripped of every controversial proposal the House GOP wanted on food stamps.
  • Farm Bill Receives Mixed Response From Rural Advocates (Daily Yonder)                                                                      The farm bill passed – and in today’s Congress, that’s news. But advocates say the bill could have done much more to improve the position of small farms versus corporate interest. And in a light but direct rebuke of the Trump administration, Congress will require the Department of Agriculture to reinstate the position of Undersecretary of Rural Development.


GMOs, CRISPR, Cloning & Synthetic Biology

  • Big Tongues, and Extra Vertebrae: The Unintended Consequences of Animal gene Editing (The Wall Street Journal)                                                          Unintended consequences have included enlarged rabbit Tongues and extra pig vertebrae, as bioethicists warn of hubris


Food Science, Technology & Nanotechnology



  • A Killing Season (The New Republic)    Monsanto’s new herbicide was supposed to save US farmers from financial ruin. Instead, it upended the agriculture industry, pitting neighbor against neighbor in a struggle for survival.


Education & Training

  • How Atlanta Is Turning Ex-Cons into Urban Farmers (Politico)                                                                                      An ambitious young activist is using the local food movement to help break the cycle of incarceration.