Jenny’s Food & Ag Update for December 30, 2018


  • Native Knowledge: What Ecologists Are Learning from Indigenous People (Yale e360)                     From Alaska to Australia, scientists are turning to the knowledge of traditional people for a deeper understanding of the natural world. What they are learning is helping them discover ore about everything from melting Arctic ice, to protecting fish stocks, to controlling wildfires.
  • New Archive Reveals How the Food Industry Mimics Big Tobacco to Suppress Science, Shape Public Opinion (Civil Eats)
  • The Food Sustainability Index is talking. Will America, and the world at large, listen? (New Food Economy)
  • Unlike a globalized food system, local food won’t destroy the environment (Salon)                                               Our food system is linked to an economic system that is fundamentally biased in who it benefits
  • What needs to change in the quest for food sovereignty? This book looks for answers (
  • One Weird Trick to Fix Farms Forever (Mother Jones)                                                                                                This article is from 2013, it is a reminder of what we can be doing on a large scale…
  • Report: Troubling Waters: How Hydroponic Agribusiness and the USDA Diluted organics by Sanctioning Soil-less Growing (The Cornucopia Institute)                                                A report and buyer’s guide profiling illicit produce brands grown I liquid fertilizer rather than nutrient-rich soils Hydroponic Buyer’s Guide Full Report
  • ‘Freedom Farmers’ Tells the History of Black Farmers Uniting Against Racism (Civil Eats)
  • The Future of Mountaintop Removal Is Lavender (Bloomberg)                                                                                    In Appalachia, the coal mining process has stripped mountains to their cores, leaving little more than dirt and rocks. But one hardy plant seems to thrive in it.
  • Attempted Suicide in Wisconsin = Marketplace Fallout in Real Terms (Cornucopia Institute)
  • An invasive, elusive 20-pound rodent threatens California agriculture (Food & Environment Reporting Network)
  • The Gates Foundation’s Ceres2030 Plan Pushes Agenda of Agribusiness (Independent Science News)


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • Stripes of wildflowers across farm fields could cut pesticide spraying (The Guardian)                                          The stripy fields have been planted across England as part of a trial to boost the natural predators of pests that attack cereal crops
  • Oregon hazelnut production has doubled in last decade, expected to double again by 2025 (Salem Statesman Journal)
  • Wisconsin Lost Record-Breaking Percent of Dairy Farms In 2018 (Wisconsin Public Radio)
    • Former Dairy Farmer Jim Goodman: My Retirement was Mostly Voluntary (The Cornucopia Institute)
  • While small dairy farms shut down, this mega-dairy is shipping milk to China (Salon)                                      Powdered milk production is being marketed as a boon for rural areas, but many people who live nearby disagree
  • Legal plastic content in animal feed could harm human health, experts warn (The Guardian)                           Small bits of plastic packaging from waste food make their way into animal feed as part of the UK’s permitted recycling process



  • Urban Tilth’s Doria Robinson on Richmond and Climate Adaption (Sierra)                                                                        The ag nonprofit is small scale, but its executive director has big ideas
  • Farmers Know Climate Change is Real. Will the Feds Help Them Adapt? (Civil Eats)                                            While dismal farm economics – and shrinking conservation funds – make it hard to find the funds, a growing number of farmers are ready to make critical changes.
  • How the Farm Bureau’s Climate Agenda Is Failing Its Farmers (Inside Climate News)                                             That agenda has left farmers ill-prepared to cope with effects of climate change – droughts, heat and storms – while neglecting a key climate solution.
  • Why eating less meat is the best thing you can do for the planet in 2019 (The Guardian)                                         Eating meat has a hefty impact on the environment from fueling climate change to polluting landscapes and waterways


Plants, Seeds & Cultivars

  • Stuffed or Starved? Evolutionary Plant Breeding Might Have the Answer (Independent Science News)


Water & Our Oceans

  • Kansas farms are running out of water. Can they pull off an environmental miracle in Charles Koch’s home state? (New Food Economy)                                                                  Kansas producers say policy solutions aren’t necessary to save the Ogallala Aquifer, the state’s most economically important natural resource. That’s up for debate – but a Koch think tank may make regulation impossible anyway.
  • New Lawsuit Blames the Trump Administration for Ruining Oysters (Mother Jones)                                          By failing to document the effects of acidification in coastal waters


Food Culture & History

  • These are the 64 races of corn in Mexico (Mad DeMx)                                                                                              The greatest diversity of corn is Mexican, with 64 races in the country, of the 220 existing in Latin American.
  • Nut Milks Are Milk, Says Almost Every Culture Across the Globe (Smithsonian Magazine)                              Even though the dairy industry may not like it, labeling the juice from almonds and soy beans ‘milk’ follows centuries of history
  • Sorry New York, California Is Just Better Now (Eater)                                                                                   Synonymous with abundance and turbo-charged with chef creativity, the Golden State is setting the pace for how we eat across the country
  • A Culinary History of Panettone the Italian and South American Christmas Treat (Smithsonian Magazine)
  • A History of Flavoring Food With Beaver Butt Juice (Munchies)                                                                                              No, castoreum is not a cheap substitute for strawberries; it’s luxe, artisanal sections from a beaver’ rear end.


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

  • Anti-immigrant rhetoric in the US has forced some families to choose between safety and food (Quartz)
  • Shutdown hits poor hardest: Food stamp office cut by 95 percent (Salon)                                                             Department of Agriculture says the office that helps the neediest with food relief has been virtually shut down
  • What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutrition (Medium)                                                                                       Obesity is the root cause of several diseases, yet medical schools don’t train doctors on nutrition and weight loss


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • Already a climate change leader, California takes on food waste (Salon)                                                                            The state’s programs and laws to tackle food waste and greenhouse gas emissions could be a template for the nation
  • 2019 Could Be The Year We stop Throwing Away Ridiculous Amounts Of Food (Huffington Post)
  • As Anti-Plastic Movements Sweep The Globe Change Doesn’t Always Come Easy (Huffington Post)      Australia could serve as a test case for the anti-plastic movement.
  • The Fight Against Food Waste Starts at Home (Yes!)                                                                                     Decreasing the environmental footprint of food waste can save the planet and your wallet.


Healthy Food & Food Safety

  • The year vegan junk food went mainstream (Vox)                                                                                              It isn’t particularly health. That’s the best part.
  • What Foods Are Banned in Europe but Not Banned in the US? (NYT)                                                                          The European Union prohibits many food additives and various drugs that are widely used in American food.
  • We Got a Scientist to Explain What You Knew in Your Heart of Hearts: The Five-Second Rule Is Gross (Mother Jones)                                                                                            He also lab-tested double dipping, utensil sharing, and other questionable food behaviors.


Food Fraud, Scandals, Weird & Funny

  • The New York State Attorney General is investigating these five chains for seafood fraud (New Food Economy)                                                                                    Fishmongers are inflating the value of the fraudulent product and undercutting honest competitors at the same time.
  • Report: Fish Business: Seafood Fraud and Mislabeling in New York State Supermarkets (State of New York Attorney General)
  • It’s very likely your supermarket fish isn’t what you think it is (Quartz)


Children & School Food

  • Team Trump says it’s making school lunches ‘great again.’ It’s making them less healthy (LA Times)
  • What School Lunches Have to Do With Fixing Wealth Inequality (Truthout)
    • Making Healthy School Lunches Free for All Should Be a National Priority (Civil Eats)                               A professor argues we should destigmatize and better shape school meals to provide much needed support to children and their families.
  • Rhode Island School District Is Sending Debt Collectors After Families Over Unpaid Lunches (Mother Jones)                                                                                    Debt can now impact the credit scores of parents who don’t pay, according to a local news report.


Labor, Unions & Coops

  • Progressive Labor Standards (Democracy)                                                                           Dangerously high levels of market concentration demand a regulatory regime that holds large employers to higher standards.
  • What labor market changes have generated inequality and wage suppression? (Economic Policy Institute)  Employer power is significant but largely constant, whereas workers’ power has been eroded by policy actions
  • Teen quits Walmart job over the store’s intercom: ‘Attention all shoppers… nobody should work here – ever’ (Chicago Tribune)
  • One Year After #MeToo, I Have No Regrets About Coming Forward (Eater)                                                               I was terrified when I publicly accused the Spotted Pig restaurateur Ken Friedman of sexual misconduct, but it was the right decision
  • Every (NYC) Chef and Restaurant Owner Accused of Sexual Misconduct in the #MeToo Era (Grub Street)
  • Health Care In Texas Is A Nightmare For Women Restaurant Workers (Huffington Post)                                    I worked in the restaurant and catering industry for 15 years in California and New York, I never had benefits of any kind. No medical insurance, no sick days, no vacation.
  • Chipotle’s Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Are Backfiring Spectacularly (Huffington Post)                      The company is facing a flood of arbitration cases over alleged wage theft. A judge called the company’s efforts to black them “unseemly.”
  • Agricultural empire behind Halos and Wonderful pistachios raises minimum hourly wage to $15 (LA Times)




Pollinators & Insects

  • Pesticides threaten all 4,000 bee species in North America. Why does research focus on saving just one? (New Food Economy)                                                                                                In a new series of studies, scientists acknowledge that we don’t know nearly enough about the thousands of wild bee species agricultural producers depend on.


Animals, Fish & Seafood

  • World’s first no-kill eggs go on sale in Berlin (The Guardian)                                                                                     Scientists can now quickly determine a chick’s gender before it hatches, potentially ending the need to cull billions of male chicks worldwide.
  • Factory Farms No Longer Have to Report Their Air Emissions. That’s Dangerous for Their Neighbors (Mother Jones)                                                                                            And bad news for the climate.
  • Livestock farms no longer report their air emissions. Now the Neighbors don’t know what they’re inhaling (New Food Economy)
  • The Real Hamburger Problem (Democracy)                                                                                       Factory farming is bad for the environment, nearby humans, and yes, the animals.
  • Chickens freezing to death and boiled alive: failing in US slaughterhouses exposed (The Guardian)         An investigation finds hundreds of shocking welfare incidents, fueling concerns about standards in a post-Brexit trade deal
  • Microplastics accumulate in bodies of shellfish within hours, new study reveals (Nation of Change)         Understanding whether plastic particles are absorbed across biological membranes and accumulate within internal organs is critical for assessing the risk these particles pose to both organism and human health.


Business, Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • How funding black businesses can help bridge the racial wealth gap (Nation of Change)                                        The Runway Project is making entrepreneurship more accessible to Black communities.
  • Tech Is Killing Street Food (The Atlantic)    The wealthy hubs of the United States and India are embracing informal gastronomy, but not the people who have traditionally provided it.
  • Restaurants to eaters: Please for the love of god, stop using Seamless (New Food Economy)
  • Kellogg Leads the Charge to Exploit Supreme Court Arbitration Victory (Bloomberg)                                        By targeting former employees for defying agreements, the cereal giant lays down a warning: Forget about suing us.
  • Packaging producers to pay full recycling costs under waste scheme (The Guardian)                    Government strategy to make ‘polluter pay’, with penalties for difficult to recycle items
  • Big Business Wants You To Think It’s Fixing The Plastic Crisis. Don’t Buy It. (Huffington Post)                    Here’s what corporations don’t want you to know.
  • Dollar Stores Are Targeting Struggling urban Neighborhoods and Small towns. One Community Is Showing How to Fight Back (Institute for Local Self-Reliance)
    • Dollar General Hits a Gold Mine in Rural America (Bloomberg)                                                                            In the poorest towns, where even Wal-Mart failed, the little-box player is turning a profit.
  • Democrats Can Win Back Rural America, But First They Need To Understand What Bled It Dry (BuzzFeed)    At the root of rural America’s angst are small towns where economies have been taken over by a handful of predatory multinationals.
  • Report: The New Map of Economic Growth and Recovery (Economic Innovation Group)                           The 2010s recovery was marked by a collapse in new business formation


Government, Regulation, Policy & Farm Bill

  • ‘Significant First Blow to Plastic Pollution Monster’ as EU Reaches Landmark Deal on Single-Use Products (Common Dreams)
  • How France and Germany Are Ousting Glyphosate In A Search For Healthy Soils and Pesticide-Free Crops (Independent Science News)
    • Germany introduces new restrictions on herbicide use, seeks “end date” for glyphosate (IEG Policy)
  • Kyrgyzstan Parliament Orders 100% Organic Agriculture Within 10 Years (Sustainable Pulse)               Remember, Bhutan made their declaration to transform their agricultural system to 100% organic in 2014 with the transformation to be completed by 2022
  • Bhutan could be world’s first wholly organic nation within a decade (The Guardian)                               Political parties in the Himalayan kingdom unite to eradicate chemical fertilizers and pesticides as part of its Gross National Happiness program.
  • Japan To Launch Commercial Whaling Again After Withdrawing from Treaty (Huffington Post)
  • Atlantic Seismic Survey permits Granted After Surge in Lobbying (Truthout)
    • Marine Mammals incidental to Specified Activities: Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical Surveys in Atlantic Ocean (Federal Register)
  • House Democrats try to block Trump’s USDA from relocating its independent research agency (New Food Economy)
  • Bailing out a Chinese owned, US located hog corporation subsidiary (Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy)
  • Factory farms slip environmental review for USDA loans (Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy)
  • USDA’s claim food in the US ‘among safest in world’ based on latest pesticide tests (Food Safety News)
  • FEMA sells more than 34,000 unused meals in Puerto Rico instead of giving them to people in need (Daily Kos)
  • FDA names first source in ongoing investigation of romaine lettuce outbreak (New Food Economy)         A Santa Maria, California farm – run by a county supervisor – is the first to be identified as a source of E coli contamination.
  • Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, on the current romaine lettuce E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak investigation (US FDA)
  • NY governor vetoes bill allowing paid bereavement leave (WGRZ)                                                The bill’s memo notes that employers provide an average of four days of bereavement leave for the death of a souse or child.
  • Tennessee becomes the fourth state to restrict the use of Monsanto herbicide (dicamba) (Newstarget)
  • Georgia cut food stamps for thousands with new system tracking recipients (Atlanta Journal – Constitution)
  • Update: Trump Just Found Yet Another Way to Kick Poor Families Off Food Stamps (Mother Jones)                                                                                       Foiled by the farm bill, the administration is using executive power to tighten work requirements.
  • Trump signs farm bill, directs USDA to expand work requirements on food stamps (ABC News)
  • ‘Mass Starvation Plan’: Trump USDA to Push Work Requirements for Food Stamps That Congress Left Off Farm Bill (Common Dreams)
  • Food stamp cut will hit Trump’s single white male base hardest (Quartz)
  • Hemp Is Officially Going Legal Nationwide (Huffington Post)                                                                                      Trump signed a new farm bill into law that will legalize hemp, a non-intoxicating form of cannabis, in all 50 states.
  • President Trump signs the Farm Bill making dog and cat meat illegal in the United States (wrdw12)
  • Rural broadband is about to get $600 million funding – but there’s a catch (New Food Economy)
  • The 2018 farm bill breaks new ground for conservation and resilience (Environmental Defense Fund)


GMOs, CRISPR, Cloning & Synthetic Biology

  • Here’s a first look at the label that must appear on all GMO foods by 2022 (New Food Economy)
    • Even major food companies hate the new US rules for GMO food labeling (Quartz)
    • Final GMO labeling rule does not require labeling of highly refined ingredients from GM crops, if o modified genetic material is detectable (Food Navigator)
  • Ex-Cabinet secretary ‘regrets’ ever introducing GM cotton in India (The Economic Times)


Food Science, Technology & Nanotechnology

  • Gene-edited farm animals are coming. Will we eat them? (The Washington Post)                                          Cutting edge lab techniques could improve animal breeding, but society may not be ready                                                                                             And there are unintended consequences…
  • Big Tongues and Extra Vertebrae: The Unintended Consequences of Animal Gene Editing (The Wall Street Journal)
  • A simple guide to CRISPR, one of the biggest science stories of the decade (Vox)                                                          It could revolutionize everything from medicine to agriculture.



  • How France and Germany Are Ousting Glyphosate In a Search For Healthy Soils and Pesticide-Free Crops (Independent Science News)


Education & Training

  • ‘Adulting Day’: High schoolers learn how to cook, change tires, pay bills (KRON4)