Jenny’s Food & Ag Update for February 22, 2019


  • Northern California is suddenly awash in locally grown black truffles (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • The Dark Side of Innovation for Family Farmers: Reflections on an International Symposium on Innovation (Agroecology Now!)
  • US academics feel the invisible hand of politicians and big agriculture (The Guardian)
  • Dairy Dilemma: Food Shelters Awash In Surplus Milk They Can’t Afford To Store (WFPL)
  • This Magic Ratio Of Fat To Carbs Makes The Perfect Comfort Food (Huffington Post)                                  Human breast milk contains a 1-2 ratio of fat to carbohydrates, suggesting some people may still be chasing the feeling it gave them.
  • Panicky Portlanders Strip Grocery Shelves Bare of Kale as Snowstorm Descends (Willamette Week)
  • Three Micheline stars! Meet the first woman to smash America’s boys club (The Guardian)
  • Can Eating Organic Lower Your Exposure to Pesticides? (Civil Eats)
    • What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food (The Guardian)
    • Study: Organic diet interventions significantly reduce urinary pesticide levels in US children and adults (Environmental Research)

Highlights: Diet is a primary Source of pesticide exposure

  • Organic die reduced neonicotinoid
  • OP
  • pyrethroid, 2,4-D exposure in US families
  • 2,4-D exposure in US families
  • Greatest reduction observed for malathion, clothianidin, and Chlorpyrifos
  • It’s time to think big in Maine agriculture (Portland Press Herald)                                                                                    State policy can encourage cooperative to help small farmers get more food to market.
  • How to Stop Hating Your Least Favorite Foods (The Atlantic)                                                                                                I can’t stand cucumbers, but I’m ready to change if I can.


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • ‘This One Here Is Gonna Kick My Butt’ – Farm Bankruptcies Are Soaring (WSJ)                                       Trade disputes over agriculture add pain to low commodity prices that have been grinding down American farmers for years
  • The Mental Health Crisis Hidden Behind Your Grocery Store Vegetables (Huffington Post)                            One of the nation’s biggest industries is staffing by workers facing grueling conditions and sky-high depression rates.
  • At 25 years, Straus diary still pioneering (Point Reyes Light)
  • Montana Ranchers are Kicking Up Dust to Bring Back Country of Origin Labels on Meat (Civil Eats)            Newly proposed bill would require COOL placards for beef ad pork sold in Montana, and supporters want to see the return of a national policy.
  • “This has poisoned everything” – pollution casts shadow over New Mexico’s booming dairy industry (The Guardian)                                                                                    Pollution from Cannon air force base has gone unreported for decades. Now it’s threatening the US food supply
  • California’s ‘dry farmers’ grow crops without irrigation (Santa Cruz Sentinel)                                                            The environmentally conscious practice relies on rainwater to grow seasonal crops


Land and Soil

  • There’s More Foreign-Owned American Farmland Than the Size of Tennessee. That We Know Of. (Modern Farmer)



  • Study: Earth system impacts of the European arrival and Great Dying in the Americas after 1492 (Quaternary Science Reviews)
  • Extreme weather events are fueling ‘food shocks’ and jeopardizing global security (Think Progress)                                                                                  Climate change is driving more severe weather which in turn is threatening food.
  • Climate Change Is Causing Food And Mental Health Crisis For These Indigenous People (Huffington Post)


Plants, Seeds & Cultivars


Water & Our Oceans

  • Wild rice waters a big reason Indian tribes oppose Enbridge pipeline project (Star Tribune)        Precious wild rice grows downstream from Enbridge’s proposed route across northern Minnesota.
  • Crew injured, diesel fuel spilled into river when train derails in remote Wyoming canyon (Casper Star Tribune)
  • Images taken from space in 2018 and 2019 show two very different Californias (SF Gate)                          We have water!
  • Massive Pacific Coast Starfish Die-Off Is Linked To Global Warming (Huffington Post)                             The “marine heat wave” is triggering a “continental-scale collapse of a pivotal predator,” says new study.
  • Study: Disease epidemic and marine heat wave are associated with the continental-scale collapse of pivotal predator (Pycnopodia helianthoides) (Science Magazine)
  • After 16 Months Of Dead Fish, Manatees and Dolphins, Florida’s Red Tide Ebbs (NPR)


Food Culture & History

  • Bed-Stuy’s Trinidadian Bakery Wins James Beard Award (Patch Bed-Stuy)                                                                   A&A Bake & Double and Roti Shop has been deemed an American classic by the renowned culinary institute.
  • I’m a Queer Brown Immigrant Chef. I Don’t Have the Luxury of Staying Silent (Time)
  • How corporations shaped the American diet, from Jell-O to pineapple pizza (New Food Economy)
  • Book Review: The Limits of Home Cooking (Pacific Standard)                                                                                              A richly reported new book offering powerful insights into the cooking habits – and daily struggles – of working-class Americans.


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

  • 1.4 million Puerto Ricans face deep cuts in food aid without federal action (NBC News)                    The federal food assistance program Puerto Rico is set to run out of money next month.
  • GAO Report: Food Insecurity: Better Information Could Help Eligible College Students (US Government Accountability Office)
  • Metro Buses Converted Into Mobile Food Markets For Low Income Neighborhoods (Black Business)
  • Soda industry influence on obesity science and policy in China (Journal of Public Health Policy)


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste


Healthy Food & Food Safety

  • Trump’s NYC eateries written up for ‘live mice,’ other ‘critical health code violations in recent months (New York Daily News)


Food Fraud, Scandals, Weird & Funny

  • How NYU and Food-Service Giant Armark Stumbled Into a Black History Month PR Fiasco (NY Magazine)
  • World War I Grenade Discovered Among Potatoes at Hong Kong Potato Chip Factory (Huffington Post)          The mud-caked device was found on Saturday morning in a shipment of potatoes from France.


Training & Education


Labor, Unions & Coops

  • A minimum-wage worker needs 1.5 jobs just to afford half the rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in most of the US (Business Insider)
  • Worker Cooperatives Are More Productive Than Normal Companies (Yes!)                                                  When maximizing profits isn’t the only goal, companies can actually work better.


Pollinators & Insects

  • Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’ (The Guardian)
    • Insects Are Dying En Masse, Risking ‘Catastrophic’ Collapse Of Earth’s Ecosystems (Huffington Post)
      • Study: Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers (Biological Conservation)                                                                      Habitat loss by conversion to intensive agriculture is the main driver of the declines.


Animals, Fish & Seafood

  • California City Launches “Goat Fund Me” for Wildfire Preventing Goats (Modern Farmer)
  • Where beef is more than dinner (Food & Environmental Reporting Network)                                      Think a cow is only destined to be eaten? Think again. Cow parts are hot commodities in the biomedical research industry.
  • Down of the slow chicken (Food & Environmental Reporting Network)                                                                  Big poultry producers are turning to slower-growing birds, making it possible to cut antibiotic use and improve animal welfare.


Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Calabash: An Afro-Caribbean, Malaysian and Persian restaurant-market takes shape in Oakland (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • The Last Pioneer (theLAnd)                                    A savage journey to the heart of the greasy-as-hell California fast food dream.
  • Munchery, Sprig: What went wrong with on-demand, artisanal food (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Costco to be the first major retailer to dump Monsanto’s Roundup and Glyphosate herbicide from its shelves (Waking Times)
  • Maine lobster orders tank as Chinese turn to tariff-free Canada (Portland Press Herald)
  • 50 Years Ago, Sugar Industry Quietly Paid Scientists To Point Blame At Fat (NPR)
  • Danone is struggling to sell Its Earthbound Farms unit (New York Post)                                                                          Food conglomerates that have moved into the organics market are struggling, it might have something to do with integrity and green washing…
  • Some History: Carmel Valley-born Earthbound Farms Sells to massive WhiteWave Foods. (Monterey County Weekly)


Government, Regulation, Policy & Farm Bill

  • EU glyphosate approval was based on plagiarized Monsanto text, report finds (The Guardian)
    • Report: Detailed Expert Report on Plagiarism and superordinated Copy Paste in the Renewal Assessment Report (RAR) on Glyphosate (European Free Alliance)
  • The White Earth Ban of Ojibwe Legally Recognized the Rights of Wild Rice. Here’s Why (Yes!)                    Finally plant species have rights, too.
  • President’s State of the Union Neglects Dire Farm Economy Conditions, NFU Says (National Farmers Union)
  • “Pink Slime” gets reclassified as ground beef (Fox17 West Michigan)
    • ABC News called it “pink slime.” Now, USDA says it can be labeled “ground beef.” (New Food Economy)                                                                                          On the semantics of a product that scandalized America—is now on a comeback tour.
  • Trump EPA Oks ‘Emergency’ to Dump Bee-Killing Pesticide on 16 Million Acres (EcoWatch)
  • Trump Trade War Helps Push Farmers Into Record Number Of Bankruptcies (Huffington Post)
  • While Everyone Was Focused on the Shutdown, the White House Rolled Back Worker Safety Rules (Fortune)
  • Court orders ban of top-selling pesticide, says EPA violated law, ignored scientific studies (Chicago Tribune)
  • Killing 22 Hogs a Minute, Meatpackers Test Old Limits of Safety (Bloomberg)                                                Trump’s USDA is looking to speed up the slaughter line.
  • Trump’s EPA Refuses to Limit the Nasty Teflon Chemicals Lurking in Our Drinking Water (Mother Jones)
  • Alberta to evict urban community farm that supplies shelters with organic produce (The Globe and Mail)
  • Illinois Governor to Sign Bill Raising Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour by 2025 (WSJ)                      Business groups oppose labor-backed measure raising minimum from $8.25
  • (Maine State) Rep. Pleucker concentrates on bills supporting farms, pesticide control, municipal revenue (Penobscot Bay Pilot)


Non-Governmental Organizations

  • ‘Breathtaking and Terrifying’: UN Food Relief Agency Partners With CIA-Funded Software Firm Palantir (Common Dreams)                                                                                        Data privacy advocates decried the $45 million deal as “horribly irresponsible and potentially incredibly harmful.”


Food Science, Technology & Nanotechnology



  • Culprit found for honeybee deaths in almond groves (Ohio State University)
    • Study: Combined Toxicity of Insecticides and Fungicides Applied to California Almond Orchards to Honey Bee Larvae and Adults (Insects)
  • Analysis Show Exposure to Monsanto’s Glyphosate-Based Roundup Increases Cancer Risk More Than 40% (Common Dreams)                                                                    “The future will wonder just what we thought we were doing blanketing the world in this poison.”
  • Study: Is soil contamination by a glyphosate commercial formulation truly harmless to non-target plants? – Evaluation of oxidative damage and antioxidant responses in tomato (Environmental Pollution)


Education & Training

  • Rural colleges are ignoring one of their largest industries: agriculture (The Guardian)