Jenny’s Food & Ag Update for April 7, 2019


  • Jim Hightower: Silicon Valley’s Next Target: America’s Farmers (Other Words)                                                  They’re building robots to siphon farm profits out of local communities and into the pockets of rich investors.
  • A Surplus of Meat And Dairy Puts a Strain On US Markets and Storage (Harvest Public Media)
  • After mega-dairy was shut down, Oregon lawmakers consider a moratorium on new operations (Food and Environment Reporting Network)
  • EU issues ‘no deal, no meal’ Brexit threat to British fish and chips (The Telegraph)
  • A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy (NYT)                                                                 The rise of Candida auris embodies a growing public health threat: drug resistant germs.                                                                                                         This time it is fungus…


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • Short of Workers, US Builders and Farmers Crave More Immigrants (NYT)                                                          As a tight labor market raises costs, employers say the need for low-wage help can’t be met by the declining ranks of the native-born.
  • Farmers Bet Big on the South’s First Organic Hemp Cooperative (Civil Eats)                                                                          In Kentucky, hemp is poised to become a big industry, reviving the fortunes for famers who once made their living growing tobacco.
  • The Hidden Catastrophe of the Midwest’s Floods (Mother Jones)                                                                                      The “bomb cyclone” threatened the region’s most valuable resource.
  • ‘It’s Probably Over for Us’: Record Flooding Pummels Midwest When Farmers Can Least Afford It (NYT)
  • Historic Midwest Flooding Has Devastating Consequences for Farmers (EcoWatch)
  • Estimated 11,900 South Dakota wells potentially contaminated with floodwater (News Center 1)
  • Flooded-out farmers tell ag leaders it will be hard to recover without federal assistance (Des Moines Register)
  • Missouri River Flooding Didn’t Just Damage Farms, It Impacted The Global Supply Chain (KCUR)
  • How Are New York’s Organic and Grassfed Farms Faring Amid a Devastating Dairy Crisis? (Edible Manhattan)
  • Climate Change Is Already Reshaping How We Farm (The Nation)                                                                                 After years of struggling through summer heat and wildfire smoke, farmers in Washington are building their own, cooperatively run, future.
  • Optimizing management of dairy goat farms through individual animal data interpretation: A case study of smart farming in Spain (Agricultural Systems)
  • Why transitioning a farm from one generation to the next is trickier than ever (New Food Economy)


Land and Soil

  • The zoo beneath our feet: We’re only beginning to understand soil’s hidden world (The Washington Post)
  • Study: Impacts of soil carbon sequestration on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in Midwestern USA beef finishing systems (Science Direct)



  • ‘We Can’t Trust the Permafrost Anymore’: Doomsday (seed) Vault at Risk in Norway (EcoWatch)
  • The Hidden Catastrophe of the Midwest’s Floods (Mother Jones)                                                                                            The “bomb cyclone’ threatened the region’s most valuable resource.
  • Climate Change and the Death of the Small Farm (The New Republic)                                                                        The catastrophic flooding in the Midwest is forcing more farmers to consider a stark choice: quit or consolidate.


Plants, Seeds & Cultivars

  • Dan Barber’s Seed Company Seeks to Sow the ‘Democratization of flavor’ (Civil Eats)


Water & Our Oceans

  • An indigenous in Washington is strategically placing beavers around to help salmon (Business Insider)
  • US schools are failing to protect kids from lead in drinking water, report finds (CBS News)
  • Mining companies polluted waters, leave taxpayers holding the tab (Helena Independent Record)
  • ‘Monumental step backwards’ – the $1b gas pipeline project dividing New York (The Guardian)                   Environmental groups oppose the underwater pipeline that would bring fracked gas from Pennsylvania to New York
  • Flint residents can sue former Gov. Snyder over water disaster, judge rules (Detroit Free Press)
    • Citing ‘Conscience Shocking’ Conduct Federal Judge Reinstates Former Governor Snyder in Flint Water Lawsuit (Common Dreams)                                                     City residents, and the judge, “could have taken protective measures, if only they had known what the Governor knew. Instead, the Governor misled them into assuming that nothing was wrong.”
  • This Humble Mollusk Can Save Shorelines From Rising Seas (Yes!)                                                                                              As entire islands disappear from Chesapeake Bay, the oyster is enlisted as a first line of climate defense.
  • Whale Ate 88 Pounds of Plastic Before Washing Up Dead in Philippines (Huffington Post)


Food Culture & History

  • Stop Calling It “Ethnic Food” – and More Tips on How to Talk About Eating (Mother Jones)                            It seems the wider food world is discovering that food, including how we describe it in a wider context, is political…


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

  • Scottish Food Poverty Is Twice as Bad as Previously Feared (Global Citizen)                                                      Food bank use might be worse than thought across the rest of the UK, too.
  • Thousands of CUNY students experience homelessness and food insecurity, report says (NY Daily News)
  • New Book: Majority of Vermont’s Migrant Farm Workers Are Food Insecure (The University of Vermont)
  • Jerri Evans Strives To Bridge The Gap Between Low-Income Communities and Healthy Food (Huffington Post)                                                                                                “You deserve to be able to walk down the street and get something healthy and not have to search for it.”
  • Unhealthy diets now kill more people than tobacco and high blood pressure, study finds (CBS News)
    • Study: Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990 – 2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 (The Lancet)


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • Food Waste Is A Major Problem. Confusing Date Labels Are Making It Worse (Huffington Post)                     More than a third of the food in the United States goes to waste – about 400 pounds a year per American.


Healthy Food & Food Safety

  • Healthy food prescriptions could save billions in healthcare costs (Popular Science)
    • Study: Cost-effectiveness of financial incentives for improving diet and health through Medicare and Medicaid: A microsimulation study (PLOS)
  • The Dangerous Food Additive That’s Not on the Label (Civil Eats)                                                                                           Perchlorate, a byproduct of bleach and packaging, is found organic, conventional, and bulk foods alike – and it has an outsized impact on children’s health.
  • Yes, there really are more rubber chunks and plastic pieces turning up in meat (New Food Economy)
  • California company recalls avocadoes as precaution against listeria: Is your fruit safe? (USA Today)
  • Report: Eating Without Reservation: Ensuring Food Safety in New York City (CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute)


Food Fraud, Scandals, Weird & Funny


Children & School Food

  • All 1,700 NYC Public Schools Adopt Meatless Mondays (Veg News)                                                                          Over one million students will now eat vegetarian food every Monday with plenty of vegan options.
  • The Largest Public School System in the World Just Went Vegetarian on Mondays (Edible Manhattan)
  • A hidden scandal: America’s school students exposed to water tainted by toxic lead (The Guardian)
  • Indiana school district turns unused cafeteria food into take-home meals for kids (abc3340)


Labor, Unions & Coops

  • ‘Cheat Working Americans, You’ll Go to Jail’: Warren Unveils Bill to Punish Criminal CEOs (Common Dreams)                                                                                                                                  “For far too long, CEOs of giant corporations that break the law have been able to walk away while consumers who are harmed are left picking up the pieces.”
  • Fast food workers declare victory after McDonald’s withdraws opposition to minimum wage hikes (Think Progress)                                                                                    There are cracks in the corporate coalition against a $15 hourly wage, but just how deep they run remains to be seen.
  • Documentary short honors the humble dishwasher, who deserves your damn respect (AV Club)
  • Food & Wine Shares Its List of Great Restaurants to Work For (Grub Street)                                                    Restaurants are notorious for not always being the best places to work. The industry has a 72.5 percent turnover rate and a long history of abusive work environments, among other things…
  • Cornish daffodils left to rot from lack of eastern European workers due to Brexit (Cornwall Live)
  • Trump Juist Blamed Union Dues, Which Are Paid By Workers Not Companies, For GM’s Layoffs (Labor 411)
    • Donald Trump erroneously says Lordstown workers could have saved plant by lowering union dues (
  • Low-wage federal workers still want their shutdown pay, please (Think Progress)                                                    The government shutdown ended almost two months ago. Its financial toll on contractors lingers like a bad hangover.
  • Workers at Little Big Burger Form Union, Joining Portland Fast Food Labor Drive (Willamette Week)        “Soon there won’t be a burger flipped in this town that isn’t flipped by a union hand.”



  • In Nationwide Protests, Workers Declare McDonald’s Move to End Lobbying Against Minimum Wage Isn’t Enough (Common Dreams)                                                              Cooks, Cashiers Call Fast-Food Giant’s Announcement ‘A Day Late, $15 and a Union Short’
  • Wendy’s Owner Gives Big to Trump While Refusing Farmworkers’ Demands (Truthout)                            Since January 2013, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) has been mount an effort to pressure Wendy’s to participate in its Fair Food Program, which ensures better wages and safer working conditions for Florida’s tomato pickers…
  • Florida Atlantic University Student Government Joins University of Michigan, University of Florida in unanimously approving resolution to boot Wendy’s from campus! (CIW Online)


Business, Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Couple Launches Black-Owned Restaurant in Alabama That Allows Customers to Pay What They Can (Westside Gazette)
  • After 15 years of selling tamales on the streets, La Guerrera’s Kitchen gets a brick-and-mortar in Oakland (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • The Trump Administration Is Moving to Deregulate Pork Inspections. What Could Go Wrong? (Esquire)                                                                                                                                               “This could pass and everything could be okay for a while, until some disease is missed and we have an outbreak all over the country. It would be an economic disaster that would be very hard to recover from.”
  • Trump Administration to Give More Power Over Meat Inspections to Pork Industry (Daily Beast)
  • Burger King to Trial Meat-Free Impossible Whopper (EcoWatch)
    • Sorry vegans, Burger King’s Impossible Whopper won’t do anything to save animals (Independent)                                                                                The hope that if we buy enough vegan products that capitalism’s merciless exploitation of the vulnerable will magically end is fairy-tail stuff
  • Taco Bell Begins Testing Vegetarian Menu As More Chains Jump On Plant-Based Food Bandwagon (Forbes)
  • Nestle to face lawsuit saying Poland Spring water is not from a spring (The Guardian)                                  Poland Spring in Maine, which labels name as a source of the water, ‘commercially ran dry’ nearly 50 years ago, complains says
  • Monsanto Seeks to Expand Use of Devastating Herbicide to GMO Corn (Center for Food Safety)
  • A Second US Jury Finds That Roundup Causes Cancer (EcoWatch)
    • Monsanto Must Pay $81 Million After Jury Finds Roundup was a Significant Factor in Man’s Cancer (US Public Interest Research Group)
    • Roundup Trial: Monsanto Used Fake Data to Win Over Regulators (Courthouse News)
  • Consumer Campaign Calls on Wendy’s to “Hold the Antibiotics” from its beef supply chain (US Public Interest Research Group)
  • Yes We Can: Eating Healthy on a Limited Budget (Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior)
  • Ripple effect: Study reveals NYS apple industry’s true economic impact (Cornell University)


Government, Regulation, Policy & Farm Bill

  • In Rural America, Farmers Reap What the President Sows (The American Prospect)                                     Trump’s proposed USDA budget cuts send the wrong message to America’s struggling farms.
  • Studies Show the Dangers of Proposed Changes to Food Stamps      (Color Lines)
    • More than 750K could lose food stamps under Trump administration proposal (Wave3News)
    • Trump’s Stricter Work Requirements for Food Stamps, Might Actually Lead to Fewer Jobs (Mother Jones)                                                                                  And the rule would hit those in “deep poverty” the hardest.
  • Taking money out of the economy and reducing economic activity reduces jobs.
    • Issue Brief: Proposed Changes to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Waiver to Work-Related Time Limits (Mathematica Policy Research)
    • Report: The Antipoverty Effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (The Urban Institute)
    • Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Statement: Partisan House Farm Bill Would Turn Clock Back on Efforts to Reduce Hunger and Hardship
    • Puerto Rico faces food-stamp crisis as Trump privately vents about federal aid to Hurricane Maria – battered island (MSN)
      • Trump Complains Puerto Rico Getting ‘Too Much’ disaster Aid as More Than 1 Million Face Food Crisis (EcoWatch)
    • Forty-Seven Senators Oppose the Trump Administration’s Proposed SNAP Restrictions (Pacific Standard)
      • Republicans Couldn’t Cut Food Benefits With Legislation, But They Have A Backup Plan (Huffington Post)                                                                                      The Trump administration wants to cut benefits for 755,00 people through regulation.
    • ‘Turning Its Back on Millions of Workers,’ Trump Administration Moves Backward With New Overtime Rule (Common Dreams)                                                                                        Labor advocates say president is once again “siding with corporate interests over those of working people”
    • US District Court rules against farmers in wage lawsuit (Vegetable Growers News)
      • Court Upholds Department Of Labor Wage Rates for Migrant Farmworkers (Public Citizen)                Ruling will protect foreign and US workers’ earnings
    • Federal Oversight of Workplace Deaths Is Declining (The Nation)                                                                                              A drop in federal safety inspectors has coincided with an increase in deaths in workplaces monitored by OSHA.
    • Bipartisan Demand for Checkoff Reform Renewed with Filing of US Senate Legislation (Organization for Competitive Markets)
    • NYT: Trump Admin. Sides With Pesticide Makers, Against Endangered Species (News and Guts)
    • It just became easier for employers to dump retirees’ pensions (CNN)                                                                            Traditional pensions are disappearing in America, and the federal government just made it easier for employers to get rid of them.
    • Will 2020 Democrats address ag-industry concentration? (Des Moines Register)
      • Warren and Sanders are Talking Tough About Corporate Control of Food (Mother Jones)                        Could food policy finally become a key presidential issue?
    • In Iowa, Sanders Addresses ‘Rural Community Issues We Almost Never Hear About’: Factory Farms and Big Ag (Common Dreams)                                                                                          “We have seen family farmers by the thousands go out of business, as the prices that they receive for their products decline rapidly, and large agribusiness corporations and factory farming take over agriculture.”
    • Elizabeth Warren lays out plan to target corporate agriculture, support family farmers (Des Moines Register)
      • Will Elizabeth Warren’s Plan to Break Up Agribusiness Help Small Farmers (Pacific Standard)
      • Team Warren: Leveling the Playing Field for America’s Family Farmers (Medium)
    • Trump administration sues California to block water plan for fish (The Sacramento Bee)
    • ‘Meals under wheels’: More states make to legal to eat roadkill (NBC News)                                          Critics warn about the risks of diseased meat and worry that over eager drivers may intentionally strike down animals.
    • From ‘Too Radical’ to Spreading Nationwide: Maryland Becomes 6th State to Pass $15 Minimum Wage (Common Dreams)                                                                                    “We’re not done. Next we will pass a national $15 minimum wage,’ said Senator Bernie Sanders
    • (California) Bill Would Bring Local, Organic Food to Schools (Farmers Guild)                                              AB958 recognizes benefits for California’s health, environment & economy.
    • California bill curbing use of contractors would not exempt Uber, Lyft, other tech firms (LA Times)
    • Michigan OKs Nestlé Water Extraction, Despite 80K+ Public Comments Against it (NPR)
    • Oregon House approves 10-year ban on ‘fracking’ (KOIN6)                                                                                                        Currently no fracking operations in Oregon
    • Iowa Governor Signs ‘Ag-Gag 2.0’ Into Law After First One Struck Down (Harvest Public Media)
      • ‘Boycott Iowa’: latest twist in legal tussle between animal campaigners and US farmers (The Guardian)                                                                             Twenty-five states have attempted to introduce legislation to chill animal right activism, and six have succeeded, as a string of ‘ag-gag’ laws are overturned in courts
    • South Dakota Criminalizes Protest Against Keystone XL Pipeline (Color Lines)                                                              The state’s tribal communities say the government is placing the interests of big business over their safety. 
    • After Nebraska governor steps in, community board Oks a Costco linked CAFO (Food and Environment Reporting Network)
    • Georgia’s controversial bill to legalize oyster farming nears approval (The New Food Economy)
    • Portland’s ban on synthetic pesticides goes into effect (Portland Press Herald)                                                    Private property owners can use only organic treatments for gardens and lawns.


    Pollinators & Insects

    • The Oregon Zoo Plans to Release a Record Number of Endangered Butterflies Into the Wild This Month (Willamette Week)


    Animals, Fish & Sea Animals

    • Deadly chicken disease spreads to Bay Area, flocks at risk (The Mercury News)                                First-ever case of Virulent Newcastle Disease spreads to Bay Area in Northern California leads to cancelation of events
    • How should we treat fish before they end up on our plates? (High Country News)                                            Seafood harvesting is brutal – but it doesn’t have to be.


    GMOs, CRISPR, Cloning & Synthetic Biology



    • New study shows link between prenatal and infant pesticide exposure and autism in children (Nation of Change)
      • Study: Prenatal and infant exposure to ambient pesticides and autism spectrum disorder in children: population based case-control study (The British Medical Journal)
    • Study: Organic diet intervention significantly reduces urinary pesticide levels in children and adults (Science Direct)
    • New Report Shows Roundup Weedkiller Exposure Massive Health Problems in Americans (Weed Killer Crisis)
    • What pesticide monitoring misses (Food and Environment Reporting Network)                                                  A new “dirty dozen” list is a reminder that the real risks from chemicals in our food – for farmworkers and children, in particular – are being ignored.
    • Pesticide residues found in 70% of produce sold in US even after washing (The Guardian)              Conventionally farmed kale could contain up to 18 pesticides
    • With Conventional Farmers Embracing Dicamba, Specialty Crops Likely Next In Line For Damage (Harvest Public Media)
    • Study: Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence (Science Direct)
    • Concerns over use of glyphosate-based herbicides and risks associated with exposure: a consensus statement (Environmental Health)
    • What’s the world’s most widely used herbicide doing in tiny critters? (Environmental Health News)    Glyphosate-based herbicides are not supposed to harm wildlife. But lab studies keep finding otherwise.


    Education & Training