Jenny’s Food & Ag Update for June 1, 2019


  • The Quest to Return Tomatoes to Their Full-Flavored Glory (Smithsonian)                                                          We’ve bred the original tomato taste out of existence. Now geneticists are asking: Can we put it back?
  • Report: The State Of The World’s Biodiversity For Food And Agriculture (FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture)
  • What’s Causing an Outbreak of a Mysterious Fungal Infection? America’s Farms Offer a Clue. (Mother Jones)                                                                             Fungicide use “most likely” played a role in the rise of a deadly drug-resistant germ.
  • Globe to gut: inside Big Good (Nature)                                                              Felicity Lawrence absorbs three books on the illogical route from farm to fork.
  • Food Routs: Growing Bananas in Iceland and Other Tales from the Logistics of eating
  • The Grand Food Bargain: and the Mindless Drive for More
  • Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food
  • University of California System Halts Use of Glyphosate Herbicide (Independent Science News)
  • A goat herd is helping Trump pay tens of thousands of dollars less in property taxes on his New Jersey properties (Business Insider)
  • ‘Regenerative agriculture’: World-saving idea or food marketing ploy? (grist)                                                                    As with many things, it depends on who is saying it and in what context…
  • News Release: General Mills to advance regenerative agriculture practices on one million acres of farmland by 2030 (General Mills)                                                      Yet more greenwashing…


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • How Black Farmers Are Trying To End Centuries Of Racism In America’s Food System (Huffington Post)  Prejudice, violence, and poverty have pushed black farmers off their land. A growing movement is calling for reparations.
  • ‘Numb to it’ – Farm family moves forward despite dead cows, beach where their filed used to be (Lincoln Journal Star)
    • ‘Just a terrible mess’ – Ranchers, farmers left with dead animals, flooded fields, work to be done (Lincoln Journal Star)
  • Citrus Farmers Facing Deadly Bacteria Turn to Antibiotics, Alarming Health Officials (NYT)            In its decision to approve two drugs for orange and grapefruit trees, the EPA and the FDA, which fear that expanding their use in cash crops could fuel antibiotic resistance in humans.
  • ‘Hand that’s feeding the world is getting bit.’ Farmers cope with floods, trade war (Kansas City Star)
  • As farmers fight for the right to repair their tractors, an antitrust movement gains steam (The New Food Economy)                                                                              Proprietary tools and restrictive user agreements keep farmers from fixing their own machines. A vocal faction of producers, legislators, and advocates wants to change that.


Land and Soil

  • Study: Property rights and rural justice: A study of US right-to-farm laws (Journal of Rural Studies)
  • Millions of Acres of the Amazon are at Risk Due to the Trade War Between the US and China (Pacific Standard)                                                                                              The feud’s effect on the soybean trade could be the main culprit behind increased destruction of the Amazon.



  • A the heat rises, farmworkers band together (Food & Environment Reporting Network)              From wildfires to extreme temperatures, climate change is driving activism in the farm fields.
  • Research: Climate Impacts of Cultured Meat and Beef Cattle (Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems)


Plants, Seeds & Cultivars


Water & Our Oceans

    • ‘He Doesn’t Trust Water.’ 5 Years Later, Flint Sees Few Signs of Relief (Time)

           It’s too hopeful to think the Flint, Michigan water crisis is over…


    • Water in Paradise, Site of worst California fire, contaminated with cancer chemical (San Francisco Chronicle)
      • Rare ‘toxic cocktail’ from Camp Fire is Poisoning Paradise water. It could cost $300 million to fix. (Sacramento Bee)
    • Toxic Oilfield Wastewater Used to Grow California Food, Including Organics (Food and Water Watch)

          In spring 2018, news of the water crisis in South Africa ricocheted          around the world – then the story disappeared. So what happened?

    • Dozens of Endangered Orcas Seen Off California Coast For First Time In 8 Years (Huffington Post)
    • Walruses Are Jumping Off Cliffs to Their Deaths – Yes, Because of Climate Change (Common Dreams)


Food Culture & History

  • These Indigenous Women Are Reclaiming Stolen Land in the Bay Area (Yes!)                                                          Through a voluntary land tax and donations from land owners, this organization is working to create an alternative land base for Indigenous people in California’s East Bay.
  • Iran’s saffron cultivation system recognized as ‘cultural heritage’ FAO (MEHR News Agency)
  • Pompeii ‘fast food’ bar unearthed in ancient city after 2,000 years (The Guardian)
  • An Archive of 3,000 Vintage Cookbooks Lets You Travel Back Through Culinary Time (Open Culture)


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

  • Canada: Why millions of dollars in federal grocery subsidies haven’t lessened food insecurity in the North (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)
  • After the floods, a struggle on the Pine Ridge Reservation for food and water access (The New Food Economy)
  • I Volunteered At 200 Food Banks Across the U.S. Here’s What I Learned About Hunger In America. (Huffington Post)


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • Recycling Isn’t About the Planet. It’s About Profit. (Slate)                                                                                      When you drop a bottle in a blue bin, you’re joining the unruly transglobal trash trade.


Healthy Food & Food Safety

  • Is Pizza Sauce a Vegetable? Amy Klobuchar Has Changer Her Answer on School Lunch Controversy (Education Week)
  • Food-poisoning outbreak that has sickened over 100 people in 6 states is likely from ground beef (nbc news)
  • Pre-Cut Melon Sold in 16 States Recalled Amid Salmonella Outbreak (Huffington Post)                                Caito Foods LLC, which distributes its fruit to Walmart, Target and Kroger, issued a  similar recall last year.


Children & School Food

  • Could Urban Farms Be the Preschools of the Future? (City Lab)                                                                                                A group of architects proposed a new design to help raise environmentally responsible kids.


Labor, Unions & Coops

  • ‘When Workers Fight, Workers Win’: Union Declares Victory as Stop & Shop Strike Ends With Deal to Raise Wages (Common Dreams)                                                                        “Stop & Shop  workers sent a message to their company by collectively standing up for themselves, their families, and good jobs, that resonated not only with the company, but all of America.”
  • Stop & Shop Strikers Are Standing Up for All Grocery Workers (Truthout)                                                              The current New England grocery workers’ strike will likely have long-lasting national significance. The strike that started April 11th with 31,000 Stop & Shop grocery works at about 240 supermarkets in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut…
  • Class-action complaint brought against Berkeley Bowl by former employee (The Daily Californian)
  • California’s Finest Restaurants Pay Workers of Color $6 per Hour Less Than White Workers (Mother Jones)



  • The Farworkers Who Pick Your Halo Mandarins Juist Organized a Massive Labor Strike (Civil Eats)

Nearly 1,800 fruit pickers – many undocumented – spontaneously walked out of The Wonderful Company’s citrus orchards earlier this year to oppose a pay cut and third-party labor contracts.


Business, Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Toronto restaurant fights food waste by chopping menu prices till all the dishes are gone (Food & Environment Reporting Network)
  • Everything is Organic at this Burger Chain. Even the Pickles (Bloomberg)                                                Nic’s opened two years ago in the Chicago area and is thriving. But sometimes the chain must scramble to find organic ingredients.
  • The Dirty Secret Behind The Perfect Fruits and Vegetables At Your Grocery Store (Huffington Post)
  • Beef Packing Merger Threatens America’s Last Competitive Cash Cattle Market (Food and Power)
  • How a New Corporate Model in Hog Farming Puts Rural Communities at Risk (Food and Power)
  • Promotion of GMO-Derived Impossible Burger at World’s Largest Natural Food Trade Show Denounced as Deceptive (EcoWatch)


Government, Regulation, Policy & Farm Bill

  • Veggie discs? Seitan slabs? EU meat fans want to rebrand vegetarian food (grist)
    • ‘Veggie discs’ to replace veggie burgers in EU crackdown on food labels (The Guardian)          Vegetarian food producers must revise name if MEPs agree new rule to protect meat terms
  • The End Of Plastic Cutlery, Plates And straws: EU Market Says Goodbye To Single-Use Plastic Products (Forbes)
  • Malawi Bans Import of Glyphosate Herbicides after US Cancer Verdict (Sustainable Pulse)
  • Gillibrand introduces bill to ban harmful pesticides from school lunch (The Hill)
  • USDA orders Scientists to say published research is ‘preliminary’ (The Washington Post)
  • NIH study finds heavily processed foods cause overeating and weight gain (National Institutes of Health)
  • ‘Finally!’: Court Orders EPA to Stop Stalling Potential Ban on Pesticide Tied to Brain Damage in Kids (Common Dreams)                                                                                           “We hope Trump’s EPA finally decides to protect the future of countless children and the health of millions of farmworkers.”
  • “Organic” Hydroponic Operations Allowed to Spray Glyphosate on the Soil (The Cornucopia Institute)
  • Democrats Just Introduced Sweeping #MeToo Legislation. It Would Have a Huge Impact on the Service Industry. (Mother Jones)                                                                      Low-wage and service industry workers stand to gain the most.
  • USDA paid over $15 billion to ag and dairy subsidy recipients in 2018 (La Crosse Tribune)
  • Trump farm bailout will go to Brazilian owned meatpacking firm, USDA says (Washington Post)
  • Attorneys General Sue Trump Administration Over School Nutrition Rollbacks (NPR)
  • Prepare for sticker shock. The US – Mexico Tomato War is on (The New Food Economy)
  • Trump Is About to Make the Pork Industry Responsible for Inspecting Itself (Mother Jones)
    • Trump administration to slash USDA pork inspections, including tests for salmonella, E. coli (Daily Kos)
  • When the government mandates work requirements for food stamps, who actually profits? (The New Food Economy)                                                                                        When Wisconsin implemented work requirements, it cost double what it was supposed to and lifted only a tiny fraction of participants out of poverty. The contractor it hired violated civil rights and was accused of coercing labor.
  • Maine Legislature Oks Bill To End ‘Food Shaming’ Students Who Can’t Afford Meals (Huffington Post)              The bill prevents public schools from punishing, stigmatizing and refusing meals to students who either cannot pay or have a negative balance in their lunch account.
  • Maryland lawmakers double down on contentious oyster restoration efforts (The New Food Economy)
  • Judge determines Flint residents can Sue US government for water crisis (Nation of Change)
  • Flint Receives $77 Million to Fund New Water Projects (Color Lines)                                                                                Five years after the water crisis began, the city continues to recover with projects to protect residents and update infrastructure.


Pollinators & Insects

  • To save the monarch butterfly, Mexican scientists are moving a forest 1,000 feet up a mountain (LA Times)



  • Monsanto hit with staggering $2 billion verdict in Roundup cancer suit (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • The herbicide dicamba is sparking a civil war in farm country (Food & Environment Reporting Network)
  • Study: Lethal and sublethal synergistic effects of a new systemic pesticide flupyradifurone (Sivanto), on honey bees (The Royal Society) can be exposed to multiple pesticides that may interact synergistically, amplifying their side effects. Attention has focused on neonicotinoid pesticides, but flupyradifurone (FPF) is a novel butenolide insecticide that is also systemic and a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) agonist. 
  • Across Midwest Farm Fields, Pesticide Exposure Is Tracked Evenly Or Not At All (Harvest Public Media)
  • Toxins in Canada (Canada’s National Observer)                                                                                                A series exploring the pros and cons of pesticide use in Canada, the strengths and weaknesses of its regulatory landscape and who exercises the greatest influence on the landscape.
  • Family farm documentary was part of pesticide PR strategy (Canada’s National Observer)
  • Fired Quebec scientist blew the whistle on pesticide lobby influence (Canada’s National Observer)
  • Dying from cancer, this man’s case has stunning repercussions in Canada (Canada’s National Observer)