Jenny’s Food & Ag Update July 27, 2019


  • We Have the Money to Fix Our Food System (Other Words) f                                                                                                    Imagine supporting farmer markets, child nutrition, and local agriculture with money we spend on factory farms.
  • Poor People’s Moral Budget: Everybody Has the Right to Live (Institute for Policy Studies)
  • True cost of cheap food is health and climate crises, says commission (The Guardian)                                            Radical change needed to make UK food and farming system sustainable within 10 years
  • US agriculture needs a 21st century New Deal (Nation of Change)                                                                                                If policymakers can envision a contemporary version of ideas in the original New Deal, a climate-friendly and socially just American agriculture is within reach.
  • After 10 Years of Rapid Growth, What Does Organic Mean Today (Civil Eats)                                                                    Four experts weigh in on how booming interest in organic food has changed the industry, and what it means for farmers, policy makers, and eaters.
  • Organics detective (Star Tribune)                  US farmers stalk fraudulent imports to save their markets
  • Who should profit from Mexico’s nitrogen fixing corn? (Food & Environment Reporting Network)                  The effort to commercialize Oaxaca’s Miraculous maize spotlights the limitations of policies designed to safeguard genetic resources of indigenous communities around the world.
  • The Truth About “Sustainable” Palm Oil (                                                                                                  In West Papua, Indonesia, both conventional and “green” palm oil projects dispossess and exclude Indigenous people from their lands.
  • The Scary New Math of Factory Farm Waste (Common Dreams)                                                                                         Factory farms are exempt from reporting requirements under the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Now a new tool can provide solid evidence of the environmental harm they can cause.
  • Revealed; rampant deforestation of Amazon driven by global greed for meat (The Guardian)


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • Farmers and Ranchers Head to DC to Level the Playing Field (Civil Eats)                                                                          Saying they have endured years of unfair contracts, discrimination, and retaliation from a handful of big companies that control the industry, farmers and ranchers are asking USDA to enforce the GIPSA rules.
  • Mid-Sized Farms Are Disappearing. This Program Could Reverse the Trend. (Civil Eats)
  • Organic Farm in West Virginia Is Imperiled by Gas Pipeline Construction (Truthout)
  • Farmed salmon is now a staple in diets – but what they eat matters too (The Conversation)
  • Ranchers Group Sues Packers for Conspiracy to Decrease Cattle Prices (Food and Power)
  • The Shoreline Still Provides Dinner, Despite Climate Change and Private Property (Yes!)                                          The mighty geoduck clam is a local food source, native to my island home. But digging for it demands a license, fortitude, and fast shoveling.


Land and Soil

  • In Just One Decade, Corporations Destroyed 50 Million Hectares of Forest – An Area the size of Spain (Common Dreams)                                                                                        “These companies are destroying our children’s future by driving us towards climate and ecological collapse.”



  • Farmers Have a Secret Weapon to Save Your Food From Climate Chaos (Mother Jones)                                      There’s a smart way to adapt to increasing storm surges.
  • USDA Scientists Are Quitting In Droves. That’s Really Bad News For Climate Research (Vice)
  • Mississippi farmers forced to leave thousands of acres unplanted this season (Marketplace)
  • Climate Change-Fueled Valley Fever is Hitting Farmworkers Hard (Civil Eats)                                                              The potentially deadly disease is caused by a soil-borne fungus made worse by rising rates of dust storms. In California’s Central Valley, farmworkers are bearing the brunt of the problem.
  • Bananas Are Facing Extinction – And It’s Our Fault (Huffington Post)                                                                                    The world’s favorite fruit, known for its health benefits, is under attack by two dangerous diseases.


Plants, Seeds & Cultivars

  • The Potato Guardians (Earth Island Journal)                                                                                                    In the Peruvian Andes, Indigenous potato farmers are working with researchers to develop climate-smart spuds.


Water & Our Oceans

  • Victory in Illinois: Coal plant found guilty of polluting groundwater with coal ash (Nation of Change)                                                                                                               “Today is a huge victory for Waukegan residents who have fought for years to see corporations like NRG Energy held accountable for the toxic waste that has been illegally dumped on our Lake Michigan lakefront.”
  • Nestle’s Ice Mountain Bottled Water Leaves Nothing for Michigan’s Trout (Natural Resources Defense Counsel)
  • Chevron Spills 800,000 Gallons of Oil, Water in California (Courthouse News Service)
    • Pipe Spills oilfield wastewater on pastureland in Western North Dakota (Billings Gazette)
  • Massive review of fracking science confirms the industry poses a serious threat to both environment and human health (Nation of Change)
    • Babies Born Near Oil and Gas Wells Around Are Up to 70% More Likely to Have Congenital Heart Defects, New Study Shows (Common Dreams)
    • Study: Greater prevalence of congenital heart defects in high intensity oil and gas areas (EurekaAlter)
  • Court to Big Fracking Company: Trespassing Still Exists – Even For You (Truthout)
    • “No Evidence” That Fracking Can Be Done Without Threat To Human Health (Truthout)
    • Total Ban on Fracking Urged by Health Experts: 1,500 Studies Show ‘Damning’ Evidence of Threats to Public Health, Climate (EcoWatch)
  • Court Nixes Federal Approval For Cadiz Pipeline To Suck Water Out Of the Mojave To Sell (Huffington Post)                                                                                            The 43-mile pipeline was approved by the Trump administration after former Cadiz lobbyist David Bernhardt became deputy secretary of the interior.
  • ADEM (Alabama Department of Environmental Management) says Black Warrior River safe one week after huge (Tyson) waste spill, Riverkeepers disagree (abc3340)
  • North Dakota pipeline leak spills into Missouri River tributary (Billings Gazette)
  • Feds declare emergency as gray whale deaths reach highest level in nearly 20 years (San Jose Mercury News)                                                                                                NOAA declares “unusual mortality event” after at least 70 West Coast strandings this spring
  • Monterey Bay has more microplastics than Great Garbage Patch, researchers say (San Francisco Chronicle)
    • ‘Incredibly sobering’: New study finds Monterey Bay littered with tiny pieces of plastic. (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
    • Microplastics Have Invaded the Deep Ocean – And The Food Chain (NPR)
  • The US wants to dump 1.5 tons of rat poison pellets on the Farallon Islands. Biologists say it’s for the best. (LA Times)
  • Heatwave cooks mussels in their shells on California shore (The Guardian)                                                                            Temperatures lead to what appears to appears to be largest local die-off in 15 years, raising fears for broader ecosystem.
  • The Largest Algae Bloom in World History Is Now Off the Florida Coast (Vice)                                                                        Researchers are tracking the algae Sargassum, which has created record blooms nearly every year since 2011.
  • Red Tide is Back in Florida. Is Big Sugar to Blame? (Civil Eats)                                                                                               The rise of toxic algae blooms in the Gulf of Mexico is pitting tourism against agriculture as the state looks for solutions.
  • There’s An Environmental Disaster Unfolding In The Gulf of Mexico (Huffington Post)
  • Sun, Sand and Sewage: Report Shows Many US Beaches Unsafe for Swimming (Huffington Post)
  • Carnival slapped with a $20 million fine after was caught dumping trash into the ocean again (Business Insider)


Food Culture & History

  • The Surprising Links Between Family Dinner and Good Health (Yes!)                                                                           Adults who prepare quality meals for children are offering something more important than a nutrition lesson.
  • Everyone Knows the Benefits of Meal-Sharing. Here’s How to Actually Do It (Yes!)
  • Anthony Bourdain Knew There Was Nothing More Political Than Food (The Nation)                                                      The chef and author demanded that we consider the humanity of so many who were wrongly portrayed by the rest of the media.
  • Inside Pasta Factories: Amazing Photographs Show How Pasta Production Really Looked Like From the Early 20th Century (Vintage Everyday)
  • The archaeology of Neolithic cooking traditions: archaeobotanical approaches to baking, boiling and fermenting (archaeology international)


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

  • Report: The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 (Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN)
  • Tramp Administration Moves to End Food Stamps for 3 Million People (Bloomberg)
    • The Trump Administration Just Proposed Kicking 3.1 Million People Off Food Stamps (Mother Jones)   A rule change could strip the poor of more than $2.5 billion in nutritional assistance.
  • 1 in 12 senior citizens didn’t have enough food in 2017 – and the Trump administration is threatening to make is worse (AlterNet)
  • West Oakland neighborhoods welcome first full-service grocery store in decades (East Bay Times)    Community Foods Market will open Saturday, filling a void left in the mid 1970s
  • It’s Great That We Talk About ‘Food Deserts’ – But It Might Be Time to Stop (Huffington Post)                   Food access is s systemic issue with racial, cultural and socioeconomic roots, so let’s not assume that a grocery store will solve the problem.


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • A New Warehouse in Los Angeles Will Prevent Millions of Pounds of Food Waste (Civil Eats)                  Food Forward’s new Produce Pit Stop will bring fresh food to more people in need in eight Southern California counties, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Almost every country in the world agrees deal to cut plastic pollution – except US (Independent)


Healthy Food & Food Safety

  • Doctors May Soon Be Prescribing Vegetables Instead of Drugs To Prevent Disease (Tech Times)
  • Do Processed Foods Make You Fat? A New Study Has Stunning Results (Mother Jones)                                                  Government scientists wanted to know.
  • It’s Not Just Salt, Sugar, Fat: Study Finds Ultra-Processed Foods Drive Weight Gain (NPR)
  • Study: Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake and Weight Gain: An Inpatient Randomized Controlled Trial of Ad Libitum Food Intake (Cell Metabolism)
  • Cholesterol Redux: As Eggs Make A Comeback, New Questions About Health Risks (NPR)
  • Corporations can legally put carcinogens in our food without warning labels. Here’s why (Salon)           Cheerio’s has so much glyphosate in it, it should be labeled as toxic. Corporate free speech precedents prevent that
  • People eat at least 50,000 plastic particles a year, study finds (The Guardian)                                                          Health effects of ingestion of microplastics via food, water and breathing still unknown
  • 3M Knew About PFAS Food Contamination In 2001 (The Intercept)
    • Toxic PFAS Chemicals Found In Maine Farms Fertilized With Sewage Sludge (The Intercept)
    • There Is Something Called “Forever Chemicals” Coursing Through the US Food Supply (Mother Jones)                                                                                                                         The FDA found that chocolate cake had levels over 250 the federal guidelines.
  • That chocolate cake won’t last forever, but the chemicals in it might (grist)
  • Here’s Everything We Know About The ‘Forever’ Chemicals in Food (Huffington Post)
  • Several Ragú Sauces Recalled For Possible Plastic Fragment Contamination (Huffington Post)
  • Outrage Over Ice Cream Licker Should Prompt Us To Ask: What Is a Crime? (Truthout)


Children & School Food

  • Virginia school district buys food truck to provide students with free meals during summer (ABC News)
  • Parents are warned their child could be put in foster care over lunch debt (NBC News)                    “This is a failure to provide your child with proper nutrition and you can be sent to Dependency Court for neglecting your child’s right to food,” the Pennsylvania district wrote.


Labor, Unions & Coops

  • CBO Analysis Shows $15 Federal Minimum Wage Would Raise Pay for 27 Million Workers and Lift 1.3 Million Out of Poverty (Common Dreams)                                                      “It has been more than 10 years since congress raised the minimum wage – the longest stretch in history. This is a shameful benchmark. Congress should immediately pass the Raise the Wage Act.”
  • There Are More Women Farmers Than Ever, But They Make Less Than Men. Why? (Modern Farmer)                The number of female farmers is up by 27 percent in the last five years.
  • USDA’s independent researchers vote overwhelmingly to form union (The New Food Economy)
    • “Everyone here is just so depressed”: USDA’s research employees have two weeks to decide whether to move to Kansas (The New Food Economy)
  • Thousands Of Grocery Store Workers To Vote Today (6-24-19) On Strike Authorization (Labor 411)
  • Grocery Workers Stand Up (Jacobin)
    • Report: How Wages and Working Conditions for California’s Food Retail Workers Have Declined as The Industry Has Thrived (Food Labor Research Center, UCB)



  • ‘Seeds of Resistance’: Ponca corn planted in path of Keystone XL Pipeline (indianz)
  • McDonald’s Can’t Fool Its Shareholders: Big Chicken Is Bad Business (Truthout)


Business, Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Walmart’s Super-Sized Impact on the Food System (Civil Eats)                                                                                                  A new report details how the largest US food retailer leverages its unprecedented size to force lower prices, short-change workers and farmers, and create fewer food choices.
  • Report: Walmart’s Monopolization of Local Grocery Markets (Institute For Local Self-Reliance)
  • Major UK supermarket chain gets rid of plastic bags in produce and baker sections (Nation of Change)            “We are absolutely committed to reducing unnecessary plastic packaging in Sainsbury’s stores.”
  • How America’s food giants swallowed the family farms (The Guardian)
    • How a Top Chicken Company Cut Off Black Farmers, One by One (Propublica)                                              The Trump administration has weakened legal protections for farmers and eased off enforcing rules on powerful meat companies.
  • DowDupont Lavishes Campaign Cash On Politicians Who Voted Against a Ban on its Blockbuster Pesticide (Mother Jones)                                                                                                      Chlorpyrifos has been linked to brain damage in kids.
  • Monsanto, Bayer struggle to keep up with growing Roundup cancer litigation (Nation of Change)                     More than 13,000 plaintiffs have filed suit against Monsanto in the United States.
  • Big Chicken wants in on the plant-based meat options and that’s a good thing (Salon)
  • GrubHub is buying up thousands of restaurant web addresses. That means Mom and Pop can’t own their slice of the internet (The New Food Economy)
  • Foreign-Owned Meatpacker Receives Trade War Bailout, Critics Say it Won’t Help Farmers (Food and Power)
  • People of color are creating new kinds of cooperative cafes and restaurants in Oakland (SF Chronicle)
  • This Refugee-Run Catering Company Cures Homesickness With Hummus (Mother Jones)                                    Eat Offbeat serves meals created and prepared by refugee chefs.
  • The Food Business Incubator That Helps Immigrant Women Pursue The American Dream (NPR)
  • Why Some Wineries Are Becoming ‘Certified B Corp’ – And What That Means (NPR)
  • Paying Farmers Fairly Could Curb Climate Change and Hunger (Yes!)                                                                          Parity is the core of agriculture’s potential to address overpopulation.
  • Taking Farmers For A Ride (Other Words)    Trump’s trade disruptions are inflicting real pain, but they’re also exposing the frailty of an agricultur economy built for big business


Government, Regulation, Policy & Farm Bill

  • Canada Unveils Plan To Ban Single-Use Plastics As Early AS 2021 (Huffington Post)
  • The Mexican ambassador to the US explains Trump’s claim of a new agricultural deal (Vox)                          Trump said Mexico will soon increase its spending on US agricultural products. The ambassador said that isn’t exactly the case.
  • Bavaria to pass ‘save the bees’ petition into law in landmark move (The Guardian)                                                      Weight of 1.75m signatures persuades German state to bypass referendum and order action to protect pollinators
  • The USDA Didn’t Publish Its Plan to Help Farmers Adapt to Climate Change. Where They Need it the Most (Mother Jones)                                                                                        Three ecological disasters that are worthy of hair-on-fire attention by USDA researchers.
  • EPA: Factory Farms Don’t Need To Report Emissions (Civil Eats)                                                                                                    Environmental groups say a new rule from the agency eliminates one of the only tools providing communities near CAFOs with information about toxic substances in the air.
  • EPA expands use of pesticide considered ‘very highly toxic’ to bees (The Hill)
  • How USDA distorted data to conceal decades of discrimination against black farmers (The New Food Economy)
  • Trump’s EPA just gave a controversial pesticide the green light (grist)
    • EPA will not ban use of controversial pesticide linked to children’s health problems (The Washington Post)
  • Supreme Court sides with retailers in SNAP data case (The New Food Economy)                                                        New we’ll never know how much money the Walmarts of the world make from taxpayer-funded benefits. Because it’s “confidential.”
  • Trump EPA Oks ‘Emergency’ Use of Bee-Killing Pesticide on 13.9 Million Acres (EcoWatch)
  • Agriculture Department buries studies showing dangers of climate change (Politico)                                    The Trump administration has stopped promoting government funded research into how higher temperatures can damage crops and pose health risks.
  • Trump’s Agriculture Department Is Downplaying Its Own Climate Research When Farmers Need It Most (Mother Jones)                                                                                                                        As growers strain under the effects of global warming, “the federal government should be doing everything it can.”
  • ‘Dangerous Proposal’: USDA Seeking to Replace Government Inspectors at Beef Slaughter Plant With Private Employees (EcoWatch)
    • As Tyson continues its push to privatize plant inspections, five workers were just hospitalized after a chemical spill (The New Food Economy)
  • Trump’s EPA Transferred Financial Liability For Mining Pollution To Taxpayers (The Intellectualist)
  • Chicken Farmers Thought Trump Was Going to Help Them. Then His Administration Did the Opposite. (Mother Jones)                                                                                            The Agriculture Department is barley enforcing regulations on big meat companies
  • More and more workplace discrimination cases are being closed before they are investigated (Vox)                  It’s a problem that starts with Congress.
  • Senate hearing on agriculture and climate change featured industry speakers, no climate scientists (Think Progress)                                                                                                Big Beef has some thoughts a out the Green New Deal and government regulation.
  • Did Senate Republicans Just Get Serious About Agriculture and Climate Change? (Mother Jones)                  Not quite. “But you have to crawl before you can walk.”
  • Maine’s New Ag Commissioner Seeks to Develop a Robust Regional Food Economy (Civil Eats)
  • Perspective: (MO) State officials nix local control to favor factory farms (New Tribune)
  • Michigan Prosecutors Drop Flint Lead Poisoning Charges, Pledging Expanded Case (Democracy Now!)
  • New California bill could revolutionize how the US tackles plastic pollution (Nation of Change)                                A sweeping “circular economy” bill in the California legislature aims to drastically reduce plastic waste and boost domestic recycling.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sides with growing fruits and vegetables over aesthetics (Food Safety News)
  • Boston Brings Sustainability, Equity to Its Food Purchasing (Civil Eats)                                                                              The first Northeast city to adopt environmentally responsible purchasing guidelines city-wide, Boston also makes a explicit push for racial equity in its food procurement program, which will benefit schools and many more.


Pollinators & Insects

  • US beekeepers lost 40% of honeybee colonies over past year, survey finds (The Guardian)                                           Study marks worst winter on record for beekeepers, despite intensive push to stem losses.
  • More Bad Buzz For Bees: Record Number Of Honeybee Colonies Died Last Winter (NPR)
  • Those honeybees you’re so worried about? They’re killing off wild bee species (grist)


Animals, Fish & Sea Animals

  • The Philippines Is Rallying Behind Its Disappearing Dwarf Buffalo (Earth Island Journal)                                          From Indigenous groups to international conservation organizations, everyone is getting in line to save the critically endangered tamaraw.
  • On a tiny, isolated island, USDA scientists race to prep for the pork-pocalypse (The New Food Economy)
    • A Nasty Swine Virus in China Means Big Trouble for US Farmers (Mother Jones)                                         Not for the reason you think.
  • Why billions of baby chickens are killed every year (Vox)                                                                                                  It’s not for food! It’s much darker than that.


GMOs, CRISPR, Cloning & Synthetic Biology

  • As a GMO Stunt, Professor Tasted Pesticide and Gave it To Students (Earth Island Journal)                            People who offer to taste pesticides are not doing science. They are promoting corporate products, in this case Bt Brinjal.



  • Roundup’s Risks Could Go Well Beyond Cancer (Bloomberg)                                                                                          Evidence of the cheap herbicide’s danger to biological function continues to mount. Why are US regulators not listening?