Jenny’s Food & Ag Update October 12, 2019


  • This area in Detroit is now America’s first 100% organic, self-sustainable neighborhood (The Hearty Soul)
  • Former USDA Scientist Says He’ll Make A Bigger Impact On Climate Change Research Outside Of The Government (WBUR)
  • $1m a minute: the farming subsidies destroying the world – report (The Guardian)
  • How Maine plans to study the debated practice of aerial herbicide on forests (Bangor Daily News)
    • Aerial Herbicide Spraying Under Scrutiny in Maine’s North Woods (Maine Public Radio)
  • Buildings should be made out of hemp and wool to cut carbon emissions, National Farmers’ Union says (The Telegraph)
  • Mushrooms Clean Up Toxic Mess, Including Plastic. So Why Aren’t They Used More? (yes!)
    • Mushrooms Used for Bioremediation to Clean Pesticides From Oregon Waterways (EcoWatch)


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • 10,000 Farmers And Ranchers Endorse Green New Deal In Letter To Congress (Huffington Post)
  • French farmers forced to destroy rapeseed after GM seed found (The Western Producer)
  • 1,000 Farm-Raised Salmon Escape From Canadian Pen, Some Captured At New Brunswick Dam (Main Public Radio)                                                                                          This is the same company that released 305,000 farmed salmon into Peugeot Sound in 2017.


Land and Soil

  • ‘The Future of Earth Is at Risk’: New Drone Footage of Deforestation in Amazon Shows Cost of Meat Industry (Common Dreams)
  • The Amount of US Farmland Held By Foreign Investors Nearly Doubled in A Decade (Newsweek)



  • Vandana Shiva: We Need Biodiversity-Based Agriculture to Solve Climate Crisis (Truthout)
  • Some Indigenous Communities Have a New Way to Fight Climate Change: Give Personhood Rights to Nature (Mother Jones)    A Yurok Tribe resolution allows cases to be brought on behalf of the Klamath Ricer as a person in tribal court.
  • Farmers and Ranchers Know What Climate Change Feels Like. They Just Wrote Congress Demanding Action (Mother Jones)
  • In a Race Against the Sun, Growers Try to Outsmart Climate Change (NYT)                                                    From California to Costa Rica and beyond, farmers are experimenting with new crops and growing tactics.
  • New Report Details 10 ‘Critical Transitions’ to Tackle the Climate crisis and Feed the World (Common Dreams)
    • Report: Growing Better: Ten Critical Transitions to Transform Food and Land Use (Food and Land Use Coalition)
  • Bite Podcast’s New Series Explores How Climate Change Is Transforming Dinner (Mother Jones)
  • Study: Country-specific dietary shifts to mitigate climate and water crises (Global Environmental Change)
  • New initiative aims to mobilize the restaurant industry to fight climate change (Nation of Change)     Restore California will fund farmers to switch to regenerative agriculture practices.
  • Ravaged by Drought, a Honduran Village Faces a Choice: Pray for Rain or Migrate (Inside Climate News)      People in El Resario live on the edge of hunger, not knowing if the next harvest will come. Climate change is a driving force of food insecurity.


Plants, Seeds & Cultivars

  • Benheim Apricot (Gastro Obscura)          Snap judgments may spell trouble for what was once the king of California apricots.
  • Strawberries: The tasty fruit with a tainted environmental legacy and an uncertain future (UC Santa Cruz News Center)
  • This Ancient Fruit Holds Secrets for How to Farm in Climate Change (Mother Jones)


Water & Our Oceans

  • Give Rivers Legal Rights (New Republic)        An ancient approach to protecting nature is being revived in hopes of getting natural resources – and the people who depend on them – the protection they’ve always deserved.
  • California farmers face ‘catastrophic’ water restrictions. Can they adapt to survive? (Sacramento Bee)
  • ‘Perfectly Legal’ Levels of Contaminants in US Tap Water Could Result in 100,000 Cancer Cases: New Study (Common Dreams)
    • Study: Cumulative risk analysis of carcinogenic contaminants in United States drinking water (Heliyon)
    • Study: California Drinking Water: How the Combination of Multiple Contaminants Raises Cancer Risks (Environmental Working Group)
  • Fracking Has No Place in a Livable Future (Truthout)
    • Ohio Firefighters Kept in the Dark on Drilling and Fracking Chemicals (Truthout)                                     The secrecy prevents first responders from preparing for incidents involving chemical fires, spills or releases.
  • This Wisconsin Town Is Desperately Fighting For Its Drinking Water (Huffington Post)
  • ‘What they put on the fields contaminates our water’: Iowa’s pollution problem (The Guardian)
  • Water Is Unaffordable For Nearly Half Of Kentucky County’s Residents, Report Finds (West Virginia Public Radio)
  • Alaska Villages Run Dry And Residents Worry About A ‘Future No Water’ (NPR)
  • ‘Critical’: parts of regional NSW (New South Wales) set to run out of water by November (The Guardian)
  • In a sign of cleanup success, dolphins are living and giving birth in the Potomac (Nation of Change)
  • Algae Blooms Fed by Farm Flooding Add to Midwest’s Climate Woes (Inside Climate News)                             All that water has flushed vast amounts of fertilizer and manure into waterways, triggering a potentially unprecedented season of algae blooms.
  • Saving California’s Kelp Forest May Depend On Eating Purple Sea Urchins (NPR)
  • As Bering Sea ice melts, Alaskans, scientists, and Seattle’s fishing fleet witness changes ‘on a massive scale (Seattle Times)
  • The Battle Over Fish Farming In The Open Ocean Heats Up, As EPA Permit Looms (NPR)
  • Ships fitted with ‘cheat devices’ to divert poisonous pollution into sea (The Independent)
  • ‘Everywhere we looked’: trillions of microplastics found in San Francisco bay (The Guardian)                       Most comprehensive study to date finds plastic in sediment collected from bay and tributaries and digestive tracts of fish


Food Culture & History

  • New Oakland soul food spot reminds us vegan food is part of black culture (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Mexican Grandmother creates a YouTube channel to teach homemade recipes. It already has 265 thousand subscribers (The Mazatlán Post)
  • The Ethics of Eating (The Nation)              How our food culture is killing us.
  • The Black Panther Party’s Free Breakfast Program: A 50-Year-Old Blueprint (KQED)


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

  • Woman Was Buying Dinner For Homeless People When Taco Bell Kicked Them Out (Huffington Post)  Shannon Gridley said the treatment she and her dinner guests faced at a Louisville Taco Bell was “dehumanizing.”


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • New Report Finds That More Food Is Lost in Fields Than Previously Believed (Food Tank)
    • Study: On-farm food loss in northern and central California: Results of field survey measurements (Resources, Conservation and Recycling)
  • Coca-Cola will no longer use plastic shrink-wrap on can multipacks sold in the UK (enviro30)
    • Coca Cola – 3m metric tonnes plastic packaging annually, does their action plan really stack up? (enviro30)
  • Nestlé, Tim Hortons named Canada’s top plastic polluters again (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)
  • Shocking photo shows Caribbean Sea being ‘choked to death by human waste’ (The Telegraph)


Healthy Food & Food Safety

  • KFC is serving fried chicken sandwiches between 2 glazed doughnuts at dozens of locations, and people are freaking out (Business Insider)
  • General Mills Recalls 600,000 Pounds of Flour Due to E. Coli Contamination Risk (EcoWatch)


Food Fraud, Scandals, Weird & Funny

  • A 5.6 – Pound Avocado in Hawaii Set a New World Record, and It Made Enough Guacamole for 20 People (KTLA5)


Children & School Food

  • Why school cafeterias should he the frontlines of policy change (The Guardian)                                           Healthier children, better wages, stronger local economies, sustainable food – the fight for of them start with school lunches


Labor, Unions & Coops

  • ‘Such brutality’: tricked into slaver in the Thai fishing industry (The Guardian)
  • Company shorted H-2A visa workers in pay, violated safety and health housing standards (Miami Herald)
    • Fainting And Freezing In The Fields: Alleged Labor Trafficking Victim Tells Of Mistreatment in Wisconsin, Georgia (Wisconsin Public Radio)
  • ‘It’s Not Shameful to Work in the Fields. But It’s Hard.’ (The Nation) Americans don’t want these jobs, or can’t do them – so nearly a quarter of a million guest workers do them instead.
  • 4,200 truck drivers lost their jobs in September as a recession slams America’s $800 billion trucking industry (Business Insider)
  • World’s richest man cuts health benefits for 1,900 Whole Foods workers (Front Page Live)
  • Philly airport workers are being forced to sign away their rights to take their employer to court (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • ‘We’re organizing to improve lives’: New York fast-food workers push to unionize (The Guardian)   Manhattan-based local union that works with Fight for $15 has launched effort to unionize Chipotle and McDonald’s workers
  • Poultry Workers and Allies Organize In The Wake of Anti-Immigrant Raids (Labor Notes)
  • Grocery Workers’ Union Cancels all Kroger Contracts due to Unfair Labor Practices by Fred Meyer; further details to follow on September 22nd. (UFCW 5550



  • The Library of Congress’ cafeteria is serving up a punny impeachment themed dessert (The Week)


Business, Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Big Meat Files Suit to Stop California Measure Improving Animal Welfare (Common Dreams)               California’s Proposition 12, passed in November, won praise from animal rights groups.
  • Nestlé violates law in India, conducts clinical trials on premature infants for baby food (National Herald India)
  • Farm bankruptcies rise as trade war drags on (UPI)
    • Farmers rip Trump trade: We’ve lost everything since he took over (MSNBC) Bob Kuylen, vice president of the North Dakota Farmer’s Union, says he lost $400,000 because of President Trump’s trade ware with China. He says farmers have “pretty much lost all of our markets since Trump took over.”
    • Trump Trade War: Farmers Are Going To ‘Lose Farms That They’ve Had In Their Families For Generations,’ Says Land O’Lakes CEO (Newsweek)
    • US Farms Face Long-Term Losses From Trump Trade War, BCG Warns (Bloomberg)
  • Why community-owned grocery stores like co-ops are the best recipe for revitalizing food deserts (The Conversation)


Government, Regulation, Policy & Farm Bill

  • Pesticide formulations as sold and used must be tested for toxicity and carcinogenicity (GMWatch)
  • EU approves ground breaking New ‘Right to Repair’ Laws Requiring Appliances to Be Easier to Fix (Good News Network)
  • France Is the First Country to Ban Plastic Cups, Plates, and Cutlery (Global Citizen)
  • France bans fracking and oil extraction in all of its territories (The Guardian)                                                              French parliamentarians have passed a law banning fossil fuel extraction. President Macron says he wants France to lead the world with switch to renewables
  • House Approves “Sweeping” Provisions That Target Toxic “Forever Chemicals” (Truthout)
    • Trump Threatens to Veto First Ever Congressional Action on “Forever Chemicals” (Truthout)
  • Trump Administration Moves To End 20% Cap On Non-Tipped Work For Servers (Labor 411)
    • The Trump Administration Wants Restaurant Servers To Do More Work For Less Pay (Huffington Post)
  • Universal Free School Lunch Can End Cafeteria Shaming. But Now It’s Under Threat. (Mother Jones)
  • Trump Administration Proposes Yet Another Food Benefit Cut (Huffington Post)
    • Restricting SNAP benefits could hurt millions of Americans – and local communities (The Conversation)
    • Warnings That Millions More Could Go Hungry as Trump Pushes $4.5 Billion in Food Benefit Cuts (Common Dreams)                                                                                  “The Trump administration’s latest proposal to cut SNAP would leave millions of people, including struggling families, seniors and people with disabilities, with less help putting food on the table.”
  • Trump Has Gutted an Agency That’s Vital to American Farmers (Bloomberg)                                             Move to Kansas City leads to mass departures of DC researchers             Some growers worry they will lack essential data for decisions
  • The USDA Gives Fewer Loans to Women and Minority Farmers, a Government Watchdog Finds (Pacific Standard)
  • USDA Inaction Leaves Organic Dairy Farmers in a Very Vulnerable Position, Congress is Forced to Take Action (Organic Insider)
  • Why President Trump gutting USDA’s research service is so dangerous (The Washington Post)   Since the 19th century, Americans have benefited from access to rigorous, unbiased statistics about our foodways.
  • Trump’s NLRB, Trying to Cut Protections for Millions of Temps and Fast-Food Workers, Trips Up Again (ProPublica)                                                                                            The labor-relations board’s attempt to kill an Obama rule protecting third-party employees fizzed once because of a conflict of interest. Now, two representatives charge, there’s a new conflict and it involves the agency’s own temps.


  • Trump Labor Department Slammed for ‘Wholly Inadequate’ Overtime Pay Rule That ‘Leaves Behind Millions of Workers’ (Common Dreams)                                           “Once again, President Trump has sided with the interests of corporate executives over those of working people.”
  • Perdue to small farmers: Stop whining, your demise is inevitable (Wisconsin Examiner)                              Trump’s ag secretary conveys the administration’s contempt for rural people
    • Wisconsin Governor Rips Sonny Perdue For Warning Small Dairy Farms Won’t Make It (Huffington Post)                                                                                 Make no mistake about it, Trump’s administration is nor friend to America’s Dairyland.”
    • ‘Unacceptable’: Family Farms, Ag Advocates Hit Back After Sec Perdue Says Small Dairy Farms Destined to Die (Common Dreams)                                                              “Five years of plunging farm prices, increasing bankruptcies, and climbing suicide rates were not discussed by Perdue. His message to them was basically, stop whining, your demise is inevitable.”
    • Ag secretary: No guarantee small dairy farms will survive (The Washington Post) President Donald Trump’s agriculture secretary said Tuesday during a stop in Wisconsin that He doesn’t know if the family dairy farm can survive as the industry moves toward a factory farm model.
  • Trump Administration threatens jail time for California officials over river project (Sacramento Bee)
  • Trump’s USDA Is Letting Factories Troubling Safety Records Slaughter Chickens Even Faster (ProPublica)                                                                                Workers are getting injured, but the Department of Agriculture says their safety is not its responsibility.
  • Amid National Drinking Water Crises, EPA Moves to Weaken Lead Protections (National Resources Defense Council)
  • California bans controversial pesticide (Nation of Change)                                                                                      Sales of chlorpyrifols will stop in early 2020 and complete ban on usage of the pesticide will stop in late 2020.
  • Hollywood and Silicon Valley can no longer silence women with this contract clause (Vox)                       California finally bans forced arbitration at work.                                          This covers all workers, including those in food services and agriculture.


Pollinators & Insects

  • Bee population recovering due to regenerative farming, producers say (Global News Canada)


Animals, Fish & Sea Animals

  • A Chinese hog farmer is breeding giant, polar bear size pigs that weigh over 1,100 pounds, while the country contends with pork shortages (Business Insider)
  • Rare California trout species returns to native habitat (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Salmon return to Oregon river by the hundreds to spawn after $2M restoration project (KATU2)
  • Global Warming Pushing Pacific Salmon to the Brink, Federal Scientists Warn (Inside Climate Change)
    • Okanagan Sockeye Salmon (Gastro Obscura)                                                                          Around British Columbia’s Osoyoos Lake, community efforts have revived the population of a fluorescent fish.
  • The Strange, Uncertain Fate of the World’s Most Valuable Salmon Habitats (The Nation)               Alaska’s Bristol Bay is a rare pristine salmon fishery. Can it survive a rapidly changing climate – and massive, Trump – backed mine?
  • Scientific and Traditional Knowledge Is Helping Save the World’s Largest Freshwater Fish (Food Tank)
  • How To Teach a Frog to Love (The Atlantic)                                                                       Amphibians are dying off faster than any other vertebrate group in the world. Can hormones and IVF save them?
  • Scientists: Yes, That Lobster You’re Boiling Alive Is Probably In Real Pain (Business Insider)


GMOs, CRISPR, Cloning & Synthetic Biology

  • Gene-edited animals will intensify factory farming and the climate crisis, could harm human health (Friends of the Earth)                                                                                            New report highlights urgent need for safety assessments, oversight
    • Report: Genetically Engineered Animals: From Lab to Factory Farm (Friends of the Earth)
  • A Trail That Gene-Hack Mosquitoes to Stop Breeding Has Backfired Spectacularly (Science Alert)



  • New Study: US agriculture 48 times more toxic to insects than 25 years ago (Friends of the Earth)
    • Study: An Assessment of acute insecticide toxicity loading (AITL) of chemical pesticides used on agricultural land in the United States (PLOS One)
  • Billions Of Birds Have Disappeared From North America in Recent Decades: Study (Huffington Post)
    • Vanishing: More Than 1 in 4 Birds Has Disappeared in the Last 50 years (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
    • Huge decline in songbirds linked to common insecticide (National Geographic)  Neonics – pesticides introduced to plant at the seed stage – act like an appetite suppressant for birds, making them lose weight within hours.
    • Dead Bird Nests Contain 36 Different Pesticides, Including DDT (ach news)
  • Biosolids: mix human waste with toxic chemicals, then spread on crops (The Guardian)