Jenny’s Food & Ag Update December 9, 2019


  • Wait, There’s Hope! Here’s How Humans Might Save Antibiotics (Wired)                                                                       People have a poor record of preventing global disasters. But for antimicrobial resistance, an unlikely group of allies is making big promises.
    • As Superbugs Infect Millions and Kill Tens of Thousands Each Year, CDC Chief Warns Post-Antibiotic Era ‘Already Here’ (Common Dreams)                                           “On average, someone in the United States gets an antibiotic-resistant infection every 11 seconds and every 15 minutes someone dies.”
    • Why the CDC warns antibiotic-resistant fungal infections are an urgent health threat (The Conversation)
  • Building a New Textile Economy (Yes!)    Our clothing is manufactured and transported at great cost to human welfare and our warming planet. But farmers and fashion activists are creating sustainable textiles closer to home.
  • Move Over Fake Meat, It’s Time for Veggie Seafood (Smithsonian)                                                         Here are six companies brining you animal-free fish products, form tomato-based sushi to “Fysh Sauce”
  • US academics feel the invisible hand of politicians and big agriculture (The Guardian)                                   As universities rely more for funds, researchers taking a stand on health or environment say they’re sidelined
  • Animal Rights Group Hoped to Turn Poultry Farmers into Plant Growers (Modern Farmer)                      Mercy for Animals’ ‘Transfarmation Project’ hopes to end factory farming
  • If Factory Farm Conditions Are Unhealthy for Animals, They’re Bad for People Too (EcoWatch)
  • Public science for private interests: How University of Missouri agricultural research cultivates profits for industry (The New Food Economy)
  • Top US public health groups urges halt to CAFOs (Sustainable Food News)                                                        Research links CAFOs to ‘number of serious public health challenges,’ says Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future chief
  • ‘Badass’: The One Word That Has Become A Lightning Rod For Many Female Chefs (NPR)


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • A new generation of Black farmers is returning to the land (Nation of Change)
    • Black Farmers Were Driven From Their Land for Decades. Now, Some Are Reclaiming It. (Vice) “They’re looking for ways to live out their values. And returning to the land is one dramatic way that they can do that.”
  • Meet the Farmers Putting Politics Aside to Address Climate Change (Yes!)                                                             The Practical Farmers of Iowa waste no time on partisan stances as they face the challenges of extreme weather and depleted soils.
  • Coffee at a Crossroads (Mother Jones) Coffee is a ubiquitous pleasure, but farmers struggle to make ends meet. It’s time to change the system.
  • Banking agencies give hemp the OK (The New Food Economy)                                                                                              The letter, which had been sought by politicians for months, is an important step, but won’t do much for some farmers who need help now.
    • Across the country, farmers say banks are dropping them for growing hemp (The New Food Economy)
  • Black Farmers Sue Burger King Chicken Supplier for Discrimination (Modern Farmer)            There’s a long history of accusations of bad behavior against Koch Foods.
  • In California, farmers are facing sunburned apples and frozen greens (The New Food Economy)
  • ‘They’re Trying to Wipe Us Off the Map.’ Small American Farmers Are Nearing Extinction (Time)
  • American lamb producers are beefing with New Zealand over – what else? – meat labeling (The New Food Economy)
  • Diversifying Crops Is Good For The Planet. But Can It Be Good For Farmers Wallets? (NPR)


Land and Soil

  • Plant Biodiversity Is Struggling to Recover on Abandoned Farmland (Modern Farmer)                                But researchers say it’s not too late to fix this problem.
  • Wine Moguls Destroy Land And Pay Small Fines As Cost Of Business, Say Activists (NPR)



  • Eat, Stomp, Poop: Could Better Ranching Help Save the Planet? (Mother Jones)                                                      Beef has a climate problem. But it may also offer a path to drawing down carbon emissions.
  • Climate Change Is Disrupting Centuries-Old Methods Of Winemaking In France (NPR)
  • The Answer to Climate – Killing Cow Farts May Come From the Sea (Mother Jones)                                    Methane is an especially potent greenhouse gas. A modest feed additive could provide a big leverage effect.


Plants, Seeds & Cultivars

  • How Peru’s potato museum could stave off world food crisis (The Guardian)                                                                    Agri-park high in the Andes preserves the expertise to breed strains fit for a changing climate
  • Botanists scour old Northwest homesteads for long lost apple varieties (Seattle Times)
  • Cosmic Crips apple that can reportedly last for a year to hit US stores (The Guardian)
    • Meet ‘Cosmic Crisp,’ a New Hybrid Apple That Stays Fresh for a Year (Smithsonian)
  • The High Stakes Race to Breed Cannabis With 0% THC (One Zero)                                                                Farmers are scrambling to cash in on the CBD boom. But when their hemp crops tip over 0.3% legal limit for THC, they lose everything.
  • Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice. Why don’t we grow it ourselves? (The New Food Economy)
  • Plants Can Sometimes Be Sweet Friends to Each Other, Say Scientists (Modern Farmer)
  • From Culinary Dud To Stud: How Dutch Plant Breeders Build Our Brussels Sprouts Boom (NPR)
  • Magic of a Beloved, Long-Lost Tomato (Smithsonian Magazine)                                                                                    Wiped out by disease and market demands, the Rutgers tomato may be making a comeback


Water & Our Oceans

  • ‘Victory for the People’: Michigan Court Rejects Nestlé’s Claim That Privatizing Local Town’s Water Provides ‘Essential Service’ (Common Dreams)                                     “Allowing a corporation to bottle our water just to sell it back to us is hardly an ‘essential services.’”
    • California Water Board Directs Nestlé to Immediately Cease Unauthorized Use of California’s Water (The Story of Stuff)
    • Nestlé Is Sucking the World’ Aquifers Dry (Longreads)
  • Victoria Falls dries to a trickle after worst drought in a century (The Guardian) One of southern Africa’s biggest tourist attractions has seen an unprecedented decline this dry season, fueling climate change fears
  • Arizona’s water supplies are drying up. How will its farmers survive? (Food & Environmental Reporting Network)
  • North Dakota Says Keystone Oil Spill Was 10 Times Bigger Than First Reported (Democracy Now)
  • Dead Dogs and toxic fish: Welcome to Stockton, a city choking on California water policy (LA Times)
  • Las Vegas water pipeline battle is life-or-death fight for Shoshone sacred site (Reno Gazette Journal)
  • Plastic Trash Has Overwhelmed Feeding Grounds For Baby Fish (Huffington Post)
    • Study: Prey-size plastics are invading larval fish nurseries (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America)


Food Culture & History

  • ‘It’s where we come from’: the river people in Mexico left without a river (The Guardian)                                         The loss of the Colorado River has destroyed the social fabric of the Cucapá tribe and is partly to blame or its population decline
  • Eat Like The Ancient Babylonians: Researchers Cook Up Nearly 4,000 Year-Old Recipes (NPR)
    • These 4,000-Year-Old Recipes Sound Surprisingly Tasty (Vice)                                                                        Although a food historian attempted to recreate one recipe for a meeting in 1988, the other hadn’t been tasted by anyone in more than 4,000 years.
  • What Was on the Menu at the First Thanksgiving? (Smithsonian)                                                                                             The history of the holiday meal tells us that turkey was always the centerpiece, but other courses have since disappeared


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

  • New study shows the EAT – Lancet diet is unaffordable for at least 1.6 billion people (The New Food Economy)
  • Is A Diet That’s Healthy For Us Also Better For The Planet? Most Of The Time, Yes (NPR)
    • Multiple health and environmental impacts of food (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
  • ‘We Need the Food That We Lost.’ Low Income Families Still Reeling From (California) Blackouts (KQED)
  • Food scholarships. Homeless shelters. Emergency loans. (Food & Environment Reporting Network)         With no federal help in sight, colleges scrambler to confront the growing crisis of hungry homeless students
  • A poor, Trump-voting Florida town opened a government grocery store to end its food desert, but it’s “not socialism” (boingboing)


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • Garbage In. Bacon Out. (Mother Jones)   Two brothers in New Mexico think that sounds like a pretty good business plan.
  • Tech Company Free Meals Beget Leftovers. Meet the Man on a Mission to Rescue Them. (Mother Jones) Food Runners saves extra rub before it’s wasted, and delivers it to hungry mouths.
  • Irish Teenager Wins Google Science Award for Removing Microplastics From Oceans (EcoWatch)
  • Plastic pollution off China’s coast soars after drive to stop dumping it in rivers (Independent)


Healthy Food & Food Safety

  • Meatless Meat Is Everywhere. But How Good Is It For Us And The Planet? (Huffington Post)
  • Can soda tax really improve public health? (The Week)                                                                                           In a word, yes.
  • New study show that shipping oysters might make them safer (The New Food Economy)
  • Ground Beef Recalls Are At An All-Time Hight. Is It The Meat Or Is It Us? (Huffington Post)                       Between a changing industry, outdated rules and USDA budget cuts, the risk of #. Coli and salmonella is higher than ever.
  • Two years after the start of a salmonella outbreak in turkey, CDC says new cases are still being reported (New Food Economy)
  • E. coli outbreak in in romaine lettuce harvested from Salinas, California, CDC and FDA (CNN)
  • Is high-risk romaine simply the new normal? (The New Food Economy)                                                                We’re in the midst of the fifth E. coli outbreak from leafy greens in just two years. It’s also the second outbreak announced in the last month.


Food Fraud, Scandals, Weird & Funny

  • The vanishing: Ghana’s defenders face new perils in fight against over fishing (The Guardian)                         Illegal fishing by Chinese-owned trawlers is costing the country millions – and one of the officials trying to stop it has new been missing for months
  • Three Cows Swept Away by Hurricane Dorian Have Been Found Alive (Smithsonian)                                     Officials think the brave bovines swam between four and five miles to the Cape Lookout National Seashore
    • Cows Swept To Sea By Hurricane Dorian And Found On Island Are Finally Back Home (Huffington Post)                                                                                    The trio of survivors are back home on North Carolina’s Ceder Island, where their herd of “sea cows” freely roams.


Children & School Food


Labor, Unions & Coops

  • The American System of Tipping Makes No Sense (citylab)                                                                                                 If you want to understand how meritocracy acts as a cover for inequality, look no further than our broken understanding of gratuity.
    • Trump’s Labor Dept. Has Declared War on Tipped Workers (In These Times)
    • Tip Regulations Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (Federal Register)
    • Low Wages and Few Benefits Means Many Restaurant Workers Can’t Make Ends Meet (Economic Policy Institute)
    • Twenty-Three Years and Still Waiting for Change (Economic Policy Institute)                                                Why it’s time to give topped workers the minimum wage
    • Minimum Wage Tracker (Economic Policy Institute)
  • The Strike at McDonald’s Is About More Than Fighting Abuse – It’s About Workplace Democracy (In These Times)
    • MC Donald’s Is Sued Over ‘Systemic Sexual Harassment’ of Female Workers (NPR)
    • Memo: Key Findings from Survey of Women Fast Food Workers (Heart Research)
    • How I get By: A Week in the Life of a McDonald’s Cashier (Vice)                                                                     Cierra Brown is trying to do all she can on her ow, but it rarely feels lie she’s doing enough.
  • McDonald’s Employees Are Suing to Win Protections From Violence at Work (Truthout)                              The lawsuit against McDonald’s comes amid workers’ campaigns to get the company to address sexual harassment and assault faced by its employees.
  • UFCW Local 1445 Makes History with First Massachusetts Cannabis Union Agreement (Labor 411)
  • Woman Workers Achieve Justice on the Job in Morocco (                                            Woman made key gains in reducing gender discrimination and improving wages and working conditions in Morocco’s first-ever agricultural collective bargaining contract.
  • Union and Nonprofit Sue USDA Over Sped-Up Pork Production Rules (Modern Farmer)                                   The fear increased worker injuries as a result of the new rules.
    • Unions and Nonprofit Sue USDA Over New Hog Slaughter Rule (Government Executive)                 The rule, which goes into effect on Dec. 2, gives producers more control over meat inspections.



  • A restaurant called ‘Immigrant Food’ just opened a block from the White House (CNN)
  • Farmers, Workers, and Students Rally Outside Aramark for More Ethical Food Sourcing (Food & Power)
  • Dozens Arrested for Demanding Food Justice at Jane Fonda’s Fire drill Friday Protest in DC (Common Dreams)


Business, Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Palm oil chief arrested on suspicion of paying to have activists killed (The Sydney Morning Herald)
  • The monopolization of milk (AlterNet)
    • America’s Largest Dairy Producer Files for Bankruptcy (Modern Farmer)                                         Some experts fear what this means for the milk industry.
    • America’s biggest dairy co-op may buy Dean Foods. Opponents fear a milk monopoly (The New Food Economy) After Dean announced it had filed for bankruptcy, Dairy Farmers of America said it was in “advanced discussions” on an acquisition. A merger would all but guarantee lower income for struggling farmers.
  • Milk co-op slaughter 500,000 cows via a “retirement” program. Now they’ll pay $220 million in a price-fixing lawsuit. (The New Food Economy)                                       Retirement has never been so expensive.
  • Bumble Bee, one of America’s largest tuna companies files for bankruptcy (The New Food Economy)              The company has been mired in legal issues for years.
    • Bumble Bee files for bankruptcy and agrees to sell for $925M (Food Dive)
    • Here is some background: Big Tuna’s big new troubles (The New Food Economy)                                           …one of the country’s three biggest canned seafood suppliers pleaded guilty to felony price-fixing…


  • The Blood Pipe Is Still Spewing Blood After Nearly Two Years (Vice)                                                                      Newly-obtained footage shows the underwater fish farm pipe in British Columbia is still churning out virus-infected blood and guts.
  • A New York seafood company sold more than $1 million worth of fraudulent octopus (The New Food Economy)
  • ISU report: Iowa farm finances continue to erode, with 44% of growers struggling to cover costs (Des Moines Register)
  • Fork out to pork out: Germany’s ‘schnitzel alert’ echoes around Europe (The Guardian)                                  Sharp rise in wholesale pork prices prompts warnings over cost of bratwurst, chorizo and other seasonal fare
  • In-N-Out Burger Sued $1.3 Million for Allegedly Starting 2017 Wild Fire (Vice)                                                         Cal Fire thinks the burger chain is responsible for the Huasna Fire which burned 245 acres in a rural part of the state.


Government, Regulation, Policy & Farm Bill

  • Lawmaker Call For Investigation Of Farm Aid To Brazilian-Owned Meat Company (Huffington Post)                            “Taxpayer dollars should never be used to subsidize corrupt, foreign owned corporations,” Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro wrote to Sonny Perdue.


  • Trump Administration Finalizes First Food Benefit Cut (Huffington Post)                                                  The administration is pursuing several changes that together could trim SNAP enrollment by 10%
    • Study: 3.7 Million Americans Would Lose Food Stamps Under Trump Administration Rules (Huffington Post)                                                                    Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says reducing food subsidies will “restore the dignity of work” for recipients.
  • Millions could lose access to food stamps under trumps proposal, study finds (The Guardian)  Altered rules would also cut monthly benefits and end free or discounted lunches to nearly a million students
  • Proposed Food Stamp Cuts Would Hit Military Families (
  • Nearly 1 Million Vets Face Food Stamps Cut (
  • New Trump rule could eliminate food stamps for 200,000 Californians (Cal Matters)
  • The Food Stamp Work Requirement Is a Scheme to Punish Hungry Americans (In These Times)          This article is from 2018, but it is this iteration is based on the principle.
  • Editorial: Trump’s food stamp crackdown is as pointless as it is callous (SF Chronicle)
  • A new Trump administration rule will deprive nearly 1 million school kids of automatic free lunches, official figures say (Business Insider)
  • New Analysis Reveals That Trump’s NLRB Used Incorrect Data For Anti-Union Ruling (Labor 411)
  • Trump trade war with China has cost 300,000 US jobs, Moody’s estimates (CBS News)
    • Lost jobs, shrinking growth, and rotting crops – here are the ways Trump’s trade ware is hurting America (Business Insider)
    • Trump’s trade ware squeezes the juice out of Maine’s wild blueberry business (NBC News)
  • USDA Greenlights Contentious Chinese Chicken Imports Following News of Poultry Trade Deal (Food & Power)
  • Making Cheese or Jam? A USDA Program to Pay Farmers More for their Crops Faces Cuts – Again (Civil Eats)                                                                                      USDA research shows that the Value-Added Producer Grant program supports small farmers and rural development, but its future is uncertain.
  • Trump Ag Secretary to Struggling Farmers: Get a Job! (Mother Jones)                                                                       Prices are tanking and the trade war drags on. That’s the best advice you have, Sonny Perdue?
  • Westward heave-ho: How a federal agency’s move to Colorado threatens public lands, science and the climate (Nation of Change)                                                                         The Bureau of Land Management relocation to Grand Junction reflects a widespread pattern of destabilization under President Trump.
  • Fed agency plans are not adequate to prevent 99.8% of US endangered species from suffering climate crisis, study says (Nation of Change)
  • Wisconsin’s Statehouse Is at War Over Its Dairy Crisis (Mother Jones)                                                                               The state senate just fired the governor – appointed agriculture secretary.
  • Gov. Newsom halts new steam injection, oil fracking in California (Palm Springs Desert Sun)
  • NYC and LA officials want to enact city-wide boycott of food companies sourcing from the Amazon (The New Food Economy)
  • New York City votes to ban foie gras (The New Food Economy)
    • Foise gras distributor slapped with lawsuit 24 hours after NYC’s new foie ban (The New Food Economy)                                                                                    The suit alleges that the country’s largest distributor is misleading the public by calling is fois “human, natural, low-stress, and hand-fed.”


Pollinators & Insects

  • Holland covers hundreds of bus stops with plants as gift to honeybees (Independent)                      Shelters support biodiversity while also capturing dust to improve air quality and storing rainwater.
  • How conventional soy farming starves honey bees (The New Food Economy)                                                        By fall, bee colonies are supposed to have enough food stocked up to get through winter. But near soy farms they’re turning to storage for sustenance as early as August, a new study finds.
    • Study: Native habitat mitigates feast-famine conditions faced by honey bees in an agricultural landscape (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America)
  • Here You Will Find a Video of a Honeybee Surfing (Modern Farmer)                                                                     New, serious research finds that bees surf to get out of water.


Animals, Fish, Shellfish, & Sea Animals

  • Yellowstone Bison Engineer an Endless Spring to Suit Their Grazing Needs (Smithsonian)                      The cycle of grazing and fertilizing prolongs spring-like vegetation in grasslands a makes green-up more intense in following years
  • Danish bacon: what happens when you push pigs to the limit? (The Guardian)                                            Denmark’s industrial pig farms are stunningly productive, but there is another side to their success
    • ‘We’ve bred them to their limit’: death rates surge for female pigs in the US (The Guardian)                   With sows producing 23 piglets a year on average, intensive farming is called into question over rise in animals suffering prolapse
  • Eek! Bat Populations Are Shrinking. Here Are A Few Ways to Help (Yes!)                                                                  The tiny mammals are essential to human comfort; without them, we wouldn’t have things like avocados, chocolate, and tequila.
  • A Plague of Pigs in Texas (Smithsonian) Now numbering in the millions, these shockingly destructive and invasive wild hogs wreak havoc across the southern United States
  • California’s Chinook Salmon are in danger. Rice fields just might be their salvation (The New Food Economy)

Thanksgiving Downer: Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Delayed Into Mid-December (CBS SF BayArea)                                                                                       …to minimize the risk of whales getting entangled in ropes connected to crab traps.

  • ‘Not enough pork in the world’ to deal with China’s demand for meat (The Guardian)                                         With hundreds of millions of pigs dead from swine fever exporters are scrambling to fill the gap. But prices are soaring

GMOs, CRISPR, Cloning & Synthetic Biology

  • Regulators Discover a Hidden Viral Gene in Commercial GMO Crops (Independent Science News)
  • Organic aquaponics co. obtains non-GMO label for farmed salmon (Sustainable Food News)
  • Eggs that will hatch into genetically modified salmon arrive in US (United Press International)



  • BPA chemical levels in humans drastically underestimated, study finds (The Guardian)