Jenny’s Food & Ag Update January 5, 2020


  • Black Panther volunteer still serving hungry kids breakfast, 50 years later (SF Chronicle)
  • Communities are benefiting from the growing number of hospital farms (We Are Chefs)
  • Flour Power (Yes!)                                           Ancient grains. Little – known tiny grains. Mighty local adapted grains. They are all rising up to replace All Purpose Flour. It’s not just baking, it’s a battle for our food system.
  • Wild Yeasts and Ancient Grains (Yes!)     Replace your all purpose flour with this mighty little grains.
  • Public Health Experts Support a Ban on CAFOs. New Polling Suggests the Public Does Too (Civil Eats)       A food policy expert at Johns Hopkins says the future of our food system depends on reigning in industrial animal agriculture.
  • Need a sous vide machine? Or electric mixer? Berkeley Public Library to begin lending kitchen tools (Berkeleyside)
  • We Destroyed the Oceans. Now Scientists Are Growing Seafood in Labs. (Mother Jones)
  • No driver needed: 20 tons of butter takes road trip from California to Pennsylvania (Sacramento Bee)
  • The Trouble With Biofuels (The Revelator)     The Trump administration has promised to expand their use, which would make farmers happy. But are consumers aware of biofuels’ potential consequences?


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • How a closed-door meeting shows farmers are waking up on climate change (Politico)                   Perdue, Vilsack and leading agricultural groups gathered in a Maryland barn to talk about the farm-country issues that dare not speak its name.
  • Black (Ghanaian) farmers embrace practices of climate resiliency (Nation of Change)
  • Duck farmers say New York City’s foie gras ban is unconstitutional (The New Food Economy)  Citing a threat to their rural economy, foie gras producers have asked New York state to intervene.
  • After 240 Years and 7 Generations, Forced to Sell the Family Farm (NYT)                                                          He aging owners of a Catskills farm say it “has to close so we can survive.”
  • After a year of record-breaking floods, some farmers face an impossible choice: stay or move? (The New Food Economy)
  • Industrial dairy farming is taking over in Wisconsin, crowding out family operations and raising environmental concerns (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
  • Kansas farmers die by suicide at an ‘alarming’ rate. State steps in to help them cope (The Kansas City Star)
  • Retired Texas shrimper wins record- breaking $50 million settlement from plastics manufacturing giant (The Texas Tribune)


Land and Soil



  • Climate Change Is Fueling a Farming Boom in Alaska (In These Times)                                                                            It’s becoming easier for the northern state to grow its own food – and more necessary
  • Move Over, Peak Oil. Scientists Say ‘Peak Livestock’ Must Arrive This Decade to Limit Global Heating (Common Dreams)                                                                                               “If the livestock sector were to continue with business as usual,” experts warn, “this sector alone would account for 49% of the emissions budget for 1.5°C by 2030.
  • World must reach ‘peak meat’ by 2030 to meet climate change targets, scientists warn (CNN)


Plants, Seeds & Cultivars

  • An ugly fungal disease could spell the end of American peppermint farming (The Conversation)
  • Raiders of The Lost Crops: Scientists Race Against Time To Save Genetic Diversity (NPR)
  • Will rice survive climate change? (The New Food Economy)                                                                                               The challenge for rice farms is how to meet demand for an inexpensive food source when Mother Nature has other ideas – and when the crop itself contributes to the emissions that are making it hard to grow in traditional locations.


Water & Our Oceans

  • Forget big oil and big energy – on the driest continent, water is the new black (The Guardian)
    • Australian School Runs Out of Water as Shocked Residents See Bottled Water Giants Taking Resources (EcoWatch)
  • Megafarms and deeper wells are draining the water beneath rural Arizona – quietly, irreversibly (az central)
  • Victoria Falls: World’s Largest Waterfall Is Running Out of Water & Might Disappear (India Times)
  • Revealed: water company and city officials knew about Flint poison risk (The Guardian)                  Exclusive: email exchanges show senior employees knew Michigan residents might risk being poisoned by tap water months before city admitted to problem
  • ‘Despicable’: Internal Emails Reveal Water Contractor Knew About Risks in Flint Months Before Public Confirmation (Common Dreams)                                               “I think anyone has to ask themselves how the story in Flint would be different five years later now if Veolia had made those private concerns public.”
  • EPA hasn’t updated slaughterhouse wastewater rules in 15 years. Environmental groups are suing to force its hand. (The New Food Economy)
  • As Fracking Companies Face Bankruptcy, US Regulators Enable Firms to Duck Cleanup Costs (EcoWatch)
  • Delta smelt: the tiny fish caught in California’s war with Trump (The Guardian)                                        Harbingers of a diminishing ecosystem, the smelt are almost extinct. Now, forces within the Trump administration could usher them into oblivion
  • Los Angeles beaches plagued with toxic stormwater report warns (The Guardian)                                                  Officials are doing little to reduce the biggest source pollutants in local water, researchers find
  • Stormwater Report (Heal the Bay)
  • The Ocean Is Running Out of Breath, Scientists Warn (Scientific American)                                                    Widespread and sometimes drastic marine oxygen declines are stressing sensitive species – a trend that will continue with climate changes 

    Food Culture & History

  • How Crisco toppled lard – and made Americans believers in industrial food (The Conversation)


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

  • ‘Man-Made Starvation’ Threatens Half of Zimbabwe’s Population (Global Citizen)
  • ‘I won’t be able to have healthy food’: millions of Americans to lose lifeline as Trump cuts food stamps (The Guardian)
  • Food bank braces for surge in demand after Trump strips 700,000 of benefits (The Guardian)                                New work requirements are set to throw 700,000 people off snap benefits, with African Americans to be particularly hard hit
  • Here’s What Trump’s SNAP Cuts Will Really Do (Mother Jones)                                                                                             “I’ve never witnessed anything like this. It’s a deliberate attack.”
  • What Happens Next With Trump’s Food Benefit Cuts (Huffington Post)                                                   If lawsuits challenging the new regulations don’t work, Americans may be facing “unmet food needs.”
  • Newt Gingrich went on Sonny Perdue’s podcast using decades-old welfare tropes to justify SNAP cuts (The New Food Economy)
  • Here’s What Most People Don’t Know About “Being On Food Stamps’ (Huffington Post)
  • Study: Decline in Early Childhood Obesity in WIC Families (CDC)                                                                        Improvement shown among young children enrolled in food assistance programs in 41 US states and territories
  • Commuting Past Fast Food Restaurants Is Linked to Obesity, According to New Research (Pacific Standard)
  • 3400 Medical Students in Detroit Complete the First Mandated Plant – Based Nutrition Program in the US (Veg News)                                                                                                 The Wayne State School of Medicine hosted a month – long curriculum for its 300 first-year medical students to teach them about the evidence-based science behind whole-food plant-based nutrition.


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • Bangladeshi Scientist Invents Biodegradable Single-Use Bag Made From Jute (Global Citizen)
  • What to do with those Thanksgiving leftovers? Look to the French (The Conversation)
  • Report: Community Composting Done Right: A Guide to Best Practices (Institute For Local Self-Reliance)
  • Norway recycles 97% of its plastic bottles: a blueprint for the rest of the world? (Positive News)
  • Plastic Pollution Is A Global Problem We Can’t Ignore (Huffington Post)
    • Plastic: The Largest Predator in Our Oceans (Inter Press Service)
    • History’s Greatest Sea Is Dying (The Atlantic) failure of countries bordering the eastern Mediterranean help explain the difficulty of carrying out successful climate-change negotiations.
  • The missing 99%: why can’t we find the vast majority of ocean plastic? (The Guardian)
  • Giant Eagle Becomes First US Retailer of Its Size to Set Single-Use Plastic Phaseout (EcoWatch)
  • How an Old Law Is Helping Fight New Plastic Problem (The Revelator)                                                                   New legislative efforts to ban plastics are important, but a recent court ruling in Texas reminds us that enforcing existing laws is a crucial part of the plastics fight.


Healthy Food & Food Safety

  • Ideology Can Skew Our Views On the Healthiness of Food (Pacific Standard)                                                 New research finds that marketing messages that are inconsistent with our values can lead us to view a food product as less healthy.
  • Eliminating food deserts won’t help poorer Americans eat healthier (The Conversation)
    • Study: Food Deserts and the Causes of Nutritional Inequality (The Quarterly Journal of Economics)
  • Meatless Meat Is Everywhere. But How Good Is It For Us And The Planet? (Huffington Post)                             It’s still fast food…
  • A collaborative approach required to end periodic vegetable contamination with E. coli (Agricultural Policy Analysis Center)
  • Leafy Greens With Listeria Sold at Major Supermarkets (Consumer Reports)                                Consumer Reports found the bacteria in prewashed and unbagged products. Here’s How to stay safe when eating greens
  • Most seafood imports flagged for food safety violations never get audited (The New Food Economy)
  • Packaged hard-boiled eggs have been linked to a deadly Listeria outbreak, the CDC warns (CNN)


Food Fraud, Scandals, Weird & Funny

  • Nobody Knows Why There Are Pigeons in Cowboy Hats Roaming Las Vegas (Huffington Post)                             The rodeo was in town, but they denied involvement.


Children, Youth & School Food

  • This school science experiment will make you want to wash your hands: ‘So disgusting’ (Yahoo!)
  • Huge increase in ‘Victorian diseases’ including rickets, scurvy and scarlet fever, NHS data reveals (Independent)


Labor, Unions & Coops

  • With Federal Minimum Stuck at $7.25, Report Shows 32 Jurisdictions Will Raise Wages to or Above $15 in 2020 (Common Dreams)                                                       “It shows the incredible momentum that the Fight for $15 movement has built up. People who work low-wage jobs need and deserve a raise – and companies can afford it. There’s no excuse/”
  • Report: Raises From Coast to Coast in 2020: Minimum Wage Will Increase in Record 47 States, Cities, and Counties This January (National Employment Law Project)
  • Women Farmworkers Fight to Secure Their Rights and End Sexual Harassment (New Labor Forum)
  • Why the US is one of only a few countries with no paid time off (Vox)                                                                       Workers have paid vacation days in Turkmenistan, Brazil, and the European Union – but not in the US.
  • Almost half of all Americans work in low-wage jobs (CBS News)                                                                                        … 44% of US workers are employed in low-wage jobs that pay a medium wage of $18,000.
  • Poverty Grew In One-Third of US Counties Despite Strong National Economy (Huffington Post)
  • ICE Prison’s Dollar-a-Day Wage Face Class-Action Suit (Capital & Main)                                                                                     A federal court ruling allows hundreds of thousands of former detainees to sue the GEO Group.
  • Disneyland Workers Sue For Higher Wages (Capitol & Main)                                                                           Disneyland is facing a class-action lawsuit from workers who claim the Anaheim resort is dodging a new minimum wage law.
  • Durham Service Workers Share Stories of Poverty Wages and Poor Conditions – and an Indifferent State Labor Department (Indy Week)
  • How Much Are Your Favorite Companies Spending on Union-Busting Consultants? (Mother Jones)



  • The Battle for Seattle and How the Food Sovereignty Movement Help Bring Down the World Trade Organization (Food First)


Business, Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Big Ag and the Small-Scale African Farmer (Yes!)                                                                                              The Gates Foundation spends billions on agricultural programs. But are they actually helping?
  • Food in the nude – NZ ditching plastic packaging of fruit and vegetables in supermarkets (Alberton Record)                                                                                        ‘Food in the nude’ is a New Zealand campaign to end plastic packaging for fresh produce in supermarkets. Foodstuffs have signed the NZ Plastic Packaging Declaration which is committed to making all store and private label packaging 100 percent reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
  • Nestlé’s go at privatizing town’s water shot down by appeals court (Nation of Change)                         ‘Allowing a corporation to bottle our water just to sell it back to us is hardly an ‘essential service.”
  • Former Monsanto CEO must testify at Roundup cancer trial (Nation of Change)                                           Bayer, and Monsanto, still continue to claim their products’ safety even though the company has not been successful in convincing a jury yet.
  • Report: Walmart’s Monopolization of Local Grocery Markets (Institute for Local Self-Reliance)
  • Blue Bottle Coffee pledges to go ‘zero waste’ by end of 2020 (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • People Can Exchange Trash for Free Food at India’s First ‘Garbage Café’ (Vice)                                               All the plastic waste collected will be recycled and used to build stronger roads.
  • Bon Jovi feeds the hungry opening the doors to his third community restaurant (Nation of Change)
  • WeWork shutters restaurant co-working arm, cutting off revenue source for partners (The New Food Economy)
  • Most states see large declines in net farm income during the last five years (Agricultural Policy Analysis Center)
    • Supplemental farm income


Government, Regulation, Policy & Farm Bill

  • Canada’s milk quota system works to protect small dairy farms (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
  • European Countries Announcer Plan to Phase Out Toxic PFAS Chemicals (The Intercept)
  • Trump administration reverses decision to use ‘cyanide bobs’ to kill wild animals (The Guardian)                  The poison-filled traps are used by the federal government to kill coyotes foxes and other animals for farmers and ranchers
  • The Breathtaking Lack of Oversight for Air Emissions From Animal Farms (The Nation)                                We know livestock farms pollute the air – so why don’t we know how much?
  • The Stink and Injustice of life Next to an Industrial Hog Farm (The Nation)                                                         Will the world’s pork producer be held responsible for making life unbearable in rural Southern communities?
  • To Protect Nation’s Waterways, New Lawsuit Challenges Trump Admin’s Failure to Update Slaughterhouse Pollution Guidelines (Common Dreams)                                               “EPA is rewarding dirty slaughterhouses at the expense of the public.”
  • Toxmap, Federal Database Allowing Public to Track US Pollution, Shut Down After 15 Years By Trump Administration (Newsweek)
    • Trump doesn’t want you to know how toxic your neighborhood may be (The Raw Story)
  • Dicamba Fatigue: State Report Another Year of Dicamba Injury to EPA (Progressive Farmer)                            The amount sent to farmers tops the auto-industry bailout by billions, and was delivered without congressional approval
  • ‘Trump Money’ Is Buying Silence as Unprecedented Payments Go to Farmers (Rolling Stone)                                The amount sent to farmers tops the auto-industry bailout by billions, and was delivered without congressional approval
  • Trump’s EPA Goes to Bat for Bayer as Company Fights $25 Million Verdict in Roundup Cancer Case (Common Dreams)                                                                                              The chemical company is asking a federal appeals court to reverse its ruling in favor of a California man suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • As NLRB Delivers ‘Victory’ to McDonald’s, Docs Reveal Fast Food Giant’s Dirty Anti-Union Tactics (Common Dreams)
    • Trump appointees hand McDonald’s a win in labor case, this week in the war on workers (AlterNet)
  • Calif. Ends School Lunch-Shaming by Guaranteeing All Students Will Get a Meal (People)
  • New York becomes third state to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos (Nation of Change)                                                    The move could help protect children, agricultural workers, and the environment.


Animals, Fish, Shellfish, Fresh Water & Marine Animals

  •  “Organic” label doesn’t guarantee that holiday ham was a happy pig (Salon)                                                            Federal organic regulations require outdoor access for livestock – but don’t specify how much
  • Mangalica: the hairy Hungarian pig nearly wiped out by communism (The Guardian)                        African swine fever is merely latest threat to an animal that went from the brink to a nation al treasure
  • From red seaweed to climate-smart cows: New Zealand leads the fight against methane (The Guardian)
  • West Coast Fisher Rebounds in Rare Conservation ‘Home Run’ (Huffington Post)                                                  After years of uncertainty, fishermen who use nets to catch rockfish, bocaccio, sole, Pacific Ocean perch and other deep-dwelling fish are making a comeback.
  • In Memoriam: Sustainable Seafood, 1992 – 20019 (The New Food Economy)
    • Extremely low cod numbers lead feds to close the Gulf of Alaska fishery for the first time (Alaska Public Media)
    • Salmon die-off expands, bringing total Chinook fishing closure on Oregon’s north coast (Statesman Journal)
  • Tracking Superbugs: Antibiotic Resistance Spreads Among Marine Mammals (The Revelator)


Food Science, Technology & Nanotechnology

  • US technology allows fruits to stay ripe for twice as long and reduces plastic packaging (The Guardian)



  • Are ‘forever chemicals’ in our milk? Nobody really knows. (Food & Environment Reporting Network)            When contaminated groundwater shut down a New Mexico dairy farm, it revealed how unprepared regulators are to protect the food supply from a group of chemicals linked to reproductive and developmental problems.
  • Glyphosate and Roundup proven to disrupt microbiome by inhibiting shikimate pathway (GM Watch)
    • Study: Shotgun metagenomics and metabolomics reveal glyphosate alters the gut microbiome of Sprague-Dawley rats by inhibiting the shikimate pathway (bioRxiv)
  • Toxic Chemical Found in Rainwater and Drinking Water Throughout the US (EcoWatch)