Jenny’s Food & Ag Update January 27, 2019


  • The Streets of Copenhagen Will Soon Have Communal Fruit Trees (Intelligent Living)
  • Meals On Wheels Serves Up Breakfast, Lunch And Community At Local Diner (NPR)
  • Supreme Court allows Flint residents to sue city and state over water contamination (CBS News)
    • The number of Flint’s student
  • Veganuary is huge. But is it really as simple as animal foods bad, plant foods good? (The Guardian)                      We seem to have forgotten that , just like meat, vegan food can damage the planet
  • The dark side of plant based food – it’s more about money than you may think (The Conversation)
  • How Brazilian Chefs Are Using the Fruit That Can Turn Anything Blue (Atlas Obscura)
  • Food labels too complicated for most shoppers to understand – new research (The Conversation)
  • Liederkranz Cheese (Atlas Obscura)          This long-extinct pungent delight has made a comeback in Wisconsin.
  • Sacrebleu! Michelin strips third star legendary Bocuse restaurant after 55 years (CNN)


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • Farmers Are Buying 40-Year-Old Tractors Because They’re Actually Repairable (Vice)                                  John Deere makes it difficult to repair its new tractors without specialized software, so an increasing number of farmers are buying older models. Yes!
  • Open source technology could be a boon to farmers (Salon)                                                                                          Open source technologies will help small farmers compete against the large operations
  • The Latest Green New Deal for Farmers Would Restructure Everything About How They Make Money (Mother Jones)                                                                                              “The current system is killing our soil, and farmers have hardly any incentives to do anything different.”
  • Farming’s Growing Problem (The Center for Public Integrity)                                                                                  Fertilizers are contaminating and warming the planet. Regulators haven’t acted on decades-old warnings.
  • The Last Floating Farms of Mexico City (Modern Farmer)                                                                                                A collective of farmers is trying to revive chinampas, a 1,300-year-old method of farming.
  • Women Farmers Are on the Rise in the Last Frontier (Modern Farmer)                                                              Alaskan women are almost as likely to start farming as their male counterparts
  • Life at the End of the National Food Chain (Earth Island Journal)                                                                                          Sitka, Alaska, offsets food insecurity through farming, fishing, and foraging – and an uncommon sense of community.
  • Midwestern Farm Network Is Leading the Way to Chemical – Free, Sustainable Farming (Truthout)
  • New report confirms challenges for young and beginning farmers (Salon)                                                                            It’s a tough time for farmers across the nation.
  • New study: changes in climate since 2000 have cut Australian farm profits 22% (The Conversation)
    • Concern over ‘viability’ of dairy farms and milk supplies as Australian bushfires spread (The Guardian)
    • The milk, the whole milk and nothing but the milk: The story behind our (AU) dairy woes (The Conversation)
  • Wisconsin lost almost 800 dairy farms in 2019. Is the 2020 outlook better? (WSAW)


Land and Soil

  • Soil is our best ally in the fight against climate change – but we’re fast running out of it (The Conversation)



  • Waiter, There’s a Climate Surcharge in My Soup (Mother Jones)                                                                                                                                                          A new initiative will use haute cuisine to fund carbon sequestration.
  • For a Sustainable Food System, Look to Seeds (Yes!)                                                                                            The resilience of food production in the face of a changing climate will depend on the both traditional ecological knowledge and Western science.
  • Climate change is hurting farmers -n even seeds are under threat (The Conversation)


Plants, Seeds & Cultivars

  • The Cosmic Crips apple is not the future (Salon)                                                                                        Focus groups, consultants and fungicides brought us the Cosmic Crisp. Is its taste worth the cost?


Water & Our Oceans

  • Lake Erie turns toxic every summer. Officials aren’t cracking down on the source. (The Center for Public Integrity)
  • America’s Radioactive Secret (Rolling Stone)                                                                                            Oil-and-gas wells produce nearly a trillion gallons of toxic waste a year. An investigation shows how it could be making workers sick and contaminating communities across America
  • US Drinking Water Widely Contaminated With ‘Forever Chemicals,’ Watchdog Says (Reuters)
    • People In 43 US Cities Are Drinking Toxic “Forever Chemicals” In Their Tap Water, Tests Show (BuzzFeed)
    • PFAS Contamination of Drinking Water Far More Prevalent Than Previously Reported (Environmental Working Group)
  • Bottled Water: Unhealthy, Dirty and Costly (Medium)                                                                                            What Companies Do Not Disclose But Consumers Must Know
  • Three Companies, Including “Crystal Geyser,” Charged with Illegally Transporting Hazardous Waste Containing Arsenic (US Department of Justice)
    • Crystal Geyser Pleads Guilty to Illegally Storing Arsenic-Laden Wastewater (NBC Los Angeles)          The case focuses on the bottling plant’s wastewater, not the safety or quality of Crystal Geyser’s water, prosecutors said.
  • Pain, cancer, death: Michigan families devastated by toxic chemicals in their water (The Guardian)  Residents had for years been drinking water contaminated by dangerous PFAS chemicals – and the impact has been brutal
  • The plan to protect the Chesapeake is failing, and it’s Pennsylvania’s fault (Salon)                                                      The Chesapeake is the largest estuary in the US and a nationally significant economic resource
  • ‘Scale of This Failure Has No precedent’: Scientists Say Hot Ocean ‘Blob’ Killed One Million Seabirds (Common Dreams)
    • A New Study About the Death of 1 Million Seabird Should Scare the Crap Out of You (Mother Jones)
    • Study: Extreme mortality and reproductive failure of common murres resulting from the northeast Pacific heatwave of 2014-2016 (PLOS ONE)


Food Culture & History

  • How the Government Came to Decide the Color of Your Food (Smithsonian)                                                              A business historian explains America’s commitment to regulating the appearance of everything from margarine to canned peas
  • These Lost Crops Were a Likely Staple Food in Indigenous North America (Modern Farmer)


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

  • When Disaster Hit California, Sikh Temples Provide Meals and Refuge (Atlas Obscura)                                   Sikhs statewide have organized to feed their fellow Californians in crisis.
  • Red meat plays vital role in diets, claims expert in fightback against veganism (The Guardian)                    As millions cut out animal products, farming conference hears that fruit and vegetables have been drained of nutrients


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • Mealworms Can Eat Toxic Styrofoam Safely (Modern Farmer)                                                                                          Not as good a solution as not using Styrofoam, but it’s something.


Healthy Food & Food Safety

  • More foreign ownership of US beef processors raises food safety concerns (The New Food Economy)    Brazilian meat company Marfrig – currently under investigation for making bribes – is now majority owner of one of the biggest beef processors in the United States.


Food Fraud, Scandals, Weird & Funny

  • Meal Delivery Service Accused of Repackaging Other Companies’ Frozen Foods (Vice)
  • People Are Fighting to Change an Anti-MSG Term in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (Vice)                     Chef Eddie Huang and TV hos Jeannie Mai are calling out the dictionary’s outdated definition for “Chinese restaurant syndrome.”
  • Texas Police Learn That Yes, You Can Dust Cheese Slices for Fingerprints (Vice)                                                        After the Carrollton PD discovered a number of cars covered in cheese, they realized the “cheese slices produce GREAT fingerprints.”


Children & School Food

  • Why Do We Have School Lunch Debt at All? (Common Dreams)                                                                                          We live in a nation where food is plentiful but millions of children experience hung and food insecurity.
  • Countless American families are saddled with student lunch debt. Many won’t be able to pay it off. (The New Food Economy)


Labor, Unions & Coops

  • An SOS Call for America’s Workers (The American Prospect)                                                                                              The new Clean Slate report alerts the public and policy members about the dismal state of workers power and worker voice.
  • Jail Inmates Worked for a $16 Billion Company Without Pay. Now Thy Want Their Wages. (Mother Jones)                                                                                                                                     “They’re making money off of using us prisoners and we’re not getting anything in exchange.
  • Raising the Minimum Wage by Just $1 Could Literally Save Lives (Vice)                                                                                        A new study found that states with higher minimum wages have lower suicide rates among people without college degrees.
  • The grooming gap: What “looking the part” costs women (Salon)                                                                                                If women don’t conform to beauty expectations, they’re paid less.      As a chef in a male dominated field, I can’t tell you how many times I have been told how to dress when coming in to work, before my uniform is on. Recently, a boss was shocked how “well I cleaned up,” and staff members think I am gay because I keep my very curly hair short. The list goes on…
  • Thousands of Google’s cafeteria workers have unionized (Vox)                                                                                    Around 2,300 contracted workers who serve meals to Google employees in the San Francisco Bay Area have unionized, saying they’re overworked and underpaid.
  • Fast Food Chain (Tim Hortons) Locks Out And Replaces Workers Over 10 Cent Raise Demand (Labor 411)
  • New Report: Employers Are Charged with Labor Law Violations in Over 40% Of All Union Election Campaigns (Labor 411)
    • Report: Unlawful (Economic Policy Institute)                                                                                            US employers are charged with violating federal law in 41.5% of all union election campaigns


Business, Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Factory Farm Industry Quietly Lobbies California Officials to Criminalize Animal Rescue Activism (The Intercept)


  • Corporate “Cage-Free” Commitments Are Only Meaningful With Accountability (Truthout)                                 Reducing the suffering of chickens can only happen if companies follow through on their promises.


  • (UK) Fast food giants still ‘failing’ on chicken welfare, says report (The Guardian)                                                          Pizza Hut, Burger King and Domino’s are among UK outlets rated ‘very poor’ in report from leading animal charity
  • Almost one in four food products launched in UK in 2019 labeled vegan (The Guardian)
  • After massive funding round, Memphis Meats plans to open a production plant for cell-cultured meat (The New Food Economy)
  • Impossible Foods’ new pork is 0% pig. That’s a big deal. (Vox)                                                                                            The plant-based Impossible Pork is here to replace the most eaten meat in the world.
  • The world’s biggest food company is now making vegan sausage (CNN)                                                                           Nestle is adding vegan sausages to its lineup of imitation meat products, as the world’s largest food company moves to secure its position in the market for booming plant-based foods.
  • Why McDonald’s has been slow to adopt meatless meat (Vox)                                                                                          The next big challenge for the plant-based meat industry is scale.
  • A surge of new plastic production is on the way (GreenBiz)
    • Louisiana green light huge pollution causing plastics facility in ‘Cancer Alley’ (The Guardian)                  The $9.4bn facility, owned by Formosa Plastics, would consist of 14 separate plastic plants in St. James parish, known as Cancer Alley
  • One of America’s oldest and largest milk producers files for bankruptcy (CNN)                                                            Borden Dairy Co., one of America’s oldest and largest dairy companies, on Monday became the second major milk producer to file for bankruptcy in the last two months.
  • The company says it’s making food from ‘thin air’… plus a dash of water and clean energy (CNN)
  • McDonald’s Pays CEO $41 Million For Firing Him While Paying Workers A Poverty Wage (Labor 411)
  • Grubhub sale rumors highlight the state of struggling food-delivery industry (Vox)                                                      Tough competition makes consolidation a really attractive idea.
  • How ‘All You Can Eat’ Restaurants Turn a Profit (Medium)                                                                                                 Demystifying the business model that doesn’t seem to make sense
  • This French Startup Wants to be the future of Foie Gras (Modern Farmer)                                                                          Aviwell’s innovative method fattens ducks’ livers without force feeding them.
  • Transforming a Hawaiian Community Through Farming (Modern Farmer)                                                                      Crops aren’t the only things growing at MA’O Organic Farms.
  • Can Mission-Driven Food Companies Scale Up Without Selling Out? (Civil Eats)                                                           A ground breaking new stewardship business model creates standards that prioritize purpose over profit.
  • RSF-Purpose Initiative Responds to Demand for Mission-First Business Models (RSF Social Finance)
  • Report: State of Alternative Ownership in the US (RFS Social Finance)                                                                         Emerging Trends in Steward-ownership and Alternative Financing


Government, Regulation, Policy & Farm Bill

  • China moves to phase out single use plastics (The Guardian)                                                                                                    Plastic bags to be banned in all major cities by the end of 2020, says state planner
  • Stealing Small Amounts Of Food When In Desperate Need Is Not A Crime, Rules Italy’s Highest Court (Huffington Post)                                                                                                                           “A small theft because of hunter is in no way comparable to an act of delinquency, because the need to feed justifies the fact.”
  • (European) Commission takes Denmark to court over fake feta cheese (Politico)                                      When it comes to sheep’s cheese, Brussels want Copenhagen to stop pulling the wool over consumers’ eyes.
  • Thailand wants to ban these three pesticides. The US government says no (The Guardian)                                        The Trump administration is putting profits before people by pressuring the country not to ban harmful chemicals
  • ‘This Will Be the Biggest Loss of Clean Water Protection the Country Has Ever Seen’: Trump Finalizes Clean Water Rule Replacement (EcoWatch)
    • New Trump Rule Rolls Back Decades Of Clean Water Protections (Huffington Post)                                   The new water rule, finalized Thursday, will be “among this administration’s dirtiest, most dangerous deeds,” an environmental lawyer warned.
  • Trump administration removes federal protections from streams, wetlands (ABC News)                                    The new rule will only protect areas connected to larger bodies of water.
  • EPA’s New Water Rule a Mockery of Science and the Clean Water Act (Union of Concerned Scientists)
  • USDA scientists are rethinking calorie counts. Good news: They’re lower than we thought (The New Food economy)
  • A New Bill Aims to Fix Food Waste in Schools (Civil Eats)                                                                                          Rep. Chellie Pingree today introduced a new bill with bipartisan support that seeks to improve student nutrition and increase environmental education about food waste.
  • The Trump Administration Is Getting Sued Over Its New Food Stamps Rule (Mother Jones)                          The Legal Aid Society of DC describes it as “arbitrary and capricious.”
  • California, 13 other states sue to stop Trump’s food stamp cuts (The New Food Economy)
  • Trump’s USDA weakens school nutrition – again (The New Food Economy)
    • The Trump Administration’s Defense of Its School Lunch Overhaul Is a Big Nothingburger (Mother Jones)                                                                                      Sonny Perdue claims Obama-era reforms are causing food waste. His own agency’s research tells a different story.
  • Trump Rolls Back Michelle Obama’s School Lunch Nutrition Rules (Bloomberg)
  • Trump administration weakens Michelle Obama’s signature school lunch reforms on her birthday (The New Food Economy)
  • Trump Administration Takes Steps to Fatten Up School Meals With Burgers and Fries (Huffington Post)  The Trump administration took steps Friday to cut down on healthful fruits and vegetables in school meals and allow more pizza, burgers and fries.
  • Pasta is now a vegetable in American schools under Trump guidelines (Independent)
  • The Trump administration chose meatpacking giants over farmers in USDA proposal, critics say (Politico)                                                                                                                                  The latest proposal omits an Obama-era effort that would have made it easier for livestock farmers to win lawsuits against meat processors.
  • New Meatpacker Rules Won’t Support or Protect Farmers (Civil Eats)                                                                                As the meat industry continues to consolidate, groups representing ranchers and farmers ask when policymakers will stand up and level the playing field.
  • New Report Details How EPA Is Promoting ‘Worst of the Worst Pesticides’ (Common Dreams)                    From 2017 – 2018, the agency approved 69 new pesticide products containing an ingredient the EPA recognizes as a “known” or “likely” carcinogen.
  • ‘A Recipe for Disaster’: Consumer Safety Groups Sue USDA Over Trump’s Effort to Privatize Inspections for Pork Industry (Common Dreams)                                                          “We’re suing the crap out of the USDA for… feeding us crap.”
  • Trump’s loosening of pork inspection regulations fails to protect consumers from illness and death ne lawsuit claims (Nation of Change)                                                                        “Food safety is one of the most important protections in our country and gifting the slaughter industry self-regulation powers will mean pork eaters in this country will be facing higher threats of disease.”
  • Naomi Earp, contentious had of civil rights at USDA, will step down after a year in office (The New Food Economy)
  • Trump administration gives crooked Brazilian meatpacker (JBS SA) another taxpayer-funded bailout despite bipartisan outrage (NY Daily News)
  • Trump Serves Up Another Happy Meal For The Fast-Food Industry (Huffington Post)                                        A new regulation will make it harder for workers to sue big brands over wage claims.
  • Farmers Got Billions From Taxpayers In 2019, And Hardly Anyone Objected (NPR)


Non-Governmental Organizations

  • Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen cooks up thousands of meals in Puerto Rico (wtop)


Pollinators & Insects

  • Bees Absolutely Love Cannabis & It Could Help Restore Their Populations (Educate Inspire Change)
    • Study: The Bee Community of Cannabis sativa and Corresponding Effects of Landscape Composition (Environmental Entomology)
  • US agriculture employs nearly 3 million honeybee colonies every year. What do those pollinators cost our ecosystems? (The New Food Economy)                                                        As we rely more heavily on managed native bees – largely for California’s $5.6 – billion almond crop – wild bees are increasing under threat.
  • Monarch butterfly population critically low on California coast- again (The Guardian)                                    Study finds 29,000 butterflies, compared with 4.5 million during the 1980s, as experts point to habitat destruction


Animals, Fish, Fresh Water & Marine Animals

  • Ornithologists, Birdwatchers Uncover Staggering Magnitude of Bird Population Decline (The Cornell Daily Sun)
  • Cows Have Unique Moos That They Use To Express Their Feelings, Study Finds (Huffington Post)
  • Another Disease Outbreak Threatens US Pigs, But Big Ag Would Rather Talk About Bacon Prices (In These Times)
  • ‘Live animals are the largest source of infection’: dangers of the export trade (The Guardian)            Transporting more livestock will increase transmission of diseases, including some that could also threaten humans
  • The Chinese paddlefish, on of world’s largest fish, has gone extinct (National Geographic)    Native to China’s Yangtze River, these fish grew 23 feet in length, but haven’t been spotted since 2003.
  • Trawler return to Pacific fishing area in rare environmental success story (The Guardian)                      With stocks rebounding, regulators have reopened a groundfish habitat off the west coast – with environmentalists’ support
  • Okanagan Sockeye Salmon (Atlas Obscura)                                                                                    Around British Columbia’s Osoyoos Lake, community efforts have revived the population of a fluorescent fish.



  • Urgent new ‘roadmap to recover’ could reverse insect apocalypse (The Guardian)                                                Phasing out synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and aggressive emission reductions among series of solutions outlined by scientists
  • Monsanto Guilty of Spraying Banned Pesticide on Maui Fields (Earth Island Journal)                                  Company to pay up $10.2 million in fines for the spraying and for illegally storing hazardous waste.
  • Report: The Introduction of Thousands of Tonnes of Glyphosate in the food chain – An Evaluation of Glyphosate Tolerant Soybeans (PubMed)
  • Formulations of glyphosate – based weedkillers are toxic, tests show (The Guardian)                                         Government scientists say danger lies with added ingredients in the products not glyphosate


GMOs, CRISPR, Cloning & Synthetic Biology

  • GM salmon leaps another legal hurdle. Next up: Another legal hurdle (The an New Food Economy)
  • Gene-Editing Unintentionally Adds Bovine DNA, Goat DNA, and Bacteria DNA, Mouse Researchers Find (Independent Science News)


Food Science, Technology & Nanotechnology

  • A 6,000-year-old fruit fly gave the world modern cheese and yogurts (The Conversation)
  • What’s made of legumes but sizzles on the barbie like beef? Australia’s new high-tech meat alternative (The Conversation)


Education & Training