Jenny’s Food & Ag Update February 18, 2020


  • Pro Bono Legal Services for Farmers and Food Businesses: Pace Food and Beverage Law Clinic (Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center)
  • India Requires All Schools to Have Kitchen Gardens (Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center)
  • Thousands of People Are Growing ‘Climate Victory Gardens’ To Save The Planet (Huffington Post)
  • We’re not fixing this environmental crisis. One ditch in Indiana could provide a solution (Nation of Change)                                                                                                                                Shut off this firehose of waste, and we’d be improving habits, health and the makeup of the atmosphere.
  • Survey: Majority of Voters Surveyed Support Greater Oversight of Industrial Animal Farms (Organic Eye)
    • National Survey on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOS) (Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future)
  • A Texas community chokes on fecal dust from cattle feedlots (Food & Environment Reporting Network)    And regulators aren’t doing anything about it.
  • Homero Gómez González, prominent butterfly activist in Mexico, found dead in a well (New York Post)


Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • Hundreds of Farmers Keep Quite During Auction So Family Can Buy Farm Back (95.7 The Jet)
  • Regenerative agriculture can make farmers stewards of the land again (The Conversation)
  • It’s Iowa caucus day. So why did we ask 20 California farmers what they’re thinking today? (The Counter)                                                                                                   Primary season often puts the focus on commodity corps, global markets, and international trade agreements. But 90 percent of our produce is gown in California. So we asked 20 small farmers in the Golden State to tell us what’s on their minds today.
  • Farming’s Growing Problem (The Center for Public Integrity)                                                                                                    Fertilizers are contaminating and warming the planet. Regulators haven’t acted on decades-old warnings.
  • Young California ranchers are finding new ways to raise livestock and improve the land (The Conversation)
  • Ranchers blindsided by Trump border wall (High Country News)                                                                                          They built a coalition to protect open space. Now, they’re up against the country’s largest construction project.


Land and Soil



  • The Bittersweet Bounty Of Greenland’s First Spring (GQ)                                                                                                … As Greenland’s massive ice sheet melts at an alarming rate due to global warming, its citizens – and especially its chefs – are enjoying some unanticipated benefits.
  • Climate Change Is Making It Much Harder to be a Young Farmer (Mother Jones)                                                          An government agencies “don’t know how to work with us.”


Plants, Seeds & Cultivars

  • Dates Like Jesus Ate? Scientists Revive Ancient Trees From 2,000 Year-Old Seeds (NPR)
  • Modern tomatoes are very different from their wild ancestors – and we found missing links in their evolution (The Conversation)
  • Cherokee Nation first tribe in US to send heirloom seeds to global seed vault in Norway (Anadisgoi)


Water & Our Oceans

  • Global Groundwater Is Threatened by Unsustainable Practices Amid Climate Crisis (Truthout)
  • Megafarms and deeper wells are draining the water beneath rural Arizona – quietly, irreversibly (azcentral)
  • Freshwater hell: scientists race to save endangered fish from bushfire ash (The Guardian)
  • Drought leaves tens of thousands in Lesotho ‘one step from famine’ (The Guardian)
  • Virtually All Major US Drinking Water Sources Likely Contaminated With PFAS (Truthout)
  • The number of Flint’s students with special needs has increased by 56% since the water crisis, according to report (Metro Times)
  • Iowa’s water quality strategy is not working. Here’s what should be done instead. (Des Moines Register)
  • As the Salton Sea shrinks, it leaves behind a toxic reminder of the cost of making a desert bloom (Food & Environment Reporting Network)
  • State (Maryland) officials are making problem with rockfish decline worse (The Baltimore Sun)
  • When Environmentalists and the Fishing Industry Team Up, Ocean Habitats Win (Yes!)


Food Culture & History

  • 6 Unsung Black Culinary Heroes Of The Past (Huffington Post)                                                                                Duchess “Charity” Quamino, Cleora Butler, Cuffy Cockroach and more innovators who paved the way for black cooks in America.
  • The spy who loved tahini: risking everything for the perfect sesame paste (The Guardian)
  • 4 Black-Owned Restaurants That Serve Food With A Side of History (Huffington Post)


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

  • ‘It’s pain you will never overcome’: crisis in Venezuela as babies die of malnutrition (The Guardian)               As Venezuela enters its seventh year of a crushing depression, doctors are seeing a rise in infant mortality rates due to deprivation
  • Bowie State University (MD) opens food pantry that feeds students for free (ABC&)


Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • Peruvian innovators launch banana leaf biodegradable dishes to combat plastic consumption (Nation of Nation)
  • Oregon initiates first modern statewide refillable glass bottle system in the US (inhabiutat)
  • At the Super Bowl, as ,much as 40,000 pounds of food could be wasted (The Counter)
  • Food delivery and takeout are on the rise. So are the mountains of trash they create. (Vox)                                   Here’s how some companies are trying to reduce the packaging waste that comes with ordering in.


Healthy Food & Food Safety

  • What’s the deal with airplane food? (Vox)  The science and secrets behind how in-flight meals are selected and prepared.
  • Few things are as sure a bet as handwashing; restaurants should act now (Food Safety News)
  • Pocket-sized DNA sequencers could stop food-borne pathogen outbreaks as soon as they start (Massive Science)
  • Walmart Pork Product Containing Superbugs Resistant to Critically Important Antibiotics Discovered (Newsweek)
  • 250 new cases in Salmonella egg outbreak affecting 18 countries (Food Safety News)


Food Fraud, Scandals, Weird & Funny

  • Fish, sausage, even honey: Food fraud is hidden in plain sight (The Conversation)
  • More Than 20 ‘Ghost Kitchens’ Are Operating Out of This Dump In South of Market (Broke-Ass Stuart)


Children & School Food

  • Viewpoint: New Research Shows That Scratch Cooking in NYC’s Public Schools is Possible (CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute)
    • Report: Cooking Outside the Box: How a Scratch Cooking Pilot in the Bronx is Reshaping Meals In New York City Schools (Tisch Food Center, Columbia University)


Labor, Unions & Coops

  • “If I want to be paid, I have to endure this”: Why restaurant workers say the tip credit is a civil rights issue (The Counter)
  • The Airport Workers Who Starved Themselves in the Super Bowl’s Shadow (The New Republic)
  • DoorDash’s anti-worker tactics backfired spectacularly (Vox)                                                                                      When dividing and conquering goes wrong.
  • Target’s Delivery App Workers Describe A Culture of Retaliation and Fear (Vice)                                                      The Target-owned grocery delivery company Shipt is rolling out a new algorithmic pay model that is already draining paychecks. And workers are terrified to speak out.
  • American Workers Are Going On Strike In Huge Numbers (Huffington Post)                                                             There were 25 work stoppages – involving 425,500 total workers – last year
  • Instacart Workers Win Historic Union Election (Vice)                                                                                                                            After months of upheaval, Instacart employees voted to form the Silicon Valley app’s first union in the United States.
  • Leaked Memos Show Instacart is Running a Union-Busting Campaign (Vice)
  • Instacart Is Fighting Back Against Organizing. That’s Because It’s Working. (Mother Jones)
  • “Let’s Get This Bread”: Bay Area Tartine Bakery Workers Move to Unionize (In These Times)



  • Indian Students Mail 20,000 Plastic Food Wrapper Back to Manufacturers (Return to Now)


Business, Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Sonoma’s Straus Family Creamer Becomes Zero Waste Certified (KPIX CBS Bay Area)                                        A family-owned business in Sonoma County is making headlines around the world for being the first zero waste certified creamery ever.
  • New York City startup called Re-Nuble turns food waste into fertilizer (UYale Climate Connections)
  • Kellogg’s commits to reduce widely used herbicide in supply chain – but farmers didn’t know about it (msn)
  • Here’s the ugly truth about the ugly produce movement (The Counter)                                                                   VC-backed startups are commodifying need and undermining food banks and CSAs while they’re at it. It’s a market solution disguised as activism.
  • Nestle’s Push To Extract More Water From Florida Springs Causes Concern (WFSU Pubic Media)
  • This grocery store wanted to compete with Whole Foods. Now it’s going bankrupt (CNN)
  • Industrial dairy farming is taking over in Wisconsin, crowding out family operations and raising environmental concerns (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
  • Oil companies are investing billions in new plastic plants to double output in next 20 years (MNN)
  • Better breakfast and chicken sandwiches: How McDonald’s plans to win customers back (CNN)
  • Prime Roots will debut Fungi-based “bacon” on Valentines Day 2020 (inhabitat)
  • 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 farm bankruptcies hit an eight year high: court data (Reuters)
    • Farm Bankruptcies Soar 20% Amid Trump Trade War. It’s The Highest Rate in 8 Years (Huffington Post)   Farmers hit hard despite billions of dollars in taxpayer aid to mitigate the harm from the president’s trade policies.
  • Wisconsin Loses 818 Dairies in 2020, Largest Decline in State History (Dairy Herd)
  • Minnesota lost more than 300 farms in 2019 for second year in a row (KARE11)
  • Family farm bankruptcies hit 10-year high in Kansas, spike 20 percent nationally since 2018 (KVOE)


Government, Regulation, Policy & Farm Bill

  • Finland to significantly increase parental leave (Nation of Change)                                                                       “The model guarantees the child a place at the center of family benefits and promotes well-being and gender equality.”
  • Germany Has A New Receipt Law – And Bakeries Are Getting Sweet Revenge (NPR)
  • ‘An Appalling Act of Industrial Vandalism’: Japanese Officials Do PR for Plan to Dump Fukushima Water Into Ocean (Common Dreams)
  • Women Who Farm Are Finally Getting Counted (Huffington Post)                                                                               The government has undercounted female farmers for decades, fueling an agriculture industry that has tailored itself almost exclusively toward men.
  • Trump yet again proposes slashing Chesapeake Bay cleanup, weeks after approving a spending increase (The Baltimore Sun)
  • Trump’s USDA Chief Thinks Farm Workers Are Overpaid (Mother Jones)                                                                               Yet again, Sonny Perdue wants to gut a program that benefits poor people.
  • America’s Wetlands: Vital, Ignored, and Now Defined Away by the Trump Administration (Union of Concerned Scientists)
  • SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot Expands (Progressive Grocer)                                                                                                  A two-year pilot launched by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is giving SNAP participated the ability to select and pay for groceries online.
  • Supreme Court allows Trump administration to consider SNAP use for green card denials (The Counter)
  • In Win for Bayer-Monsanto, Trump EPA Claims Cancer Causing Weedkiller ‘Safe’ (Environmental Working Group)
    • EPA re-approves key Roundup chemical (The Hill)
    • Critics: Trump’s EPA’s formal assertion glyphosate poses no risk to human health indication of ‘troubling allegiance’ with Bayer/Monsanto (Nation of Change)   “The EPA’s pesticide office is clearly willing to bend over backwards, including disregarding its own guidelines for evaluating cancer risks, to give the industry what it wants.”
  • Trump Administration OKs Airgun Blasting That’s Deafening and Killing Critically Endangered Beluga Whales (Return to Now)
  • Regulatory Capture: USDA Organic Governance Board Dominated by Affiliates of Corporate Lobby (Organic Eye)
  • Lawmakers open groundwater fight against bottled water companies (AlterNet)                                                    Washington state, land of sprawling rainforests and glacier fed rivers, might soon become the first in the nation to ban water bottling companies from tapping spring-fed sources.
  • Minnesota Will Pay Homeowners to Replace Lawns with Bee-Friendly Wildflowers, Clover and Native Grasses (Return to Now)
  • Reducing Plastic in New York City (Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center)


Non-Governmental Organizations, 501c3


Pollinators & Insects

  • Help bees by not mowing dandelions, gardeners told (The Guardian)                                                             Plants provide key food source for pollinators as they come out of hibernation
  • Study: Climate change contributes to widespread declines among bumble bees across continents (Science)
  • Pismo Beach’s monarch butterfly numbers doubled this winter – and experts don’t know why (The Sacramento Bee)
  • Fireflies are facing extinction due to habitat loss, pesticides and artificial light (Fox 12 Oregon)
  • Worst Locust Swarms Hit East Africa in Decades Linked to Climate Crisis (EcoWatch)


Animals, Fish, Fresh Water & Marine Animals

  • Up to 100,000 sheep killed in Kangaroo Island fires, as farmers tally livestock losses (The Guardian)
  • New bovine virus associated with human head colds and sinus infections get into USA (Food Safety News)
  • Belugas Are Dying off in Alaska and Oil and Gas Operations Are to Blame, Says Lawsuit (EcoWatch)
  • Climate Crisis to Blame for Whales Injured and Killed After Being Caught in Fishing Lines: Study (Common Dreams)
    • Study: Habitat compression and ecosystem shifts as potential links between marine heatwave and record whale entanglements (Nature)



  • Pesticide giant drops chlorpyrifos, following year of controversy, lawsuits and bans (The Counter)
    • As sales of the pesticide chlorpyrifos ends in California, maker Corteva announces it will stop producing it. (Investigate Midwest)
    • Trump Rescued a Nasty Pesticide from an EPA Ban. Now Corteva Will Stop Making It. (Mother Jones)                                                                                                                    “This is a victory for our kids, farmworkers and rural communities nationwide.”
  • It’s Farmer v. Monsanto in court fight over dicamba herbicide (Nation of Change)
    • Dicamba on trial: Peach farmer’s case against Bayer, BASF set to begin Monday (Investigate Midwest)
    • Dicamba on trial: Monsanto officials limited testing on its own plots (The Counter)                                          The company used a variety of methods to avoid independent testing of its controversial herbicide, according to court testimony
  • Many seeds in the US come precoated with neonicotinoids, one of the most common insecticides in the world. (The Intercept)


GMOs, CRISPR, Cloning & Synthetic Biology

  • Genetically engineered moths have been released into the wild to wipe out pests (CNN)
  • The Philippines has rated ‘Golden Rice’ safe, but farmers might not plant it (The Conversation)
  • US approves three GMO potato varieties that can be grown and sold in retail outlets (Potato News Today)
  • Argentina: Field trials with non-browning CRISPR-edited potatoes start (Potato News Today)