Everything you wanted to know about what’s happening in farming this month!

agriculture

The following list of topics and articles was published as a public service by Grow Calgary, the largest urban community farm in Canada.   Jenny’s Food and Ag Update is published once a month by Jenny Huston of Farm to Table Food Services in Oakland, CA.  To be added to the mailing list, contact Jenny at chefjennyhuston@yahoo.com.

November Update on Food and Ag

  • How activists forced FDA to blacklist “carcinogenic” flavor chemicals the agency says are safe (The New Food Economy) https://bit.ly/2J9s0NS
  • ‘’It’s not fair, not right’: how America treats its black farmers (The Guardian) https://bit.ly/2P5ZmU2                                                  Sugarcane farmers can’t survive without large crop loans. For the Provosts, who say they suffered decades of discrimination, this could be the end of the line

Lab-Grown Meat Debate Overlooks Cows’ Range of Use Worldwide (EcoWatch) https://bit.ly/2qlbXEh                                          A battle royale is brewing over what to call animal cells grown in cell culture for food. Should it be in-vitro meat, cellular meat, cultured meat or fermented meat?

  • Mystic Cheese: Modular Shipping Containers Are Being Repurposed for Food Production (EcoWatch) https://bit.ly/2ENIigL
  • Soy destruction in Argentina leads straight to our dinner plates (The Guardian) https://bit.ly/2DcZ9Is                                        Argentina’s Gran Chaco forest is being razed for soya, ending up in Europe as animal feed, and on our plates. It’s the backbone of Argentina’s fragile economy, but has come at a price for the indigenous people who live there
  • Bring the wild back into farmlands to protect diversity,, researchers say (UC Berkeley News) https://bit.ly/2DlJ1nP

 

Farmers, Farming, Ranching, Herding, Fishing & Production

  • Planning for the Future (Alta) https://bit.ly/2JgmRDS                      The pioneers of the organic farming movement are aging out. What will happen to their lovingly tended farms?
  • Fewer consumers opting for that weekly box of veggies, so local farmers are struggling to survive Chicago Tribune) https://trib.in/2EVknMn
  • (Canadian) MPs who farm: How a committee’s mental-health study is hitting close to home (iPolitics) https://bit.ly/2zc5D60
  • ‘We’ll have space bots with lasers, killing plants’: the rise of the robot farmer (The Guardian) https://bit.ly/2R5ZlvN
  • Caught Between Trump’s Tariffs and Tax Changes, Soybean Farmers Face Uncertain Future (NPR) https://n.pr/2Da4y2G
  • We Feed the World: Meet the Australian farmer who created the pasture cropping movement (Independent) https://ind.pn/2CtSMiJ                                                                                     After a brushfire devastated 2,000 acres of his land, Colin Seis was forced to rethink how he farmed. What he came up with radicalized farming techniques for the better.

 

Climate

  • Politicians say nothing, but US farmers are increasingly terrified by it – climate change (The Guardian) https://bit.ly/2P81E4
  • The unseen driver behind the migrant caravan: climate change (The Guardian) https://bit.ly/2OVu5mG
    • ‘Every Day You Become More Desperate’ (Food & Environment Reporting Network) https://bit.ly/2Px9PXY    Extreme weather in Central America’s Dry Corridor is forcing farmers to make the hardest decision
  • How Will California’s Climate Ambitions Reshape Food and Agriculture? (Civic Eats) https://bit.ly/2EaQ584                                  Some experts say Governor Jerry Brown’s pledge for a zero-emissions state by 2045 won’t be possible without rethinking the entire industry.
  • Insect collapse study ‘one of the most disturbing articles I have ever read,’ expert warns (Think Progress) https://bit.ly/2PbEdqO  Just 3.6% warming has wiped out up to 98% of rainforest insects.
  • Study: Climate-drive declines in arthropod abundance restructure a rainforest food web (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA) https://bit.ly/2NJAZ91

 

Food Culture & History

  • Gentrification, vegans, and the death of historic London pie shops (The Conversation) https://bit.ly/2OPB3Zy

 

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

  • Yemen facing the ‘world’s worst famine in 100 years’ if fighting does not stop, warns the UN (Independent) https://ind.pn/2EEJqn1                                                                                        The UN’s coordinator for Yemen warns 13 million people could die from starvation if fighting continues in the country, where a famine is likely to be officially declared in weeks
  • Study: Weeds Growing in Poor, Inner City Neighborhoods are More Nutritious than Store-Bought Produce (Return to Now) https://bit.ly/2Akuje3
    • Study: Open-Source Food: Nutrition, Toxicology, and Availability of Wild Edible Greens in the East Bay (bioRXiv) https://bit.ly/2ynM8rm
  • Vegetables Lose Up to Half Their Nutrients By the Time They’re Shipped to the store: Another Reason to Grow Your Own (Return to Now) https://bit.ly/2OHd4wu
    • Review: Nutritional comparison of fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables II. Vitamin A and carotenoids, vitamin E minerals and fiber (Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture) https://bit.ly/2yXc8cM
    • Storage time and temperature effects nutrients in spinach (Penn State) https://bit.ly/2JdpsOT
  • Not Enough Fruits, Vegetables Grown to Feed the Planet, University of Guelph Study Reveals (University of Guelph) https://bit.ly/2AKAUin
    • Study: When too much isn’t enough: Does current food production meet global nutritional needs? (Plos) https://bit.ly/2CEaEHy

 

Gleaning, Foraging, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Waste

  • A Billion Pounds of Pumpkins End Up In Landfills Each Year, Here’s How to Make Halloween More Eco-Friendly (Return To Now) https://bit.ly/2pUSsCa                                                                              My pumpkins go to a friend with chickens…

 

Healthy Food & Food Safety

  • A new study says organic food cuts cancer risk by 25 percent. Take that with a massive grain of salt (The New Food Economy) https://bit.ly/2PRmxOh
  • How A Michelin-Caliber Chef Is Reinventing Hospital Food (The Independent) https://ind.pn/2CxCRQf                                                          In a hospital kitchen in Berlin, chef Patrick Wodni has been overhauling its supply chain, from making his own cheese to sourcing great local producers, all with the goal of making nutritious food for patients
  • Tests Reveal More Weed Killer Than Some Vitamins in Kids’ Cereals (Environmental Working Group) https://bit.ly/2JCv2ul
  • Recall hits millions of pounds of food from Harris Teeter, 7-Eleven, Kroger and more (USA Today) https://bit.ly/2EMQT3c
    • Massive Nationwide Food Recall Could Affect ‘Tens of Thousands of People” (EcoWatch) https://bit.ly/2q9Bpwi

 

Food Fraud, Scandals, Weird & Funny

  • Plight of the Honeybees: Almond growers in the Central Valley have a problem: Crooks keep purloining their pollinators (Alta) https://bit.ly/2q7GXYg
  • Nebraska Farmers Caught, as Part of a Wider Conspiracy, Selling GMO Grain as Organic (The Cornucopia Institute) https://bit.ly/2z7V7wo
  • Restaurant Owner Murders Man, Serves His Remains to Vegetarian Diners, Get Instantly Found Out (Newsweek) https://bit.ly/2JuxBhM
  • Food Fight! Why Punk Bands Are Rallying to Save a Grocery Store (City Lab) https://bit.ly/2D42V6L                                                            A DC neighborhood is trying to save a small grocery store and stop a rumored CVS takeover, in a very DC way.

 

Children & School Food

  • What Domino’s Pizza in the Cafeteria Says About the State of School Food Reform (Civil Eats) https://bit.ly/2OhgKos      Advocates say reformulated junk foods confuse children, but when margins are slim, administrators rely on the income.

 

Labor, Unions & Coops

  • The Modern Slavery Bill is a start, but it won’t guarantee us sweeter chocolate (The Conversation) https://bit.ly/2P9hOdP
  • Edinburgh Michelin Star Chef Introduces Four-Day Week To ‘Fuel the team’s creative flare’ (Independent) https://ind.pn/2R3K2DM
  • Our food system is built on exploitation. Now farmworkers are saying “no more” (Salon) https://bit.ly/2RiocwG              Undocumented farmworkers in Washington have won historic labor victories in recent years
  • Brining in backpackers is not the right way to get more workers on to farms (The Conversation) https://bit.ly/2NRoPLt
  • US prisoners’ strike is reminder how commonplace inmate labor is – and that it may run afoul of the law (The Conversation) https://bit.ly/2CW71hc
  • Two amputations a week: the cost of working in a US meat plant (The Guardian) https://bit.ly/2MPcxD9                                                        As unions warn of serious injuries, plans to take speed limits off the line at pig plants are causing anxiety

 

Animals

  • Despite what you might think, chickens are not stupid (BBC) https://bbc.in/2yt7BiQ                                                                                Chickens have a reputation for being profoundly dumb, but in fact they are remarkably intelligent and may even be empathic
  • Health officials ‘very worried’ as African Swine Fever spreads in Europe and Asia (CNN) https://cnn.it/2xTIKEg
    • China culls 200,000 pigs due to African swine fever – official (Reuters) https://reut.rs/2J6NpHl
    • USDA suspends pork imports from Poland in ASF defense (National Hog Farmer) https://bit.ly/2Ev3LuO                                The USDA says the goal of the review is to ensure consistency with the stringent, longstanding safeguards in place that protect US animal health from African Swine Fever
  • EU plan to reduce checks on chickens ‘will increase food poisoning risk’ (The Guardian) https://bit.ly/2qdGLXb                  Some experts say scaling down inspections is likely to lead to more consumers being infected with campylobacter
  • Scottish government identifies case of mad cow disease (Reuters) https://reut.rs/2NQjkwD                                                                                    The restaurant owner believes that a four-day week will benefit the work-life balance of his employees
  • ‘Horrific’ footage reveals fish suffocating to death on industrial farms in Italy (The Guardian) https://bit.ly/2PJNEuN

 

Business, Social Enterprise & Our Economy

  • Millennials are killing chains like Buffalo Wild Wings and Applebee’s (Business Insider) https://read.bi/2AKzJiU
  • Lucky Supermarkets, Launches Educational Plant-Based Food Program in California (One Green Planet) https://bit.ly/2PYLO9c
  • It’s not regulations, it’s retailers you should worry about (Beef Magazine) https://bit.ly/2AnZ4yP                                                    Consumers may demand food retailers crack down on antibiotic use. What does this mean for beef producers?
  • My fight for justice goes on (San Francisco Chronicle) https://bit.ly/2SpGWf2
    • Monsanto trial: judge rejects bid to overturn landmark cancer verdict (The Guardian) https://bit.ly/2q72ZKp                    Dewayne Johnson originally won $289m after finding Roundup weedkiller caused illness, but judge reduces financial award
  • ‘We did the right thing’: jurors urge judge to uphold Monsanto cancer ruling (The Guardian) https://bit.ly/2pZqXr5
  • While Nestle extracts millions of liters from their land, residents have no drinking water (The Guardian) https://bit.ly/2zRXdlH    Just 90 minutes fro Toronto, residents of a First Nation community try to improve the water situation as the beverage company extracts from their land
  • Pilotworks food incubator closes suddenly, leaving 175 companies kitchenless (The New Food Economy) https://bit.ly/2R7srv3
  • Racial Wealth Gap Much Smaller Among Union Members (Forbes) https://bit.ly/2JctRkX
    • Americans Want to Believe Jobs Are the Solution to Poverty. They’re Not. (NYT) https://nyti.ms/2ReYhFZ                                        US unemployment is down and jobs are going unfilled. But for people without much education, the real question is: Do those jobs pay enough to live on?
  • Researchers Who Said Raising Minimum Wage Was Bad For Workers Now Say It’s Good, Actually (Splinter) https://bit.ly/2O5NRqs
    • Study: Minimum Wage Increases and Individual Employment Trajectories (University of Washington) https://bit.ly/2yz2XQm

 

Water & Our Oceans

  • In Echo of Flint, Michigan, Water Crisis Now Hits Newark (NYT) https://nyti.ms/2AE9Lxz                                                                                        For nearly a year and a half, top officials in Newark denied that their water system had a widespread lead problem, despite ample evidence that the city was facing a public health crisis…
  • Meat-free diets could cut out ‘water footprint’ in half, say scientists (The Conversation) https://bit.ly/2NH1K1Y
  • Eighty tons of illegal Bluefin tuna pose a threat to sustainable fisheries and human health (Phys.org) https://bit.ly/2yOcYIs
  • California’s Underwater Forests Are Being Eaten by the ‘Cockroaches of the Ocean (NYT) https://nyti.ms/2yylfRP
  • Scientists make incredible discovery on unexplored seafloor off Big Sur. (Monterey County Weekly) https://bit.ly/2yEOwu9

 

Government, Regulation, Policy & Farm Bill

  • ‘Hugely Important Breakthrough for Human and Animal Health’ as EU Approves Antibiotic Restrictions for Livestock to Battle Superbugs (Common Dreams) https://bit.ly/2AwfANr          “Antibiotic resistance is a real sword of Damocles, threatening to send our health care system back to the Middle Ages.”
  • European parliament approves sweeping ban on single-use plastics (The Guardian) https://bit.ly/2PjmYnE                            Proposal passed 571-53, with Labour MEPs demanding UK mirror EU action after Brexit
  • Trump Admin’s Axing Of Plan To Reduce Creatures Killed In Gillnets Ruled Illegal (Huffington Post) https://bit.ly/2JjlfZP              A judge ruled illegal the axing of a plan to limit the number of marine creatures allowed to be killed by drift gillnets used to catch swordfish off California.
  • Trump’s trade war took a stunning bit out of the US economy, and it’s the strongest evidence yet that he’s shooting himself in the foot (Business Insider) https://read.bi/2EXfWB4
    • Trump tariffs lead to bleak 2019 farm forecasts (Politico) https://politi.co/2DciJnW
    • Tariff Troubles: Ohio Farmers Have Lots Of Crops But Nowhere To Sell Them (WOSU) https://bit.ly/2z9cixB
    • Tariffs, China and American Ginseng: A Case Study in Wisconsin (Modern Farmer) https://bit.ly/2Sg1xT3                    Marathon County is ground zero for the American ginseng industry, growing 98 percent of the country’s crop. But that may be in jeopardy if buyers start to walk away from deals in response to Chinese import tariffs.
  • California’s dairy farmers were struggling to regain profitability. Then came the trade wars (LA Times) https://lat.ms/2AxlJci
  • China slashed its imports of US sorghum, soybean, and corn in September (NBC News) https://nbcnews.to/2QdIw28                  China imported 80 percent less US sorghum in September and upped its Brazilian imports soybeans by 28 percent.
  • Chinese-owned company qualifies for Trump’s anti-China farm bailout (The Washington Post) https://wapo.st/2CC2O1c
  • Trump picks former Monsanto executive to lead US Fish and Wildlife Service (Think Progress) https://bit.ly/2OJOACM
  • Rural jails, brought to you by the US Department of Agriculture (Think Progress) https://bit.ly/2EJCvZH                                                     The federal farm boys are getting into the beds-with-bars business.
  • Farm Aid for the Big House (Vera) https://bit.ly/2PngKCV           Over the last two decades, the USDA has been funding jail construction through a program designed to finance infrastructure like emergency services, hospitals, fire station, and community centers…

 

GMOs, CRISPR, Cloning & Synthetic Biology

  • Former EFSA GMO Panel member says GM Bt crop toxin allergy study is solid (GM Watch) https://bit.ly/2Jnx5SI
  • Study: Glyphosate is lethal and Cry toxins (Bt) alter the development of the stingless bee Melipona quadrifasciata (Research Gate) https://bit.ly/2zdOuJ6
  • Commission asks EFSA for urgent assessment of allergenicity of GM crop Bt toxin (GM Watch) https://bit.ly/2COK3Yw
  • TGE-resistant pigs developed through gene editing (National Hog Farmer) https://bit.ly/2R333Gz                                                          Researchers at the University of Missouri have successfully produced a litter of pigs that are genetically resistant to Transmissible gastroednteritis virus (TGEV)…
  • Organic farming with gene editing: An oxymoron or a toll for sustainable agriculture? (The Conversation) https://bit.ly/2PwchdY

 

Poisons

  • Pesticides and suicide prevention – why research needs to be put into practice (The Conversation) https://bit.ly/2pZLZ91
  • New study links common herbicides and antibiotic resistance (Phys.org) https://bit.ly/2EHERZb
    • Study: Agrichemicals and antibiotics in combination increase antibiotic resistance evolution (PeerJ) https://bit.ly/2RN2qSy
  • Bombshell New Study Calls For Ban On Pesticide Family Tied To Brain Damage In Kids (Huffington Post) https://bit.ly/2yAfTVU      For pregnant women, there is no safe level of exposure to organophosphate pesticides.
  • Entire Pesticide Class Must Be Banned to Save Children’s Health, Landmark Study Says (EcoWatch) https://bit.ly/2Rhw0P9
  • Ban entire pesticide class to protect children’s health, experts say (The Guardian) https://bit.ly/2OQORnH
  • Study: Organophosphate exposures during pregnancy and child neurodevelopment Recommendations for essential policy reforms (PLOS) https://bit.ly/2JgeFn9
  • Prenatal exposure to phthalates linked to language delays in children, study says (CNN) https://cnn.it/2OdVUl4

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