March 3 Update

March 21, 2013

Environmental Justice/Food Justice/Food Sovereignty

  • India’s rice revolution  In a village in India’s poorest state, Bihar, farmers are growing world record amounts of rice (22.4 tonnes per hectare)  – with no GM, and no herbicide. Is this one solution to world food shortages?
  • Using a system called System of Rice (or root) Intensification (SRI)
o   Miracle grow: Indian farmers smash crop yields records without GMOs
  • Baltimore Food Hub: $10M campus for food related businesses, job training planned to open fall 2014 in East Baltimore
o   Our Food System Is in Crisis Due to Technology Run Amok and Monopolizing Corporations
  • Bhutan set to plough lone furrow as world’s first wholly organic country  By shunning all but organic farming techniques, the Himalayan state will cement its status as a paradigm of sustainability
  • Drakes Bay Oyster Company Gets Legal Reprieve, Will Stay Open (until the appeal is heard)
  • 100 Days of Real Food: Healthy Food Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank  Yes, it’s possible to feed a family on $125 a week – without turning to packaged and processed foods.
o   Report: Heads They Win, Tails We Lose: How Corporations Corrupt Science at the Public’s Expense
  • International cops are on the pirate fishing case  Pirate fishing is an entertainingly name but actually terrible scourge of the oceans…
  • Climate Change Has Cut Humans’ Work Capacity 10 Percent, With 40 Percent Cut Projected for 2100  According to researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a combination of rising heat and humidity is likely to cut the world’s labor capacity to 80 percent during summer months by 2050 – twice the effect observed today.
  • Think about Australia in January 2013, 48.2°C (119°F)…
o   Could extreme weather save farmers from extreme weather?
  • Note to Mrs. Obama: Try Hemp in the White House Garden  Marijuana’s non-narcotic cousins is economic, ecological and downright patriotic
  • Horse Meat In Philadelphia: Chef Peter McAndrews Plans Equine Offerings At Italian Restaurant Monsu
  • Farmers Markets Are Actually Cheap – So Where Are the Low-Income Shoppers?
·      Buying into the Local Food Movement
The local food movement is spreading – from rural farm market stands to supermarket shelves. Can large grocery retailers capture the growing “locavore” market?
  • FRAC: Food Hardship in America 2012: Data for the Nation, States, 100 MSAs, and Every Congressional District  More than one in six Americans report inability to afford enough food. New food hardship data reflect continuing struggles and highlights need for Congress to protect nation’s nutrition safety net.
  • The Coming Climate Exodus: What We’re Doing to Help Wildlife’s New Migration
  • Supermarkets and shoppers can keep British farming Alive  Demand for British food can shift prospects for farmers
  • Bitter harvest and cruel winter (UK) for farmers  The second wettest summer on record flooded fields and ruined crops, forcing farmers to bring in their livestock and causing the cost of food to rise sharply… Winter has proven just as difficult…

·      Behind the Kitchen Door: A Must-Read for Anyone Who Eats at Restaurants
Review: More than half of the nation’s worst-paid jobs are related to food. Saru Jayaraman’s new book dives into the explosive movement for better rights for those who plant, process, and cook the food we eat.
·      Family Lives Without Money – By Choice – and Thrives
·      ‘Not Enough’: Critics say Obama’s $9 Minimum Wage Too Small
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) say $10.10 is closer to a liveable wage
·      What Would a Down to Earth Economy Look Like?
How did we end up with Wall Street when models for a healthy economy are all around us?
·      Oxfam: World’s Largest Food Companies Creating Legacy of Destruction
Corporations relying on cheap land and labor are ruining human lives and the natural world, says campaign
o   ‘Behind The Brands’ Oxfam Report Evaluates Social, Environmental Impacts of World’s Largest Food Companies
o   Study: Behind The Brands
·      Why Uncle Sam Support Frankenfood
·      Buffett-Heinz Deal Sends Urgent Warning To Food Industry To Cut Costs
·      Fairtrade Foundation reports damns treatment of smallholder farmers
To create fundamental change for small holder farmers, it’s vital they are able to increase their voice, influence and organization
·      After Ruining America, the Era of Giant Chain Stores Is Over
The coming implosion of big box retail implies tremendous opportunities for young people to make a livelihood in the imperative rebuilding of local economies.
·      High cost of living thwarts school meal improvements (San Francisco)
Gleaning, Food Waste & Reuse

·      Eating Ugly: Fruit and Vegetables Aren’t Beauty Contestants
Visual appearance aside, they’re all the same on the inside.
·      (UN) Ministers Dine on Food Grown in Kenya But Rejected by UK Supermarkets for Cosmetic Reasons
·      Should We Be Eating More ‘Expired’ Foods? A Former Trader Joe’s Exec. Thinks So
Would a store that sells foods past their sell-by date help address food insecurity and waste?
·      Glean slate: Program provides fresh produce to the needy
Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

·      Governor Cuomo Announces $3.6 Million in CFA Funding for Food Distribution Hubs
New facilities will increase access to healthy, local products and create over 150 jobs
·      Slaughter and Waxman Introduce Bill to Gather More Data on Antibiotics in Ag
·      USDA says crops will do better but food prices will do worse
·      Meat Plants Face Shutdown Due to Impending Sequester, USDA Says
·      USDA Proposes Standards to Provide Healthy Food Options in Schools
New “Smart Snacks in School” proposal to ensure vending machines, snack bars include healthy choices
·      USDA Considers Reintroducing Horse Slaughter to US
Animals rights groups decry move, citing chemical contamination and rampant abuses
GMOs/Cloning/Food Technology/Poisons

·      Main Quietly Mounting Massive Support for Historic GMO Labeling Bill
o   VT House committee approves GMO food bill
o   Another State Bill for GE Food Labeling Struck Down
·      Roundup more toxic than officially declared – new study
o   Glyphosate Hazards to Crops, Soils, Animals and Consumers
·      GM Seeds and the Militarization of Food – and Everything Else
·      The War On Seeds: Rogue Valley, OR
·      Report: Record area of biotech crops used in 2012
US farmers still lead world in planting GMO crops
·      Charts: World’s GMO Crop Fields Could Cover the US 1.5 Times Over
·      Report: Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2012
·      Hungary Destroys All Monsanto GMO Corn Fields
·      Monsanto 1901-2012 Timeline

Healthy/Humane/Safe Food & Water

·      America’s Deadliest Sweetener Betrays Millions, Then Hoodwinks You With Name Change
… aspertame was previously listed by the Pentagon as a biochemical warfare agent!
·      Aspartame in Milk Without a Label? Big Dairy Petitions FDA For Approval
o   Artificial sweeteners tied to obesity, Type 2 diabetes
·      Fructose and Overeating – Fuelling the Obesity Epidemic
A new brain imaging study finds fructose, but not glucose, causes distinct brain activity associated with lack of fullness and satiety.
·      Report: Walmart’s Animal Welfare Policy Among Worst For Major Companies
Surprise? And this from the #1 grocery retailer in the country...
·      Food fraud & the security of our global food supply
o   Oceana Study Reveals Seafood Fraud Nationwide
o   Eggs In Germany May Not Be Organic Or Free-Range Despite Labels; 150 Farms In Question and
o   “Honeygate” Sting Leads to Charges for Illegal Chinese Honey Importation
o   South African Beef Products Contain Buffalo, Donkey, Study Finds
o   Horsemeat Scandal Stats & Timeline
o   Horse Meat Found At Taco Bell In UK
·      Nanoparticles Are in Our Food, Clothing and Medicine – And No One Knows for Sure How Dangerous They Might Be
·      How the junk food industry has encouraged us to eat ourselves to death
o   How Fast Food Hooks Us
Corporations figure out our ‘bliss spots,’ manipulate the USDA, and stymie anyone who opposes them. Nina Strochlic on the most shocking revelations from ’Salt Sugar Fat.’
o   Good Politics: New books on how the food industry hooks us on junk food
Melanie Warner, Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal (Scribner, 2013) & Michael Moss Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us (Random House, 2013)
·      This billboard sucks water out of the air and delivers it to families below
Nearly 4,000 oil and gas wells were drilled in Allegheny national Forest since 2005. Only 15 of those (wells) are Marcellus Shale wells, and all of them were drilled since 2009. As the concern about natural gas drilling in US National Forests spread…
·      Minnesota draining its supplies of water
Nature can’t keep up with demand, prompting disputes in some cities.
·      Fracking our Farms: A Tale of Five Farming Families
·      AP: NY fracking held as Cuomo, RFK Jr. talk health
·      US National Forests No Match for Drilling Boom
o   Fracking-Fueled Land Grab Cheats North Dakota Tribes Out of $1 Billion, Suits Allege 
The rush to get access ot oil on tribal lands is part of the oil industry’s larger push to secure drilling rights across the United States.
o   Fracking Goes South: Oil and Gas Industry Lick Their Chops Over Chattanooga Shale
·      Science Over Politics: Cuomo’s Delay on Lifting Fracking Moratorium Applauded
·      A Conversation with Alison Alkon: Farmers Markets, Race, and the Green Economy
Tuesday, March 5, 2013  6P - 8P
65 W 11th St, Lang Cafe, 
The New School
Popularized by such best-selling authors as Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver, and Eric Schlosser, a growing food movement urges us to support sustainable agriculture by eating fresh food produced on local family farms. But many low-income communities and communities of color have been systematically deprived of access to healthy and sustainable food. This event will feature a discussion facilitated by Alison Hope Alkon about how inequalities intersect with the production, distribution and consumption of food. Alkon will frame the discussion with an overview of her two recent books: Black, White and Green: Farmers Markets, Race and the Green Economy and Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class and Sustainability.

Alison Hope Alkon is assistant professor and co-chair of the department of Sociology at University of the Pacific in Northern California.
Reception to follow. This event is free and open to the public.
  •   Tampa, Florida: March for Dignity, Rights, Respect, & Fair Food from Ft. Myers Florida to Lakeland Florida Headquarters of Publix Market. March 3, to 18, 2012
·      SPUR San Francisco: Food and Farm Film Festival March 29 – 31, 2013, 7pm schedule and tickets
·      AgrAbility National Training Workshop, April 8-11, 2013, Minneapolis MN

March 20 Updates

Environmental Justice/Food Justice/Food Sovereignty

·      Brooksville becomes the ninth Maine town to defy state on sales of local foods
o   And here is some background on the food sovereignty movement on the Blue Hill Peninsula, Hancock County, Maine (4/18/11)
o   State Sues Blue Hill Farmer, Challenges Food Sovereignty Ordinance (11/17/11)
o   Raw deal: Maine residents’ fight for unregulated food draws crackdown (6/29/12)
·      Farmers Markets Are Actually Cheap – So Where Are the Low-Income Shoppers?
A new study suggests lack of information – not price – is what keeps low-income individuals away.
·      Panera Bread Feeds the Hungry, and Markets Their Values
o   Panera Cares café is now officially open in Boston (1/23/13)
Pay what you can cafés… 
·      The Feminization of Farming
o   Women’s rights and right to food, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter
·      $48 Million and Rising: Student Campaigns Transform (College) Cafeteria Food Service
·      Sharks at risk of extinction from overfishing, say scientists
Almost 100 million sharks are killed each year and many species need better protection, according to researchers.
·      Uprooting Racism in the Food System, African Americans Organize
·      Cheap Eats: How America Spends Money on Food
Food is cheap and getting cheaper in America, unless you’re poor…
o   America’s Shrinking Grocery Bill
In 1984, the average US household spent 16.8% of its annual post-tax income on food. By 2011, Americans spent only 11.2%...
·      How Factory Farming Contributes to Global Warming
·      Everyone to Asia: We don’t want your stinkin’ unsustainable palm oil
·      OCA Creates ORCA to Attack ‘Natural’ Products Labeling Fraud
·      Ending Senior Hunger Must Begin Today
… hidden faces of America’s hunger crisis.
·      ‘Story Of An Egg’ Film Explains What ‘Cage-Free,’ ‘Free-Range’ Actually Mean
·      Solar Water Distiller Enables Desalination Anywhere There’s sunlight and Saltwater
·      Corn free: Cutting back on our dominant crop is easier said than done
The monolithic nature of corn production presents a systemic risk to America’s agriculture, with impacts ranging form food prices to feed prices and energy prices. It also present a potential threat to our economy and to the tax payer…
·      Fairness for Small Farmers: A Missing Ingredient in the US Farm Bill
·      Olive oil prices to rocket as Spanish drought cuts harvest by 62%
·      Food for Thought: Evaluating the Impact of Indian’s Midday Meal Meal Program on Educational Attainment
·      Back to the Land: Reaction to Greece’s Recession: Greek Farm Resurgence
·      Fresno Public Market Would Give the San Joaquin Valley Its “Local” Food Back

·      Campaign Begins for $10.10 Minimum Wage
o   Costco’s Profit Soars to %537 Million Just Days After CEO Endorses Minimum Wage Increase
o   Socialism, Anyone? Profits Soar for Costco Days After CEO Endorses Minimum Wage Hike
Cosctco’s CEO Explains how they make record profits: “We pay workers $45K/Year, provide health insurance, and let them unionize – the opposite of what Walmart does.”
·      Portland (OR) City Council votes unanimously to approve sick leave policy

·      Paid sick leave passed by Philadelphia City Council

·      Worker Owned Businesses Point to New Forms of Ownership
Can co-ops come out of the margins of the economy and be part of a larger political project to transform things are owned?
            Unions are on the decline, and worker owned cooperatives are on the rise…
·      New Yorkers consider worker cooperatives as part of long-term recovery from Superstorm Sandy
·      Six Operational Advantages of Worker Cooperatives
·      The Green Collar Community 
     Advancing green jobs and resilient communities through cooperative enterprise. 

·      Norwegian (investment) fund pulls out of ‘unsustainable’ palm oil companies

·      DuPont Investments Hindered as Congress Delays Farm Bill
Gleaning, Food Waste & Reuse

·      5 Stores Tackling Waste by Selling ‘Expired’ Food
·      A Third of Americans Are Perfectly Fin With (Poor) People Eating Horsemeat How do we feel about having horse for dinner? A new poll offers answers.

·      Production, Distribution & Waste – Challenging Industrial Agriculture
1/3 of global food production is wasted…

·      How One Activist Diverts Food Waste to Soup Kitchens (UK)
Government/Regulation/Policy/Farm Bill

·      USDA extends use of broad-spectrum antibiotic for organic apple, pear growers only
Nearly 80% of Washington growers said without tetracycline they’d cut production or exit the industry…
·      USDA, NOP Fraudulent Organic Certificates
This includes a list of the Fraudulent Certifications Reported to NOP
·      All Federal Meat Inspectors To Be Furloughed on 11 Scheduled Days
·      Census: Record 1 In 3 Counties Now Dying Off, Hit By Aging Popultaion, Weakened Local Economies
·      USDA Weights Sugar Bailout That May Boost Candy Prices: Report
·      Drakes Bay Oyster Farm Flap Reaches Far Beyond Northern California
GMOs/Cloning/Food Technology/Poisons

·      PA Lawmaker Pushes For Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods
·      Vermont’s Governor Peter Shumlin Still Bullied by Monsanto
·      Eye on Augusta (Maine): GMO Labeling Bill Returns to the Legislature
It’s very seldom that a bill gets as many as 123 cosponsors in the Maine Legislature…
·      GMO fail: Monsanto foiled by feds, Supreme Court, and science
·      Researchers: GM Crops Are Killing Monarch Butterflies, After All
Once again, no surprise…
o   Study Abstract: Milkweed loss in agricultural fields because of herbicede use: effect on the monarch butterfly population
·      Conflicts of interest at European Food Safety Authority  (EFSA) erode public confidence
o   Monsanto threatens to sue EFSA over publication of maize GM data
o   GMOs: Monsanto wants to attack EFSA justice
Note: this will need to be translated from French to English…
·      EU relaxes tolerances on glyphosate residue in lentils
The European Union, effective June 14, has revised its limit on glyphosate residue in lentil imports to 10 parts per million (ppm), up from its much tighter residue limit of 0.1ppm…
·      Operation Maple: Seeds of Deception
None of us called for genetic manipulation of seeds. Not one of us said, yes, this new technology will benefit me, my family, and my community.
·      Monsanto continues expansion in Argentina
Community opposes the construction of transgenic seed factory
o   Historic Ruling Convicts Two of Three Defendants for Poisoning Neighborhood with Pesticides (glyphosate)
o   Argentina’s Bad Seed
·      Vandana Shiva on Bowman v. Monsanto: This Case Is About Every Farm…
·      Bt Cotton is Failing; Blame the Farmers (India)
·      Rice farming in India: ‘Now I produce enough food for my family’
More on the SRI growing method…
·      Mark Lynas: truth, treachery and GM food
This is new article,… This guy has no idea where he is coming from, he doesn’t seem to understand the science.
·      Ben & Jerry’s switching to non-GMO ingredients
·      Five Ways the FDA Has Failed Consumers on Genetically Engineered Foods
Healthy/Humane/Safe Food & Water

·      Antibiotic Resistance Poses ‘Catastrophic Threat’ To Medicine Says Britain’s Top Health Official
·      Minority Groups and Bottlers Team Up in Battles Over Soda
·      Food security debate needs to include stronger focus on food safety (in the developing world)
Progress across the developing world is being undermined by contaminated foods (aflatoxin,) more campaigns need to all for food safety
·      Is the Dairy Industry Getting Sneaky With Sweeteners?
A petition pending with the FDA would make it legal to sweeten milk with aspartame without labeling it on the front.
·      Processed meat scare: a bacon sandwich won’t kill you… will it?
As a new scare over salami and sausages emerges, is it time to ditch processed meat products from our diet?
o   Study: Meat consumption and mortality – results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition 
·      Safety of the National School Lunch Program’s Frozen Ground Beef Products
·      Forget Money Laundering – These Guys Were Running Dirty Honey
Criminal charges have been filed against groups who allegedly imported Chinese honey without paying anti – dumping duties.
·      Congressional Bill Introduced to Combat Seafood Fraud
o   How to avoid doctored food
Keeping it real: Prescriptions for avoiding doctored food
·      Dead Pigs In China Floating By The Hundreds In Shanghi River (3/11/13)
Chinese officials say they have fished out 900 dead pigs from a Shanghai river that is a water source for city residents.
o   Dead Pigs In Shanghai River Raise Concern As Number Of Carcasses Grows
Count at 2,800…
o   Dead Pigs In China’s Shanghai River Worry Residents
Authorities recovered hundreds more dead pigs from a river that provides drinking water to Shanghai, China’s financial hub, bringing the total to more than 6,600 since last Friday (3/8/13)
·      Livestock Falling Ill in Fracking Regions, Raising Concerns About Food
This is from 12/12, but worth the read…
·      Fracking Moratorium in New York Gets Extended

·      Oakland Soil Workshop: Are Your Soils Health? Understanding and Evaluating Your Soils Workshop
Thursday, March 28, 2013, 9am – 12noon
Phat Beets Urban Farm, 59th St. between Market St. & Adeline St., Oakland, CA
            For more information, or to register, contact Rex Dufour 530-792-7338 or
·      Graze The Roof: Spring Workshops, Glide Foundation San Francisco
o   March 31st, Designing your Spring Garden
o   April 7th, Designing Sustainable Habitats and Visionary Place Making
·      Detroit Food 2013: What’s on Your Plate? April 4-6, 2013, Focus: HOPE Conference Center
·      Urgent: Get Antibiotics Out of Organic Apple and Pear Production