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