Farmworkers Fired for Seeking Shelter from California Wildfire – A group of farm laborers who chose to seek shelter from the suffocating smoke of a California wildfire last week were terminated for taking a break. In a related story, locals are being warned not to inhale the smoke, since pesticides have caught fire and are generating toxic fumes.
Europe Bans Bee-Harming Pesticides – On Monday, the European Commission voted to place a two-year moratorium on most uses of neonicotinoid pesticides, which are a widely used class of chemicals suspected of contributing to a severe global decline in honeybee health. Meanwhile, says Tom Philpott, the US continues spraying as usual, raising questions about the internal logic of EPA’s vetting process.
UCS Vision for Healthy Farms: Agroecology has the Answers – the Union of Concerned Scientists is launching its vision for healthy farms, including a briefing paper explaining the changes that are needed in the way we farm, and a web feature that illustrates the components of a healthy farm and farm environment.
“Unleash the Potential of Yam” - CGIAR hosts the first-ever global conference on yams. The meeting, which will take place in Accra, Ghana later this year, will “explore the recent innovations on yam improvement, share lessons learned, identify R&D needs and develop global alliances to unleash potential of the crop.”
A Photo Gallery of Food Safety and Genetic Engineering - “Once upon a time it was assumed that the United States had the safest food supply in the world,” says National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson. “These bookend stories, Food Safety and Genetically Engineered Foods, examined whether that is still a safe assumption. What we found was both surprising and far outside our expectations.”
Sun, Memory, and Citrus – A New York Times video short traces the legacy of lemon farming on the Amalfi coast.
Nature Celebrates 30 Years of GMOs – “Genetically modified crops generate hype and hatred,” say the editors, “A special section of Nature cuts through the drama.” The feature includes some excellent infographics on changing trends in GMO production worldwide, but its claims to cleave ‘fact’ from fiction (see A Hard Look at GM Crops) is surely a story in itself.
Replanting the Rustbelt – Until recently, the US food revolution has seemed to bypass the Rust Belt, which edges around the Great Lakes from Buffalo to Detroit. Now cities in this region — linked by a shared history of industry, a network of defunct canals and decaying railroads, and thousands of acres of farmland — are seeing the emergence of a new cadre of chefs, butchers, farmers, millers, bakers and brewers, all hoping their craft can help bring local landscapes back into balance.
Lunch with the Two Michaels – Writer Michael Pollan told the world about Big Corn and is now one of North America’s most well-known voices in food. Reporter Michael Moss delved into the meat industry, and earned a Pulitzer Prize for his harrowing account. In this short video vignette, the two Michaels meet up to explore the grocery store for a home-cooked lunch.
Fighting the Foodopoly – Buying local, organic, and fair-trade will only take us so far, says author and food activist Wenonah Hauter. Another great battle for food system reform pulls us out of the check-out line and into the legal system, where strong antitrust laws must be reestablished, and monopoly power broken. “We, the people, must reclaim our democracy,” she writes.