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Food and Agriculture

Pesticide Giant Criticised For ‘Greenwashing’ Partnership

Bayer, the world’s second largest crop chemicals company, sponsored a French influencer to create and share pro-pesticides content with over 300,000 followers on her Instagram account, an investigation has revealed. Jenny Letellier – one of France’s biggest YouTubers with nearly 4 million subscribers – has come under fire for the sponsored content, which was broadcasted via a series of videos from France’s leading agriculture fair last month. This content was produced in conjunction with Morgan Niquet, a YouTuber with 1.3 million subscribers. French media outlet Vakita, which broke the story, obtained a copy of the contract between the German multinational and Letellier that specified how the social media campaign was tailored to meet clear PR objectives for the company.

Empty Tables

My long-dead father used to say, “Every human being deserves to taste a piece of cake.” Though at the time his words meant little to me, as I grew older I realized both what they meant, symbolically speaking, and the grim reality they disguised so charmingly. That saying of his arose from a basic reality of our lives then — the eternal scarcity of food in our household, just as in so many other homes in New York City’s South Bronx where I grew up. This was during the 1940s and 1950s, but hunger still haunts millions of American households more than three-quarters of a century later.

Colonialism Created Food Insecurity In Haiti

As the planet faces more climate-driven disasters, we must prioritize the safety and wellbeing of populations most vulnerable to their effects. Extreme heat, droughts, floods and storms are becoming more frequent and intense worldwide while human industry, resource extraction, consumption and carbon emissions contribute to rapidly warming temperatures and rising seas. Amid this massive and multipronged human-made disaster, global food productivity growth is down 21 percent. Climate change is exacerbating food insecurity, wiping out agricultural production, devastating livelihoods and forcing people to flee their homes.

Expanding Regenerative Agriculture Through Open Source Technologies

Dorn Cox is a family farmer who has long been in the vanguard of improving regenerative agriculture with open source technologies. He sees participatory science and knowledge commons as powerful tools for improving agriculture in countless ways:  crop yields, soil health, water usage, ecosystem resilience. All are especially needed in the face of climate change. I wanted to learn more, so in my latest episode of Frontiers of Commoning (Episode #36), I spoke with Cox about these topics, which are extensively examined in his new book The Great Regeneration:  Ecological Agriculture, Open-Source Technology, and a Radical Vision of Hope. 

The Food Rescue Project Fighting Hunger And Food Waste In El Paso

El Paso, Texas - Medical student Preetha Rajkumar is studying to become a surgeon. But the 24-year-old El Paso resident has already impacted hundreds of local families’ well-being, through the work she began as a college student. While studying cell and molecular biology at the University of Texas at El Paso five years ago, Rajkumar – a self-described foodie – came across the concept of food rescue. Working with a group of friends on campus, she founded the volunteer-run nonprofit organization No Lost Food. “I have the luxury to go to a restaurant and eat what I want,” she says. “I can cook with all these expensive ingredients, but there are people who can’t even have a basic morsel of rice. That’s how my love for food turned into a community service passion.”

The Good Work In Urban-Rural

A new course in Sweden poses the question, “what will a self-sufficient Hällefors Municipality taste like in 2030?” Students on the course act like talent scouts. They search for unrealised food-growing potential across the region – people, unused land, forgotten traditions. An example could be a farmer who’s started to grow heritage wheat, but cannot find customers. Or a school teacher who wants to connect his students with a working farm. A student might spot an abandoned field near her home and and explore new ways to grow food there. Another might develop snacks to sell to a mountain bike business in the forest. At the end of each course, students pitch their ideas to real-world professionals – for example, chefs, farmers, or food production businesses.

Why Louisville Trader Joe’s Employees Voted To Unionize

Louisville, Kentucky - Employees at the only Trader Joe's store in Louisville voted in favor of organizing Thursday evening, becoming the third location of the national grocery chain to form a union. The store's workers will now be a part of the Trader Joe's United, the guild for employees across the country. The employees who voted in favor of unionizing won their vote 48-36, a release said, after taking action to do so in September. "We are so excited to be the first Trader Joe’s location affiliated with Trader Joe’s United in the south. It’s a game changing decision that will contribute massively to the modern labor movement," Connor Hovey, an employee of the store and union organizer, told The Courier Journal. A request for comment sent to Trader Joe's corporate Thursday night was not immediately returned.

Co-Creating A Seafood System Vision In The Galápagos Islands

The Galapagos island territory sits off the coast of Ecuador, encompassing the island archipelago, the surrounding waters, a national park and a marine reserve. The area is known for high biodiversity and among the highest levels of endemism on the planet (species that are found nowhere else). The islands and coast are home to a wide array of communities of people involved in the seafood system for decades, a web of social connections either directly or indirectly embedded in the reality of the sea. Facing the shifting and challenging environmental, social, and economic conditions, the community, local organizations, and the Galapagos Governing Council saw the need to understand the sea food system jointly with the community with the aim of later building public policies on food security for this special regime.

Setting Up A Food Hub: Where Do You Start?

The food system in the UK is largely centralised. We get our food through long and complex supply chains, which don't pay farmers fairly and have shown themselves to be fragile and prone to risk, particularly when confronted with crises, as we saw in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic and in response to Brexit. Food hubs are often looked to as a promising alternative: appropriate in scale to handle produce from shorter supply chains and smaller farms, they tend to be values-led, agile and resilient. They hold the potential to level out uneven power in food supply chains and improve access to more sustainable food. But how exactly do you start a food hub? We’ve spoken to Laura Stratford, joint coordinator of the Greater Lincolnshire Food Partnership, who are just setting out on their ambition to create a network of food hubs in Lincolnshire.

Burgerville Workers’ Lessons For Independent Unions

Self-organizing a union on a shoestring? Winning the supposedly unwinnable? Workers at a local burger chain out of Portland, Oregon, were doing it before it was cool. The Burgerville Workers Union, which went public in 2016 and won its first contract in 2021, has recently been influencing and supporting independent union efforts in the region—and it has a few lessons to offer independent unions around the country. While the union is affiliated with the Portland branch of the Industrial Workers of the World, it operates largely autonomously. “What workers want is to form a union, not necessarily join a union,” asserts founding member Luis Brennan. BVWU’s intensive member-organizer training and member-led organizing, use of direct action inside the shop, and creative community events in the streets have become more common with recent independent union drives—like those at Amazon, Home Depot, Trader Joe’s, Chipotle, and the high-end supermarket chain New Seasons.

Urban Gardening 101: Everything You Need To Know

Urban gardening allows people to enjoy the many benefits a garden has to offer while living in the city. It allows them to pursue their love of gardening even if they can’t afford to own a piece of land or move to a rural area because of work, finances or family. In an urban garden, people can grow organic, sustainable produce that couldn’t get more local than their own backyard or community garden space. These are all things that are important for people’s well-being, as well as the health of the community and the planet, since gardening offers emotional, social and environmental rewards, from stress reduction to improving social connections and lowering carbon emissions. Since urban gardens come in so many forms for all sizes and types of spaces, you can turn practically any urban setting into a garden oasis. Your urban garden can offer benefits for your health and grocery bill while improving soil and water quality.

Jumping Fences

We are very excited about a new collaboration with Ecological Land Cooperative and the Landworkers Alliance. The purpose of the project is to identify the barriers that BPOC face when considering a land based livelihood in Britain, to map existing and prospective BPOC led land-based businesses and organisations and to discover what challenges they face and how they seek to overcome them. Building off the initial research we completed for Rootz Into Food Growing, but expanding to the wider country to collect stories from across Britain. The research findings will be discussed with a wide range of organisations in the agroecology sector to identify ways to support BPOC new entrants to farming. The final intention of the collective effort is to strengthen LION’s capacity to become a community land trust, so that we can provide practical solutions for BPOC land stewards including access to land.

Free Summit Explores The Latest In Seed Sharing, Libraries And More

Are you new to seeding and interested in establishing a seed bank in your neighborhood? Immersed in the seeding world and looking to connect with other folks and deepen your networks? Perhaps you’re an agriculturist interested in the intersection of seed lending and food sovereignty. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, you won’t want to miss Seeding the Future: The 11th Annual Seed Library Summit. If you’re new to seeding, you’re in luck! Seeding the Future will host a variety of sessions to get you acquainted with the basics. Our “How to Start a Seed Library” session is a great introductory conversation that will map out the time, resources, and people-power needed to start your own seed library. “Ask a Seed Librarian” is an expert-hosted panel that can act as a great follow-up. If you’re more acquainted with seeding, other sessions that might pique your interest include “Seed Saving Basics”, “School Seed Libraries”, and “Seed Exchanges”.

New Report Highlights Pesticides’ Overlooked Climate Connection

As chemicals designed to kill insects and weeds, fungi and rodents, pesticides are among the most toxic and damaging substances on the planet. Their harmful impacts on human and ecosystem health are generally well understood. What receives far less attention, however, is the climate impact of these agrochemicals. Not only do pesticides directly contribute to the climate crisis, but a changing climate is likely to intensify pressure from agricultural pests and decrease plant resiliency, resulting in greater pesticide usage and therefore further greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report.  This “vicious cycle” of pesticide use fueling climate change, and vice versa, is examined in a report published Tuesday by the advocacy group Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA). According to PANNA, the assessment is the first in-depth scientific review of the relationship between pesticides and climate change. 

In Indianapolis, Building A Community Food Ecosystem In An ‘Apartheid Zone’

In Indianapolis’ Northeast Corridor, a predominantly Black area with a growing Latinx population, more than half of residents live in a food desert. One community-led initiative seeks to build a local food ecosystem, one that will not only feed them in times of crisis but will sustain their health, wealth and wellbeing for generations to come. In 2021, in the climate of the ongoing pandemic, the Equitable Food Access Initiative (EFAI) was created to address these dueling public health crises, in one of the top five cities in the country with the most people living in “food deserts,” or areas where low-income people don’t have ready access to fresh food retailers within reasonable traveling distance from their homes.
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