This Week in Eco News - October 28, 2016

Video of the Week

Food Frontiers
This video showcases six projects from around the US that are increasing access to healthy food in varied ways - from a pioneering farm-to-school projects, to creative supermarket financing, to cooking classes in a doctor's office and a teen-managed grocery store. [JHU-CLF]

Take Action: Learn more about farm-to-school programs.

News From Around the Web

Here's Why Avocado Prices Are Skyrocketing at Your Local Grocery Store
Hold the guacamole? A shortage of avocados from Mexico and a poor growing season in California is causing prices, already above normal all summer, to soar to astronomical levels, according to Southern California suppliers. On Monday, Santa Ana-based Ingardia Bros. Produce Inc. said avocado prices are hovering at $76 a case, the highest the company has seen in three decades. [OC Register]

The Grand, Unfinished Task of Chronicling How America Eats
From 1937 until 1941, the Federal Writer's Project, part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Work's Progress Administration, published the American Guide Series - books and pamphlets that detailed American history and culture. One series, America Eats, sent writers all over the country to delve deeper into the ethnic, regional and local food customs of the country. But then came WWII, and the project was abandoned just before it was completed. [NPR]

A Difficult Harvest for America's Black Farmers
"This story is important to me because people in America aren't aware that black farmers are still around," Mr. Santiago said. "People don't know what their struggles are and that they are still being discriminated against." [New York Times]

UN Expert: Junk Food Is a Human Rights Concern
A UN expert says junk food is a human rights concern. Hilal Elver, the UN's special representative on the right to food, said Tuesday the rise of industrial food production combined with trade liberalization has allowed large corporations to flood the global market with cheap, nutrient-poor foods that force poor people to choose between economic viability and nutrition, effectively violating their right to adequate food. [AP]

Food Industry Goes Beyond Looks to Fight Waste
From farmers to food processors to grocers, food waste reduction at every step in the industry supply chain is becoming more important as pressure from advocacy groups and the public increases. One trend that seems to be catching on is selling slightly less perfect "ugly" produce, and customers in the US and the rest of the developed world are responding positively. [New York Times]

European Union: Starfish Now Allowed as Fishmeal Source for Pig and Poultry Feed
In the never-ending quest for protein sources to make livestock feed, the European Commission adopted a regulation to allow wild starfish and aquatic invertebrates to be used as fishmeal for pig and poultry feed. The use of wild starfish for fishmeal is restricted to areas where starfish are a threat to aquaculture like shellfish beds, but proof of sustainability is in the regulation pudding. [Feed Navigator]

Agriculture Drones Are Finally Cleared for Takeoff
New US rules for commercial drones will benefit farmers and the drone industry. Like tractors and combines, drones might become standard farm equipment. [IEEE Spectrum]

General Mills, PepsiCo Target Suppliers' Water Efficiency
Lowering the water footprint of food and beverages is at the center of the new AgWater Challenge, in which seven large food companies announced their goals. Multinationals like General Mills, PepsiCo, Hormel and WhiteWave Foods will conserve by focusing on the greatest water use hot spots in the supply chain - overwhelmingly on farms where ingredients are produced - all with help from NGOs Ceres and World Wildlife Fund. [Environmental Leader]

The US Government Wants More Offshore Fish Farms, but No One Is Biting
The fact that the US imports about 90 percent of its seafood bothers many, especially since half of that is farmed. Proponents in the government and seafood industry want to boost offshore aquaculture so that the country can supply more of its own finfish and shellfish. Offshore proponents say that past problems such as pollution, disease and poorer nutritional quality can be overcome, although coastal communities and consumers remain skeptical. [Guardian]

Ethanol Mandate for 2017 Nears Finalization
The White House has started its formal regulatory review of the national ethanol-blending mandate for 2017. [The Hill]

Monday Campaigns

Boost Member Engagement and Activity With the Monday Mile Starter Kit
Mondays are notorious for being the worst day of the week. Something about that transition from the weekend back to work or school makes people grumpy, and for many it takes a lot of energy to just get through the day -- never mind finding motivation to exercise. That's where the Monday Mile, and health clubs, come in. 


How Do Toxins From Plastics Find Their Way Into Our Food?
Ocean advocate Emily Penn has seen firsthand how much plastic ends up in the oceans. In this podcast, she explains how the toxins from plastic makes their way into our food chain and how we might be able to stop it. [NPR]

The Trouble With Milk
While all humans are born with the ability to digest milk (hence, breastfeeding), only one in three people retain it into adulthood. When and how did this division arise? Follow human geneticist Spencer Wells, director of the Genographic Project of the National Geographic Society, as he tracks down the biological and cultural history of our ability to digest lactose. [Nautilus]

Eco News contributed by Gabrielle Blavatsky; Kai Olson-Sawyer;James Rose and Robin Madel.

Image "Avocados" by Cayoboon Flickr used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.