This Week in Eco News - December 9, 2016

Video of the Week

Grow Food
Appetite For Change (AFC) is a North Minneapolis nonprofit organization that uses food as a tool to build health, wealth and social change. At AFC, we believe that youth are the truth and these kids wanted to share their message - the importance of actively choosing healthy foods- with their peers in a fun, accessible music format. [Appetite for Change, Inc.]

Take Action: Learn about how industrial food impacts health.

News From Around the Web

This Kansas Farmer Fought a Government Program to Keep His Farm Sustainable
Kansas farmer Gail Fuller constantly applied smart regenerative agriculture techniques like no-till and biodiversity, but after he lost federal crop insurance due to USDA rules that barred cover crops, he mounted and won a case to recoup the claim. The many obstacles regenerative farmers face are ones like the preference for conventional ag, high rates of land-leasing and, most of all, because the USDA is risk-averse when it comes to new methods. [FERN]

Some Hog Workers Developing Drug-Resistant Skin Infections Linked to Livestock-Associated Staph
New research led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests that some workers at industrial hog production facilities are not only carrying livestock-associated, antibiotic-resistant bacteria in their noses, but may also be developing skin infections from these bacteria. [Johns Hopkins]

Americans Don't Trust Scientists' Take on Food Issues
If you're curious about what people really think about some of the hottest of the hot-button food controversies, the Pew Research Center has just the read for you: a survey of attitudes toward genetic modification, organic food and the importance of eating healthfully. One of the big surprising findings: a lot of Americans don't care what scientists think about GMOs. [NPR]

Chilean Start-Up That Uses AI to Reinvent Food Eyes US Deals
A Chilean start-up that has built artificial intelligence software to help recreate animal-based foods- like mayonnaise, milk, and yogurt- using plants is looking toward US multinationals after signing deals at home to sell its products, the company's founders said. [NY Times]

Soil: Keeping Nutrients in Food and Carbon in the Ground
Add Monday's celebration of World Soil Day to the UN's Year of the Pulse (2016 ) and you get an antidote to the more than 500 million hectares of soil that's become degraded that leads to nutrient and carbon loss from the soil. Pulses like beans and lentils have deep roots and provide organic matter that build soil health and slow erosion. This in turn also helps store carbon, nutrients and water in the earth. [IPS News]

'Agrihood' Project Focuses on Farm-To-Table in Detroit
Detroit's nonprofit Michigan Urban Farming Initiative is America's first urban "agrihood," which is an alternative model of development that places agriculture at the center of mixed-used neighborhoods. The group sustainably farms three acres of formerly abandoned land with over 300 types of vegetables and 200 fruit trees. The announcement coincides with the redevelopment of an abandoned building that will act as the Community Resource Center and house a for-profit farm-to-table cafe. [Detroit News]

USDA Study Takes New Look at 'Family Farms'
People involved in agriculture often disagree about what classifies a "family farm". But it's clear that family farms come in many different shapes and sizes. [AG Week]

Tuna's Declining Mercury Contamination Linked to U.S. Shift Away From Coal
There's less toxic mercury in Atlantic bluefin tuna because there's less electricity generated by burning coal, which is the main source of mercury in the ocean. If the prospect of increased coal production and combustion in the US arrives with the new presidential administration, then there could be higher mercury levels in your spicy tuna roll. [Scientific American]

Researchers Use Genes as Early Warning System for Harmful Algae Blooms
Scientists at the University of North Carolina are developing an early warning signal for harmful algal blooms, which are caused by fertilizer and manure runoff, among other things. Utilizing gene sequencing, researchers have identified symbiotic nutrient exchanges between algae and bacteria that could alert water resource managers about toxic blooms that foul drinking water and ecosystems and costs billions to resolve. []

Farmers to Trump: You Owe Us
The oil industry -- suffering from its own low prices -- could push the Trump administration to reduce support for ethanol. [MSNBC]

Monday Campaigns

Meatless Monday Resolution Passed by Indianapolis City-County Council
The Indianapolis City-County Council passed a resolution in support of Meatless Mondays on December 5, 2016. The resolution encourages Indianapolis residents and institutions to try a meat-free day at the beginning of each week, aiming to reduce the city's environmental footprint and raise awareness about healthy eating.


Mediterranean Diet Faces Triple Threat: FAO
The Mediterranean diet is being undermined by climate change, a misuse of natural resources and a brain drain which, damaging the social fabric of rural communities, according to a new book by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation [FAO].

Under Contract Official Trailer
Ninety-seven percent of the chicken produced in the US is raised by family-operated farms that have contracts with large, vertically-integrated companies. Companies use complex contract clauses and payment mechanisms to control their own costs and outsource risks to poultry farmers. The companies benefit from a power imbalance: a farmer at risk of losing their family's land is not likely to speak out. Under Contract tells the stories of farmers who are caught up in the fine print. [RAFI USA]

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

Image " 20130920-OC-LSC-0859" byUS Department of Agriculture on Flickr used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.