This Week in Eco News - February 3, 2017

Video of the Week

Five Reasons Small Farms Fail
Urban farmer Curtis Stone is a successful small farmer who teaches others how to be successful small farmers. Here, he lists five reasons why farmers fail and how those running these businesses can avoid the pitfalls. It's an interesting look at balancing ideals with running a business. [Urban Farmer]

Take Action: Check out this list of small farmer support organizations.

News From Around the Web 

What to Make of Those Animal-Welfare Labels on Meat and Eggs 
Confusion reigns for many conscientious food shoppers who try to understand what animal welfare labels mean. From USDA Organic to American Humane Certified, they all have specific guidelines (and shortcomings) that growers must meet for certification. GRACE agrees with Consumers Union when they say, "the only one we have any confidence in and think gives you value for your money is Animal Welfare Approved." [New York Times] 

Trump's Refugee Restrictions Could Hurt the Meat Industry  
President Trump's refugee ban has incited public outcry among many people, including business leaders. A reduction in refugees will impact many American companies, specifically in the food industry. [Food Dive] 

Sacramento County OKs Birds, Bees and Farm Stands With Urban Ag Ordinance 
As of January 24, Residents of urban and suburban Sacramento County will be able to legally grow and sell crops, keep bees, and raise chickens and ducks at home under an urban agriculture ordinance that county supervisors unanimously passed. [Sacramento Bee] 

Trump Considers Border Taxes 
President Donald Trump and his team declared support for a potential 20 percent tax on all imports as one way to help fund the construction of a wall to separate the US and Mexico. The prospect of a border tax and growing conflict with Mexico raises questions about the $39 billion or so in commodities and food that flow between the US and Mexico essentially tariff-free right now under the North American Free Trade Agreement. [The Progressive Farmer] 

Innovation in the Consumer's Interest: The Path Forward on Food Policy at FDA
Michael Taylor, former FDA deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, shares his take on the state of food policy in an op-ed for The Hill this week. His key message: FDA, consumers and the food industry are aligned on more than you think. [The Hill] 

Protests Prompt Pork Producer to Pull the Plug on Fulton Hog Facility 
Because of intense public pressure, the corporation that planned a massive 20,000-hog factory farm in a rural Illinois community withdrew its proposal last week. This huge victory shows that the pushback to factory farms is real and, just as importantly, that grassroots activism works. [Journal Star]   

Trump Must Choose Between Farmers and 'Big Meat' 
Rural voters helped Trump get to the White House, but some farmers are afraid that he will quash the recently passed GIPSA rules that make it easier for contract chicken growers and others to sue large agribusinesses, such as Tyson Foods, for anticompetitive practices. [Bloomberg] 

Best Food Trends at San Francisco's Winter Fancy Food Show 
At the Fancy Food Fest, food exhibitors from across the globe display their wares, hoping their new products will be the next hit. [Forbes]  
 
Bumble Bee Canning Will Enter Salmon, Shrimp Aquaculture 
Seafood giant, Bumble Bee, now gets 97 percent for its canned products from wild-caught fisheries, but is making the push towards aquaculture where they expect in the next 20 years to produce 30-35 percent of American favorites, salmon and shrimp. The key challenge to overcome? Finding sustainable fish feed. [Undercurrent News] 

California Floods Remind Us to Make Agricultural Water Conservation a Top Priority
Drought-plagued California has been getting so much rain - yes, rain - that flooding has occurred and farmers are looking for storage strategies. Rather than build expensive reservoirs and other gray infrastructure, "intentional emphasis on conservation and ecological practices--such as cover crops, agroforestry and perennial crops" can help soils hold more precious water. [The Equation] 

In America's Heartland, Discussing Climate Change Without Saying 'Climate Change'
In north-central Kansas, America's breadbasket and conservative heartland, the economic realities of agriculture make climate change a critical business issue. [New York Times]  

News From Monday Campaigns

Super Bowl Champ Roland Williams Mentors Kids to Eat More Veggies on Meatless Monday
For Super Bowl champ Roland Williams, aka Big Ro (Super Bowl XXXIV champ St. Louis Rams over Tennessee Titans in 2000), inspiring disadvantaged children to move from fast food to plant food is a labor of love. Roland, a graduate of Syracuse University, founded The Champion Academy, an innovative mentoring program for at-risk middle and high school students in greater Rochester, NY. Roland is an advocate for Meatless Monday. [Social Work Helper]

Multimedia

Food Maps
How does one ingredient become linked to one place? This is the question Henry Hargreaves and Caitlin Levin had in mind when they hatched their "food map" series -- a collection of country and continent maps made using ingredients synonymous with those regions. Interestingly, in some cases, the foods most commonly associated with a place aren't actually native to that spot. [Henry Hargreaves]

Here Are the 10 Craziest Things I Ate [at the Winter Fancy Food Show]
This writer joined 33,000 food industry professionals to peruse 700,000 square feet of exhibits at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, and she wrote about some of the craziest things she tried. Maple water, anyone? [Business Insider]

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

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

 

Responses to "This Week in Eco News - February 3, 2017"
The views and opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the Ecocentric Blog or GRACE Communications Foundation.

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