Top Food and Agriculture News

Artificial sweeteners are being used to detect polluted water.

Low-cal additives are finding a place in pollution control — even as scientists dig into whether they are pollutants in their own right. Ensia

As fires move on, wine country wonders whether immigrants will, too.

Many of the foreign-born workers the region depends on are undocumented and do not qualify for most disaster aid. They may struggle to find affordable housing. New York Times

Florida’s migrant farm workers struggle after hurricane damaged homes, crops.

Jobs, homes and lives are at risk when extreme weather strikes the communities that grow America's food. InsideClimate News

Our Reporting on Food

More news from EHN

Weed killer for breakfast.

Island Press

New book explores controversial weed killer, cancer and corrupt science. Environmental Health News

Controversy, questions surround California’s listing of weed killer as cancer cause.

As California moves forward with glyphosate listing, debate over warning labels, exposure limits continue. Environmental Health News

Of mice, Monsanto and a mysterious tumor.

It’s been 34 years since Monsanto Co. presented U.S. regulators with a seemingly routine study analyzing the effects the company’s best-selling herbicide might have on rodents. Now, that study is once again under the microscope. Environmental Health News

Editorials

It’s time to end the practice of fish farming in our waters.

Our native salmon populations are struggling to survive diminished habitat, warmer waters, dams and culverts, tainted runoff, and industrial pollution. Let’s remove the additional risks posed by Atlantic salmon. more…

The threat is now for Lake Erie.

How many wake-up calls do we need? more…

Food security

PODCAST: Romaine calm and curry on.

Food insecurity in the form of malnutrition could be addressed in both developed and developing countries with the help of agricultural biotechnology. Did you know that the same technologies may conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable food production? The Forum

Syrian bakers fight to maintain a tradition of excellence.

Despite a wheat crisis, a raging war, and saga of violence, these bakers are bringing their sweets to the world. Civil Eats

How the 1% are preparing for the apocalypse.

The threat of global annihilation may feel as present as it did during the Cold War, but today's high-security shelters could not be more different from their 20th-century counterparts. CNN

Editor comments: This is a less nuanced version of a similar story that appeared in the New Yorker in January 2017. -JPM

How a seed bank, almost lost in Syria's war, could help feed a warming planet.

A plant conservationist from Syria and his colleagues are safeguarding seeds that might be crucial when more parts of the world become as hot and arid as the Middle East. New York Times

Africa tops global hunger index, driven by war and climate shocks.

Global hunger has fallen more than a quarter since 2000, but conflict and climate shocks are beginning to reverse these gains, an annual global hunger index said on Thursday. Thomson Reuters Foundation

Refugees – and forests – benefit as Kenya's herders torch an invader.

Residents that are battling to find grazing for their cattle can now also earn cash hacking down Prosopis juliflora, a fast-growing invasive species and turning it into charcoal. Thomson Reuters Foundation

Opinions

The Sioux chef says we’re doing American cuisine all wrong.

Original North American foods and Native foodways are vital to creating a healthy and sustainable future. more…

Hunger in Africa, land of plenty.

Land grabbing by foreign companies for commercial farming in Africa is threatening smallholder agricultural productivity, vital for reducing poverty and hunger on the continent. more…

Soil

On superior farmlands, limited appetite for local food.

In hyper-fertile Central Illinois, sustainable farmers seek local support, but end up trekking their wares to Chicago. Civil Eats

Clean water vs. farm profits at heart of fertilizer-rule debate.

Minnesota is poised to roll out its first-ever strategy to protect drinking water from the farm fertilizers that carry nitrates — one of Minnesota’s worst pollution problems. Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota

The water under Colorado’s Eastern Plains is running dry as farmers keep irrigating “great American desert.”

Farmers say they’re trying to wean from groundwater, but admit there are no easy answers amid pressures of corn prices, urban growth and interstate water agreements. Denver Post, Colorado

Carbon emissions from warming soils could trigger disastrous feedback loop.

26-year study reveals natural biological factors kick in once warming reaches certain point, leading to potentially unstoppable increase in temperatures. The Guardian

Strips of native prairie plants could reduce pollution runoff from farm fields.

A new study says small patches of native prairie plants provide a range of conservation benefits to Iowa’s landscape and could reduce water pollution from farm fields. Harvest Public Media

Environmental groups slow to seek out minorities.

The term environmental justice grew out of protests in Warren County, N.C. The year was 1982, and the county’s primarily African-American community was protesting the dumping of contaminated soil in their town. Buffalo WBFO Radio, New York

Tucson’s seed library fosters food sovereignty in a desert.

With help from Pima County’s public libraries, Tucsonans grow urban gardens. High Country News

Solutions and Good News

It takes a village to improve a community’s health.

Halifax County, North Carolina, had some of the lowest health rankings in the state. Alarmed by this, the community pulled together to start making major changes. North Carolina Health News, North Carolina

School food hero Betti Wiggins takes on Houston’s public schools.

The veteran nutrition director who reformed Detroit's school food takes on a new challenge in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Civil Eats

Minnesota's organic farming industry shows steady growth, USDA survey shows.

Minnesota ranks ninth nationally in organic production and sales with double-digit growth that mirrors trends around the country. Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota

After Hurricane Harvey, Houston heals through food.

As the city starts on the long road of recovery, food banks, urban farmers, and others are joining forces to feed the city. Civil Eats

Farmers, beekeepers put aside differences to aid bees.

A new pilot project in North Dakota aims to get past frequent finger-pointing between beekeepers and farmers over the decline in bee populations and get them to work together with scientists to reverse the trend. Minnesota Public Radio, Minnesota

Minnesota lakes holding their own against pollution.

Billions in spending aiding the fight against threats like runoff, warming climate. Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota

United States

Report spotlights nitrate contamination in drinking water across the US.

Some recent research suggests that, over the long term, drinking water with nitrates at just half the U.S. limit raises cancer risks for children and adults. FairWarning

The state of Trump’s USDA: What you need to know.

Can the USDA continue to do its work amid major reorganizations and minimal appointments and new hires? Civil Eats

Fish blood in their veins — but few salmon in their river.

This fall, the number of chinook salmon making their way from the ocean up the Klamath River in the far northwest corner of California is the lowest on record. That’s devastating news for the Yurok tribe. California Report, California Food & Environment Reporting Network

In Puerto Rico, a daily struggle for water and food.

People in poor communities hit hard by the hurricane are rationing their food, water and propane, and hospitals are trying to operate on shaky power supplies. InsideClimate News

Weedkiller dicamba unlocks record harvests – and a web of conflict among divided farmers.

Dicamba has emerged as a successor to Monsanto's Roundup, but recriminations and lawsuits have followed. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri

Another Obama decision reversed? Now it’s about food safety.

USDA

Citing President Donald Trump's calls for deregulation, Republican lawmakers and the chicken industry are aggressively lobbying to speed up poultry inspection lines. NBC News

World

As drought makes harvests uncertain, Kenya’s farmers mull a seed change.

Using imported seed, "you are not sure if you will harvest enough to offset the costs" - so local seed is gaining ground, farmers say. Thomson Reuters Foundation

Pesticide traces in New Zealand honey surprises researcher.

A researcher says he was surprised to find how four samples of New Zealand honey contained traces of a class of pesticides known for their role in the decline of bees. New Zealand Herald

Dams hurt indigenous and fishing communities in Brazilian Amazon.

The change in the natural flow of the Teles Pires river is reducing fish catches, which native people living in the lower stretch of the basin depend on as their main source of protein. Inter Press Service

Rabobank, UN launch $1 billion fund to boost sustainable farming.

Rabobank NA is launching with the United Nations $1 billion in financing for farmers to transition to more sustainable practices as food companies and consumers are demanding more supply chain transparency. Reuters

Senior adviser admits failure to eliminate hunger.

Suggesting a new regulatory authority for food safety standards, Senior Advise Ministry of National Food Security and Research Malik Zahoor on Monday admitted the failure of the state to eliminate hunger and malnutrition. Lahore Nation, Pakistan