The UC Food Observer chooses a handful of important stories for you to read as you finish your work week. On the menu, in no particular order: the keys to human longevity; global hunger (report and analysis); winemaking and climate change; airport apiaries and second chances; and a scorching opinion piece about farmers and “foodies.”

In addition, a notable report about global hunger was issued; we’ve included that on the reading list as well.


1. The keys to (healthy) human longevity. A research team is studying “blue zones”…places where people live the longest and have among the lowest rates of chronic disease. Key findings? Community support, physical activity that’s “built” into lifestyle and diet. Some of the observations could provide a road map for American public policy. A fascinating piece.


2. Global hunger. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme have issued the annual  State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 report. The report highlights the links between the world’s growing economic inequality and hunger. The conclusion of experts? To solve the intractable problem of hunger, end poverty.

Very few of us will have the time to read the full report. Mark Anderson (@MarkC_Anderson) has put together a terrific analysis (with infographics) for The Guardian. An important piece that will guide the reader through the myriad, interrelated challenges facing the global community.


3. Wine is a $30 billion industry worldwide. And a changing climate presents real challenges to producers: some of the world’s best wine-producing regions may become “too warm to grow high-quality wine grapes.” Scientists are working hard to protect the industry…and UC Davis researcher Andrew Walker is at the forefront. His work is part of the University of California’s Global Food Initiative, which seeks to address one of our era’s most pressing issues: how to sustainably and nutritiously feed a growing world population. This piece appears in Slate.


4.Things are buzzing at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. In the vacant land under some of the busiest skies in the world, the Westside Bee Boyz tend to 75 beehives. Many of the beekeepers have served time in prison, and this is a shot at employment and a way to develop new job skills and add value to their community. Another bonus? The recidivism rate among program participants is below 10% compared to the national average of 40% and the Illinois average of 55%. Could the program become a model for other parts of the nation? One of the most interesting and inspiring stories of the week, brought to us by Civil Eats.


5. Opinion: The rise and fall of the foodies. From the FDL Reporter (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin), an opinion piece that may leave some smarting. Bill Eberle is an operations manager at the Rosendale Dairy in Pickett, Wisconsin, which is that state’s largest dairy farm. He wrote this piece for his local newspaper. In it, he decries what he sees as a growing disconnect between an urban elite (anchored on the coasts) and those who produce food. Eberle discusses the need “to inject a level of common sense into the ongoing conversation about what constitutes sustainable agriculture.” He wants to see more producers involved in the conversation… and he thinks social technologies may help farmers tell their stories. Sizzling.


Report: State of Food Insecurity 2015 (SOFI). A description of the report and links to the full document and landing page, including an interactive hunger map.


Have a great weekend.