The UC Food Observer chooses some important stories for you to read each work day. On today’s packed menu, in no particular order:
Farmers. A new generation of farmers is increasingly college educated, but indebted. A recent survey by the National Young Farmers Coalition – a nonprofit farm advocacy organization – found that student loan debt is a barrier to entering agriculture for those who are interested. Edward Ortiz (@edwardortiz) writes an important piece for The Sacramento Bee. Two pieces from Harvest Public Media (@HarvestPM) summarize research about farmers and provide interesting data. Learn about organic farmers and the social stigma of “dirty” fields (Abby Wendle reporting). The second piece tackles technology: while more farmers are logging into the internet, there is still a rural-urban divide when it comes to access. Luke Runyon (@LukeRunyon) reports. And in case you missed it, read our Q&A with Mary Kimball, who heads up the Center for Land-Based Learning.
Weed whackers: Monsanto, glyphosate and the war on invasive species. This piece provides an excellent discussion of “native” and “invasive” species and the challenges of defining them. The author, Andrew Cockburn (@andrewcockburn), is the Washington editor for Harpers Magazine. Be sure to scroll down and read through the comments. This is a #longread. More reading: The Guardian’s Christopher Pala reports on how a spike of birth defects in Hawaii is putting a focus on GM crops.
Opinion: transparency in science. Why it’s okay for taxpayers to “snoop” on scientists. Charles Seife and Paul Thacker tackle the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in this op-ed appearing in The Los Angeles Times. You can learn more about one scientist’s perspective about her research by reading our Q&A with Pam Ronald, a University of California plant geneticist.
Salad days. Tamar Haspel (@TamarHaspel) has written a provocative piece for The Washington Post, providing several reasons why salad is overrated. She considers nutrition, resources required for production and food waste in her discussion.
Listen up. As you ease into the work week, listen to this BBC piece: My Hero: Ella McSweeney Meets Wendell Berry. It runs about thirty minutes. Berry is an American farmer, writer, poet, philosopher and activist who wrote that “Eating is an agricultural act,” a philosophy that has anchored many in the food movement. Berry argues that the “industrialization” of the food system has increasingly led to a disconnection from the land. Ella McSweeney (@ellamcsweeney) is an Irish broadcaster who covers food, farming, science and the environment. (We’re new fans).
In the words of J.D. Hughes – a retired school teacher from a small rural community in California – “Make yourself a good day.”