Good morning! We’re just catching up on some great reads after spending some time with our good friends at the UC Berkeley Food Institute (BFI). If you’re not familiar with BFI’s work, please visit their website. We predict you’ll love their work as much as we do.

Look for another wrap tomorrow!


ICYMI…do industrial agricultural methods actually yield more food per acre than organic ones? Nathanael Johnson provides an excellent analysis of the trade-offs between “conventional” and organic agriculture. One conclusion? “Organic production has a lot to contribute and industrial farming has a lot of room for improvement.” Appearing in Grist; a good long read.


Meat processing infrastructure needed. There’s increasing demand among consumers for locally produced meat. But there are obstacles facing smaller producers. Per the USDA, the number of federally inspected slaughterhouses serving smaller-scale producers has declined by 12%; there isn’t enough capacity to go around. Also, producers say strict rules about how animals are processed are also holding them back. An interesting piece by Abbie Fentress Swanson for NPR/KPBS.


Drought: two pieces. Why El Niño won’t fix the #CAdrought. Tom Philpott analyzes a United States Geological Survey report in an informative piece appearing in Mother Jones. Shorter? “…the Central Valley’s underground water reserves are in a state of decline that predates the current drought by decades.” And this: divergent fates haunt pumpkin growers. Despite water challenges, California’s large-scale ornamental gourd producers are enjoying a bumper crop this year. But the #CAdrought is adversely affecting California’s small “agritourism” farms, which have longed catered to Halloween crowds. One reason? Access to water. Geoffrey Mohan reports for the Los Angeles Times. 


Wine and cheese. Good news? A glass of wine a day may help control Type 2 diabetes. Both red and white wine imparted benefits re: blood sugar control, but red wine also appeared to improve levels of good cholesterol. Allison Aubrey sums up some recent research for NPR’s The Salt. Some cheese with that wine? A fun read about the addictive nature of one of our favorite foods. Anthony Schneck for Thrillist.


Social justice op-eds. Restaurant workers. Fact: per federal law, “employers can pay tipped workers as little as $2.13 an hour, as long as that amount plus tips is at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.” Now, a no-tip policy enacted by a New York restaurateur may force a broader national debate about equity issues in the restaurant industry. An important read from the New York Times editorial board. Black farmers gain power through co-ops. Must read from Truth Out; terrific exploration of the historical inequities facing Southern producers…and how the co-op model is helping farmers gain power. Authors: Andrianna Natsoulas and Beverly Bell. ICYMI, read our Q&A with Shirley Sherrod.


Climate change and food. United States Secretary of State John Kerry delivered comments to the Milan Expo over the weekend. He summarized the current situation and its complexities incredibly well and issued a strong call to action.

Kerry said this:

“And here’s the point. We cannot have food security if farmers and fishers around the world are having a more difficult time growing crops, catching fish, raising livestock. It just doesn’t happen. It won’t compute. The hard truth is that unless the global community comes together to address climate change, every one of these challenges – droughts, floods, extreme weather, ocean acidification, hunger, malnutrition – all of them will only become more pronounced. And that means that feeding the world – which is the most basic job that we have – is going to become an even more elusive goal than it is today unless we take action.”


Compelling, must read. h/t Sam Kass.


Have a great day!