It’s a busy time of year. We hope you will take a few minutes to dig into some key reads. Today’s eclectic menu provides lots of food for thought…


Emotional intelligence is key to tackling climate change. Climate science has advanced. However, scientific information and the authority of experts alone won’t be enough to create “transformative social action” around the issue of climate change. In this smart piece, water analyst Faith Kearns – she’s with the University of California’s Institute for Water Resources – notes that many people are working outside the realm of science to effect change. She argues that “shifting climate work into this kind of relational mode — one centered on people and how we relate with each other and our environment — is a sea change in how we deal with an issue traditionally steeped in scientific intricacy.” An interesting #longread. It appears in both The Conversation US and New Republic.


Opinion. Hungry, homeless and in college. Sara Goldrick-Rab (professor at University of Wisconsin, Madison) and Katharine M. Broton (ABD, University of Wisconsin, Madison) have written an important piece about food insecurity among our nation’s college students. It’s a vital issue for the nation to address. “By 2020, about two-thirds of all jobs will require education and training beyond high school. If current trends hold, the United States will face a shortfall of five million college-educated workers that year.” Several recent surveys show the rate of hunger among college students is increasing. One recent survey included more than 4,300 students from ten community colleges in seven states. Of those, one in five indicated they had gone hungry in the preceding thirty days, even though the majority had financial aid and jobs. A must read. It appears in the New York Times.


New Year’s Resolutions: Eat Well (Guide). ICYMI, Grace Communications Foundation has revamped – and relaunched – its Eat Well GuideThe Eat Well Guide is a project of Sustainable Table and was originally launched in 2003. It’s a curated, national directory of more than 25,000 farms, farmers’ markets, restaurants, co-ops and other retail outlets that provide locally grown, sustainably produced food. The new guide is mobile-friendly and GPS-driven. Users can search by location or category, or use city guides to create and find tailored listings. The standards for inclusion are rigorous. The curators don’t charge or accept money in exchange for inclusion. This is definitely worth a look.


New York City’s urban gardens have a lead problem. A new study indicates that New York City’s soil contains “higher average concentrations of lead than a number of other metropolitan areas, including Hong Kong, Beijing, London, Bangkok, Berlin and Baltimore.” The study – conducted by the City University of New York – was published in Soil Science. What are the implications for gardeners and residents? Erica Berry reports for FERN News. ICYMI: Berry’s The Instafam’s Table – which appeared in Guernica – made Eater’s list of the year’s 21 best longform food stories. It’s a lovely read.


Organic shift in Oregon. Per USDA data, organic acreage in Oregon nearly doubled between 2008 and 2014. However, the total number of organic farms decreased by 18% during the same period. What’s going on? Mateusz Perkowski explains. This piece appeared in SF Gate.


Calling all ag history buffs. You may be interested in this 12-page comprehensive review of tillage management from the 1930’s to the present day. Written by members of UC Agriculture and Natural Resource’s Conservation Tillage Workgroup, the article appears in Soil and Tillage Research. Note: A complimentary pdf copy of this article is available through January 17, 2016. UC Food Observer particularly enjoyed the discussion of the 1930s and the personal accounts of farmers. The group is working on developing a video history to serve as a complementary piece to the article. Can’t wait.

Have a great day.