Happy Wednesday! A few things to inform and inspire your day.

Can a Trump administration work out its differences with farm groups? President Elect Donald Trump’s victory can partly be attributed to the rural vote (2 of 3 rural residents voted for him). But there is some degree of uncertainty about how Trump’s positions on trade and immigration (read: labor) will impact U.S. agricultural interests. Chuck Abbott – who writes for FERN News (Food, Agriculture and the Environment) – has written a smart article about what’s at stake. Read it here. And be sure to follow Chuck on Twitter.

Free on-line course about climate smart agriculture. H/T Nathanael Johnson of Grist for sharing this information. How can farming adapt to changes in climate? Is climate smart agriculture (CSA) the answer? This course will focus on three principles of climate smart agriculture: mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions; adaption to climate change; and stable or increased food productivity. The course will explore these principles from concept to application, using case studies from the EU (dairy farming and wine production). The course starts January 23rd. More information here.

Climate smart agriculture in California. To learn more about what’s going on with CSA in California (and beyond), read this piece by California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) secretary Karen Ross. It recently appeared in UC Agriculture and Natural Resources’ California Agriculture magazine. Ross shares information about innovative programs at CDFA that are addressing climate change. She writes:

“I heard a lot about climate smart agriculture during a recent visit to the Netherlands with a delegation of agricultural leaders from California. The Netherlands is a leading agriculture distributor in Europe and the world’s second largest (after the United States) agricultural exporter. Climate smart agriculture is already strongly integrated into Dutch economic and food security strategies. Our delegation not only heard about the threats from higher precipitation, but also about how overly dry conditions in the summer threaten the stability of peat dikes, which dry up to the point that they may simply float away, compromising the levee structure in a region where most of the land is below sea level.”

You can subscribe to California Agriculture here. It’s free and has been one of my #mustreads for the last 25 years. Follow on Twitter, too.


United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Hilal Elver speaks to Civil Eats. In a short, interesting piece appearing in Civil Eats (written by Elizabeth Grossman), Dr. Elver discusses the right to food (codified in international law). She says, “… “the world is not on track to reach globally agreed nutrition targets.” You can learn more by reading a report she produced for the United Nations last August.

Earlier this year, I interviewed Dr. Elver for the UC Food Observer. She told me this:

“We still are not able to eliminate hunger entirely. Almost 1 billion people are chronically hungry even if the World Bank and the FAO criterion for measuring hunger understate its reality in the lives of many people. Now climate change makes the effort of eliminating hunger even more difficult as it generates more food insecure people due to adverse impact of global warming, especially in countries and regions that have already huge hunger and food insecurity problems.

We also have a serious malnutrition problem that is universal in scope. Child and adult obesity is becoming a worldwide epidemic. Almost 3 billion people are suffering from being overweight and obesity, along with undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. Ironically, these triple malnutrition problems can be found in every country and society, and often afflict the same person.”

Read the full interview with Dr. Elver here.


ICYMI. I’m still excited about the recent chat I had with Sophie Egan. Egan – a UC alum – is also a UC Global Food Initiative 30 Under 30 award winner. That was a good call – her work is positively informing the food system in a number of ways. Her recent book, Devoured: From Chicken Wings to Kale Smoothies – How What We Eat Defines Who We Areexplores American food culture. And it has relevance to our nation’s political life, as well. Egan provides key insights about the independent nature of the American character (especially as it relates to food choice). She told me this:

“It surprised me that this desire to personalize dates back to a uniquely American way that we place a premium on independence, as opposed to inter-dependence. That’s different from many other cultures around the world. We are so trained to see ourselves as being separate from, or distinct from, those around us. We have a desire to be exceptional. In fact, it was interesting and fun finding a basis for this in the psychology literature, which is called the superiority illusion.”

The 30 Under 30 Awards are sponsored by UC’s Global Food Initiative – GFI. The GFI addresses a critical issue: how to sustainably and nutritiously feed our world. UC is working to develop solutions to improve food security, health and sustainability locally, nationally and globally. Learn more here.


And have a great day…see you tomorrow!