There’s been a lot of food and agriculture news lately that you won’t want to miss. Here are just a few recent headlines to enjoy with a cup of something warm:
Climate, Agriculture and California in 2017
With the recent election, look for California to play a vital role in climate change and agricultural issues in 2017. That’s the verdict of well-known meteorologist Eric Holthaus, who tells us:
“I’d say the role of California is even more important under a Trump administration if funding for climate science goes away on the federal level.”
Climate Adaptation Specialist Dr. Tapan Pathak – a professor at UC Merced and part of UC Agriculture & Natural Resources – sees an important role for climate-smart agriculture and explains its value in mitigating climate change.
Farmland Conservation and Climate Change
Every year, on average, California loses 40,000 acres of farmland to urbanization, and the best farmland is being lost the fastest. Yet, conserving this farmland is the most effective way to mitigate climate change.
In this guest post, Virginia Jameson of American Farmland Trust’s California office writes:
“…while on-farm management practices are important for mitigating climate change, preventing farmland conversion in the first place is vital to meeting California’s climate goals.”
Millennials and Food Trends
Why are the approximately 80 million Millennials (born roughly between 1982 and 2002) so obsessed with food? And why do half call themselves foodies?
To find out, we spoke with Eve Turow Paul, author of A Taste of Generation Yum: How the Millennial Generation’s Love for Organic Fare, Celebrity Chefs and Microbrews Will Make or Break the Future of Food.
She told us:
“Ultimately, food is satisfying multiple needs for young people. It generates community, allows us to engage all our senses, gives us a way to perform our identities and personal brands and puts us in the driver’s seat of choosing what we put into our bodies.”
Weather Radar Fights Bird Flu
Weather radar technology used by the National Weather Service is now helping UC researchers to track millions of wild birds, which migrate through California each year. Their research is helping to mitigate bird flu, which can be economically devastating to the state’s poultry industry.
Maurice Pitesky, UC Cooperative Extension poultry specialist, tells us:
“We use the existing network of weather radar stations in the U.S. in the same way that radar is used to track rain. Except that we process the data to allow us to interpret the radar signal bouncing off birds instead of raindrops.”
Q&A with Dr. Janet Poppendieck
Childhood hunger, school lunch policy and poverty are among the important issues addressed by the nationally recognized scholar, author and activist Dr. Janet Poppendieck in this interview. She says:
“Close to half of American households will spend some time in poverty in their lifetime…. I am concerned that there is intention among elements in Congress to cut SNAP….Something I think many people have forgotten: John F. Kennedy’s first executive order was to pilot a food stamp program.”
Meanwhile, A Hat Tip to Professor Mario Sifuentez
How does this UC Merced professor get students interested in food production issues? In this guest post for Process History, his candid answer may surprise you. Process History is the blog of the Organization of American Historians, The Journal of American History and The American Historian.
Professor Sifuentez says:
“I lie to them. I offer a class called the history of food but it’s about workers, it’s about imperialism, colonialism, slavery, and globalization. Every semester my class over enrolls, I never have a problem getting students to take my class.”
Also, don’t miss our recent Q&A with him about the little-known history of Mexican farm laborers in the Pacific Northwest.