The UC Food Observer chooses a handful of important stories for you to read as you finish your work week. On the menu, in no particular order: a UC Food Observer Q&A with childhood obesity researcher Pat Crawford. Noted author and publisher Maria Rodale talks with us about the challenges and gifts of legacy…and the book she’s currently working on. Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the United States, is asking its suppliers to adopt best practices in livestock production. Can UC Davis geneticist and plant scientist Pam Ronald bring GMO interests and organic farmers together? And land-grant institutions are increasing their efforts to support urban farmers.

In addition, a handful of notable reports were issued, and we’ve included them on the reading list as well.

1. The University of California’s Pat Crawford is an internationally recognized childhood obesity researcher. In this important Q&A, she discusses her work, the importance of the public safety net and what public policies are vital to improving health outcomes for the nation’s children. A must read.


2. Maria Rodale is the CEO and chair of the world’s largest independent publisher of health and wellness content, and the largest independent book publisher in the United States. She is the third generation of the storied Rodale family to lead the company. A lifelong advocate of organic farming and gardening, she talks about what is informing her work, the book she’s working on and the ability of food to unite us.


3. Wal-Mart has announced that it will ask its suppliers to engage in best practices in livestock production, including reducing antibiotic use, addressing housing, providing pain management for certain procedures and cracking down on animal abuse. The move is being widely applauded. Will it prove to be a game-changer for the food industry?


4. UC Davis researcher Pam Ronald’s success is not only limited to genetic science. She’s also helping to bridge the gap between genetic engineering and organic farming by promoting a kind of sustainable agriculture that draws on both philosophies (and practices). “Only by combining elements of each, she contends, will we have a chance of feeding the world’s swelling population (expected to reach 9.2 billion by 2050) while also protecting the planet’s natural resources and countenancing the effects of climate change.”


5. Where can urban farmers turn to for help? Many of them are turning to their state land-grant universities, which have primarily served rural agricultural interests, but are increasingly working with urban agriculturalists as well. The University of the District of Columbia even has a 143-acre urban farm.


Notable Reports:

White House releases national policy to save pollinators

U.S. should double investment in ag research to assure global food security

FAO: Without universal access to water, no food security



The UC Food Observer will be taking Monday, May 25th off in observance of Memorial Day.

From General Order 11, issued by General John A. Logan, commander-in-chief, Grand Army of the Republic, in May 1868:

“The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.”