Good morning!

The UC Food Observer chooses some important stories for you to read each work day. On today’s packed menu, in no particular order:


Water: the big picture. Water is not only a concern in California, although we’re (rightly) obsessed with the state’s drought. World Water Week is being held in Stockholm; Water for Development is the theme. India’s Rajendra Singh – “the waterman of India” – will accept the Stockholm Water Prize today for his work advocating for water rights as human rights. Decades ago, Singh “revived an ancient dam technology” that has returned water to more than 1,000 villages. “Nature cannot fulfill greed,” Singh says, arguing that “communities and traditional techniques are the solutions to drought, not corporations.” Soon, he will walk across five continents to raise awareness to encourage the United Nations to recognize the human right to “river water and access to nature.” Karl Mathiesen (@KarlMathiesen) has penned a stellar piece about Singh for The Guardian.

Follow @siwi_water, #WWWeek and #WorldWaterWeek on Twitter to stay abreast of this vital gathering. Members of UC’s Water Institute (@ucanrwater) are also in Stockholm; check their Twitter feed to catch their observations. Additional news: An American student has been awarded the 2015 Junior Water Prize for revolutionizing a method to remove electronic waste from water. Perry Alagappan “became interested in water purification when I visited my grandparents in India, and saw with my own eyes how electronic waste severely contaminated the environment.” Combining that interest with his passion for nanotechnology, he’s created a new kind of filter that removes more than 99 percent of “heavy metal contaminants from drinking and industrial wastewater.” Alagappan is 18 years old.


Water: California. We’re in the 813th consecutive day of severe drought. Matt Weiser (@matt_weiser) has written a piece you’ll want to read: In future droughts, big storms decide California’s fate. The article appears on a site called Water Deeply (@WaterDeeply) which is a media startup and social enterprise based in New York. Their mission? “Advancing foreign policy literacy through public service journalism.” It’s a well-organized site full of terrific things to read and explore, including a drought map and some excellent op-eds. An interesting feature of the site is the interactive timeline, which uses mainstream and social media content to explain the drought. Check it out, but be prepared to stay a while…lots to see!


Wine, farms and families. The California Sunday Magazine is one of our favorites. It features thoughtful #longreads and lush photography. This story about China and wine production is no exception. In a Chinese village, one man sees a new Napa Valley. Ma Qingyun, a prominent architect has become an “unlikely” winemaker. “If everywhere in the world that has wine looks like this, then this place should have wine, too.” He’s making it happen. Amy Qin (@amyyqin) writes; photography by Jiehao Su. An appeal of the piece is its simultaneously global and local feel. Pair it with this piece about the muscat grape and a fourth-generation California producer. ICYMI, by Mark Arax, Changing tastes on the farm: trendspotting from the Central Valley. Lyrical.


What the FDA’s transfat ban means and how it may adversely impact the environment. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned transfats, although companies have until June 2018 to phase them out. This ban is expected to reduce heart disease and “prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks each year.” There is a great deal of confusion about what it all means…and doesn’t mean. This piece by Elizabeth Grossman (@lizzieg1) – appearing in Time – is helpful in sorting all that out. She also writes about the downsides to the FDA’s ban. A big one? It will encourage increased use of palm oil. Its production contributes to rainforest destruction. A really good read. Grossman covers environment and science and her work appears regularly in Civil Eats.


It’s fig season where we live. Which calls to mind one of our favorite farmers. ICYMI, read our Q&A with Ventura County farmer Chris Sayer of Petty Ranch. Follow him on Twitter @pettyranch to follow the day-to-day farming life of a fifth-generation producer.


Have a great day!