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COMFOOD highlights: Nov 15-Feb 20

February 21, 2012
by Kasi Boyd

Missed the news lately?   Below are the top news bits and resources shared on COMFOOD since mid-November.   For the full conversation and inbox load, all you have to do is subscribe to COMFOOD directly.


The Food Family Farming Foundation launched the Healthy Breakfast 4 Kids Grant Program.  Application deadline March 31.2012. 117 $2500 equipment grants will be given to rural high needs schools for the purpose of implementing universal breakfast in the classroom programs.

EAT4Health funding will build and leverage the strengths of grassroots organizations alongside the expertise of DC-based national organizations to foster a more informed, inclusive, and powerful advocacy process for food and farm policies that serve the goals of good health, environmental sustainability, and economic justice for all. Grantees will receive three annual grants in total of $100,000/year to use to work with a DC-area national advocacy organization of their choice.

The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation featured a “Food Financing 101” series covering The Reinvestment Fund, the Opportunity Finance Network, and Brightseed Strategies in depth to discuss the need for financing healthy food businesses and the impact of those businesses on local economies.


Occupy Our Food Supply is bringing together the Occupy, sustainable farming, food justice, buy local, slow food, and environmental movements for a global day of action on February 27, 2012. Spearheaded by the Rainforest Action Network.

Learn more about the CA legislation to require labeling of genetically-modified foods up to voters in November. This initiative, if passed by a majority of California voters in November 2012, will require foods sold in California retail outlets that contain genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled, just like other nutritional facts. Building a broad and diversified coalition will be essential to winning.

Write your reps and spread the word about the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act endorsed by over 220 orgs across the country. This food bill would provide critical support to local and organic farmers, while making healthy, local sustainable food more widely available and accessible around the country.  Read another piece written by EWG.


20 infographics from the Farm Bill Hackathon in one slideshow.

Video: Fish-to-School programs in Alaska are expanding.  Fishermen joined students at a local elementary school and middle school for a “We Love Our Fishermen” event to share a fish lunch and to talk about fishing methods and what it means to be a fishermen.

Why Hunger launches Farm Bill Learning Center: a living collection of many of the best resources, analysis, and articles so that you should find something good there whether you’re a Food and Farm Bill newbie or a veteran.

The On-Farm Food Safety Project is the first comprehensive food safety tool of its kind.  It has been developed to help small and mid-scale farmers create an on-farm food safety plan. Using the food safety plan generated by the OFFS tool, growers will be able to apply for food safety certification through the USDA Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices (GAP & GHP) audit program or private certifiers.

TEDxManhattan food system talks now on YouTube.

Short list of resources re: local food procurement policies:
·       A Guide to Developing a Sustainable Food Purchasing Policy
·       Health Care Without Harm
·       Sysco’s Guiding Principles: Value Chain Partnership Charter
·       Local Food Procurement Policies: A Literature Review

Healthy Corner Stores: A Best Practices Brief – To promote healthy corner store initiatives in Ohio, and, to the extent possible, inform others around the country wishing to launch and sustain healthy corner store initiatives in their communities

16-state best practices for urban agriculture.  The Turner Environmental Law Clinic at the Emory University School of Law, in partnership with Georgia Organics, have released one of the most comprehensive looks at urban agriculture policy in the U.S.

Public Health Law and Policy announces its new publication, Seeding the City: Land Use Policies to Promote Urban Agriculture. This toolkit provides a framework and model language for land use policies that local policymakers can tailor to promote and sustain urban agriculture in their communities.

SNAP to Health site launched. “We are a virtual town hall for discussion of the current state of nutrition, obesity, and food insecurity in the U.S.  This project is an initiative of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.  Also covered in Huffington Post.

California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply launches a new and expanded online Agricultural Water Stewardship Resource Center to assist growers and ranchers, water suppliers, and others in making effective farm water management decisions.

Consumer-Backed Effort to Label Genetically Engineered Food Releases Video by Food, Inc. Filmmaker Robert Kenner.  With more than a half-million consumers already on board, a campaign petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to label genetically engineered (GE) food today launched  the video “Labels Matter” to garner even more consumer awareness and participation.

Movie: Foodstamped. “It’s a movie made by a couple in Berkeley about trying to live on the food stamp budget. In the movie they interview quite a lot of folks about food stamp use, from people reliant upon them to members of congress. It’s 1 hour long, which makes it do-able for many classrooms.”


FAO report: State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture notes that while the last 50 years witnessed a three-fold increase in food production,…achievements have been associated with management practices that have degraded the land and water systems upon which food production depends.”  Key recommendations: Improving the efficiency of water use by agriculture, increasing investment in agricultural development, technical options for improving efficiency and promoting sustainable intensification, and modernized policy.

USDA Report: Direct and Intermediated Marketing of Local Foods in the United States.  Perhaps not the newest of news, but… “This study uses nationally representative data on marketing of local foods to assess the relative scale of local food marketing channels.”

Report released: Planning to Eat?  Innovative Local Government Plans and Policies to Build Healthy Food Systems in the US.  From the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab at the University at Buffalo and Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities – Buffalo.

Rural California Report: A UC Davis digest of the current status of rural California, focusing on poverty, water, labor shortages and current state laws.  Specifically covers heat stress illness among farmworkers.

(Repost) Cornell’s library of research on local & regional food systems.

Compost research compiled…

Urban animal husbandry regulations & examples…

Estimating the number of CSAs… Estimating conservatively, there are currently over 6,000 CSAs in the US, possibly as many as 6,500. Meanwhile, the trend of growth continues onward and upward.

Google Scholar results re: impact of food education with students.

A new study on how to reform school lunch was released by the Center for Ecoliteracy and Oakland (California) Unified School District (OUSD).

An Analysis of the Impacts of Health Insurance Rebate Initiatives on Community Supported Agriculture in Southern Wisconsin. Since 2005, four insurance providers in southern Wisconsin have offered rebates to policyholders who subscribe to a local community supported agriculture (CSA) operation.

Hoosier Farmer?  Emerging Food Systems in Indiana, a new study was released, which combines economic data and close interviews with more than 100 Hoosier food practitioners to show how the state’s food system has adapted to changing circumstances.


Huffington Post: “Top Six Food Politics Lessons Learned in 2011”. This hasn’t been a banner year for improving America’s food system, food environment or food policies. A look back demonstrates that not only have we failed to make any new progress in food and nutrition policy, but we actually appear to be moving backwards in some instances.

Huffington Post Videos: “Farmers March with Occupy Wall Street, Sowing the Seeds of Hope and Democracy”.  “More than 500 rural farmers, urban farmers, food laborers, community activists and former occupiers showed up.

Clif Bar Family Foundation recently announced a fellowship for organic plant breeding, one of the first fellowships of its kind granted in the US. The foundation is issuing $375,000 in grants to fund three Ph.D fellowship students for five years in organic plant breeding at two public land grant universities.

Democracy Now!; In Attacks on Obama, Food Stamps, Newt Gingrich is “Racially Coding Poverty”. Raj Patel says what is really needed is a conversation about poverty and why the need for food stamps is so high.

Food Justice: “The Pivotal Role of Food Justice in the US Food Movement” re: Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Context by Eric Holt-Giménez and Yi Wang.

NY Times: “A Question of Fairness” – About Fair Trade USA’s recent split from the international organization.

The Buzz Behind the Monsanto/Beeolgics Acquisition”, by the director of documentary Vanishing of Bees.

Trader Joe’s and The Coalition of Immokalee Workers Sign Fair Food Agreement.

Food+Tech Connect: “2011 Trends: Where Does Your Food Come From?”

Food+Tech Connect: “Tracking & Incentivizing Data Sharing: The Whole Chain Traceability Consortium”.  Interview with the Whole Chain Traceability Consortium (WCTC) and their research to facilitate data sharing about food from farm-to-consumer.

Hunting for Anthropologists: Deer Hunting and the Local Food Movement. Controversial piece written by By Elizabeth Danforth, MPH PhD, Member, Iowa Food Systems Council and Food Access & Health Work Group Leadership Team.

San Diego City Council unanimously passed an urban ag ordinance that legalizes chickens, bees, and goats among other things.

Over 40 hospitals in Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia are now purchasing locally grown fruits and vegetables regularly during the growing season, and nine hospitals are now consistently purchasing meat or poultry produced by local farmers who use sustainable agricultural practices.

Alliance for African Food Sovereignty launched  at the 17th United Nations Conference on Climate Change at Kwa Zulu Natal University in Durban, South Africa.

And, Jenny Huston’s updates.

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