FERN’s Friday Feed: David and Goliath d’Ag moment

Photo Description: The Black Farmers Collective was founded on 1.5 acres of urban land next to a freeway in downtown Seattle. He recently leased an additional four acres and is hopeful that sales from that parcel will eventually replace grant financing. Photo credit: Raphaël Gaultier.

welcome to FERN’s Friday stream (#FFF), where we share this week’s stories that got us thinking.

The collective future of American agriculture

FERN and The nation

“In 2020, when the coronavirus disrupted industrial food systems, causing widespread delays and shortages, local cooperatives, agricultural collectives, food centers and other distribution projects found new relevance,” writes Dean Kuipers . “[S]According to a May 2021 report from the Wallace Center, a nonprofit organization that supports community food and farming solutions. It was a moment that crystallized both the weaknesses of the industrial food system and the strengths of local alternatives in a way that 20 years of proselytizing food reformers never could. “

Is biogas a solution to pollution or an accessory for Big Chicken?


The poultry industry along the Delmarva Peninsula “generates hundreds of thousands of tonnes of chicken waste, including manure, feathers, bones and sludge from processing. These residues – which contain high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus – are often over-applied to agricultural fields and then run off into local waterways, including Chesapeake Bay, ”writes Leanna First-Arai. The biogas companies want to build anaerobic digesters on Delmarva, turning this waste into what the industry calls “renewable natural gas,” as well as nutrient-rich solids and liquids that can be used as fertilizers. “That sounds like a lot… but some environmentalists and production barn neighbors fear that anaerobic digesters will just allow Big Chicken to grow further in the poultry-growing areas of the country. “

Johannesburg ghost riders, South Africa

The Guardian

“These men are part of an army of thousands of bikers who spend up to 16 hours a day, usually seven days a week, frantically hauling food around the city. It is dangerous work. Accidents and assaults, sometimes at gunpoint, are common. Rainy weather, when the roads are slippery and visibility is poor, is the most feared, ”writes James Oatway. “They run from fast food restaurants to student digs in the grubby city center or posh restaurants to the posh suburbs of one of the most unequal cities in the world… Some are undocumented, which makes them doubly vulnerable to police attacks and operating in an unregulated concert economy. . Despite their ubiquitous presence on the streets, their lives and struggles are largely invisible to the people of Johannesburg. “

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We are with whom we eat

The MIT Press Reader

“Since long before the dawn of humanity, eating has been a social act. Some of our primate ancestors shared food. Early humans were most successful when they grouped together to hunt; they enjoyed greater security when cooking and eating together. Farmers have long collaborated on a series of tasks, from hunting animals that consume their crops, to forming work groups to make some tasks possible and others easier or more enjoyable, ”writes Harry G. West . “Working alone and, above all, eating alone, is not only shameful in many cultural contexts, it is often seen as monstrous or sub-human. In the villages of Mueda where I worked, there was a special word for the one who ate alone: nkwaukanga. Such people were traditionally condemned as greedy, even ugly. But modern life has slowly changed that, and not just in Mueda… More and more, we eat alone, whether at work, at home, or even in restaurants.

Your beloved ‘family’ recipe may have started in a corporate trial kitchen

To taste

“It is clear from the reporting and the revealing legacy that many of America’s favorite recipes today are born out of business incentives,” writes Cathy Erway. “From treats to the obvious Rice Krispies and Jell-O salads, to the casserole of condensed soup and the beloved stuffing recipes handed down from generation to generation, the product shift has contributed significantly to culinary innovation in America. Behind the labels, food brand recipe developers have started food trends, devised viral recipes and led America’s eating habits perhaps even more than cookbook authors with their free recipes, creating traditions. sustainable in family kitchens.

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