So much news…!


Food safety conviction. Earlier this week, the owner and CEO of a peanut company (now defunct) was sentenced to 28 years in jail for his role in a salmonella outbreak that killed nine and sickened hundreds more. Katy Askew explores what the tough sentence says about attitudes about food safety in the United States. The piece appears in Just-Food. H/T Bill Marler.


Feeding the developing world. Each day, one in nine of the globe’s 7.3 billion people don’t get enough to eat. That figure represents more than 800 million men, women and children. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania provides a thoughtful policy piece identifying six challenges to feeding the world’s population. Among them? #FoodWaste. The piece appears on the Knowledge@Wharton site, which is an online business and policy analysis “journal.” While much of the research and policy discussion centers on business, topics also include food, immigration and other social issues. There is a “global” edition in English and “regional” editions in a number of languages, including Spanish and Chinese. Bonus? A special site for high school students and educators that provides excellent resources on public policy issues of global importance. Bookmark this site.


Colleges are offering more courses and degrees in food. Interest in food-related courses at colleges and universities is exploding. This interest is also generating increased activism on college campuses. Among the growing number of institutions offering an increased number of course offerings is UC Berkeley, which currently has more than 80 undergraduate courses in related food and agriculture topics; Cal has also recently started a food systems minor. Steve Holt writes an informative piece about this exciting trend for Civil Eats. It’s a great read for potential students and parents who are assisting in college searches, too. BTW, UC Berkeley’s Food Institute partners with the Edible Schoolyard to host Edible Education 101 each year. Other sponsors include UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources and UC’s Global Food Initiative. While the 2015 course has already taken place, YouTube videos of each lecture are available. Speakers include Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman. Information about the 2016 course will be available soon.


State of obesity report: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has released its State of Obesity Report for American adults. Key findings: 23 of 25 states with the highest rates of obesity are in the South and Midwest. Obesity rates are at or above 30% in 42 states for Blacks, 30 states for Latinos, 13 states for Whites. Arkansas has the highest adult obesity rate; Colorado has the lowest. There is an interactive tool that enables you to see how your state ranks. The State of Obesity report also provides information about key programs that can help prevent and address obesity, including school nutrition programs, child care, food assistance and physical activity. This is the 12th annual report produced by RWJF. #goodread


More food politics: school lunches and the benefits of eating candy. The frozen, dried and canned food lobbies are fighting for a place in a program bringing fresh produce to classrooms. Helena Bottemiller Evich writes an important and informative piece about the battle being waged about whose products will be included in the nation’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. Appearing in Politico. Also in Politico: a sponsored story about the National Confectioners Association’s new campaign, which promotes the benefits of eating candy. Marion Nestle discusses the editorial in a Food Politics blog post.


Urban food issues. Nearly one in every four Baltimore residents lack ready access to healthy foods. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has announced that the city will “forgive a huge chunk of grocery store owners’ tax obligations” if they contribute to “healthy food shopping options” in neighborhoods deemed to be “food deserts.” Alan Pyke provides some interesting economic analysis in this piece appearing in Think Progress; definitely worth a read. As urban agriculture gains in popularity, tensions between urban farmers and city officials is growing. Ted Roelofs produces a terrific piece about Michigan’s legal battle over urban farming and lessons being learned for Bridge Magazine.


Other #goodreads: Our Q&A with Shirley Sherrod. She discusses beginning farmers and what public policies might improve our nation’s food system. And observations from #FarmAid30.