Top stories in food & farming for 2012

Corn crops across the US Midwest suffered from 2012's severe drought.  Photo by AGua.
Corn crops across the US Midwest suffered from 2012’s severe drought. Photo by AGua.

(Drumroll please…)  The top 10 news stories in food and farming, according to an article by grist.org, for 2012 are:

1. The drought, the worst in 70 years, seared the corn belt this summer, driving up food prices.  Currently,  74% of the area of the 48 states are in drought conditions, according to the US Drought Monitor; compared to 43% one year ago.

2. The organic food industry underwent large consolidations this year and scientists reported that “organic” food is no more nutritious than conventionally grown produce.  AGua has been disappointed in the media coverage focusing on what this means for people who buy organic for (they believed) added nutrition.  However, many people buy organic for other reasons: food worker and environmental health.

3. California voters came very close to labeling processed food containing GMO’s.

4. The media and the general public were in an uproar when the news broke that pink slime wasn’t new to school cafeteria trays.  A sign that the general public is paying more attention to what is in their industrial processed meats.

5.  The farm bill and the fiscal cliff.  Learn more about the farm bill at: Grist.org, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP.org), The NYTimesSlate.com.  Also check out this 2009 op-ed piece in the NYTimes by Wes Jackson and Wendell Berry, titled “A 50-Year Farm Bill.”

6. Seafood fraud, mercury, and climate change are stinking up the fish market.

7. Urban farming is on the rise from sea to shining sea.

8. “Food hubs,” efforts to make fresh, local food more accessible, are popping up in more communities across the nation.

9. The number of CAFOs is increasing due to the greater demand for meat in foreign markets, but some CAFOs are eliminating the least humane practices.  For more information on farm animal treatment checkout The Humane Farming Association.  Beyond ethics, 80% of the antibiotics used annually in the US are used on animals in CAFOs, which is adding to the rise in antibiotic-resistant infections.

10. Last but definitely not least, 2012 had several movements for rights and living wages for food workers–the people who grow, harvest, transport, pack, ship, and cook the food we eat.

Again, this list is from the grist.org article “The year in food and farming,” which you can read here.

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