Food & Agriculture News: 3/9/23

Food & Agriculture News: 3/9/23

As Dollar Stores Proliferate, Some Communities Say No - NY Times 

We shared a very similar article from Civil Eats almost a year ago, which also featured DeKalb County Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson. The bottom line is that Dollar Stores are a bit of a wolf in sheep's clothing. They pose as a solution for low income neighborhoods, but then play a major role in keeping those communities from growing. When a Dollar Store comes in, local businesses close and crime goes up. 

Despite the pushback – 18 cities in Georgia have restricted Dollar Stores developments – sales continue to increase at Dollar Stores, especially during times of inflation. 

Ultimately, the Dollar Store is the symptom, not the cause. People can only afford what they can afford. 

Made in the USA? Proposed rule clarifies grocery meat labels - AP News 

This is just a perfect insight into how messed up the industrial food system is. I mean, food labels can be really confusing as it is. “Natural” doesn’t mean anything on a food label. There’s so many I could name, but I digress.

Anyway, “Made In The USA” should be pretty straightforward, right? Apparently not.

The current rule says that it doesn’t matter where the animal was raised or even slaughtered; as long as it was repackaged in some way here in America, it can be labeled as “Made In America.”

Now seriously, who in their right mind would look at a steak that came from an Australian cow and think, “This was Made in America!” No one would. 

So anyway, however stupid the law currently is, this proposal says labels can say Made In USA only if they come from animals “born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States.” Please make it so. 

U.S. Considers Vaccinating Chickens as Bird Flu Kills Millions of Them - NY Times 

Remember last week when we shared a glowing headline predicting a 30% drop in the price of eggs – a bold prediction that assumed America would no longer have an issue with bird flu that killed millions of chickens. 

Well, how’s this for an update?! The US government is considering vaccines for chickens because bird flu is so prolific. I’d say that “30% drop in prices” is a pipe dream at best.

Here’s the real kicker: bird flu is so widespread, these vaccines are not only to help slow the spread of the disease to chickens, but to humans as well. The next coronavirus could be a direct result of the inhumane way we raise chickens.

To be clear, scientists think the chance of humans catching bird flu is very low. But wouldn’t it also be low from, say, catching it from bats in a cave, a poorly managed seafood market, or a research lab? 

US farm agency to distribute discrimination payments this year - Reuters 

I may have been onto something about the price of eggs and bird flu, but I’m fully prepared to be wrong about USDA mending fences with Black farmers.

Last week, we shared an article about the USDA equity commission making recommendations for changes. My doubt stemmed from the fact that anyone can make recommendations, and they can be ignored or changed or watered down by the current or subsequent administration. 

But this is a real move. Cash can’t be taken away. If the payments actually do go through this year, it will be a step in the right direction. It’s not the funding that was originally promised, but it’s better than a sheet of paper with recommendations.

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