Food & Agriculture News: 8/24/22

Food & Agriculture News: 8/24/22

Pullman Yard redo lands second location of wildly popular restaurant - Urbanize Atlanta

I don’t think I’ve had the opportunity to rave about Fishmonger on this newsletter yet but it is excellent. From my first visit I knew they’d either have to move or expand but didn’t expect them to do so within six months of opening. Regardless, I’m not surprised. With an excellent menu for lunch or dinner, plus the ability to buy fresh, local fish and cook at home, it’s a serious winner. Atlanta has so many great butcher shops in town, it was only a matter of time before a fishmonger came along. Soon, we’ll have two. Great news.

Lawsuit filed over treatment of Mexican professionals in factories - AJC

The AJC really stepped up coverage of immigration and labor issues in the last year, breaking the news about a farmer slavery ring in Georgia in a bust known as Operation Bloomin Onion.

This story follows a similar pattern of workers being lured into Georgia under false pretenses to be overworked and underpaid. In this case, workers thought they were coming for “high skill” jobs and ended up on an assembly line working 12 hour shifts. Assembly line work is not covered by the visa they were recruited under. 

Here’s where I raised an eyebrow. The plaintiff in the lawsuit has only been in America for about a month and is asking for $5 million in damages. The suit claims that over 100 other workers faced the same situation, but it’s not clear to me that actually they’re part of the lawsuit.

With that being said, it does seem like the company representative somewhat admitted fault by stating these workers are on an assembly line. They also claim it’s “high-paying work” but are actually only paying $11 an hour. So clearly, something’s not right.

Regardless, we know Georgia isn’t exactly known for workers rights. There are also loopholes with immigration and worker visas that are often exploited and should be remedied. If this lawsuit accomplishes that, it will be well worth it. 

PepsiCo Beverages North America Officially Breaks Ground on $260 Million DeKalb County Manufacturing Expansion - What Now Atlanta 

We’ve written a lot about Russia’s invasion on Ukraine and the impact that’s had on our global food system, and now Pepsi is invading Coke Country!!! Ok so this isn’t actually a new facility, it’s an expansion on their 2020 facility and is expected to create about 140 new jobs. The expansion should be completed in 2024. 

It’s Time For Fashion to Talk More About Regenerative Agriculture - Modern Farmer 

Sometimes I feel like we’re so far removed from agriculture it’s easy to forget that almost everything we wear came from the soil. That’s partly because the process of turning cotton, for example, into a dress is much more complicated than food – as the article lays out. There is no way to have a farm to closet model, not unless millions of us are going to purchase a lot of manufacturing equipment. 

Regardless, we may not need that kind of initative so long as farmers see a benefit to switching their practices. According to farmer Jeremy Brown in Texas, he found that his organic cotton out performed “conventional” cotton in terms of dollar per acre by dramatically reducing the amount of inputs he needed to grow it. 

(This is the point at which every organic farmer reading this says, “THIS IS WHAT WE’VE BEEN TRYING TO TELL YOU!") 

Bayer launches sustainable agriculture hub to connect U.S. farmers, food and fuel makers - Reuters

I can’t really tell if this is a good sign or a bad sign, but I’m getting strong “wolf in sheep's clothing” vibes. A lot of this effort has to do with “helping” farmers improve their data. But as major agriculture companies get more and more into data mining, I can’t help but think their end goal is to remove farmers from the land and replace them entirely with machines. 

That's all for today. We'll see you at next week at AgLanta Eats!

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