Food and Agriculture News: 10/20/22

Food and Agriculture News: 10/20/22

These cities turned parks into orchards where anyone can pick for free - Washington Post 

Well, there’s not much I can offer here that the headline doesn’t leave to the imagination. Across the world, cities are creating edible parks, often in areas that were overgrown or unkempt – improving food access while decreasing eyesores. Beautiful photos included. 

The Urban Food Forest in Atlanta also gets a mention. 

Cities Need More Native Bees—Lots and Lots of Adorable Bees - Wired 

You may be aware that pollinators are critical to our food supply – over 33% of our food is the result of bees, butterflies and other flying insects pollinating flowers that turn into fruit. This article makes the case that pollinators also help combat climate change. Well, sort of. 

What it’s really saying is that steps to support native bees will benefit the environment due to the kind of environment native bees need to thrive – specifically, increasing groundcover and reducing mowing. 

Furthermore, it makes the case that native bees are more critical to protect than honey bees, which not only get all the attention but are actually an invasive species. 

What Is a ‘Healthy’ Food? The F.D.A. Wants to Change the Definition - NY Times 

In 1994, the FDA attempted to set standards for what could be considered healthy food. In practice, this regulated which products could add the word “healthy” to their packaging. As you might imagine, industry created food that allowed them to add “healthy” to their packaging without actually creating healthy food. 

Wildly, items like seeds, nuts, or even avocados are not considered “healthy” by the FDA, but sugary cereals, sweetened yogurts, and white bread are. Industry 1, government 0.

The new definition will limit the amount of sugar, sodium, and saturated fat, while giving preference to foods that actually contain fruits and vegetables. 

“Those criteria will eliminate vast swaths of the supermarket from being eligible for the healthy logo,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University.

With that said, don’t go looking for changes any time soon. The proposed rule may take over a year to go into effect.

Returning to Fairness: A commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission considers rural America and open markets. - Prospect 

This is a reprint of a speech given by Alvaro Bedoya, a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission, although you can also listen to it in a 13-minute recording. It’s a very interesting philosophical analysis of what “antitrust” legislation is meant to do. Bedoya argues the current use is to maximize efficiency, which not only does not protect small business, it is hostile to it. 

Instead, Bedoya makes the case that antitrust measures should be used to promote “fairness” within the economy as they were originally intended by the farmers advocating for the Sherman Act in 1890. Here's the crux of the speech:

If efficiency is so important in antitrust, then why doesn’t that word, “efficiency,” appear anywhere in the antitrust statutes that Congress actually wrote and passed?

If efficiency is the goal of antitrust, then why am I charged by statute with stopping unfair methods of competition, and not “inefficient” ones?

We cannot let a principle that Congress never wrote into law trump a principle that Congress made a core feature of that law. I think it is time to return to fairness.

People may not know what is efficient—but they know what’s fair. It may be efficient to send a child home to wait two weeks for their cancer medicine. We all know it isn’t fair. It may be efficient to force cattlemen to sell their livestock to just one meatpacker. It may be efficient for Pine Ridge to go without baby formula. We all know that that’s not what fair markets look like.

Back to blog