Food and Agriculture News - 9/1/22

Food and Agriculture News - 9/1/22

Former grocery store transforming to support Black farmers in Georgia - New Hope

By this point in your readership, you’re surely aware of our fanhood for Shirley Sherrod, Georgia Agriculture Legend. Here’s another feather in her cap. This article does a nice job of quickly summarizing just a few of her recent accomplishments, along with details about the latest – a new food hub affectionately called The Table. Here’s the scoop:

Sherrod’s latest project is creating a food and community service hub, The Table, that will be housed in a former Winn-Dixie grocery store on the city's southeastern side. Nearly the size of a football field (without the end zones), the 46,890-square-foot building sits on 3.9 acres in Albany. An affiliate of Wisconsin-based Phoenix Investors LLC donated the former grocery store, valued at $2.35 million, to the Southwest Georgia Project in 2015.

“We’re calling it The Table because when we sit around the table, we can come up with ideas and we can figure out how to work together,” Sherrod says.

USDA to allocate $550 million to support poor and marginalized farmers - Axios 

Up next, a couple of Inflation Reduction Updates. This one dives into the on again off again funding originally designated for Black farmers who have been discriminated against by USDA. That funding was held up in court by white farmers who claimed it was racist, and has now been re-imagined for “poor and marginalized farmers.” There is SO much that could be said about how that played out but I’ll let the words speak for themselves. 

At any rate, the way USDA is framing this all but guarantees the funding will flow to Black farmers by focusing the programs areas on ways in which Black farmers were discriminated against. Here’s what Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack had to say: 

When we address longstanding inequities, our entire country benefits. Land access, heirs’ property, affordable credit and access to reliable markets — along with consistent access to help from well-trained experts — are essential to strengthening our communities," he added.

How the Inflation Reduction Act Affects Food and Agriculture - Wired 

Solid summary of ways the IRA will benefit farmers, and ways it fell short, broken down into three categories: 

- The good – wins for conservation programs and Black farmers (although that part remains to be seen).

- The bad – the bill maintains support for corn monopolies that cause industry consolidation and soil erosion.

- The ugly – no funding for school lunches.

Alaska’s snow crabs have disappeared. Where they went is a mystery. - Washington Post 

Perhaps the key detail missing from this headline is how quickly Alaskan snow crabs disappeared. In 2019, scientists observed record numbers of juvenile crab along the ocean floor. By all accounts 2021 was supposed to be a boon for the crab industry. Instead, supply plummeted, and no one has any idea why. Though there are a lot of theories, most agree it has to be related to climate change – even if there’s no agreement as to how.  

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