Food and Agriculture News - 9/15/22

Food and Agriculture News - 9/15/22

How Atlanta Restaurants Pair Playlists and Plates - Eater Atlanta

LOVED this article, as it combines two of my favorite things: food and music. I just had a conversation with our neighbors about how great of a food city Atlanta is, but obviously we’re very well known for being a music city as well. 

In one line, here’s what this article is about: “The playlists receive the same attention to detail as the design, the menu, and presentation of dishes at each restaurant,” according to Tal Baum owner of Aziza, Rina, Bellina Alimentari, and Atrium.

Complete with 3 favorite songs from 5 restaurants, this article highlights a bunch of cool restaurants in Atlanta. 

Food supply and security concerns mount as impacts stress agriculture - Yale Climate Connections

Ag’s challenging future in a changing climate - Yale Climate Connections

This is a two part series with extensive detail about ways in which extreme climate conditions – drought, floods, fire – negatively impact agriculture. They are well worth reading, or at last flipping through, to get a sense for what we’re dealing with. 

What I’ve done here is pull two lines that I felt highlighted each article – problem and solution.

“A 2019 report by the Global Commission on Adaptation indicates that without adaptation, climate change may depress global agriculture yields by 5 to 30% by 2050, at the same time that an expanding population and increased meat consumption causes a 50% increase in global food demand.”

“We urgently need to diversify global food production, both geographically and in terms of crops and farming techniques. We need to break the grip of massive corporations and financial speculators. We need to create backup systems, producing food by entirely different means. We need to introduce spare capacity into a system threatened by its own efficiencies.”

It’s Time to Make Cities More Rural - Wired 

This is another way of saying, we need to grow more food closer to where it’s consumed. And, obviously, I love that idea. 

One of the great concepts highlighted here is farm productivity. On large scale farms, monoculture cropping is dominant – meaning, there will be rows and rows of one crop only. Among many reasons why is that heavy machinery is usually designed to harvest (or plant) one type of crop. The tractor built to harvest potatoes is different that the one built to harvest corn (for example). 

On smaller scale farms that don’t rely heavily on machinery, they have much more diversity in crops. Produce can be packed together in all sorts of different ways, often times in a manner that benefit each other because the crops look for different microorganisms in the soil or even deter pests. 

Here’s a key finding to that accord: “...on average, urban agricultural yields (including both outdoor and indoor growing operations) were on par or higher than those of typical farms. But certain crops, like lettuces, tubers, and cucumbers, had yields up to four times higher when grown in cities.”

The catch, as you may have figured out, is that most of that work is done by hand. So the tradeoff is efficiency for productivity. 

But the really interesting nugget is about the benefits of growing food that have nothing to do with food. Great quote to finish the article:

It would also provide something less quantifiable than crop yields: a renewed sense of community, says Sawin. “That’s a source of local connectivity that will ripple beyond just the food that’s produced,” she says. “People then have social networks for everything from sharing childcare to sharing resources to helping one another through, possibly, shocks and destabilization.”

USDA Announces $400 Million in Funding Available to Create USDA Regional Food Business Centers - USDA 

It’s a little hard to tell what this will actually mean until funding is allocated, but in theory, this sounds pretty cool – particularly what they’re defining as the goal for this funding. Key paragraph:

“The Regional Food Business Centers will provide coordination, technical assistance, and capacity building to help farmers, ranchers, and other food businesses access new markets and navigate federal, state and local resources, thereby closing the gaps or barriers to success. The Regional Food Business Centers will assist small and mid-sized producers and food and farm businesses with the goal of creating a more resilient, diverse, and competitive food system.”

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