Food and Agriculture News - 9/29/22

Food and Agriculture News - 9/29/22

USDA approves genetically modified purple tomatoes - National Desk 

Well, GMO fruits are finally here. For most of their history, GMOs have largely been in grain or oil products – wheat, corn, soybeans. Chances are, whether you meant to or not, you’ve probably consumed GMO products through processed foods (ever had xantham gum? It’s probably GMO corn). 

Apparently, these GMO tomatoes have more antioxidants and a longer shelf life. Now that USDA has approved, it’s off to the FDA for approval who will determine whether it can hit grocery shelves. 

Whether it will actually help people, time will tell. As the story below makes clear, the best intentions do not guarantee the best results. 

Rice Growers Continue to Battle Weedy Enemy - Modern Farmer 

Now, here’s a warning about what can go wrong when mankind interferes too much with nature. Long story short, scientists tried to create a herbicide resistant variety of rice to kill off a pesky weed known as “weedy rice.” According to the article, “yield losses from weedy rice infestations in the US alone would be enough to feed an additional 12 million people a year.” Rather than kill off the weedy rice, they accidentally made it stronger.

“We’ve inadvertently armed the weed populations with the genes of our best crop cultivars,” said Kenneth Olsen, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis. 


More consumers buying organic, but US farmers still wary - ABC News 

Here’s an interesting dilemma. Over the past 10 years, annual sales of organic produce doubled. But since 2008, the number of farmers switching to organic dropped 70%. While the article doesn’t exactly determine why, it’s clear the USDA believes the reason is the expense. As a result, they’ve committed up to $300 million to recruit and help more farmers to switch to organic practices. 

Here’s how that will break down:

“The new USDA effort would include $100 million toward helping farmers learn new techniques for growing organic crops; $75 million for farmers who meet new conservation practice standards; $25 million to expand crop insurance options and reduce costs; and $100 million to aid organic supply chains and develop markets for organics.”

Hydroponics Help Urban Schools Grow Food Year-Round - Civil Eats 

Nutrition and STEAM education? Now that’s pretty cool. Not only are these hydroponic systems helping schools serve more greens and salads, they’re also offering food entrepreneurship opportunities for students. In Baltimore, a real estate designer who owns two restaurants not only helped fund the installation of an indoor greenhouse for Green Street Academy, he also purchases greens grown by the students to serve to his customers.

That's all for today. We'll catch you next week.

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