New York City to offer digital hub for urban agriculture

On a 47-0 vote, New York’s city council passed legislation to create a digital hub meant specifically for urban agriculture, said Metro Media.

Fifteen New York City schools to adopt Meatless Monday

Beginning next spring, 15 schools in Brooklyn — a sliver of the 1,800 public schools in New York City — will participate in the Meatless Monday campaign by serving vegetarian breakfasts and lunches, city officials announced. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the mayor's residence, Gracie Mansion, also would go meatless for its Monday meals.

New York City waits while FDA aims for menu labeling next year

FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb says the agency "will provide additional, practical guidance" to food retailers by the end of the year so they will be ready to comply with menu-labeling rules when they take effect, which is now scheduled for May 2018. The FDA announced it was going forward with the May 2018 target at the same time New York City agreed in court not to enforce its own labeling law until next May.

Salt warnings will stay on menus in New York City

A state appeals court upheld New York City's requirement for chain restaurants to alert diners to foods that contain more than the recommended daily dose of salt, about one teaspoonful, said The Associated Press. The National Restaurant Association said it was considering its next move on the regulation.

California soda tax campaign fizzes with $46 million in donations

The electoral tussles over 1-cent-per-ounce soda taxes in San Francisco and Oakland are becoming two of the most expensive campaigns in California this year with more than $46 million in donations, says public broadcaster KQED. The American Beverage Association has spent $28.7 million in fighting the taxes, said KQED, noting the nationwide ramification of referendums.

New York City Council hatches plan to protect Hudson Valley farmland

Some members of New York City Council want to allocate $50 million from the city budget pay farmers to keep farming in Hudson Valley, reports The New York Times.

Soda sales on the rise in Mexico, a country with a sweet tooth

Mexico's 10-percent tax on sugary drinks put a dent in soda sales at first, but purchases are on the rise again, "making the country a key growth market again for soda giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo," says the Wall Street Journal. In a country with the highest per-capita soda consumption rate in the world, the tax was a public health measure aimed at high levels of obesity and diabetes.

Hulling rice by bicycle in New York City

For Randall's Island Urban Farm, the hardest part of growing rice in New York City - much farther north than most U.S. rice growers - was hulling the grain, "nothing but pure chore," according to "Homegrown Whole Grains." As related in a blog at The New Yorker, the farm grows small amounts of rice so a commercial-size hulling machine was out of the question. So, it did what other small-scale growers do - it bought a pocket-size huller hand-built by Don Brill in his spare time. A bicycle provides the power.