Rural poverty rate drops twice as fast as U.S. average, still high

Rural incomes are up and the rural poverty rate is down, dropping twice as fast as the U.S. average, said the Census Bureau on Wednesday in its annual report on income and poverty.

Climate change puts more than a billion people at risk of iron deficiency

Rising levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will reduce the amount of nutrients in staple crops such as rice and wheat, say researchers at Harvard's public health school. As a consequence, more than 1 billion women and children would lose a large amount of their dietary iron intake and be at larger risk of anemia and other diseases.

New report finds rate of ‘food hardship’ has risen since 2016

A new report from the Food Research and Action Center found that the food hardship rate for households across the country has increased from 15.1 percent in 2016 to 15.7 percent in 2017. The rate increase was higher for households with children, from 17.5 percent to 18.4 percent. The study comes as wages remain stagnant, despite falling unemployment.

New York taps controversial bonus program to preserve SNAP at farmers markets

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to ensure farmers markets can continue accepting SNAP benefits through the end of the market season relies on funding from a controversial federal program that rewards states for implementing SNAP with low error rates—and that lawmakers may eliminate in the next farm bill. (No paywall)

A contract is rebid, and 40 percent of SNAP sales at farmers markets are up in the air

Earlier this year, when the USDA changed the vendor that runs its program that allows farmers markets to take SNAP benefits, it set off a chain reaction that could soon prevent thousands of poor people from using those benefits at the markets, reports FERN’s latest piece, published with The Washington Post. No paywall

At cross purposes: Urban agriculture and an ‘agrihood’ in Detroit

The Oakland Avenue Farmers’ Market in Detroit sells fresh-grown food every Saturday “in a historically low-income and black neighborhood where such options aren’t readily available,” says the Detroit Metro Times. Now it's facing competition from the Michigan Urban Farm Initiative, which gives away produce each Saturday.

16 percent of global population dies early because of pollution

Nine million people died prematurely in 2015 because of air, water and soil pollution — three times the number that died of tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria combined, says a study published in The Lancet. The exact cause of death ranged from lung cancer to heart disease, but the total amounted to 16 percent of all deaths globally.

The food swamp is a greater risk than the food desert for obesity

A study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity "suggests that living in a food swamp — a neighborhood where fast food and junk food outlets outnumber healthy alternatives — is a stronger predictor of high obesity rates" than so-called food deserts with limited access to nutritious food, says ScienceBlog.

D.C.’s major food bank just cut junk food by 84 percent in a year

A year ago, Washington D.C.’s Capital Area Food Bank — one of the largest food banks in the country — decided to turn away junk food, joining a growing trend of food banks who are trying to offer healthier options to low-income Americans. From soda to chips, the CAFB has reduced the junk food it supplies to its 444 nonprofit partners, including soup kitchens and food pantries, by 84 percent.