FERN’s Friday Feed: A school-lunch call to arms

Welcome to FERN’s Friday Feed (#FFF), where we share the stories from this week that made us stop and think.

Rise up, students!

Teen Vogue

School lunch, long a repository for all the pathologies that afflict America’s food system—from crappy industrial ingredients to the paltry wages of people who serve meals—is in need of a revolution, writes Jennifer Gaddis. “We need to organize a youth-led movement for school food justice. Universal free, healthy, tasty, eco-friendly, culturally appropriate school lunches could be a reality in the United States, but only if students, cafeteria workers (over 90% of whom are women), and communities join together in solidarity to fight for real food and real jobs in K-12 schools.”

Rising sea temperatures threaten Angola’s fishing industry

The Washington Post

Ocean temperatures have risen 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 100 years off the coast of Angola, putting its fishing-dependent residents in peril. “The warming ocean temperatures compound the effects of two other ecological catastrophes playing out in this southern African country of 30 million: Illegal fishing depletes the ocean of tens of thousands of tons of fish each year, and increasingly oxygen-poor seawater makes coastal areas inhospitable to a diversity of marine life,” write Max Bearak and Chris Mooney. “Ultimately, unchecked warming could … cause Angola to lose 20 percent of its fisheries.”

Help us get to 100 new donors!

Thanks to NewsMatch, if we gain 100 new donors between now and the end of the year, we’ll get a significant bonus! Plus you can get The Dirt 2019, eight of our favorite stories from the past year in a beautifully produced magazine, with a donation of at least $5/month or $50 one time. And NewsMatch will match your new monthly donation to FERN 12x — that’s right — twelve times! Or it will double your one-time gift, all up to $1,000 per donor, to make twice the impact. Donate now and help us get there!

Meet the 26-year-old who is an ‘architect’ of the Green New Deal

The Correspondent

“Growing up with a single mother in Oakland, [Julian Brave NoiseCat] spent stretches of his childhood dip-netting and drying salmon with family in the Secwepemc and St’at’imc territories in British Columbia, and travelled and competed on the powwow circuit before attending Columbia University and Oxford,” writes Eric Holthaus. “As one of the architects helping to put together the Green New Deal — a set of policy ideas that puts justice and equity at the centre of climate action — NoiseCat is hoping to change the course of not only American history, but world history.”

The rise and fall and rise again of ‘authenticity’ in America’s endless food debate


A decade or so ago, ‘authenticity’ became the “buzzword that propelled people to seek out so-called hole-in-the-wall taco joints over Qdoba and blast their exploits all over Yelp,” writes Jaya Saxena. Then, predictably, it was torn down, turned into a “cliche, the language of insufferable foodies more concerned with appearing to have the correct tastes than doing any tasting.” But rather than disappear from the public conversation, it morphed, “broadening into a debate about innovation, interpretation, and change and recognizing that no cuisine, or culture, is static. Welcome to Authenticity 2.0.”

The false promise of biogas digesters

The New Food Economy

“At a glance, anaerobic digesters seem like the perfect solution to one of society’s many messes: They take the waste from cows, pigs, and chickens raised en masse for human consumption, and from literal shit generate energy to power our cars, homes, and electronics. What could be more renewable than manure?” writes Jessica McKenzie. Yet critics say the digesters aren’t so green after all, as “anaerobic digesters are solving problems only created by large-scale factory farming in the first place, problems that are avoided in more sustainable systems, especially pasture-based ones.”