FERN’s Friday Feed: Rev. Moon, sushi king

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

​​How the Moonies brought sushi to the world

The New York Times

“One of [Rev. Sun Myung] Moon’s daughters, In Jin Moon, once asked in a sermon whether their movement really made a difference,” writes Daniel Fromson. “‘In an incredible way, we did,” she said: Her father created True World Foods. ‘When he initiated that project,’ she went on, ‘nobody knew what sushi was or what eating raw fish was about.’ Moon, she concluded, ‘got the world to love sushi.’ Or as she put it on a different occasion, ‘My father’s work is already in their body.’”

In California’s lettuce lands, a major Covid success story

Zócalo Public Square

“The Salinas and Imperial Valleys are California’s two great lettuce lands, leading producers of green vegetables, from spinach to broccoli. As such, they share networks of companies, mechanics, and workers who operate in the Salinas Valley through summer and fall, and the Imperial Valley … in winter,” writes Joe Mathews. “Some of these same workers were among the hardest hit by the first wave of COVID-19 last spring … But, after the early months of the pandemic, agricultural networks in the two valleys rallied in a big way. Tight collaboration among entities that can be at odds—growers, labor groups, local governments, community advocates, and health clinics—was crucial.”

A rancher’s quest for drought-proof cattle

Los Angeles Times

“[Langdon] Hill is experimenting on his 18,000-acre ranch in the dusty mountains of rural Arizona: crossbreeding in hopes of developing smaller, lankier cows that retain less heat, aren’t as thirsty and live off the native grasses and bushes without the massive grain feedlots synonymous with the American cattle industry,” writes Jaweed Kaleem. “Perhaps, he theorizes, they might also let out less methane. ‘Our food industry is upside-down,’ said Hill, 59, an environmentalist, onetime vegetarian and former industrial engineer-turned-cowboy. ‘We eat cheap, mass-produced, water-intensive meat fed on corn and we have too much of it. We can do beef better,’ he insisted. ‘And do less of it.’

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Inside fast-food workers’ season of rebellion

The Washington Post

“Dustin Snyder was tired of the low wages, the 60-hour workweeks and the impossible-to-please customers, and so in early September the assistant general manager at a McDonald’s here drafted a petition that laid bare months of building anger and frustration. ‘We are all leaving,’ his petition threatened, ‘and hope you find employees that want to work for $9.25 an hour.’ Nearly all of his two dozen employees had signed it,” writes Greg Jaffe. “Dustin, 21, could feel his heart pounding in his chest as he fed the petition into the fax machine in the McDonald’s office, punched in the number for his bosses 80 miles away in Buffalo and hit send. Another low-wage worker rebellion in a season full of them.”

A massive fraud lays bare the inadequacy of organic regulation

The New Yorker

“Constant’s illicit activities rarely required much guile. In a market that often seems to value a certificate of authenticity over authenticity, all he had to do was lie,” writes Ian Parker. “Constant came to learn that, as long as he maintained control of some fields certified as organic, almost nothing stood in the way of his selling non-organic grain obtained elsewhere, as if it all had grown in those fields. In 2016, his sales of organic corn implied a yield per acre of about thirteen hundred bushels—about ten times any plausible number. That year, Constant controlled some three thousand acres certified for either organic corn or soybeans, and brought in about twenty million dollars.”