Welcome to FERN’s Friday Feed (#FFF), where we share the stories from this week that made us stop and think.
“Candy is controversial,” writes Mary H.K. Choi. “As with a beloved sports team, your affinities and fealties have been ingrained since your prelinguistic days. Such innate belief systems defy reasoning.” And we are all woefully constrained in our candy selection by geography. “It’s the shortcoming of the international candy marketplace that even Jeff Bezos can’t deliver you the deep cuts. You’ll have to travel for the choicest morsels.”
Just four black sugarcane farmers remain in Iberia parish, Louisiana—down from 60 in 1983. Many of those farmers have been driven out of business by discrimination from banks and neighbors. One family of sugarcane farmers has “endured years of discrimination in the form of coercive contracts, fraud, below-market crop loans, vandalism, and retaliation for speaking out about the mistreatment of black farmers,” writes Debbie Weingarten. They were “finally forced out of business in 2015,” and this year, they lost their home.
When Cliven Bundy and his gang of radical ranchers took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016, it sparked a national debate about the role of the federal government in managing public lands. Just two years later, writes FERN contributor Elliott Woods, the Bundy “movement” seems on the verge of petering out. “The Bundys’ antics—along with the efforts of the Trump administration and congressional Republicans to undermine environmental laws and regulations, shrink national monuments, and open millions of acres of public land and water to oil and gas development—have galvanized a movement around environmental and conservation advocacy that is nonpartisan and transgenerational.”
Edible San Francisco
Sarah Henry looks at how several restaurants are responding to allegations of sexual harassment against their employees, owners, or colleagues. “As industry exposé after industry exposé has piled up in the past 12 months or so, restaurants and food business owners have sought professional advice and are eager to step up anti–sexual harassment strategies, including sexual harassment training for all employees (such training is already mandatory for managers), revisiting anti-harassment policies, and pro-actively looking for ways to weed out sexual harassment at the table—whether from co-workers, managers, or restaurant diners,” she writes.
With the honeybee threatened by pesticides, pests and habitat loss, some ag-industry scientists in Europe are starting to explore the possibility of developing “a more resilient strain of honeybee – a genetically modified superbee,” writes Bernhard Warner. “The technology for creating GM honeybees is in its infancy, and still confined to the laboratory. But, if successful, it could lead to a hardier species, one that is resistant to natural and manmade hazards.” Beekeepers and environmentalists worry, though, that a GM bee would also overwhelm other types of wild bees and introduce new allergy threats.