Welcome to FERN’s Friday Feed (#FFF), where we share the stories from this week that made us stop and think.
“[T]he Just Inc. chicken nugget is made from chicken cells gathered from a biopsy, grown inside a serum derived from foetal calves,” writes Naima Brown. “It was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside … But for me, lab-grown meat doesn’t sit right. I found foetal bovine serum deeply disturbing, it didn’t feel good to eat … Ultimately, I think my unease with lab grown meat is that I still believe our farming and agricultural systems can be part of the solution.”
Farmworkers left behind by broken labor and disaster-aid systems
“Labor laws exclude most agricultural workers from historic worker protections, and policy reform to better protect workers remains stagnant,” writes Victoria Bouloubasis. “The coronavirus pandemic has revealed massive shortcomings in the nation’s labor and disaster aid systems, which have for decades failed to protect workers who come to the U.S. every year for seasonal work. That means … hundreds of thousands of … people, are not guaranteed safety in the event of an emergency.”
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The Wall Street Journal
“Browsing cookbooks the other day, I noticed that many of the words we now use to praise dishes once would have been considered insults. I found recipes that call for ingredients to be “crushed,” “smashed,” “fermented,” “vinegared” and “sour,” as well as “burned” or “charred,” writes Bee Wilson. “Tastes change from one generation to the next, and this is as true of food words as it is of foods themselves. Such shifts in vocabulary reflect wider social trends.”
Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting
In recent years, the use of the weedkiller dicamba has led to millions of acres of crop damage across the Midwest and South “and an unprecedented level of strife in the farming world,” writes Johnathan Hettinger. “Executives from Monsanto and BASF, a German chemical company that worked with Monsanto to launch the system, knew their dicamba weed killers would cause large-scale damage to fields across the United States but decided to push them on unsuspecting farmers anyway, in a bid to corner the soybean and cotton markets.”
“[A]s utilities, oil companies and livestock companies pitch biogas as an emissions-reducing solution, critics say it simply locks in systems that allow two highly polluting industries to continue unchecked and without truly tackling their climate impact,” writes Georgina Gustin. “These industrial farms, like oil and gas infrastructure, are disproportionately located in lower income and minority communities, where pollution plagues waterways, air and quality of life.”