food systems


Farmers Markets and Wicked Opportunities

Alfonso Morales, Ph.D., Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor, , UCS

“Wicked problems” like COVID-19 and climate change have no ending point. Not simply because we do not (yet) have a technical solution, but because our social institutions, principally our economic and political institutions, have not the flexibility required to respond robustly. However, we have ways forward, through embracing what I call “wicked opportunities.” As we continue to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic and the food and farm system vulnerabilities it has exposed, from food insecurity to worker exploitation to brittle supply chains, I’d like to suggest one critical wicked opportunity: the farmers market. Read more >

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Photo: IIP Photo Archive/Flickr

With The Farm Bill Expired, Will Science Stall?

, senior scientist

All the stranded programs together account for only $2.8 billion of the nearly $1 trillion farm bill. But they provide significant value, and none less than the research and education programs now in budgetary limbo. In this post, I’ll focus on the three such programs: Organic Agriculture Research and Extension, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. Depending on how long Congress leaves these programs hanging before passing a new farm bill, important agricultural research and extension, and the field of agroecology, could suffer. Read more >

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Scientists to Senate: Reject Sam Clovis for USDA Science Post

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

For months, controversy has swirled around the Trump administration’s…shall we say…deeply flawed nominee for USDA chief scientist. A former business professor, talk radio host, and Trump campaign advisor, Sam Clovis has embraced unfounded conspiracy theories and espoused racist and homophobic views. And did I mention he has no scientific training whatsoever? It’s true. And while Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is standing by the nomination, thousands of the nation’s scientists are having none of it. Read more >

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A Look at Iceland’s Food and Farming System (Or, What I Ate on My Summer Vacation)

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

As a food lover and an agriculture geek, I frequently plan vacations around what there is to eat. This summer, I traveled to Iceland, ostensibly to admire its breathtaking scenery and ride its tough little horses. As a bonus, I escaped a couple weeks of DC’s stifling heat. But of course, I also took the opportunity to see (and taste) this unique country’s equally unique food and agriculture system up close. Read more >

Photo: Karen Perry Stillerman
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Xavier University Students Talk Food Equity in the Food System

, former food systems & health analyst

Two weeks ago, I packed my bags and traveled to Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans to talk with students in their sociology department. Xavier is a historically black university founded in the early 1900s. Last month, the New York Times published an article about how Xavier sends more African American students to medical school than any other college in the country—and they have less than 2,500 undergraduate students. Read more >

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