Reducing Farmer Debt, No Meat for the German Government and More of the Food News You Need to Know This Week

Plus: Can the trendiness of kava help the economy of Fiji?

Yes! Magazine on why farmers aren’t excited about the new head of the EPA: 
“Pruitt’s positions on climate change have been widely reported. Less well-known are the threats that his approach to the EPA is likely to pose to farmworkers, a group that is inextricably tied to the environment and the climate. These workers, more than half of whom are undocumented, are already busy fighting against President Trump’s promised deportations—but they say they’re prepared to lobby for climate justice, as well.”

The National Young Farmers Coalition talks about how to align with policymakers to reduce the burden of student debt:
“Across the country, states are taking action to invest in the next generation of farmers and ranchers, rural communities, and our nation’s food security by helping young people better manage their student loan debt. Several states already offer programs that help with student loan repayment to encourage eligible graduates to pursue careers in agriculture, and to do so in their state. The New York State Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program, for example, provides student loan repayments (up to $50,000 over the course of the program) to individuals who obtain an undergraduate degree and commit to operating a farm in New York State, on a full-time basis, for five years.”

Alternet writes about the potential danger of a Monsanto and Bayer merger:
“In addition to market control, Bayer’s proposed purchase is aimed at steadying a reeling Monsanto, which is mired in turmoil from a long list of objectionable activities involving toxic pesticides and its increasingly unpopular genetically-modified organisms. Ironically, given its own sullied past that includes Nazi sympathizing and marketing heroin-laced cough syrup for children, Bayer is being portrayed as the one riding to the rescue of Monsanto’s poor public image. If anything, it’s a sign of just how low the Monsanto brand and reputation has plummeted, forcing it to try and improve its image by sidling up to Bayer, a participant in some of the cruelest crimes in human history.”

The German government, ThinkProgress writes, is banning meat from its official functions:
“Earlier this week, Barbara Hendricks, Germany’s environment minister, announced that the government would be instituting a ban on meat at official functions held by the Ministry of Environment, citing the environmental burden of meat production as the reason for the ban.”

The Food Institute at George Washington University looks at how a sustainable farm bill will require giving rural communities priority:
“Regardless of where we live, we rely on rural communities a lot more than we may realize. They’re the places where most of our drinking water originates, where our domestically-produced energy is made, where our public and private lands are stewarded. A disproportionate shareof our military comes from rural areas. And of course, it’s where the vast majority of our domestic food production happens. That’s on top of the cultural, historical, and other assets our rural communities represent.

That’s a lot of responsibility, and success depends on thriving rural places. To state that more bluntly: if you are interested in where your food comes from, concerned about the environment, supportive of alternative energy strategies… then rural success matters to you.”

The New York Times reports on how kava’s burgeoning popularity can alleviate economic woes for Fiji:
“Pacific Island governments, nonprofits and a new group of entrepreneurs are trying to solve those problems. They are working to modernize kava cultivation in the hope that the drink’s budding popularity in the United States and Europe can be sustained. Groups in Fiji hope new interest could help alleviate the country’s rural poverty, which persists despite healthy economic growth over all.”

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