Daily Archives: June 14, 2016

G-20 agriculture ministers focus on food innovation | World Grain

Representing USDA at the G-20 Agricultural Ministerial in Xi’an, China, June 3, were: (back row, left to right): Jason Hafemeister, FAS; Chris Frederick, FAS; Wade Sheppard, FAS; and Bruce Zanin, FAS; and (front row, left to right): Amy Zhang, FAS; Tayo Akingbe, FAS; Jonathan Cordone, USDA deputy under secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services; Sue Cottrell, FAS; Zhang Lei, FAS; Elizabeth Jones, FAS; and James Wei, FAS.

WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — U.S. Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Jonathan Cordone led the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) delegation to the G-20 Agricultural Ministers Meeting in Xi’an, China, June 3. The theme of the gathering was agricultural innovation, which, as Cordone said in his address to the group, is key to meeting the daunting challenge of feeding a global population that is expected to reach 9.7 billion by the year 2050.

Cordone told top agricultural officials from the G-20 member countries that the tools needed to meet this challenge include compatible regulatory systems, an openness to sharing data, and innovative approaches to addressing changing climate and reducing food waste.

“Regulatory systems that are based on science are more effective,” Cordone said. “We cannot afford for decisions to be based solely on public opinion and political expediency. And regulatory systems that are globally compatible are necessary in an age of international trade and interdependency. We cannot let short-term interests impede our long-term global food security.”

..(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Tackling Agriculture’s Climate Change Problem – Brink – The Edge of Risk

Dairy cows stand in a barn at the Wolters dairy farm on May 19, 2016 in Bandelow, Germany. Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture need to be dramatically cut to achieve global climate change goals. For example, recently developed methane inhibitors would reduce dairy cow emissions by 30 percent without affecting milk yields.

Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

June 14, 2016 Eva Lini Wollenberg Research Associate Professor at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics and Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont

Although 177 countries signed the Paris Agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in April 2016, the reductions they have pledged so far are not enough. To stand a chance of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by the century’s end, we need to get more specific about the reductions that sectors need to make.

Agriculture directly accounts for 10 to 12 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. We know that even if the industrial, transport and energy sectors all take action, it will be impossible to meet the 2 degrees Celsius limit without addressing the emissions in agriculture.

The good news is that an overwhelming majority of countries119 in totalhave pledged to reduce their agriculture-related emissions as part of the Paris process; however, until now, we have had no means to evaluate these plans to understand whether the pledges are enough.

To meet this challenge, a team of scientists calculated the reduction needed in agricultural GHG emissions to meet the global 2 degrees Celsius target. The study was conducted by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), a global research consortium, and partners.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Citi, Deutsche and JPMorgan censured for backing fossil fuel – FT.com


June 14, 2016 5:01 am,  Pilita Clark, Environment Correspondent

Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan Chase have delivered billions of dollars in financing for coal, oil and gas companies that is “deeply at odds” with the goals of the Paris climate change accord, according to a study.

The banks rank among the top North American and European private sector backers of coal mines, coal power plants and costly oil and gas ventures over the past three years, according to the report by environmental campaign groups the US Sierra Club, the Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack and Oil Change International.

Deutsche Bank was the top financer of big coal miners, delivering nearly $7bn between 2013 and 2015, according to the study’s assessment of publicly available financial filings.

Citigroup was calculated to have supplied $24bn for large coal power plant operators, making it the largest supporter in this category.

JPMorgan Chase was ranked the largest financer of so-called “extreme oil”, financing an estimated $38bn for the biggest owners of untapped reserves in ultra-deep offshore fields, the Arctic or tar sands.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Study Food Systems in Cuba – January 2017 | UMass Sustainable Food and Farming P rogram

May 8, 2016

Students not attending UMass Amherst may take this class! You will need to join us for bi-weekly meetings during the fall semester to prepare for the trip which will take place from January 3-19, 2017. Contact Dr. Frank Mangan for details.

University of Massachusetts Amherst Stockbridge School of Agriculture Cuba Food Systems Syllabus

STOCKSCH 397 – Food Systems in Cuba: Production, Logistics and Marketing

Fall 2016 and Winter Session 2017

Credits: 3


The understanding of food systems is critical to many aspects of sustainable agriculture, including crop production, packing, distribution, sales and environmental considerations. This class will study the food system in Cuba by visiting farms, both urban and rural, markets and meetings with government agencies involved in the various aspects of the food system in Cuba. Students will also have a personal look at the food system for a Cuban family where they will stay for most of the course.

Course Description

During the Fall semester, students will study food systems in Cuba though articles and discussions during bi-weekly meetings. Each student will choose a topic related to the food system and write a paper on that subject based on what they learned during the time in Cuba and readings.

At the completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the food system in Cuba based on readings, specific visits and lectures in Cuba.
  • Demonstrate cultural understanding through direct observation, participation and discussion with Cuban farmers, vendors and government officials who work in the Cuban food system.


  • Given that this is a course about a system, we will accept students who are studying any discipline that is related to this system. This is a partial list of departments that are relevant to this course: Accounting, Communication, Environmental Conservation, Finance, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, Language, Literatures and Cultures, Management, Marketing, Nutrition, Political Science, Public Policy and Administration, Resource Economics, Social Thought and Political Economy, Sociology, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, Veterinary and Animal.
  • Spanish language proficiency (completion of 2 semesters of college Spanish) is encouraged, but not required
  • An interview with the instructor, Frank Mangan, is required before being accepted into the course. This interview can happen by phone.
  • This course will have a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 15 students.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

UMass Sustainable Food and Farming Program

Register for the Real Food Challenge Practicum

June 12, 2016

Real Food Practicum

STOCKSCH 198 R – 2 credits

Wednesdays from 12:20pm – 1:10pm

Come be a part of transforming UMass into a more sustainable, healthy, and socially just campus!

This 2-credit course explores issues and dynamics around sustainability and social well-being. The class is action oriented; we will work in concert with the Real Food Challenge (RFC), which aims to support the transformation of UMass’s food system. Through project-based engagement with the RFC, we will learn about—and develop as leaders in relation to—food justice, local food systems, and ethical economies.

UMass Amherst’s food is consistently recognized among the best in the nation, yet the institution currently serves less than 20% Real Food to students, staff, and faculty. The RFC is striving to support more local, ethically produced, ecologically sound food sources and working to more thoroughly connect with campus and community partners.

The project-based nature of the course means that student interests and ideas will significantly shape course content. All majors are welcome! Student research and actions will not only inform the class and other students, but we will make a tangible impact on the UMass food system through supporting dining product shifts, educational outreach and events, and policy work.

STOCKSH-198 Real Food Practicum
Wednesdays, 12:20-1:10
Instructor: Boone Shear, bshear
Co-facilitators: Carly Brand, cbrand@umass.edu
Co-facilitator: Krystal Kilhart, kkilhart

To register, contact Carly Brand at cbrand@umass.edu.

For more on the national Real Food Challenge project, see: http://www.realfoodchallenge.org/

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice