Here’s what caught our eye this week in food news:
1. Beating Monsanto in the Food Fight: Oregon Counties Vote to Ban GMO Crops (The Nation)
Josephine County and Jackson County, Oregon overwhelmingly approved ballot measures to prohibit the cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) crops in the counties. Farmers in the area grow both sugar beets and alfalfa, two crops that are said to be susceptible to contamination from the pollen of nearby GE plants. The bans were voted in by a two-to-one margin. As The Center for Food Safety put it in their blog: “In the absence of any meaningful government mandated restrictions to control contamination, bans such as those in Jackson and Josephine County are the only way for farmers to protect their crops from contamination.”
2. Fast Food Workers Protest at McDonald’s Annual Meeting (USA Today)
Eight hundred protesters showed up to raise awareness about the minimum wage outside McDonald’s Oak Brook, Ill., headquarters this week during the company’s annual shareholder meeting. While the company continues to present itself as an employer of teenagers, USA Today points out that the median age of fast-food workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is 29 for all workers and 32 for women.
3. California Bill Would Impose Sanctions for Sexually Harassing Farmworkers (KQED)
This important bill would give the California state labor commissioner the power to revoke farm labor contractors’ licenses if they hire crew supervisors who have sexually harassed workers. Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel), who introduced the bill, says he was inspired to do so after a series in-depth reports from the Center for Investigative, the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley and The California Report called Rape in the Fields.
4. California State University Approves State-Wide Sustainable Food Policy Worth $100 million (Real Food Challenge)
As of 2020, 20 percent of the food served at the 23 state colleges in California will adhere to the standards set by campus organizers, Real Food Challenge. An estimated $100 million in food spending will now go to purchase food that is local and community-based, fair, ecologically sound, and/or humane.