Day: June 12, 2020

Extra food is rotting on farms while Americans go hungry. This group is trying to fix that.

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Food banks in the United States are grappling with unprecedented need — a direct symptom of widespread unemployment, as roughly 16 percent of Americans are still without a paycheck. In 30 percent of U.S. households that have lost income because of the coronavirus, meals have been missed and families have relied heavily on food handouts.

James Kanoff, 21, a sophomore at Stanford University, took note of the troubling paradox: Farms have a surplus of food from canceled restaurant contracts and a shattered supply chain, while food banks are experiencing a staggering surge in demand.

The supply of produce was there, said Kanoff, and so was the demand for it — but the link connecting the two was missing.

So Kanoff and a group of college students from Stanford and Brown universities started FarmLink, a grass-roots movement to prevent food waste while also working to address food insecurity. FarmLink raises money to pay farmers for produce and dairy that would otherwise be wasted, then funds the transportation to send the goods to food banks in the neediest areas around the country.

Green Infrastructure Partnership Opportunity Program

Application deadline: August 30, 2020 at 11:59 PM CDT
More information

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is accepting project applications for partnership funding opportunities. MWRD seeks to partner with local municipalities and public agencies to install green infrastructure (GI) throughout Cook County. Submitted applications will be evaluated based on the engineering effectiveness of the GI practices amongst several other criteria. Responsibilities of selected applicants will be defined through an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the MWRD.

Chi-Cal Rivers Fund 2020 Request for Proposals

Full Proposal Due Date:  Thursday, July 9 by 10:59 PM Central Time
More information

The Chi–Cal Rivers Fund (Fund) is inviting applications for competitive grant funding. With a focus on the major waterways of the Chicago and Calumet region, the program will award grants to reduce stormwater runoff with green infrastructure, enhance fish and wildlife habitat and improve public access to and use of natural areas. Approximately $1 million is expected to be available for grant awards. Individual grants typically range from $100,000 to $300,000. P

New York ‘Forever Chemical’ Rules Delayed by Coronavirus Efforts

Read the full story from Bloomberg Law.

New York’s plans to set maximum contaminant levels for “forever chemicals” in drinking water were again delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The state’s Public Health and Health Planning Council was expected to set the levels and finalize rules requiring water system monitoring for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, PFAS, as well as 1,4-dioxane, at its June 4 meeting.

It was canceled because the department is focused on fighting Covid-19 and because of budget uncertainty that could affect funding for water treatment, Deputy Commissioner of Public Health Brad Hutton told Bloomberg Law on Tuesday. “We’re still around the clock, 24-7 responding to the pandemic.”

The next meeting is set for July 30, but Hutton said they may call an emergency meeting before then. The department also could choose to adopt the changes in advance and seek approval from the council later, he said.

Environmental advocates are urging the state to put the standards in place soon.

Harriet Tubman, an Unsung Naturalist, Used Owl Calls as a Signal on the Underground Railroad

Read the full story in Audubon.

The famed conductor traveled at night, employing deep knowledge of the region’s environment and wildlife to communicate, navigate, and survive.

Will the pandemic permanently alter scientific publishing?

Read the full story in Nature.

The push for rapid and open publishing could take off — although financial pressures lie ahead.

CalRecycle SB1383 Case Studies

Read the full story from Biocycle.

California’s SB 1383 Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Reduction Act requires the state to reduce organic waste (food waste, green waste, paper products, etc.) disposal by 75% by 2025 — more than 20 million tons annually. The law also requires the state to increase edible food recovery by 20 percent by 2025. SB 1383 establishes a statewide target and not a jurisdiction organic waste recycling target, thus the “regulation requires a more prescriptive approach,” explains CalRecycle, the agency overseeing SB1383 implementation. “CalRecycle must adopt regulations that impose requirements necessary to achieve the statewide targets. This makes the regulation more similar to other environmental quality regulations where regulated entities, i.e., jurisdictions, are required to implement specific actions, rather than achieve unique targets.”

The draft regulations — they are awaiting final approval by the state’s Office of Administrative Law — require that jurisdictions conduct education and outreach on organics recycling to all residents, businesses (including those that generate edible food that can be donated), haulers, solid waste facilities, and local food banks and other food recovery organizations. Even though the SB 1383 regulations don’t go into effect until January 1, 2022, jurisdictions need to start planning now to adequately resource the programs, says CalRecycle, which has made education and outreach tools available. Newly added are eight SB 1383 case studies, compiled by HF&H Consultants under a CalRecycle contract.  The case study topics include franchise agreements, enforcement ordinances, edible food, and procurement.

How has coronavirus pandemic impacted California food, agriculture and environment?

Read the full story from the University of California.

COVID-19 continues to affect parts of California agriculture in different ways. A new report from agricultural economists at the University of California examines the current and long-term impacts on California’s leading agricultural industries.

Profiles in the report illustrate the different ways the pandemic has impacted dairy, beef and produce – industries that have scrambled to repurpose products from foodservice to retail – and tree nuts, an industry that saw a temporary spike in sales as consumers hoarded storable goods. The report includes expert assessments of what the future holds for California’s cattle, dairy, produce, strawberry, tomato, tree nut and wine industries.

The studies are contained in a special coronavirus issue of ARE Update, a bimonthly magazine published by the University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. Contributors include several experts from the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. 

McDonald’s addresses limited menu, sustainability efforts amid coronavirus

Read the full story from Nation’s Restaurant News.

The chain responds to franchisees looking to maintain a trimmed menu; sustainability chief also talks about making the supply chain stronger despite coronavirus challenges

Illinois scientists study disease-carrying mosquito’s spread

Read the full story in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Researchers at a University of Illinois institute are studying how a disease-carrying mosquito has spread in the state over three decades.

They focused on Asian tiger mosquitoes, invasive bugs that can spread dengue fever, Zika and other diseases. The mosquitoes originated in southeast Asia, came to Texas in the 1980s and spread to Illinois.

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