Month: May 2014

Global Concern, Local Debate

In recent weeks, influencers were fired up by issues as widespread as the global climate and as local as food labeling rules. The Obama administration’s National Climate Assessment, which outlined its position on climate change, attracted the most buzz among influencers. They were quick to relate the issue to the food supply. Worldwide antimicrobial resistance continued to attract influencer coverage as well. Nationally, the Census of Agriculture was released, with influencers finding reasons to celebrate and scour the new data. The agriculture community also debated the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed new rule related to the 1972 Clean Water Act.

On a local level, the new farmers market season prompted lively discussion about trends in purchasing local foods. Also, as expected, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the first law of its kind requiring labels for foods with genetically modified ingredients. Meanwhile, school districts grappled with increased restrictions in school lunch programs for the upcoming year. Read more about the topics, local and far-reaching, that influencers weighed in on.

Crops In Focus

With planting season finally underway, crops are commanding attention in food and agriculture discussions. The Open Source Seed Initiative stirred excitement from farmers and academics with its launch at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Genetically modified organism (GMO) technology and the organic label continued to stimulate debate, with agriculturalist perspectives gaining momentum over activist views; GMO technology was the topic of a uniquely balanced and respectful dialogue at the University of California, Berkeley, while organic labeling came under unprecedented criticism. Meanwhile, the European Union made waves by effectively banning the import of U.S. apples over use of a pesticide.

Earth Day was on April 22, and influencers widely celebrated and acknowledged the day while using it to assert their viewpoints. At the end of April, the World Health Organization announced that antibiotic resistance is now a worldwide threat, which attracted substantial coverage. In The Netherlands, Maryn McKenna examined innovative broiler chicken housing systems. All the while, the agriculture business was making wide use of the hashtag #plant14, sowing plenty of interest in the crop season among influencer circles.