A New Tradition: Inside An All-Female Coffee Growers’ Cooperative in Honduras | Pacific Standard


“Agroforestry is a way to increase food security: the diversity of the crops on these lands allows an increase in production of fruit and vegetables that could be [traded] with other members of the community, or [provide] surplus sold to the market,” says Marcos Morales of the National Agricultural University in Olancho, who advises the agroforestry project.

“Forest coverage and biodiversity increased: we observed animals such as opossum, snakes, hares, armadillos, squirrels, and coyotes. Also, it is a way to counteract drought because soils retain more humidity.”

Source: A New Tradition: Inside An All-Female Coffee Growers’ Cooperative in Honduras – Pacific Standard

Trump order targets wide swath of public assistance programs | TheHill


The Trump administration is seeking to completely revamp the country’s social safety net, targeting recipients of Medicaid, food stamps and housing assistance.

Trump is doing so through a sweeping executive order that was quietly issued earlier this week — and that largely flew under the radar.

It calls on the Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture and other agencies across the federal government to craft new rules requiring that beneficiaries of a host of programs work or lose their benefits.

Source: Trump order targets wide swath of public assistance programs | TheHill

Republicans want to know Trump’s endgame on trade | TheHill


The fight over tariffs has sent markets into turmoil and clouded economic prospects, worrying senators ahead of the midterm elections.

Prices for soybeans, corn and wheat dropped in anticipation that China will hit U.S. exports hard if Trump goes through with a plan to impose tariffs on another $100 billion in Chinese imports.

Chinese retaliation on such crops would be felt acutely in states such as North Dakota, Missouri and Montana that are crucial Senate battlegrounds this fall.

Worse, from the point of view of Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and others, is that it’s not clear where the fight is headed.

Source: Republicans want to know Trump’s endgame on trade | TheHill

Family Farms Pushed to Get Big or Go Bust | Best States | US News


U.S. agriculture is in some sense a fickle industry, as many crops and products are at the mercy of local and global price fluctuations, access to a particular vendor or market, unpredictable weather patterns, machine and chemical prices, consumer demand and competition around them.

Many of these pressures have been around for decades, but agriculture has undergone a considerable shift toward larger farms in recent years, leaving small- and mid-sized operations pressured to expand – in some cases by buying out their friends and neighbors – or get out of the way of the bigger enterprises.

Source: Family Farms Pushed to Get Big or Go Bust | Best States | US News

Walmart patents hint at future where its drones tend the farms


Groceries make up 56 percent of the company’s total revenue and Walmart may see drone technology as one way to get food from farms to store shelves faster and more cheaply to compete with Amazon.com Inc, following its purchase of Whole Foods Market last year and the expansion of discount chains like Aldi and Lidl.

Source: Walmart patents hint at future where its drones tend the farms

Bottled Water: You Could Be Drinking Tiny Bits of Plastic | Time


The study, by journalism organization Orb Media and researchers at the State University of New York at Fredonia, found an average of 10.4 microplastic particles about the width of a human hair per liter.

That’s about twice the level of contamination discovered in the group’s earlier study on the ubiquitous plastic contamination in tap water across the globe, with the highest rate found in the U.S.

Source: Bottled Water: You Could Be Drinking Tiny Bits of Plastic | Time

Take your time: the seven pillars of a Slow Thought manifesto | Aeon Essays


In 1986, a McDonald’s restaurant opened at the foot of the Spanish Steps, in the Piazza di Spagna, the most famous square in Rome.

The invasion of cheap American fast food into the heart of Rome caused a sensation. One protester was Carlo Petrini, a Leftist Italian journalist, who initiated a movement called Slow Food.

Petrini emphasized locally grown produce, biodiversity and, above all, the enjoyment of authentic Italian taste.

In the late 1990s, the idea morphed into Cittaslow, or Slow Cities, part of a broader cultural meme called the Slow Movement.

The Norwegian philosopher Guttorm Fløistad grasped the beat of the Slow Movement when he wrote …

Source: Take your time: the seven pillars of a Slow Thought manifesto | Aeon Essays

Welcome to the Age of Climate Migration | Rolling Stone

In the not-so-distant future, places like Phoenix and Tucson will become so hot that just walking across the street will be a life-threatening event.

Parts of the upper Middle West will become a permanent dust bowl.

South Florida and low-lying sections of the Gulf Coast will be underwater.

Some people may try to stick around and fight it out with Mother Nature, but most will not.

“People will do what they have done for thousands of years,” says Vivak Shandas, a professor of urban studies and planning at Portland State University. “They will migrate to better climates.”

Source: Welcome to the Age of Climate Migration – Rolling Stone

Major EPA reorganization will end science research program | TheHill


The National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) will no longer exist following plans to combine three EPA offices, the agency confirmed to The Hill Monday.

The program provides millions of dollars in grants each year.

Perhaps best known for its handling of fellowships that study the effects of chemicals on children’s health, NCER will be dissolved and science staff serving there will be reassigned elsewhere within the department, EPA said.

Source: Major EPA reorganization will end science research program | TheHill

Water affordability is not just a local challenge, but a federal one too


To keep up with mounting infrastructure costs, utilities have been scrambling to generate more revenue. And in many places, that has meant significantly higher water rates for households, with the average monthly residential bill rising by nearly 50 percent since 2010 and far faster than incomes.

As those rates rise, water affordability becomes a core issue—not just in specific cities like Flint, but for lower-income households in all types of regions.

Source: Water affordability is not just a local challenge, but a federal one too