My Generation
The Friday Five: Everything Edition

The Friday Five: Everything Edition

Forty food and farm maps, Panera in the news (again), home ec, EPA and more: here are five links to catch you up on the week in food and agriculture.

Published by Armour and Company in 1922, this map made the top of Vox's list of 40 food and ag maps. "The broad message of the map is right at the top: America's strength as a nation was substantially derived from its strength as an agricultural power. The huge expanse of American land and the vast number of climates across the country allowed the US to grow a more diverse set of crops and raise more kinds of animals than our competitors."

40 Maps that Explain Food in America: From Vox, this is a long read – 40 maps/charts – that take a look at historical agricultural production, modern commercial ag, and food trends all across the U.S. Despite the length, I'd say it's still worth it. A couple caveats: the authors are not agricultural, as noted by their ability mis-reference monocultures in #6. (It's called crop rotation, people.) Also, check #5 and the relative green-ness of Illinois. And check #10 – no surprise to farmers, about 4% of US farms currently produce 66% of farm products, by value. And #12, where you can actually watch the US corn crop photosynthesize. I'm a big fan of #38, too, and Coke is really the only right answer.

Chicago Ad Agency Fires Client Panera: There's a chance some of us in agriculture are relishing this story a little too much. But only a slight chance.

My Rock Bottom: This is a rapid change of pace from the prior two links, but worth the read. Remember the plane crash of South Dakota cattlemen that occurred a few weeks ago? This is the introductory blog post, written by the very young widow of the pilot in that crash. Her story is both heartbreaking and unbelievably sad. If ever you need perspective, this will provide it.

Feminists Killed Home Ec: There's a lot of talk in this New Republic piece about social policy and gender equality, but it's no secret that I agree with bringing home ec back. One of my favorite letters in response to this column was from a young farmer who spent several years teaching himself to cook, while his wife worked in town. So I'll say it again: everyone needs to learn to cook.

6 Stories to Read Now: EPA Waters of the US Round-up: This is where you want to click if you want to know the latest on the EPA's "waters of the U.S." rule proposal. My colleague, Janell Baum, put together a great list of six resources, designed to catch you up on this discussion, who's driving it and what you can do about it.

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