City’s first fixed food-truck lot opens Monday

In the small town of Batesville in Arkansas, a “Food Lot” will open tomorrow as the city’s first permanent food-truck park. Steve and Wendy Lewis transformed two longtime vacant lots at Central Avenue and College Street to a park for up to eight food trucks, starting with T’s Boxed Lunches. The couple who is in charge of this project has stated that there will also be additional improvements in the surrounding area, such as having local elementary school students paint a mural on the property’s concrete wall, as well as landscaping and picnic tables.

The Food Lot will be an attractive addition to downtown Batesville, the couple said. “Anytime we see a vacant property become enlivened again, that’s always exciting”. “The fact that someone has taken on one of our vacant properties and has invested in it and has a business plan people are definitely excited about — that’s a win”. T’s Boxed Lunches will offer sandwiches, “things you can pick up to go,” she said. “We will have picnic tables out, so people will have a common seating area where they can sit out and enjoy the weather, or they can get it to go and go back to their office.

It does not look as if the Food Lot is in competition with local restaurants, I think if you are going to go eat at a food park, you probably weren’t going to go in and sit down at a restaurant in the first place. I think this is a great way to cut down on restaurant space used and wasted resources all while livening up a previously outdated and vacant parking lot.




Topic: The role of agricultural skills development in transforming African agriculture

About: Africa’s population is growing fast, and so are the continent’s food requirements. More must be done in future to increase agricultural productivity to eliminate the occurrence of food riots, experienced in 2008, 2011 and 2012. Potential solutions include designing programs that target the youth, both educated and uneducated. Attracting well-trained youth to the agricultural sector can help achieve needed increases in both production and productivity, and help address the youth unemployment crisis.

This paper discusses how agricultural skills development contributes to agricultural transformation. It looks at successful and unsuccessful skills development systems in African and recommends ways of resolving challenges encountered. The paper also provides recommendations on how to help unskilled people acquire skills, as well as to ensure that those with relevant agricultural skills become successful in the agricultural sector.


Call for Caribbean to Revisit Agricultural Priorities

On March 5-8, 2018 Jamaica hosted the 35th Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Conference which discussed (1) eradicating hunger, overweight and obesity [hunger is growing again for the first time in decades and obesity has become an epidemic that threatens the lives of millions of people], (2) putting an end to rural poverty [rural areas are unable to get out of poverty, addressing the root causes of migration, improving diets through family farming and artisanal fishing, unleashing the potential of rural women, and promoting inclusive arti-food systems] (3) promoting climate resilient sustainable agriculture [creating sustainable agriculture to face climate change, protecting the rich biodiversity of the region, and improving access to climate finance] and (4) a new FAO to meet the Sustainable Development Goals [continuing the reform of FAO to achieve Zero Hunger and moving from small to large-scal initiatives].

What’s interesting about this specific conference is that there was the most governmental leaders across Latin America and the Caribbean present than ever before whom discussed dimensions of food security and how to incorporate its solutions as a matter of public policy, including all actors of the food system, biomedical concepts of nutritious diet intake, and medical geography [a field not necessarily focused on before].  Being from the Caribbean and a student in our food systems course that is relatively close to the Caribbean- its astonishing to experience the impact of basic concepts we learn in class and its effect (short and long term) to my community. Sessions like these often leave abandoned with just a guideline book or global suggestions, but this FAO conference left with an incredibly large fund for climate change adaption and resilience, and a leadership strive to become the first Zero Hunger generation. It feels different, but I will monitor the funding progress during the remainder of our course and post updates accordingly.

Please check out the recordings posted on the FAO website and the relevant articles if you have a moment!



‘Harveys & Winn-Dixie closures fuel concerns over food deserts’

Screen Shot 2018-03-17 at 3.55.32 PMThe article focuses on how the closure of 94 grocery stores owned by South Eastern Grocers and how this could potentially transform the nearby areas into food deserts.  As discussed in class food deserts are commonly found in urban areas where there is a lack of access to healthy and nutritional food, something which is usually associated with lower income neighborhoods. Like we also discussed in class public transport will play a major role in the future of this area because many people who live in the area do not own cars. Therefore the closure of these shops may not mean that people will have even more limited access with some having to walk miles or get public transport to reach their nearest supermarket or store.

Personally I feel like although this closure has significantly impacted the area I would argue that it is problems such as accessibility and public transport that local authorities need to target, rather than the closure of these food deserts themselves. As the world becoming increasingly more reliant on cars, we forget that many people do not have access to these kinds of technology. Therefore as a population we almost enhance the problem of these food deserts, particularly in wealthier nations where it is not the amount of food that is the problem, but it’s accessibility and this is the issue I feel solutions need to be found for.


Cheese-n SZN


raw-spiced-cashew-cheese-3.jpg(Raw spiced cashew cheese)

So, after throwing the idea back and forth about going dairy free in my daily life for the last two years, I will say this…I can’t get away from cheese.

I grew up in a household where a glass of skim milk accompanied every meal but for some reason that wasn’t too tough to shake. Same goes for ice cream, have’nt had a hard time avoiding that one- frequently opting for fruit as a late night snack if the sugar craving sets in while watching Netflix. It’s the damn cheese that I have a hard time letting go.

I don’t know if anyone else can relate but there is something about a sharp cheddar, creamy brie, or smoked manchego that is irresistible to me. I’ve had all but given up on the matter when a started to read a little about alternative vegan cheeses that won’t leave you disappointed. Check out one of the articles that I found most hopeful!




Alaska restricts king salmon fishing in Susitna, Little Su and upper Inlet

Over the last several years, Alaskans have witnessed their “chinook,” or king, salmon runs continue their downward trend of productivity. This trend ultimately results in fewer spawning adults returning to their natal streams, causing escapement goals to be missed, and potentially fewer young fish to continue their anadromous lifecycle.

Low productivity can also mean fewer opportunities for subsistence, sport and commercial fishers to sustainably harvest king salmon.


Every year, Alaska Department of Fish and Game fishery managers balance their preseason management decisions based on the best available science, while striving to provide opportunity to harvest these magnificent fish. During periods of low productivity, our managers are forced to make tough decisions that might restrict or in some cases close specific rivers or areas to harvest.


While it is unfortunate, the truth is that between unethical sport and commercial fishing practices other species like the pacific king salmon will likely need similar protection and research to prevent total food web collapse. But why are these fish so important….? Well, it has been found that some temperate forests, like those found along the coastal regions of Alaska, actually derive 80% of their nitrogen needs from remains of salmon that are spread across the landscape by other wild life.




“Can blockchain make out food systems more sustainable?”

In our accelerating digital world the use of crypto currencies based on blockchain technology is rapidly increasing. In turn, we have seen a global surge in interest. Though, some have pointed out that while digital records might help reduce physical paper consumption, it still remains a method of operation that requires vast amounts of energy and thus a major contributor to fossil fuel emissions with dated grid systems. There is currently no exact figures on the global energy demand for crypto currencies but estimates from a study in 2014 by the National Institute of Ireland say that crypto alone could equate to an annual energy drain that is similar to that of the entire country of Switzerland…that’s a lot.

But some experts in the tech industry warn that writing of blockchain all together would be a big mistake – especially for our food systems. Simply put, blockchain technology is a way of storing and sharing information across a network of users in an open virtual space. Blockchain technology allows for users to look at all transactions simultaneously and in real-time.

In food, for example, a retailer would know with whom his supplier has had dealings. Additionally, since transactions are not stored in any single location, it is almost impossible to hack the information.

In practice for example, by reading a simple code with a smartphone, data such as an animal’s date of birth, use of antibiotics, vaccinations, and location where the livestock was harvested can easily be conveyed to the consumer.

For farmers, blockchain will allow everyone to be paid more quickly, from farm to plate. Farmers could sell more quickly, and be properly compensated as market data would be readily available and validated.

Blockchain technology could represent a legitimate option for farmers who feel compelled to rely on marketing boards to sell their commodities. Additionally, the use of blockchain could prevent price coercion and retroactive payments, both of which we have seen across the food supply chain.

WR1206732NB-Blockchain and Food Traceability Infographic-2.jpg