This is the web version of a list we publish twice-weekly in our newsletter. It comprises the most noteworthy food stories of the moment, selected by our editors. Get it first here.
An update on the farmer suicide rate. Following reporting by Nate Rosenberg and Bryce Stucki for The New Food Economy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday retracted and replaced a widely cited 2016 study that erroneously reported an abnormally high suicide rate among farmers. It is the first retraction in the history of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), a journal the agency has published since 1961, an MMWR spokesperson confirmed to Retraction Watch. A CDC official confirmed to our reporters that their work had contributed to the decision to reanalyze the data. The CDC’s reanalysis and new report can be found in this week’s MMWR, published Thursday.
Too blessed to be stressed. Is that the essential principle behind the rise of so-called ‘Friendsgiving’ festivities? Yes, according to a recent profile from The Atlantic on the popularity of these potluck-style Thanksgiving derivatives being shared across the country by friends instead of blood relatives. Typically held sometime between the weekends before and after Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving augments the traditional day-long celebration into a season, much to any food marketer’s delight. If you still have questions, you’re not alone. Like most burgeoning cultural shifts, Friendsgiving can be easily linked to millennials’ declining interest in buying houses and having kids—obviously—the very traditions that made Thanksgiving so family-centric in the first place. No new data are available on the intractable problem of leftover cranberry sauce, though.
Recovery mode. By Thursday morning, the number of people still unaccounted for in the aftermath of Northern California’s Camp Fire—the deadliest in state history—had risen to at least 300. As many as 56 people are now confirmed dead. While residents grapple with the ongoing and very grim task of search and recovery, one of the state’s major agricultural industries is seeking a recovery of its own. As Politico’s Morning Agriculture reports, California wine groups and the state’s Farm Bureau are tapping into the end-of-year congressional spending debate in hopes they’ll be added to the rather long list of aid recipients. A bipartisan group of representatives is currently negotiating a spending package to assist farmers, ranchers, and agricultural communities in recovering from the year’s spate of natural disasters.
Vegging out. Vegan ice cream is undergoing a renaissance, Monica Burton writes for Eater, and we’re all better for it. Burton surveys the rise of non-dairy ice cream, which has proliferated in coastal cities in recent years. There’s Van Leeuwen, a popular ice cream chain based in New York, which makes its frozen treats with a combination of coconut cream, cashew milk, and cocoa butter. (While reading Burton’s story, we couldn’t help but foresee yet another dairy-related standards of identity battle bubbling up in the near future.) In Portland, Oregon, ice cream company Little Bean is launching a line of vegan ice creams that aren’t just dairy-free, but nut-free, as well. To do so, it’s using chickpeas. CHICKPEAS. Little Bean has big dreams of debuting in grocery chains around the nation one day. We East Coasters will patiently await its arrival, while enjoying our Planet Earth cones.
Crab, boiled. On Wednesday, a group of crab fishers on the West Coast sued 30 fossil fuel companies for damages caused by climate change, Inside Climate News reports. You read that right: The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations is suing big polluters on behalf of crabbers because, they say, greenhouse gas emissions have contributed to algae blooms and “periodic extreme marine heat waves.” According to the filing, climate change has made for three particularly difficult crabbing seasons, and this year Congress approved disaster relief for one of those years. This lawsuit is the latest in a litany of complaints brought by various entities against the fossil-fuel industry.