(Chicago, IL – June 10, 2020) The Chicago Region Food System Fund today announced a request for applications from non-profit organizations responding to the impacts of COVID-19 on Chicago region communities and the local food economy. This open call follows an initial round of $895,000 awarded to nine organizations responding to the immediate pandemic impacts on communities in Chicago and on food producers, processors, and distributors in the region. Later in 2020, the fund will shift its focus to long-term work toward a resilient, racially and economically just local food system. With an initial investment of $4.2M, the Chicago Region Food System Fund focuses on hunger and business disruption in the local food system—from production to processing to distribution to consumption—in an area approximately 200 miles from Chicago (about a day’s drive to/from the city). Priority will be given to organizations producing food in, and supplying food to, communities of color.
GateHouse Media, LLC and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting are excited to embark on a new partnership through the creation of an agriculture data journalism fellowship funded by GateHouse.
These days Monsanto is shorthand for, as NPR's Dan Charles has put it, "lots of things that some people love to hate": Genetically modified crops, which Monsanto invented. Seed patents, which Monsanto has fought to defend. Herbicides such as Monsanto's Roundup, which protesters have sharply criticized for its possible health risks. Big agriculture in general, of which Monsanto was the reviled figurehead. And soon Monsanto will be no more.
The University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension has reduced its fleet, bought out ranks of rural agents, and cut the number of positions across the state. Now farmers stand to lose access to 100 years of knowledge at a time when they need it most. Between 2007 and 2012, Lafayette, a county with just under 17,000 people, lost around 90 of its small and medium-sized farms (those under 1,000 acres). During that same five-year span, the county’s total farmland grew, with the average farm expanding by almost 40 acres. Since 2012, record harvests across the country have created an oversupply of product, and depressed prices for corn and soybeans—the backbone of Lafayette County’s farm economy.
Bayer AG won U.S. antitrust approval for its $66 billion takeover of Monsanto Co., clearing the last major regulatory hurdle to forming the world’s biggest seed and agricultural-chemicals provider after a nearly two-year review.