This Week: Housing developments place Melbourne’s food bowl at risk, “high prices” a key barrier to healthy food access, archaeologists discover bread that predates farming and the high environmental price of California’s mega-farms.

Australia

Melbourne’s food bowl at risk as housing developments take over farms, report says
ABC Rural
The Foodprint Melbourne report has warned if that urban sprawl continues the city’s food production will be at risk.

Farm Safety Week urges farmers to reflect and better protect
Western Magazine
July, 16 to 22 is National Farm Safety Week and the theme for this year is ‘Innovative, Safe and Healthy.’ Farmers, their families and workers are encouraged to reflect on how to better protect Australia’s farm community.

Finding real mental health solutions for rural Australia
The Land
Australia’s mental health support services cannot use a one size fits all approach to lowering rates of mental illness and suicide in rural parts of the nation says the Lifeline Research Foundation.

Research: Fighting the ‘White Cancer’ Threatening Global Food Security
University of Melbourne
Researchers from the University of Melbourne have made a ‘game-changing’ shift in our understanding of how plants succumb to high levels of salt in agricultural soils.

Abroad

Pushing Vietnam’s shrimp industry toward sustainability
Mongabay
The Vietnamese government and a range of international development partners are working to improve the way the country farms shrimp, with an emphasis on small-scale operators.

Sinking land, poisoned water: the dark side of California’s mega-farms
The Guardian
Towns across the Central Valley region of California have had tap water arsenic levels above the federal limit for almost two decades. During the same period, locals and scientists have noticed another odd phenomenon: the valley is sinking, at rates as fast as 25cm a year.

Archaeologists discover bread that predates agriculture by 4,000 years
Science Daily
Archeologists have discovered hundreds of burnt food remains in an oven in Jordan. One of the charred foods is a burnt bread of 14,400 years old, 4,000 years ahead of the agricultural revolution.

In Malta, High Prices Put Many People Off Healthy and Fair Food, Study Finds
Times Malta
Together with “unrealistic” price expectations and a tendency for producers to have slim profit margins, prices emerged as one of the strongest barriers to healthy food access. Those with a higher income were perceived to be able to afford ‘better’ options, according to the report.

Video: The Pesticide-Free Town: Sowing the Seeds of Tomorrow
Protect & Resist
In 2014, Mals, a German-speaking town of 5,300 inhabitants in the north of Italy, became the first community in the world to hold a referendum on pesticide use. The result was a landslide: 75% voted for a ban. This video series explores the value of regulation in protecting people and the planet.

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