Summer Issue July 2022
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Better Living Through Well Being

An old expression around where I live in Washington State is “summer doesn’t begin until after July 4th.” But though historically true, this spring was 15 degrees colder than normal in mid May, and it has been 10 percent wetter than most people remember. This has presented serious challenges for our local farmers.

The culprit is La Nina, the large-scale weather system over the Western United States that is notorious for bringing cold and damp spring seasons. There is high pressure over the Aleutian Islands and the North Pacific, and then low pressure, which brings cold and rain, sets up over the Northwest, delivering system after system into our area.

But this spring weather may soon be a dim memory. Weather experts are predicting a hotter than average summer in 2022 for much of the U.S. It will be generally hotter than usual in the North and below average heat in the South.

Forecasts are trending toward a third consecutive La Nina this fall and winter. Five of the past six summers preceding La Nina winters have been overall hot in the U.S. The setup for this summer looks similar to last year, including a “heat dome” period.


Choosing when and what to plant has been a greater challenge than usual this year for many small farmers in the Greater Seattle area due to the extended cold and damp spring. The uncertainty has contributed to rising costs of food. Although this is tough on consumers, many farmers are barely breaking even. Shipping costs have gone up, as have costs of animal feed, fertilizer and equipment. The heat dome experienced in the Pacific Northwest last summer damaged crops and reduced the availability of local grains, increasing feed costs by over 12 percent. And that was before the expected global shortage of wheat being predicted due to the war in Ukraine.

As the summer plays out, the true impacts to our food system will become apparent, but small farms may be best-positioned to address urgent food needs. While industrial farms are dependent on imports from abroad, small farms are able to source their needs locally. Farms on five acres or less grow more food crops, account for greater crop diversity, and produce less waste than large-scale agriculture.


A new short video episode of online media series “Made in America: American Innovator” features the public-private partnership Envision Charlotte. "The First U.S. Smart City to Build a Circular Economy" episode presents a holistic community-wide approach to improving the environment, creating a circular economy, and curbing changes to the climate that is showing up in cities and towns across America, thanks to Charlotte’s example, begun just one year ago.

A circular economy reduces material use, redesigns materials to be less resource intensive, and recaptures “waste” as a resource to manufacture new materials and products. A circular economy can be an important instrument to tackle the current triple planetary crises on climate, biodiversity and pollution. By keeping resources in the loop for longer, we’ll avoid emitting greenhouse gases caused by the energy needed to make products.


A report released by the International Fund for Animal Welfare features case studies from around the world that demonstrate the importance of animal and habitat health to overall human well-being. The report outlines how effective welfare and conservation actions acknowledging the role of animals can lead to greater food security, prevention of disease, and increased resilience against the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.


Other articles of interest in this TMIS eNewsletter for Summer 2022:

* National League of Cities and United Conference of Mayors present amicus brief to Supreme Court in support of the Clean Power Plan in response to recent EPA decision.

* Almond trees impacted by water stress in drought-affected growing region of California show improved productivity after applications of a seaweed-based biostimulant.

* Clean Earth Challenge offers way to restore land, oceans, waterways while enjoying the great outdoors.

* Historically high temperatures threaten to impact vulnerable communities in the U.S. this summer.

* Top trends for new product launches zero in on consumer concerns about environmental issues and responsibilities.

* Flags Over Harvest campaign partners with Farm Rescue nonprofit to help struggling American family farms.

* online tool connects seniors with limited incomes to over 2,000 benefits programs.

* British Medical Journal study that tracked 130,000 Americans over 24 years found an 11 percent lower risk of death from consuming adequate servings of fruits and vegetables.


I am grateful to be in a collaborative business with many talented and skilled professionals. Your feedback is always welcome.

- Mary Michele McLaughlin

From the Front Page of TMIS News
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Extreme precipitation threatens food security and drives up local food costs in the Pacific Northwest
Woodinville, Washington

As farmers face surging fuel and input costs, unseasonal cold weather and precipitation in Washington State throws a wrench into already complicated food pricing.

"The pathways are up to our boot tops with standing water," said Amy White of Bumblebee Farms. "Even cold-weather crops like spinach, arugula, radishes, peas, and kale are struggling because the soil is saturated with water."

Unseasonal flooding in the Pacific Northwest has meant a slow start to local food production. Unseasonal flooding in the Pacific Northwest has meant a slow start to local food production. Over the past decade, small local farms have been adjusting to increasing heat by switching out tried-and-true seed varietals for more heat-hardy varieties. By contrast, spring of 2022 was unusually cold and wet -- Seattle experienced its coldest spring since 1955.

Many farms in the Greater Seattle area--Sammamish, Snohomish, and Snoqualmie valleys -- have high water tables. Seasonal flooding comes with the territory--but not usually this late in the season, when drier, heat-loving crops like tomatoes and squash are supposed to be in the ground already. Food safety rules dictate that fields cannot be planted again until 60 days after a flooding event -- meaning some varieties may not have any time to come to fruition.

Plus, when the soil is saturated, tilling can create compaction and disrupt soil ecosystems. For those on tiny margins, farmers are having to choose: Wait until the weather is more stable for heat-loving crops, or till anyway, which can create problems in the future.
Full Story

Squaring the Circle: An Innovation Barn, Urban Lumber, And Food Forests
Charlotte, North Carolina

Consensus Digital Media presents episode #6 of Made In America: American Innovators, featuring Envision Charlotte, a public-private partnership between the city of Charlotte, Cisco, Charlotte Center City Partners, Duke Energy and the U.S. Department of Energy. Come along and see the environmental impact, job creation, and economic competitiveness thriving in the heart of an innovation center making waves in the Tar Heel State and setting a national example.

In this episode, we meet Amy Aussieker, Executive Director of Envision Charlotte -- she's at the helm of the Innovation Barn. This retrofitted old barn houses entrepreneurs and innovators leading the way toward creating and sustaining a circular economy. The industrialists at the Innovation Barn offer new solutions and ways to scale composting, recycling glass, using fly larvae to reduce food waste, and fostering "volunteer" forests.

Between creating a circular economy and energy monitoring and efficiency, Envision Charlotte has already helped the city of Charlotte and local companies save millions of dollars while also having a significant impact on carbon reduction. From a Smart City building project to Carolina Urban Lumber and Crown Town Compost, we meet just a few leaders and entrepreneurs stepping up to find solutions with the help of Envision Charlotte.
Full Story

Animals vital to achieving Sustainable Development Goals
Washington, DC

A new report calls on international policymakers to integrate principles of animal welfare and wildlife conservation in all efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Thriving Together: The Critical Role of Animals in Achieving the SDGs has been released by IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) and features case studies from around the world that clearly demonstrate the importance of animal and habitat health to overall human well-being.

Part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by United Nations members in 2015, the SDGs outline international priorities to achieve sustainable human development, including management of population growth, infrastructure plans, and longevity of our natural resources. However, to date they place limited emphasis on the value of the natural world.

"Our connection with the natural world has never been clearer than it is at this moment, as demonstrated by the unprecedented impact of global climate change, global pandemics and environmental degradation," said Mark Hofberg, Campaigns Officer at IFAW and lead author of the report. "It is therefore necessary that we acknowledge this vital relationship and include animals at the start of all decisions around sustainable development."

Effective welfare and conservation actions will contribute significantly to achieving the SDGs and improving people's lives at the pace that is required for the health of our planet. Acknowledging the role of animals can lead to greater food security, prevention of disease, and strengthened contribution of vital species to overall ecosystem health -- and thus increased resilience against the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.
Full Story

National League of Cities and U.S. Conference of Mayors Statement on SCOTUS Decision in West Virginia v. EPA
Washington, DC

In their recent decision, the U.S. Supreme Court greatly limited the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by curtailing its long-standing authority under the Clean Air Act.

The National League of Cities (NLC) and The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) joined together in an amicus brief in West Virginia v. EPA supporting the Clean Power Plan.

Responding to this decision, Clarence Anthony, NLC CEO and Executive Director, and Tom Cochran, USCM CEO and Executive Director, issued the following statement:

"Local leaders are on the front lines of battling the climate crisis – but we can't do it alone. This announcement represents a major step back in our fight to keep our communities safe from the devastating effects of the climate crisis, including stronger and more frequent natural disasters, extreme temperatures, negative public health effects, and more. Many cities, towns and villages will continue to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but this decision leaves us working uphill against this threat."
Full Story

Acadian Plant Health California almond water use study delivers promising early results for growers
Parsippany, New Jersey

Acadian Plant Health (APH) has announced the first results of its California almond water use study, which offers promising news for tree nut growers and the almond industry in the drought-affected growing region.

In 2021, the University of California study found that applications of Acadian Organic were beneficial for reducing plant stress under limited water conditions, and that when used properly, seaweed-based biostimulants have the capability to help combat drought induced changes in plants. Both findings represent a significant boost for growers looking for sustainable agriculture solutions in the face of drought challenges.

"Acadian Plant Health is focused on delivering solutions that perform in the field and offer increased survivability and productivity for growers in challenging environments," said Dr. Sarah Maude, Vice-President, Technology at Acadian Plant Health. "These trial results, which are fantastic news for growers, show that biostimulant treatments are a potential new way to aid growers in water management by increasing the plant system's resiliency and reducing crop productivity losses due to stress -- particularly where sustainable solutions to help crops thrive with limited water are key."
Full Story

Come Clean for Earth During the Great American Campout
Reston, Virginia

To inspire Americans to camp green and come clean for Earth, the National Wildlife Federation is partnering with Johnson Outdoors to launch this year's Great American Campout. The Great American Campout encourages people to get outdoors and connect with nature in a meaningful, responsible way. The goal is to leave no waste, no trace and pick up litter to conserve the environment so future generations can enjoy the outdoors for years to come.

Picking up litter at campsites, on the trails and in surrounding areas is an easy way to camp responsibly. By taking the Clean Earth Challenge, participants become part of a wide-scale effort to clean up the planet! The Challenge calls on tens of millions of individuals, families, students, teachers, environmentalists, and leaders to get outdoors and take simple conservation actions to help improve the health of the planet by collecting 1 million pieces of trash.

"Whether stargazing from one of our iconic national parks or roasting s'mores over a fire in your backyard, the Great American Campout is the perfect way to spend quality time safely with family and friends, while learning about nature and wildlife," said Frank Keating, associate vice president of consumer marketing at the National Wildlife Federation. "The pandemic has shown how meaningful it can be to unplug and spend uninterrupted quality time outdoors with family, especially during these challenging times. Through our partnership with Johnson Outdoors, we are empowering Americans to act as responsible stewards of the environment while creating lasting connections with nature."
Full Story

The Salvation Army Activates Response to Dangerous Heat Wave
Alexandria, Virginia

The Salvation Army has activated new services and evolved existing services across the country to help provide hydration and shade for homeless individuals, senior citizens, and other vulnerable populations at risk of suffering from heat stroke and other heat-related conditions.

The life-threatening heat wave currently impacting approximately 35 million Americans marks the beginning of what experts predict will be a "hotter-than-usual" summer.

In fact, extreme heat is deadlier than hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods annually, with approximately 1,500 people dying per year in the United States. In some areas, unsheltered individuals account for nearly half of these deaths. Communities in nearly every part of the country are under heat advisories following unseasonably intense spikes in temperature. Unsheltered individuals in these areas face dehydration, sunburn, heat stroke, and infections from sweat-soaked clothing that goes unwashed.

"Most Americans don't know how serious of a threat these soaring temperatures can be to unsheltered people and other vulnerable populations," said Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder, national commander of The Salvation Army. "Because of the generous support of our donors, we are able to offer heat relief at many of our 7,200 locations across the country, which can be lifesaving amid a hotter-than-usual summer."
Full Story

Innova Market Insights -- consumers expect shared responsibility for the health of the planet
Arnham, Netherlands

For several years now, Innova's Top 10 Trends have been headed by issues related to transparency and building consumer trust. By 2022, these trends had zeroed in on environmental issues and a shift in key consumer concerns about the environment. Even in a pandemic, the health of the planet took over as the top global concern ahead of population health.

"For the first time ever, more consumers surveyed globally for Innova's Lifestyle & Attitude Survey, say health of the planet is their top global concern, rather than health of the population," says Lu Ann Williams, Insights Director at Innova Market Insights.

Food waste reduction leads other consumer actions to be more environmentally responsible. Close to half of consumers are cutting food waste and 63% say that they would like to eat at a restaurant that actively prevents or reduces food waste. As many as 20% to 25% also adjusted their product choices for environmental reasons such as choosing foods with environmentally friendly packaging and choosing sustainably grown products.
Full Story

Titan Kicks Off its 2022 'Flags Over Harvest' Campaign to Help American Farmers
Quincy, Illinois

Titan International, Inc. is excited to kick off its second annual "Flags Over Harvest" campaign to support American farmers. Building on the success of last year's campaign, Titan will again be giving away a free American flag for farmers to display on their equipment during harvest season. For each flag requested, Titan will donate $5 to Farm Rescue -- a nonprofit organization that plants and harvests crops free of charge for family farmers who have suffered a major illness, injury or natural disaster.

"Agriculture is at the heart of who we are at Titan," said Paul Reitz, Titan President and CEO. "As the only farm tire and wheel company headquartered in the U.S., we feel a special connection to farmers and appreciate their decision to buy American-made tires because it supports thousands of U.S. jobs to keep the nation running. By partnering with Farm Rescue again, we look forward to raising more money to assist farmers in need."

Last year, Titan raised $4,500 for Farm Rescue as part of its inaugural "Flags Over Harvest" campaign and has a goal to raise more funds this year. Titan's history with the "Flags Over Harvest" campaign includes donating to Farm Rescue in 2019 to assist farmers affected by major spring floods in the Midwest and in 2020 to help farmers dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. We will also be partnering with them at the Farm Progress Show, Husker Harvest Days and the Iowa State Fair.
Full Story

New BenefitsCheckUp Website Makes it Easy for Seniors to Find Help Paying for Food, Medicine, and More
Arlington, Virginia

The National Council on Aging (NCOA), the national voice for every person's right to age well, is launching a new and improved version of its website that connects older adults and people with disabilities with nearly 2,000 benefits programs to help them pay for food, medicine, utilities, and other daily expenses.

"In today's economy, inflation is taking a bigger and bigger bite out of people's incomes," said Ramsey Alwin, NCOA President and CEO. "The good news is that there are programs that can help. We completely redesigned BenefitsCheckUp to make it even easier for older adults, individuals with disabilities, and caregivers to find the resources they need to age with dignity. No one should have to choose between paying for medication or food."

Millions of people miss out on saving money through public and private benefits simply because they don't know the programs exist -- or how to apply. NCOA created BenefitsCheckUp in 2001, and since then has seen millions of people use it to find billions in benefits. Programs featured on the site include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), Medicare Savings Programs, Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy (LIS/Extra Help), Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and Affordable Connectivity Program.
Full Story

Looking to live a long and healthy life? Eating plants may be the answer!
Broomfield, Colorado

A new study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has discovered that eating lots of fruits and vegetables may help increase the human lifespan! The study, published in the British Medical Journal, investigated over 130,000 Americans from 1992-1996 and tracked their dietary habits over the next 24 years. In the end, researchers found that people who consumed more than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day had an 11% lower risk of death during the follow-up period compared to those who consumed less than one serving per day.

The benefits of a plant-based diet are seemingly endless. Plants tend to be packed with fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels and regulate bowel movements. They're also high in important nutrients like potassium, folate, magnesium, vitamin C, riboflavin, manganese, and dietary fiber -- all of which contribute to our body's ability to function efficiently. In fact, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is one of the easiest ways we can stay on top of our health.

According to The American Heart Association, men need at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and women need at least 7. That's roughly 2 cups of fruits and veggies per day for men and 2.5 cups for women. These are just minimum recommendations -- the more you can eat, of course, the better!

How can you incorporate more plants into your diet? Start small. If you're not a vegetarian, start by reducing your meat intake to once per day. Then try adding more plants to each meal. Use tomato-based sauces, top your food with avocado or guacamole, or throw some spinach into your next stir-fry. Over time, you can incorporate more plant foods into your meals -- and see how much healthier you feel in return!
Full Story

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