In the Ancient American Southwest, Turkeys Were Friends, Not Food | Smart News

A blanket made by early 13th-century Indigenous peoples in what is now the southwestern United States featured more than 11,000 turkey feathers woven into almost 200 yards of yucca fiber, new research shows. The findings—published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports—shed light on farming practices among the ancestral Puebloans, forebears of modern Hopi, Zuni and Rio Grande Pueblo nations, reports Jennifer Ouellette for Ars Technica.

The researchers say the region’s people began to switch from blankets made of rabbit skin strips to turkey-feather designs during the first two centuries A.D.

“As ancestral Pueblo farming populations flourished, many thousands of feather blankets would likely have been in circulation at any one time,” says co-author Shannon Tushingham, an anthropologist at Washington State University (WSU), in a statement. “It is likely that every member of an ancestral Pueblo community, from infants to adults, possessed one.”

Though the region’s early inhabitants had farmed turkeys prior to the 12th century, they only started using the birds as a food source around 1100 or 1200, when wild game became scarce due to overhunting. Previously, the study’s authors say, people painlessly plucked mature feathers from molting birds. This technique allowed them to harvest feathers several times per year over a bird’s lifetime of 10 years or more. Researchers have found that turkeys were often buried whole, pointing toward their significance to the people who raised them.

“The birds that supplied the feathers were likely being treated as individuals important to the household and would have been buried complete,” says the paper’s lead author, Bill Lipe, also an anthropologist at WSU. “This reverence for turkeys and their feathers is still evident today in Pueblo dances and rituals. They are right up there with eagle feathers as being symbolically and culturally important.”

Per the statement, the researchers conducted their analysis on a blanket from southeastern Utah. On display at the Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum in Blanding, the textile measures 39 by 42.5 inches. Insects had destroyed the cloth’s feather vanes and barbs, but feather shafts wrapped in the woven yucca fiber remained visible, according to Ars Technica. The scientists also examined a smaller intact blanket that appeared to be from the same time period. They found that the craftspeople who made the two blankets used body feathers from the birds’ backs and breasts.

turkey feather blankets
The researchers studied an intact blanket, as well as the cords remaining after insects destroyed feather material on a larger blanket.

(Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum, Blanding, Utah / Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports)

The Puebloans’ blanket-making process survives to this day: In 2018, Mary Weahkee, an archaeologist at the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, taught herself to weave turkey-feather blankets using the 1,000-year old technique, reports Alexa Henry for New Mexico Wildlife magazine. Producing a 2- by 3-foot blanket took her 18 months and required 17,000 feathers from 68 turkeys.

“I looked at how the ancestors were creative and patient,” Weahkee, who is of

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University student food insecurity on the rise

In the last year, the number of students at the University of Nevada, Reno experiencing food insecurity increased from 22% to 24%. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as lacking consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. For students without access to daily nutrition, food insecurity hinders their ability to perform academically. Pack Provisions, the University’s food pantry, is once again aiming to address student needs for essential items such as perishable and non-perishable food items, as well as school supplies and hygiene products, so that they can thrive physically and mentally throughout not only the semester, but also through new challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

What was once a “stop and shop” food and hygiene pantry, Pack Provisions, operated by The Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN) Center for Student Engagement, shifted gears immediately in March 2020 when it realized its current system offered too much physical interaction. It now offers social distanced item pick-up and delivery through Campus Escort. Additionally, since the start of the pandemic, a Grocery Fund was made available for qualifying students to receive a direct deposit every two weeks.

“Last academic year, Pack Provisions had 1,405 total visits,” KaPreace Young, coordinator for student outreach at the University’s Center for Student Engagement, said. “This year, we’re seeing double the usage as nearly two-thirds of students report their financial situation has become more stressful as a result of the pandemic.”

Donations sought this holiday season

Given the growing need, Pack Provisions has teamed up with the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation in launching its annual crowdfunding campaign with the goal to raise $24,000 in recognition of the 24% of students who report food insecurity. Last year, Pack Provisions was able to raise more than $41,000 through its crowdfunding campaign. That money was used primarily for the grocery fund, helping to feed University students out of area.

“We realize the immense hardships felt by people across our community, our state and our nation due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Young said. “This campaign is one effort to help students who continue to be impacted, perhaps now more than ever. Any amount will help us make a difference. One-dollar can feed a student for three meals and a 10-dollar donation can feed a student for up to a month.”

“The generosity the program received last year greatly enabled Pack Provisions to meet the unanticipated increased student needs due to the pandemic,” Torrey Hood, University director of annual giving, said. “We appreciate the ongoing support of Pack Provisions from members of the Pack near and far. This year, some of the University’s corporate partners have also agreed to help.”

Hood said community partners Plumas Bank, Bank of America and Greater Nevada Credit Union are all supporting Pack Provisions with generous matching gift donations.

Giving Tuesday

This Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, and until the end of the year, the University and ASUN Center for Student Engagement are asking the community to once again

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Pandemic sends Madison college students to food pantries

MADISON, Wis. — Thousands of UW-Madison students were travelling home this week to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families.

But some students are staying put in Madison. For those who come from overseas, COVID-19 travel restrictions make returning home difficult. Others fear the risk of traveling home may put their families’ health in jeopardy. And some students cannot afford the cost of returning home or have an unstable home life and wish to remain in Madison.

Sensing an increased number of students sticking around campus for the holiday and noticing an increased demand at the university food pantry, student organizers coordinated the pantry’s first holiday food drive. About 100 students placed orders for Thanksgiving groceries, which they pick up this week.

Open Seat, UW-Madison’s student-run food pantry, estimates those hundred orders will feed 270 people. That’s in addition to the 246 students that visited the pantry earlier this semester, according to Julia Gutman, a senior studying social welfare who also serves as the pantry’s distribution director.

Since the pandemic arrived last spring, Open Seat has seen an uptick in student visits. In the spring 2018 semester, the pantry recorded 137 visits. The following spring, it tallied 99. In the spring 2020 semester, the pantry reported 288 visits, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Madison Area Technical College is also seeing more students stop by its food pantry.

A national report indicates the problem of food insecurity — having limited or uncertain access to food — is becoming more serious and widespread on college campuses because of the pandemic and its economic effect on students, some of whom lost their jobs.

A survey released over the summer by Temple University’s Hope Center for College, Community and Justice found 38% of students at four-year universities and 44% at two-year universities were food-insecure in the previous 30 days. Those statistics are up from 33% and 42%, respectively, in the fall of 2019.

More than 38,000 students from 54 schools completed the survey in the spring. Neither UW-Madison nor MATC, also known as Madison College, participated, though Milwaukee Area Technical College and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College did.

Open Seat organizers came up with the idea to host a Thanksgiving food drive for students after reading reports about how the annual Goodman Community Center was seeing a record-breaking surge in demand from families requesting Thanksgiving baskets this year.

Student staff asked pantry-goers if they needed a meal over the holiday to supplement what they received in a normal week.

“There was definitely a need,” Gutman said of their informal queries.

In another new UW-Madison initiative, the Wisconsin Union teamed up with the Dean of Student’s Office to provide individual-sized Thanksgiving meals for any student in need. The idea came from staff who wanted to show their support for students during this challenging year. Thirty-eight students requested meals, university spokesperson Darcy Wittberger said.

Madison College student health educator Denise Holin recorded more than 300 visits to the food pantry this fall — up from about 250 at this

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Jaguars robust to climate extremes but lack of food threatens species

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

A new QUT-led study has found wild jaguars in the Amazon can cope with climate extremes in the short-term, but numbers will rapidly decline if weather events increase in frequency, diminishing sources of food.

Distinguished Professor Kerrie Mengersen and Professor Kevin Burrage led a team of researchers in a world-first investigation of the big cat’s chances of survival.

The new research results have been published in Ecology and Evolution.

The jaguar (Panthera onca) is the dominant predator in Central and South America and is considered a near-threatened species by the International Union Conservation Nature.

Research main points:

  • Results are concerning for future viability of jaguar populations in Peruvian Amazon.
  • Stochastic statistical temporal model of jaguar abundance considers six population scenarios and estimates of prey species.
  • Jaguar diet includes white lipped peccary, collared peccary, red brochet deer, white tailed deer, agouti, paca and armadillo.
  • Species exhibit some robustness to extreme drought and flood, but repeated exposure can result in rapid decline.
  • Predictions show species can recover- at lower numbers—if there are periods of benign climate patterns.
  • Modelling provides framework to evaluate complex ecological problems using sparse information sources.

Professor Mengersen said the Pacaya Semiria Reserve covers 20,800 km2 in the Loreto region of the Peruvian Amazon, comprised of mostly primary forest.

“Estimates of jaguar numbers are difficult to achieve because the big cats are cryptic by nature, are not always uniquely identifiable, and their habitat can be hostile to humans,” Professor Mengersen said.

Credit: Queensland University of Technology

The project drew on information gathered during a 2016 trip to the remote reserve, as well as a census study based on camera traps and scat analysis, jaguar ecology, and an elicitation study of Indigenous rangers in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.

Six jaguar population scenarios were analysed mapping the jungle creature’s solitary behaviour, mating, births of cubs at certain times of the year, competition, illegal hunting, death from starvation and availability of key prey.

Professor Kevin Burrage cautioned the predicted results for the jaguars in the long-term were concerning.

“Our results imply that jaguars can cope with extreme drought and flood, but there is a very high probability that the population will crash if the conditions are repeated over short time periods. These scenarios are becoming more likely due to climate change,” he said.

“The declines may be further exacerbated by hunting of both jaguars and their prey, as well as loss of habitat through deforestation.”

Professor Burrage said scenario 1 estimated the jaguar population at 600-700 assuming stable prey availability while scenario 6 was an extreme case with drought and flood occurring every other year.

“In this worst-case scenario, prey levels could not recover, and jaguar populations was predicted to drop to single figures in 30 years’ time,” Professor Burrage said.

In addition to Professors Mengersen and Burrage, researchers involved in the study included Professor Erin Peterson, Professor Tomasz Bednarz, Dr. Pamela Burrage, Dr. Julie Vercelloni and June Kim based at the ARC Centre of

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College students launch project to reduce food waste and feed hungry families

Many can still vividly recall images of crops rotting in the field and milk being dumped when schools and restaurants were forced to close in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Some college students want to make sure we never see that again.

Vernie Jackson was not in line at a food pantry last Thanksgiving — but he’s since fallen on hard times. 

“I lost people in the pandemic, and then I lost my job in the pandemic,” Jackson said. “So right now, you know, I’m just praying to the Lord.”

Jack Rehnborg is a junior at Stanford University. He is among a group of college students who co-founded the FarmLink Project after being stunned by images of produce rotting on farms during the pandemic.

“This is absurd for the wealthiest country in the world to have all this food going to waste and all these people that are hungry,” he told CBS News. “It’s a problem that about 20 billion pounds of food is wasted.”

The FarmLink Project collects food from the fields and delivers it to pantries running on empty. 

“So it’s been big and huge, and we’re really thankful for them,” event coordinator Kenneth Marshall said.

They’ve served more than 18 million meals since the spring, and this Thanksgiving week they’re handing out one million meals across the country.

“We’re gonna try and keep doing deliveries across the country, you know, keep food moving,” Rehnborg said.

© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Rising career in food world brings Lidey Heuck back to Maine

Lidey Heuck, 29, a Bowdoin graduate, food blogger and recipe developer who worked for Ina Garten, spent the summer in Maine, working at The Lost Kitchen and enjoying Maine food. Photo courtesy of Lidey Heuck

When the pandemic hit last spring, Lidey Heuck already had a plan in place for escaping New York. The food blogger and recipe developer had rented an apartment in Belfast for the summer and was looking forward to working at The Lost Kitchen in Freedom.

For Heuck, 29, it was all part of plotting the next chapter of her life after working more than six years for Ina Garten, acclaimed cookbook author and host of the “Barefoot Contessa” show on the Food Network. One of her last assignments from Garten was to test recipes for Garten’s latest cookbook, “Modern Comfort Food,” which came out Oct. 6.

“Didn’t we have FUN?!!!” Garten commented on Heuck’s Instagram the day the book was released. “How many times did we make that Boston Cream Pie? And you added the ingredient that made it perfect.”

Heuck says she’s “not totally sure” what that ingredient was because they tested the recipe “over and over and over.”

“I can say, though, it’s out of this world and well worth the effort.”

Heuck, originally from Pittsburgh, is a graduate of Bowdoin College, contributes recipes monthly to the New York Times, and has her own food and entertaining blog, (Lidey is short for Elida, which is an old English variation of Eliza.) She has been featured in Food & Wine and the Food Network magazine and has more than 80,000 followers on Instagram.

Heuck lives in New York with her fiance and Winkie, her Welsh terrier, who has his own Instagram account (@winkiethewelsh) with more than 9,000 followers. We spoke with her about her career and her summer in Maine at the end of October, as she was preparing to return to New York, where she will be focusing on her blog and recipes for the Times. She also plans to work on developing recipes for her own cookbook, featuring “approachable, seasonal and delicious food.”

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: You originally went to work for Ina Garten as a social media manager, but did you always want a career in food?

A: I kind of fell into it. I liked to bake when I was growing up, but it was never something I thought I would do for a living. In college at Bowdoin, my friends and I cooked a lot. We had weekly dinners, especially in the winter when there was not a whole lot to do. Cooking was just one thing we did for fun, and that was where I started to enjoy entertaining for friends.

I have this connection to Ina Garten through a friend’s father, and I just have always admired her. There was something about her I found so intriguing in terms of just being a beloved culinary figure and also a

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Carbon-Negative Food Made From Thin Air? This Science Fiction Idea May Be A Reality Sooner Than You Think

Consumer awareness of climate change and animal welfare are driving a meatless meat revolution. Unlike pasture-raised meats, plant- and fermentation-based proteins are low-emission, and require very little water and land use. Transitioning away from mega-greenhouse gas-emitting foods like beef only tackles part of the crisis. Our planet is still choking on excess carbon dioxide. 

With synthetic biology, it is possible to transform CO2 from a harmful gas into delicious, life-sustaining nutrition. I’ve previously written about the forgotten space tech that could feed the world, one of its practitioners is Lisa Dyson, Ph.D., CEO of Kiverdi, whose initiative Air Protein aims to transform carbon dioxide into meat-free meat. In recognition of her work, Dyson was recently awarded the SynBioBeta 2020 Bio-Innovator of the Year Award.

“The food industry is one of the largest greenhouse gas-emitting sectors, emitting more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector, including cars,” says Dyson. As a whole, Kiverdi is focused on leveraging atmospheric carbon in supply chains throughout multiple industries. Air Protein uses Kiverdi’s platform and enabling technologies to develop delicious, nutritious, sustainable foods.

From physics to food

Dyson’s path to the intersection of food and climate science has been an unusual one. Her Ph.D. is in theoretical high energy physics — she is only the fourth Black woman ever to receive this degree. While physics may sound like an unusual starting point for a synthetic biologist, Dyson says that her training taught her to solve all problems through the scientific method. And in this case, the root problem is too much carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. 

“The problem we were looking at was, how do you take something destructive and use it in a positive way?” she says. In other words, could Kiverdi find a way to take CO2 out of the atmosphere and transform it into a useful resource?

Dyson’s training as a physicist enables her to think further outside the box than perhaps a traditional biologist. She embraces the view that Earth is like a spaceship: an enclosed habitat with constrained resources. So, it made sense for Dyson to turn to the early days of spaceflight for answers. After all, NASA is the world expert in CO2 recycling for spaceships.

Farming from the air

There, Dyson found that the idea of turning atmospheric CO2 into a useful product through a closed-loop system has been around since the dawn of the space age. NASA discovered that hydrogenotrophs—single-celled microorganisms that metabolize hydrogen for energy—could convert astronauts’ exhaled carbon dioxide into a nutritious, carbon-rich crop. Dyson and her team reawakened this technology and upgraded it for the biotech age.

Just like plants, hydrogenotrophs need a carbon source. They absorb carbon dioxide from the air, use it for fuel, and release oxygen and water vapor back into the atmosphere. Plants also need water, solar energy, and nutrients from the

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Robots are delivering food to Oregon State students; university heralds it as ideal for coronavirus pandemic

The obsolescence of humans is upon us.

The latest evidence can be found in Corvallis, where beginning today robots are delivering food to Oregon State students, professors and staff. The university put out a statement Wednesday heralding that it’s “the first campus in the state to have autonomous delivery robots.”

Take that, human-delivery-dependent University of Oregon!

The robots were created by a San Francisco company called, of course, Starship Technologies.

Kerry Paterson, who heads up Oregon State’s residential-dining services, says the “contactless” delivery system is a particularly valuable option for this pandemic year.

“This service is yet another way we can facilitate COVID protocols regulating restaurants,” he said.

The robots can keep food hot or cold as required, and they’re cleaned between deliveries.

Better still: the ‘bots are cute. Offers the university press statement:

“Paterson said most people find the robots pretty adorable, with their rounded bodies and steady pace as they hurry around campus.”

The technology also could prove to be a boon for restaurants that aren’t in college towns. In Michigan, the Ann Arbor-based company Refraction AI launched a self-driving robot that delivers food for 15% of the cost of the meal, about half the charge for human delivery.

Early reviews from restaurateurs and customers are positive, suggesting that robot delivery service is going to live long and prosper.

— Douglas Perry

[email protected]


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With Success In Fast Food And Fast Fashion, Is It Time For Fast Education?

Mila Semeshkina is Founder and CEO @ & Expert in Fast Education.

We may not like the so-called fast industries, but they make our day to day easier and more comfortable. We no longer break our heads when we need a quick bite or new clothes for a teenager. We get what we need, and we get it fast. Fast industries guarantee us accessibility, quality and service standards.

The restaurant business was the first fragmented industry to successfully become fast in the 1960s. It has come a long way. Many consumers now prefer quick-service restaurants over full-service. The success of McDonald’s, the world’s largest restaurant chain, is truly global — even in France, the land of haute cuisine and exquisite products.

In the 1970s, the apparel market followed the path with H&M and Zara leading the market. And once again, we saw rapid success in a fragmented market. Even today, the world’s largest clothes retailer, H&M, controls only 1.6% of the market share and Zara, the second largest, controls 1.2%. 

The digital revolution and affordable internet access arrived in the 1990s and made almost any B2C industry (always fragmented) fast. Grocery shopping became fast due to internet orders and delivery services, Amazon became the largest provider of daily purchases. Our way of buying almost everything from transportation services to flowers has changed.

The educational market has long remained on the sidelines. We see that market fragmentation is a condition for the success of fast industries. Historically, this market is also fragmented. There used to be an independent college or university in virtually any big city in the world and all the educational institutions followed the same guidelines often set by governments, but the bottom line depended on people who taught. And it takes years to get an education: We continuously study from 13 to 25 years of our life. 

As life speeds up, not everyone can afford to learn that long, so we have a trend toward faster education. The first to realize that were businessmen, as time meant money. On-campus MBA programs used to last two to three years, now they can be completed online in just a year. Even the most reputable business schools like HEC Paris followed suit. Global digitalization pushed many educational programs online, and these courses tend to become shorter. So maybe the time is right for fast education to succeed and it surely will, as it offers some indisputable advantages. 

Education That Saves Time

Fast education means shorter lessons. Bite-sized learning is one of the key educational trends of the 21st century that brings comfort. You study at your own pace whenever and wherever you want. Educational courses can be divided into smaller parts so that you don’t need more than 15 minutes a day to study.

Time is even more important for the underprivileged. You don’t have years to dedicate to college if you must provide for your family now. And if you’re unemployed, you usually want a new job fast.

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AFCO Announces an Exclusive Distribution Agreement with Nuvoda to Expand Wastewater Treatment Offerings to Food and Beverage Processors in the U.S.

Includes Innovative Mobile Organic Biofilm (MOBTM) Technology Allowing for Greater Wastewater Treatment Capacity at a Lower Energy Cost for Customers

AFCO, a Zep Company, announced an exclusive supply agreement with Nuvoda, a leader in innovative solutions in water and wastewater treatment, delivering sustainable, renewable technologies.

AFCO, a leading food safety and biosecurity specialty chemical company, will provide Nuvoda’s award winning MOBTM (Mobile Organic Biofilm) process to Food & Beverage customers and other stakeholders across the U.S. The MOBTM process is a novel, organic and sustainable wastewater treatment innovation that improves settleability and increases treatment capacity, while delivering enhanced nutrient removal and process stability.

“Wastewater treatment that delivers high quality effluent is critical for AFCO’s customers, making Nuvoda’s innovation and expertise an excellent complement to AFCO’s existing cleaning, sanitation, and water treatment solutions,” said Todd Cornwell, Vice President of AFCO Water Group. “The partnership with Nuvoda will strengthen our offerings by providing innovative products to our customers and ensure these facilities are emitting cleaner water.”

Nuvoda has a strong track record of solving complex wastewater problems through innovation and industry expertise. The company’s MOBTM technology is an award-winning, robust, microbiological approach proven to be an effective treatment for industrial wastewater, while minimizing negative impacts of sanitizer chemistry. Most notably, the MOB™ technology can be easily retrofitted into plants that were not originally designed for microbiological treatment, a significant advantage over existing wastewater treatment options and mitigates the need for a large capital investment.

“At Nuvoda, we focus on research and development of technologies that are renewable, minimize environmental impact, and reduce energy consumption, while allowing our customers to meet all of their effluent permits,” said Jason Calhoun, Chief Technology Officer of Nuvoda. “Because we share this same mission, we’re excited to welcome AFCO as an ongoing partner after working together for the past five years, to deliver superior support and cutting-edge technologies for our customers in the food and beverage market.”

AFCO/Nuvoda has a team of highly qualified field sales personnel that can assess new or existing customers’ wastewater treatment programs via a pilot plant test. Interested clients can reach out to our sales team at [email protected] for additional information.

About AFCO

AFCO, a Zep Company, focuses on food safety through local SQF & HACCP-educated Reps who provide technical service and support through the Assure™ Sanitation Program. AFCO offers high-quality food industry cleaners and sanitizers, antimicrobial intervention, biofilm removers, equipment systems, and more. Zep Inc. is a premium global industrial specialty chemicals producer serving business-to-business and select consumer markets. Zep’s product portfolio includes anti-bacterial and industrial hand care products, sanitizers, cleaners, degreasers, deodorizers, disinfectants, automotive appearance and maintenance chemicals, floor finishes, and pest and weed control products. Zep is headquartered in Atlanta, GA.

About Nuvoda

Nuvoda is a leader in innovative solutions in water and wastewater treatment delivering sustainable, renewable technologies geared directly toward increasing capacity and lowering costs. The company is headquartered in Raleigh, NC, with research and manufacturing centers in Blacksburg, VA

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