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[Photograph: Collin Messer on Flickr]

Restaurant Workers Strike in 58 Cities

On August 29th, fast food and restaurant workers took to the streets of 58 cities across the country, calling for higher wages for employees of large corporate chains. We covered the beginning of this campaign in early August, and last week's efforts were the culmination of a month's worth of preparation. Workers are calling for hourly wages between $10 and $15, taking aim at large corporations whose profits have not trickled down to employees. The current average wages for fast food workers are $8-9 an hour, and proponents for higher pay cite increased employee morale and addressing the stagnation of minimum wage laws as reasons to support workers, who are also fighting for the right to unionize. It remains to be seen what the impact of these efforts will be at the Congressional level.

Crop Insurance Payments Reach All-Time Record

The Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP) reimburses farmers for crop losses, often due to environmental disaster. This year, as farmers across the Midwest faced drought conditions, the FCIP paid over $17.3 billion in crop insurance payments, an all-time high for the program. Drought accounted for about $12 billion of these payments. (For comparison, payments from 2001 to 2010 averaged about $4 billion each year.) The Natural Resources Defense Council released a report last month detailing the high cost of the FCIP and how it could be adjusted to better serve farmers. Crop insurance has been a major issue in the current negotiations of the Farm Bill, as producers of commodity crops such as corn and soy often receive high amounts of insurance money. Check out this information-filled site from the Environmental Working Group for more about crop insurance and subsidy payments.

Fast Food Companies Continue Advertising to Children

Despite the FTC's attempts to regulate what kinds of advertising can be targeted at children, a recent study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reveals that such advertising is still taking place and affecting children's consumption habits. The study took place between 2009 and 2010, and demonstrated that 99% of fast food advertising for kids is produced by McDonald's and Burger King. Their accompanying infographic highlights other findings, such as what tactics are used to draw kids' attention and how advertising for kids differs from advertising for adults.

About the Author: Leah Douglas loves learning about, talking about, reading about, and consuming food. Her other work can be found at her website.

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