Farm income was growing: Puerto Rico’s agriculture industry has been devastated by Hurricane Maria, and that’s a problem because statistics from Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello show that as of late 2016, roughly 7,000 people worked in agriculture. Farm income was growing and crop production acreage was up 50 percent over the last four years. Dairy farmers are also struggling in the aftermath of Maria, he said. They account for one third of Puerto Rico’s total agricultural production. READ MORE


What will Puerto Rican food look like after Maria? Before Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September, San Juan restaurant El Departamento de la Comida was known for its sense of community. Chef and owner Tara Rodríguez Besosa and Olga Casellas Badillo served vegetarian and vegan dishes made with ingredients from a tight-knit network of organic, sustainable farms. But on September 20th, when Maria made landfall, El Departamento de la Comida was one of the thousands of businesses destroyed by high winds and heavy rain. READ MORE

Can barges deliver third-largest corn crop down-river for export contracts? As farmers work to harvest what the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is calling third largest corn crop ever, compounding issues on the Mississippi River are causing grain handlers to slash basis, eating into farmers’ bottom-line. U.S. Waterways Council confirmed portions of the Ohio River are currently closed to river traffic, making it difficult to move harvested grain along a major shipping vein, which dumps into the Mississippi River. READ MORE

Ben & Jerry’s will pay farmers more: Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s promised this week to improve the pay and working conditions of laborers hired by the farms that provide milk for the Vermont-based company’s quirky flavors while promising to pay the farmers who employ the workers more. The “Milk with Dignity” agreement was signed by Ben & Jerry’s CEO Jostein Solheim and members of the group Migrant Justice. It assures the human rights of the workers and ensures better relations with farmers because workers will do a better job, said Enrique “Kike” Balcazar, a 24-year-old farmworker from Tabasco, Mexico. READ MORE


Even faster food? It’s the future of fast food bytes in the Big Apple. Robots will replace humans and cash won’t be accepted at a soon-to-open Shake Shack in the East Village, reps for the popular burger chain said Monday. Customers will place orders via an app and at touch-screen kiosks inside the restaurant, which is scheduled to open an Astor Place branch later this month, according to company CEO Randy Garutti. READ MORE 

‘Close your screens, meet your neighbors’: A popular Halifax cafe and bar, Lion & Bright, found itself in a caffeine-fuelled controversy Tuesday after declaring itself “screen free” after 5 p.m. In the city’s hip north end, the cafe recently posted signs informing patrons of the rule, which requires work-related screens such as laptops and tablets to be put away during the evening.”Close your screens, meet your neighbours! Lion & Bright is now screen free after 5 p.m. daily,” the sign read in a photo posted to Facebook. An asterisk at the bottom of the sign said: “Includes Kindles, tablets, iPads, etc.” READ MORE


How did Equinox mess up so badly? The initial drama over Equifax’s September data breach has mostly subsided, but the actual damage will play out for years. And indeed, there turns out to be plenty of spectacle and public controversy left. It was all on display at this week’s Congressional hearing, in which lawmakers questioned Equifax’s former CEO Richard Smith in an attempt to make sense of how things went so wrong. READ MORE