What We’re Reading: July 18-22

While schoolchildren everywhere are putting off their summer book lists until August, we’ve been diligently reading articles, blogs and reports every week. Our favorites this week cover food, medicine and social media:

1. We blogged this week about how Americans are disconnected from the farmers who grow their food. Perhaps that’s why so many people are jumping on the local food movement, buying locally grown fruits and vegetables to support local farmers. A company called BrightFarms, is making buying local even easier by contracting with grocers to purchase produce grown in store rooftop greenhouses, which essentially eliminates transportation costs and keeps food prices affordable.

2. Many of you have read and commented on our recent post about the California Milk Processor Board’s recent controversial campaign promoting calcium as a remedy for PMS. Apparently we weren’t the only ones offended by this approach- the milk board pulled the sexist campaign this week, though they still tout it as a success.

3. It is well known that cigarettes cause a variety of severe health problems, including asthma, lung cancer and heart disease. So imagine our surprise when we read this week that tobacco can be a cure for disease! Pharma-Plant in the EU is developing a drug made of genetically modified tobacco plants that will stop the spread of HIV between partners. As lovers of both agriculture and healthcare, you can bet we’ll be following this story.

4. Meanwhile in social media we are celebrating the three-week birthday of Google+ this week, a platform that some say will be a major threat to Facebook. Now there is  another reason that Facebook will need to remain vigilant: the recent 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) e-business report showed Facebook receiving the lowest ratings for customer satisfaction (66 percent) among top Internet websites. Wikipedia topped the social media list with 78 percent satisfaction, while Google came in number one for search engines with an 83 percent satisfaction rating. Is this Google+’s opportunity to give the social media giant a run for its ratings?

5. Speaking of social media, we’re intrigued by a new book on the subject by Erik Deckers and Jason Falls. The book describes a straightforward, bottom-line approach to social media, explaining how companies can use these free marketing outlets to make more money. Perhaps this book will help persuade social media naysayers to jump on board.

Go do your homework- get out there and read!