1. A Cruel and Unusual Loaf

Poor behavior on the cell block? Forget solitary; turn to prison food punishment instead. Civil rights activists claim “The Loaf” is cruel and unusual; a violation of the Constitution. (NPR)

2. Harsh Reality of Reindeer Farming

Sure they are in demand in December. But what about the rest of the year? (The Atlantic)

3. Soil Secrets

A 2010 government survey showed that 50 million acres of Chinese farmland is polluted. The report has been buried for three years as a “state secret.” (New York Times)

4. Food Freedom Survives Another Year

A look back at the year in food policy. (Reason)

5. Ag Slump and a Bursting Bubble

Will declining capital and asset bubbles mean a long winter for U.S. agriculture? (International Business Times)