the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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stong feelings in iowa on both sides of the gmo labeling debate

The debate really hasn’t occurred in Iowa in a prominent way, in part because of the prevalence of GMOs in Iowa agriculture and because of the clout that such agribusinesses as DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto wield in this state. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t strong feelings in Iowa on both sides of the GMO labeling debate. Click to read the rest of this editorial in the Des Moines Register—>


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alert! china wants the usa to import their apples

Nothing about the proposed lifting of this [no apples from China] regulation is good for American fruit growers or consumers. Aside from reducing the already meager profit margins of the fruit farmer by the addition of a new (HUGE) apple supplier, the importation of Chinese apples opens up the possibility of introducing foreign pest and disease, which can affect many more fruits than just apples and make growing organic even more difficult. Also, the way these apples are grown in China is not regulated.  Many Chinese apple orchards are located on sites with detectable arsenic in the groundwater and the long-outlawed arsenic-based pesticide spray is still in use there, leading to the discovery of arsenic levels in some samples of Chinese apple juice exceeding federal US drinking-water standards.

PLEASE CLICK HERE AND TAKE A MINUTE TO SUBMIT A COMMENT TO THE USDA/APHIS

Taken from regulations.gov: “The regulations in “Subpart—Fruits and Vegetables” (7 CFR 319.56-1 through 319.56-68, referred to below as the regulations) prohibit or restrict the importation of fruits and vegetables into the United States from certain parts of the world to prevent the introduction and dissemination of plant pests that are new to or not widely distributed within the United States.

The national plant protection organization (NPPO) of China has requested that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) amend the regulations to allow apples (Malus pumila) from China to be imported into the continental United States.

 

 


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belgium: civil action against gmos

Field Liberation Movement

The Field Liberation Movement and its sympathisers promote sustainable solutions for farmers and consumers and a transparent research funding of science in the interest of society.

Public funds should benefit sustainable agriculture, and not the patenting of genes and crops by a handful of multinationals. The position of farmers in the food chain should be strengthened, not weakened.

There are insufficient studies of the risks of GMO’s for humans and the environment. The monoculture that GMOs are designed for do not solve hunger nor enrich biodiversity.

To learn more about the FLM, visit their website HERE!


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high mowing organic seeds now verified as non-gmo!

High Mowing Organic Seed Company (HMOS) announced today that it is launching the first full line of organic, Non-GMO Project Verified vegetable seeds for farmers and gardeners. With over 90% of its varieties verified to date, HMOS’s entire line of over 650 varieties will be verified by late summer 2014. HMOS seeds are already Certified Organic.

Click HERE for more information about the Non-GMO Project and to see the growing list of High Mowing’s verified seeds.


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stop the spread of gmos in the environment

etc group

Urgent request to address and halt the spread of genetically organisms
into the environment!

Several examples of the uncontrolled spread of genetically engineered plants into wild populations and ecosystems have been documented: cotton in Mexico, oilseed rape in North America, Japan, Switzerland and Australia and grasses in the USA. There are also cases of repeated transgene presence in landraces or local varieties of crop plants such as maize in Mexico and rice in China. This increasing trend towards uncontrolled spread of transgenes into wild populations and ecosystems raises a high level of concern for the release of new organisms such as genetically engineered trees, fish and insects and the challenges posed by emerging applications of synthetic biology. Click to read more—->


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think you know what a farmer looks like?

Preliminary results from the 2012 Census of Agriculture show the increasing role of women in U.S. agriculture—especially on organic and small-scale farms.
Lindsay Morris Carpenter
When Lindsey Morris Carpenter was a college student studying art in Philadelphia, she never expected that, just a decade later, she would spend most of her days fixing up tractors, turning piles of manure, and corralling chickens.
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Today, Carpenter’s certified-organic operation, Grassroots Farm, grows fruit, vegetables, hops, and herbs; she also sells pesticide-free cut flowers and eggs from the farm’s chickens. Being as environmentally sustainable as possible is paramount to Grassroots’ operations, Carpenter says. So, too, is a commitment to provide healthy, fresh food to local people regardless of the size of their bank accounts.

“One of my biggest priorities is affordability,” Carpenter said. She doesn’t want to be the Whole Foods of farm-to-table produce. To that end, she designed her community supported agriculture program to be relatively affordable. She charges only $25 a week for a box of produce, which she offers 16 weeks out of the year.

Carpenter is one of America’s new and growing class of women farmers. Her focus on sustainability and social justice represent part of the promise women bring to the sector, while the difficulties she faces demonstrate some of the challenges that stand in their way. —-> Click to read more! 

Continue reading


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landworkers’ alliance protests in london

Yesterday (April 17th) 100 farmers and growers from the Landworkers’ Alliance travelled to London from around the country to protest outside the head offices of DEFRA and the National Farmers Union.

Under the leadership of Owen Patterson over the past two years, DEFRA has strengthened its support of large-scale industrial agriculture and marginalized smaller producers, while the NFU has consistently lobbied for the interests of agribusiness and ignored the views of smaller farmers.

The land workers’ Alliance want to see small-scale producers put at the heart of decision making in agricultural policy.

“DEFRA needs to recognise the role of small-scale producers in contributing to the national food economy, as well as the environmental and social services provided by these producers,” says Ed Hamer from the LWA.  “As a matter of urgency we demand that DEFRA create policies conducive to a sustainable food future for all.”

The demonstration took place in solidarity with the April 17th – The International Day of Peasant Struggles. A global day of action called by La Via Campesina, the international union of peasant farmers which has over 200 million members worldwide.

Small farmers' demo outside DEFRA offices

(Above) The Landworkers’ Alliance catch minister for agriculture (Owen Patterson) in bed with agribusiness.


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dow chemical seeks usda approval for 2,4-d ready corn

2,4-D

 

Excerpts taken from the Pesticide Action Network
Dow and USDA are hoping to quietly approve a new genetically engineered corn seed that basically swaps RoundUp (glyphosate) for a worse weedkiller (2,4-D).

As with Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready lines, the herbicide with which these seeds are engineered to be used (2,4-D) will surge in use. Dow aims to get 2,4-D-resistant corn to market this year, soy next year and cotton in 2015. These three crops dominate U.S. agriculture, blanketing over 100 million acres of mono-cropped countryside and driving the pesticide market. Only this time, the fallout will be even worse. Here’s why:

  • 2,4-D is a more toxic herbicide, both to humans and to plants.
  • 2,4-D does and will drift off of target crops
  • Corn is wind-pollinated which means that genetic material from 2,4-D corn will contaminate non-GE cornYou cannot put a GE genie back in the bottle.

To read this article in full and learn more about the effects of 2,4-D corn, click HERE


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need your comments: new fda rules may cut ties between brewers and farmers.

Comment HERE. The public comment period ends Monday, March 31st! 

From the Bangor Daily News:

America’s booming brewing industry and farmers alike are bothered and befuddled by a proposed U.S. Food and Drug Administration rule change that could alter a partnership that dates back to Neolithic times.

To the farmer, spent grains are a valuable dietary supplement for their livestock. It’s common for breweries to reach out to local farms to offer up their spent grains as animal feed. Most often, farmers are happy to oblige, picking up the spent grains themselves a few times per week. Little or no money exchanges hands during these deals. Brewers are glad to get rid of the grain, and farmers are glad to take it off their hands.

The proposed rule is aimed at “ensuring the safety of animal food for animals consuming the food and ensuring the safety of animal food for humans handling the food, particularly pet food,” according to the FDA.

It requires facilities producing animal food to have written plans that identify hazards, specify steps to minimize those hazards, and monitor and record the safety of the feed.

“FDA understands that many breweries and distilleries sell spent grains … as animal food. Because those spent grains are not alcoholic beverages themselves, and they are not in a prepackaged form that prevents any direct human contact with the food, the Agency tentatively concludes that subpart C of this proposed rule would apply to them,” according to the FDA rule.

Most small and medium-sized brewers wouldn’t be able to follow these rules without significant investment. Breweries that want to send their spent grains to farmers would have to dry, package and analyze the grains, all without it touching human hands. These efforts would cost brewers money, time and resources, making it too much of a hassle for some to continue partnerships with farmers, according to critics. (Read the entire article —> HERE)

Comments are needed HERE!

To view the complete rule, visit http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm366510.htm.

For the FDA fact sheet on the rule, visit http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm366510.htm#facsheet.

farm&brew2

 

 

 

 


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book: the meat racket, the secret takeover of america’s food business

The Meat Racket

In The Meat Racket, investigative reporter Christopher Leonard delivers the first-ever account of how a handful of companies have seized the nation’s meat supply. He shows how they built a system that puts farmers on the edge of bankruptcy, charges high prices to consumers, and returns the industry to the shape it had in the 1900s before the meat monopolists were broken up. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the greatest capitalist country in the world has an oligarchy controlling much of the food we eat and a high-tech sharecropping system to make that possible.

http://www.christopherleonard.biz/the-book.html


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the indigenous farming project

Planting Justice in the Owens Valley: the Indigenous Farming Project 

by May Nguyen of Planting Justice 

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I’ve been working on behalf of Planting Justice with a project called the Indigenous Farming Project (IFP), a tribal agriculture & nutrition pilot program in collaboration with San Francisco artist collective Future Farmers. Inspired by his train travels through the reservation lands, EPA Region 9 director Jared Blumenfeld recognized a common desire for developing food sovereignty projects within native communities and asked Amy Francheschini of Future Farmers to start up a program that would help tribes gain access to the resources they need to build resilient foodsystems on their lands.

Many tribal reservations are geographically isolated and are “food deserts” in which there is very little or no access to healthy fresh foods, (www.ers.usda.gov/data/fooddesert/fooddesert.html). In order to combat this health related epidemic, there has been a resurgence in the number of American Indians and their allies championing a revitalization of traditional food knowledge and ritual farming-and-gardening.

In spring 2012, Anya Kamenskaya, the IFP project manager, started the first IFP-sponsored site with the Environmental Department of the Big Pine Paiute of the Owens Valley. Over the course of the year, as I joined on as a co-project manager and permaculture designer, we were able to work with Alan Bacock, Tony Karl & Sally Manning of the Environmental Department to design & plan an active demonstration community garden on the land of the Big Pine Paiute Tribal Headquarters.

Continue Reading… 


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farm labor reality tour

tourFarmers and Farmworkers Unite to Save America’s Small Farmers
Farm Labor Reality Tour Hits the Road to Demand Change
Brewer, Maine (February 15, 2013) – The Farm Labor Reality Tour, a two-week caravan across 15 states to unite dairy farmers and farm labors across the country in their fight for justice, dignity, and fair pay, kicked off today. Led by three grassroots organizations representing small farmers, farmworkers, and food justice activists, Family Farm Defenders, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and Food for Maine’s Future, the tour aims to draw attention to the shared struggles of all people who work in America’s fields.
“The people who grow food for this country – be they independent family farmers or farmworkers – are not getting paid a fair wage for their work. That has to change,” said Wisconsin dairy farmer Joel Greeno of Wisconsin-based Family Farm Defenders.
The organization was inspired by the success of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ consumer-oriented “penny more per pound” Fair Food Campaign, which has won agreements for higher wages and improved working conditions from some of the biggest fast food companies in the world. Family Farm Defenders has launched a similar effort — the Land O’Fakes campaign — to change the structure of dairy pricing to ensure a fair wage for farmers. The Farm Labor Reality Tour will promote the campaigns of both groups.


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Occupy the Farm documentary – 3 days left to kickstart!

OccupyBannerWe’ve received 80% of the pledges we need for the OCCUPY THE FARM
Kickstarter campaign.   Only $6,000 more and we’ve reached the goal.

Thank you all for your participation and making this happen. If there
is anyone you know who has been sitting on the sidelines, waiting to
see if OCUPPY THE FARM would reach the goal, tell them to jump on now!
We’ve only got three more days until Monday.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/173011983/occupy-the-farm

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