the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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happy international day of rural women!

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credit: UN Women/Narendra Shrestha

The UN designated October 15th as international day of rural women in recognition of the crucial role that women and girls play in ensuring the sustainability of rural households and communities, improving rural livelihoods and overall wellbeing. Rural women play an invaluable and significant role in food security, resource stewardship and and environmental sustainability. Although women account for a substantial proportion of the agricultural labour force, in addition to the bulk to unpaid domestic and care work, women and girls in rural areas suffer more extreme levels of poverty. They also face gender related barriers to exiting poverty due to difficulties accessing credit, land and other essentials.

“Globally, with few exceptions, every gender and development indicator for which data are available reveals that rural women fare worse than rural men and urban women, and that they disproportionately experience poverty, exclusion and the effects of climate change.” – .un.org

The focus of International Day for Rural Women 2017 is: “Challenges and opportunities in climate-resilient agriculture for gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.” Rural women and girls are disproportionately affected by by climate change events and conditions including access to natural resources and the consequences of climate change can often reinforce and intensify existing gender inequalities.

When women succeed, all aspects of society improve as a result. They play a key role in building community resilience and responding to climate-related disasters. They tend to make decisions about resource use and investments in the interest and welfare of their children, families and communities. When women are empowered to act as both economic and political actors, they influence policy decisions in the direction of provision of a public good and access to social infrastructure. All of these are crucial for  peaceful societies that be resilient in the face of disaster.

Today also marks the beginning of Food Week of Action, presented by the Presbyterian Hunger Programme – this year we are proud co-sponsors! Every day this week has a theme or action that you can take to make a real change in the world.

To read more about this year’s celebration at UN Women click HERE.


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rally keep the soil in organic! – oct 8th and 15th

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“Organic without soil is like democracy without people.”

     -Vermont Lieutenant Governor-elect David Zuckerman at the Rally In The Valley

The first of two rallies to keep the soil in organic takes place this Sunday October 8th at the Intervale Center (180 Intervale Rd) in Burlington VT. The second rally is being planned for Sunday, October 15th on the green at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. These are just two of dozens of rallies happening around the country this fall in solidarity with organic producers growing in, and caring for the soil.

Tractor parades at each rally will start rolling at noon, followed by brief speeches, local food, live music, and lively celebrations!

Speakers at the Intervalle rally include: Senator Bernie Sanders, Eliot Coleman, Lt. Governor David Zuckerman, Maddie Monty, Christa Alexander, Taylor Hutchison, Will Raap, Joe Tisbert and Pete Johnson.

Speakers at the Hanover rally include NOFA VT executive director Enid Wonnacott, farmers Roger Noonan, Lisa McCrory, Will Allen, Jake Guest, Dave Chapman, Karl Hammer, Michael Phillips and Davey Miskell

Please join us as we rally together to take back the National Organic Program (NOP) from corporate influence and reclaim the lost meaning of organic. Organic integrity has suffered in recent years as a flood of hydroponic vegetables and berries and products from animal confinement operations have forced their way into the Program. Join us in sending a strong message to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) that animal confinement and hydroponic production have no place in organic. Real organic is based on healthy soil and working with natural systems, not imitating and replacing them. We are preparing for a historic NOSB vote in November on reconfirming fertile soil as the foundation of organic farming.

Contacts:

Intervale: Davey Miskell (802) 318-0576 or Maddie Monty (802) 324-1580

Hanover: Dave Chapman (802) 299-7737 or Cat Buxton (802) 359-3330

To keep up to date on the “Keep the Soil in Organic” movement, click HERE.


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action alert! upcoming farm bill listening sessions.

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pictured: Colin Thompson, a Community Food Systems Educator for Michigan State University Extension credit: OFRF

As the next Farm Bill approaches, the House Agriculture Committee members are beginning to gather input from farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders. As you may know, several current programmes that contribute to the success of organic agriculture are under threat of elimination as so it is imperative that policy makers hear directly from organic farmers, researchers and organic farming advocates.

There are three upcoming listening sessions in the next week organised by the Organic Farming Research Foundation.

Monday July 31 2017 – 1.00 pm. Texas

Angelo State University,
C.J. Davidson Conference Centre,
1910 Rosemont Drive,
San Angelo, Texas

Thursday, August 3, 2017 – 9:30 a.m. Minnesota 

Farmfest,
Gilfillan Estates,
28366 Co. Hwy 13,
Morgan, Minnesota

Saturday, August 5, 2017 – 9:00 a.m. Modesto, California
Address to yet to be announced.

If you are hoping to speak at one of the listening sessions, arrive early as the opportunity to speak will be decided on a first come first served basis and speaking time will likely be restricted to approximately 2 minutes.

Recently, at OFRF’s recommendation, Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) introduced H.R. 2436, the Organic Agriculture Research Act (OARA). This historic bipartisan legislation reauthorizes USDA’s flagship organic research program, the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), and increases its mandatory funding from $20 million to $50 million annually. If passed, the Organic Agriculture Research Act would become part of the 2018 Farm Bill. It is important to show your support now.

If you would like more information about the listening sessions or the issues at stake, please email policy@ofrf.org.


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trailer: 500 years: life in resistance, a story about indigenous land struggles in Guatemala

500 which premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, is set in the years between 2013 and 2016. It documents the trial of the former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt in 2013, who was tried and convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity, when it was found that there was significant evidence that linked him to the ordered killing of over 1,700 indigenous people. 500 years tells the story of this period and the citizens uprising that began when Montt’s conviction was overturned.

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forthland, art, community and harvesting the commons

We have recently discovered fourthland, a collaborative art and performance community in the UK which first emerged in 2008. It’s hard to do justice to fourthland and the work that they do in words. They create and explore objects, land, people and myths in interlinked creative and unconventional social and artistic ecosystems. The work that they do is concerned with feminine principles and alternative societies these principles permeate everything that they do.

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watch: island earth

To feed all the humans on the planet, we are going to have to grow as much food in the next 35 years as we have grown since the beginning of civilization.

Shocked when he found out that chemical companies were using Hawaii as the testing ground for their GMO crops, director Cyrus Sutton decided to take action. This film documents the three year journey that he embarked on. Island Earth tells the stories of Malia Chun, Cliff Kapono, and Dustin Barca – three Hawaiians seeking to make Hawaii a beacon of hope for an uncertain future.  Their journey takes us from GMO corn fields to traditional loi patches in order to uncover the modern truths and ancient values and wisdom that will help us to halt our unsustainable depletion of the earth’s natural resources and to discover how we can feed the world without destroying the planet.

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calling all artists: remembrance day for lost species needs your help!

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The ONCA are looking for contributions for Remembrance Day for Lost Species 2017. Human created pollution, climate change and deforestation is causing unprecedented species loss. 40% of the wildlife on earth has disappeared in the last 40 years. Remembrance Day for Lost Species is a chance each year to learn and tell the stories of species driven extinct by human activities, and commit anew to what remains.

The theme of this years remembrance is extinction- and pollinators, a topic close to all of our hearts.  Contributions will be shared on the ONCA website, and potentially in the gallery and they welcome all mediums including visual art, performance, creative writing, historical accounts and artefacts. They are also calling for artists, companies, schools and communities to hold memorial events on and around November 30th 2017. These could take the form of processions, “funerals” or participatory events marking the extinction of pollinator species and/or the ongoing threats which human activity poses to surviving pollinators.

If you have a proposal idea or wish to discuss your proposal at any time please contact persephone@onca.org.uk

To read more about Remembrance day click HERE