the irresistible fleet of bicycles


Leave a comment

action alert! upcoming farm bill listening sessions.

unnamed (1)

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.


Leave a comment

guess who’s going to congress

NYFC_FPS_Banner_blog

We are unbelievably proud and excited to stand with over 100 organizations in support of the Young Farmer Success Act, a bill that would help our nation’s young farmers manage their student loan debt and has finally gotten to the floor of congress. The legislation has been in the works for years now, due in large part to the National Young Farmers Coalition, and there’s no exaggerating how much it would support new farmers and dramatically increase access to both farming and farmland. Take action now to tell your member of Congress to co-sponsor HR 1060. (And be sure to send The National Young Farmers Coalition a thank you letter when it passes!)


Leave a comment

wages, immigration, and a labor shortage on california farms

CA Fruit Picking

According to a recent article in the LA Times, wages are up for farm workers in California and some farms are even offering perks (think 401(k), health care, vacation days, and profit-sharing bonuses) that were often unheard of in the world of agriculture. So why, then, are farmers struggling with what sounds like a crippling labor shortage? Paired with an increasingly restrictive immigration policy, the article suggests that it’s because native-born Americans simply don’t want to work in the fields:

But the raises and new perks have not tempted native-born Americans to leave their day jobs for the fields. Nine in 10 agriculture workers in California are still foreign born, and more than half are undocumented, according to a federal survey.

What do you think? Although the article has its holes and shortcomings, it’s a great start to a debate that must be had in California and throughout the country. Give the entire piece a read by clicking HERE.


Leave a comment

ice detained migrant farmer activists: thousands responded.

Though those who live farther away from the muddy melting snow of Southern New England, may not have caught wind of the migrant rights struggle that has been playing out between farms and courthouses around the region, it’s worth everyone’s attention.

Since the ICE arrest and detention of farmworkers and Migrant Justice leaders Jose Enrique “Kike” Balcazar Sanchez and Zully Palacios Rodriguez on March 16, hundreds of people have gathered around Vermont and in Boston to demand the young activists release. Migrant Justice is a Vermont-based organization that organizes three regional migrant worker communities to advocate for human rights and economic justice. Especially considering some of the anecdotes in this excellent piece by LatinoUSA.org on their case, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which immigration officials are not intentionally targeting human rights leaders for deportation.

Both are in their early twenties, neither with any prior arrests, and they were on their way home from the Migrant Justice center when they were stopped. Balcazar, as LatinoUSA reports, “is an active community organizer in Vermont, and served on Vermont attorney general T.J. Donovan’s Immigrant Task Force, which was created in January as a response to President Trump’s immigration executive orders.”

Continue reading


Leave a comment

support the young farmer success act

Hey friends, Last month, Reps. Joe Courtney (D-CT), Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and John Faso (R-NY) reintroduced the Young Farmer Success Act (H.R. 1060), a bill to provide student loan forgiveness to young farmers.
This is an initiative which could have a very positive impact, not only on current farmer, but by encouraging more young folks to join us in the field.
Tell your representative’s that this is an important issue! Take a moment to head over to the National Young Farmers Coalition to sign on.


Leave a comment

save the rainforest: revisiting an old battle

rainforest

Photo Credit: Neil Palmer/CIAT for Center for International Forestry Research

Some bad news from a recent article in the New York Times:

A decade after the “Save the Rainforest” movement forced changes that dramatically slowed deforestation across the Amazon basin, activity is roaring back in some of the biggest expanses of forests in the world. That resurgence, driven by the world’s growing appetite for soy and other agricultural crops, is raising the specter of a backward slide in efforts to preserve biodiversity and fight climate change.

Large American-based food giants such as Cargill are fueling this destruction, as they look for increasingly remote areas, where regulation and protection laws are limited, to source their crops. There’s also some next level hypocrisy going on, as Cargill and other similar companies had signed deals in recent years promising to curb their role in deforestation.

You can read the entire article HERE (highly recommended!), but this is a reminder that no cause can be forgotten: stay vigilant! Also, give some thought to your soy consumption, in its many iterations:

A major culprit is the cultivation of soy, which has jumped more than 500 percent in Bolivia since 1991, to 3.8 million hectares in 2013, according to the most recent agricultural censuses. Little of that soy is consumed domestically. The vast majority is processed and exported as animal feed in a commodities trade that serves a global appetite for hamburgers, chicken and pork.


Leave a comment

“ditching NAFTA” may hurt american farmers, but which ones?

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/515380213/515638250

NPR’s The Salt spoke to American farmers growing products (strawberries) in and outsourcing their products (milk, powdered) to Mexico. And no doubt, these industrial farmers will either pay more to import and export their crops and could lose potential markets. Given, however, that NAFTA’s effect on small and medium farms in this country– which we rarely mentioned in the discussion– has been largely detrimental, and NAFTA’s effect on small farmers in Mexico has been unequivocally disastrous, we wonder how this conversation could be extended to address small-scale sustainable agriculture.  Greenhorns, policy buffs, what do you think? Surely, it is not always true that what is bad for industrialized ag is good for sustainable ag, but….

What do you think, Greenhorns, specifically our economics buffs out there, what will it mean for young agrarians and small farms if the US “ditches NAFTA?”