the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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maps showing how maine’s coastline could change

New sea-level rise forecast is alarming: Here are 10 maps showing how Maine’s coastline could change

backcove_west

This computer-generated image shows what Portland’s Back Cove would look like after a rise in sea level (Natural Resources Council of Maine).

According to a report this week in Slate, a team led by the former lead NASA scientist on climate change is now forecasting a much more rapid and dramatic rise in sea level than was previously expected.

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farmers: in advocating to your eaters 

  

Here’s some good evidence about how NAFTA undermines farmers, not only  domestically, but also in the countries where we ” free trade”

This article from The Nation focuses on pigs, who eat corn. 

For nearly two decades, Smithfield has used NAFTA and the forces it unleashed to become the world’s largest packer and processor of hogs and pork. But the conditions in Veracruz that helped Smithfield make high profits plunged thousands of rural residents into poverty. Tens of thousands left Mexico, many eventually helping Smithfield’s bottom line once again by working for low wages on its US meatpacking lines. “The free trade agreement was the cause of our problems,” Ceja says.

Read more…


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farming as a public service press update

Op-Ed: Is farming a public service?

Vertical_professions_FIPSBy LIZ CARLISLE (published in the LA Times July 9, 2015)

A bill recently introduced in Congress, the Young Farmer Success Act, would make farmers eligible for federally subsidized student loan forgiveness — just as teachers and nurses are now — on the grounds that agriculture is a public service. But is it? Continue reading


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Wall Street is buying our farms

 

Orion Magazine Presents: Buying the Farm

buying our farms

Photo courtesy of Mark Renz

Dean Kuipers dives into Wall St’s speculative invasion of farm country and talks about alternatives that seek to improve farmers’ land tenure, not shake it up, projects like Iroquois Valley Farms, which are, he says,

“…a radical alternative to institutional investors—a radically profitable alternative, he is quick to point out, as his company is making “over a double-digit return on an annual basis, since the inception.” That would put it on par with the institutional funds, which are averaging, according to de Lapérouse, somewhere from 7 to 12 percent annual returns.”

Read article here: https://orionmagazine.org/article/buying-the-farm/


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REQUIRE READING: the TTP, local farming, and what you need to know

On July 20th, as part of Maine Sail Freight events, the Greenhorns are hosting a training on the secret trade deal TTP and TTIP (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) at a public waterfront park in Portsmouth’s Strawberry Banke.

If you can’t make it, this is your required reading: Maine Agriculture and Food Systems in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Why? Sometimes, it’s hard to even imagine that something as abstract-sounding as the Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership could affect small-scale agriculture in the United States. The reality, however, is that the proposed free trade agreement could have devastating repercussions throughout the entire United States food system. International trade agreements are, for better or worse, already intricately woven into our national food policy, federal food prices, and governmental regulations– and the TTP has the potential to further limit state and local sovereignty over markets.

The issue is complicated, and TTP talks have had limited transparency, but it is essential that farmers and food activists in the US understand what is at stake. Which is why we cannot more highly recommend this investigation on how the TTP would affect Maine Agriculture and Food Systems, co-authored by the Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy and the Maine Farmland Trust as part of the Citizen Trade Policy Commission and Maine Fair Trade Campaign.

Ultimately the paper’s authors conclude that,

“It is impossible to accurately predict the real impacts of these changes in tariff and non-tariff barriers on specific sectors of agricultural production in Maine. The bigger question is how the changes that could result from TTIP would affect the state’s food sovereignty, i.e., farmers’ efforts to produce sustainable crops at fair prices, consumers’ demands for healthy and affordable foods, and their joint efforts to support local economies.”

The document is relatively short (given the complicated nature of the topic), easy to understand, and well-worth a committed read. The paper suggests that the trade agreement may have far-reaching and potentially catastrophic effects on many aspects of Maine’s agricultural sector including farm-to-school programs, attempts to support and promote local food systems, Maine dairy farmers and cheese producers, and GMO labelling initiatives. Though the assessment is geared specifically towards Maine, the issues it discusses are not unique to Maine alone, and it is useful for anyone looking to understand how international policy might affect domestic and local affairs.

Read it here!

The Maine Fair Trade Campaign’s next meeting is  Wed. July 15, 2015
Place: Viles Arboretum, 153 Hospital St, Augusta ME.


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gluten intolerance: is it because we aren’t around enough poo?

In a recent NYT opinion piece about gluten, the author ends with the following advice: Maybe we should stop asking what’s wrong with wheat, and begin asking what’s wrong with us. Turns out, this, in part, could be due to the amount of poo we breathe, swallow, let seep into our pores.

There’s a town called Karelia, which is bisected by Finland and Russia. People with celiac- associated genes are prevalent on both sides of the border there, and both populations eat similar amounts of wheat. The interesting thing is, celiac disease is almost five times as common on the Finnish side compared with the Russian. The same holds for other immune-mediated diseases, including Type 1 diabetes, allergies and asthma. All occur more frequently in Finland than in Russia.

WHAT’S the difference? The Russian side is poorer; fecal-oral infections are more common. Russian Karelia, some Finns say, resembles Finland 50 years ago. Evidently, in that environment, these disease-associated genes don’t carry the same liability.

Click HERE to read the whole article.

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