the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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act now to prevent the soon-to-be largest chemical and gmo seed company in the world

If you thought Monsanto was bad, this could be even worse: Chinese chemical giant ChemChina has begun a $43 billion merger with Swiss-based seed and pesticide company Syngenta to create one of the largest chemical and GMO seed companies in the world.

This proposed merger could have huge ramifications in the U.S. and across the entire global food system, where only six companies now control 75 percent of the world’s seed and agricultural chemical business.1 Further consolidation would put our food production system in the hands of even fewer multinational corporations, with the potential of unchecked use of more toxic chemicals and GMOs in our food supply.

A bipartisan group of members of Congress is calling on the Obama administration to more aggressively scrutinize the merger, with the potential of stopping it from moving forward.2 We must act now to pressure the Obama Administration to stop this dangerous merger before it’s too late.

To act, click HERE.


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DARK Act Comeback

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This just in from the Organic Consumers Association newsletter:

DARK Act Comeback?

Everybody loves a Comeback Kid—unless that “kid” is the DARK Act.

In March, the Senate voted down the DARK Act, the bill that would Deny Americans our Right to Know about GMOs.

Since then, Monsanto and its front groups, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) have been using their power, influence and, most of all, money to ram some version of the DARK Act through Congress before Vermont’s first-in-the-nation GMO labeling law takes effect on July 1.

Reliable sources say that the DARK Act will soon be up for another vote.

Last time, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) didn’t have the votes to pass his bill to take away states’ rights to label GMOs. Many of those who voted against the bill were pro-GMO Senators who take campaign contributions (and their talking points) from companies like Monsanto. But realizing they would take a lot of heat from their constituents, they voted no in the hope that a more palatable “compromise” bill might come along.

The Senators who voted against the DARK Act last time could easily flip their votes to support a “compromise” (capitulation) to block Vermont’s law and replace it with a weak federal standard, because of—what else?—pressure from the big corporations who profit from toxic pesticides and GMO foods.

TAKE ACTION: Stop the DARK Act Comeback! Tell your Senators: Protect Vermont’s GMO labeling law. 

Dial 888-897-0174 to tell your Senators to vote against any compromise that would block or delay Vermont’s bill from taking effect.

Help us protect Vermont’s GMO labeling law


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sounds like institutional racism within the usda

March 17, 2016

Eddie and Dorothy Wise continue to live at the Deluxe Inn in the Rocky Mount area.  As I write this today, they are on the property packing and removing all of their personal belongings.  The Federal Marshals are giving them only one day to remove everything.  One has to wonder how you pack up a lifetime in just a few hours.  No time to sort or anything else.

Eddie has been frustrated that he cannot get in contact with Federal Marshals to get onto the property to get his personal belongings out of the house. Also, trying to find out what happened to his dogs.

When I spoke with Eddie on Wednesday (3/16/2016), and this has been true since their removal on January 20, 2016, he was still concerned about his dogs and what has happened to them.  He feels really sure that they have been “put down” because it was over a week before the marshals office informed him that the dogs had been sent to the “pound.”  Such an incident as this is stressful enough without the additional constant worry of what has happened to your “best friends,” your dogs “who certainly provide unconditional love,” Eddie said.

We did finally get in touch with Congressman G. K. Butterfields’ office and the congressman has offered to do what he can to assist the Wises, even in trying to help them find housing once they are ready.

Many people have come to the aide with suggestions and support.  However, nothing, yet, has put any kind of stop or even slow down on this case.  The farm is set to be sold at auction on Thursday, April 7, 2016.  At this writing, I am not sure just where.  We do know that there have been several “white folk,” Eddie’s terminology, that have been after the property for a very long time and Eddie believes that they are pushing so they can get the property.

To read more, click HERE!

 


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this is food saftey

CSAvsPAPER_488_320John Collins

Food, safety, modernization—all good words. But the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) President Obama signed into law in 2011—giving the Food and Drug Administration new authority to regulate how food is grown, harvested and processed (i.e. produced)—places costly burdens on the small farmers who can least afford them.

What is the FSMA?

Prior to the law, the FDA’s approach to food contamination was reactionary. When instances of foodborne illnesses were reported, they responded, often with voluntary recalls. The new regulations, finalized last year and currently being implemented in phases, mark a distinct shift in an agency strategy that seeks to prevent contaminants from entering the food supply in the first place.

Food poisoning is a problem nationally. According to the CDC, of the 48 million Americans who get sick from eating tainted food every year, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die. Furthermore, massive recalls and settling the inevitable legal fallout costs the food industry billions. In addition to authorizing the FDA to issue mandatory recalls, the FSMA has incrementally unveiled 1,286 pages of new safety regulations.

While the food industry’s largest producers can afford to accommodate the various certifications, infrastructure changes and inspections that the law now mandates, small farmers already struggling to compete in their local markets risk getting priced—and regulated—out of business. Counter-intuitively, this is happening as consumer interest in food that hasn’t been doused in pesticides, wrapped in plastic and shipped halfway around the world should be offering regional farmers expanding economic opportunity in the form of community supported agriculture (CSAs) and weekend markets. To read more, click HERE.


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WA farmworkers walk a thousand miles in footsteps of cesar chavez

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On March 17th Washington-state-based independent farm worker union, the Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ), began a 28-day tour from Bellingham, WA to the US-Mexico border to galvanize a boycott of Driscoll berries to be undertaken in solidarity with their contract negotiations with their employer and Driscoll-supplier Sakuma Berry.
So far, they have:
  • walked 1,090 miles
  • visited 13 different cities
  • gotten 13 new boycott committees to join the international boycott of Driscoll’s berries

The boycott will continue until union contracts are signed for both Familias Unidas por la Justica and El Sindicato, the independent farmworker union from San Quintin Mexico that went on strike and endorsed the boycott last March. For more updates on the tour, visit FUJ’s Facebook page.

Greenhorns, we’re all in this together. Keep boycotting Driscoll’s, its subsidiaries, and the brands that use its berries. (See this info graphic.)


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kale, racial justice, and reclaiming our collective right to the earth

 

A beautiful walk around Soul Fire Farm with the thoughtful, insightful, and fiercely passionate Leah Penniman. This film was produced by The Next System Project and the Laura Flanders Show, as part of their series on gender, race, and the next system.

I’d write more about the farm, but my paraphrasing would never be as powerful as their own words: “Soul Fire Farm is committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. We raise life-giving food and act in solidarity with people marginalized by food apartheid. With deep reverence for the land and wisdom of our ancestors, we work to reclaim our collective right to belong to the earth and to have agency in the food system. We bring diverse communities together on this healing land to share skills on sustainable agriculture, natural building, spiritual activism, health and environmental justice. We are training the next generation of activist-farmers and strengthening the movements for food sovereignty and community self-determination.”

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