the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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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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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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8 days left! support family farms in fight against Monsanto!

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Monsanto is notorious for launching court battles to financially and legally bulldoze whomever dare stand in its way. The company has sued farms, counties, states, and countries to subvert democratic processes that threaten its corporate interests. In its latest battle, the agriculture giant is backing a lawsuit against a county is Southern Oregon that recently passed a ballot initiative banning genetically engineered foods in the county.

Read more on Our Family Farms Coalition’s website and donate now! to support Jackson County’s legal defense. Protect their ban on GMO crops!

It is important to remember that all local battles are part of a greater national campaign to resist pesticides, GMOs, and industrial agriculture. A win here is a win everywhere. We are powerful when we stand together. Please donate and share! Boost, boost, boost!


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global weirding

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This is a remix of the Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5), the most comprehensive report on climate change ever produced.The report is dense. Stacked it is about half a meter tall. Its convincing conclusions sometimes come with potentially frightening consequences.

In Guide to Global Weirding used daily data from climate simulations. We have trawled a thousand pages looking for regional impacts. We have processed a 160.000 line spreadsheet with data from economic models reacting to future political plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions. All this has been compressed to a short presentation that we hope anyone can understand and take in.

We try to show what our future might look like if we take the IPCC AR5 Report and its conclusions seriously. And what it will take to get to a future in which we avoid dangerous climate change. On to this rad visualization!

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