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new resource: national sustainable agriculture oral history archive

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credit: Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders

The National Sustainable Agriculture Oral History Archive is a collection of interviews with people who have been instrumental in the development and implementation of public policies to advance sustainable agriculture in the United States. It was started in 2015 and has been growing ever since. Several of the interviews are with key members of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and their interviews document the process of formation and evolution that has led to the NSAC that we know today. They also discuss the federal policy reforms NSAC, its allies, and predecessor coalitions have achieved over the past four decades.

To date there are 31 interviews available in the archive, most in a video format with accompanying written transcription. The plan for the next year involves conducting 8-10 more interviews featuring  several farmer/civil rights activists in the South among others.

Among the main topics covered in the interviews are:

  • The political and social context surrounding the initial federal policy efforts in the 1970s and 1980s to advance organic and sustainable agriculture;
  • The evolution of what became the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, from its early days as an informal network of grassroots organizations, to the more formal structure of regional Sustainable Agriculture Working Groups (SAWGs) in the 1990s, to the NSAC of today with its 120 organizations from around the country;
  • A review of the policy gains that support organic and sustainable agriculture achieved through federal Farm Bills from 1985 through 2014, including a discussion of where policy proposals fell short, despite the efforts of sustainable agriculture advocates;
  • What now? Exploration of priorities going forward that are needed to strengthen organic and sustainable farming and build a healthy food system.

Check out the archive HERE

The archive is housed at the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture. The interviews were conducted by Ron Kroese (rkroese@visi.com), a senior fellow with the University’s Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems. 


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emergency day of action against DAPL

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The Sacred Stones Camp at Standing Rock has put out the call for immediate emergency action to stop the drilling below the Missouri River for the Dakota Access Pipeline after yesterday’s announcement by the Army Corps of Engineers of their intent to issue permission to proceed with construction, ignoring a previous order to conduct an environmental impact study on the project before doing so. Without action, drilling will likely begin today, Wednesday February 9, and the pipeline could be completed in 80 days.

If there were ever a time to flood TDP banks, shout outside of Army Corps of Engineers offices, and share this information widely, this is it. Find actions near you today!

We’ll leave you with this excellent quote from indigenous American Kandi Mosset in the Guardian today: “The Dakota Access pipeline is a symptom of the larger problem, which is the fracking that’s continuing to happen. Society as a whole needs to wake up and realize there are no jobs on a dead planet.”


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don’t back down on DAPL, SEND PUBLIC COMMENTS TODAY!

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Friends, it’s clear to us that the activism bug is sweeping the nation. Suddenly even my once-apolitical mother is calling her senators every day. It’s beautiful, and it’s important. On this note, we’ve got one URGENT request for you today: please, please add the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to your call and write lists. President Trump may have put the fast track on the Dakota Access Pipeline, but you still have the opportunity to voice your opposition to this dangerous and unnecessary project!

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ public comment period on the proposed 1,172-mile-long pipeline is open now, and the Water Protectors at Standing Rock need your support before the comment period closes February 20, 2017.

 

Send your public comment now and continue to stand with Standing Rock in opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Given this week’s current events,  we think the the sooner, the better!

*Photo by John Wathen, Hurricane Creekkeeper


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speaking your truth: in honor of every human being marching in the women’s march tomorrow

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I once had the great privilege of living for a while with a lovely and formidable witchy nature woman in Maine. She had the following passage from Audre Lorde‘s The Cancer Journals posted on the inside of her bathroom door, and I have since followed suit. I cannot tell you what good it does for the spirit, to read this first thing every morning! But tomorrow morning, oh on this morning of mornings, I wanted others to read this too as we take to the streets to speak our collective truths; may we also  listen as allies to women of color, and may we remember, may we be bolstered by the words of those who have marched before us. 

“I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you…. What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.

I began to ask each time: “What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, “disappeared” or run off the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.

Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end.

And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.”


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indivisable: a how-to for resisting the trump agenda

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We are only exaggerating a little when we say that these ideas are too big for google: originally a GoogleDoc, Indivisable was so popular that the traffic overloaded GoogleDocs and has been moved to its own website. The 24-page document was written by former congressional staffers and uses Tea Party strategies as a model for grassroots resistance of Trump initiatives in congress. The basic idea is that, though progressives may not agree with the Tea Party’s values, their basic strategy successfully dead-ended most of the major legislative projects of the Obama administration– and these tactics can be adapted for use in the name of “inclusion, tolerance, and fairness.”

While we abhor the idea that this kind of stalemate partisan politics will continue to be business as usual in congress, we have to admit that the authors are clearly well-educated, thoughtful, and careful in their approach. At the very least, this guide is easy to read, informative, and provides an excellent refresher course in American civics. At the very best, it offers those of us who care about continuing to make our society more inclusive, most just, and more peaceful a hand up out of feelings of powerlessness. As such, this is considered required Greenhorns reading.


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successful tribunal and peoples assembly

TNC’s (Transnational Corporations) currently have world policy customized to streamline their interests. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is a primary example along with many other ‘free trade’ arrangements established by neo-liberal politicians. The damage to regional agriculture and human rights in the most vulnerable countries has been done, though many have resisted.

On 24-28 October, Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) were able to deliver 10 formal presentations in Geneva detailing human rights abuses by TNC’s to representatives from a wide variety of governments.

To read more about the Geneva Conference click HERE

 


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queer farmer voices wanted for white house meeting

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Listen up, queer farmers! Jonah Mossberg, director of the Queer Farmer Film Project’s documentary Out Here has been invited by the White House Rural Council to a meeting at the White House titled “Advancing LGBT Progress in Rural America.” The meeting’s agenda and exact purpose remains unclear, but Jonah is seeking feedback, input, advice, and commentary from LGBTQ farmers, rural folks, and anyone who might know LGBTQ farmers and/or rural folks. What issues are important in these communities? How can LGBTQ farmers in rural America be better served? The meeting will take place Friday, December 2, so get in touch with Jonah before then!