Kevin Ranker just sponsored a bill which will help farmers on the island and throughout the state by changing inappropriate Labor and Industry restrictions for farm interns--this will be HUGELY helpful for farmers, and the local economies they're a part of. It looked at one point like it might not happen.
Kevin got it passed unanimously 46-0. It's WA SB 6349. Click on the link to read more.
Simply another politician? This is a working man!
Easy things you can do:
1. Write or call Kevin Ranker and thank him & his Senate colleagues! Our county's lucky to have Kevin pulling for us. Without this bill, WA farmers would face almost insurmountable obstacles passing farming skills on to a new generation of willing young farmers.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
|Above; Flowering alfalfa plant. Photo: Scott Bauer Below: Corn. Photo Keith Weller USDA gallery|
|Above: Sugar beets in the field. Photo: Peggy Grebs USDA gallery|
The case, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, was filed in federal district court in Manhattan and assigned to Judge Naomi Buchwald. Plaintiffs in the suit represent a broad array of family farmers, small businesses and organizations from within the organic agriculture community who are increasingly threatened by genetically modified seed contamination despite using their best efforts to avoid it. The plaintiff organizations have over 270,000 members, including thousands of certified organic family farmers.
"This case asks whether Monsanto has the right to sue organic farmers for patent infringement if Monsanto's transgenic seed should land on their property," said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT's Executive Director and Lecturer of Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. "It seems quite perverse that an organic farmer contaminated by transgenic seed could be accused of patent infringement, but Monsanto has made such accusations before and is notorious for having sued hundreds of farmers for patent infringement, so we had to act to protect the interests of our clients."
"Some say transgenic seed can coexist with organic seed, but history tells us that's not possible, and it's actually in Monsanto's financial interest to eliminate organic seed so that they can have a total monopoly over our food supply," said Ravicher. "Monsanto is the same chemical company that previously brought us Agent Orange, DDT, PCB's and other toxins, which they said were safe, but we know are not. Now Monsanto says transgenic seed is safe, but evidence clearly shows it is not."
"Transgenic seed should not be on the market. They are a threat to the future of farming and consumer freedom of choice," asserted Pete Kennedy, Esq., President of FTCLDF. "Monsanto should not be suing farms whose land the company's products contaminate; Monsanto should be paying them damages."
Go to the FTCLDF page to see the list of plaintiffs and to read more.
Here's more info from the Cornucopia Institute
Other actions you can take this month: If you live in the WA area, you can testify next week to the USDA in Seattle.
From the Cornucopia Institute:
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
WORK IN YOUR GARDEN, WHETHER IT'S 40 ACRES, OR A PLANTER ON YOUR PORCH, AND ---
(courtesy of Food Democracy Now)
Tell the US Department of Justice it's time to Break Up Monsanto
Last year the Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Agriculture held a series of 5 workshops investigating anti-competitive practices in the food and agricultural sectors. Nowhere are these abuses more prevalent than in the extreme market share enjoyed by the seed and chemical company Monsanto, which has a virtual stranglehold on seed supplies in crucial sectors that has severely limited farmer’s choice in what traits they can buy. Monsanto’s control of the seed market is so high that 93% of soybeans, some 82% of corn, 93% of cotton and 95% of sugar beets grown in the U.S. contain Monsanto’s patented genes.
Latest News on Genetically Modified Salmon here.
Go here for action to keep wild salmon wild.
To read more, go here
Monday, November 22, 2010
Comment on FDA Approval of GMO salmon - Also, latest update on SB 510, one post down, as of 9:15 pm 11/22
Read about The Aqua Bounty Corporation's GMO fast growing salmon made of eel and salmon genes: http://tinyurl.com/2bhjlnx
How to take action TODAY
More from the Center for Food Safety on the poor research, and all the information concealed from the public by for-profit Aqua Bounty on, potentially, the first genetically modified animal to be ok'd for food production - and why is this animal being put up for approval as a drug, doing an end-run around tougher food regulations?
More on that from Duke University researchers HERE.
Legislation proposed 11/18/10 by Senators Begich (D-AK), Murkowski (I-AK), and Murray(D-AK) re: GMO salmon.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Keep the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) from ruling to approve engineered (GMO) salmon as the first animal manufactured for human consumption. Click here to sign the petition demanding the FDA halt approval for GMO salmon.
AquaBounty Technologies created the salmon by artificially combining growth hormone genes from a Pacific salmon with DNA from an eelpout. This keeps the fish growing year round, in crowded inland tanks.
The FDA doesn't do its own testing of genetically engineered animals. It relies on information provided by the company that wants approval — just like they did in their oversight of the egg industry which produced the largest salmonella outbreak in U.S. history last month. Unlike traditional methods breeding, in lab-created GMO “transgenic” animal breeding, genes are from different species, or can be from plants.
The mechanics of gene addition is imprecise. Scientists cannot predict or control where lab-added genes mechanically 'fired' into cells will attach along DNA strands, so genes added in this way often interfere with the normal functions of DNA, creating unwanted mutation. Release of virtually all research information is controlled by GMO patent holders; researchers must sign a release before beginning any research; resulting information on GMO risks has been heavily suppressed. Risks that are known include damage to organs, including stomach, liver and kidneys, severe allergies, adverse hormonal changes and antibiotic resistance.
Because genetically engineered salmon can be classified as a "drug" by the FDA, due to their laboratory origins, instead of food, there's little focus on the potential dangers of people consuming modified salmon. It's not enough that raising salmon in crowded factory fish farms contaminates our food with antibiotics and other chemicals. Now the FDA would be adding additional unknown risks of GMO salmon to the mix.
Aside from the health risks, the risks posed by release of these salmon into waterways, even contained (which has never been proved secure), to wild salmon stocks and biodiversity in general, are staggering, not to mention the danger posed to tribal peoples with salmon traditions, and commercial fishing families and the economies they are a part of.
Read more about GMO's here.
Thank you to Food Democracy Now, Food and Water Watch, and CREDO for portions of this post.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
TAKE ACTION HERE
Or Go to SeattleGlobalJustice.Org. Contact info for the Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation here, (the Gates Foundation makes it clear they are under no obligation to review or respond to your correspondence to their address).
Monsanto has already negatively impacted agriculture in African countries. For example, in South Africa in 2009, Monsanto’s genetically modified maize failed to produce kernels, and hundreds of farmers were devastated. Some farmers suffered up to an 80% crop failure.
Transnational corporations like Monsanto have been key collaborators with the Foundation and AGRA’s grantees in promoting the spread of industrial agriculture on the continent. This model of production relies on expensive inputs such as chemical fertilizers, genetically
modified seeds, and herbicides. Though this package represents enticing market development opportunities for the private sector, many civil society organizations contend it will lead to further displacement of farmers from the land, an actual increase in hunger, and migration to already swollen cities unable to provide employment opportunities.
In a 2008 report initiated by the World Bank and the UN, the international Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), promotes alternative solutions to the problems of hunger and poverty that emphasize their social and
economic roots. The IAASTD concluded that small-scale agroecological farming is more suitable for the third world than the industrial agricultural model favored by Gates and Monsanto. In a summary of the key findings of IAASTD, the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) emphasizes the report’s warning that “continued reliance on simplistic technological fixes—including transgenic crops—will not reduce persistent hunger and poverty and could exacerbate environmental problems and worsen social inequity.” Furthermore, PANNA explains, “The Assessment’s 21 key findings suggest that small-scale agroecological farming may offer one of the best means to feed the
hungry while protecting the planet.” (Excerpted from press release Aug 25/2010 -
AGRA-Watch http://www.seattleglobaljustice.org/agra-watch - Links, italics, and bold font added by Land & Sea)
Press release posted by irresistable fleet of bicycles/the Greenhorns : http://tinyurl.com/3a8s39p
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Supreme Court Rules 7-1 GMO Alfalfa Is "Regulated Item" - Planting of Genetically Modified Alfalfa Still Illegal - Monsanto Spins That as Victory.
It should be no surprise that Monsanto's PR machine is working hard to spin the truth in this morning's decision in the first-ever Supreme Court case on genetically engineered crops (Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms).
The Supreme Court ruled that an injunction against planting was unnecessary since, under lower courts' rulings, Roundup Ready Alfalfa became a regulated item and illegal to plant. In other words, the injunction was "overkill' because The Center for Food Safety's victory in lower federal court determined that USDA violated the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental laws when it approved Roundup Ready alfalfa. The court felt that voiding the USDA's decision to make the crop legally available for sale was enough.
The journal Sustainable Business News also makes the same points in their story, here .
Dave Murphy of Food Democracy Now, quoted in Food Safety news, states: "Reports in the mainstream media have been wildly misleading. This ruling is a serious defeat for Monsanto. Not only is it still illegal to sell or plant GMO alfalfa until the USDA issues guidance, but the Supreme Court also ruled that 'environmental harm' now includes genetic contamination, something that could undermine biotech crops in future court cases.
The issue is still very much alive and now lands on Vilsack's desk at the USDA," said Murphy, in an email to Food Safety News. "Make no mistake about it, the future of organics is at stake."
The article goes on to state: "The agency [USDA] issued a brief statement after the ruling yesterday: "APHIS [Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the USDA] is carefully reviewing the Supreme Court ruling before making decisions about its next regulatory actions related to the deregulation of Roundup Ready alfalfa."
The Washington Post, in a short paragraph covering the ruling, buries the lead:
"On Monday, the Supreme Court: Lifted a nationwide ban on the planting of genetically engineered alfalfa seeds, despite claims that they might harm the environment. In a 7 to 1 vote, the court reversed a federal appeals court ruling that prohibited Monsanto from selling alfalfa seeds that are resistant to the popular weed killer Roundup. The Department of Agriculture still needs to authorize use of the seeds before they can be planted on a wide scale. Justice Stephen G. Breyer took no part in the case.
The case is Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms."Of interest on this case - As stated above, Justice Stephen Breyer recused himself, as his brother ruled in the original lower court decision of 2007 on this case.
Clarence Thomas, however, who became a corporate lawyer in the pesticide and agriculture division of the Monsanto Company three years out of law school, not only decided he could rule on this case, but also wrote the majority opinion in a past case, J. E. M. Ag Supply, Inc. v. Pioneer Hi-Bred International - for which Monsanto was one of the largest beneficiaries.
As the Organic Consumers Association says: Fox, meet henhouse.
What can you do?
Contact the USDA. Let them know that you know genetically modified alfalfa is not safe to plant. Cross contamination from GE crops is unavoidable, and the livelihood of organic alfalfa farmers and health of livestock and consumers is directly threatened by the sale and planting of this product.
Besides the direct documented health risks to animals and humans posed by GMO crops such as this alfalfa, heavier pesticide and herbicide needed to battle the "super-pests" and "super-weeds" created when these seeds are used has been shown to be inevitable.
They say "build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door".
Food crops, unadulterated, have evolved to perfectly suit human and animal need, but food crops left as they are can't be patented.
So - if you're a corporation, and you can't build a better mousetrap, the best way to rake in profits is to convince the world you have.
That's what marketing, PR and spin is all about, and it's the high-stakes game these chem/ag/biotech giants are working with their hoped-for GMO moneymakers.
Once again, family farmers - and the rest of us - who are supposed to turn our hard-earned money over to these corporations in order to plant this stuff, eat this stuff, buy pharmaceuticals from these same companies to be cured of health damage caused by this stuff, pay for environmental cleanup resulting from heavier chemical use on this stuff (chemicals also produced by these same companies) - are left holding the bag.
Contact the USDA at (202) 720-2791 0r 202-720-3631 (USDA head Tom Vilsack) today. Please read Organic Valley's take on this issue, here. Dairies and milk are directly affected by these decisions.
To contact our local Senators:
Talking Point Suggestions
- Let the USDA know that you do care about GE contamination of organic crops and food
- Tell USDA that you will reject GE-contaminated alfalfa and alfalfa-derived foods
- If GE alfalfa is deregulated, widespread GE contamination of non-GM and organic alfalfa is inevitable.
- Organic alfalfa is a critical component for organic farming and feed.
- Remind USDA it's their job to protect Organic farmers, and all farmers who choose to grow non-GE crops.
- GE alfalfa would significantly increase pesticide use and thereby harm human health and the environment.
- Harm to small and organic farmers is significant.
- USDA should extend the comment period.
Otherwise, as we see in the current Gulf corporate originated disaster, cleanup jobs picking up the environmental mess left behind may end up being the only game in town.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
The number of services we have available to us through the district is slightly stunning, and the quality of these services and professionals - well... we are very lucky.
is holding a public hearing on
Tuesday, June 8th, at The Grange in Friday Harbor at 10 AM.
They would like comments from the public
about renewing a County special assessment which provides some of the Conservation District's funding. It's $5 per parcel, for 5 years. This would be a renewal of the same assessment the District's had since 2006.
They'd like to invite you to attend the public hearing to find out more about what they do and to tell them what you think. Written comments (to SJICD, 350 Court Street #10, Friday Harbor 98250) are also welcome.
For questions about the hearing, or on submitting comments, Conservation District Office Manager Josie Byington is at (360) 378-6621
Thursday, May 13, 2010
It's a simple, streamlined site - very helpful. They list by state with descriptions and links.
Here are Washington state current listings as of 5/12/10. Type in the state(s) your looking into, or other keywords, in the search box at the top of the page,
They have listings for both volunteer, internship, and paid jobs, also a Connect More page with links to helpful organizations.
Check it out, graduates and young people!
Eco-Farm is also EXCELLENT - they have a great GenNext page which is a blog page with writing from very new younger farmers and farmworkers sharing their experiences and exchanging advice - some just getting started - and a GMO update page that is very good.
(Also, for jobs and internship opportunities, scroll down to check the Apprenticeships, Internships heading, on the links listed along the right side of our main page. We have tons of links there for all sorts of opportunities.
Lastly- Please scroll down to the post for Nov. 10 and at least skim the red parts.
The "food safety enhancement" and other similar bills are still in play. Want local farms and healthy food? Know about this stuff.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Take action to insure USDA "organic" doesn't mean factory farm.
The USDA recently put out new rules making it clear that organic dairy cows must be raised on pasture. As consumers, please let the USDA know that we expect the same for "organic" certified cattle raised for beef.
Keep hearing the terms "Confined (or Concentrated) Animal Feeding Operation" (CAFO) and "factory farm"?
Go here for a brief, clear US gov't description of what that means.
Want to know what “grass-fed” & “pasture-raised” means?
EatWild.com has excellent, clear explanations of grass-fed basics and how grass-feeding affects food safety, in addition to information on current common feeding practices for commercially raised beef, pork, poultry and dairy operations.
Top - Sample photo of a typical feedlot , from YonderWay , Grass Fed. Enough Said blog page. Yonder way grazes grass fed beef, pork and chickens in a system that has much more long-term success than feedlot methods illustrated in the photo.
Below: Grazing system where cattle have grazed for 3 weeks on the left side of the fence and will be moved to the other side after a 3 week grazing rotation. Benton, Arkansas.
By: Jeff Vanuga, photogallery.nrcs.usda.gov
Some examples of successful grass-fed operations can be seen at:
Fruitland American Meat (Missouri)
YonderWay Farm (Texas)
Thundering Hooves Ranch (Eastern Washington)
Island Grown Farmers Cooperative IGFC right here in San Juan & Skagit counties (WA)
To find where to buy IGFC meats, go here.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
One action takes one click of a mouse on the link below.
The most critical action takes a simple phone call.
Critically important is Senate Bill 510. As it is written now, it severely threatens small family farmers with a one size fits all approach that does not improve food safety.
Jon Tester, a working Montana farmer and U.S Senator who has appeal across political lines has written and proposed an amendment to remedy this mistake.
It’s critical, because this amendment still needs to be added to 510, and the bill goes up for a vote as early as Tuesday. Please contact your local Senators, and the head of the committee and members voting on this bill. Please go here to read a summary of the bill, the problem, and how it can be fixed.
This really is very important.
Very Important - Contact the Senators who are the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee. Members are listed at the bottom of this page - mouse over their names for contact links.
Call your state's US Senators and the Senate H.E.L.P. Committee members today, and tell them that you support
Senator Jon Tester’s amendment to S. 510.
Our State Senators:
Maria Cantwell (202) 224-3441
Patty Murray (202) 224-2621
The second very easy thing you can do is to support Lincoln School in Mt. Vernon with an online vote. These Skagit valley kids have produced and entered a video in a contest about school gardens and lunch, and have made it to the final round. Now all they need is your vote.
Here’s the note from the gal overseeing this project:
We created a video about our efforts to improve the food at Lincoln
Elementary School in Mount Vernon. We entered the National Farm to
School "Real Food Is" video contest and the judges put us in the top 4
picks. We are the only video from Washington State in the top 4!
Online voting is how we can win $1000 for our efforts at Lincoln.
Please vote for our video. It is called "Lincoln's Journey to Real
Please get the word out and send on the link so everyone you know can
Please vote from each of your computers. (I know you have more than
one!! :) Please ask your friends, family and networks to vote as
well. Thanks so much
Wish us luck
Rita Ordonez, Coordinator
School Garden and Family Cooking Classes
Mount Vernon, WA
Sponsor: Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill.
Cosponsors: 15 (8 Democrats, 7 Republicans)
Introduced: March 3, 2009
Committees: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Michael B. Enzi (R-WY)
To contact the Senate HELP Committee members, go to the links below.
Call or email as many as you can before Tues.!
Make a party of it! Call with friends, and pass this on!
This can be the thing that makes the difference.
Democrats by Rank
Tom Harkin (IA)
Christopher Dodd (CT)
Barbara A. Mikulski (MD)
Jeff Bingaman (NM)
Patty Murray (WA)
Jack Reed (RI)
Bernard Sanders (I) (VT)
Sherrod Brown (OH)
Robert P. Casey, Jr. (PA)
Kay Hagan (NC)
Jeff Merkley (OR)
Al Franken (MN)
Michael Bennet (CO)
Republicans by RankMichael B. Enzi (WY)
Judd Gregg (NH)
Lamar Alexander (TN)
Richard Burr (NC)
Johnny Isakson (GA)
John McCain (AZ)
Orrin G. Hatch (UT)
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Tom Coburn, M.D. (OK)
Pat Roberts (KS
Please learn more about the number of Food Safety Enhancement Acts now working through Congress by looking here at our Actions page and asking questions.
Tracking SB 510 through Congress - http://www.govtrack.us/
(Please read the questions at the bottom of that page)
Thanks for making a big difference!
Happy, blustery Spring,
Linda and Maureen
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Way to go Kevin Ranker, Agricultural Resources Committee (ARC) of San Juan County, and people who called and wrote to help make this happen. It makes us feel optimistic knowing we all can make a positive difference!