Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chemically dependent/bio-engineered farming is a pyramid scheme whose time has come and gone.


It is not conventional farming. Chemical farming has only been in practice on a wide scale over the last 50 years, bio-engineered farming much less.

Examination of every famine, every drought, every devastation through disease and pestilence in our history reveals the result of poor farming practices - concentration of too many animals in one area, poor and impractical use of water, failure to diversify crops and poor soil management and crop rotation practices.

Now, the use of chemicals, monocropping - that is, planting of only one variety of crop over vast areas, and crowded factory farms - confined animal feeding operations, depletes formerly healthy soils and aquifers without renewal, pollutes entire water systems, and goes far beyond the carrying capacity of any one piece of land where it is practiced. After short term initial increases in crop yield, chemical and factory farming produces fewer, and lower quality, food crops. It sacrifices nutritional value of crops and meats, and sacrifices human health, in exchange for turning what were food crops into storable commodities of questionable nutritional value and questionable health safety. It treats failures in the system, such as animal infections due to poor feeding practices, with drugs that not only mask serious underlying problems, but which also travel through meats and waterways to our bodies, and create drug resistant bacterias, promoting damage to our organs and the organs of our children, and increasing danger from more, and more powerful, diseases.

The model for this kind of corporate "farming" and profiteering is cancer - the never ending need to increase growth to survive. This is a recipe for disaster, as is every high stakes pyramid scheme. Truly conventional, traditional farming methods - soil building, prolonged grazing on adequate pasture for ruminants, sustainable water use methods and management, rare to no use of pharmaceuticals, understanding of living foods, diversification of crops to serve as a check against disease and pests - are modeled on sustainable, living cycles and have been tested and developed over more than 10 thousand years.
Because of the enormous profits taken by the few controlling bio/chem/Ag corporations since their conversion from chemical suppliers, during the first world war, to: adapting their chemicals and genetic research to farm use from the 50's on; control of taxpayer subsidized commodities; corporate patents on seeds and life; and chemical and pharmaceutical sales promoted as going hand-in-hand with use of patented seed systems and confined animal operations, corporate media machines have worked feverishly to promote the consumption of their commodity products, and to carefully and aggressivley mask the vicious cycle and downward spiral of this ultimately dead-end 'farming' system.

The incredibly sophisticated, elegant and highly sustainable traditional, truly conventional farming methods of smaller, diversified farms, suitable to the landscapes in which they exist, don't only increase the fertility of soil, protect water sources and supply, create nutritious crops and healthy animals from which come healthy Omega 3-rich meat, fish and dairy, and protect the biodiversity naturally resistant to disease and devastation. They also protect communities and economies: providing jobs at working wages that help keep families intact, and keeping money circulating within communities instead of sweeping profits gleaned from taxpayer subsidized exploitation of land and workers to corporate tax shelters and corporate offshore accounts. The cost of cleaning up: harm to landscapes and water supplies; the health care costs of illnesses resulting from not only chronic pollution of bacteria-laden offal and pesticides, but herbicides and pharmaceuticals washed into waterways; of poor nutrition, and the cost of treatment of illnesses related to pathogens bred in factory conditions, is immense, and has been hidden from the public by carefully orchestrated media campaigns touting the desirability of these very things that cause such harm.

The solution always present to these problems, and the effective check against food shortages, is traditional - truly conventional - farming. Without a corporate media machine behind it, widespread diversified sustainable farming has proved on its own again and again to work incredibly well, and has managed to continue on despite enormous threats and damage from the corporate Ag machine.

Now true farming biodiversity itself is threatened by corporations cashing in on lucrative genetic seed patents and related sales of chemicals and bio-triggers needed to sustain the growth of their seeds. This has been accompanied by reckless control of all research on the safety of genetic modification by the corporations who own the seeds being examined. Despite this control, scientists have felt compelled to release some results to the public showing in credible detail some of the dangers of lab-originated genetic modification. The process of genetic modification in laboratories has itself been show to be dangerous, as the "firing" of genes into plant cells has been show to be imprecise, with frequent unintended and often harmful results. Disingenuous disavowals of these dangers on corporate owned and sponsored websites compare lab-originated modification to natural crossbreeding and crossbreeding traditionally by growers. Very credible studies have now become public showing damage to human organs from genetically modified crops, especially to the human stomach and liver. Although genetic modification has been touted by publicity departments and paid scientists as a panacea for drought and increased yield, virtually all currently genetically modified commercial crops have been engineered either with a corporate owned pesticide, or to resist sprayings of corporate produced herbicide shown to be harmful to human beings. Promised increases in yield hve not shown to be sustainable. Currently, over 90% of all commercially produced soybeans and yellow corn are genetically modified. Sugar beets, canola, and many other crops have been modified, with a push currently on to create widespread modification of wheat and alfalfa. Problems associated with health and fertility have been reported by farmers using genetically modified and hormone and anitbiotic "enhanced" grains as feed, but have been suppressed by controlling companies.

Genetically modified seed has been shown to contaminate other seed, and to result in a mutation of "superweed" and "superbugs" resistant to the current corporate supplied chemicals, necessitating development and purchase of newer chemicals and pesticide enhanced crops, and a vicious cycle of bigger, better, faster, more that is ultimately unsustainable on a number of levels. Damage to natural pollenators, and soil building organisms, by pesticide enhanced crops has been demonstrated. Because of the uncontrolled contamination of non-patented seed, and corresponding aggressive actions against farmers by the powerful legal teams of patent owning Ag multinational corporations - charging, among other things, conspiracy to violate corprate patents - farmers must get onto the wheel of this downward cycle if they want to, or have no other choice but to, continue to farm.

In the meantime, legislation promoted as "food safety" bills has been pushed into and through congress which inhibits small farms ability to operate, and thereby reduces their impact on the bottom line of corporate farms, while not actually addressing the historic reason for food safety issues - factory farm practices and pollution.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sen. Ranker's (SJI ARC originated) farm internship bill passed WA Senate 46-0



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!

Kevin Ranker HeadshotEasy 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.winter veggies photo credit Becky Bolt

By Phone:

Olympia Office: (360) 786-7678
Anacortes Office: (360) 899-5638

By E-mail:

ranker.kevin@leg.wa.gov

2. Now the bill goes to the House for consideration. Can you contact our state representative Jeff Morris: http://housedemocrats.wa.gov/members/morris/ or whoever your WA state rep is in your district, and tell them this needs to pass?



Our local farmers provide us with food security, contribute to our local economy, and build the health of our island soil, water, and people.

WE understand the bill originated in our county's hard-working Agricultural Resources Committee (ARC). 6349 will help the local family farms that are such an important part of our economy (another reason why it is so important that our county ARC is funded).
Can you really make a difference? Many worked hard to make this happen for WA communities, and Matt Marinkovich also wrote a great letter in support of this bill.

People speaking up really makes a difference!
You can make a difference!






Wednesday, April 20, 2011

PUSHBACK ON GMO CONTAMINATION -- FAMILY FARMERS FILE SUIT AGAINST MONSANTO



 Above; Flowering alfalfa plant.  Photo: Scott Bauer  Below: Corn. Photo Keith Weller USDA gallery
Here's important news from the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF):

Above: Sugar beets in the field. Photo: Peggy Grebs USDA gallery
On behalf of 60 family farmers, seed businesses and organic agricultural organizations, the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed suit on March 29 against Monsanto Company to challenge the chemical giant's patents on genetically modified seed. The organic plaintiffs were forced to sue preemptively to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement should they ever become contaminated by Monsanto's genetically modified seed, something Monsanto has done to others in the past. The action seeks a ruling that would prohibit Monsanto from suing organic farmers and seed growers if contaminated by Roundup Ready seed. [PUBPAT is a not-for-profit legal services organization affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. PUBPAT protects freedom in the patent system by representing the public interest against undeserved patents and unsound patent policy. www.pubpat.org]

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

"Next week the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will hold its semiannual meeting in Seattle.  Three members of the policy staff from The Cornucopia Institute will be in attendance....

We have a lot to present.  Every citizen gets just 5 min. to speak and in the past you could speak a second 5 min. if you had a proxy from someone who could not attend the meeting.  The corporate-friendly chairperson of the panel just broke with tradition and eliminate the second 5 min.

There are some real hot button issues like will organic chickens have legitimate outdoor access and enough space inside buildings, will hogs be confined just like on factory farms and will the new potential rules put family-scale dairy farmers out of business.

If that's not enough a proposal is pending to allow any synthetic inorganic food as long as it allegedly has "nutrient value."  That could open the door to all kinds of bizarre novel substances that have no business in organics.  Turning organic food into what Michael Pollan calls "food-like substances."...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

WANT TO DO SOMETHING TODAY THAT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
WORK IN YOUR GARDEN, WHETHER IT'S 40 ACRES, OR A PLANTER ON YOUR PORCH, AND --- 
(courtesy of Food Democracy Now)
http://radiofreesunapee.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/logo_small_food-democracy-now.jpg       


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.
During the 2008 campaign, President Obama promised to deal with the worst monopoly abusers in agriculture. Well now is the time! Please join FOOD DEMOCRACY NOW in telling Department of Justice that it's time to Break Up to Monsanto today!


----------------------------------------
Latest News on Genetically Modified Salmon here.
Go here for action to keep wild salmon wild.
To read more, go here


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tell the FDA You Won't Eat GMO Salmon!

photo: Wild caught salmon. Courtesy Marinkovich family

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

GATES FOUNDATION INVESTS IN MONSANTO

"Both will profit at the expense of small-scale African farmers."
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).


"Last week, a financial website published the Gates Foundation’s investment portfolio, including 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock with an estimated worth of $23.1 million purchased in the second quarter of 2010. Prominent links include high-level [Gates] Foundation staff members who were once senior officials for Monsanto, such as Rob Horsch, formerly Monsanto Vice President of International Development Partnerships and current Senior Program Officer of the Gates Agricultural Development Program.
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.

Information from an editorial by the Center for Food Safety's Andew Kimbrell 6/21/10:
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.
Short sighted corporate profiteering at the expense of our country's family farms, farmland, and livestock and human health, should not continue to be the wave of the future. And we sure as heck know that these corporations don't create jobs. Use of these products reduces the number of farmers - and manufacturing jobs for these products is outsourced or given to the lowest paid workers to keep corporate profits up. With proper regulation, corporations can be a positive force, so we need adequate regulation.
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


We have to say how much we appreciate the every day efforts of the San Juan Conservation District. These hard working people usually do their jobs without much attention, but the amount of services they provide to all of us in San Juan County is phenomenal. Just take a look at the page listing their many services and programs (the links are on the left when you go here). We know you will find something there you will find helpful! Just check!
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.
There will be a PUBLIC HEARING having to do with the SJ Conservation District:
The San Juan Islands Conservation District
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

END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR - LOOKING FOR MEANINGFUL WORK?

Here's a fantastic site - Sustainable Food Jobs -
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

COMMENT TODAY TO USDA, ON ALLOWING FACTORY FARMS TO CARRY "ORGANIC" LABEL. GO HERE TO REGISTER YOUR COMMENT.
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

There are two things we hope you will do.Taking action is easy.
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
cantwell.senate.gov/contact/

Patty Murray (202) 224-2621
murray.senate.gov/email/index.cfm


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:
"Hi all
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
Food".
Please get the word out and send on the link so everyone you know can
vote. http://www.farmtoschool.org/vote.php (you can only vote once per
computer.)
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
Lincoln Elementary
School Garden and Family Cooking Classes
Mount Vernon, WA
360-336-0932"
ritaroma@earthlink.net

http://www.farmtoschool.org/vote.php


SB 510
Sponsor: Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill.
Cosponsors: 15 (8 Democrats, 7 Republicans)
Introduced: March 3, 2009
Committees: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

Chairman
Tom Harkin (D-IA)
harkin.senate.gov .

Ranking Member
Michael B. Enzi (R-WY)
enzi.senate.gov

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 Rank

Michael 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/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-510
(Please read the questions at the bottom of that page)


Thanks for making a big difference!
Happy, blustery Spring,
Linda and Maureen