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? 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,

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

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:
"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
Please get the word out and send on the link so everyone you know can
vote. (you can only vote once per
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

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

Tom Harkin (D-IA) .

Ranking Member
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 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 -
(Please read the questions at the bottom of that page)

Thanks for making a big difference!
Happy, blustery Spring,