vol. 1, #10
december, 2006

website links:

field of flowers
in this issue...

if your email version is hard to read, please refer to the webpage version:   http://www.westernsawg.org/newsletter10.htm     


      wsawg 2007 annual meeting

         we are planning to have our 2007 annual meeting of member organizations and engaged individuals in conjunction with the new mexico organic farming conference, to be held in albuquerque, nm, february 16 and 17.  we invite you to join us, and to help us steer an effective course for the wsawg, as well as attend this premier conference for organic agriculture.   our annual meeting will be thursday evening, the 15th. to encourage you, we are making an offer to cover a portion of your costs. 
        the keynote speaker for the conference is miguel altieri, who is renowned for developing the concept of "agroecology".   in the two days of the conference, you will have the opportunity to choose among 25 - 90 minute workshops covering crop agronomics, livestock, organic production methods, marketing and certification.   in addition, wsawg will offer 2 workshops (thursday and friday evenings) on the 2007 farm bill process and issues, including the national campaign for sustainable agriculture's organic action plan.   the full conference agenda pdf (with registration information) is posted here:  www.westernsawg.org/events.htm
         our offer to you     registration for the conference is $100 which includes a local, organic lunch on saturday.  [if you plan to eat lunch on saturday, you must register by feb. 1.]     there is a special rate ($89) for hotel rooms if you register with the hotel by january 15 and say you are part of the organic conference.   call hotel at 1-800-262-2043 (or 505-821-3333). 
          if you represent an organization, either currently a member of wsawg or willing to join, we will cover your registration and one night's lodging - - a $189 value - - but you must renew your membership with wsawg, and attend our annual meeting of members, which will be held thursday evening at the hotel, starting around 6 p.m.   if you are an individual, we will offer you $150 to help cover expenses.   our membership categories are:  individual - $30, affiliate (agency) institution - $45, grassroots organization - $60.  www.westernsawg.org/members.htm  we will reimburse our offered amount to you at the annual meeting.    
         please join us in new mexico.   we need your input for this important time of crafting a new farm bill.   please rsvp to me that you are accepting our offer and that you will register soon both with the conference and the hotel.      for more conference info contact le adams:  ladams@cybermesa.com  or joan quinn:   joan.quinn@state.nm.us    


farm bill update -  

       farm and food policy project�s (ffpp) farm bill declaration now open for endorsements - over the past 2 years, a large group of organizations � including sustainable agriculture, family farm, minority farmer and rancher, conservation and environment, rural and community development, anti-hunger, nutrition, public health, faith, and others � have met under the auspices of the farm and food policy project to discuss the future of u.s. farm and food policy.  the declaration, entitled seeking balance in u.s. farm and food policy, will be unveiled publicly on january 22, hopefully with hundreds of national, regional and local organizational endorsements.  the initial endorsement deadline will be january 12, to ensure that your group is listed in the national release on january 22. see: www.farmandfoodproject.org .   to sign on contact jessie dowling at info@farmandfoodproject.org  or 202-543-1300.  �support� means that you see significant opportunities for positive change in the next farm bill and support the general direction called for in the statement.   for a more specific agenda on the farm bill, see the following:

        sustainable agriculture coalition (sac) releases 2007 farm bill platform, (endorsed by wsawg), calling for comprehensive reform of the upcoming 2007 farm bill in its new report, no time for delay: a sustainable agriculture agenda for the 2007 farm bill. the report urges the federal government to adopt a series of key policies that are urgently needed to help new farmers enter agriculture, promote profitable family farms, enhance the environment, and build healthy, diversified, vibrant rural communities.   http://www.msawg.org/key-farmbill.html  

        national campaign�s organic committee has developed an 8-point 2007 organic farm bill agenda and is working on an action plan to shape the future of organics for the next 2 decades.  submit comments: http://www.sustainableagriculture.net/organic.php   also, an article by michael pollan in the ncsa fall newsletter about how important the farm bill is to the health of our children and the health of our land....�in the midst of a national epidemic of diabetes and obesity our government is, in effect, subsidizing the production of high-fructose corn syrup.�  and   �this time around let�s call it �the food bill� and put our legislators on notice that this is about us and we�re paying attention.�   http://www.sustainableagriculture.net/docs/n/nationalcampaignnewsletter1.pdf

        farm bill and international trade issues - iatp, nffc and several other groups have drafted an alternative agricultural trade platform under a building a sustainable futures for farmers globally campaign in anticipation of the 2007 farm bill debate.  this effort has developed a comprehensive platform for reform that focuses on those areas where the u.s. farm bill intersects with trade policy.    www.globalfarmer.org

       easy to use format for letters about the farm bill  the nation has a simple format on their website which can be edited to send a letter to your congress(wo)man about  the upcoming farm bill to benefit small farmers and consumers. http://www.capwiz.com/thenation/issues/alert/?alertid=8993276

contaminated rice update -

        feds combine lawsuits by rice farmers  lawsuits filed by hundreds of rice farmers in three states over genetically contaminated rice have been consolidated, creating a single legal action that is one of the largest of its kind.  http://www.agbios.com/main.php?action=shownewsitem&id=8092   

        contaminated rice dumped in africa - the illegal gm rice ll601 has been found in ghana and sierra leone, the main african recipients of rice as commercial imports and food aid from the us.   groups in africa are calling for an immediate recall of the contaminated products.  http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7318

        india struggles with gm rice - india is a center of origin for rice and the center for diversity for rice genes, in the same way as mexico is for corn. high-risk field trials of gm-rice exposes rice farmers to contamination by gm including transgenic contamination of wild species and the rice seed stock.  http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7374


glyphosate-resistant weeds undermine conservation tillage glyphosate-resistant horseweed has set back conservation tillage efforts in tennessee.  farmers are resorting to the long-abandoned practice of disking (harrowing) in an attempt to get rid of the weed, which has proliferated because of the use of roundup ready crops.   arkansas weed scientists estimate a 15 percent reduction in conservation tillage in their state due to glyphosate resistance. similar trends have been reported in mississippi and missouri.  http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7343

preemption bills update - agribusiness-backed legislation aimed at removing local decision-making authority over seeds and plants was rejected in four states in 2006. unlike the 2005 legislative sessions, which saw fifteen (15) states adopt statewide preemption bills, 2006 saw the defeat of such bills in north carolina, missouri, nebraska, and california, while only in michigan did a �seed preemption� bill  pass.     http://www.environmentalcommons.org/gmo-tracker.html

 monsanto�s anti-farmer patents to be reexamined    in response to requests filed earlier this year by the public patent foundation (pubpat), the us patent and trademark office (uspto) will undertake a comprehensive review of four patents related to genetically modified crops held by monsanto that the agricultural giant is using to harass, intimidate, sue - and in some cases literally bankrupt - american farmers.  the crime these farmers are accused of is nothing more than saving seed from one year's crop to replant the following year, something farmers have done since the beginning of time.  in its orders granting the four requested reexaminations, the uspto found that pubpat had submitted new evidence that raised "substantial questions of patentability" for every single claim of each of the four patents.   http://www.pubpat.org/monsantovfarmers.htm.

wild wheat gene boosts nutrients   researchers have cloned a gene from wild wheat that increases the protein, zinc and iron content in the grain. the cloned gene, designated gpc-b1, accelerates grain maturity and increases grain protein and micronutrient content by 10 to 15 percent in the wheat varieties studied so far.. the resulting varieties are not genetically modified organisms.   http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=7949    

court rules nebraska anti-corporate farming measure unconstitutional: a three-judge panel of the federal court of appeals for the eighth circuit ruled that nebraska�s initiative 300, a state constitutional ban on corporate farming, violates the dormant commerce clause of the us constitution.   the center for rural affairs has posted detailed information on the ruling and initiative 300 at http://www.cfra.org/i300.htm.





new book:    �agroecology in action: extending alternative agriculture through social networks� by keith douglass warner  - - it is the only book that consolidates information and analysis of this variety of agroecological social networks. the mit press website:


good book:   �the earth knows my name� by patricia klindienst   with eloquence and passion, blending oral history and vivid description, klindienst has created a book that offers a fresh and original way to understand food, gardening, and ethnic culture in america. each garden becomes an island of hope and offers us a model of a truly restorative ecology.   www.beacon.org  

fact sheets on local control in supporting healthy regional food systems shaping our local food systems outlines the importance of local jurisdiction over many aspects of food and agriculture and illustrates why food should be controlled locally. local food systems: challenges and threats describes the forces that shape food systems in the interests of a few large corporations at the expense of the public interest, and local food systems: getting involved charts the course for building food systems that truly support local communities. finally, the place of food in our lives reflects on the consequences of understanding our food primarily as a commodity versus as an integral part of family and community life.     http://www.environmentalcommons.org/localfood

farmer's guide to agricultural credit released  rafi usa this guide was written to help farmers understand agricultural finance, and to help them be better prepared for the credit application process. it introduces some effective planning tools farmers can use to increase their opportunities in accessing capital. available online    http://www.rafiusa.org/whatsnew/whatsnew.html

senior farmers� market nutrition program final rule issued:  usda�s food and nutrition service issued a final regulation for the senior farmers� market nutrition program (sfmnp) making it a permanent program rather than a competitive grant program.   the purpose of the program is to increase the access of low-income seniors to fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables at direct marketing venues.  www.fns.usda.gov/wic/seniorfmnp/sfmnpmenu.htm.


a to z guide to political interference in science:  the union of concerned scientists released a guide to abuses of the bush administration�s oversight and manipulation of the science underlying federal policies and action.   more than 10,000 scientists of all backgrounds from all 50 states - including 52 nobel laureates - have signed onto the statement.  agriculture issues are scattered among the topic areas and include research on cafo airborne bacteria, pesticide regulation, and the impact of agriculture on wildlife habitat.  www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/interference/a-to-z-guide-to-political.html

livestock adding to climate change  a new report from the un says that the world's rapidly expanding livestock herds are responsible for 18% of all greenhouse gases. this alarming figure takes into account the clearing of rainforest and vegetation for grazing, the petroleum needed to produce fertilizers for animal feed, the fuel needed to produce and transport meat, and the gases created by manure and flatulence.   http://www.organicconsumers.org/2006/article_3540.cfm


call to action


nosb stacked with industry reps the usda, behind closed doors, recently announced several highly questionable appointees to the national organic standards board (nosb). despite calls from the organic community to let the public know ahead of time who the nominees were, the usda kept the names of the nominees secret.  please tell the usda that we want all nominees and future appointments to be made in a fair and transparent manner and that we believe the current crop of pro-industry appointees are completely unacceptable.   http://www.organicconsumers.org/rd/nosb.cfm


sign on to competition letter:  calling on the new congress to enact a comprehensive farm bill competition title.  please sign on and also circulate the letter to other groups you work with for their consideration. www.msawg.org. the deadline for sign-ons has been extended to january 5.  to sign on to the letter, contact sheilah davidson of the national campaign for sustainable agriculture by email at  sheilah@sustainableagriculture.net   or by telephone at 845/361-5201.


they're closing epa libraries. ostensibly a cost-cutting measure, the closing of branch libraries in an extremely hasty way will wipe out information that the government needs to properly regulate environmental protection and make it more difficult for scientists and the public to access crucial data.  ucs is asking everyone to call epa administrator stephen johnson at 202-564-4700 to ask that this process be stopped until congress approves the epa budget and it can be ensured that no documents will be lost.  



action success:  starbucks moving toward rbgh free dairy:  a memo being e-mailed to people who have called starbucks asking them to go rbgh-free said "we are actively engaged with all of our dairy suppliers to explore a conversion of all core dairy products - fluid milk, half and half, whipping cream and eggnog - to rbst-free in our u.s. company-operated locations."  keep letting starbucks know you object to its use of milk produced with artificial growth hormones.   call starbucks at 1 (800) 235-2883


calendar of events - fall 2006

calendar of events

january 9 - oilseeds and biodiesel workshop  - livingston, montana - for farmers - topics include oilseed production, crushing and processing; biodiesel quality issues; small scale and commercial biodiesel production:   222-7227 or julianne@nrmrcd.org.


january 8-9 - organic seed workshop - twin falls, id - cost: $40; advance registration and payment required. send a check and contact information to: organic seed alliance, po box 772, port townsend, wa 98368.   www.seedalliance.org 


january 9-10 - - biofuels summit ii  - pasco, wa  this will be a follow-up to the november 2-3 biofuels summit at columbia basin college.  www.pascoagshow.com  509-547-9755.

january 14 - 17 - greenhouse crop production & engineering design short course - tucson, arizona - the controlled environment agriculture center (ceac) at the university of arizona presents its 7th annual course, this year on the theme "energ�the resourceful greenhouse." the course offers three days of expert plant science and engineering presentations. meet and network with professionals in both industry and education.  http://ag.arizona.edu/ceac/ceacoutreach/sc001.htm  


january 17-19 - growers marketing forum:  farm to fork - tucson, arizona - the university of arizona presents this 3-day professional education short course and commercial tour. this course is organized by the ceac and is directed to all greenhouse growers, and the supporting industry.   http://ag.arizona.edu/ceac/ceacoutreach/sc002.htm  


january 18-20 - soils and agronomy intensive 3-day course - portland, oregon - sustainable agricultural technologies, inc., presents this three-day course with agriculture educator and author dr. arden andersen. "back to basics" will emphasize basic science principles, soil and plant nutrient fundamentals, key grower practices and concepts that will empower you to successfully grow sustainably, biologically, ecologically and profitably. http://www.composttea.com/seminars.htm  


january 20 - permaculture design course -eugene, or   www.cascadiapermaculture.com/courses.html 


january 20-21 - - washington state farmers market association conference ellensburg, wa the theme for the 2007 conference will be "harvesting change."   www.wafarmersmarkets.com

january 23-24 - smart energy management in agriculture - pacific grove, california - as part of its smart energy management in agriculture project, eco-farm is offering this pre-conference. the regional training will include a tour of central coast farms employing the latest in energy alternatives, solar, biodiesel, efficiency and more, followed by a day of workshops on energy efficiency, independence, and affordability.  http://www.eco-farm.org/efc_07/preconference.html  


january 23, 24 - - a national organic action plan - one of a series of national dialogue workshops - just prior to eco-farm on tuesday afternoon jan 23 (1:00 � 5:30), and all day (8:30 � 5:00) wednesday,  jan. 24 at asilomar. please register for this through eco-farm registration. the cost for the workshop, including lunch on wednesday is $25. questions? contact liana hoodes: liana@hvc.rr.com or 845-744-2304


january 24-27 - ecofarm annual conference - pacific grove, california - the 27th annual conference is a major national sustainable agriculture event that offers numerous speakers, many concurrent workshops, tours and social activities.  workshops address everything from biofuels and marketing to weed management and organic integrated pest management.  



january 28-30 - harvesting clean energy conference vii - boise, idaho - the harvesting clean energy conference is the northwest�s premiere gathering for agriculture and energy interests working to advance new opportunities for agriculture producers and rural communities in clean energy production.   http://www.harvestcleanenergy.org/conference/index.html    


january 31 - biodiesel in the pacific northwest - boise, id - day-long workshop offers an in-depth exploration of feedstocks, production processes, co-products, marketing and more.   www.uidaho.edu/bioenergy 

february 8-9 - organic seed workshop-  mount vernon, washington - the second day of the workshop will be an intensive class on the fundamentals of plant variety improvement taught by osa director of research, dr. john navazio.  www.seedalliance.org


february 16,17 - new mexico organic farming conference and wsawg annual meeting- albuquerque, nm - keynote: miguel altieri, agroecology expert.   2 full days of workshops, incl on 2007 farm bill.   http://www.westernsawg.org/events.htm   


february 17 - small farms & direct marketing conference - corvallis, or, lasells stuart center, osu. keynote speaker: marion nestle, author of food politics and what to eat. nine concurrent sessions on marketing, production and food policy. cost (includes lunch): $30 per person; $50 for two people registering together.   http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu     541-766-3556.


february 22,23 - colorado agriculture big and small conference - greeley

topics include conventional and organic production for vegetable and field crops, natural and organic livestock production, water issues, labor issues, ag business management, organic marketing, food safety, and financing


february 21-23 - diversified agriculture conference  lehi, utah - designed to benefit agriculture producers who are interested in more than just traditional agriculture, including recreation, tourism, direct marketing, farmers� markets, processing.  http://diverseag.org/htm/conference    


february 26-28 - harvesting energy summit - salt lake city, utah - this conference organized by the intermountain harvesting clean energy network promises to be a potent opportunity for building networks, exchanging information, sharing news of progress, and forging a stronger future together. daily topics include expanding bio-fuels production, public policy directions, and community-owned wind development. http://www.harvestenergy.org/ihen/index.html  


march 6-8 - sac farm bill fly-in - washington, d.c.- capacity building and strategy sessions for our work on the 2007 farm bill to be followed by visits to capitol hill. contact margaret hueslman at 317-536-2315 or mhuelsman@msawg.org.


bioreality conference plan to join activists in washington, dc, march 27-29, 2007, for the 1st annual bioreality conference. there will be three exciting days of education, lobbying and strategic planning on the issues surrounding genetically engineered foods.

early registration may be � price, see:   http://www.bioreality.org


we administer 3 email listservs:   our monthly enews is sent to all 3.

wsawg list - for all topics related to sustainable agriculture, incl organic

wsawg gmo list - for issues related to genetically modified organisms

wsawg conserve list - for issues related to farm bill conservation

(you may also subscribe to just the enews)

to subscribe, (or unsubscribe) 

simply send an email with your request to jill:    rivercare@blackfoot.net    

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mission: the western sustainable agriculture working group is a non-profit organization bringing together diverse individuals and groups working in sustainable agriculture and food systems to share successful models, realize our collective strengths, build regional capacity and inform the agriculture policy debate.
visit us online at www.westernsawg.org