in this issue...
if your email version is hard to
read, please refer to the webpage version:
also, all past issues are at
farm bill update -
food security coalition
website has lots of
information regarding their legislative priorities for the 2007 farm
bill that relate to building local food systems, and actions that
support them, plus analyses of some of the major proposed bills,
discussion of farm to cafeteria topics and action alerts.
exempt cafo waste from superfund introduced:
sen. blanche lincoln (d-ar) introduced s. 807 to exempt manure from
the superfund and community right to know acts. rep. rep. collin
peterson (d-mn) introduced a companion bill h.r. 1398. both
statutes already contain exemptions for the normal application of
fertilizer, including manure. the primary purpose of the
legislation is to protect large-scale cafos which over-apply animal
waste. a large coalition is opposing this bill.
payment limits amendment the grassley-dorgan measure to
reduce funding for the commodity program section of the budget and
reinvest the savings in farm conservation, rural development, and
food stamps was pulled at the last minute before going to a vote. a
majority of the senate is pro-reform, but not yet a super-majority,
so this campaign will need to intensify once the farm bill begins in
cardoza specialty crop bill introduced: horticulture and
organic subcommittee chair dennis cardoza (d-ca) together with 68
co-sponsors introduced h.r. 1600, the eat healthy america act.
this is the specialty crop marker bill for the next farm bill, chock
full of funding for fruit and vegetable production. despite advocacy
efforts from several quarters, the bill is missing any provision for
organic agriculture, farmers markets, or community food projects.
the bill does contain a proposed doubling of eqip funding, but with
no new limits or qualifications about funding for irrigation engines
and infrastructure and industrial livestock facilities. in
addition, the bill strikes the current prohibition on conservation
program payments to multi-millionaires.
bill introduced: representative ron kind (d-wi) and senator bob
mendendez (d-nj) introduced their �marker� bill for farm bill
consideration (hr 1551; senate version not available yet).
according to the sponsors, the bill would increase farm bill
spending by about $3 billion a year, with a third of that total in
just one program, the environmental quality incentives program (eqip).
the eqip provision would leave in place existing provisions passed
in 2002 allowing eqip to subsidize the building and expansion of
industrial livestock feeding operations and related waste treatment
facilities and to increase the per farm payment limitation $450,000
from its pre-2002 limit of $50,000. sac has consistently urged the
bill�s sponsors to reform eqip
rather than just double its spending level, but has not to date been
successful in those efforts.
rice contamination -
a trait from an
experimental bayer gm rice variety llrice604 has been found in a
popular non-gm rice, called clearfield 131, often planted in
arkansas. last year's contamination
incident, which led to financial damage amounting to millions of
dollars in the southern states of the usa, involved the
contamination of a rice variety called cheniere with bayer's ll601
gm rice. aphis is calling for a "stop sale" on cl 131 and
that leaves arkansas growers without two of their most popular rice
varieties just before planting season. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom
california rice commission called (3/14) for a
moratorium on experimental plantings of gm rice in the state, saying
federal controls meant to keep such varieties from contaminating
commercial rice are inadequate.
turns up in mexican markets
lab results showing that genetically engineered rice known
as liberty link (ll 601) is being sold in at least three markets in
mexico is currently
the largest export market for us rice. rice futures took a
nose-dive, falling nearly the 50-cent trading limit in just one day,
as three exporters of us milled rice had their shipments to mexico
stopped. us export sales were already lagging about 20% from a year
ago since gm rice was found in the us rice supply last summer.
mexico is requiring certification from an approved laboratory that
the grain is gm-free.
monsanto patent rejected
- the u.s. patent and trademark office has
rejected a key patent in monsanto's roundup ready arsenal, possibly
stripping the agribusiness giant of its power to license the
technology to farmers. the patent is one of four monsanto
patents the nonprofit public patent foundation (pubpat) asked the
patent office to review last fall, (see dec.�06 enews) alleging they
were granted without merit. monsanto requires farmers to sign a
licensing agreement saying they will not save the seed for future
planting and has sued a number of producers in high-profile cases,
including several in the mid-south, for licensing breaches.
liar, liar, pants
- it has been revealed (3/13), at a paris press conference, that the
monsanto gm maize (mon863) caused serious damage to the liver
and kidneys of rats when consumed during 3 month feeding trials.
the study is published in the peer-reviewed journal "archives of
environmental contamination and toxicology". the study contains an
examination of the raw data on mon863 feeding experiments initially
suppressed by monsanto but later obtained in 2005 after a court
action initiated by greenpeace in germany. upon detailed analysis,
the french team uncovered an increase of up to 40% in blood
triglycerides in females, and a more than 30% decrease in urine
phosphorus and sodium in males, specifically linked to the gm diet.
the reasons for these changes are unclear, but they may provide
clues to the deaths of many animals which have consumed bt feed in
other animal experiments. mon 863 produces a new insecticide called
"modified cry3bb1�. it has been cultivated since 2003 in several
countries, including the united states and canada.
whole foods -
bigger and better -
already the largest natural and organic foods retailer, has now
acquired wild oats markets.
www.wholefoods.com in addition, whole foods, recently
announced that they would seek a new certification for their
products, "non-gmo verified," in the hopes that it will become a
voluntary industry standard for gm-free goods. a non-profit group
called the non-gmo project runs the program, and the testing
is conducted by genetic id. this is in response to tests which
have found gmo contamination in supposedly organic dairy feed.
- a federal judge ruled (march 12) that
the usda's 2005 approval of rr alfalfa is reversed and ordered an
immediate halt to sales of the seed. this is the first time
a court has banned commercial sale and planting of a gm crop and
stops the irreversible harm that would be caused by widespread
planting of gm alfalfa. this ruling
follows a ruling last month finding that the usda violated national
environmental laws by approving ge alfalfa without a full
environmental impact statement. for more information, and to
read the judge's decision, visit
www.centerforfoodsafety.org the judge has scheduled a hearing
on april 27 on their request for a permanent injunction.
to allow field testing of gmo safflower in eastern wa.
most of the safflower would be engineered with a carp growth
hormone gene to produce a drug for farmed shrimp. if the
usda approves the 1,000-acre request, it would make eastern
washington home to the biggest planting of pharmaceutical food crops
ever allowed in the united states." the canadian biotech company
also has applied to plant an acre of safflower engineered with a
human gene to produce experimental insulin for treating diabetes
professor joe cummins has very good comments that he will send to
anyone who asks:
proteins in rice in kansas
- the agriculture department has given a preliminary green light for
the first commercial production of a food crop engineered to contain
human genes. the request from california-based ventria bioscience
to grow 3,200 acres of rice using human genes in
kansas is pending. two varieties of the rice produce two human
immune system proteins that are bacteria fighting compounds found in
breast milk and saliva. the proteins are to be extracted for use as
anti-diarrhea medicine for use in developing countries. the company
is also talking to the fda about putting the proteins into health
foods. its third variety of rice makes serum albumin, a blood
protein used in medical therapies. on feb. 28, the usda published
its draft environmental assessment, which concluded that the project
posed no undue risks.
rights action points out that diarrhea has well-known causes (such
as contaminated drinking water) with proven, inexpensive solutions.
and in a clinical trial of the gm rice held in peru, there were
reports of infants suffering serious allergic reactions, causing the
peruvian government to launch an enquiry into the experiment.
the public can
comment until march 30. see call to
pharm - since 2001 washington state university has been
experimenting with barley, injecting human genes to produce a
variety of substances.
biopharm court decision:
federal court conclusion last august that the agriculture department
repeatedly broke the law by allowing companies to plant crops
genetically engineered to produce medicines and vaccines on hundred
of acres in hawaii.
ge�d to produce antibodies -
to be field tested, usda announced the ea is available for review
and comments on the proposal will be received until april 26.
sign a ucs petition
calling for a nationwide ban on growing pharma food crops outdoors
leaching from canned foods -
an alarming new
study from the environmental working group analyzed samples of
canned fruit, vegetables, soda, and baby formula on sale in the
nation's supermarkets and found that more than 50% were tainted with
a chemical linked to birth defects, adhd and cancer. the chemical,
bisphenol a (bpa), is an
ingredient in plastics that lines food cans. according to the
study, the chemical has been leaching into foods at levels up to 200
times the government's recommended "safe" level of exposure.
protests at uc
the firestorm of
controversy over the $500 million
biofuel pact tying uc berkeley to one of the world�s
biggest and most criticized oil giants, bp, intensified with a
teach-in, a faculty forum, a demonstration and even 1 or 2 arrests.
according to uc berkeley historian, iain boal, bp's
half-billion-dollar deal is nothing less than massive greenwashing
by a corrupt corporation - supported by a governor eager "to keep
his eight hummers running on alcohol." the forum, sponsored by
uc�s academic senate, was marked by biting criticism from the floor
and a brilliant speech from dr ignacio chapela, which is a
http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7617 and many
one out of
every three bites of food that we consume is due to the work of
honeybees, serving as crucial pollinators. yet food production may
be severely impacted by the recently reported
colony collapse disorder (ccd).
beekeepers are reporting estimates as high as 80% loss of their
honey bee colonies. scientists have found evidence of almost all
known bee viruses in the few surviving bees found in the hives after
most have disappeared. some had five or six infections at the same
time and were infested with fungi -- a sign, experts say, that the
insects' immune system may have collapsed. there is suspicion that
the bt gene might be a contributory factor, weakening the bee immune
beekeeper john mcdonald thinks that bt crops could be responsible
for the massive die-off of bees in the us.
also has sent a letter to our elected officials to initiate
investigations to determine if exposure to ge crops or corn syrup
from bt corn is the missing link.
in der spiegel, germany's most influential news magazine, also asks
if the decimation of bee populations in the us and germany is a
result of gm crops.
organic dairy farmers established
midwest organic dairy producers association, western organic dairy
producers alliance and northeast organic dairy producers alliance
formed an umbrella organization to represent producers nationally.
the federation of organic dairy farmers (food farmers) represents
850 farms. their primary concern is for national organic program
standards to require cows to be on pasture 120 days a year, with 30%
criticism of the new biofuels goldrush is coming from many
quarters. george monbiot, in the widely read uk paper, the
guardian, admonishes governments for their biofuels subsidies.
jeffrey smith�s new
from the author of
seeds of deception: genetic roulette: the documented health risks
of genetically engineered foods. in his foreword to genetic
roulette, former uk government environment minister michael meacher
says, " the case presented is absolutely a smoking shotgun that
should stop in its tracks any dabbling with gm foods, whether by
individual families, food companies, or indeed nations." gmo
experts arpad pusztai and susan bardocz write, "jeffrey smith's
genetic roulette is a real treasure and the most important gmo
source book for policy makers, scientists, and the public."
publisher: yes! books,
www.geneticroulette.com; hardcover; 336 pages; $27.95
provides socially just farming education:
known as a world leader in organic certification, or. tilth also
promotes sustainable agriculture education, socially equitable
farming and community food access.
capital press reports that in 2000 the oregon nonprofit
opened its organic education center on a 64-acre former dairy farm
bequeathed to the city by the late rudie luscher. oregon tilth now
teaches farming to students from kindergarten to college, and grows
food in its organic demonstration gardens. last summer they donated
almost 3,000 pounds of food and have started growing greens
specifically for two portland social service agencies.
resource guide helps get local foods into low-income neighborhoods
institute for agriculture and trade policy has published a new
resource guide to help community leaders address public health
issues associated with poor diets and food insecurity in low-income
neighborhoods. the guide provides a number of useful ideas and
creative approaches, as well as links and other resources, that can
help officials get started with programs that increase low-income
access to local, healthy foods.
promotion program open for business:
usda�s agricultural marketing service issued the fy2007 notice
of funding availability (nofa) for the farmers market promotion
program, with about $1 million in total funding. the application
guidelines and other information are posted on the web at
http://www.ams.usda.gov/fmpp/. due april 13.
new report from cfs
- center for food safety reveals that milk and meat from clones is
untested and may pose health risks to consumers. the center is
calling on fda to issue a mandatory ban on the use of clones in food
production until long-term studies demonstrate the safety of these
foods and the vitally important ethical and animal welfare issues in
cloning are resolved, and have requested an extension of the comment
period to give americans adequate time to review the agency's
findings and make their views heard. public comments can be sent to
fda through the center's website
farmers� market rules booklet
by farmers� legal
farmers' market rules (pdf-310 kb).
hormones in beef -
men whose mothers ate a lot of beef during their pregnancy have a
sperm count about 25% below normal and three times the normal risk
of fertility problems, researchers reported tuesday. the problem
may be due to anabolic steroids used in the united states to fatten
the cattle, dr. shanna h. swan of the university of rochester
medical center reported in the journal human reproduction. it could
also be due to pesticides and other environmental contaminants, she
call to action
comment to usda re/ pharma rice in kansas
is announcing the availability of an environmental assessment of
ventria bioscience's proposal to plant up to 3200 acres of pharma
rice in kansas. according to the fr notice, the purposes of the
plantings are for extraction of lactoferrin, lysozyme, and serum
albumin for commercial and research products and for seed production
(for subsequent plantings). comments are due march 30.
please comment to usda, urging an immediate ban on this and all
other outdoor production drugs and industrial compounds in food
sign ucs petition on pharm crops
the union of
concerned scientists (ucs) has a petition, policy paper, database
and documents dealing with frequently asked questions about pharm
crops posted on its new ucs website at
it up! national day of action on climate change
april 14th, tens of thousands of americans will gather all across
the country at meaningful, iconic places to call for action on
climate change. we will hike, bike, climb, walk, swim, kayak, canoe,
or simply sit or stand with banners of our call to action:
"step it up congress! cut carbon 80% by 2050." let�s all
take one spring day and use it to reshape the future.
take action against cloning - deadline april 2
the easiest way is
to go to the center for food safety's website
calendar of events
- spring 2007
16 - 18 annual biocycle west conference
- san diego, calif.
composting, organics recycling and renewable energy are covered by
this conference. specific topics include food safety and compost
pathogen sampling protocols, large-scale digester systems for
dairies and food processors, agricultural waste management, and
5-6, agriculture at the metropolitan edge -
new ruralism symposium, a
project of the agriculture at the metropolitan edge program at uc
berkeley, will bring together researchers, practitioners, producers
and policy makers involved in bridging sustainable agriculture and
smart growth. the symposium will explore systems- and placed-based
issues affecting the urban-rural interface.
14 - step it up! national day of action on climate change -
tens of thousands of americans will gather all across the country at
meaningful, iconic places to call for action on climate change. we
will hike, bike, climb, walk, swim, kayak, canoe, contra dance, or
simply sit or stand with banners of our call to action: "step it up
congress! cut carbon 80% by 2050." let�s all take one spring day and
use it to reshape the future.
20-22, draft horse and horsedrawn equipment auction
sisters, oregon -
this annual auction
sponsored by small farmer's journal offers a swap meet, networking
and educational opportunities, as well as the opportunity to
purchase hard-to find horsedrawn equipment.
20-22, synergy sustainable living conference
is the 6th annual student-run sustainable living conference
presented by evergreen state college. admission is free.
3-5, herb society of america educational conference
conference will cover a range of topics focusing on the botany and
horticulture of herbs and the use and delight of herbs.
- 7 biojustice 2007 -
boston - a week
long celebration of sustainable food and alternatives to corporate
healthcare, being developed by a wide coalition of public interest
groups, activists, farmers, scientists, and concerned citizens,
working together in response to the biotech industry's international
convention scheduled in boston.
20 - 22 annual natural marketplace
- las vegas, nev.
21 - 22 northwest herbfest
- pleasant hill,
august 4 - 12 herbal intensive
- pleasant hill, oregon
october 3 - 5 annual provender alliance conference
- vancouver, wash.
october 12 - 14 annual natural products northwest
- seattle, wash.
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
list - for issues related to farm bill conservation
(you may also
subscribe to just the enews)
to subscribe, (or
simply send an email
with your request to jill:
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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