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 resources
our april enews (www.westernsawg.org/newsletter14.htm)
for a comprehensive line up of partner organizations that have
important, complementary farm bill efforts underway, with links to
them. our primary lead on the farm bill is the
agriculture coalition (sac),
which has a new
online �farm bill action center�,
with all the information you might need to be informed and current
on the farm bill process. we
encourage agriculture groups in the west to become familiar with
this website and to join sac.
weekly farm bill digest -
sign up to get a
good weekly summary from the national campaign for sustainable
agriculture (via email) of introduced bills re/ the farm bill
click here to sign up.
policy info center in food stores:
we have posted a
photo of a policy info center at
www.westernsawg.org/issues.htm. the stand is to alert shoppers
of important farm bill issues and encourage them to send a letter to
their legislators. information fliers, sample letters, paper, pens
and envelopes are all available on one of the 3 sides of the
center. we would like to place these in other food stores in the
west. let us know if you want to bring one to your store.
farm bill action
it is time to start contacting your
legislators to urge them to support specific components of the farm
- we are building a network of action teams in each state
in the west, and
you are invited. please
contact us if you will be part of a team in your state to help
disseminate information and/or action alerts when quick action is
needed to communicate with our legislators.
minutes of team
conference calls are
healthy food: 2 bills that were introduced on may 17 are
focused on healthy, local foods: local food and farm support act,
h.r. 2364 introduced by representative earl blumenauer (d-or) and
food for a healthy america act, s. 1432 introduced by senators
sherrod brown (d-oh) and hillary rodham clinton (d-ny).
specific talking points for
these bills: (1) reauthorization of mandatory annual funding in
the amount of $30 million dollars for assistance to community food
projects. (2) strengthening of local food purchase in child
nutrition programs, including reference to �encourage geographic
preferences� for local or regional food procurement (no cost but
high impact). (3) support of the �healthy food enterprise
development act� in the blumenauer bill ($35 million in hr 2364) for
your representatives in the us house of representatives and in the
brown/clinton bill ($42 million in s 1432) in the us senate.
healthy food website:
the farm and food policy project, funded by the wk kellogg
foundation, launched a farm bill advocacy mini-website which is
intended to generate support for policies promoting the availability
of fresh, healthy, and locally produced foods. visitors to
the website will be able to send a general message of support for
ffpp priorities in the farm bill to their legislators:
there now to tell your legislators you want everyone to
have access to healthy food.
learn about csp
- a sac intern has just completed state fact sheets on csp for all
fifty states with data re/ csp participation. the fact sheets also
contain a list of the core messages we want to convey when talking
about csp to the media, congressmen, and other interested parties.
agriculture committee chair collin peterson (d-mn) unveiled his
conservation title for the 2007 farm bill. the proposal would take
all baseline funding for the conservation security program (csp),
other than money to pay existing contracts, and transfer those funds
to the farm and ranch land protection program (frpp) and
environmental quality incentives program (eqip), in essence putting
the csp in mothballs until the next farm bill five years from now.
a week later he changed his tune on this.
eqip reform letter:
on may 10, sac delivered to all senate and house members a letter
urging them to support restrictions in the next farm bill on direct
funding to large-scale, new or expanding confined concentrated
animal feeding operations (cafos)
under the environmental quality incentives program (eqip). the
letter was signed by twenty-six national, regional and statewide
organizations from around the country, including the sierra club,
national environmental trust, waterkeeper alliance, defenders of
wildlife, national family farm coalition, and union of concerned
scientists. the letter highlighted this issue as a
fundamental flaw in several bills
that have been introduced for consideration on the farm bill,
including the healthy farms, foods and fuels act (h.r. 1551- rep.
ron kind / s. 919 - senator robert menendez), eat healthy america
act (h.r. 1600 - rep. dennis cardoza), chesapeake's healthy and
environmentally sound stewardship of energy and agriculture act of
2007 (h.r. 1766 - rep. chris van hollen), and the farm, nutrition,
and community investment act (h.r. 2144 - rep. rosa delauro and rep.
wayne gilchrest). www.sustainableagriculturecoalition.org
(more bills are
at the sac website - weekly update)
payment limitation reform bill introduced by senators byron
dorgan (d-nd) and chuck grassley (r-ia). the rural america
preservation act of 2007 (s. 1468) will place limitations on
the amount of farm commodity program subsidies any one farm may
receive. the bill eliminates loopholes and creates a hard cap of
$250,000 per farm, including a hard cap on direct payments at
$40,000 and counter-cyclical payments at $60,000.
comprehensive stewardship incentives program (csip)
chair tom harkin, will meld the conservation security, environmental
quality incentives, and wildlife habitat incentives programs, plus
the administration�s proposed rural water enhancement program into
one program, with a streamlined common application and
continuous sign up process. the harkin package would
increase conservation spending over baseline by over $6 billion,
with roughly half that amount going to the new csip. it would
require a shift to an acreage based program for the csp component,
would double the size of the csp, enrolling 15.5 million acres each
preemption is back
the house ag.
chair, c. peterson, has made a proposal that includes a provision
pre-empting state and local government right�s to place any
limitations on genetically modified organisms or any other product
or article that the usda has inspected or approved. suffice it to
say, controversy will be breaking out all over if this stays on the
table. cfs has a press release on it:
pollinator habitat bill:
senator max baucus (d-mt) introduced the pollinator protection
act of 2007 (s. 1496), a marker for the farm bill, with 29
bi-partisan co-sponsors. the act would amend the crp, csp and eqip
to include protection of pollinator habitat among the primary
purposes of those programs.
(bills and articles)
experimental biofuels crop insurance pilot program -
introduced by sen tester (d-mt), to establish a program to offer
crop insurance to producers of experimental biofuels crops, such as
camelina, and also make loans and loan guarantees available.
farm to fuel investment act, (s. 1403), introduced by sen amy
klobuchar (d-mn), would authorize usda to establish bioenergy
cropsheds located in the vicinity of existing or planned
biorefineries. in designating cropsheds, usda is to give priority
to geographic diversity, the diversity of feedstocks, net
environmental benefits from the location, and minimizing
environmental harm. in addition, areas where a biorefinery is owned
primarily by rural residents would also have a priority. eligible
bioenergy crops include perennials and crops which can be
incorporated into a resource conserving crop rotation, except crops
eligible for commodity program payments and crops that are or could
be invasive or noxious.
farm energy production act of 2007
(s.828), introduced by sen baucus (d-mt) amending the environmental
quality incentives program to provide cost share for farmers
producing energy on-farm using solar energy, wind energy and
article: �peak soil�
there are many serious problems with biofuels, especially on a
massive scale, and it appears from this report that they cannot be
surmounted. so let alice friedemann's meticulous and incisive
diligence wash over you and rid you of any confusion or false hopes.
"the nation that destroys its soil destroys itself." -- president f.
article: bp at uc -university
of california at berkeley agreement with bp (british petroleum) to
fund an energy biosciences institute (ebi) for biofuels and
�synthetic biology' research to the tune of $500 million over the
next ten years. researchers are to investigate how to do this on an
industrial scale by breeding and genetically modifying both crops
and microorganisms. crops would be modified to change the structure
of cell walls and new types of lignin to facilitate fermentation,
and the microorganisms would be genetically modified to better break
them down and ferment them. the new energy crops, such as perennial
grasses and poplar trees, would be modified for intensive cropping
including herbicide tolerance.
urges congress to reexamine biofuel policy. grocery manufacturers
association (gma) said america's biofuels policy must be pursued
"thoughtfully and deliberately", taking into full account all
possible effects of a sharp increase in the use of corn for fuel.
in a strongly
worded opinion, may 3, judge charles breyer made his injunction
against further planting and sales of roundup ready alfalfa
permanent until usda conducts a full
eis on the crop. as under the temporary injunction, the
permanent injunction orders that no more rr alfalfa may be planted
for hay or seed production, and no more rr alfalfa seed may be sold
to alfalfa producers. in calling for a permanent injunction, judge
breyer noted that contamination of natural and organic alfalfa by
the ge variety has already occurred, and noted that �such
contamination is irreparable environmental harm. the contamination
cannot be undone.� judge breyer also imposed conditions in an
attempt to minimize the risk of gene flow from already-planted ge
alfalfa to organic and conventional alfalfa:
must work with monsanto and forage genetics to insure that (1)
pollinators will not be added to rr alfalfa fields grown only for
hay production; (2) farm equipment used in roundup ready alfalfa
production are properly cleaned, using procedures approved by aphis;
and (3) roundup ready alfalfa hay grown on already-planted acres
must be handled, clearly identified, and
specifically designated and labeled containers, to minimize
commingling after harvest.
genetics must provide gps or plat maps identifying all rr alfalfa
seed production acreage and the field size and gps
growers who purchased rr alfalfa in 17 western states to aphis,
which must then make such
information available to the public on a government website so that
growers of organic and conventional alfalfa �can test their own
crops to determine if there has been contamination.�.
forage genetics must also "use its best efforts to obtain field size
and gps locations of rr alfalfa in the remaining states and provide
such information to aphis for public disclosure."
judge breyer ordered all parties to submit a joint, written status
report on usda's compliance with these conditions within 60 days.
greenpeace is demanding that canada, which approved gm alfalfa
in 2004, now withdraw approval of the gm alfalfa.
coalition of consumer, environmental and animal welfare
organizations have announced the submission of more than 130,000
comments to the fda from consumers who oppose the agency's proposed
plan to introduce food from cloned animals into the us food supply.
a december 2006 poll by the pew initiative on food and biotechnology
found that nearly two-thirds of us consumers were unhappy with
in kansas -
on may 16, the
usda approved the proposed plantings despite receiving 20,000
comments in opposition from citizens, scientists, farming and rice
groups. it permits cultivation in the junction city area of up to
3,200 acres of rice genetically engineered to produce pharmaceutical
compounds from human genes that the fda has refused to approve. fda
approval is not required for planting to proceed.
www.centerforfoodsafety.org has new report re/ health issues.
patent office (epo), may 3, revoked monsanto's species-wide patent
on all genetically modified soybeans (ep0301749) - a
patent unprecedented in its broad scope. etc group, an
international civil society organization based in canada, won its
13-year legal challenge against this patent when an epo appeal board
ruled that the patent was not new or sufficient (i.e.,
the �invention� claimed was not sufficiently described for a skilled
person to repeat it). the patent challenge was supported by
greenpeace and no patents on life!
http://www.no-patents-on-seeds.org. the technology related to
the now-revoked patent has been used, along with other patents in
the company's portfolio, to corner 90% of the world's gm soybean
forced to patent seeds - it was in
the fertile crescent where iraq now lies that humans first learned
to farm and first domesticated wheat.
the u.s., however, has decided that
iraqis don't know what wheat works best in their own conditions.
order 81 sets
criteria for the patenting of seeds that can only be met by
multinational companies (like monsanto) and it grants the patent
holder exclusive rights over every aspect of all plant
characteristics in those seeds and any others that exhibit those
food policy council.
the council will coordinate state agriculture policy and make
recommendations on developing food policy that will help ensure the
availability of safe, fresh, nutritious and affordable food for all
new yorkers, especially low income residents, senior citizens and
children. the council will look at ways to increase sales of new
york agricultural products to new york consumers, with a special
emphasis on expanding the consumer market for
organic food. a copy of the
executive order is at
food price inflation could rival global warming in years ahead.
global food prices may double in the next five years, as demand
rises, production evens out and energy demand competes with human
consumption, a financial analyst predicted recently. food input
prices are now putting more upward pressure on producer inflation
than at any time since the early 1980s. between march of 2005 and
march 2007, the price of us wheat rose 34 percent, corn by 47.4
percent, barley by 59.4 percent and cattle by 41 percent.
with peak oil in sight, the industrial agricultural model is looking
increasingly unsustainable. richard heinberg asks, "is it possible
that a solution lies in deliberately de-industrializing production
but doing so intelligently, using information we have gained from
the science of ecology as well as from traditional and indigenous
towns vote against gmos
since may 1 nine
towns in western massachusetts have passed resolutions at their
annual town meetings opposing genetic engineering of food and crops.
"the success of these resolutions at town meetings this year
reflects a deepening opposition to genetic engineering in
massachusetts and across new england.
organic bees not dying
beekeeping listserv of about 1,000 people, mostly americans, and no
one in the organic beekeeping world, including commercial
beekeepers, is reporting colony collapse. one email recommends
a visit to the bush bees web site where michael bush put a message
to the beekeeping world re/ controlling mites organically:
effects of roundup -
new study from
roundup has toxic
effects on human embryonic cells, a new study shows. the study is
from the university of caen, france. the group wanted to follow up
effects already observed on placental cells, as published in 2005.
embryonic cells are far more sensitive. the deleterious results of
roundup are noticed at very weak doses (for the experiment, the
product sold in stores was diluted up to 10,000 times). sensitivity
is confirmed in particular for the disruption of sexual hormones at
non-toxic levels, especially on fresh placental extracts. effects
were observed at dilutions less than the residues in discussion to
be authorized in gmo feed in the us. (remember, residue limits
were raised to accommodate rr crops). the authors comment that the
research may contribute to a better understanding of the problems of
miscarriages, premature births or sexual malformations of babies,
especially in agricultural families.
aerial spraying of roundup herbicide by the colombian government
on the border of colombia and ecuador has caused a high degree of
dna damage in local ecuadorian people, according to a study. the
research will be published in the next issue of genetics and
molecular biology. the colombian government sprays illegal coca
plantations - used to make cocaine - as part of the us-backed 'war
on drugs'. in addition to expected symptoms - vomiting and
diarrhea, blurred vision, and difficulty in breathing - the
researchers found a significantly higher degree of dna damage - 600
to 800 per cent higher - in the people living near the border
compared with those 80 kilometers away. dna damage may activate
genes associated with the development of cancer, lead researcher
cesar paz y mino said, and may also lead to miscarriage or
malformations in embryos.
(1) newsletter article - �genetically engineered foods may
cause rising food allergies� from spilling the beans,
a free, monthly
new book: genetic roulette: the documented health risks of
genetically modified foods, not a book of stories, but
rather an easy-to-use reference book of scientific fact and
documented findings on the risks of gm foods.
you are what you grow: will this year's farm bill make us fatter and
now available for download at
assist current and would-be seed growers in producing quality
organic bean, radish, and spinach seed.
research no longer in the public domain
articles on the increasing alignment with industry of university
knowledge and resources. extract from article by michael perelman:
areas of study that promise to bring in corporate money prosper,
while other areas suffer neglect. you can see the effect of this
emphasis on intellectual property by walking on campus to compare
the facilities of the bioscience library with those of the public
call to action
contact your senators -
home for a memorial day
break through june 3rd. they will be debating and voting on an energy
bill, a farm bill, and trade bills when they get back to washington. ask
them to support an energy bill that will reduce oil imports and gasoline
prices by increasing our use of clean, renewable fuels. (not liquid
coal) ask them to support sac farm bill proposals: go to:
www.sustainableagriculturecoalition.org to learn more; with
emphasis on csp, and also to include a competition title in the farm bill,
including the captive supply reform act and a ban on meatpacking companies
owning livestock. ask them to oppose renewal of �fast track�, which
prevents trade deals from being amended by congress. we need trade
agreements that are fair to farmers, ranchers, and workers, not "free trade"
agreements written by and for multinational corporations.
farm and food policy project
(ffpp) has launched a website which lets individuals sign an on-line letter
to congress to show support for policies which advance fresh, local, and
healthy foods in the 2007 farm bill. the website
http://healthyfarmbill.org/ sends email letters to individual�s
legislators based upon their address. send
your message now.
appease industry at the expense of the public, the fda has proposed a new
rule that would allow irradiated food to be marketed in some cases without
any labeling at all. in other cases, the rule would allow the terms
�electronically pasteurized� or �cold pasteurized� to replace the use of
�irradiated� on labels. take action
(until july 3) via the center for food safety here:
calendar of events - spring 2007
june 5 - nat�l hunger awareness day -
resolution calls on the people of the united states to observe the
day with appropriate ceremonies, volunteer activities, and other
local anti-hunger advocacy efforts and hunger relief charities,
including food banks, food rescue organizations, food pantries, soup
kitchens, and emergency shelters; and by continuing to support
programs and public policies that reduce hunger and food insecurity
in the united states.
june 12 -
seattle - alliance for justice - if you are a nonprofit that does
legislative advocacy, voter scorecards or get out the vote work, this is for
june 20�21 -
rethinking school lunch -
for priority status is may 21. center for ecoliteracy, 2528 san pablo avenue,
berkeley, california (this seminar sold out the last time it was offered.)
june 24 -
organic seed producers:
trainings for organic vegetable, herb, and flower
seed producers. to be held at greentree naturals, near sandpoint, id.
hosted by organic seed alliance
www.seedalliance.org later there will be events at: springhill farm,
albany, or � late june / early july; arctic organics, palmer, ak � august 20,
2007; ayers creek farm, gaston, or � september; brian anderson farms, royal
city, wa � september; ralph�s greenhouse, mt. vernon, wa - september
june 22-24 -
fairy & human relations congress - 7th annual -
skalitude retreat center,
twisp, methow valley, north cascades, washington. - communication and
cooperation with devas, fairies and nature spirits. an all ages event.
july 20-22 -
montana herb gathering,
kalispell, montana, near flathead lake.
july 20 - 22
- annual natural marketplace
- las vegas, nev.
july 21 - 22
- northwest herbfest
- pleasant hill, oregon
august 4 -
12 - herbal intensive
- pleasant hill, oregon
15-29 - montana permaculture design course - 2nd annual 2007 -
hot springs, montana -
michael pilarski, larry korn, and others. alameda's hot springs retreat (406)
25 � 28 - pacific northwest ecological restoration conference
yakima, wa - the joint
conference of the nw chapter of the society for ecological restoration and the
society of wetland scientists will focus on the conservation and restoration of
the columbia basin and the pacific northwest. abstracts for oral and poster
presentations are due by april 30.
october 3 - 5 -
annual provender alliance conference
- vancouver, wash.
- montana barter fair 2007 -
near hot springs, montana
(north of missoula). a producer-to-producer economic event. the goal of the 2007
montana barter fair is to bring together people from around montana to barter
and sell food they have grown, crafts they have made, and various and sundry
other useful goods. another goal is to socialize, make music, and have fun.
still being organized.
friendsofthetrees @ yahoo.com
october 12 -
14 annual natural products northwest
- seattle, wash.
9-11 - tilth producers annual conference -
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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