Monday, October 22, 2012
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
TAKE BACK THE TRACT!
Monday, April 23, 2012
This draft bill, however, does not authorize mandatory funding for the 2501 Outreach and Technical Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Program. The bill alsoreduces funding by $25 million for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). In the 2008 Farm Bill, both the 2501 program and BFRDP received $75 million in mandatory funding.
Call your Senators right now and and ask them to reauthorize the 2501 program and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program each at $75 million in mandatory funding. The 2501 program is essential for providing outreach and training for minority and limited resource farmers and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is needed to help support the new crop of America's farmers.
It’s easy to call. You can get your Senator’s name and direct number by going toCongress.org and typing in your zip code. You can also call the Capitol Switchboard, provide your Senator’s name and be directly connected to their office: (202) 225-3121.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
This time, I reviewed the Prince of Wales' speech "On The Future of Food".
Friday, November 25, 2011
This is an interesting time for the Farm Bill, with Supercommittee nonsense and Occupy Wall Street craziness. BUT THERE IS HOPE, in the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act! See below for what it does.
The larger number of co-sponsors, the greater likelihood that provisions in this bill will be included in the 2012 Farm Bill—assuming that Congress actually writes a Farm Bill in 2012. Either way, it is very important to build support for these measures among the California delegation. We especially need support from Representatives Baca, Cardoza and Costa, our three California representatives on the Ag Committee who have not yet signed on to the bill.
If you don’t know who your representatives are, you can find them at this website:http://www.house.gov/
The Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act
sponsored by Representative Chellie Pingree and Senator Sherrod Brown
The Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act will improve federal farm bill programs that support local and regional farm and food systems. This legislation will help farmers and ranchers engaged in local and regional agriculture by addressing production, aggregation, processing, marketing, and distribution needs and will also assist consumers by improving access to healthy food and direct and retail markets. And of utmost importance, this legislation will provide more secure funding for critically important programs that support family farms, expand new farming opportunities, and invest in the local agriculture economy.
The Benefits of Local and Regional Food Systems
Local and regional agriculture is a major economic driver in the farm economy. There are now more than 7,000 farmers markets throughout the United States—a 150 percent increase since 2000, direct to consumer sales have accounted for more than $1.2 billion in annual revenues. Now, on the heels of that expansion, we are witnessing the rapid growth of local and regional food markets that have scaled up beyond direct marketing. Together these markets represent important new job growth and economic development.
The Local Farm, Food, and Jobs Act will:
Boost Income and Opportunities for Farmers and Ranchers by –
- Improving access to Farm Service Agency credit programs for farmers and ranchers producing for local and regional food markets.
- Requiring Farm Credit Services institutions to enhance lending opportunities for farmers and ranchers producing for local and regional food markets, beginning farmers, and small farms.
- Funding Value-Added Producer Grants at an annual amount $30 million and expands the program to include food hubs and outreach to underserved states and communities.
- Authorizing the Risk Management Agency to develop a whole farm revenue insurance product for diversified operations, including specialty crops & mixed grain/livestock or dairy operations.
- Directing the Risk Management Agency to eliminate the organic premium surcharge and to complete the development of organic price series.
- Funding the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program at an annual amount $7 million and raising the maximum cap per participants from $750 to $1,000.
- Expands the production of fruits and vegetables by allowing greater planting flexibility for commodity program participants
- Funding farmer food safety training through the National Food Safety Training, Education, Extension, Outreach and Technical Assistance program at an annual amount of $15 million.
- Improving opportunities for local and regional food producers to participate in the Conservation Stewardship Program Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Farmland Protection Program, Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative, and Technical Assistance.
Improve Local and Regional Food System Infrastructure and Markets by –
- Increasing the Business and Industry loan funding set-aside for local and regionally produced agriculture products and food enterprises.
- Providing authority for local and regional food system funding under Rural Business Opportunity Grants, Rural Business Enterprise Grants, & Community Facility Grants & Loans.
- Funding the Local Marketing Promotion Program — the former Farmers Market Promotion Program plus funding for larger scale, non-direct local marketing — at $30 million per year.
- Funding the Specialty Crop Block Grant program at an annual amount of $90 million and creating an annual allocation for local and regional crop and market development.
- Improving Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) outreach and technical assistance to small and very small livestock processing plants.
- Requiring FSIS to create guidance for small and very small livestock processing plants to better enable compliance with food safety requirements.
- Requiring FSIS to provide an electronic submission option for the meat label approval process and to create a searchable database of existing meat labels.
- Directing USDA to produce a report to Congress on additional steps that can be taken to better meet the needs of small poultry growers and processors.
Expand Access to Healthy Foods for Consumers by –
- Improving SNAP participant access to farmers markets, CSAs, and other direct marketing outlets by creating a level playing field for electronic benefit transfer among vendors.
- Improving SNAP Education and Outreach by encouraging states to use farmers markets and other direct marketing outlets as a venue for nutrition education activities and providing states the discretion to include nutrition incentives as part of educational efforts.
- Funding the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program at $25 million a year.
- Providing $10 million for the Community Food Projects program and increasing the maximum grant term from three to five years.
- Allowing schools the option to use a portion of their AMS school lunch commodity dollars or DoD Fresh program dollars for the purchase of local and regional foods.
- Bolstering requirements that specify AMS purchases use a geographic preference for the procurement of locally produced foods.
- Amending Section 32 to support the development of local and regional agriculture markets.
- Encouraging States to include community-supported agriculture programs as eligible to participate in the Farmers Market Nutrition Program.
Enhance Agriculture Research and Extension by –
- Establishing local and regional food systems as an added new priority area within the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.
- Authorizing an Extension technical assistance initiative to help create sustainable local and regional food systems in the neediest parts of rural America.
- Creating a new initiative for the collection and production of critically important research data on local and regional food systems.
- Directing USDA Research, Education, and Extension Office to coordinate classical plant and animal breeding research activities and projects to develop locally-adapted cultivars and breeds.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
After the success of the conference Justice Begins with Seeds & GMO Awareness Week, California Biosafety Alliance would like to invite you to attend the West Coast launch of:
A Global Citizens Report on the State of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)—
False Promises, Failed Technologies
Published by Navdanya (India), Navdanya International, the International Commission on the Future of Food with the participation of the Center for Food Safety and contributions from other partners and groups around the world.
Dr. Vandana Shiva, Philosopher, Environmental Activist and Eco Feminist
Debbie Barker, International Program Director, Center for Food Safety
Miguel Altieri, Associate Professor of Agroecology at UC Berkeley and Associate Entomologist
These new reports highlight scientific research and empirical experiences from around the globe demonstrating how genetically modified (GM) seeds and crops have failed to deliver its advertised promises. The reports document and expose how contrary to the myths of feeding the world and protecting food and environmental safety, GMOs have increased the prevalence of herbicide resistant 'superweeds' and pests, have led to farmer debt and suicides from the high price of seeds, have degraded ecosystems and have benefitted the corporate industry while failing to increase food production.
The reports further illustrate the alternative solutions we need to see real food security, just agricultural systems, and outline how we can act together to see this necessary transition.
The release of these reports will take place:
October, 13 2011: 7:00pm to 9:00pm at
San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center.
(401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102)
In addition, we are hosting a press conference at the San Francisco City Hall at 12:00 Noon, featuring Dr. Vandana Shiva, elected officials and other speakers.
There is also a right2know march/ride to Sacramento next weekend. Details below from Miguel Robles:
On Friday October 13th at 9:00 AM we will depart from San Francisco City Hall, our first stop, will be in around 10: AM. West Oakland, from there we will ride to the Rising Sun Entrepreneurs/ La Placita Commercial Kitchen in Oakland, where we will have a presentation and around 1:pm we will go to City Hall to Deliver the Report to Mayor Jean Quan's Office.
Around 1:00 PM we will be at Peoples Park in Berkeley to have a gathering and Berkeley University to pass some stickers and flyers, then we will walk to the City Hall where some members of the California Biosafety Alliance are arranging a meeting with a City Council Member, we will drop a report at the Mayor's office.
Around 4:00 PM, we will ride to The City of Richmond, where we will be making a presentation at a urban garden, then we will give a report to Mayor Gayle McLaugin and maybe we will screen a movie during the evening.
We will stay over in Richmond.
On October 15th during the morning, we will cross Vallejo Bridge and the plan is to meet with people in Vallejo, Vacaville, Fairfield, Davis.
We don't have anything confirmed yet in this area, so it would be good to have local contacts if you have.
We are riding to Sacramento on Sunday morning to join the rally.
On Monday we are delivering the report at Governor's Jerry Brown office.
Please let us know if you have any suggestion, we are still working in the details, so there will be some changes.
What do we need?
Support, support, support!
Outreach, forwarding the invitation to join us, this will be a weekend action!
If you can organize a meeting at any venue, we can add it to our route.
Contact for more info:
Miguel Robles etereas [at] gmail.com