Sunday, April 12, 2009


Photo, left, from Credo
Welcome to the first post of our Actions Page - This is where we will list news from out of our region that affects us all, and actions you can take right now to help!
We will be building this page in the next few weeks and will begin adding more stories and links to keep you informed.

From Credo Action Network:

Tell the Pesticide Peddlers: We support Michelle Obama's organic garden.

The Mid America CropLife Association (MACA)represents chemical companies that produce pesticides, and they are angry that - wait for it - Michelle Obama isn't using chemicals in her organic garden at the White House. In an email to their supporters, a MACA spokesman wrote, "While a garden is a great idea, the thought of it being organic made [us] shudder.", and went on to publish a letter it had sent to the First Lady asking her to consider using chemicals -- or what they call "crop protection products" -- in her garden.
Sign this petition today to tell the board members of MACA (virtually all of them big chemical executives) that we don't appreciate their telling Michelle Obama (or any of us) to use pesticides in our gardens.

From Organic Consumer's Association:
Contact Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and urge her to veto HB 2121 before April 16th.
HB 2121 could potentiall restrict any national US dairy from properly labeling their milk products as free from genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH or rbST).
rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) is a genetically engineered variant of the natural growth hormone produced by cows. Formerly manufactured by Monsanto, it is sold to dairy farmers under the trade name Posilac. Injection of this hormone forces cows to boost milk production by about 10%, while increasing the incidences of mastitis, lameness, and reproductive complications.

Save Organic Standards: Tell the USDA and the NOSB to Protect Organic Standards. Under the new Obama Administration, with Kathleen Merrigan as second-in-command at the USDA, we have an opportunity to prevent corporate greed from corrupting organic standards.

Action Alert: Critical Pending Food Safety Legislation - H.R. 875
Please Ask Congress to Protect High Quality Organic and Local Food

(Several other bills include provisions that should worry small farmers – like H.R. 814, which calls for a mandatory animal identification system, or H.R. 759, which is more likely to move through Congress than H.R. 875 and calls for electronic recordkeeping on farms and registration fees for processing plants. For factory farms this is a very good idea; for small sustainable farms, it can be not only unnecessary - overkill - but devastating in cost of money and time).
People should know what they're talking about when they call or write their government representatives. Organic sustainable farmers will tell you that passing a bill (HR 875) with so many ambiguities and the 'one size fits all' potential will not be good at all for the future of organic farmers, given the presence of Big Chem and Big Ag in the Congress, Dept. of Ag, FDA, and Farm Bureau. It's important that people find out who their officials and decision makers in these agencies are, who they worked for, who they will likely work for again.

The term "food safety" has more than one meaning: There is the idea of tainted or diseased food supplies. There is also the idea of destruction of biodiversity, contamination and sterilization of seed stocks with bioengineered seed crossbreeding, and loss of small communities' ability to feed themselves. Small sustainable farms can be lost due to inappropriate and overwhelming regulation, and seed and animal manipulation and patents. The call to contact your representative is really a call for education about what is happening to our food supply. Who owns our food supply (and our water) and are we allowed to feed ourselves and to understand what food safety really is?
Books and other media to help understand more about this incredibly important issue:
All of these can help in understanding the significance of the term "food safety".

Would corporations actually do things that are not in the best interest of the American people? Is that really a question right now? If, incredibly, somehow it is, the book & documentary "The Corporation" is helpful in understanding the structure and need for short-term profit of the the modern-day corporations controlling so much of the present and potential food supply and holding so much influence in a number of governments.

left: The Farm to College Project at UC Santa Cruz
Check out the web page and YouTube video for the Grow A Farmer Campaign.
It will make you happy!
Today, more than 1,200 apprentices have been trained in the organic fields, orchards and greenhouses at UC Santa Cruz, learning not only how to raise food and flowers, but how to make the food system itself more sustainable by addressing issues of social justice. They are today's organic farmers, market gardeners, urban agriculturalists, school garden teachers, and others working to promote local, healthy food in communities around the country.
Recent graduates exemplify the program’s potential to create new farmers…
Kelsey Keener, Ryan Power, and Noah Bresler raise vegetables, fruit, and heritage livestock on historic Williams Island near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Mike Nolan and Gabe Eggers coax crops from the sagebrush country of southern Colorado for local markets. Amy Rice-Jones manages the brand new Bounty Farm, where she coordinates a team of volunteers growing food for low-income residents of Petaluma, California.
Read more of the profiles of UC Santa Cruz apprentices here.
Supporting or taking part in this program is one way to help.
AND...We can also learn from this program, and work to develop a training program for farmers right here. We're starting, with our L & S Youth Club Farm Garden and farmworker training; we know others on the island are thinking the same thing, and doing it, too.


Take a look at this month's issue of Yes! magazine - it is incredible!
You will be inspired - the article titled "Growing Power" will remind you that it only takes one person to begin to make change - you do have it in you! Read all about Will Allen, The New Crop of Farmers, Percy Schmeiser, and the Good Food Revolution. You will come away with a smile on your face!

Left: Will Allen shows some of the 10,000 fish growing in one of Growing Power's four-foot-deep, 10,000-gallon aquaponics tanks. Waste from the fish feeds greens and tomatoes. The plants purify the water for the fish. The fish eventually go to market. Photo by Ryan Griffis

Yes! is also available at the Marketplace, or you can go to these links above and read online.