Thursday, January 21, 2010

WA Senate Bill 6349 - Give our small (unsubsidized) farmers a chance to stay in business.(Also, read about "Food Safety" bills in Nov. 10 post below)

Most of our small farmers hold two or 3 other jobs just so they can stay in business growing safe and healthy food.
Here's a letter from Matt Marinkovich talking about giving them a fighting chance:

"Hello There
I am a commercial fisherman who lives on San Juan Island and I am writing you in support of SB 6349. Since I moved here from Tacoma over six years ago I have learned more about food and farming than I ever dreamed I would know.

One of the things I see firsthand is most of these farmers here on these islands (and everywhere else, as well) are no spring chickens-- the majority of them are either at or soon approaching "retirement" age, and I know only a couple of younger people who have fully entered the farming trade. I think its a matter of public security/safety (especially on these ferry-dependent islands) that we have young people entering the farm trade--who is going to grow our food in 15- years? Shall we outsource it to Dubai?

It makes no sense that when people, young or old, want to learn how to farm that they would not be considered an intern. There's more to running a small farm than just planting veggies, and it takes a while to learn the important skills needed to make a farm just break even, let alone become profitable. I know enthusiastic young people who would like to learn the farm trade, and I know farmers who are willing to teach them but they can't work on their farm because of the L&I law as it currently exists. There should be no restrictions at all--in fact there should be INCENTIVES--when it comes to new people entering the farm trade.

On my small, family-owned fishing boat I hire crew as independent contractors. They are paid a share of the gross, and could make a lot or a little--there is no minimum, and there's NO State L&I agent poking their nose in my business (Thank you God! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!). These small, family-owned farms operate in much the same way (except for the L&I agent). They're NOT like a giant factory trawler with 30 grunts slaving away on the factory deck-- they have just a few good hands dedicated to keeping the farm afloat, and I think this law should be passed so the government will get off the back of the small farmers so they can get busy with the vitally important job of training the next generations of farmers.

Who grows your food?


Matt Marinkovich
consumer of locally-grown produce and registered voter"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Land & Sea Film Festival!!! (Corrected Date for Tues - it's Jan 26th, 6:30 pm)

(Want to read about the new "Food Safety" bills in Congress? Go to Nov. 10th post at Land & Sea's Action page for more info. Very important.)
For a printable list of where to buy local in SJ
islands, go here.

Hi Everyone! Back to what's happening right here on San Juan island:

Free showing of "Food, Inc."! Check just below, by the popcorn picture, for that.
First, very important news, from Anna Spears & Eleanor Hartmann in the S J Community Co-op weekly letter, about keeping the family farmers in business who stock our shelves with produce, and keep us in meat, poultry, milk & eggs. From Anna & Eleanor:
"There are some major moves being made by state Senator Ranker this week regarding
internships on small farms. Interns are a crucial part to helping to sustain the vitality of our small farms .... For more information... and to make your voice heard visit".
when Anna says this is crucial, she is not exaggerating.

Please read Matt Marinkovich's great letter about this here.
We're starting off the first annual, semi informal, all free Land & Sea Film Festival-teach in with "Food, Inc." at the public Activities Room in lovely Village at The Harbour. This is a great chance to take a look at the center, and also have free! organic butter topped or virgin olive oil sprinkled organic popcorn and see this very good movie free!
Show's at 6:30 pm on Friday Jan 22 and again at 6:30 Tues the 26th.
Address: 543 Spring St. (entrance across from the medical center). Activities director at the Village Deanna Osborne and Seannene Kennedy have opened their room to us to make both these free showings possible. Thanks Seannene and Deanna!

Look ahead to more free showings : "Food, Inc.", "The World According to Monsanto", "The Real Dirt on Farmer John", "Flow", a movie we loved, also highly recommended to us by Becky B. and Gogo Green , "Tapped" - recommended by Stephanie Prima-Sarantopoulus, "The Future of Food", "Farmed Salmon Exposed", everyone's favorite "King Corn" and the ever popular "Super Size Me"!
All films will feature delicious hot buttered, (or olive oiled, or ...) popcorn until we run out! We'll also plan to show what looks to be another great movie Ryan Browne just sent a clip of, "Garbage Warrior". Send us your suggestions!
Keep checking this space or the SJ Update, the Island Guardian, SJ Islander, and possibly the Journal for dates. We'll also update you with a note if you're on our email list - just drop us a line at if you're not on our list & want to be - no need to be a Land & Sea Slow Food member, but you can do that, too if you want. Maureen will keep you up-to date, (but not too frequently), with really good information.

One last thing - look at any food label in your kitchen. Find the name of the company on the label. Get the address off the label or the internet, and shoot them an email or letter, or call to tell them you want their food to be labeled if it is genetically modified, chemically treated, nano particle altered, irradiated or compromised in any way. Tell them, if you don't want these things done to your food.
Companies want you to buy their products. It's that simple. If we ALL tell them, it WILL make change, and fast. Sure, it seems like David v. Goliath at times, but like Laura Love says in the song, Sometimes Davey Wins. And if we all come together, we're actually a pretty big Davey.