Archives – October, 2011

Food News You Can Use

  • Walmart Can’t Lead Us Out of the Food Desert”: Color Lines (10/27) reminds us that, rather than “expanding large supermarket chains” so that, as Eric Holt-Gimenez wrote in a Huffington Post article highlighted in last week’s news roundup, food dollars are “spirited off to the retail monopoly’s corporate coffers . . . [, grassroots] alternatives could potentially keep it in the community, where it can recirculate as much as five times.” Unfortunately, Color Lines adds, these “ideas aren’t getting nearly as much support from recent state and federal initiatives to eradicate food deserts as are corporations’ plans to tap new markets.”
  • Occupy the Pasture: Grist‘s Steph Larsen writes (10/21) of occupying a pasture in Nebraska to show solidarity for “Occupy Wall Street“ and to remind those who can that a “fundamental way to rebel against an unjust economic system is to grow [our] own food. This way, [our] primary means of sustenance is out of the hands of corporations. Most food sold in grocery stores — even organic food — is owned by a few, very consolidated agribusinesses. Growing your own food undercuts their power.”
  • “GM Crops Promote Superweeds, Food Insecurity and Pesticides, say NGOs”: The GuardianUK and Common Dreams report (10/19) that “genetic engineering has failed to increase the yield of any food crop but has vastly increased the use of chemicals and the growth of ‘superweeds.’ . . . The so-called miracle crops, which were first sold in the US about 20 years ago and which are now grown in 29 countries on about 1.5bn hectares (3.7bn acres) of land, have been billed as potential solutions to food crises, climate change and soil erosion, but the assessment finds that they have not lived up to their promises.”

Leave a Comment October 31, 2011

TAKE ACTION!

URGENT RAW MILK ACTION ALERT
(from the Weston A. Price Foundation, with appreciation for all their work)

Mobilizing For Food Sovereignty

BACKGROUND

On Wednesday, September 28, 2010, the Ontario government won its appeal against biodynamic farmer, Michael Schmidt. The appeal reversed the former ruling, which confirmed cow share members’ right to obtain raw milk products. Justice Peter Tetley rejected Schmidt’s argument that providing raw milk to cow share owners who are aware of any health risks was his legal right.

Schmidt has been fighting for the right to provide raw milk at his Grey County farm ever since it was raided by government officials in 1994. The recent ruling convicts Michael on 15 of 19 and reverses last year’s lower court decision to acquit him of all charges. This latest judicial ruling basically endorses governmental interference of property ownership rights and violates basic human rights to food sovereignty.

Since this ruling, Michael has embarked on a hunger strike and faces imminent danger of another raid to his farm, as do other farms that participate in Cowshare Canada.

He feels that our movement is in great danger and we must act in unison now!

Michael’s urgent message: We must mobilize our forces throughout Canada and the US with an enormous public outcry. We need to put relentless pressure on legislators in both countries—national, state and local—and also on health authorities through a massive letter-writing and call-in campaign.  We also need to organize face-to-face meetings whenever possible. Canada desperately needs US support in these matters, so we encourage all US members to send messages to key Canadian contacts as well.

ACTION TO TAKE

It is imperative that we organize to a much higher level. We need everyone in our movement to participate. We need:

  • At the very least, all members (US and Canada) should write to Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Canada. Submit by email at https://correspondence.premier.gov.on.ca/en/feedback/feedback.aspx or send a fax to 416-325-3745.
  • US citizens to write letters and call local, state, and federal legislators in the U.S. and to write letters to Canadian members of the Provincial Parliament in Ontario and British Columbia listed in this alert.
  • Canadian citizens to write letters to Canadian members of the Provincial Parliament in Ontario and British Columbia listed in this alert.
  • All need to write letters and call your local and state health officials.

Michael is depending on us to back up his brave efforts for food sovereignty!

CANADIAN CONTACTS:

Dalton McGuinty, Premier
Legislative Building
Queen’s Park Toronto ON M7A 1A1
1-800-387-5559
https://correspondence.premier.gov.on.ca/en/feedback/feedback.aspx
Fax:  416-325-3745

Tim Hudak- Leader of the Opposition
4961 King St. E   Unit   M1
Beamsville, ON   L0R 1B0
[email protected]
905-563-1755 (or toll free at 1-800-665-3697).

Deb Matthews-Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
242 Piccadilly Street
London, ON N6A 1S4
[email protected]
Tel: (519) 432-7339
Fax: (519) 432-0613

Andrea Horwath – Leader of the New Democratic Party
Hamilton Centre Constituency Suite 200
20 Hughson Street South
Hamilton, Ontario L8N 2A1
[email protected]
905-544-9644
Fax: 905-544-515

Randy Hillier
Lanark–Frontenac–Lennox and Addington Constituency
Unit 1
105 Dufferin Street
Perth, Ontario K7H 3A5
[email protected]
613-267-8239
Fax: 613-267-7398

Jack MacLaren
2 Beaverbrook Mall, Unit 102
Kanata, ON K2K 1L2
[email protected]
Tel: 1-877-780-5225

Greg Sorbara
Liberal MPP in Ontario
Constituency Office
140 Woodbridge Avenue, Unit AU8 – Market Lane
Woodbridge, ON L4L 4K9
Tel: (905) 851-0440
Fax: (905) 851-0210
[email protected]
Queen’s Park Office
Room 186, Main Legislative Building
Toronto, ON M7A 1A4
Tel: (416) 212-1022
Fax: (416) 212-1025

Larry Miller
Federal Conservative MP for Grey
Chair of Standing Committee on Agriculture in Ottawa
1131 2nd Avenue East, Suite 208
Owen Sound, ON N4K 2J1
519-371-1059 phone
519-371-1752 fax
[email protected]
or
Room 510, Justice Building
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
613-996-5191 phone
613-952-0979 fax
[email protected]rymiller.ca

U.S. CONTACTS

State and Federal Elected Officials:   http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

State Health and Agriculture Departments:  Google your state and “Health Department”

SAMPLE LETTER

An Urgent Appeal for Justice

Dear ___________,

Today, governments are pouring enormous resources into interfering with people’s rights to their own property and to obtain the food they need for their well-being.  Governments that are truly concerned with justice are supposed to protect citizens’ rights, not violate them.  We urgently demand an open, in-depth dialogue with government and health officials about these violations of food rights.

Increasing numbers of people consider it crucial to their health to obtain high-quality foods directly from organic, sustainable farms.   These foods often include raw dairy products, meat and eggs from free-ranging, grass-fed animals—foods of very dense nutrient value that cannot be found in grocery stores.

In states and provinces where the law bans the sale of raw milk, people enter into contracts to co-own a cow and board the animal with a farmer.  As owners of the cow, they are also the owners of the milk the cow produces, and are legally entitled to drink it because no sale of milk is involved.   These arrangements are called “cowshares.”

The most allergenic food in North America is pasteurized milk, so it is not an option for many families. Raw milk is less allergenic for some, and reduces asthma attacks (huge international studies such as the recent GABRIELA study show this to be true). That is why we must be free to make that choice. That is why our lack of food sovereignty creates illness and pushes us all into food slavery.

These basic principles of justice must prevail:

  • Food sovereignty is an inalienable constitutional right;
  • Rights to one’s own property is a legally binding principle;
  • Cowshares are a legal binding contract of property ownership;
  • Access to foods from small farms is essential to the health and well-being of families who choose these foods;
  • Small sustainable farms are essential to the health of agriculture world-wide;
  • Governmental interference with property ownership rights along with violations to basic human rights of food sovereignty must end; and
  • Government and health authorities must abstain from the infringement of rights and violence or threat of violence against participants in cowshare programs.

Sincerely,

(Action Alert from the Weston A. Price Foundation)

Leave a Comment October 27, 2011

Raw Milk in the News

  • Michael Schmidt, Four Weeks into Raw Milk Hunger Strike, “Tired But Well”: David Gumpert reports (10/23) that Schmidt’s life hangs in the balance, but that he is still fighting, and that his fight marks “an important turning point in the food rights movement.” Even Yahoo!News commented (10/14) on the spotlight his hunger strike has put on raw milk. Watch Schmidt’s message to his supporters here:

  • Max Kane Calls Out the FDA: Will they show up on Tuesday, November 1st, to enforce the raw milk interstate commerce law against the moms calling themselves the “Raw Milk Freedom Riders”?  (Natural News 10/21) Watch Kane try to alert the FDA here:

  • Petition to Legalize Raw Milk Sales on the Federal Level: The Examiner reports (10/19) the creation of a petition stating, in part, “Give the people the freedom to choose whether drinking raw milk products is right for them by enabling the legalized sale and distribution of raw milk products across all states.” (more…)

1 Comment October 26, 2011

Sewage Sludge in the News

  • Another Sludge Ingredient: “Microplastic”: Scientists find that “samples of treated wastewater and sewage-tainted ocean sediment” contained “microscopic fragments of acrylic, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyamide, and polyester” from synthetic clothing lint in water than drains from washing machines, fragments with particles smaller than one nanometer (“one hundred-thousandth the width of a human hair”). “Ingested microplastics can persist in cells for months, moving up the food chain to animals and people who eat fish. More alarmingly, some studies show that microplastics can absorb toxic chemicals such as PCBs, dioxins, and DDT.” What the Ecouterre article (10/24) and the study report (9/6) don’t mention is what concentration of plastic pollution is concentrated in the dried sewage sludge before the treated wastewater is released to the ocean. Land application of sewage sludge to fields of human food crops is a much more direct movement up the food chain, from our vegetables straight to our bodies.
  • California School Assigns Students to Test Sewage Sludge: According to the North County Times (10/15), ”local growers and gardeners have been able to buy fertilizer from the Fallbrook Public Utility District for about three years, and many have said it made their plants flourish. But until a teacher at a local school stepped in, nobody at the district had tested the fertilizer or tried to determine how much of it to mix in the soil for the best results. . . . The fertilizer is biosolid, a nutrient-rich substance created by heating and treating wet sludge at the Fallbrook Public Utility District, which provides water and sewage service for Fallbrook. . . . In mid-September, students in Fischer’s class weighed and mixed various ratios of biosolids and soil, then planted arugula and chard in small containers filled with the mixture.” The results? Not in yet, but “overall, the study appeared headed for an ironic conclusion: The plants with no biosolids were among the tallest, and the ones with the most biosolids were smaller.” Parents, do you want your kids being directly exposed to sewage sludge in school? (more…)

Leave a Comment October 25, 2011

Food News You Can Use

  • Occupying the Food System: Continuing the commentary on the confluence between the food movement and the “occupy” movement, Food First’s Eric Holt Gimenez writes in the Huffington Post (10/21) that “voices from food justice organizations across the country are connecting the dots between hunger, diet-related diseases and the unchecked power of Wall Street investors and corporations.” Tom Philpott writes inMother Jones (10/14) that “foodies” need to Occupy Wall Street because “agribusiness is concentrated to a point that would make a Wall Street master of the universe blush. Vast globe-spanning corporations, many of them US-based, dominate the industry.”
  • Genetically Modified Foods You Love: Still eating Hebrew National hot dogs, Jiffy Pop and Peter Pan peanut butter? Iron Bolt Bruce reminds us (10/21) of the list of ConAgra brands, and the lawsuit against the corporation for deceptively marketing its Wesson brand oils as “all-natural,” “when they’re actually made from genetically modified organisms” (Michele SimonFood Safety News, 8/24).
  • The Cantaloupe BrouhahaMother Jones‘  Tom Philpott explains (10/21) just why Freakonomics‘ Steve Sexton is so wrong to blame the cantaloupe listeria outbreak on the local foods movement (10/20). (more…)

Leave a Comment October 24, 2011

Local Dinner to Recognize Food & Farm Hero John Kinsman and Beginning Farmers

On Saturday, November 12th, the Family Farm Defenders (FFD) hosts the “First Annual John Kinsman Beginning Farmer Food Sovereignty Dinner” at the Goodman Community Center on Madison, Wisconsin’s near east side.

John Kinsman on his Lime Ridge, Wisconsin dairy farm

The Center for Media and Democracy’s Food Rights Network featured John Kinsman as our first Food and Farm Hero earlier this month.

The event will honor the first Beginning Farmer Food Sovereignty Prize Winners. Speakers will include UW-Madison Professor Jack Kloppenburg as well as FFD President and founder John Kinsman. The Harvest-themed dinner will include artisanal cheese and crackers, wild rice, roasted vegetables, organic grass-fed beef, dessert, fair trade coffee and/or locally crafted beer and wine.

Tickets purchased before November 1st are $50 per person for FFD members, $75 for non-members and $35 for students and those with limited income. For more information and to purchase tickets, please see the FFD website.

Leave a Comment October 21, 2011

Raw Milk News

  • Michael Schultz’s Hunger Strike Moves Into Third Week As He Tries to Arrange Meeting with Ontario Premier, Despite Facing More Charges (10/18): The Weston A. Price Foundation has provided a way to contact Schultz to express support (scroll to the bottom of the article for the email address) and Schultz shared his letter to Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty, with David Gumpert yesterday. He says a meeting with McGuinty, to “find a way of ensuring that. . . the right to buy food direct from a farmer… is respected,” would end his hunger strike. In the meantime, authorities from the Grey Bruce Health Unit announced Monday that Schmidt faces additional charges “after laboratory tests confirmed milk distributed at a rally last week was unpasteurized.”
  • Wisconsin Judge Fiedler Quit to Work for Firm that Defended Monsanto: The judge that “recently ruledthat we have no right to own a cow or drink its milk resigned to join one of Monsanto’s law firms,” according to theHouston Free Thinkers (10/17). He “now works for Axley Brynelson, LLP, which defended Monsanto against a patent infringement case filed by Australian firm, Genetic Technologies, Ltd. (GTL) in early 2010.” (more…)

Leave a Comment October 19, 2011

Food News You Can Use

  • Mark Bittman Writes About Occupy Wall Street (10/11): Adding his two cents to the nationwide conversation about how we might fundamentally change the the system to create more equality, Bittman urges “activists who are interested in food” to get involved.
  • Why the Food Movement Should Occupy Wall Street: Siena Chrisman writes on Civil Eats (10/11) that “the richest one percent hold 40 percent of the wealth, while almost one in five Americans is on food stamps.  Rampant Wall Street speculation on commodities is driving up food costs, small farmers are being driven off their land, and agribusiness holds monopoly control of our seeds and stores. In this climate, the struggle against massive wealth disparities, unregulated financial institutions, and excessive corporate power is our struggle as well.”
  • GMO Feed Disrupts Organs in AnimalsReader Supported News (10/7) reports on a new report published in Environmental Sciences Europe showing that “consuming genetically modified (GM) corn or soybeans leads to significant organ disruptions in rats and mice, particularly in livers and kidneys. . . . The GM soybean and corn varieties used in the feeding trials ‘constitute 83% of the commercialized GMOs’ that are currently consumed by billions of people.” (more…)

Leave a Comment October 18, 2011

Sewage Sludge in the News

  • As if Sewage Sludge Wasn’t Toxic Enough Already: Tokyo citizens performing their own testing, as government officials said they had no plans to, are finding high levels of radiation 160 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, including in municipal sewage sludge (New York Times, 10/14). According to Reuters (10/17), “in northern Japan, stored-up radioactive ash and dehydrated sludge from the sewage treatment process alone totaled 52,000 tones in mid-September, up 63 percent from levels at the end of July.” Through the “purification” process, part of the radioactive caesium was concentrated in sludge as well as the ash that is produced by burning sludge.
  • Kellogg Garden Products Sludging More Los Angeles Schools?: “Kellogg Garden Products donated soil bags, planting mix bags and fertilizer” to Whittier’s Trinity Lutheran School, Whittier Daily News reports (10/13). If these products included Kellogg’s Amend, Nitrohumus, Topper or Gromulch (all of which contain “compost” made from Los Angeles sewage), then Whittier Trinity Lutheran joins the list of 13 other schools that may have been sludged. (more…)

1 Comment October 17, 2011

Children Gardening in Sewage Sludge: Los Angeles Schools Alerted

Emmanuelle Chriqui gardening with kids at Carson Senior High School, with an empty bag of Kellogg sludge product

This week, CMD’s new Food Rights Network sent letters to thirteen schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) that have “organic” school gardens adopted by Hollywood’s Environmental Media Association (EMA). As we reported in May, EMA teamed up with sludge-marketing corporation Kellogg Garden Products, which sells products made from Los Angeles area industrial and human sewage sludge with the label “quality organics” and which used the gardens for photo ops with sludge products.

Gardens school kids use to grow vegetables and fruits were contaminated with sewage sludge as a result of EMA’s partnership with Kellogg, which donated hundreds of cubic yards of sewage sludge products.  EMA, which hosts its annual green carpet awards this Saturday, October 15th, has failed to take any steps to help remediate the children’s “organic” gardens that were sludged. (more…)

1 Comment October 14, 2011

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