Tag: California

More Free Sludge! Calabasas, California Offers Free Sewage Sludge “Compost”

"Organic Biosolids Compost"

- by Rebekah Wilce

Good news! The sewage treatment plant in Calabasas, California has been giving away free sludge! Free sludge, you say? That potent stew of human and industrial sewage sludge laced with flame retardants, endocrine disruptors, pharmaceutical residues, phthalates, industrial solvents, resistant pathogens, and perfluorinated compounds? “Composted” sludge, which can bioaccumulate in plants grown in sludge-contaminated soil? Oh, goodie. (more…)

Leave a Comment March 6, 2012

Raw Milk in the News

  • Wisconsin Raw Milk Association Lobbies Wisconsin Legislature Today, February 22 (Wisconsin Ag Connection, 1/31)
  • Raw Milk Freedom Riders Plan Workshop and Rally to Support Vernon Herschberger March 1-2 in Sauk County, Wisconsin (The Bovine, 2/21 and 2/15)
  • “Study Says Raw Milk Poses Risks,” Seems not to Reflect Corrected Numbers: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article (2/21) quotes a new CDC study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases. Read David Gumpert’s excellent analysis of the study here. The article also quotes a death toll, which doesn’t seem to reflect the correction the CDC made last year.
  • Pennsylvania Amish Raw Milk Dairy Farmer Dan Allgyer Shuts Down Farm in Reponse to Court Decision (Philadelphia Daily Enquirer, 2/15; MSNBC, 2/15; and San Francisco Chronicle, 2/14)
  • “Indiana Panel to Consider Sale of Raw Milk” (Courier-Journal, 2/14)
  • “Iowa House Panel OKs Sale of Raw Milk” (Quad-City Times, 2/13)
  • Canadian Raw Milk Dairy Farm Michael Schmidt will Appeal Sentence and Fine (Bayshore Broadcasting News Center, 2/10)
  • Rural Vermont Submits Raw Milk Report to Vermont Legislature (Rural Vermont report and announcement, 2/9)
  • New Hampshire House Committee OKs Raw Milk Bill (New Hampshire News, 2/7)
  • “Kentucky Bill would Allow Herd-Sharing for Raw Milk Products” (Dairy Herd Network, 2/6)
  • California Herd Shares “Fight for Survival . . . Despite ‘Buy Local’ Trend’” (San Mateo County Daily Journal, 2/2)

Leave a Comment February 22, 2012

Sewage Sludge in the News

  • King County, Washington Brands Sludge Product and Pushes it at Northwest Flower and Garden Show: According to a press release reprinted in the West Seattle Herald (2/8), “King County’s clean-water utility has announced the launch of Loop, its new biosolids brand, at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show at the Washington State Convention Center, Feb. 8-12. . . . ‘As an urban farming collective, it only makes sense that we use an urban-derived compost. We know that using Loop not only helps us grow great crops, it’s also the right thing to do,’ said Sean Conroe, founder of Seattle-based urban farming collective Alleycat Acres, which uses GroCo compost made with Loop to fertilize and amend their city farm sites.” ”Biosolids,” or treated human and industrial waste, include many hazardous chemicals. New studies found steroid hormone runoff from agricultural test plots smeared with sludge. Seattle cancer patient and naturopath, Dr. Molly Linton, has raised concerns about pharmaceutical residues such as the drugs in her chemo therapy making their way into sewer systems, and University of Washington Researcher John Kissel shares those concerns, according to King 5 News (2/7). The Food Rights Network supports urban farming, but doesn’t support the growing of any food in toxic sludge.
  • Calabasas, California Residents Encouraged to Stock Up on Free Sludge! According to the Calabasas Patch (2/6), “Built in the early 1990s, Rancho Las Virgenes uses a highly-automated process to convert biosolids removed during the water reclamation process into U.S. EPA graded “Class A – Exceptional Quality” compost that has become a favorite of professional landscapers and home gardeners across the region. After nearly 20 years of production, some of the machinery and the buildings that house compost production must undergo significant maintenance and upgrades.” So the facility is urging residents to come get some free sludge quick, to help them clean out before they fix up.
    Beginning in 2007, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) began sporadic free giveaways of its sewage sludge. The San Francisco sludge was processed by the Synagro company (along with sludge from 8 other counties) and given away as free “organic biosolids compost” to gardeners. (more…)

Leave a Comment February 9, 2012

Raw Milk in the News

  • Raw Milk Rally and Court Hearing for Wisconsin Dairy Farmer Vernon Hershberger Friday, January 27 at 12:00 pm in Baraboo: Vernon Hershberger has a court appearance scheduled tomorrow, Friday, January 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm at the Baraboo Courthouse, which is located on 515 Oak Street in Baraboo. Vernon is facing criminal charges for allegedly violating state food and dairy laws, including several counts for not having the proper permits. He has contended that he was not required to have the licenses because his store was a members-only club, in which people leased farm animals and were provided dairy products from those animals. Wisconsin farmers and Hershberger’s farm club members have scheduled a Rally at 12:00 pm in front of the Baraboo Courthouse preceding the 1:00 pm court appearance. The Jefferson/Waukesha chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation recently published a related commentary on the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s (DATCP’s) “war on raw milk.”
  • “Local Food Movement Gets Verbal Support from El Dorado County Officials” (Sacramento Bee, 1/25): “The grass-roots (and grass-fed) agriculture revolution that Patty Chelseth,” whom the Food Rights Network interviewed last month, “started last summer is picking up steam. Chelseth, of My Sisters’ Farm in Shingle Springs, has launched a campaign to get a ‘Local Food and Community Self-Governance’ ordinance. Her effort got a warm reception Tuesday from the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors.” (more…)

Leave a Comment January 26, 2012

Sewage Sludge in the News

  • Paragould Light, Water and Cable Required to Enclose Sewage Sludge Discharge Area (Arkansas) (Paragould Daily Press, 1/17/12)
  • Charlotte, North Carolina Spins Sludge Spreading as “Resource Recovery” and “Nutrient Recycling” (Charlotte, NC, 2011)
  • Union City, Indiana to Pay Fine for Arsenic Pollution from Spreading Sludge (Star Press, 1/14/12)
  • Culpeper County, Virginia Denies Permit for ReCyc Systems Storage Facility (more…)

Leave a Comment January 18, 2012

Raw Milk in the News

  • Raw Milk Hits Mainstream Media: Raw milk and raw milk activism is prominently featured in recent stories by ABC News (12/15) and Bloomberg (12/5).
  • Maine Dairy Farmers Sell Organic Raw Milk at Farmers’ Markets and as “Top Rung” Quality Organic Milk to Cooperatives (Boston Globe, 12/14). More about the city of Portland, Maine’s battle over whether or not to allow raw milk sales at farmers’ markets is here (Portland Examiner, 12/7).
  • Wisconsin Citizens Speak Out on Behalf of Raw Milk Farmer Vernon Herschberger (Rock River Times, 12/14). David Gumpert’s The Complete Patient blog also summarizes Herschberger’s case as well as Pennsylvania Amish farmer Dan Allgyers (12/9). Herschberger’s charges were announced by the media before he received a summons. Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, a local division of the national right-wing lobbying front for big agribusiness and agribusiness-related industries that works to defeat labor and environmental initiatives, the American Farm Bureau Federationwent on record opposing direct sales of raw milk.
  • “New Jersey Raw Milk Vote Expected Soon (New Jersey Herald, 12/14)
  • Raw Milk Freedom Rider Max Kane Interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio (12/8). Organizer Kathy Pirtle was also interviewed on the Wisconsin Radio Network (12/8).
  • “British Columbia Raw Milk Co-op Loses Latest Court Challenge(CBC News, 12/7)
  • Organic Pastures Dairy Could “Restart Raw Milk Production Soon(Fresno Bee, 12/6)

Leave a Comment December 15, 2011

California is Farmer Brown

This is the second in a two-part series by the Center for Media and Democracy’s Food Rights Network (FRN) about challenges to local food sovereignty across the United States. It was originally published on Alternet. For more, see the first article, on the lawsuit against Blue Hill, Maine farmer Dan Brown brought by the State of Maine and Maine’s Agriculture Commissioner, here.

Maine farmer Dan Brown, who milks one cow and sells milk to his neighbors, is being sued by the State of Maine for “unlicensed distribution and sale of milk and food products.” The lawsuit has sparked protest in Maine and concern in communities around the country.

In an interview with the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), Brown said, “One of these times, they’re going to come after one of us, and it’s going to be that Rosa Parks moment . . . [for] the food system.”

The “Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance” that passed in Brown’s town of Blue Hill, Maine, on April 2, 2011, asserting its “citizens’ right to foods of their choice” without impediment by federal and state regulations, served as a model for several counties in California. CMD spoke with three farmers and advocates about the food sovereignty movement there, and how the suit against Farmer Brown may affect their struggle. (more…)

Leave a Comment December 12, 2011



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