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COMFOOD weekly recap

June 20, 2011
by Admin

Recaps will be posted each Monday from now on.

News from 6/10/11 to 6/19/11.  Also, see Conferences announced on COMFOOD and elsewhere.  (Note: only news and resources are included in this recap.  To read all the conversation, subscribe to COMFOOD directly.)

MULTIMEDIA

The Food Sleuth Radio mission is to connect the dots between food, health and agriculture, and find “food truth.” Each show is features a 30 minute interview with national thought leaders, including: social and environmental justice advocates, artists, authors, film makers, researchers, health experts, farmers and policy influencers.  If you have any questions about access or logistics, please contact me directly.

Radio interview with founder of Elevation Burger, all grass-fed meat food chain with (soon) more than 100 locations across the country. Reporter Rob Sachs visited Hess at his original restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, to learn more about his business and where he thinks the burger industry is headed.

CFJC Public Policy Call Weds, June 22nd 9am PT/Noon ET. Topic: Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, Food Day, and additional statewide and national policy efforts. This monthly calls are organized in an effort to create public policy that works for everyone. Email cspach@cafoodjustice.org if you wish to join the call.

POLICY & STANDARDS

The UN FAO’s releases Save and Grow: A policymaker’s guide to the sustainable intensification of smallholder crop production. Sustainable intensification of smallholder crop production is one of FAO’s strategic objectives. Our aim over the next 15 years is to assist developing countries in adopting “save and grow” policies and approaches. This book provides a toolkit of adaptable farming systems, technologies and practices, and explores the policies and the institutional arrangements that will support the large-scale implementation of SCPI.

The Standards for Responsible Salmon Aquaculture are under fire for allowing controversial practices such as use of antibiotics and toxic chemicals, transgenic plants including GM soya in feed, sea lice infestation, unsustainable and non-certified fish feed, waste pollution and chemical contamination, copper-treated nets and biocides, and so forth.  English comment period is over, but Spanish comments are open until June 30.

Georgia, Alabama, and Utah are the first states to follow in the footsteps of Arizona, passing laws that expand the power of local police to check the immigration status of residents. Legislators who back the new laws say they’re sending a message that they want illegal immigrants to leave their states, and that the federal government should do more to stop illegal immigration. The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association told CNN that farm workers  have fled the area.  Some farmers lost as much as 50 percent of their workforce, they say.

NY Bill to Ban Undercover Investigations of Farming Practices Passes Committee. New York Senate Bill 5172, known as the Ag-gag bill, passed the Senate Agriculture Committee on June 2, 2011 by a vote of 6 ayes, 2 ayes with reservations and 2 nos.  These bills, also introduced in Florida, Iowa and Minnesota, would make it a crime to obtain photographs, video or audio recordings on a factory farm without the owner’s consent. The New York bill, S.B. 5172, introduced by state Sen. Patty Ritchie (Dist. 48) calls this “unlawful tampering”.

A Joint Resolution on Maine State Food Sovereignty passed unanimously. A Joint Resolution has “no teeth”; however they believe that this can and will send a message to the Federal government that they disapprove of their over regulation.

MISC. NEWS

In TIME: America’s Hottest Investment: Farmland. “Just how hot is American farmland? By some accounts the value of farmland is up 20% this year alone. That’s better than stocks or gold. During the past two decades, owning farmland would have produced an annual return of nearly 11%, according to Hancock Agricultural Investment Group. And that covers a time period when tech stocks boomed and crashed, and housing boomed and crashed. So at a time when investors are still looking for safety, farmland is becoming the “it” investment.”

Sculptor and architect Charlie Partin has created a revolutionary design for an earth-sheltered barn that may bring a much-needed wave of sustainability, energy efficiency, health and beauty to farms – rural, urban, and suburban – as they raise crops and livestock to feed the world.

Mother Jones: “Big Ag Won’t Feed the World”.  A review of agricultural development projects in 57 low-income countries found that more efficient use of water, reduced use of pesticides and improvements in soil health had led to average crop yield increases of 79 percent. Another study concluded that agricultural systems that conserve ecosystem services by using practices such as conservation tillage, crop diversification, legume intensification and biological pest control, perform as well as intensive, high-input systems.

McDonald’s in Europe to serve Marine Stewardship Council-approved Filet-o-Fish sandwiches.

GoodFood World has named Bob Quinn, Kamut International, as our latest GoodFood Hero in recognition of his work with ancient grains, organic production, and improving the quality of the food we eat. He is now on a quest to develop a successful organic system for the northern Great Plains, working to create a model for growing small orchards and dry land vegetables in wheat country.

Fracking involves injecting millions of gallons of pressurized water, chemicals, and sand into the earth to loosen shale to release natural gas. The long term effects of fracking has yet to be discovered. The water from fracking is a particular danger to rural communities in that it flows in waste treatment plants at a scale far beyond their capacity, thus leaving rural water resources vulnerable to contamination. Farmers are reporting that their livelihoods and landscapes are being destroyed and are under serious threat.

Compilation of info re: farms that utilize subsidies to attract low-income customers to their CSA program. <Excel file: SubsidizedCSAs>

Scientists predict the largest “dead zone” of low-oxygen water in history: the northern Gulf of Mexico – about the size of Lake Erie – because of more runoff from the flooded Mississippi River valley.

People across the world are changing what they eat because of the rising cost of food according to a new global survey released today as part of the Oxfam GROW campaign. Agriculture Ministers from the powerful group of G20 countries are meeting in France next week and will discuss the global food price crisis.

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