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News for June 21, 2010

More locals go for local meat

Picking through a cooler of frozen lamb chops and burger at the Battle Creek Farmers Market Wednesday, Cindy Southwick was unsure what her first taste of locally-raised meat should be.

After making a purchase at Ginny Stine's Two Thumbs Ranch booth, Southwick said going for a healthier diet drove her decision to check out area markets.

READ MORE (Battle Creek Enquirer) ]

Finding Other Ways To Sell Raw Milk

Calling it an inconvenience, a family from Mount Vernon is frustrated they aren't being allowed to sell raw milk at the Christian County Farmers Market. The county Health Department has banned the sale of raw milk. The family says customers still want it so they're selling the milk on private property just around the corner from the courthouse. Officials with the health department say they can't enforce the rule, but if raw milk is sold away from the farm - they can report a violation to law enforcement.

READ MORE (KTTS) ]

Many cattle farmers return to tradition of grass-fed beef

About 250 head of cattle followed Will Clark as he drove an old white pickup truck across a 1,300-acre farm his family owns between Saltville and Hungry Mother State Park.

"I'm the fifth generation of Clark to be here," he said before stepping out of his truck and rolling back an electrified fence so the bulk of his herd could get to a fresh patch of grass that after a month of growth towered up above his waist.

READ MORE (TriCities) ]

A delicate balance: Local farmers work hard to meet government regulations, consumer demands

For those who wonder why they can't walk to a neighborhood farm and buy fresh milk anymore, Garrett Stillman has one suggestion: Think why milk prices have barely changed over the past 35 years while gas prices have increased seven to eight fold.

Experts partly blame complicated federal regulations that set milk prices. Margins for farmers continue to fall, making it nearly impossible for dairy farmers to survive, says Stillman, whose family has owned Stillman Dairy Farm in Lunenburg for four generations.

READ MORE (The Sun) ]

Farmers form cooperative to offer locally produced meat

With the help of a new grant-funded program, Southwest Virginia shoppers can get locally produced meat products at drive-through speed.

Called the Appalachian Farm to Family Cooperative, the program is an organization of about a dozen Southwest Virginia farmers who've come together to sell and deliver their products.

READ MORE (Bristol Herald Courier) ]

New Rules on the Table for Meat Industry could be a Step Towards a More Sustainable Food System

If you've seen any of the food films that have hit the big screen recently, like Food Inc. or Fresh, it's probably occurred to you that the meat industry is the opposite of an example of sustainable food. And I don't just mean sustainable in terms of natural resources, but the whole package, including socially and economically sustainable. Meat production and processing has become very consolidated in the U.S., forming large meat monopolies and all but snuffing out competition from small or mid-sized, local food producers. But last week, the Obama administration proposed some new rules that could spell good news for smaller meat and poultry producers by helping to break some of the unfair practices used by the meat giants that currently control the industry and increase competition within the market.

While the rules don't necessarily support sustainable, local food systems, the implementation of them would mean that small farmers would get better payments for their products. What the new rules boil down to is this: Small and mid-size farmers would have more agency and be able to sue large meat corporations if they believed they were treated unfairly. It would also mean that large meat processing and packaging companies would have to pay a higher, more fair price for the products they buy from hog and cattle farmers. Additionally the rules would offer better protection for poultry producers breaking the vicious cycle of debt that often haunts poultry farmers who seek to maintain their contract with a large processor or packer.

READ MORE (JusnMeans) ]

Families Fight Back Against Raw Milk Ban at Christian Co. Farmer's Markets

The debate continues.

More raw emotions over raw milk as the Christian County Health Department Board of Trustees votes to ban the distribution of the product at the county's farmer's markets.

READ MORE (KSPR) ]

Wisconsin's raw milk ban at stake in lawsuits

Wisconsin dairy farmers who believe they have found a way to legally sell raw milk in the state will make their case in court on Tuesday.

The operators of Grassway Organic Farm in Calumet County allege in a case before a Dane County judge that the state has no right to stop them from selling milk to customers who have become part-owners of the farm.

READ MORE (Associated Press) ]

10 ways to boost local food economy

1. Cook with fresh, seasonal, local foods.Cooking at home is often healthier and cheaper than eating out.

2. Buy from local farmers and food businesses.Make food purchases as directly as possible. Seek out restaurants that serve local foods.

READ MORE (Salisbury Post) ]

This is hospital food?

The Wednesday lunch menu at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital includes free-range chicken and fresh spinach.

If that sounds like a hip, locavore cafe rather than a hospital that serves more about 1,100 meals per day, it's because Linda Hansen, the director of nutrition services, is finally getting her way.

READ MORE (Press Democrat) ]

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