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News for July 23, 2010

Food, Lies, and Videotape: Further Thoughts on Handling a Food Raid; Aajonus Vonderplanitz's Farm "Rescue" Plan

My list of suggestions for handling a food raid, posted on Grist, have attracted lots of additional suggestions, beyond the five I listed. Among the most frequent suggestions among the 99 comments are various techniques for backing up computers, including ideas for handling backup disks and encrypting data. I've had several farmers tell me, in effect, "Yeah, I know I should do these things, but I'm so busy, I keep putting it off."

If nothing else, at least subscribe to an online backup service that automatically backs up your data each day. (One such service is Carbonite, which charges $55 a year to back up your data onto its servers.)

READ MORE (The Complete Patent) ]

Massachusetts program turns refugees into farmers

The bullet wounds show on Rechhat Proum's back when he bends down to pull lemon grass or water spinach on his farm in peaceful northern Massachusetts. When the 56-year-old Cambodian refugee lifts a pumpkin, the movement of his shirt reveals deep stab wounds on his stomach.

Nearby, Bessie and Samuel Tsimba tend African maize. The Zimbabwean immigrants deflect questions about the country's violence and instead direct attention to the freshness of their cucumbers. "They'll taste better than what you'll get at most supermarkets," promises Bessie, 43.

READ MORE (AP) ]

Introducing 'The Monsanto Challenge'

About a month ago, I had the temerity to suggest that Maine Public Television question the use of the words "sustainable agriculture" when it accepts the sponsorship dollars of the Monsanto Corporation.

My complaint was not with MPBN getting sponsorship money from Monsanto (lots of big bad corporations support public television).

READ MORE (Morning Sentinel) ]

Raw Milk Committee Meets, Begins Guideline Formulation

The Raw Milk Policy Working Group met last week, July 14, at the Lyman G. Anderson Agriculture and Conservation Center to continue working to fulfill their charge of developing policies to recommend for regulating the sale of raw milk in Wisconsin.

At the group’s previous meeting it decided to suspend further debate on the pros and cons of raw milk and its safety in order to make progress on recommendations to minimize the risk posed by raw milk to consumers, noting that despite Governor Doyle’s veto the issue is likely resurface in the legislature after the fall election. The group consists of stakeholders on both sides of the issue and was assembled by the Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

READ MORE (Agri-View) ]

Rah Raw Raw

Urania Hunter, of Eureka, loves, loves, loves milk. "It’s the first food for me," she said, over the phone, one day last week. "I just love milk. It’s my favorite food."

She loves milk so much, she's willing to buy it locally on the black market at $16 per gallon. Yes, because the Santa Barbara native/Bay Area expat is hooked on a particular kind of milk — the raw, unpasteurized, non-homogenized, straight-from-the-cow (via quart bottle) kind. The kind that’s illegal to sell for human consumption in Humboldt County. The kind that Hunter, and certain others, swear not only tastes like nirvana but boosts the immune system, alleviates allergies, asthma, ear infections, arthritis and more. They say it produces less phlegm than pasteurized milk. They say lactose-intolerant people can drink it with no problems. (They also say that pasteurized milk actually causes allergies, and is stripped of nutrients beneficial to humans, a claim refuted by some scientists.)

READ MORE (North Coast Journal) ]

Debunking Myths About Agriculture

Organic agriculture, wrote political scientist Robert Paarlberg in a recent Foreign Policy article, is just a "trendy cause" for "purist circles." The movement for sustainable farming around the world, he said, is an "elite preoccupation."

Whole Foods shoppers, you're on notice.

READ MORE (Zester) ]

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