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News for November 9, 2010

Who took your cheese? Could be the FDA

The government going after raw milk was something a lot of people could comfortably ignore -- fringe-y kooks making a lot of noise about milk that could be dangerous.

But start messing with people's $22-per-pound raw-milk Camembert ... well, now you're dealing with serious food for more mainstream foodies.

READ MORE (Grist) ]

Raw milk crusader pans Alberta 'crackdown'

Raw milk campaigner Michael Schmidt visited the Alberta legislature Monday to protest what he calls a "violent crackdown" on a cow-share operation in Alberta.

Schmidt, a biodynamic farmer, is leading a movement to legalize unpasteurized milk in Canada.

READ MORE (Calgary Herald) ]

Shame on You – Fraser Health

I am very sorry that I haven’t gotten around to posting this previously. I have been hoping to hear the judge, Justice N. Smith’s decision in favor of our x-agister Alice Jongerdon, but who knows when that is going to happen. In the meantime, I attended the trail of Fraser Health vs Alice Jongerdon on the 14th October, 2010. This was definitely a new experience for me, as I prefer to avoid institutions of every kind, but I will admit this was an important experience for me. The whole atmosphere is geared towards intimidating the guts right out of you! It was also great to see a range of ages represented in the attending members of the cow-share. There were even a few kids! One of the other cowshare members remarked to me that it is probably good experience for the kids, so they will learn not to fear the institutions. My worry would be that they would take them for granted as a necessary part of life–but I digress :)

The case was held in the New Westminister Court building and about 30 or so members of the cowshare attended along with Michael Schmidt our new agister. We had to go through several cases before ours came up. The judge seemed to be a reasonable fellow–so I hope he really is and will have the balls to stand with the people and defend food rights. (See Michael Schmidt’s ‘Edmonton Declaration‘ call to arms to protect local community farms).

READ MORE (Hella Delicious) ]

Farmageddon: The Movie

Farmageddon is a documentary about the escalating fight for food rights in America. Watch the preview!

READ MORE (Vimeo) ]

Food Fight: The Food Safety Modernization Act

Although the Senate failed to pass the Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510) before the election, word is that it will take it back up during the lame-duck session in November. We've invited 10 people from the various sides of this complicated yet crucial debate to discuss whether there is indeed a food-safety crisis, whether S. 510 will make it better, and whether it will throw small producers under the bus in doing so.

We'll be publishing the dialogue in installments, starting later today. If you think we've missing the (oh-so-unsafe sushi) boat on something, please set us straight in the comments section.

READ MORE (Grist) ]

Industry Front Group: Eat Your Fruit and Pesticides

In more counter-intuitive doings by the feds, the USDA just gave industry lobbyists $180,000 to debunk the Environmental Working Group's helpful "Shoppers' Guide to Pesticides" that tells you how to ingest minimal deadly chemicals along with your fruit and vegetables. The so-called Alliance for Food and Farming, made up of corporate agricultural executives, wants to "correct the misconception that some fresh produce items contain excessive amounts of pesticide residues."

READ MORE (Common Dreams) ]

Walmart wants Iowans to farm by its principles

Never mind the government regulators. When it comes to influencing the way farmers grow their crops, the real power someday may be Walmart, the nation's largest food retailer.

Walmart pledges to double sales of locally grown food by 2015 and also is taking steps to ensure that all the food it sells is produced in sustainable ways. Walmart wants to measure and set farm-to-fork standards for the energy and natural resource impacts of food production.

READ MORE (Des Moines Register) ]

Sugar Beets, Monsanto, And The Court Battle Over H7-1; What Next?

Some consumer and environmental groups are mulling their next moves in a contentious tug of war with biotech giant Monsanto, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the future of beet farming.

Last week the USDA signaled its willingness to let farmers continue to plant Monsanto's genetically engineered beets despite a court order that has blocked the controversial practice.


GOP promises could put Farm Bill in danger

Tuesday’s election has farmers across the country nervous, according to Kent Peppler, a fourth-generation farmer near Mead who also is president of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union.

It’s not because the Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives; it’s how they took control and what that might mean for the 2012 Farm Bill, which is being crafted now.

READ MORE (Natural News) ]

Released U Documents Show Officials Went to Great Lengths to Appease Corporate Ag & Cover Up Reasons for Film Censorship

University of Minnesota officials went to great lengths to make certain corporate agriculture interests were not offended by a documentary film on pollution in the Mississippi River basin, even going so far as to consider its release a “crisis” situation and having it reviewed by the vice-chair of the state’s largest agribusiness lobbying firm, according to hundreds of internal documents released this week by the Land Stewardship Project (LSP).

The documents, which mostly consist of e-mails between University officials, were released as a result of a Data Practices Act Request made by LSP. They are available in a searchable format at Several of the documents had information redacted from them before they were released to LSP. The organization has sent a letter to the U of M Office of the General Counsel requesting the redacted information be made public or that U of M officials cite the applicable law or temporary classification that prevents the data from being made public as required by the Minnesota Data Practices Act.

READ MORE (Land Stewardship Project) ]




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