Archive for the ‘Reading Room’ Category
January 18th, 2013 by Kathie
The Organic Consumers Association is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The following story was taken from their newsletter:
Activists in Washington State expect that next week, the Secretary of State will certify the signatures required to put I-522, a citizens’ initiative to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs), on the ballot. Assuming history repeats itself, the most aggressive – and devious – opponent of I-522 will be Monsanto. Monsanto alone contributed $8.2 million of the $46 million used to defeat Prop 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. And it looks as though the World’s Most Hated Corporation is already at work to defeat I-522.
This past week, social media sites were buzzing with an infographic titled, “Actions Speak Louder than Words: The Truth about Biotechnology.” The truth about the infographic? It comes from the Find Our Common Ground website, which claims to be the work of a group of volunteer farm women. Except that it’s not. The website’s domain name is owned by Osborn Barr, a public relations firm that works for Monsanto. In fact, Monsanto was its founding client. Most people wouldn’t know that. And many people, who may be hearing about GMOs for the first time, also wouldn’t know that the infographic promotes blatant lies about the safety of, and science behind, genetically engineered foods.
We will see more and more of this phony propaganda circulating in the media and on social media sites, as Monsanto tries to scare voters in Washington State out of voting for a simple label on their food. The same label consumers in 61 other countries already have. Monsanto will stop at nothing, including hiding behind a phony group of “volunteer farm women,” to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food.
That’s why we have to act now. We have to get the truth out to Washington voters today. Next October will be too late.
Go here to see the infographic in question. Go here to see the website for the “volunteer farm women” web site. What is interesting about this site is that, if you check out the News/In the News page, you won’t see any real news articles, just a couple of videos and some other text. You might also note the none of these women farmers give the names of their farms, which seems highly unusual. There is just no real way to tell who these women are. Kudos to the Organic Consumers Association for bringing this to light.
If you are thankful that the Organic Consumers Association is keeping an eye on Monsanto and will be a key informant for the truth about I-522, consider showing your appreciation with a donation.
November 1st, 2012 by Kathie
Beth Terry didn’t just give up plastic bags. She has attempted to give up all plastic. For the past five years, since 2007, Terry has strived to bring absolutely no new plastic into her life. She comes to Port Townsend at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18 to speak of her experience at the Cotton Building at 607 Water St. The event is free.
“Bringing Beth Terry to town seems like a natural thing to do considering that the city’s plastic bag ban went into effect this month,” said Kathie Meyer, outreach coordinator for the Port Townsend Food Co-op. “And she has graciously waived her speaking fee to come here.”
It was one day, while laid up from surgery, that Terry became personally affected by a photo of a baby albatross carcass, dead from being fed plastic bits by its mother. It was then she decided, if something were to be done about the effects of plastic on the global environment, she had to start with herself.
Since her “plastic awakening,” Terry went from personally generating almost four pounds of plastic waste per month (yes, she weighed it) to a little over two pounds per year. The average American, she says, generates between 88 and 120 pounds per year.
To keep herself on track, Terry started a blog (www.myplasticfreelife.com) which grew into a book titled Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too. Her book combines useful information about plastic-free alternatives with personal stories and the occasional rant.
“I didn’t write this book to tell anyone what to do, but as an invitation to join me in this journey of personal and ecological discovery. Sure, in all honesty I do want to inspire you and your friends and family to use less plastic. But more than that, to learn what it is about plastic that makes it the symbol of what Captain Charles Moore (discoverer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch) calls the ‘crisis of our civilization,’ and figure out ways to get out from under the thumb of plastic addiction,” Terry writes in her book’s introduction.
Terry walks her talk in every area of her life. She made sure that her book was as plastic-free as possible too. “Most books are full of plastic,” she writes. “So we’ve stripped things down. The jacket is uncoated, the thread is made of cotton, and the boards and spine are exposed. Our printer even managed to find a plastic-free glue to use. With all that in mind, we assure you that if the book’s not 100% free of plastic, it’s as close as can be!”
Beth Terry’s book is for sale and signing at her presentation. Her appearance is presented with the cooperation and sponsorship of the City of Port Townsend, Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Program, Old Consulate Inn, Port Townsend Food Co-op, Port Townsend Public Library, and Jude Rubin, aka the “Plastic Bag Monster.”
For more information, call 385-2831, ext. 309.
August 8th, 2012 by foodcoop
To read the full report, click here.
August 5th, 2012 by foodcoop
You asked for it, and we’ve done it. Using the Non-GMO Project’s verification certification list of products, we’ve labeled our shelves with signage that shows you which products are certified by the Non-GMO Project. Learn how to avoid genetically modified foods by looking for this certification seal on our shelves, and on various product labels. We also have shopping guides available in the store to help you avoid GMO products. You can also read GMO Myth’s and Truths on the Non-GMO Project website.
May 2nd, 2012 by foodcoop
There have been lots of emails about the Federal Farm Bill this week and a draft bill came out of the Senate Ag Committee today. Below is news from the National Sustainable Ag Coalition of which we are a member and rely on for guidance on federal legislation. Some improvements, some disappointments….
It is very frustrating that we do not have any Federal Senators or Representatives on the Ag Committees to try to influence the bill at the committee level but WSFFN has been participating via sign on letters, and general outreach to Senator Cantwell and Murray. Rep Larsen used to be on the House Ag Committee several years ago but at this point we have no one to rep WA ag at the committee level.
The Senate Agriculture Committee voted a new farm bill out of committee today by a vote of 16-5. The committee bill saves $23 billion over the next ten years according to budget estimates. The committee bill includes historic reforms to commodity subsidies. In addition to replacing automatic direct payments with a shallow loss revenue-based payment, the bill limits payments to not more than one farm manager per farm operation. Under current law, mega farms collect multiple payments worth millions of dollars through passive investors and landowners who are counted as farm managers.
“We applaud the Senate Agriculture Committee for including common sense rules to commodity payments and ending years of abuse by closing program loopholes,” said Ferd Hoefner, Policy Director for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. “Thanks to Senator Grassley’s (RIA) tireless leadership, the Committee was able to make sure that hardworking farmers – not mega farms and absentee investors – are the key beneficiaries of farm programs.” The Committee also enacted a nationwide “Sodsaver” provision to protect native grass and prairie lands. The provision reduces crop insurance premium subsidies and tightens program rules in a manner that will reduce the taxpayer-funded incentive to destroy important grassland resources. “By agreeing to a nationwide ‘Sodsaver’ provision championed by Senators Thune (R-SD), Brown (D-OH), and Johanns (R-NE), the Senate Agriculture Committee made sure that taxpayer dollars are not subsidizing the destruction of native grass and prairie lands,” said Hoefner. “These lands are diminishing at a rapid rate and protecting them provides ranching opportunities and economic, environmental, and recreational benefits to rural communities.” While the Committee made progress on these commodity and crop insurance issues, there are several outstanding gaps in the proposed changes to the farm safety net. “By failing to place limitations on crop insurance subsidies and to re-attach soil erosion and wetland conservation requirements to crop insurance programs, the Committee has failed to do the full reform that is needed. We intend to continue to press these issues as the bill moves forward,” continued Hoefner.
The Committee also made progress on critical programs that underpin economic growth. “The leadership of Chairwoman Stabenow (D-MI) and Senators Brown (D-OH), Leahy (D-VT), Harkin (D-IA), and Casey (D-PA) ensured that programs that spur economic growth in rural communities built on gains from the 2008 Farm Bill,” noted Hoefner. “The Committee reauthorized critical local food and organic programs, such as the Farmers’ Market and Local Food Promotion Program, and National Organic Certification Cost Share.”
Despite progress, there were glaring shortfalls and omissions in the Committee’s draft. “Sens. Harkin (D-IA), Johanns (R-NE), Casey (D-PA), and Nelson (D-NE) championed various beginning farmer provisions, but the bill lacks a cohesive strategy to assist the next generation of American farmers,” said Hoefner. “Most noticeably, the Committee failed to provide adequate funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, thus limiting critical resources that new farmers need to succeed.” The Committee did not fund the rural development title or key programs targeted at socially disadvantaged producers, nor did it make needed improvements in farm to school programs. “We regret the Committee’s decision to drop current farm bill funding for minority farmers in the new bill, and will work to see that funding restored,” said Hoefner. “We also echo Sen. Brown’s (D-OH) concluding statements: without a strong investment in rural development programs we will miss the opportunity to truly make this bill a jobs bill,” said Hoefner.
“Overall, the bill released out of Committee is an improvement over last year’s draft bill,” said Hoefner, “but there is a still a ways to go to produce a bill that expands opportunities for family farmers to produce good food, sustain the environment, and contribute to vibrant communities. We look forward to working with the Committee and the full Senate to ensure further progress toward that end.”