A salad of stories about organic agriculture:
2012 Farm Bill. Congress has until the end of this month before the old farm bill expires and we are left with no support for the people who produce all the food we eat. We need to get this new five-year bill through the House and into conference committee and passed by September 30th. Not a lot of time in any year but especially during an election cycle when, face it, Congress may not be working quite as hard as usual. Go to FarmBillNow for a complete run down of what is in the bill and what you can do to help get it passed. For a more regional view of what this all means go to the New England Farmers Union site.
OSGATA. Holli Cederholm the new General Manager of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA), yes the folks that brought you the suit against Monsanto, wrote a great article for the Belfast Co-op News about what OSGATA is up to in it’s spare time (i.e. when not suing Monsanto). I can’t link you straight to the article cause the Co-op’s website still has the summer issue online but keep checking back the article, it’s worth the effort. No new news about the appeal that is pending in the OSGATA et al vs. Monsanto case.
Stanford Organic Study. I saved the best/worst for last because I want to go off on a little rant about this piece of spurious research. When I was practicing in the medical field we were taught that our practice should always be evidence-based. As a part of this we read any new research with a critical eye to its methodology and analysis of results. Well, this study out of Stanford just does not pass muster on either of those counts. See this Huffington Post article for the best analysis of the situation I have seen. This study just does not pass the straight face test when parts of its results are based on a misspelled word. But when your funder is Cargill you write what they want you to write. This incident says a lot about the culture now present in academia of publishing to please the funder. It happens in every discipline. Medical academics are bought off by the drug and medical equipment companies. Agricultural academics are bought off by the likes of Cargill and Monsanto. In this case it seems to be a mash-up of the two disciplines since it was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Not a good trend. And one we should all be very aware of when we read sensational headlines like the ones this junk science piece elicited.