NOFA and NAFTA and Dicamba, oh my!

So it’s been a while. Not that we are that busy in the office right now, what with Congress being out of town and all…. but we do manage to find things to do: 

I have been on the road a fair amount lately. To the NFFC summer meeting in Gloucester (see photo below) and then to NOFA Summer Conference to meet with the US Food Sovereignty Alliance northeast regional group and participate on a panel about food sovereignty in action. So here are some stories and some links about that and some other things on which we have been working.

One of the main concerns at NOFA were the increasing threats to organic standards. From some in Congress who would like to see the NOSB “reformed” or scrapped to this who think that hydroponics should be allowed to be certified as organic. A ridiculous notion that demonstrates that there are some in Congress who completely lack an understanding of true organics. There is a whole movement “Keep the Soil in Organics” to push back against this non-sustainable form of growing veggies. 

The sad news from NOFA is that I have to give up eating Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. At least for the time being. They have refuse to sign onto the pledge to protect their migrant dairy workers and so no more Chunky Monkey for me until they sign on. Boo-hoo. 
And, of course, there was the ongoing lament about there not being enough young people going into farming. Although I have to say the crowd was not all white hairs, which was encouraging, there were a bunch of young farmer activists at the conference. We realize that in Maine we are fortunate. Our average of farmers is actually dropping. Thanks to support for organic and small scale agriculture in our state. Here’s an interesting article about what California is doing to make their numbers better. 

On the NAFTA front there is lots of movement. Our press release (see my last post) garnered a fair amount of media attention. My friend and office mate Karen Hansen-Kuhn from IATP was interviewed on NPR’s The Takeaway. We also were quite happy to read the speech by the Canadian trade negotiator. It gave us hope that there will be at least on reasonable person at the table although I do take exception to her calling local government procurement laws “junk food politics.” Buying local is exactly the opposite of junk food. Anyhow read her speech here, it may let you sleep better at night. 

Another issue that we have been working on here is the whole Dicamba herbicide drift mess. Read about it here. And here.

And Monsanto has been putting out fake news. What a surprise. 

Here is an interesting take on the new farm bill. Or you can go read a white-paper written by one of my new congressional heroes Earl Blumenauer from Oregon. It starts out with this premise: “Not only is the Farm Bill costly and expensive, its resources are misdirected. The legislation gives too much to the wrong people to grow the wrong food in the wrong places.” Can you tell why I like this guy already?

And here is an interesting article about how all these new ways of eating (vegan, raw, paleo, etc. etc.) may just be eating disorders in disguise. 

And finally for this week here’s an article about a new 501 C (4) dedicated to helping rural candidates get elected. I think they really mean rural Democrats but I’ll wait and see. On a side note, when the researcher from The Nation called the office for quotes and pictures and she said the article was about helping the DNC win the rural vote…..well let’s just say it was my best laugh of the week. 

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