The odds that most of us laypeople will have any opportunity to influence this year's Farm Bill process are looking awfully slim. Sure, there's still a chance the current, nearly opaque supercommittee process, and the piece of it now known as "the Secret Farm Bill," could break down. If that happens, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) said last week:
It could proceed under a more normal legislative process through both the House and Senate committees early next year, or the current farm bill could be extended for a year, with the committees coming back to work on a new farm bill in 2013.
But it's also still very possible that the Farm Bill will be passed -- if not in secret, now that the word is out, then at least through a process that will put a pane of thick, soundproof glass between us and our lawmakers.
A growing body of medical research at leading universities and government laboratories suggests that processed foods and sugary drinks made by the likes of PepsiCo Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) aren’t simply unhealthy. They can hijack the brain in ways that resemble addictions to cocaine, nicotine and other drugs.
“The data is so overwhelming the field has to accept it,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “We are finding tremendous overlap between drugs in the brain and food in the brain.”
Similar stories prompted the National Young Farmers’ Coalition, a new group that has grown out of the Hudson Valley in New York, to survey more than 1,000 young farmers nationwide in an effort to identify the pitfalls that are keeping a new generation of Americans from going into agriculture.
“Everyone wants young farmers to succeed — we all know that,” said Lindsey Lusher Shute, who oversaw the survey. “But no one was addressing this big elephant in the room, which was capital and land access.”
It seems like a simple but critical mantra to follow: always know what you’re eating. Unless, of course, some sneaky biotech company decides that we no longer have the right to know whether or not they slip something potentially dangerous into our food. Seems like quite a trick, doesn’t it? Say hello to genetically engineered sweet corn and Monsanto, the misguided company that wants to sneak their product into stores—and into your dinner—without labeling it.
Seventy-eight percent of U.S. families say they are choosing organic foods, an increase from last year despite hard economic times, a survey indicates.
Christine Bushway, executive director of the Organic Trade Association, found four in 10 families indicate they are buying more organic products than they were a year ago.
Forty-eight percent of parents surveyed said their strongest motivator for buying organic is their belief that organic products "are healthier for me and my children." Other motivators included concern over the effects of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics on children, and a desire to avoid highly processed or artificial ingredients.
Nearly a decade after the federal rules for organic were implemented, 72 percent of parents are now familiar with the USDA Organic seal, up from 65 percent in 2009, the survey indicated.
he State of Ohio today agreed that it will no longer pursue regulations limiting labeling on organic dairy products. Ohio had attempted to prohibit statements on labels which informed consumers that organic dairy products are produced without antibiotics, pesticides or synthetic hormones. After the Organic Trade Association (OTA) sued the State of Ohio, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with consumers’ right to know and gutted the Ohio rule, finding that it was unconstitutional. Ohio has now agreed to abandon the rule rather than trying to revive it, recognizing that the First Amendment allows organic dairy products to proudly state that they are produced in accordance with the organic standards, without the use of synthetic growth hormones, pesticides, or antibiotics.
Agricultural experts warn against genetic engineering
Industrial agriculture will not suffice to provide food for a growing world population, say experts. Instead, sustainable and eco-friendly practices should be promoted. This requires a change of mindset in politics.
One billion people on our planet don't get enough to eat. It's estimated that by the middle of this century, there will be more than nine billion people living on earth. Current agricultural practices are among the biggest threats to the environment.
This means that unless more sustainable approaches are developed, the planet will become even less able to feed its growing population. The equation 'more input equals more output' no longer holds true in agriculture.
Genetically engineered corn, soy and plant oil should be disclosed on mandatory food labels, a coalition of more than 350 producers, trade groups and consumers said in a petition to U.S. regulators.
The U.S. should require added disclosure even when a product containing a gene-altered organism is similar to foods that aren’t bioengineered, the groups said today in the petition to the Food and Drug Administration. Stonyfield Farm, the organic-yogurt maker owned by Danone SA, and Dean Foods Co.’s Horizon Organic are among the coalition members.
Petitioners, led by the Washington-based Center for Food Safety, want to reverse a 1992 Food and Drug Administration policy that doesn’t require different labeling. Gene-altered seeds are used for almost 90 percent of U.S.-grown corn, 94 percent of soy and 90 percent of cottonseed, an oil-producing plant, the coalition said.
An organic farming advocate says the industry is suffering something akin to growing pains in Australia, partly because supermarkets are increasingly stocking the produce.
Dr Andrew Monk, from the Biological Farmers of Australia, says the big supermarket chains have put organic meat, fruit and vegetables within reach of more consumers.
We are in a food emergency. Speculation and diversion of food to biofuel has contributed to an uncontrolled price rise, adding more to the billion already denied their right to food. Industrial agriculture is pushing species to extinction through the use of toxic chemicals that kill our bees and butterflies, our earthworms and soil organisms that create soil fertility. Plant and animal varieties are disappearing as monocultures displace biodiversity. Industrial, globalized agriculture is responsible for 40 percent of greenhouse gases, which then destabilize agriculture by causing climate chaos, creating new threats to food security.