Media/News Archive

New Prague Farmers to Face Off with Power Line Builders in Court

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

This trial will determine the fate of the organic dairy operation.

Star Tribune
by David Peterson

For decades, County Road 2 has represented a tranquil rural existence on the edge of the metro area to Dave and Florence Minar.

Not anymore.

Today, a row of steel towers 15 stories tall marches down that road and across the land near New Prague that has been in Dave’s family since 1926, casting a shadow the Minars contend clouds the future of one of the state’s leading organic dairy farms.

The 450-acre Cedar Summit Farm has been organic since 1974, and in addition to the herd of about 130 cows, includes a retail store and a commercial dairy that ships nostalgic cream-on-top milk bottles all across the Midwest.

In Scott County District Court this week, the Minars, who are both in their 70s, will describe their fears that the high-voltage power lines could cause health problems for their cows and scare customers away from visiting the bucolic and pastoral patch of the county. Read Full Article »

How New Legislation in Boston Gave Fresh Life to Urban Farms

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Modern Farmer
by Heather Hansman

Locally grown will soon take on new meaning in Boston, especially in predominantly low-income neighborhoods like Roxbury and Dorchester. As in, grown on your very block. This spring, the city is starting the most comprehensive transactional urban agriculture system in the country.

Boston_skyline_at_earlymorningby Y.Sawa
In December, as one of his last tasks in office, former mayor Thomas M. Menino signed Article 89 into law. The new ordinance means farmers will be able to grow – and, importantly, sell for profit — within the city limits. Read Full Article »

Syngenta’s Next Target: Jackson County, Oregon

Monday, April 21st, 2014

PAN North America
by Paul Towers

stop-poison-childLast week, Swiss-based pesticide corporation Syngenta dumped tens of thousands of dollars into a county election in Southern Oregon. Sound familiar? It should. Still reeling from their recent defeat in Kaua’i, Syngenta and the rest of the “Big 6″ don’t want to lose any more fights around pesticides and GMOs.

But Oregononians are holding their ground. Led by a group of farmers dubbed Our Family Farms Coalition, these residents put an initiative on the ballot that would restrict the planting of genetically engineered crops. The vote will be on May 20.

While Syngenta may try to paint them as “out of touch,” this organized group of family farmers notes that the law would provide protections for them and other farmers. The initiative would ensure farmers in Oregon aren’t exposed to increased pesticides use; don’t lose business — including potential losses of market exports — from contamination of their crops; and aren’t vulnerable to frivolous lawsuits brought by the likes of Syngenta and Monsanto for so-called “patent infringement.” Read Full Article »

Plant Breeders Release First ‘Open Source Seeds’

Friday, April 18th, 2014

The Salt – NPR
by Dan Charles

1000x300xossi_header.png.pagespeed.ic.nA5aiDXWtlA group of scientists and food activists is launching a campaign Thursday to change the rules that govern seeds. They’re releasing 29 new varieties of crops under a new “open source pledge” that’s intended to safeguard the ability of farmers, gardeners and plant breeders to share those seeds freely.

It’s inspired by the example of open source software, which is freely available for anyone to use but cannot legally be converted into anyone’s proprietary product. Read Full Article »

Scientists Frustrated by Factory Farms: Scientific Evidence of their Non-Sustainability Mounts

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

by Jim Lundstrom

A factory dairy near Phoenix, AZ

Professor Robert Lawrence is in a select company of researchers.

“I think the only other group of scientists who probably are more frustrated than we are are the climate scientists,” Lawrence said in a recent telephone call.

Lawrence is director of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future in Baltimore, Md., where he also holds the title of the Center for a Livable Future Professor in Environmental Health Sciences Professor, Departments of Environmental Health Sciences, Health Policy and Management, and International Health Director. The Center’s mission is to engage “in research, policy analysis, education, advocacy and other activities guided by an ecologic perspective that diet, food production, the environment, and public health are interwoven elements of a single complex system.” Read Full Article »