Media/News Archive

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 »

What Walmart’s Big Organic Announcement Means for Organic Veterans

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Could the chain’s entrée into private-label organics cheapen the gold standard in food production?

Rodale News
by Emily Main

wild-oats-marketplace-logoWalmart has just announced that it’s going to throw its massive size and influence behind the organic food movement. By relaunching a historic brand, Wild Oats, which used to be Whole Foods’ biggest rival, the chain is pledging to make organic affordable to all and sell the Wild Oats brand of packaged foods at 25 percent less than its organic competitors.

More organic options at a cheaper price is hardly a bad thing, and the organic industry seems to be taking the huge retailer’s announcement with a grain of cautious optimism. But there are also a lot of potential downfalls: Where will a chain of 3,800 stores get enough organic ingredients to satisfy the 91 percent of shoppers who Walmart claims want organic food? Will organic farms have to compromise on their standards to meet the demand? Read Full Article »

Vermont Senate Votes 26-2 for GMO Labeling

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Vermont one step closer to becoming first state to enact such a law

Burlington Free Press
by Terri Hallenbeck

gmo.protest.smMONTPELIER — The Senate gave a decisive 26-2 vote Tuesday for a bill that would require labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients, a strong indication that Vermont could become the first state in the nation to enact such a law.

“We are saying people have a right to know what’s in their food,” said Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell, D-Windsor.

Campbell and other supporters argued that they believe they have written a bill that is legally defensible. They nonetheless created a fund in the legislation to help pay the state’s legal bills, as many assume that food manufacturers will sue. Read Full Article »

Funding Restored for Beginning Farmer Training Programs

Monday, April 14th, 2014

NSAC’s Blog

Contact: Juli Obudzinski, Senior Policy Specialist, 202-547-5754


April 11, 2014, Washington, DC – Today USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of $19 million in funding for beginning farmer training grants through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP).  This highly successful initiative, administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, provides competitively awarded grants to academic institutions, state extension services, producer groups, and community organizations to support and train new producers across the country.

“BFRDP is the only federal program exclusively dedicated to training the next generation of farmers and ranchers,” says Juli Obudzinski, Senior Policy Specialist with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.  “Although the program has only been around for a few years, young farming communities around the country are already seeing real impacts on the ground.” Read Full Article »