Media/News Archive

U.S. Will Start Importing Fresh Apples From China

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Rodale News
by Leah Zerbe

Source: Eakav

Some food-safety groups warn of potential toxic contamination.

The U.S. Department of Agricluture (USDA) has given the green light for the U.S. to import fresh apples from China, a move that has triggered worry among some food-safety watchdog groups.

“[The USDA’s] approval of imported fresh apples from China could threaten American consumers and apple growers. Thanks to China’s widespread pollution and food-safety problems, we could see apples with dangerous chemical residues imported into the United States,” says Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “A 2014 survey by the Chinese government found that one-fifth of the country’s farmland was polluted with inorganic chemicals and heavy metals including arsenic, cadmium, and nickel.” (Health concerns around these pollutants is huge. The heavy metal cadmium, for instance, is linked to breast cancer and has been shown to trigger accelerated aging.) Read Full Article »

Got Organic?

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Slate
by Leah Douglas

Is a national fund to promote organic produce a good idea? Organic farmers don’t think so.

Source: TaxRebate.org.UK

“Got Milk?” “Pork: The Other White Meat.” “The Incredible Edible Egg.” “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner.”

For years, these familiar slogans have highlighted the importance of American kitchen staples. What better represents the American way of eating than a glass of milk with your cookies or a hamburger on the grill? On billboards and television, these ubiquitous marketing campaigns have long shaped public perception of which foods constitute a wholesome diet. But consumers are often unaware of who, exactly, writes, produces, and pays for these ads.

Such marketing campaigns are funded by what is known in the food business as “checkoff” programs. These are in essence taxes that farmers pay to a national fund, the revenue from which is used to promote the consumption of commodities like pork, beef, eggs, and milk. The current beef checkoff, for instance, requires ranchers to pay $1 per head of cattle into the national fund. Checkoff programs’ activities can take the form of generic advertising campaigns, or they can look more like political lobbying.

Soon, this tax may extend to the organic industry. The Organic Trade Association, the largest trade group for organic agriculture, petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday to begin the process of establishing an organic checkoff. Read Full Article »

The Beauty of Compost

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Rodale News
by Matthew Benson

Source: Joy Ito

Healthy dirt forms the building blocks of a beautiful garden.

The garden soil you begin with will most likely need to be amended before you plant out your precious seedlings. Even if your future garden site supports a lawn, it may not have the nutritional strength necessary for fruiting plants and hungry vegetable crops. If you’ve had your soil tested, you know what to add and—hopefully—when to add it for the best results. But if you’re flying without a net, as gardeners often do, you really can’t go wrong by applying compost.

Incorporating ½ to 1 inch of compost into the soil each growing season is a reasonably sound soil-care program that will add modest amounts of nutrients along with organic matter to support both good drainage and moisture retention. Read Full Article »

Meet Will Allen, The Urban Farmer Starting His Own Revolution

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Huffington Post

 

When you think of farming towns, Milwaukee-proper might not be the first to come to mind. The large Wisconsin city is perhaps better known for its famed breweries and picturesque location along Lake Michigan, but one resident there has been on a mission to make farming more accessible even within the city limits.

Will Allen is a former professional athlete who played basketball throughout college at the University of Miami and post-college in Belgium. Though he has also held jobs in corporate America, Allen has spent the last 21 years in a completely different profession: urban farmer.

As the founder of Growing Power, Allen oversees his urban farms and teaches people in urban Milwaukee how to grow not just food, but good food. Read Full Article »

NFU Voices Concerns with Petition for Organic Checkoff

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

National Farmers Union
Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
ajerome@nfudc.org

NFUlogoWASHINGTON (May 13, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson today voiced concerns over a recent petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to begin the process of setting up a checkoff program for the organic industry under the 1996 Generic Act, citing issues with the proposed amount of money appropriated to agricultural research, composition of the board, and administrative cap.

“The 1996 Generic Act was created to benefit small producers who lack the resources to market their products individually,” said Johnson. “NFU believes the petition does not adequately represent producers on the board, does not appropriate enough money to agricultural research, and provides for too high of an administrative cap.”

Johnson pointed out that the proposed composition of the organic checkoff board allows for a processor majority, a disproportionate representation of the organic industry. Read Full Article »