Opinion/Editorial Archive

A Farmer’s Thoughts on 100% Grass Fed Dairying

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

by Jack Lazor
Butterworks Farm in Westfield, Vermont

Source: Butterworks Farm

One hundred per cent grass fed dairy products (aka “grass milk”) has been a relatively recent arrival to the dairy section of most natural foods outlets. The health benefits of 100% grass fed dairy have long been espoused by The Weston A. Price Foundation and others. When cows live on a diet from which grain has been eliminated, the omega 3 fatty acid profile increases in their milk. Grass fed beef has become quite popular because of the presence of conjugated linoleic acids (CLAs) in the meat. Higher CLAs reduce one’s risk of cancer and other diseases. These same nutritional advantages hold true for 100% grass fed milk products.

We here at Butterworks Farm have long been interested in no grain dairy farming. For the past forty years we have been grain growers as well as hay producers. Cereals (oats, wheat and barley) and row crops like corn and soy have fit neatly into our crop rotation with grasses and legumes. The straw byproduct of the grain is just as important to us for bedding our animals as the grain is for feeding them. We grind the grain into a dairy ration and feed our cows grains from our own farm as opposed to buying it from the “mill.” Read Full Article »

Biodiversity, GMOs, Gene Drives and the Militarized Mind

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Common Dreams
by Vandana Shiva

Source: Dee Davee Easyflow

A recent report from the National Academy of Science of The United States, titled “Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values,” warns:

“One possible goal of release of a gene-drive modified organism is to cause the extinction of the target species or a drastic reduction in its abundance.”

Gene Drives have been called “mutagenic chain reactions,” and are to the biological world what chain reactions are to the nuclear world. The Guardian describes Gene Drives as the “gene bomb.”

Kevin Esvelt of MIT exclaims “a release anywhere is likely to be a release everywhere,” and asks “Do you really have the right to run an experiment where if you screw up, it affects the whole world.” The NAS report cites the case of wiping out amaranth as an example of “potential benefit.” Yet, the “magical technology” of Gene Drives remains a Ghost, or the Department of Defense of the United States Government’s secret “weapon” to continue its War on Amaranthus Culturis. Read Full Article »

My Love Affair with Soil

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

by Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm in Westfield, Vermont

Butterworks Farm Cattle on Pasture

We celebrate forty years on our farm this summer. Four decades of Earth stewardship has taught us many lessons—some easy and obvious, others more difficult and involved. Originally, we bought our farm because we wanted to be self-sufficient homesteaders producing everything we needed to sustain ourselves.

We soon found out that we needed some income to provide for the other necessities required by the modern world. This meant off-farm jobs and some kitchen stovetop milk processing of the milk from our two family cows. We began selling a variety of homemade dairy products to our friends and neighbors in 1979. All of a sudden, we were real farmers.

We began cutting hay and growing wheat and barley in 1977. It was also right about this time that I became acquainted with Fred Franklin, a self-proclaimed soils guru and soil fertility expert. Read Full Article »

Agrarian Elders Alarmed by Direction of Organic Agriculture, Share Concerns With the NOSB

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

[This letter was sent to all members of the National Organic Standards Board on April 15, 2016, prior to the recent NOSB meeting. Read more about the Agrarian Elders here.]

Source: Adam McLane

Dear NOSB Members,

As Agrarian Elders we want to tell you how concerned we are about the organic farming movement losing connection with its roots and traditional organic concepts.

  • Production of milk, meat and eggs from giant CAFOs, overtly skirts the spirit and letter of the organic law, betraying consumer trust.
  • The flood of imported organic commodities, including corn and soybeans, is now making up the majority of the market and shutting out U.S. farmers. Can we really trust the organic certification process in China, India or former Soviet bloc states?  US production shortfalls are due to unstable markets and unsustainable pricing: current efforts to recruit more farmers by the OTA is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
  • Allowing hydroponics to be certified as organic is just one area where the USDA has refused to respect the NOSB and its past deliberations, and is defrauding the public. 
  • The current wholesale usurping of the historic NOSB process through shifting the power of board governance from the NOSB to USDA-NOP leadership (Policy & Procedure Manual rewrite).

We are writing, respectfully, to ask you to carefully consider the research that is performed by The Cornucopia Institute, and other nonprofits, respected by the organic farming community, in your deliberations. Read Full Article »

Children Should Have a Safe Environment to Play

Monday, May 9th, 2016

[This piece by Nico D’Orazio, age 10, was originally published in Maryland’s Montgomery Gazette. The paper has since closed, so no link is available. Nico’s parents shared this with us, we found wisdom in Nico’s words and wanted to share them with you.]

Drawing by Nico D’Orazio

by Nick D’Orazio

I watched on CNN “Why Are All The Bees Dying?” and I felt very sad for those bees. Did you know that bees will fly 90,000 miles to collect enough pollen to make 1KG of honey? Why would people use pesticides on dandelions thinking they are weeds? Dandelions actually are bees food and fun to play with it.

The World Health Organization says: “The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization, has assessed the carcinogenicity of five organophosphate pesticides. “

“The herbicide glyphosate and the insecticides malathion and diazinon were classified as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A).” Read Full Article »