Cornucopia Institute http://www.cornucopia.org Economic Justice for Family Scale Farming Fri, 19 Dec 2014 23:34:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Study Finds Higher Rates of Diabetes in Women Who Work With Certain Pesticideshttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/study-finds-higher-rates-diabetes-women-work-certain-pesticides/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/study-finds-higher-rates-diabetes-women-work-certain-pesticides/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 20:58:59 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=14798 by Rebecca Thistlethwaite Source: Jill Brown A recent article in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine (Starling AP, et al. Occup Environ Med 2014; O:1-7) discusses the elevated diabetes risk for wives of farmers and pesticide applicators in both Iowa and North Carolina. The study found an increased risk of diabetes for women who used five distinct classes of pesticides. Similar risks were found among men who mixed pesticides- this study looked specifically at women

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by Rebecca Thistlethwaite

Source: Jill Brown

A recent article in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine (Starling AP, et al. Occup Environ Med 2014; O:1-7) discusses the elevated diabetes risk for wives of farmers and pesticide applicators in both Iowa and North Carolina. The study found an increased risk of diabetes for women who used five distinct classes of pesticides. Similar risks were found among men who mixed pesticides- this study looked specifically at women who had ever mixed or applied pesticides themselves.

Not only do men and women have different pesticide exposure rates depending on how involved they are in the mixing and application of pesticides, their individual bodies are also thought to metabolize, or process, pesticides in different ways. This particular research sought to better understand how pesticide exposure affects women, with an emphasis on diabetes risk.

Data was drawn from a very large study population of 32,126 female spouses who enrolled in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) between the years of 1993-1997. Of those, a smaller number had ever mixed or applied pesticides. Women who already had diabetes at the time of the study were also excluded.

In a follow-up phone call 5 and 10 years later, data was recorded on a multitude of health conditions, including adult-onset diabetes. Of the final sample size of 13,637 who responded to the first follow up phone call, 688 women self-reported that they had been diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes, which represents 5% of that sample group. This is comparable to the national incidence of diabetes among women during the study period, according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) research. It is now estimated that 8.3% of the US population (male & female) have diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes.

However, despite being similar to the national rate, the women in this study who were diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes had been around certain types of pesticides more than women in the study who did not develop diabetes.

In addition to pesticide use, many correlating factors were associated with the diabetes diagnosis, including: older age, a higher body mass index (BMI), and were more likely to be from North Carolina than from Iowa (maybe it’s all that high calorie BBQ?). They were also more likely to have a high school education or less (rather than having a higher level of education), be postmenopausal at enrollment, and have a family history of diabetes.

Body Mass Index is an interesting factor – it used to be commonly believed that obesity leads to diabetes. There is now new evidence that obesity can be caused or intensified by exposure to environmental toxins such as pesticides (referred to as obesogens) which then can lead to diabetes.

The pesticides that had a statistically significant relationship with adult-onset diabetes in women pesticide users include:

  • Dieldrin (organochlorine insecticide banned in US in 1985)
  • Fonofos (organophosphate insecticide banned in US in 1999)
  • Phorate (organophosphate insecticide still allowed to limited extent, pending EPA review)
  • Parathion (organophosphate insecticide, phased out in early 2000s)
  • 2,4,5-T/2,4,5-TP (chlorophenoxy herbicide both banned since 1985)

So even though many of these pesticides have been banned for many years (10-29 years ago), the women in this study used them at some point in their lives and are seeing deleterious health impacts many years later.

That is one reason why long-term studies must be conducted on the health impacts of pesticides. Better yet is to use the precautionary principle in which we don’t permit a pesticide to be used until it can be proven that it is definitively safe to humans, wildlife, and soil health.

Next time you buy organic, remember that you are not only reducing your own personal exposure to pesticide residues, but also the exposure to toxins for the farmer’s family, farmworkers, and the surrounding communities who live around agricultural fields.

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Maine Local Food Movement Inspires Credit Union Focused on Small Farmshttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/maine-local-food-movement-inspires-credit-union-focused-small-farms/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/maine-local-food-movement-inspires-credit-union-focused-small-farms/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 14:42:42 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=14784 Bangor Daily News by Darren Fishell Source: Jeremy van Bedijk WHITEFIELD, Maine — The 100-acre organic farm that Rufus Percy and his wife started working a decade ago is mix of leased land, family land and mortgaged land. Finding used farm equipment took them as far as Ohio. The barn where they raise about 100 hogs a year was built with the help of a grant from the Farms for Maine’s Future program and a

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Bangor Daily News
by Darren Fishell

Source: Jeremy van Bedijk

WHITEFIELD, Maine — The 100-acre organic farm that Rufus Percy and his wife started working a decade ago is mix of leased land, family land and mortgaged land.

Finding used farm equipment took them as far as Ohio. The barn where they raise about 100 hogs a year was built with the help of a grant from the Farms for Maine’s Future program and a federal grant.

“Most people aren’t that lucky though, as far as getting started,” said Percy, 35.

He’s one of the young farmers leading a resurgence in the industry that aims to re-establish more local food systems in the state, where Maine is leading the way. But before that really takes off, he said, the state needs to put its money where its mouth is. More specifically, more accessible funding needs to be available to the folks who grow food that Mainers put in their mouths.

“If we want to encourage a lot of young people to get into farming — be it small medium or large — we have to figure out how to make it not only attractive but possible,” Percy said. “If only Trustafarians can farm, then we’re all going to go hungry.”

A trustafarian is “a rich young person who adopts a bohemian lifestyle and lives in a nonaffluent area,” according to oxforddictionaries.com.

Percy’s one of the young farmers Sam May and Scott Budde want to support. The two men are leading an effort to launch the first new credit union in Maine in 25 years, focused on helping small farms acquire land, equipment and lines of credit.

Maine, where young farmers are on the rise and agricultural sales grew by about 24 percent from 2007 to 2012, is the place to give it a go.

“Here’s a sector that’s growing, and in some places very rapidly. Everybody likes it, it’s got broad support and there are financing gaps that people are talking about, so why wouldn’t you have this?” Budde said.

It’s the question that started his research about two years ago into financing that could support New England’s small farms. Last year, that converged with May’s investigation of the same concept in Maine.

They settled on the nonprofit credit union model — led by a board of directors and voting members rather than shareholders — and recently settled on the name Maine Harvest Credit Union (in organization), awebsite and a logo. In January, they will start seeking about $1.4 million in grants.

Budde had started his research while managing social impact pension funds for the New York-based TIAA-CREF, which now manages about $800 billion, primarily for academic institutions and hospitals. He and his wife — who met at Bowdoin College — moved to Maine about a year ago.

May, a Rockport native, previously worked at US Bancorp Piper Jaffray as a managing director and research analyst. He now serves on the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association board of directors and the steering committee of the local food investment group, Slow Money Maine.

Those backgrounds informed the more than two years of research they’ve put behind a credit union providing what they said small farms in the state need: mortgages between $100,000 and $500,000, equipment loans between $5,000 and $50,000, and seasonal loans between the same amounts.

Their goal, May said, is to be part of the “relocalization” of Maine’s agricultural system with a focus on economics and health.

“We have a serious health problem that results from the over-industrialization of our food system,” May said. “The relocalization of our food system has a lot of benefits that are easy for people to intuit.”

Budde and May expect getting a state charter (to get rid of that “in organization” from their name) will take about two years.

Within five years after that, they expect such a credit union could be sustainable, reaching about $10 million to $15 million in deposits by year eight. It would serve members of MOFGA and the Maine Farmland Trust, groups they estimate have a combined 1,000 agricultural producer members and 10,000 potential depositors.

Across 693 of those small farm and business members, they estimate a loan demand of $185.4 million, about $90 million of that in land-related financing needs.

Reinvigorating rural economies

John Piotti, head of the Maine Farmland Trust, said affordability and financing are the biggest barriers to farmland access. And farms, in turn, are linchpins of the state’s rural economies.

“It’s the only realistic economic engine for large swaths of rural Maine,” Piotti said. “You can’t have sustainable rural economies without sustainable agriculture.”

Piotti, who previously managed agricultural lending programs for Coastal Enterprises Inc., estimates that of Maine’s 1.4 million farmland acres, about 700,000 acres are cultivated. He estimates about 400,000 of those acres belong to older farmers and will change hands in the next decade.

“I think that additional models of financing is really the right thing at the right time,” Piotti said. “There wasn’t a huge demand for loans about 20 years ago … and there weren’t new farmers trying to enter the profession.”

The number of Maine farmers age 34 and younger grew by about 40 percent from 2007 to 2012, from 396 to 551. Nationally, the number of farmers in that age group increased about 1.5 percent.

Jessie Dowling, who started Fuzzy Udder Creamery in Whitefield in 2011, is one of those farmers. She participated in Maine Harvest’s feasibility study.

Her Farm Service Agency mortgage requires her to produce at least 50 percent of her dairy products on-site, when she’d prefer to make closer to 30 percent, buying the rest from local dairy producers and focusing most of her attention on cheesemaking.

“Value-added is where the markets in Maine need to move so that we have room for growth,” Dowling said. “If I can take a gallon of milk and get $20 worth of cheese, then that’s a part of the economy that needs to be supported by [Maine Harvest].”

Among the small farms Maine Harvest surveyed, FSA mortgages were not common and bank or credit union mortgages even less so. About three of the farms had mortgage arrangements similar to Dowling’s and seven of the group had used FSA for any borrowing. Two of the entities took out mortgages through banks or credit unions.

Dowling said her farm and others are changing the business model ahead of changes in the financial system to better support it.

“In a lot of ways, we’re reinventing marketing structures and we’re really reinventing the wheel from what the industrial [farming] system developed,” Dowling said.

Farm-specific funding formula

Of the 36 farms they surveyed, with an average of $155,000 in annual revenue, May and Budde found 61 percent of revenue came from sales directly to consumers, through farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) programs and other methods.

That can complicate the calculation for traditional lenders.

“Traditional business lenders don’t necessarily understand some farm operations, particularly those that are highly diversified and selling to direct markets,” Piotti said.

But with expertise in that particular segment of the agriculture market, Budde said there’s opportunity.

“This is a risky sector to lend in and we recognize that, but we think there are parts of the market where there is rational lending to be done,” Budde said.

In particular areas of the state, a density of farms has prompted lenders to develop that expertise, according to John Murphy, head of the Maine Credit Union League, but he said his group is “very impressed” with Maine Harvest’s research to date.

“If your sole focus is on a specific group, then you can provide programs that have the most value to their potential members,” Murphy said.

May and Budde said they’re not hoping to duplicate credit union services, but offer another way for people to support local agriculture. And in that there’s potential upside for other credit unions in the state as well.

“They’ll have more faith in participating in a transaction to the extent that we’re involved and can show leadership and knowledge about the risk parameters of that information,” May said.

In turn, Maine Harvest would use the shared statewide credit union network to serve as its branches, benefiting also from a shared information technology system that would allow them to offer online banking.

In credit union-heavy Maine, that network consists about 61 branches and has grown in recent years to about 650,000 members, as of June, out of the state’s population of about 1.3 million.

That would allow them to operate out of one main office staffed by Budde as CEO, with a chief lending officer and an operations manager. May would be chairman of the credit union’s board of directors, which they expect to be the same as its advisory board, with representatives from other credit unions, farmers and finance professionals.

“We’re going to own the knowledge base on what’s going on out there with the relocalization of the new food economy,” May said. “If it [continues to scale up], you need financing options and that’s what we hope to supply.”

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California Will Need 11 Trillion Gallons of Water to End Epic Drought, NASA Sayshttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/california-will-need-11-trillion-gallons-water-end-epic-drought-nasa-says/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/california-will-need-11-trillion-gallons-water-end-epic-drought-nasa-says/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 20:43:12 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=14781 Mashable by Andrew Freedman Source: NRCS Forget about the possibility that a single “atmospheric river” storm could end California’s worst drought in at least 1,200 years, NASA researchers said Tuesday. Instead, it will take 11 trillion gallons of water, which is one and a half times the capacity of Lake Mead, Nevada, the country’s largest reservoir, to climb out of the water deficit the Golden State is in, new data shows. The NASA analysis comes from

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Mashable
by Andrew Freedman

Source: NRCS

Forget about the possibility that a single “atmospheric river” storm could end California’s worst drought in at least 1,200 years, NASA researchers said Tuesday.

Instead, it will take 11 trillion gallons of water, which is one and a half times the capacity of Lake Mead, Nevada, the country’s largest reservoir, to climb out of the water deficit the Golden State is in, new data shows.

The NASA analysis comes from satellite and aircraft-based measurements of groundwater and mountain snowpack in California, and was released at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco on Tuesday morning. The data also comes a week after a severe storm hit California, dumping more than nine inches of rain in some places, and just before another storm hits central and northern California.

“It takes years to get into a drought of this severity, and it will likely take many more big storms, and years, to crawl out of it,” said NASA’s Jay Famiglietti in a NASA press release.

NASA claims the calculation of the volume of water required to end a drought is unprecedented, and was made possible by a set of satellites collectively known as the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE. Other data came from airborne measurements of mountain snowpack using NASA’s Airborne Snow Observatory (ASO).

Previously, the same research team from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, showed that water storage in the state’s Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins was 11 trillion gallons below typical seasonal levels, a figure that has steadily grown larger since GRACE satellites launched in 2002. These river basins lost a volume of about four trillion gallons of water each year since 2011, the data shows, with the vast majority of this lost in California’s Central Valley.

To put this annual amount into perspective, it is more water than California’s 38 million residents use for domestic and municipal uses, NASA said.

Speaking at a press conference, Famiglietti said the Central Valley of California — one of the most agriculturally productive areas in the U.S. — has lost a Lake Mead’s worth of water since 2011. (Lake Mead itself has reached record lows in recent years.) The Sacramento River and San Joaquin River basins, Famiglietti says, have lost one and a half times Lake Mead’s capacity of 36 million acre-feet, or about 12 trillion gallons, in just the past three years.

He says the recent rainstorms improve conditions on the surface, where soil moisture is improving, but groundwater in aquifers beneath the Central Valley will take far longer to refill. “The groundwater takes much longer to respond,” Famiglietti said. He compared the long-term decline in the Central Valley’s groundwater to a tennis ball bouncing down a flight of stairs — there are temporary bounces when rain is plentiful, but high water demand is ensuring that the overall direction is downward.

The results show that the 2014 snowpack in the state’s Sierra Nevada mountain range was the lowest on record, beating out the previous record-holder of 1977, when the state had half the population than it does now. The ASO data show that previous data based solely on ground observations had miscalculated the snowpack and the water running off of the snow pack when it melts, and the new numbers are half of the previous estimates.

According to NASA’s Tom Painter, the low snow extent contributed to the unusual warmth in California during 2014, as the year is likely to be the state’s warmest since records began in 1880.

Painter said scientists used two main instruments mounted to a De Havilland Twin Otter aircraft to measure how much water is in the snowpack and how much light the snow absorbs, both of which influence how much water will flow out of a basin when the snow melts and into area reservoirs and rivers. One of the instruments is known as a LIDAR, which is mounted on the belly of an aircraft. This acts as a “high-frequency laser pointer,” Painter said. The other instrument is an imaging spectrometer, which detects reflected light from the snow.

The GRACE satellites help measure Earth’s changing shape, surface height and gravity field, and allow scientists to measure groundwater based on very subtle shifts in the planet’s gravitational field.

New drought data shows the groundwater levels in the Southwest U.S. are in the bottom 10% since such records began in 1949, reflecting increased drawdowns of these resources by farmers and other water users, as well as the influence of droughts.

The GRACE satellite mission is already operating beyond its designed lifespan, with a new satellite system planned for launch in 2017. Famiglietti and his colleagues at NASA are hoping the current satellites manage to eek out another few years without disrupting the data.

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Ricardo Salvador: Build a New Food Systemhttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/ricardo-salvador-build-new-food-system/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/ricardo-salvador-build-new-food-system/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:25:14 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=14773 Johns Hopkins by Christine Grillo The Center for a Livable Future and the Department of Environmental Health Sciences Grand Rounds bring you the 15th Annual Edward & Nancy Dodge Lecture Please click here for Ricardo Salvador’s biography. Creating a genuine food movement that galvanizes the nation is an audacious goal, but reform is the most American thing we can do. That was the message delivered last week by Ricardo Salvador as part of the Johns Hopkins

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Johns Hopkins
by Christine Grillo

The Center for a Livable Future and the Department of Environmental Health Sciences Grand Rounds bring you the 15th Annual Edward & Nancy Dodge Lecture

Please click here for Ricardo Salvador’s biography.

Creating a genuine food movement that galvanizes the nation is an audacious goal, but reform is the most American thing we can do.

That was the message delivered last week by Ricardo Salvador as part of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future’s 15th Dodge Lecture at the Bloomberg School. Salvador, PhD, the director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, gave a talk titled “The Food Movement, Public Health and Wellbeing,” in which he outlined the miseries inflicted upon humans by the current U.S. food system, and possible paths toward improvement.

“There’s a deep truth about the food system that we all need to accept,” said Salvador. “The food system is skewed, and some ethnicities are more seriously impacted than others.” Referring to U.S. military campaigns that appropriated land from First Nations peoples, he gave a brief history of how the current food system is built on the theft of other people’s lands. “If you want to find poor, hungry, immiserated people, you can find them in reservations,” he said.

Slave labor has been a key building block of our food system, he went on to say, and still is. Migrant farm workers are today’s modern slave: they have unsafe working conditions, no access to medical care, no retirement programs, no leverage with which to bargain for rights, and they are the least politically powerful sector of the U.S. population. And without migrant farm workers, our entire food system collapses. “Our food system comes to a complete halt without labor,” he said.

“It’s not incidental who’s hungry,” he said. “People in the food chain, people in the field, the people who pick, process, deliver, and clean up after us—those are the hungry.”

All of our national headlines are in some way related to the food system, he said. Some headlines are directly about food, while others are about climate change, wage inequality, chronic disease, or immigration. All of these headlines relate to the food system. “The cost of our food system to this nation is enormous,” he said.

Salvador outlined how our farm policies, despite their original good intentions, have over time created a network of subsidies for farm agribusinesses. The effect of this subsidy system is that the simplest, most healthful foods are the most expensive. In other words, fruits and vegetables, which are the least marketed, least packaged, and least processed foods far outprice the highly processed, packaged, and marketed food products created from subsidized commodities such as corn. He pointed out that, in fact, 61 percent of our subsidies go toward corn and other grains, while less than one percent—.45 percent—of subsidies support fruits and vegetables, referred to in farm bills as “specialty crops.”

“Because of our food policies and legislation,” said Salvador, “our food system is not a result of a market operating on its own.” There is an uncomfortable and harmful interaction between banking and the food system, he said, and because corporate power is now greater than government power, we need an additional power that “balances the rapaciousness of the market.”

The way out of this oppressive, unjust system, Salvador said, is to find ways to support “good food” that meets the following four criteria: good food is healthy, affordable, green (not damaging to environment or ecology), and fair (decent wages and rights for food chain workers).

Echoing what he wrote in a Washington Post op-ed one month ago with Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, and Olivier de Schutter, Salvador called for a coherent national food policy, a call for the government to do less, but better. “This is not an appeal to set up a central unit,” he said. “This is an appeal for coordination.”

The secret of change, he said, is that instead of fighting the old, we build the new. “The crisis of our times is whether democracy is an authentic idea that will survive,” he said. He closed the talk by characterizing Americans as a people who are never satisfied, for whom reform is inherent to their nature. A genuine food movement, he said, “offers the possibility for all of us to fulfill the American Project.”

The Edward and Nancy Dodge Lecture is supported through the R. Edward Dodge, Jr. and Nancy L. Dodge Family Foundation Endowment, established through the generosity of Dr. Edward Dodge, MPH ’67, and his late wife Nancy to provide core funding for the Center for a Livable Future.

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In Remembrance: Theo Colborn, 1927-2014http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/remembrance-theo-colborn-1927-2014/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/remembrance-theo-colborn-1927-2014/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 21:19:30 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=14765 Beyond Pesticides Source: JR Rochester Beyond Pesticides is sad to say goodbye to a dear friend and colleague, Theo Colborn, who at the age of 87, passed away on Sunday, December 14 at home surrounded by her family. Dr. Colborn is author of the groundbreaking book Our Stolen Future, president of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX) and Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida, Gainesville. She is the author of numerous scientific publications about compounds

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Beyond Pesticides

Source: JR Rochester

Beyond Pesticides is sad to say goodbye to a dear friend and colleague, Theo Colborn, who at the age of 87, passed away on Sunday, December 14 at home surrounded by her family. Dr. Colborn is author of the groundbreaking book Our Stolen Future, president of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX) and Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida, Gainesville. She is the author of numerous scientific publications about compounds that interfere with hormones and other chemical messengers that control development in wildlife and humans. Her incisive research has demonstrated that endocrine disrupting chemicals alter development of the fetus in the womb by interfering with the natural hormonal signals directing fetal growth. Her work has prompted the enactment of new laws around the world.

Dr. Colborn was presented with Beyond Pesticides’ highest honor, its Dragonfly Award, at the organization’s 25th Anniversary Gala in 2006, “For tireless dedication advancing knowledge and action to protect health and the environment.” Upon accepting the award, she said to those who chose her as the recipient that she would do her best not to let them down, and she hasn’t. One year later, she was honored by Time magazine as a global Environmental Hero, and she worked tirelessly to educate the public about the dangers of endocrine disruption until the day she died.

In October, 2012, Theo Colborn gave a presentation at a TEDxMidAtlantic event in Washington DC in which she read a letter she sent to President Obama. In the letter, she reminds them of the current epidemics of endocrine-related disorders and describes how the laws that were supposed to protect us have let us down. She closes with two practical suggestions for the President to take action.

Dr. Colborn has served on numerous advisory panels, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board, the Ecosystem Health Committee of the International Joint Commission of the United States and Canada, the Science Management Committee of the Toxic Substances Research Initiative of Canada, the U.S. EPA Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Advisory Committee, and the EPA Endocrine Disruption Methods and Validation Subcommittee. She has published and lectured extensively on the transgenerational effects of toxic chemicals on the developing endocrine, immune, metabolic, and nervous systems in the womb and early childhood. She also spoke at Beyond Pesticides’ 29th National Pesticide Forum in Denver, CO in 2011. Her talk, Beyond Lists: Where did all those pesticides come from? discusses pesticide health impacts and the petrochemical industry.

Read a brief biography by Elizabeth Grossman

Read Theo’s CV

Theo’s family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to TEDX.

The Endocrine Disruption Exchange has a forum to share your Theo Colborn story.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

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China Blocks US Imports Over GMO Contaminationhttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/china-blocks-us-imports-gmo-contamination/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/china-blocks-us-imports-gmo-contamination/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 13:48:41 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=14760 Global Research by Christina Sarich Source: Glendon Rolston China has zero tolerance for many GMOs. They’ve made this clear by refusing US exports that contain genetically modified ingredients – not even in the parts per million range. Due to the recent contamination of hay from RoundUp ready GMO alfalfa, the Chinese government has now blacklisted hay from the US, and they are looking at Canada’s exports closely to determine if they will also need to be blacklisted. One exporter of

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Global Research
by Christina Sarich

Source: Glendon Rolston

China has zero tolerance for many GMOs. They’ve made this clear by refusing US exports that contain genetically modified ingredients – not even in the parts per million range. Due to the recent contamination of hay from RoundUp ready GMO alfalfa, the Chinese government has now blacklisted hay from the US, and they are looking at Canada’s exports closely to determine if they will also need to be blacklisted.

One exporter of hay to China and other places around the world, Ed Shaw, said three American hay exporters have been blacklisted from exporting to China, and hundreds of container loads of hay have been turned away after GMO alfalfa was found in the loads.

Hay exported to the country from the U.S. was in quarantine due to the detection of GMO traits, specifically of genetically modified alfalfa. And this isn’t a singular occurrence, either. Last year, a Washington State grower’s hay was rejected after it tested positive for GMO alfalfa. This doesn’t sit well with China, since all imported hay is supposed to be GMO-free.

Needless to say, the trend continued, leading China to boycott all US grown-hay completely.

Forage Seed Canada president Heather Kerschbaumer said her Golden Acre Seed Co. had nine non-Roundup Ready alfalfa samples tested last year for the presence of Roundup Ready alfalfa, and all tested negative; however, GMO alfalfa is increasingly planted between vegetable crops in California and other places in the US. The possibility of cross-contamination grows stronger every planting season.

Forage Seed lost $20,000 recently due to contaminated canola seed, and now Canadian officials are concerned about GMO alfalfa contamination since it could possibly bring the Canadian export market to its knees.

More than three years ago, Phil Bereano, a co-founder of AGRA watch, argued that by deregulating the planting of GE alfalfa, the USDA was in direct contravention to its obligations under law and court decisions.

Many believe that non-GMO alfalfa crops in the US have already widely been contaminated.

With recent reports finding that the GMO contamination issue is much more serious than previously thought, as well as numerous real-life cases of cross-contamination, it seems that organic crops will never truly be safe.

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Protect Seed Librarieshttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/protect-seed-libraries/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/protect-seed-libraries/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 21:43:57 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=14755 Legalize Seeds Source: Polly Alida After Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture adopted a policy restricting the Simpson Seed Library in Mechanicsburg, PA from sharing locally saved seed, several states have followed suit, threatening the continued existence of seed libraries. Seed laws exist to regulate entities that sell or commercially exchange seeds. A seed library is a noncommercial nonprofit, cooperative, or governmental organization that donates seed and receives donations of seed, especially by encouraging members to learn

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Legalize Seeds

Source: Polly Alida

After Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture adopted a policy restricting the Simpson Seed Library in Mechanicsburg, PA from sharing locally saved seed, several states have followed suit, threatening the continued existence of seed libraries. Seed laws exist to regulate entities that sell or commercially exchange seeds.

A seed library is a noncommercial nonprofit, cooperative, or governmental organization that donates seed and receives donations of seed, especially by encouraging members to learn about seed saving and donate seeds to the library. Donation of seed is not required in a seed library, so the sharing of seeds does not even rise to the level of barter or exchange, let alone sell. Seed libraries are far different in nature and scale than commercial seed companies and need to be appropriately recognized under the law to protect their ability to continue freely sharing seeds in communities across the country.

You can sign the following petition at this website: http://legalizeseeds.org/

To: Directors of all 50 U.S. State Departments of Agriculture

Over 300 nonprofit seed libraries in the U.S. might be regulated out of existence due to misapplication of seed laws by several state departments of agriculture.

I believe seed libraries are key to a more secure and resilient food system. Seed libraries provide free access to seedsprotect the diversity of our food sources, and educate community members about growing food and saving seed.

I support citizens’ freedom to share locally saved seed with their neighbors. Laws designed to regulate commercial sales of seed should not be applied to noncommercial donations of seed or to seed libraries.

Therefore, I ask that you (1) issue a public statement declaring that your state’s Department of Agriculture’s seed enforcement policy does not include seed libraries, and (2) begin implementing regulations formalizing this policy.
Sincerely,
[Your name]

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Controversial French Scientist Defends GMO Researchhttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/controversial-french-scientist-defends-gmo-research/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/controversial-french-scientist-defends-gmo-research/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 23:50:12 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=14752 The Western Producer by Karen Briere French scientist Gilles-Eric Seralini says attempts to discredit him and his research into GMOs and pesticides are negated by the fact his work continues. Speaking to about 150 people in Regina Nov. 6, Seralini said he and fellow scientists have published new work on pesticide toxicity and are ready to publish more. “We have republished our study, which was retracted because of dishonesty of the system,” he said. “We

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The Western Producer
by Karen Briere

Copyright  123RF Stock Photos

Copyright 123RF Stock Photos

French scientist Gilles-Eric Seralini says attempts to discredit him and his research into GMOs and pesticides are negated by the fact his work continues.

Speaking to about 150 people in Regina Nov. 6, Seralini said he and fellow scientists have published new work on pesticide toxicity and are ready to publish more.

“We have republished our study, which was retracted because of dishonesty of the system,” he said.

“We have explained everything in books, in scientific papers, so I think they cannot do too much in front of reality, of truth.”

Seralini’s paper claimed that rats developed tumours from eating genetically modified corn and drinking water contaminated with Roundup.

Originally published by the Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal in 2012, it was retracted late last year after critics claimed the sample size was too small, the wrong rats were used, and definitive conclusions could not be reached.

Earlier this year, the journal Environmental Sciences Europe republished the study, claiming it wanted to enable rational discussion.

Seralini maintains that long-term feeding trials to evaluate the safety of pesticides and GM food is critical to human health. Right now, the trials are conducted on animals.

One person in the crowd expressed concern about the approval of a 2,4-D and glyphosate tank mix and what effects that might have.

Seralini said people must continue to push for transparency.

“Please, do you imagine that we are in the 21st century in one of the most modern continents and no one has seen the blood analysis of these animals that have been used to authorize these products?” he said.

“How is that possible? Concentrate on the blood analysis of the animals that were tested first in order to get the market release of any product and you will see the dishonesty.”

He said those who criticize him have not done research to disprove what he has found.

“Even if they criticize anybody, they cannot put anything in front of the experiment we have done,” he said.

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The Wheels of Local Government Get Very Slippery, Especially with Manure Spillshttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/wheels-local-government-get-slippery-especially-manure-spills/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/wheels-local-government-get-slippery-especially-manure-spills/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:13:11 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=14745 [Editor’s Note:  Massive manure spills and their impact, such as described below, are happening all over the country.  This particular account comes from Wisconsin.] By John Bobbe Cave Point in Door County Source: Elvis Kennedy My wife and I have lived on the Door Peninsula in the same neighborhood for 36 years. It is the thumb on Wisconsin that sticks out into Lake Michigan. Door County is billed as the “Cape Cod” of the Midwest

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[Editor’s Note:  Massive manure spills and their impact, such as described below, are happening all over the country.  This particular account comes from Wisconsin.]

By John Bobbe

Cave Point in Door County
Source: Elvis Kennedy

My wife and I have lived on the Door Peninsula in the same neighborhood for 36 years. It is the thumb on Wisconsin that sticks out into Lake Michigan. Door County is billed as the “Cape Cod” of the Midwest with over 300 miles of shoreline along the Bay of Green Bay and Lake Michigan.  The county prides itself as a destination for millions of tourists.

On September 16, our home in Wisconsin’s southern Door County was in the path of a 640,000 gallon liquid manure spill from a neighbor’s 250 + cow dairy herd when a Slurrystore valve failed to close.  It was the second mishap within a week in the county.

An earlier spill in Jacksonport, north of Sturgeon Bay occurred when liquid manure was being applied to a field and ran down a sinkhole.  Several wells were and continue to be contaminated as of this writing.  People and pets have gotten sick and it has turned into a battle of insurance companies.

“You understand how slow the process works?” said Supervisor Ken Fisher, who chairs the Land Conservation Committee in an opening statement of the meeting I attended on November 19th.  It took the Door County Land Conservation Committee over 60 days after the manure spill occurred before it even bothered to meet.  And then the committee chair jokingly referenced how long it takes to get a change in a bad highway intersection through a committee as though his committee is helpless to do much.

The committee meets at the call of the chair and apparently he saw no need to meet while people were getting sick, properties devalued and wells contaminated for over 60 days!

The Wisconsin DNR, in a letter to the Door County Soil and Water Department, could find no cause for the failure of the Degrave Slurrystore next to my home.  According to the Peninsula Pulse newspaper, “No one has found a smoking gun, other than the speculation, professional opinion, that there must have been something jammed in that wouldn’t allow the valve to close,” Schuster said.

Schuster also added at the committee meeting that his department will lead the charge in getting engineers to re-examine the manure storage and flow systems. “We’re the ones to push this statewide,” he said. “It will cause a certain amount of angst among other counties.”

Fortunately, citizens are demanding action and had a chance to see firsthand hot-potato tossing and how the “blame the victim syndrome” works when county and state agencies are involved.

At a standing room only meeting of concerned citizens from Door and Kewaunee counties in Jacksonport, December 2nd, many of the same themes were repeated from the November 19th Land Conservation Committee meeting.  The citizens of the community are a lot more educated and informed than the government agency people give them credit for.

Also in attendance to see that county personnel didn’t get out of line was their minder, the county corporation counsel.  Five of the recurring themes and prevalent excuses were again dragged out:

  1. Bill Schuster, Soil and Water department head stated that “We all contribute to water contamination issues” and each of us needs to do our part.  Citizens have been doing their part and ended up with their wells contaminated, lost business revenues and sick people with medical bills.   It was “let’s blame the victim syndrome.”
  2. “The county’s hands are tied by not having enough regulations” was another scenario thrown out by Schuster.  Never mind the lax oversight and enforcement of nutrient management plans or the waiver of installation of a $1200 check valve that could have prevented the spill where I live by his department.
  3. When asked by a citizen if the Wisconsin DNR tested for estrogens and other hormones as well as antibiotics and milk house waste chemicals there was a lot of fumbling and passing the question back and forth before the answer was “not generally.”
  4. Another proposal being pushed by the Soil and Water Department is for landlords who rent their land to farmers to help police nutrient management plans by putting a clause in the rental agreement.  While a wonderful idea, it would appear to shift responsibility from the department to the landowner.  In fact the NPM is between the farmer and the department.
  5. Lastly, it was suggested we should all get on a bus in spring and travel to Madison to lobby for more and better legislation when there is a Door County lobby day.  This is a pipedream in an era of a legislature and governor who want deregulation, not regulation.
  6. When asked about application of manure by irrigation, which is becoming a major problem, Schuster said that would be a low priority for him.  Fortunately there are several towns in Door County that have already banned the practice.

Meanwhile, citizens are still left holding the bag on one fine mess, and a County Soil and Water Department and Land Conservation Committee chairman have cast themselves as helpless to do much of anything.

Paul Leline, Door County Environmental Council board member recently wrote in the November 21, 2014 Peninsula Pulse newspaper, “I believe this situation in Kewaunee and Door Counties is silently rising to a critical level. Authorities are giving the green light to increasing herd sizes, but the regulation and enforcement of a waste management program is weak and needs compliance right now.”

Throwing more taxpayer money at a department that has squandered the millions of taxpayer dollars it has spent on manure systems it has designed and is supposed to monitor is like manure down a sinkhole.  Accountability is what is needed.  The department so-called “leading the charge” on protecting Door County’s water quality, with two manure spills within a week, threw that all out the window.

And if you are a tourist planning to come to Door County, do two things.  Heed Paul Leline’s admonishment “Don’t drink the water.” Secondly, throw a case of bottled water and several boxes of Pepto Bismal in your trunk.  Your vacation could end like a Carnival Cruise with everyone sick.

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A Message from the Oregon Yes on 92 Campaignhttp://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/message-oregon-yes-92-campaign/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/12/message-oregon-yes-92-campaign/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 18:57:34 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=14727 Oregon Right to Know The Yes on Measure 92 campaign is ending its efforts today. While Measure 92 will not emerge victorious in this election, our growing movement to label genetically engineered foods is neither defeated nor discouraged. On Tuesday we went to court in a final attempt to have 4,600 uncounted ballots opened and counted in this race. Judge Kantor agreed that leaving 4,600 ballots uncounted in this election will cause irreparable harm to

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Oregon Right to Know

OR-Right-to-KnowThe Yes on Measure 92 campaign is ending its efforts today. While Measure 92 will not emerge victorious in this election, our growing movement to label genetically engineered foods is neither defeated nor discouraged.

On Tuesday we went to court in a final attempt to have 4,600 uncounted ballots opened and counted in this race. Judge Kantor agreed that leaving 4,600 ballots uncounted in this election will cause irreparable harm to those voters and to the Measure 92 campaign. But he ultimately ruled that Oregon law didn’t allow him to issue the order to stop count.

More than 4,600 valid ballots rejected by elections officials remain uncounted. Those voters did everything right, completing, signing and returning their ballots on time. If their voices could be heard we believe it would result in victory for Measure 92.

We have examined all other legal options and have found there are none that could succeed in getting the remaining votes counted before the election is certified. Challenging election results is permitted in Oregon but a successful challenge doesn’t change the outcome of that election. It simply sets aside the results and orders a new election be held.

Given the razor-thin margin in this race, and the failure to count every valid ballot, we believe that Oregonians will never know for sure what the true outcome of this race was. That said, we intend to abide by the judge’s decision and will not pursue any further legal action. We do hope that going forward the state of Oregon will correct this flaw in our vote-by-mail system so that in future elections thousands of Oregonians will not continue to be stripped of their right to vote.

We want to thank our thousands of grassroots campaign supporters and volunteers across the state – they powered this campaign and we could not have come anywhere near this far without their incredible enthusiasm, energy and tireless effort. And we want to thank all of the respected organizations that actively supported Measure 92.

The labeling movement will continue to grow. We draw strength from the fact that we came so achingly close to winning this vote, despite being outspent by more than $12 million by the pesticide companies and food conglomerates that want to block Oregonians from knowing whether or not the food they eat has been genetically engineered to withstand heavy pesticide spraying.

We will continue working until Oregonians and all Americans – like the residents of 64 other countries around the globe — have the information they need to make informed choices about the food that they feed their families.

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