February 2012

Potluck News
1.)  Judge's decision in OSGATA vs. Monsanto due by March  31st. Read the January 31st Transcript of the Hearing. Read about the hearing here.

2.)  Fantastic Voyage video from TEDxManhattan 2011 shows the intestines of two people digesting the same meal, one made of industrially  processed ingredients and one made from scratch with whole foods. Ever wonder what blue Gatorade looks like in your body? 

3.) Save the date for NESAWG's 2012 Annual Conference 

Pre-Conference Trainings, Sunday, Oct 28. Conference, Monday-Tuesday, Oct 29-30. New venue: Saratoga Conference Center, Saratoga, NY. This will be NESAWG's 20th anniversary celebration. Mark your calendar!

4.) 3 related stories on agriculture and animal welfare   

= The Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case National Meat Association v. Harris that strikes down a California law with  requirements for how slaughterhouses handle pigs that cannot walk, referred to in the law as “nonambulatory.”

= Pending federal legislation, the Downed Animal and Food Safety Protection Act (H.R. 3704), would revise the Federal Meat Inspection Act.

= Another animal welfare measure, addressing the housing of egg-producing hens, was introduced in Congress last week.  The bill (H.R. 3798) would  amend the Egg Products Inspection Act by significantly increasing the space required per hen and establishing new air-quality standards for hen houses.

More and more people prefer to learn from scanning the page rather than reading paragraphs of text. Food+Tech Connect features weekly infographics to help you educate your constituents and in doing so, they stir up some controversy.

6.)  NSAC report on the major factors influencing the 2012 Farm Bill debate The political backdrop for everything that Congress does this year is the 2012 Presidential and Congressional elections.  This affects the farm bill process in two main ways.  First, the legislative calendar will be shorter to accommodate Congressional campaign schedules.  That leaves less time for hearings, committee meetings, and floor debates and votes.  Given the condensed Congressional schedule, the majority of the work on the 2012 Farm Bill, though not necessarily final votes, would have to be finished by summer for a new bill to be enacted in 2012.

Four Senate Agriculture Committee hearings have been scheduled to discuss Farm Bill issues.

7.)  New EPA website tool lets you track pollutants being released in your watershed For example, you can see a list of polluters and the types of pollution they are releasing into the Chesapeake Bay watershed on an annual basis. For the uninitiated, the numbers are shocking.

8.)  Connecticut announces new farmland restoration program $5,000,000 in funding has been approved for the Connecticut Department of Agriculture's new Farmland Restoration Program enabling matching grants of up to $20,000 for restoration activities that increase the state's farmland resource base for agriculture, with an emphasis on prime and important farmland soils and on human and livestock food production. It is expected that the program will be able to work with over 250 farms.


9.)  21 New York producers awarded Value Added Producer Grants The Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) program provides competitive grants to individual independent agricultural producers, groups of independent producers, producer-controlled entities, and farmer or rancher cooperatives to create or develop value-added producer-owned businesses.

10.)  JustLabelIt.org presents this short video about why labels should identify GMOs in our food.

11.)  Doing the math on Walmart's strategy to expand into New York City  Is Walmart a solution to food deserts in urban areas? Washington DC is home to four new stores, and the company is planning more in Boston as it lobbies for access to New York City. This article looks at their track record in Chicago.

12.)  Oaxaca, Mexico and Canada sign agreement to protect Mexican migrant workers in Canada Is this kind of international collaboration a model for us here in the Northeast?


                       Pre-Conference Sessions:
                               Monday, 11/10


Map of the Month: Farm Loss, 2007-2012

Each red dot on this Census of Agriculture map represents 20 farms that are no more, and each blue dot represents 20 new farms. In just five years, the US experienced a net loss of 90,000 farms. (Download as a PDF to magnify.)


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