January 2012

Potluck News

1.) NRCS Announces FY2012 Conservation Stewardship Program Sign Up extended to January 27, 2012. By that date interested farmers and ranchers must complete the initial application form to compete for a spot in the 2012 enrollment class for the program.

2.) State Initiatives Supporting Healthier Food Retail: An Overview of the National Landscape 
This report provides useful information about the rationale for and characteristics of healthier food retail legislation enacted in the last decade. It gives public health practitioners and their partners potential action steps to inform and educate others about the benefits of improved access to fruit and vegetables and other healthier foods through Healthier Food Retail initiatives in their state. Learn what’s happening around the country.
State Based Programs Tools & Resources 

State Legislative and Regulatory Action to Prevent Obesity and Improve Nutrition and Physical Activity Database (SLRA)


3.) How Genetically Modified Foods Could Affect Our Health in Unexpected Ways 
By Ari LeVaux, Alternet and theatlantic.com, January 11, 2012
Researchers have found small pieces of rice ribonucleic acid (RNA) in the blood and organs of humans who eat rice. This genetic material will bind to receptors in human liver cells and influence the uptake of cholesterol from the blood. Should the research survive scientific scrutiny, it would mean that we're eating not just vitamins, protein, and fuel, but gene regulators as well. Photo Credit: illuminating9_11


4.) 2011 Right Livelihood Award goes to GRAIN for their worldwide work to protect the livelihoods and rights of farming communities and to expose the massive purchases of farmland in developing countries by foreign financial interests. GRAIN is documenting the purchasing of farmland at www.farmlandgrab.org. The site highlights analyses and action from civil society on how to deal with the problem.


5.) Just Food Conference February 24-25 in New York City
Join Just Food, local food lovers and advocates, CSA members, community gardeners, urban and rural farmers, food professionals and entrepreneurs for two days of hands-on workshops, discussions, skills-building sessions, and good food.  Register


6.)  Worms feasting on popular pesticide-producing corn
By Rick Callahan, Associated Press, December 29, 2011
One of the nation's most widely planted crops — genetically engineered corn that makes its own insecticide — may be losing its effectiveness because a major pest appears to be developing resistance more quickly than scientists expected.


7.)  USDA Paves Way for Widespread Use of Toxic Systemic Pesticide Tuesday, December 27, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approved the use of two more GM crops and announced the availability of assessments for two additional GM crops.  The end of the year announcements, however, include a holiday bonus: the Department is on the verge of approving not just glyphosate-resistant crops, but crops engineered to withstand the systemic herbicide, 2,4-D (Agent Orange).


8.)  Maine’s case against a Blue Hill farmer and his cow gains national attention
By Kevin Miller, Bangor Daily News (Maine), December 27, 2011

“I got this cow so that we have milk,” Brown said while standing in the barn on his family’s 70-acre property. “If I have some extra, we do something with it.” It is those “extra” sales that have sparked Brown’s legal troubles with the Maine Department of Agriculture, which contends that Brown needs a license to sell raw milk. Brown retorts that calling a small farmer with a single dairy cow “a distributor” is preposterous. He also takes shelter under a “food sovereignty” ordinance adopted earlier this year.

9.) Harvard School of Public Health "Healthy Eating Plate"





10.)  FDA prohibits certain uses of antimicrobial drugs in food animals Antimicrobial drugs are important for treating disease in both humans and animals. FDA is taking action to preserve the effectiveness of cephalosporin drugs for treating disease in humans. The comment period that will begin on Jan. 6, 2012 and close on March 6, 2012.

To put the FDA's move in perspective, read this commentary from Ken Jaffe of Slope Farms in the Catskills.


                       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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