5 MORE Things To Know About The Fight Against GMOs -Michelle Jacobson

PictureUntil recently, GMOs was an unfamiliar acronym to most Americans. Genetically modified and genetically engineered were scientific terms that seemed to belong in a laboratory, not a supermarket, kitchen, or pastoral farming locale. Our farms, we thought, were a place where Mother Nature held absolute dominion.

Well, enter the 21st century, folks. Many farms may as well be laboratories these days, with each hole dug in the ground akin to a test tube, as the seeds that are pla
For the American people (yes, specifically, the American people) to be kept unaware of what their food is comprised of – in these days of local, organic and sustainable sensibilities – is a serious travesty. Beyond that, it’s just plain dishonest.nted are not always natural, as forged by nature; often they’ve been tampered with to conform to mans’ will.

My first article, 5 Things You Need To Know About GMOs Right Now (1), was a primer for anyone seeking to know the basic facts about GMOs. Things were moving at a slow rumble until 2012, and I was trying to inform people so they’d be in the know when the hoopla started to get louder. And get louder it did.

This article picks up where that one left off, covering the vast amount of activity which has transpired across the country in the past few months, both in town halls and town squares. I can assure you that when you read this information you’ll be concerned and outraged enough to want to take control over the food you eat, once again. How can you turn away now?

Picture

1 – How do you know the difference between a food that’s genetically modified and a food that isn’t? read more

via Michele Jacobson – GMO Blog.

Farm Bill is no small potatoes to New Jersey | eb.gmnews.com | East Brunswick Sentinel

When you hear Farm Bill, you probably think of huge corn, wheat and sugar subsidies.

Now up for reauthorization for the first time since 2008, the Farm Bill is a behemoth piece of legislation that’s been said — without exaggeration — to cover “everything we eat, wear and drive.” Not surprisingly, it impacts the environment, local economies and our public health.

But what you may not know is that every year, thousands of acres of farmland here in the nation’s most densely populated state are permanently protected through the Farm Bill. Through its Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, 172 farms, most of them small and family owned, have been preserved across 15 counties in New Jersey.

The Farm Bill is a major funder of farmland and natural resource conservation programs in the Garden State. This is especially critical, since our small farmers don’t get the same crop and insurance subsidies received by large agribusinesses out west.

In addition to the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, the Farm Bill includes the Wetlands Reserve, Wildlife Habitat Incentive and Environmental Quality Incentive programs. These programs help farmers to transition to organic agriculture, conserve water quality and quantity and restore wetlands and grasslands.

Of the Farm Bill’s current spending of nearly $100 billion a year, about $4.5 billion goes toward conservation programs — but that may change. The Senate Agriculture Committee just cut conservation programs in order to reduce the federal budget deficit. There is talk of additional cuts, which would jeopardize the investment in jobs and local economies that conservation programs provide.

The Farm Bill has long been criticized for promoting factory farming and unhealthy foods. To address that problem, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has proposed to transform the Farm Bill into a healthy food bill. Her amendment would reduce crop insurance subsidies, restore funding to nutrition programs and redirect $500 million to provide healthy fruits and vegetables to schoolchildren. Arecent survey of American attitudes toward agriculture, the environment and the national budget, found that most of us support healthy foods, conservation and small farmers. Here are some of the findings:

• 78 percent said making nutritious and healthy foods more affordable and more accessible should be a top priority in the next farm bill.

• 57 percent opposed cutting funding for conservation programs, saying these programs save money by preventing pollution.

• 75 percent said helping family farmers stay in business should be a top or high priority in agriculture policy and 31 percent would make it the top goal of subsidy programs.

Our nation’s Farm Bill should support farmland and natural resource conservation, healthy foods and small farmers. You can help. Call U.S. senators and your congressional representative at the Capitol switchboard at 202-224- 3121. Ask them to retain the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program and other programs that help save Garden State farmland. Emphasize its benefits to our state, our local economies, our health and our quality of life.

New Jersey now has more than 2,000 preserved farms totaling nearly 197,000 acres … no small potatoes. A transformed Farm Bill can help this state we’re in preserve even more farmland in the years to come.

To learn more about the Farm Bill, go to the American Farmland Trustwebsite atwww.farmland.org or the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy website at www.iatp.org.

And if you’d like more information about conserving New Jersey’s precious land and natural resources, please visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s website atwww.njconservation.org or contact me at info@njconservation.org.

Michele S. Byers
Executive Director
New Jersey Conservation Foundation
Far Hills

via Farm Bill is no small potatoes to New Jersey | eb.gmnews.com | East Brunswick Sentinel.

Slow Food USA Letter to Senate and House Committees on the Food and Farm Bill

Slow Food Food and Farm Bill Letter to Senate and House Committees

Folks,

The Food and Farm Bill is the single greatest influence on what we eat. It determines how billions are spent shaping our food system, from producer to eater. And, while we spend  those billions, we know that diet-related diseases, obesity and diabetes, are at an all‐time high, and, in a seeming paradox, hunger persists in our nation. And, we know that our food system is dominated by a handful of large corporations that put our family farmers and ranchers, our health and well-being, and our environment at risk.
Attached is an important letter from Josh and all of our Regional Governors to the leaders of the House and Senate Ag Committees about the new Food and Farm Bill. In the letter, Josh, on behalf of our 225,000 supporters, nation-wide, states, “We believe that everyone, every day, should be able to eat food that is good for them, good for producers, and good for the planet. The next Food and Farm Bill has the potential to make that vision a reality, and, as leaders of the Senate and House agriculture committees, you have the opportunity to help move national farm and food policies in the right direction.” Josh continues, ”We urge you to consider…(our) principles and supporting actions that, when enacted, will: ‘promote a health-focused food system, help end hunger, and provide all with access to healthy food; create a level plowing field for family farmers and ranchers and help create vibrant, regional farm and food economies; and promote good environmental stewardship, preserving our agricultural land and water resources for future generations.’“ I am proud that Josh and all the Governors signed this letter. In the coming weeks, the House and Senate will be working on the next Food and Farm Bill. I believe that our voices can help make our food system better, cleaner, and fairer. I will keep you all posted as events unfold, letting you know when your chapter’s members and supporters might weigh in.

Thanks.
Ed

-Edwin Yowell NY/NJ Regional Governor at Slow Food