Monday, June 22, 2009
Michelle Obama wanted to plant a garden in the White House lawn to promote the eating of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet and bring awareness to the local food system....and she wanted their garden to be an organic garden.
Well--she heard some grumbling from some of the agibusinesses and they don't like it.
"For too long, the ag guys have said, If we raise it you're gonna eat it. You don't have options," says Mitchell. "Well, now we have options."
The pesticide peddlers are not happy with Michelle Obama. The Mid America CropLife Association, which represents agribusinesses like Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences and DuPont Crop Protection, does not appreciate the Frist Lady's organic garden at the White House.
According to a spokeman, "While a garden is a great idea, the thought of it being organic made [us] shudder." The Association wrote a letter to Mrs Obama encouraging her to consider using "crop protection products" and "to recognize the importance of agriculture to the entire U.S. economy."
In a press release, it asked, "What message does that send to the non-farming public about an important and integral part of growing safe and abundant crops to feed and clothe the world--crop protection products?"
It is also asking its own members to send letters to the First Lady.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
New Food Safety Bill HR2749
A new food safety bill is on the fast track in Congress-HR 2749, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009. The bill needs to be stopped.
HR 2749 gives FDA tremendous power while significantly diminishing existing judicial restraints on actions taken by the agency. The bill would impose a one-size-fits-all regulatory scheme on small farms and local artisanal producers; and it would disproportionately impact their operations for the worse.
HR 2749 does not address underlying causes of food safety problems such as industrial agriculture practices and the consolidation of our food supply. The industrial food system and food imports are badly in need of effective regulation, but the bill does not specifically direct regulation or resources to these areas.
To read a detailed account of the bill, go to: http://www.ftcldf.org/news/news-15june2009.htm
Some of the more alarming provisions in the bill are:
* HR 2749 would impose an annual registration fee of $500 on any "facility" that holds, processes, or manufactures food. Although "farms" are exempt, the agency has defined "farm" narrowly. And people making foods such as lacto-fermented vegetables, cheeses, or breads would be required to register and pay the fee, which could drive beginning and small producers out of business during difficult economic times.
* HR 2749 would empower FDA to regulate how crops are raised and harvested. It puts the federal government right on the farm, dictating to our farmers.
* HR 2749 would give FDA the power to order a quarantine of a geographic area, including "prohibiting or restricting the movement of food or of any vehicle being used or that has been used to transport or hold such food within the geographic area." Under this provision, farmers markets and local food sources could be shut down, even if they are not the source of the contamination. The agency can halt all movement of all food in a geographic area.
* HR 2749 would empower FDA to make random warrantless searches of the business records of small farmers and local food producers, without any evidence whatsoever that there has been a violation. Even farmers selling direct to consumers would have to provide the federal government with records on where they buy supplies, how they raise their crops, and a list of customers.
* HR 2749 charges the Secretary of Health and Human Services with establishing a tracing system for food. Each "person who produces, manufactures, processes, packs, transports, or holds such food" would have to "maintain the full pedigree of the origin and previous distribution history of the food," and "establish and maintain a system for tracing the food that is interoperable with the systems established and maintained by other such persons." The bill does not explain how far the traceback will extend or how it will be done for multi-ingredient foods. With all these ambiguities, it's far from clear how much it will cost either the farmers or the taxpayers.
* HR 2749 creates severe criminal and civil penalties, including prison terms of up to 10 years and/or fines of up to $100,000 for each violation for individuals.
Action to Take:
Contact your Representative now! Ask to speak with the staffer who handles food issues. Tell them you are opposed to the bill. Some points to make in telling your Representative why you oppose HR 2749 include:
1. The bill imposes burdensome requirements while not specifically targeting the industrial food system and food imports, where the real food safety problems lie.
2. Small farms and local food processors are part of the solution to food safety; lessening the regulatory burden on them will improve food safety.
3. The bill gives FDA much more power than it has had in the past while making the agency less accountable for its actions.
HR 2749 needs to be defeated!! Please take action NOW.
To contact your Representative, use the finder tool at www.Congress.org or send a message through the petition system (the petition will be on our website this evening) at http://www.ftcldf.org/petitions_new.htm.
Or call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
To check the status of HR 2749, go to www.Thomas.gov and type "HR 2749" in the bill search field.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
You will never look at dinner the same way again.
If you have not heard about it already, there is a new movie opening on June 12 that you might like to see! So far the only play date for the northeastern Ohio area is July 3 in Cleveland Heights @ the Cedar Lee Theatres.
One of the people staring in the movie is Joel Salatin and his Polyface Farm....the farm that Nathan apprenticed at a few years ago.
Watch movie trailer @ www.foodincmovie.com
SHORT SYNOPSIS OF THE MOVIE:
In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.
Features interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield's Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms' Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.
"Does for the supermarket what 'Jaws' did for the beach. "- Staff, Variety
"More than a terrific movie—it's an important movie." - Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
"A riveting cautionary tale. This is one movie that truly provides food for thought." - Patrick Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
"A cleverly written and well produced documentary. Kenner crafts an intelligent, visually compelling argument grounded in old-fashioned investigative research and journalism." - Maria Garcia, Film Journal International
"Excellent in every respect." - Pete Hammon, BoxOffice Magazine
This weekend (Saturday- June 13) Wellington is having its hot air balloon festival from 10am -10am and we wanted to let you know about it. It is going to be at the Lorain Co. Fairground so while your out checking out the balloons in our 'back yard', stop by and pick up some beef (or other farm products) while your in the area. Please contact us if you do decide to come. They are calling for some nice weather this weekend so it should be a good show. Hope you can make it.
*******From the Morning Journal -May 28 *********
Balloon Fest Takes Flight Next Month
By RON VIDIKA
WELLINGTON — On June 13, the skies above Wellington will be filled with hot air for the second annual Wellington Balloon Fest at the Lorain County Fairgrounds.
Howard Reynolds, co-organizer of the event, said last year's event had 11 hot-air balloons. This year, he said, there will be 18 balloons.
Balloon Fest begins at 10 a.m. with the start of children's games. There will be crafts, food and live bands, he said.
The balloons are slated to arrive at the fairgrounds at about 3 p.m., Reynolds said.
At about 6:30 p.m., the balloons will ascend and then return to earth at dusk, creating a "balloon glow.""They stay on the ground and a special burner gives out a bright orange flame and makes the balloon look like a light bulb," Reynolds said. "It's an awesome sight."
Cost of admission to Balloon Fest is $5 per vehicle. All proceeds will benefit the Lorain County Office on Aging.
Should there be inclement weather, the balloons will fly Sunday at 7 p.m.
There is a raffle for a hot-air balloon ride offered by the Lorain County Office on Aging and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. Tickets cost $5 each and the drawing will be June 4 in the office of the Lorain County Office on Aging, Elyria.
To purchase a raffle ticket, stop by the office of the Lorain County Office on Aging at 320 Gateway Blvd., Elyria, or send $5 in care of the agency, 226 Middle Ave., Elyria, OH 44035. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope so the ticket can be mailed back.Deadline to purchase raffle tickets is June 3. For further information on Balloon Fest, call (440) 326-4800.
***Our hometown newspaper --The Wellington Enterprise****
A lot of Hot Air to Lift BalloonFest Attendees Saturday.
The skies over Wellington will be filled with balloons on Saturday. The Wellington Chamber of Commerce and the Lorain County Office on Aging is hosting its second annual BalloonFest held at the Lorain County Fairgrounds; gates open at 10 a.m. and the admission fee is $5 per carload.
In addition to the balloon exhibit, attendees can enjoy games, entertainment -- including Bald Paul & The Irish Rockers at 3 p.m. -- and food vendors offering a variety of culinary delights such as kielbasa, polish sausage, italian sausage, gyros, chicken pitas, and french fries.
The Lorain County Office on Aging will be holding an arts and crafts show in conjunction with the Balloon Fest. More than 30 crafters will be featured, including jewelry, loom weaving, wood carving, handmade purses, and more.
The balloons will launch at about 6 p.m. and the festival will culminate with a Balloon Glow at 10 p.m.
Sponsors of the BalloonFest include several organizations and businesses including Linden's Propane, Mike's Cash-4-Gold, and Weber Health Care Center.
All proceeds of the BalloonFest go to the Lorain County Office on Aging to fund programs for the senior citizens of Lorain County, including Meals on Wheels, monthly food deliveries, housekeeping, chores, and escorts to physicians' offices. Last year, more than $5,000 was raised.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Are you ever tempted to buy those big red (tasteless) strawberries in the store because you want to eat healthy? They might not be as healthy as you think. Actually-- you will more than likely be adding more toxins to your body than what they are worth!!
Did you know that those store strawberries are loaded with chemicals? It's true! Strawberries are at the top of the twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables list (or also known as "The Dirty Dozen" list) ---the items you should always try to eat organically. Strawberry growers everywhere use large amounts of pesticides and fungicides (fungicides can be sprayed on the berries before they are shipped to help keep them from molding so fast). The end result is a popular fruit that contains a myriad of toxic chemicals.
According to the EWG (Environmental Working Group) peaches had the most pesticides overall, with some combination of up to 53 different pesticides found on the samples tested, followed by apples with 50 pesticides and strawberries with 38. That's 38 different kinds of pesticides that have been detected on strawberries. Peaches and apples had the most pesticides detected on a single sample, with 9 pesticides on a single sample, followed by strawberries and imported grapes where 8 pesticides were found on a single sample of each fruit.
The methodology used in nearly all the studies used to create the list (based on an analysis of 87,000 tests for pesticides on these foods conducted from 2000 to 2007 by the USDA and the FDA), tested the produce after it had been rinsed or peeled. This is an even bigger problem as far as strawberries go because you can't wash (or wash it well) or peel a strawberry. All that is sprayed on a strawberry is soaked right into the berry itself; it is like a sponge.
We're not going to get into the effects that pesticides have on the body right now or the known higher nutritional value that organic has over nonorganic as there are many places to find that info. Our main objective here is to point out that the buyer needs to be aware of this pesticide problem. You need to know where your strawberries are coming from and that organic is the best choice if you really want to stay healthy.
And what about our strawberries? They are grown organically which, in part, means we use no pesticides, fungicides, herbicides (weed killers) or the like on them. They are safe and healthy to eat.....and extra yummy!
And as far as our 2009 berry season.......
We think it is going to be a slower than normal year as there is going to be a limited supply....especially at the beginning. The reason you ask.... as it has been a nice spring? Our older patches don't have as many in them as they use to and the new patches were taken over by weeds this past summer.
As a result, we will only be opening the berry stand on an as-needed-basis. We think we will only be able to do phone and email orders this year (no u-pick) but if we have extras, we will put them at the stand and open for business on a first-come-first-serve basis. But for right now, we can't say if or how long that will last so ordering is still your best bet. If we do get enough to start putting them at the stand, we will post that here at the blog as an update....so check back often if you were looking to get some that way.
So if you want some strawberries this season from us this year, please us the 'Contact Us' post under 'Labels' to get our phone and email info, if you don't have it already.