Category Archives: Issues

The Elders of Organic Farming

Elders

By CAROL POGASH

BIG SUR, Calif. — Among the sleek guests who meditate and do Downward Facing Dog here at the Esalen Institute, the farmers appeared to be out of place. They wore baggy jeans, suspenders and work boots and had long ago let their hair go gray.

For nearly a week, two dozen organic farmers from the United States and Canada shared decades’ worth of stories, secrets and anxieties, and during breaks they shared the clothing-optional baths.

The agrarian elders, as they were called, were invited to Esalen because the organizers of the event wanted to document what these rock stars of the sustainable food movement knew and to discuss an overriding concern: How will they be able to retire and how will they pass their knowledge to the next generation?

All this and more in this week’s edition of Jenny’s Food and Ag Update..

Food Chains

Food Chains

There is more interest in food in the United States today than at any time in our history. Yet, there is very little interest in the hands that pick our food – the hundreds of thousands of people to whom we are all connected through our purchases at grocery stores, farmers’ markets and restaurants.

Food Chains explores critical human rights issues in American agriculture from wage theft to modern-day slavery and exposes the powers that perpetuate these un-American violations of human dignity. The film stars dozens of farmworkers as well as Eva Longoria (Executive Producer), Dolores Huerta, Eric Schlosser, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Barry Estabrook, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

Fair Food Austin – Now is the Time!

Now is the Time!Hello All,

We bring you exciting news from the national front veritably transforming our nation’s agricultural industry!

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, on the heels of inking a far-reaching agreement with Walmart, the world’s largest retailer — now the 12th multi-billiondollar food company committed to working together with CIW to implement its groundbreaking Fair Food Program, ensuring higher pay & a multitude of new rights & labor protections for tomato harvesters — is holding a major protest this weekend in Florida!

A caravan of Texas-based CIW supporters — from San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, the Rio Grande Valley & Austin — leaves early Thursday to join Florida farmworkers for a 24-hour vigil and march held in the HQ town of Publix, the largest supermarket chain in the southeast corner of the country.  Our Texas caravan includes members of Workers Defense Project and the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition as well as students and community members.

Upon the caravan’s return, we will be hosting a gathering of people interested in advancing the CIW’s campaign here in Austin!  Join us on Monday, March 24th at 5:30 PM at Monkeywrench Books, located at 110 E. North Loop (basically 53rd St., a few blocks west of Duval).

Already, there is preliminary discussion of organizing a protest at a local Wendy’s (the only major fast food chain to not have yet signed with CIW) in the coming weeks as well as a pro-CIW party around International Workers’ Day, the first weekend in May.  Please join us to collectively consider and develop these and other ideas!

Also, in case you’d like to make a financial gift to assist our Texas caravan as they head to reinforce the ranks of Immokalee farmworker supporters, a donation can be made here – and will be genuinely appreciated!

Looking forward to meeting with many of you Monday after next, the 24th, as we plot farmworker solidarity efforts here in Austin,

Sincerely,

Kandace Vallejo, Jordan Buckley, Heather Vega for Austin Fair Food

Five New Reasons Monsanto’s “Science” Doesn’t Add Up

To hear the pesticide and junk food marketers of the world tell it, anyone who questions the value, legitimacy or safety of GMO crops is naïve, anti-science and irrational to the point of hysteria. But how long can Monsanto ignore the mounting actual scientific evidence that their technology is not only failing to live up to its promises, it’s putting public health at risk?

‘Sound science’ is only a term, an ideological term, used to support a particular point of view, policy statement or a technology. ‘Sound science’ is little more than the opinions of so-called “experts” representing corporate interests. Simply put, ‘sound science’ always supports the position of industry over people, corporate profit over food safety, the environment and public health.

Jim Goodman, farmer, activist and member of the Organic Consumers Association policy advisory board, recently wrote about Monsanto’s deceptive use of the expression “sound science.” But, ‘sound science’ has no scientific definition. It does not mean peer reviewed, or well documented research.

Here are five new reports and studies, published in the last two months, that blow huge holes in Monsanto’s “sound science” story. Reports of everything from Monsanto’s Roundup causing fatal, chronic kidney disease to how, contrary to industry claims, Roundup persists for years, contaminating soil, air and water. And oh-by-the-way, no, GMO crops will not feed the world, nor have they reduced the use of herbicides and pesticides.

Changing the Way We Eat

Changing The Way We Eat

TEDxManhattan, “Changing the Way We Eat” will feature a dynamic group of speakers addressing issues in sustainable food and farming.  As in the past 3 years, TEDxManhattan will promote innovative work being done by groups large and small, for-profit and nonprofit, from around the country. Speakers include Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio, LAUSD Director David Binkle, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, and many others.

The event will be webcast worldwide live from New York City on Saturday, March 1, 2014 from 10:30am-6:30pm EST.

Rather than watch the webcast alone at your computer, why not host a viewing party; invite friends over so you can join the discussion and join the global Twitter conversation @TEDxManhattan (hashtag #TEDxMan) or engage on our Facebook page.

Cesar Chavez, American Hero

Senator Robert F. Kennedy described Cesar Chavez as “one of the heroic figures of our time.”

A true American hero, Cesar was a civil rights, Latino and farm labor leader; a genuinely religious and spiritual figure; a community organizer and social entrepreneur; a champion of militant nonviolent social change; and a crusader for the environment and consumer rights.

Cesar’s motto, “Si se puede!” (“Yes, it can be done!”), coined during his 1972 fast in Arizona, embodies the uncommon legacy he left for people around the world.

A first-generation American, he was born on March 31, 1927, near his family’s small homestead in the North Gila River Valley outside Yuma, Arizona. At age 11, his family lost their farm during the Great Depression and became migrant farm workers. Throughout his youth and into adulthood, Cesar traveled the migrant streams throughout California laboring in the fields, orchards and vineyards, where he was exposed to the hardships and injustices of farm worker life..

Cesar Chavez