Upcoming NOFA Related Events
• NOFA Summer Conference – August 10-13
• NOFA Organic Lawn and Turf Course – August 15
• Taste! Organic Connecticut – September 10
• Other Items of Interest
• Increased Funding for Organic Transition Program
• Governor Rell signed the School Nutrition Bill
• CT DEP Newsletter Available
• Farm Program Pays $1.3 Billion to People who Don’t Farm
• Pesticide Industry Influenced EPA’s Policy Allowing Testing on Children
• Successful Lawsuit forces EPA to phase out Dangerous Pesticide
• Phillies Bridge Farm Project Seeks Two Interns
• Audubon is seeking a Center Director
• WSU Offers Nation’s First College Major in Organic Agriculture
• Volunteers Needed for INternation Coastal Cleanup 2006
• Sign up for Clean Energy
• Sandy Hook Organic Farmers Market seeks Vendors
• High Demand for Organic Wheatgrass in Fairfield County
• Mystic, Connecticut Farmer’s Market
• UCONN On-Farm Survey of Disease Risk
• SARE Farmer Grant Program
• Small Grants for Watershed Protection – Request for Proposals
• Sleuthing foodie writer Michael Pollan chats with Grist
• On Special at Your Local Supermarket: Moral Choices
• Sudden Wetlands Dieback hits Connecticut
• Boycott of Horizon Dairy Generating National Publicity
News from the South Central Farmers
• Frequently Asked Questions
• Navajo says evictions of farmers from urban farm sends a message
Upcoming NOFA Related Events
August 10 – 13
NOFA Summer Conference Amherst, Massachusetts. Pre-Conference on Food and Farming Education, Saturday Night Debate on Mandatory National Animal Identification, The Local Meal at the NOFA Summer Conference, Country Fair Time!, Keynote Address: Sister Miriam Therese MacGillis, Summer Conference Workshops - Over 200 intensive workshops on Farming, Gardening, Organic Land Care, Homesteading, Spirituality, Economics, Politics and Much More!, Children's Conference, Teen's Conference. Adult workshops, children’s workshops (for children 2-12) and teens’ workshops (for teens 13-17) run concurrently throughout the weekend. Register before July 10 and receive the early bird discount. Go to http://www.nofamass.org/conferences/s2006/index.php for more information.
NOFA Organic Lawn and Turf Course New Haven, CT. 8:30 - 5:00 Topics Include: Why Organic?; Site Analysis; Soil Fertility & Health, Soil Amendments, Compost; Cultural Practices; Pests, Weeds, Diseases, Insects; Your choice of the following tracks: Lawns (residential or commercial) OR Sports Fields and Turf; Outdoor Demonstrations. COST Includes coffee, handbook, lunch: $145 for 1st person from firm or town, $120 for each additional person. This course is worth 4 AOLCP Credits. Pesticide Applicator Credits Available. REGISTER ONLINE! Contact Bill Duesing at 203-888-5146 email@example.com for more information. http://www.ctnofa.org/OrganicLandCare/turf.phphttp://www.ctnofa.org/OrganicLandCare/turf.php
Taste! Organic Connecticut. Topmost Herb Farm, Coventry, CT. 10:00 – 4:00 Music, Food, Children’s Activities, Workshops, Craft and Farmers Markets. Rain or Shine. $5 Admission. No Pets Please. For more information on the events and menu, go to http://www.ctnofa.org/events/Taste/taste.php
Other Items of Interest:
July 11 - 12
NY Fingerlakes Dairy Tour Tuesday, July 11, 6 AM – Wednesday July 12, ? PM , sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension, Washington County, NY Eight farms visited - meet bus at Latham, NY Exit 6, Rte 87 – Walmart (near Albany) $175-220/ person includes bus and lodging for one night (Monday night stay in Latham (??) on your own)- see tour info on the back
July 13-14, & 15
Grass-Fed Beef and Dairy Seminar , Hardwick, MA www.bakewellrepro.com Seminar with Doug Gunnink, consultant for grass-fed beef and dairies across the country Saturday, 9-4 PM - Field day to learn about grass quality/ cattle quality/ tools to measure. Sponsored by the Bakewell Repro Center and Hardwick Beef –call Allison 413-477-6500
Basics of Frame Construction Old-Style Life Skills Series' Builder/Instructor Chris Alvey Raise your consciousness - and a porch, while you're at it! Join Motherhouse founder Debra Tyler and sustainable builder Chris Alvey for three weekend workshops on the fundamentals of frame construction in Cornwall, CT. Participants will learn the language of the trade, safe use of hand and power tools and participate in the contruction of an honest-to-god porch. For more information about this and other Old-Style Life Skills workshops, contact Debra Tyler at firstname.lastname@example.org or (860) 672 0229.
Least –Cost Rations for Dairy Farms 7 PM, Windham County Extension Center, 139 Wolf Den Rd., Brooklyn, CT. Dr. John Ferry, DVM, has been working with CT dairy farms to save on ration costs. Sponsored by Tufts-New England Ambulatory Clinic, Woodstock, CT
Watson Farm Pasture Walk 10 AM – 4 PM, 455 North Rd., Jamestown, RI www.localharvest.org/farms/M12591 $10 for lunch – RSVP and directions (1-401-423-0005) - Growing and marketing grass-fed cattle – Ridge Shinn & Michael Gourlay, Hardwick Beef - USDA processing for retail meat sales-Don Minto, ‘Conanicut Island Grass Fed’ beef/lamb - Pasture/ hay quality for highest rates of gain-Joyce Meader, UConn Cooperative Extension
A WONDERFUL JULY TOUR AND SEMINAR ABOUT: SOLAR ELECTRICITY SOLAR HOT WATER ACTIVE AND PASSIVE SOLAR HEATING! (rain or shine) Time: 1:00 - 3:00 Talcott Mountain Science Center, Avon,CT (A map will be sent to ticket holders) $15.00 per person *huge new grid-connected photovoltaic installation (122 Sharp panels) *fascinating readouts and monitoring (see www.tmsc.org/gt3) *passive solar heating *solar domestic water heating *active solar heating *south window overhang, wind screening, insulated thermal mass, instantaneousous hot water, greenhouse, airlock entry, fuel cell models *Prius cars and a "Twike" (an electric/human-powered commuter car) *discussion, question period and explanation of the technologies and the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund Solar Rebate Program Please send your check to: PACE, c/o Donna Burkhardt, 6 Bel Air Lane, Canton, CT 06019 and include your name, address, phone, email and the money.
GET YOUR GOAT, Mountain Brook Dairy Southbury, Connecticut Visit with live goats and their keepers. Discuss their care, feeding, fencing, and how to get started keeping goats whether for milk, meat, fiber, or pleasure. Advance registration required - email@example.com.
Conservation Grazing Workshop for Invasive Plant Management, 9:00 AM – 1:30 PM, www.hort.uconn.edu/cipwg The Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group is one of the Co-sponsors for this event. Conservation Grazing Workshop Patriot’s Park Lodge, 124 Lake Street, Coventry, CT 06238 (by Coventry Lake) The workshop is free and open to the public. All who are interested in invasive plant control but want to minimize the use of chemicals, or have not had success using other control methods, are invited to attend. The workshop will include presentations on the use of sheep, Exmoor ponies, and goats that graze invasive plants as a means of control, including multiflora rose, bittersweet, barberry, and buckthorn. An introductory talk on invasive plants and their alternatives will also be presented. Conservation grazing for control of invasive plants is a relatively new topic with growing interest from people who want to control these invaders. The farmer/lecturers at this workshop are not academic experts and will be speaking about conservation grazing from their own experience.
Fall Harvests Festival with Patty Klinedienst
Regional Policy Summit: “Regionalism: A Commitment to Place” Presented by NESAWG and the Northeast Ag Works! project. The Summit will take place in conjuction with NESAWG's annual meeting. The event will be held at the Marriott/BWI Hotel and Conference Center, located next to the Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport (10 minutes south of Baltimore). The conference will draw policy makers, advocates and educators from the NESAWG region Maine to West Virginia. firstname.lastname@example.org www.nesawg.org www.northeastagworks.org P.O. Box 11, Belchertown, MA 01007 phone/fax 413-323-9878 email@example.com
back to top
Increased Funding for Organic Transition Program
Just wanted to let you all know that the Holt/DeFazio/Kind/Leach amendment to increase funding for the Organic Transition Program, to raise it from 1.8 million to $5 million, just passed on the floor of the House of Representatives. We should definitely send thank you messages to Congressmen Holt of NJ, DeFazio of Oregon, Kind of WI, and Leach of IA, who were the sponsors of this amendment. It passed by a voice vote, so there was no recorded vote.
Governor Rell signed the School Nutrition Bill
The Governor signed the School Nutrition Bill into LAW last Friday!!! Congratulations to every one for your great work – it happened because of each and every one of us….All those phone calls, lobbying and collective positive thoughts!
CT DEP Newsletter Available
The summer issue of the Connecticut DEP's Pollution Prevention newsletter, P2 View, is now available by clicking on the following link: http://www.dep.state.ct.us/wst/p2/p2View/p2viewsummer06.pdf Read how a Connecticut state park is feeding the hungry, find out about recently passed legislation that will help prevent pollution, and learn ways to relieve your grass pains. The Recycling Roundup has tips on what you should be putting in your bin and an update on camels in our state with a mania for recycling. And don’t forget to check out Ask Eartha as she answers a reader’s question on what to do with an old computer.
Farm Program Pays $1.3 Billion to People Who Don't Farm
Nationwide, the federal government has paid at least $1.3 billion in subsidies for rice and other crops since 2000 to individuals who do no farming at all, according to an analysis of government records by The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/01/AR2006070100962.html?nav=hcmodule
Pesticide Industry Influenced EPA's Policy Allowing Testing on Children
The Bush administration approved the new chemical testing rules that would allow children to be exposed to pesticides after agrochemical industry lobbyists met with government officials in a closed session, according to notes from the meeting (1) obtained by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Crop Life America and Bayer Crop Life Science representatives met with Office of Management and Budget and Environmental Protection Agency officials in August of 2005, one month before the EPA announced its new policy on human testing. The current policy, which went into effect this January, states that "all third-party intentional dosing research on pesticides involving children and pregnant women intended for submission to EPA is banned." The meeting notes from August show former top EPA official and current chemical company lobbyist, James Aidala, wrote, "Some workers may legally be children..." referring to pesticide dosing which would be unintentional, and therefore acceptable under the administration's policy. The EPA rules "also allow chemical testing on children if it is not a pesticide, or if it is a pesticide being tested for reasons other than registration," said Jeff Ruch, PEER Executive Director. Integrity in Science Watch, June 5, 2006, http://www.cspinet.org
SUCCESSFUL LAWSUIT FORCES EPA TO PHASE OUT DANGEROUS PESTICIDE
A lawsuit filed by the United Farmworkers of America against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has forced the agency to begin phasing out a highly toxic organophosphate pesticide that has contaminated food and poisoned farmworkers. The pesticide, azinphos-methyl ("AZM"), is used on a variety of food crops, including potatoes, cranberries, and peaches. AZM is a highly toxic neurotoxin derived from nerve agents used during World War II. In 2001, the EPA found that AZM posed unacceptable risks to farmworkers, but due to industry pressure, the agency kept it on the market. "This pesticide has put thousands of workers at risk of serious illness every year," said Erik Nicholson of the United Farmworkers of America. The EPA will phase out AZM over the next four years. Read the whole story at: http://www.organicconsumers.org/2006/article_748.cfm
back to top
Phillies Bridge Farm Project seeks two interns
Work on organic CSA farm near New Paltz, NY, starting now until October/November. One Educator/Farm Intern will split their time between teaching education programs and farm work, one Farm Intern will focus on farming. Housing (for one intern or a couple) and stipends provided. Education work involves teaching three weeks of summer day camp, fall school programs, and educational programs for low income families receiving free produce from the farm. Farm work involves assisting with mixed vegetable production on about 5 1/2 acres. The majority of the produce is grown for the farm's CSA (community supported agriculture) with a percentage sold to local restaurants and donated to local assistance agencies. The internship will expose you to the farm's educational and outreach programs and the daily rhythms and maintenance necessary on our 65-acre property, which includes a nature trail, woodland and pasture. You will be involved in plant propagation in the greenhouse (seeding, watering, disease monitoring, potting up), field work (direct seeding, transplanting, hand weeding, cultivating, seed saving, pest and disease control, irrigation, and harvesting), care of livestock (feeding, sheltering, moving fences), produce delivery (to CSA drop-sites, restaurants or local charities), and general farm maintenance (pruning trees, building compost piles, perennial landscaping, constructing and repairing fences and buildings, clearing the nature trail). You will also learn about crop scheduling, harvest management, farm equipment care and use, local marketing and sales, and CSA distribution. We will attempt to expose you as much as possible to the decision-making that goes on at the farm, so that over time you will develop an understanding of the behind the scenes processes as well as the hands-on elements of small-scale vegetable production. We will also schedule visits to other local farms and time for discussing some of the practical concepts of sustainable agriculture. You will work closely with the two farmers and the other interns, and assist in supervising the work of volunteers.
Phillies Bridge Farm Project provides hands-on experience in organic vegetable production and training in sustainable agriculture practices. The Project also provides school children, local youth, CSA members and the general public with opportunities to learn about and participate in local food production. The farm is committed to agriculture that is ecologically sound, community-oriented and economically viable. To Apply: Send letter, resume, and names and phone numbers of 3 references to: Farmers, 45 Phillies Bridge Road, New Paltz, NY 12561 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Call (845) 256-9108 for more information.
Audubon is seeking a Center Director
For the Audubon Center at Bent of the River in Southbury, Connecticut. To review the position description, please go to http://www.audubon.org/nas/hr/job/center_dir-ct.html . Please feel free to forward this announcement to any one you know who might have an interest in this position. Resumes and cover letters should be sent to my attention at the address listed below. Carolyn Hughes, Deputy Director
Audubon Connecticut, 185 East Flat Hill Road, Southbury, Connecticut 06488, phone: 203 264-5098, fax: 203 264-6332, email: email@example.com
WSU Offers Nation's First College Major in Organic Agriculture.
Washington State University has won Board approval to offer the nation's first college major in organic agriculture. Following approval, the University set up a 3-acre organic farm near its Pullman campus.
Students in the major will work on the farm as well as the classroom, learning how to plant crops, studying the weed technology involved, learning pest and insect management techniques, as well as developing skills needed to sell the food to local markets. Career opportunities from the new college major beyond the farm also include retail sales and the certification of new organic production. (Northwest Public Radio,
May 30, 2006, http://www.nwpr.org/HomepageArticles/Article.aspx?n=1922
Volunteers Needed for International Coastal Cleanup 2006
International Coastal Cleanup Day will be held on Saturday, September 16 this year, and our shores need your help! This worldwide event was created by the Ocean Conservancy to clean up our beaches, educate the public about the state of our waterways, and determine the sources of marine litter. It has grown to be the largest event in its kind, with Cleanup Coordinators in nearly all U.S. states and territories, and most countries around the world! Save the Sound, a program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, is the CT State Coordinator for this event. We are looking for volunteers to serve as Beach Captains on or around the date of the cleanup. The responsibilities of a Beach Captain include picking a beach to clean, helping to recruit volunteer helpers and instructing them on safety issues and the importance of data cards. Save the Sound will help you recruit volunteers and promote the event, as well as provide trash bags, data cards (to record data about the trash found during your event), first aid kits, and promotional tools like press releases.
September 16th may seem far away, but it is time to begin planning this exciting event now! You may pick any date on or around the officially designated day but when selecting the time for your cleanup, please consider when would be most convenient for your volunteers. If you are interested and would definitely like to volunteer, please email me as soon as possible. Once we receive your information, we will begin to spread the word to recruit volunteers. As we get closer to September, we will send out press releases, post volunteer alerts to our activists, and contact you about the logistics and supplies.
Emily Schaller, CT State ICC Coordinator, Save the Sound, a program of CFE. 18 Reynolds Street, Norwalk, CT 06855. MWF(203) 354.0036. TuTH (203)787-0646ex113. firstname.lastname@example.org www.savethesound.org www.cfenv.org
Sign Up for Clean Energy
Please be sure to sign up for clean energy through your utility if you have not already done so. Demanding more renewable energy will help everything we love and are trying to protect. To sign up, look at www.ctcleanenergyoptions.com. Also try to get your town to sign up! If 100 residents from any town sign up, that community will receive a 1 Kw solar panel for a public building. That will immediately help the town to lower electricity costs. Join the race of towns for this exciting choice. To see how your town is doing, look at www.ctcleanenergy.com/communities
Sandy Hook Organic Farmers Market seeks Vendors
The sandy hook organic farmers market will run Tuesdays from 2pm-6pm June 27th thru Oct 3rd and welcome any new vendors for Info call Mary Fellows @ 203-313-9908 or 203-270-1820
High Demand for Organic Wheatgrass in Fairfield County
We have a great demand for wheatgrass, but no good quality in 3 of our health food stores: Mrs. Greens in both Stamford and Fairfield, Wild Oats in Westport and Organic Market in Westport.
I have had breast cancer (northeast has the greatest breast cancer mortality and the greatest concentration of nuclear reactors, documented by government maps) and need the wheatgrass for my health. I want organic soil grown wheatgrass, with good nourishment in it. Wild Oats tried a new supplier, who appears to be a fraud. The farm is not listed with NOFA NY as the label says, and NOFA NY does not certify hydroponically grown wheatgrass, contrary to what the "Specialty Farms" label states. The general complaint is that the wheatgrass is green-yellow at Organic Market and Mrs. Greens. And Wild Oats previous source through Albert’s (the distributor) would at times deliver "cotton balls" (mold?) in the bottom inch to 2 inches of the wheatgrass. It seems as if the suppliers do not give a damn. A lot of us are taking it for our health and we give a damn. Also, Wild Oats has "organic tomatoes from Mexico" that are tasteless, have no smell and have a poor color. Next to these are "conventional tomatoes from Canada" that smell great and look great. I, however, do not buy food that is not organic. If the conventional look so good from Canada, why would they not get the organic ones there, also? If they think Mexico is cheaper, they do not make a profit on tomatoes that are such poor quality that they do not sell.
We need someone who gives a damn about the produce we get. The organic farmers we see at our farmer's market in New Canaan in the summer are great. But can anyone help with the wheatgrass problem?
I want it daily. I am so busy pursing the nuclear reactor link to cancers (Radiation and Public Health Project, RPHP, www.radiation.org is documenting Strontium-90,SR-90) a nuclear cancer causing emission found in air, water and milk and detected in baby teeth: this is linked to cancers) as we have so many young women and children getting cancers (CT Tumor Registry documents that the 6 towns closest to Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in Waterford, CT have the highest of 12 different cancers in the state. Goat milk is also documenting dangerous levels of SR-90, like the "canary in the mine"), that I would prefer not to have to become a farmer. But, I will grow it myself, rather than continue to buy from a source that does not seem to care about quality. My phone Number is 203-966-8234, I look forward to any help you have to offer. Gail Merrill
Mystic, Connecticut Farmer’s Market
"The Denison Society and the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center at 120 Pequotsepos Road in Mystic would like to invite you to attend a premier Farmers Market on part of the approximately 200 acres that comprise the Society's land holdings on Pequotesepos Road which lies between Jerry Browne and Mistuxet Roads. Starting the first Sunday in June and running until the last Sunday in October, the market will be open from 12:00 until 3:00, just perfect timing for a stop by after church to pick up lunch or dinner.
The market will be held in one of the two 20-acre mowed fields across from the Nature Center. This will put the visitor right in the middle of a very extensive walking trail system which is there for your use and enjoyment. The location will also afford you a chance to visit the Denison Museum and the Nature Center so you can take advantage of the programs and space offered by both facilities. There is just no better place to buy fresh farm raised food, take a hike in the woods or investigate the sunning turtles in the pond." For more information, contact: Craig L. Floyd, 55 Laurence Eleanor St, Stonington, Ct 06378, 860-536-8377, email@example.com
UCONN On-Farm Survey of Disease Risk
On-Farm Survey of Disease Risk Using the Iowa State’s Biological Risk Management survey, UConn Cooperative Extension will visit interested dairy and beef farms who would like to assess and reduce their risks of diseases. Connecticut River Valley Farmworker Health Program Do you have seasonal farm workers, who cultivate, harvest, or prepare crops for market or storage? This program pays for some primary health care services through participating health centers in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Qualified farm workers and their dependents, who do not have health coverage, are eligible for several physician visits, prescription meds, dental, and vision care. Visit the web site www.massleague.org/CRVFHP/english.htm
SARE Farmer Grant Program
The goal of the Farmer grant program is to develop, refine, and demonstrate new sustainable techniques and to explore innovative ideas developed by farmers across the region. Information gained from these farm-based projects may be used to redirect research priorities. To apply, you must be a farmer in the Northeast SARE region. You need not be farming full time, but your operation should have an established crop or animal product that you sell on a regular basis. Nonprofit farms may apply, but the primary activity of the farm must be to produce and sell food under the kinds of economic constraints that affect commercial growers. Many community-supported farms qualify, but farms where the primary mission is educational normally do not. The region is made up of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
A useful guide to developing a Farmer application, with examples and explanations of what makes a strong proposal, is available: How to Write a SARE Farmer Grant Application. To request printed materials and general background about SARE, call 802-656-0471 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Farmer Grant applications must be postmarked by December 22, 2006. Fax and e-mail applications are not acceptable. Send to: Farmer Grants, Northeast Region SARE, 9 Hills Building, 105 Carrigan Drive, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405-0082. To obtain additional copies of the application, and a list of previously funded projects, write us at the above address, or call (802) 656-0471, or email email@example.com.
Small Grants for Watershed Protection - Request for Proposals
Rivers Alliance is happy to announce the fourth round of the Watershed Assistance Small Grants Program. This program is funded in part by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection through a United States Environmental Protection Agency Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint Source Grant. Funding will focus on projects and activities that strengthen river / watershed protection throughout Connecticut, particularly those that address a documented water quality impairment as identified on Connecticut's list of impaired waterbodies, also known as the 303 (d) list. Since we can't send attachments through the leader list, please contact us with your e-mail address if you would like to receive a copy of the RFP and guidelines for 2006. The RFP and guidelines will also be posted on the following websites: http://www.riversalliance.org and http://www.cwcnetwork.org. The deadline for proposals is Friday, August 18, 2006, 5 P.M. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
All the best,
Margaret Miner and Rose Guimaraes
CT's United Voice for River & Watershed Conservation
Rivers Alliance of Connecticut
7 West St., Suite 33, POB 1797
Litchfield, CT 06759
back to top
Sleuthing foodie writer Michael Pollan chats with Grist
Ever wonder where the food on your plate came from? Writer Michael Pollan wondered, and has spent some 15 years finding out, tracing edibles back to their sources and uncovering a stomach-turning web of industrialization, government subsidies, and ignorant, unhealthy eaters. With his writing for The New York Times Magazine and a quartet of books -- the latest is The Omnivore's Dilemma -- Pollan has become a celeb among foodies. He dropped by Grist's office to chat with David Roberts about industrial organic, ubiquitous corn, and the cult of convenience. Read the whole article: http://grist.org/news/maindish/2006/05/31/roberts/?source=daily
On Special at Your Local Supermarket: Moral Choices
People have probably been asking that question since our species developed articulate speech, and the proliferation of cookbooks, recipe columns, food magazines and Web sites is proof of the subject's enduring appeal. Now two books are confronting the question in new ways, describing not just what Americans like to eat but also what we ought to eat, for the sake of body and soul. Each in its own way paints a disturbing picture of how food is produced, transported, marketed and consumed in the United States. In "What to Eat," Marion Nestle, a nutritionist at New York University, focuses on how much food we need, what kind, and how to find it. In "The Way We Eat," Peter Singer, a bioethicist at Princeton, and his co-author, Jim Mason, an animal rights activist, make the case that food choices are ethical choices. Both books are organized around trips to the supermar ket. Read the whole article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/27/health/27book.html?ex=1152417600&en=87691f705eed6bd4&ei=5070
Sudden WetlandsDieback hits Connecticut
MADISON, Conn. — Something is killing New England's salt marshes, and scientists are trying to figure out how large the problem is, and how to stop it. Parts of the marshes, normally teeming with cord grass, fish and birds have turned mud brown and bare of life except for fiddler crabs. "No one recalls seeing anything like this," Ron Rozsa, coastal ecologist with Connecticut's Department of Environmental Protection, told the Day of New London as he surveyed a section of the Oyster River salt marsh in Old Saybrook. "We're talking about a crime scene investigation some forensic ecology, if you will." Scientists are calling the mysterious phenomenon sudden wetlands dieback. http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=10754
BOYCOTT OF HORIZON DAIRY GENERATING NATIONAL PUBLICITY
The Organic Consumers Association's (OCA) call for a boycott of the nation's largest organic dairy brand, Horizon Organic has recently generated stories in the New York Times, USA Today, National Public Radio, and the Associated Press. The media coverage has highlighted the growing backlash by organic consumers against industrial scale dairy feedlots, who are misleadingly labeling their products as "USDA Organic," even though the animals on these factory farms have little or no access to pasture. In addition, most of the cows on these giant feedlots have been imported from conventional dairies, where they were weaned on blood, injected with hormones and antibiotics, and fed genetically engineered grains and slaughterhouse waste. While Horizon sources half of its milk from family farms where the lactating cows do have access to pasture, Aurora Organic, OCA's other major boycott target, gets all of its milk from intensive confinement feedlots. Aurora sells its "organic" milk to supermarket chains including Costco, Safeway, Giant, and Wild Oats, who bottle it under their own private labels. For more information, see the Safeguard Organic Standards section of the OCA website http://www.organicconsumers.org/sos.cfm as well as http://www.organicconsumers.org/2006/article_923.cfm
back to top
NEWS FROM THE SOUTH CENTRAL FARMERS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
Q. Who are the South Central Farmers?
A. The South Central Farmers have been fighting for 3 years to preserve 14 acres of open green space in the middle of South Central Los Angeles. The South Central Farm, located at 41st and Alameda Streets in South Los Angeles, is thought to be the largest community farm in the United States. This land was originally mitigated to the community by Mayor Bradley after the 1992 uprisings. In the last 14 years this community has benefited by having access to fresh and healthy produce. A majority of these products are not available in local or major produce markets. Additionally, the farm provides access to many meso-american traditional plants that are used for medicinal purposes. The community is composed of 350 families and the surrounding community that benefits from this space.
Q. How does preserving the South Central Farm help with Open Green Space?
A. This is a unique opportunity to eliminate park poverty in this highly urbanized, blighted and semi-industrial neighborhood. This site is a singular opportunity to make permanent and public the community and cultural benefits of the green oasis created by 350 families over the years as they continue to grow healthy fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants to supplement their food budgets. This urban garden, once purchased, will remain open space for generations to come. Normal park space is 1.5 acres for every 1000 people and South Central gets only about 0.35 acres for every 1000 people.
Q. How does preserving the South Central Farm help with Air Quality?
A. The community of South Central bears the highest level of soot pollution from the Alameda Corridor and the Port of Los Angeles. The diesel trucks, ship, and locomotives surround this impoverished community and they are asked to bear the burden of the pollution. These 14 acres represent the lungs of South Central Los Angeles. They act as a carbon sink that absorbs the pollution. This lessens the incidents of asthma in young children. Spaces like this are needed not only to make the city of Los Angeles more livable but also to reduce CO2 and other green house gases in the atmosphere. This is done through the massive vegetation growth.
Q. How does preserving the South Central Farm help with Quality and Diversity of Food?
A. It is no secret that those who are impoverished suffer the greatest from malnutrition and access to high quality produce. This community project has been acting as a safety net not only for those people who work the land but also the surrounding community. The South Central Farmers subsidize the food supply for the surrounding community. The community has a place where they can come and acquire higher quality produce than is available through the liquor stores in these communities. The bio-diversity is in the area of 100-150 different varieties of plants as documented by Dr. Pe�a, Anthropologist from the University of Washington. Heirlooms seeds are used that have been fostered for many generations.
Q. How does preserving the South Central Farm help with Quality of Life?
A. A space like this offers a real improvement to the jungle of warehouses that currently exist in South Central Los Angeles. People in this community live in high density housing and their well-being is impacted. A space like this one offers an opportunity for families; grandparents, parents, and children to co-habitat in an activity that engenders transmission of healthy family values. A majority of our constituents are senior citizens who still feel a need to provide for their extended families. The next group is single mothers with children. They see the importance in having access to spaces like this. It improves their health and the quality of their children’s lives.
Q. How does preserving the South Central Farm help with water quality?
A. This site improves flood control as one of the few large contiguous permeable parcels in the Alameda Corridor. It increases local water supplies through rainwater infiltration, enhancing groundwater recharge. It provides green space in an area with low park acreage per capita. It could improve water quality by reducing Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) from an industrial zone by providing space for treatment wetlands. Provides potential stream day lighting opportunities on both the west and east side of the property, where storm drains currently run, giving residents in a part of the watershed that is not immediately adjacent to the LA River a direct experiential connection and understanding of the importance of pollution prevention and clean waterways.
Q. Did Mr. Horowitz win his right to the South Central Farm in court?
A. No. In the original suit against the city (BC272571 LIBAW HOROWITZ INVESTMENT COMPANY VS CITY LOS ANGELES ET AL), Judge W. Crispo ruled 3 times against Horowitz, stating that he did not have a case against the city. Mr. Horowitz was able to obtain interest in this property through a back room deal that was cut between himself and the city of Los Angeles in June 3, 2003. Even after Judge W. Crispo ruled three times against Horowitz, the city officials conceded to give the land back to Horowitz for a mere 5.1 million dollars, a cut rate considering that in 1994 it had been sold for 13.3 Million dollars. Legal ownership of the SCF is not yet established, and awaits the outcome of cases currently pending in court. It is the position of the SCF that Mr. Horowitz cannot be considered the legal owner of the property and that legal ownership of the land will not be established until all court challenges have been ruled upon. Mr. Horowitz is not within his rights as �owner� of the property, and it is the position of the SCF that the sale of the city land to Mr. Horowitz was illegal. Mr. Horowitz is only one of several stakeholders with an interest in the land, and it is the position of the farm that � in keeping with established legal norms � the interests of the City and its people outweigh his individual interests. Until Mr. Horowitz establishes his right to the land he is owed nothing, neither rent, taxes, nor the �gratitude� he seeks. His interests are counter to the interests of the public.
Q. Why wasn’t a deal actually made even though the money has been raised?
A. Mr. Horowitz said he would sell us the land if we raised $16.3 million. The money was raised but he refused to sell.
Q. I hear Horowitz pays $25,000 per month for the land.
A. He makes a mortgage payment of $25,000 per month. However, during the two months under negotiation with the Trust for Public Land, the City of Los Angeles paid Horowitz’s mortgage as part of his required agreement to negotiate. This happened mid-March to mid-May 2006.
Q. Why don’t the farmers pay rent?
A. During 12 of the 14 years the farmers tended the land it was city property, dedicated as a community farm. The South Central Farmers paid all of the costs for maintaining the property including water, plumbing and any land maintenance. Only after the illegal sale back to Horowitz in 2003 did they work on the land when he owned it. There was a court injunction from March 2004 through April 2006 maintaining the original agreements with the city. After the injunction was repealed Mr. Horowitz never asked for rent.
Q. Why is the community garden in Watts not a solution to relocate the farmers?
A. This piece of land is not a viable solution for the families. The site is far from most of the farming families and is underneath large power lines. It has been determined by Dr. Pe�a from the University of Washington, that high voltage power lines are linked to cancer. The city said that they had enough room for everyone, but last year the city took 30 families on a plot where they said they would take 80 families. The city stopped at 30 and they wouldn’t take any more because they said it was too much money for them to operate. They now claim that they are re-opening this project as of June 13. Additionally, to engage in conversation about other properties at this time is to admit defeat. We are committed to buying the South Central Farm and leaving a legacy for all Angelenos.
Q. Why have people gotten arrested?
A. Since 2003, the community has been engaging all avenues of interacting with the City of Los Angeles including community hearings, city council meetings, talking with neighbors and requesting conflict mediation with the developer, Mr. Horowitz. In 2003 our final option was to pursue a legal avenue and raise awareness through civil disobedience.
Q. Has conflict mediation been pursued?
A. The farmers have offered conflict mediation to Mr. Horowitz. We remain hopeful that he will meet us with a neutral third party and discuss the sale of the property.
Q. How many farmers were arrested during the eviction on June 13?
Q. How many were arrested:
Q. How much was their bail?
A. For the 15 people who were inside the farm property there was no bail, they were held and released. For the protesters who were outside the property and refused to disperse it was $5,000 per person
Q. Did the farmers and supporters picket the mayors house every night?
A. No, the civil disobedience at the Mayors house has often been initiated by groups other than the South Central Farmers. Upon a few occasions, this exercise of constitutional rights was practiced, but no more than 4-5 times.
Q. What is the recent purchasing history of the farm?
A. Mr. Horowitz re-purchased the 14 acres in 2003 in an illegal, private deal for $5 million when its market value was actually $15-20 million. At this time, the community was concerned that the deal did not include due process. For the past three years we have been asserting our rights of due process (article 14 of the U.S. Constitution, City Charter, and Administrative Code) in order to ensure that taxpayers� rights are not violated by this illegal re-purchase. This is the issue that is going to trial on July 12.
Q. What is the outcome you want from the July 12 Lawsuit?
A. We are hopeful that our cause of action will prevail and nullify the sale to Mr. Horowitz in 2003. The land would go back to the public domain and the community would get an opportunity to create a sustainable multi-use facility for the community that will include community farms.
Q. Tell me more about the anti-Semitism you are being accused of.
A. The South Central Farm has always been welcoming to all faiths and spiritual traditions. We are in solidarity with rabbis, reverends, ministers and other religious leaders who have come to pray with us at the farm. But the best proof of our tolerance is the encampment inside the farm prior to the Tuesday June 13 eviction. All ages, races and religions came together to take a principled stand to protect this green oasis.
Q. Have farmers been asked to leave the farm?
A. Yes. Some farmers have lost their privilege to farm at 41st and Alameda. Some have left seeking retreat from the so-called �political theatre�, yet they have been among the most vocal around this issue. They represent less than 10% of the total number of Farmers. They lost their privilege through established process for violating farm rules established by the previous administration and new ones adopted by the general membership of the South Central Farmers. These violations have included share-cropping, sexual harassment of women, verbal abuse of other membership, physical assault on the elected leadership, corruption, nepotism, cronyism, and falsification of records. The Farm’s elected leaders and representatives follow strict protocols and are strictly accountable members of a highly defined organizational structure. Charges of authoritarianism on the Farm are unwarranted and based on recriminations from those who broke the democratically established rules of the Farm.
Navajo says evictions of farmers from urban farm sends a message
LOS ANGELES - Indigenous and others who have been growing food in downtown Los Angeles' South Central Farm for a decade, faced off with sheriff's deputies as they were evicted to make room for a warehouse. Actress Daryl Hannah and others climbed into a walnut tree or chained themselves to concrete-filled barrels and were arrested. Klee Benally, Navajo from Arizona, was at South Central Farm and said the creation of this oasis - an urban garden - and the arrests and evictions should send a signal to Indian country and the nation.
''The South Central Farm is an environmental and cultural oasis in the midst of Los Angeles. Many of the farmers who have been cultivating the fields that I met there are indigenous peoples from Central America,'' Benally told Indian Country Today. ''For years prayers have been offered on this land; there were visible altars and many herbs for healing. I offered my prayers as well.''
It is believed to be the nation's largest urban garden, where corn, squash and nopal cactus were among the crops growing in abundance - enough to feed families. Preparing for the sheriff's raid, families cooked nopales quesadillas and listened to a Norteno band play. To read the whole story, go to: http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096413162
back to top