From the Executive Director
A Window of Opportunity
We have an exciting and important Window of Opportunity now in Connecticut to make big advances in our work to, in the words of CT NOFA's mission, "Encourage the growth of a sustainable, regional food system that is ecologically sound, economically viable and socially just."
Whether you start from the top with a Governor who "gets it" (in the words of long time CT NOFA member Terry Jones, with "it" meaning the importance of agriculture and its role in economic development and in good nutrition for our kids), or from the increasing number of grassroots groups and thousands of people who not only "get it" but are actively working for a sustainable, just and ecological food system, it is clear that we are nearing a tipping point and therefore have a great Window of Opportunity to create real change.
After 30 years of this work, it is wonderful to have so many allies. Grassroots organizations are creating farms in most of Connecticut’s cities. A new Farms Food and Jobs working group is leading an effort to find strategies to increase the amount of Connecticut Grown food consumed here. The Rockfall Foundation is sponsoring a Food and Sustainability Symposium on October 13 and Central Connecticut State University is doing one next spring.
Poultry producers are working on a mobile processing unit. We get calls from people wanting to start farms and help their towns become more farm friendly.
Green Village Initiative is in the process of building a garden at every Bridgeport school. They have already created one in every school in Ridgefield.
The Nation magazine just published a special food issue with essays from Frances Moore Lappe, who first introduced many of us to the connections between diet, human and environmental health and justice with Diet for a Small Planet 40 years ago.
This month there is an World Food Day on October 16 and a United States Food Day on October 24. Both are worth supporting with local activities.
Of course the biggies of Industrial Agriculture are fighting back with big bucks. See this article.
Labeling Food from Genetically Modified Organisms
We also have a window of opportunity to pass a law requiring food made with Genetically modified organisms (LINK to arguments) to be labeled. Representative Richard Roy, the co-chair of the Legislature's Environment Committee has made it a priority. He'll be the keynote speaker at our Annual Meeting (and pot luck) on October 29 in New Haven.
Imagine the change in people's thinking about food when the 75 percent of packaged food in the supermarket says "Contains ingredients from Genetically Modified Organisms." Imagine when the wrapper of every hamburger or box of nuggets says “This meat is from animals that ate Genetically Modified grains., or each can of soda says sweetener and other ingredients made from GMO corn.
It seems like those labels should give a big boost to real, local and organic food.
If GMOs are as great as their corporate promoters say, they should be proud to say so. But with super weeds, newly created GMOs that are resistant to three different herbicides, and insects resistant to the pesticide containing corn, we see that the whole concept behind GMOs is very flawed.
If the supporters of this legislation are to be successful, they need lots of support from the public. So, talk to your friends, call up your legislator and plant the seeds that we can nourish through next spring when the legislature will be considering this issue.
Let us know if you’d like to be part of our Label GMO activist network.
The rains that Hurricane Irene brought to this region had devastating effects on many farms. I’ve heard of four certified organic farms and a Farmers Pledge farm that suffered serious damage from flooding. I suspect there are others.
This is even more reason to be supportive of our farms and farmers. I hope farmers will contact us if there is something we can do.
Next week we will send out our first quarterly newsletter to the emerging Connecticut School Garden Network. If you’d like to be part of this growing educational network, sign up on our web site.
Of course the titans (link to list) of the Industrial Food System have noticed and are fighting back with big bucks (link to web site and Times story).
CT NOFA would like you to join us and support our work.