The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. NOFA/Mass welcomes everyone who cares about food, where it comes from and how it’s grown

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GMOs

Seeds

For the backyard gardener, a seed catalog can be an exciting resource full of opportunities that cast visions of gorgeous rare plants thriving in your garden and previously undiscovered vegetables that astound your taste buds. But where did these unique seeds come from and why does it matter?

There are different terminologies that are thrown around and each one carries with it an understanding of how plants reproduce and ultimately the way that they are controlled.

gmo labels

It’s here: Public Comments needed on Federal “GMO labeling” scheme

It may feel like ancient history, but our members might remember July 2016 when Congress passed and then President Obama signed a federal “GMO labeling” law designed largely by Monsanto and friends to keep consumers in the DARK about what we’re eating and supporting with our food purchases.

Rep Jim McGovern speaks at press conference, August 2016

The Massachusetts Legislature adjourned just after midnight on August 1, concluding their formal business for the 2015-2016 legislative session. Members will continue to meet in informal session until the end of the year, where typically only non-controversial matters are voted upon.

Lunch-In for Labeling GMOs on June 8 at MA State House

As we prepare to send you this update, just a few days before the historic Vermont GMO labeling law implements, attempts to shut down the Vermont law (and laws in Alaska, Maine, Connecticut, along with bills pending in state legislatures like Massachusetts) are moving quickly at the federal level. Senators Roberts and Stabenow have introduced a new bill that is nothing more than an industry-sponsored attempt to keep Americans in the DARK about what we are eating.

Group gathered at 2016 Winter Conference

This year NOFA/Mass’s Winter Conference convened the first ever summit of grassroots activists and organizers to discuss Massachusetts’s pending GMO labeling bill (H3242). The gathering brought together a consortium of farmers, consumer advocates, and interested citizens who are concerned about the risks and lack of transparency associated with genetic engineering of our foods.

Greens grown in mid-January in unheated greenhouse at Clay Bottom Farm

Our new online workshop series, “Inspiring Ideas from Experts in the Field,” attempts to make quality education easily accessible to all. On the last Tuesday of every month anyone can call or go online to join a one-hour workshop focused on farm management issues. Remote learning will never surpass the value of on-farm, in-person workshops, but our online series removes the added burdens of travel time and cost, increasing the likelihood of participation from beginning and experienced farmers alike.

What happened with the salmon?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s approval of the genetically modified AquAdvantage salmon in November marks the first time a genetically engineered (GE) animal has been approved for human consumption as food. This Atlantic salmon has been engineered to reach market size more quickly than non-GE, farm-raised Atlantic salmon.

The bill to require labeling of most foods containing GMOs sold in Massachusetts, H. 3242, will be heard by the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture on September 22, 2015 at 1pm. The fact that we have 154 legislative sponsors among the members of a 200-person legislature (both houses!) seems to have persuaded the powers that be on Beacon Hill that this is a popular cause. They have given us Gardner Auditorium for the hearing, the largest room available to the legislature. That is the hall in the basement of the State House which seats 600.

The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that 70 percent of all antibiotics administered in the US are used as feed or water additives for pigs, poultry and cattle for the non-therapeutic purposes of growth promotion and general prevention of disease. Many doctors and medical associations have expressed concern that this widespread use of antibiotics in livestock production – not for promotion of health but simply to encourage faster growth – is a dangerous practice.

As you no doubt have heard, organic food is continuing to enjoy a spectacular growth in the American marketplace. It went up over 11% last year and now accounts for more than 5% of the US food market. Organic products have been called the “fastest-growing” consumer food trend in modern history.

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