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

Growing Organically Since 1982

Policy

Civil Eats

We’ve compiled this list of stories to help keep you up to date on issues impacting food and farming.

The integrity of the USDA Organic label has been taking some major hits lately. In November, prompted by farm-state Members of Congress and agrochemical/biotech corporations, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the withdrawal of the GMO labeling rule (as weak as it was) put in place under the Obama Administration. A little later in the month the Department of Agriculture also announced a decision to further delay the implementation of the final rule for the long-awaited standards on animal welfare for organic livestock operations.

pesticide free zone

Thomas Jefferson once wrote that “the government closest to the people serves the people best.” Had he lived into the 21st century, he would assuredly have been appalled by the distance between the American citizen and the policies that directly affect their life and well-being. A few weeks ago, the citizens of Warwick, Massachusetts took one small, but significant step toward collapsing that dangerous distance.

In an effort to protect the townspeople from the increasingly well-known health impacts of glyphosate, a popular herbicide, the citizens of Warwick passed an ordinance that bans glyphosate use on public and private land. The effort was led by Selectman Lawrence “Doc” Pruyne, a retired reporter who’s resided in Warwick for six years.

Photograph by Joe Raedle, Getty

We’ve compiled this list of stories to help keep you up to date on issues impacting food and farming.

 

 

Rows of hydroponically grown crops, should they be considered Organic?

Harvest season is just about finished, but the season of policy-making is in full swing now that Summer is over. While the news cycle continues to be dominated by Trump’s latest foibles and scandals, we continue to work on the issues that impact our local food and farm ecosystems. Here’s a run-down of what we’re focusing on and how you can get involved.

 

Immagrant farm workers harvesting sweet potatos (photo creadit USDA & Lance Cheung)

Five years ago, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was initiated as a temporary measure to protect individuals who came to this country as children from deportation. DACA allows recipients to attend school and apply for employment authorization. It has provided hard-working young people and their families with a measure of stability in lieu of actual reform to the immigration system.

Since 2012 when DACA took effect, recipients’ hourly wages increased by 42 percent. Six percent started their own business (compared to a national average of 3.1 percent), 21 percent purchased their first car, 12 percent purchased their first home, and 90 percent received their driver’s license or a state identification card. These young people are a critical part of our country’s social and economic fabric, particularly in rural areas.

European Parliament Votes to Ban Glyphosate in 28 Countries (photo credit: Campact / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0)

We’ve compiled this list of stories to help keep you up to date on issues impacting food and farming.

 

 

This is the first in a series of interviews with organic heroes from across the Northeast. Since 1984, Dave Chapman has been growing organic tomatoes at his Vermont-based Long Wind Farm. Until recently, he was content to keep his nose to the grind stone. But then, a few years ago, he started to notice something different about the organic tomatoes at all the grocery stores he visited: they were almost all hydroponically grown, and almost all were coming from just a few large companies. Surely, he thought, this must be an oversight, since hydroponics had been banned since 2010. He started petitioning, digging, and talking to figure out what this was all about. The hornet’s nest that he’s since dug up has become one of the most controversial issues in the organic industry. With deep integrity, Dave has been leading the charge to “keep the soil in organic” through rallies, presentations, and public education.

A new study is adding to evidence that a popular class of pesticides can harm wild bees, like bumblebees (Photo Researchers/Getty Images).

We’ve compiled this list of stories to help keep you up to date on issues impacting food and farming.

 

 

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