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Policy

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.

 

 

Forget tomatoes and microgreens. Cannabis is about to enter the Massachusetts marketplace, and according to some estimates it’s poised to become a $1.1 billion industry within just a few years. That would mean cannabis alone would exceed the entire total market value of all Massachusetts agricultural products (which comes in at just shy of $500 million).

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

 

After many years spent talking about changing light bulbs and utilizing energy-efficient vehicles, policy makers are finally waking up to the importance of the humble soil microbe in humanity’s efforts to keep the climate from becoming as erratic as a rickety rollercoaster. At this point, many climate action leaders and soil scientists acknowledge that agricultural (mis)management is a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, but until recently, no state or federal agency was willing to tackle this problem head on.

This year that is finally changing. Over this past year, as advocacy groups, scientists, and reporters have become more openly vocal about the importance of healthy soils, politicians in multiple states have heeded the call. First, California passed a law creating the “Healthy Soils Initiative”, which provides $7.5 million for efforts to “protect and restore soil organic matter” along with a host of other services.

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

 

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