Sunday, July 27, 2014

Don't let 'big ag' take our right to farm
Ruell Chappell 4:40 p.m. CDT July 23, 2014

Ruell Chappel

The late 1950s and '60s saw a huge migration from the family farm to the cities.

We wanted to work 9 to 5 and wear nice clothes.

We also wanted someone else to grow our food and process, deliver and market it.

Many corporations stepped up and gave that to us in spades.

The problem was that these same corporations decided they not only wanted the business, but needed to make sure they kept the business.

To this end, they bought up local manufacturing and processing businesses and closed them.

Since then, our communities have been in an ever-steepening spiral on food security, economic prosperity, job growth and food prices.

In their zeal to not only own your food, but own it forever, both foreign and domestic industrial agricultural corporations have created and support the nuclear option of Amendment 1 (also known as the Right to Farm amendment).

It is the largest land and power grab I have ever witnessed.

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Feds Failing To Act On Antibiotic Resistance Despite Grave Threat, Health Advocates Warn


Lynne Peeples Headshot


Public health advocates are fuming over a new court ruling that they say could hasten the coming of the next pandemic.

In a 2-1 decision released Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration need not consider banning the use of antibiotics in healthy food-producing animals.

"We believe that this decision allows dangerous practices known to threaten human health to continue," said Avinash Kar, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Adding antibiotics to farm animals' feed, day after day, is not what we should be doing. It's not what the doctor ordered and it should not be allowed."

In March 2012, a federal court ruled that the FDA must act on scientific knowledge that the overuse of antibiotics in animals raised for food has contributed to the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections in humans. That decision came in response to a lawsuit filed by the NRDC concerning findings made by the FDA back in 1977. Feeding livestock low doses of penicillin and most tetracyclines, the agency had concluded, might pose a risk to human health. The FDA never acted on or retracted those findings.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Local, Healthy Food's Growing Support Told In Video Series

Farmers, Food Consumers Document What Sustainability Means To Michigan
Media Contact: Gail Philbin,, 312-493-2384

Lansing, Mich. As farmers markets kick into high gear this month, Michigan food consumers and farmers are voicing support for locally grown food and sustainable agriculture in Michigan and putting it into their own words and stories in a new video series available at

Michiganders from all walks of life discuss why meat, dairy, poultry and eggs that are locally grown under humane conditions are important to them, their communities and local economies in a series of one-minute video testimonials produced by the  Less=More sustainable agriculture coalition. The coalition is also asking people to contribute their own food stories to the series.  For more information on submitting a testimonial, email:

Jill Johnson and Mary Wills of Crane Dance Farm in Middleville will kick off the series with the release of their testimonial via Less=Mores Twitter account, @MoreforMichigan, and on its Facebook page. Jill, who studied agriculture in college, says "What I learned about our food system scared me and I knew at that point that if I was going to eat, I probably had to grow food. It's been a long journey to Crane Dance Farm."
Mary adds, "We've seen so many small farms go under because nobody subsidizes us. It's really very hard to be able to do what we do .Less=More is vital for the voice of the small farmer."

Crane Dance Farm is a member of Less=More, a sustainable agriculture coalition tackling the inequity of the subsidy system that favors polluting factory farms over safe, sustainable livestock farms at the expense of the environment and public health. In 2013, the coalition released a report, Restoring the Balance to Michigans Farming Landscape, that explores the relationship between Farm Bill subsidies and factory farm pollution in Michigan. To download Restoring the Balance, visit: . 

The number of farmers markets in Michigan has grown from around 90 in 2001 to more than 300 today, according to the Michigan Farmers Market Associations website. This proliferation of markets as well as Community Supported Agriculture farms (CSAs) in Michigan is evidence of a growing demand from consumers for locally grown, healthy food.

And the passionate response of consumers and farmers to the Less=More testimonial series indicates that buying local food isnt a passing fad. Western Michigan University student Erin Denay, the series producer, has been collecting farmer and consumer videos throughout the month of June during trips to farmers markets and other locations in Frankenmuth, Kalamazoo, Boyne City, Lansing, Grand Rapids and other Michigan communities.

I am so happy to be part of the Less=More campaign, says Denay, a senior majoring in environmental and sustainability studies. I have learned so much about the support that small-scale sustainable farmers need. Particularly, it has made me more appreciative of the local farmers where I live who share my values and help give me more choices as a consumer."

At the Kalamazoo Farmers Market, Denay captured the thoughts of  several consumers and farmers, including Joseph Battistella of Sunshine Silo Farm, who says, "Smaller farmers are used to doing what they can with what they have so any sort of help like tax dollars can go a very long way on a small farm. See the full Sunshine Silo Farm testimonial here:

Less=More is comprised of national, state and local organizations and farmers, including: Beery Farms of Michigan, LLC, the Center for Food Safety, Crane Dance Farm, LLC, ELFCO Food Cooperative, Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan, Food & Water Watch, Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council, Groundswell Farm, Zeeland, Humane Society of the United States, Michigan Small Farm Council, Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition, Michigan Voices for Good Food Policy, Michigan Young Farmers Coalition, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter and Socially Responsible Agricultural Project. 

Less=More is made possible in part by support from the Irwin Andrew Porter Foundation.

Less support for polluting factory farms means a more sustainable Michigan.  For more information, visit,   

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Virus Plagues the Pork Industry, and Environmentalists

The bodies are piling up fast.

A deadly virus, porcine epidemic diarrhea, or PEDv, is estimated to have killed, on average, more than 100,000 piglets and young hogs each week since it first showed up in Iowa in May 2013, wreaking havoc on the pork industry.  More ...

An aerial photograph taken in February showing hog carcasses at a farm in North Carolina.CreditRick Dove/Waterkeeper Alliance