Learn How You Can Take a Farm Stand
Have you wanted to contact your legislators but felt a little unsure about how to go about it or where to start? Or are you looking to be more involved in farm policy than you have been in the past? Take the next step in standing up for sustainable agriculture and local foods by joining OEFFA for a free advocacy webinar on Monday, September 21 at 6:30 pm. The webinar will explain what advocacy is, why it is so important, and the best ways to engage so that you can be an effective voice for the issues you care most about. For more information and or to register, click here.
DARK Act to Be Introduced in Senate
The August Congressional recess provided a brief reprieve for activity on H.R. 1599, known as the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act. The anti-labeling bill easily passed the U.S. House of Representative and is rumored to be fast tracked in the Senate after legislators return from their summer break on September 8. The bill that passed the House would:
Prohibit states from developing genetically engineered (GE) product labels;
Prevent the federal government from labeling GE food unless there is an identified public health risk; and
Allow meat and dairy products from livestock fed GE grain to be labeled as non-GE, along with products containing GE processing aids, enzymes, and microorganisms.
Contact Senator Brown at (888) 896-6446 and Senator Portman at (800) 205-6446 and tell them you want the right to know what you eat and feed your family! This article from the New England Journal of Medicine provides important background information for your call. The authors argue that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was wrong to approve the new Enlist Duo herbicide (a combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D), and that we need more independent scientific review and GE labeling.
GMO OMG Movie Screening September 19
With the House’s passage of the DARK Act, debate about our right to know what we eat and feed our families is heating up. Now is the time to gather with friends and neighbors, get more information, and take action.
Join OEFFA for a free showing of GMO OMG, a film by director and concerned father Jeremy Seifert. See what happens as he sets out on a journey across the globe to uncover how genetically modified organisms (GMOs) affect our children and the health of our planet. Along the way, he reveals the state of our current industrial food system and we gain insight into a question that is of growing concern to consumers everywhere: What's really on our plate?
Joins us on Saturday, September 19 at 5:30 p.m. at 7240 Cave Rd. in Bainbridge, Ohio. To RSVP, call (937) 365-1330. Limited space is available.
If you’d like to host a GMO OMG screening in your home, let us know by calling (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out this information sheet to learn about hosting a house party.
New Study Finds Wildlife Habitat Near Farms Helps, Not Hurts, Food Safety
The National Academy of Sciences recently published the results of a new study which found that the absence of natural vegetation on farms did not result in a reduction of food pathogens. Farms without natural conservation buffers actually had increased levels of food pathogens. The findings support the co-management provisions which were included in the revised proposed rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). “Co-management” refers to practices that simultaneously achieve conservation goals and reduce pathogen risks on the farm.
To learn more about this important study, read this National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition guest blog post by Joann Baumgartner of the Wild Farm Alliance. The final FSMA preventive controls rule for food facilities is scheduled to be released at the end of this month while the final produce rule is scheduled to be released in October. Stay tuned to OEFFA’s food safety webpage for updates!
Farm to School Funding Bill May See Action This Fall
Farm to school programs have been gaining momentum in Ohio and are a win-win approach to increasing healthy, local food in schools and providing important market outlets for farmers. According to the National Farm to School Network, out of nearly $53 million spent on school food in Ohio during the 2011-2012 school year, school districts invested $5.5 million toward local foods. Approximately one-third of schools in the state are engaged in farm to school efforts. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant programs have been critical in providing the resources to pilot these education, local procurement, and school garden programs.
The Farm to School Act of 2015 is a “marker bill” that will expand upon the successes of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program. The bill is part of the larger Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act and is scheduled to be taken up by Congress in September. Find out more about you can support farm to school funding here.
General Sign-Up for Conservation Stewardship Program Begins
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is an innovative program that provides comprehensive conservation assistance to working farms and offers farmers the opportunity to earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, rotational grazing, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and the transition to organic farming–even while they work their lands for production.
The CSP sign-up period will run from September 1 through November 2. To find out more, contact your local USDA service center. OEFFA’s Sustainable Agriculture Educator, Eric Pawlowski, is available to help farmers and landowners navigate this and other USDA programs. He can be reached at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 209 or email@example.com.
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