“The fear is so deep-rooted that it goes beyond milk powder—food rumors about things such as plastic seaweed and seedless grapes cultivated with birth control medicines frequently send consumers into a tailspin.
There are at least three reasons for the failure to restore people’s confidence in domestic food, notes Huang Yanzhong, a senior fellow for global health at the Council for Foreign Relations in New York.
“It’s very hard to have a strong sense of optimism.”
One is the excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers in the 1980s (pdf, p.3), which has contaminated farmland, and could be transferred to cows that eat that grass. The government has only just started to tackle the problem, Huang said in an interview with Quartz. China also has a top-down regulatory method, which makes it hard for the public to engage with the process, particularly given the lack of press freedom, he says. There is also a general perception of a “moral decline” in China, where people try to make money by whatever means it takes, Huang adds, noting that sometimes even farmers themselves don’t eat what they grow (link in Chinese) for the market….”
Get the full story on Quartz (qz.com).
From Colin Anderson, on Sustain Ontario:
“…Agriculture policy in Manitoba has historically focused on large-scale export commodity production. However, the growing popular interest in local, sustainable food is prompting the province to take a second look at supporting local food systems to improve economy, health and food security.
The message coming from the grassroots is clear: farmers, fishers, processors and citizens are demanding a say in policy-making and have formed a coalition under the banner of FEAST (Farmers and Eaters Sharing the Table) to encourage the Province to support local sustainable food.
From Tim Alamenciak in TheStar.ca
“Food produced and sold in Ontario now qualifies as “local,” thanks to updated rules from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which critics say was following outdated policies.
The federal agency’s original policy said food was only “local” if it was sold 50 kilometres from where it was produced or in the neighbouring municipality. This meant produce like blueberries from Thunder Bay wouldn’t qualify as local if sold in Toronto. Continue reading
From Mike Adams at Natural News.com:
Meanwhile, in other news, it's becoming illegal to expose the practices of large scale industrial farms. You know, the sort of thing Upton Sinclair did with the meat packing industry in the early decades of the last century. Click image to go to Gawker to watch the video. If corporate interests have their way, you won't be seeing a lot of these kind of horror movies! Nothing like getting the power of government onside to help deal with upstart competitors.
“(NaturalNews) The state of Michigan is only days away from engaging in what can only be called true “animal genocide” — the mass murder of ranch animals based on the color of their hair. It’s all part of a shocking new “Invasive Species Order” (ISO) put in place by Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This Invasive Species Order suddenly and shockingly defines virtually all open-range pigs raised by small family farms to be illegal “invasive species,” and possession of just one of these animals is now a felony crime in Michigan, punishable by up to four years in prison. Continue reading
From the “Beginning Farmers” website:
“The following is an editorial by Taylor Reid on the recent House Agricultural Appropriations Bill. Beginning Farmers is not a partisan website, and the opinions expressed are neither an inditment or endorsement of any political party. Above all the site supports farmers, all farmers. It also supports local food systems, sustainability in agriculture, development of rural communities, and child nutrition.
House Republicans Propose Slashing Local Food, Rural Development, Child Nutrition, and Conservation Programs Continue reading
From Colleen Kimmett, writing for the Tyee:
Once a breadbasket, Bella Coola hosts a Community Supported Agriculture project. "The project opened up a lot of people's eyes to growing more food here. Bella Coola used to be the breadbasket for the Central Coast. That has all faded away -- but the potential is still there."
“It’s a good day in Dease Lake when a produce truck breaks down on the Cassiar highway.
For residents in and around this remote northern community, fresh produce can be hard to come by, especially in the winter. Continue reading
Hella D shares her personal experience with raw milk along with some history of the Our Cows cowshare:
I'm guessing this must be raw milk being filtered for cosmetic use at Our Cows. Photo via Hella D.
“We live in a small apartment overlooking a couple main roads, right next to two gas stations in Vancouver BC. When we moved here one of the first things I did was to try to find a farm that would supply us with raw milk. Living in an apartment in a city without a place to grow your own food or have any access to a farm is a very precarious situation. We are fortunate to have a long sunny balcony where I grow herbs and a wonderful friend is letting us garden in her backyard this year, but food secure is something we are far from being. Continue reading
Here’s an excerpt from a recent Vancouver Sun story by Randy Shore titled “Local organic food: An answer or a sure path to disaster? — Behind the collapse of past civilizations was the collapse of a food industry — each and every time”
When a rice crop failed a few years ago, six countries closed their borders to exports. When prices spiked, there were riots in Asian cities and a run on rice in Vancouver. Photo: Reuters, Vancouver Sun
“If there is a hotter topic in the publishing industry than local organic food, I don’t know what it is. Two books that recently crossed my desk take decidedly divergent approaches to the problem of commercial agriculture, though both authors agree that commercial agriculture is a problem. Continue reading
Here’s an excerpt from a recent letter to the editor of the Owen Sound Sun Times from Bette Jean Crews, President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture:
Bette Jean Crews, OFA president
“Last week the federal government released farm income forecasts by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Ontario farmers, rural residents and all Ontario consumers should be very concerned with what is happening on our farms and to the sustainability of our local food supply.
The data paints a grim picture for Canadian farmers and Ontario family farms in particular. The 2009 total net income for Ontario farms was a loss of 330 million dollars. The forecast for 2010 shows a loss of a further half billion dollars. This will seriously impact our future food supply. Continue reading
Or, as it often seems in the case of attempts at slandering raw milk, “no publicity is bad publicity”. Here’s a story showing that, just because you operate in a jurisdiction in which raw milk is legal, doesn’t mean you’re not going to have the sort of problems with health departments that Home on the Range has been having lately. Again, this missive is from Gordon Watson:
“DUNGENESS — In the last month of 2009, the Dungeness Valley Creamery faced one of the worst things that can befall a small food business.
Now, in the first month of 2010, the family-owned dairy is awash in local love.
That’s not too strong a word for the response, after Dec. 2, from North Olympic Peninsula residents who drink the raw milk from the dairy just north of Sequim. Continue reading