The following is an excerpt from a letter to the editor by Tom Womack, Director of Public Affairs, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, which appears on the “Metro Pulse” website:
Web page header from Metro Pulse
“Raw Milk is Not the Answer”
“…Since 2006, through the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program, the department has invested nearly $6 million in hundreds of projects to help Tennessee farmers diversify to new and emerging farm opportunities, including agri-tourism, grape growing, honey production, organics, and value-added production of dairy and other products. There are numerous examples where Tennessee farmers are finding success through direct-to-consumer sales by producing high quality and safe products. Additional investments have been made in developing farmers markets and other infrastructure, and promotions to support direct-to-consumer sales. Continue reading
Concerned citizens are once again taking matters into their own hands and using direct action to effect corporate change. This story is excerpted from organic consumers.org:
Battle Creek, MI — “Why should Kellogg shareholders take a bullet forMonsanto?” asks Michael Passoff, of the As You Sow Foundation. The foundation is part of a shareholder group that has filed a resolutionchallenging the company over its use of genetically engineered foods.
The resolution, which will be voted on Friday, asks the company to remove genetically engineered ingredients from their products until long term testing has proven them safe. It also proposes an interim step of labeling products that contain these ingredients. Continue reading
Images and captions from SF Weekly
Here are some excerpts from a recent story in the San Francisco Weekly Dining section about Biodynamic farming as it applies to grape growing and wine making.
Explaining Biodynamics to journalists is always fraught with the potential for misunderstanding, and it’s no surprise that the writer of this piece, Joe Eskenazi fails to grasp the underlying philosophy, and many of the subtle underlying concepts and hasn’t undertaken the necessary research to be able to credit biodynamics with much in the way of scientific backing.
Still, what’s interesting here is that biodynamics in grape growing is increasing in popularity, and that this writer is willing to explore biodynamic practices, unusual as they may seem, in considerable detail. Continue reading
The story below (from the July 2010 “Milk Producer”, a publication of the DFO) makes no bones about the fact that the DFO (formerly the Ontario Milk Marketing Board) is withdrawing support specifically because the Cheese Society has expressed approval of dairy farmer Michael Schmidt and his work in advocating for legal raw milk in Ontario published an article by Michael Schmidt in their member newsletter (clarification based on comment by OCS official — see comments below):
C'mon now, we all know that Canadian consumers expect their cheese to be dyed orange... right? Picture and caption from the "Milk Producer", July 2010
“The Ontario Cheese Society’s (OCS) endorsement of raw milk advocate, Michael Schmidt, has caused Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) to withdraw its support. “It is unconscionable that the OCS continues to endorse, and even promote, the consumption of raw milk by consumers,” says Dave Nolan, DFO’s marketing logistics director. He and Wray Krompart, DFO’s marketing manager, sent letters to OCS chairman, Gurth Pretty, citing DFO’s concerns.
The Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General is currently appealing a lower court ruling that acquitted Schmidt on 19 charges relating to the unlicensed processing, sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk and dairy products. Raw milk sale is illegal in Canada. Continue reading
This story, titled “Time to get raw milk out of the grey and black market” was sent to us by Pam Killeen. It’s from the National Farmers Union Ontario and is by Grant Robertson:
Farmer Michael Schmidt -- pictured here in his farm milkroom -- may have opened the door to new niche market possibilities for farmers. But the National Farmers Union feels regulation is needed.
It is time for a grown up discussion about raw milk. For far too long the discussion has been centred on whether or not drinking raw milk will kill you, or whether it will cure everything under the sun. The truth, like most things, is probably somewhere in the middle. Let’s also be frank, there was good reason that government moved to require the pasteurization of milk and those moves undoubtedly saved countless lives over the intervening decades. Continue reading
We may still be wondering about the buck, but we know the yuan stops here. Chinese shop.
Here’s a fascinating story credited to Jon Cook at Reuters and sent our way via Mike Calicrate. It seems people are actually avoiding big-brand stores and the big-brand stores are trying to disguise their identities to still get the business. And just to throw in another twist, we’re including some photos of stores with obvious “knock-off” brands from a mall of such stores in China, where they clearly have no respect for American intellectual properties:
The hidden meaning of the hidden Starbucks logo
– Bryant Simon is professor of history and director of American Studies at Temple University. He is the author of “Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks”. The views expressed are his own. – Continue reading
In this story from The Cap Times, Jim Goodman argues that “Corporate agribusiness has a problem with organic farmers because they haven’t yet figured out a way to totally bleed them like they have conventional farmers.”
They used to tell farmers "get big or get out". Maybe that's no longer a workable solution. More likely it's going to be, go organic and sell local or get out of farming.
But I think it’s more than that. It’s that organic agriculture and more specifically, farmers selling direct to consumers cutting out the middle man and the processing — as in raw milk — set a dangerous precedent. Dangerous that is, for the future of agribusiness’ sector dominance. The market share of these kind of farmers may be small… but it’s growing. And as more and more agribusiness farmers wake up to the fact that possibly the only farmers making money in today’s economy ARE those who sell local and sell direct… well, it doesn’t take a lot of smarts to see that organic farming offers a way out for corporate farmers who feel trapped in a sinking ship. Can a tipping point be far off, if things are allowed to continue the way they have been going.
“Why is conventional agriculture so wound up? Are they afraid of organic agriculture? What’s all the fuss about? After all, a recent study by the Lieberman Research Group showed that organic food sales account for only 3.5 percent of all food product sales in the U.S.
A column in the September 2009 Prairie Farmer leads me to believe that the author, a spokesperson for conventional agriculture, dislikes and even fears organic farming and its supporters. Continue reading