The National Family Farm Coalition joined more than 110 farm, food and consumer groups on an April 12 letter urging Congress to oppose fast track legislation (trade promotion authority), which would ease the passage of free trade agreements such as the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and TAFTA (Trans Atlantic Free Trade Agreement).
Dena Hoff, board vice president, said, “There is too much riding on these trade agreements for the people impacted to have no say in their future. Legislators in all participating countries need input from citizens, but that can’t happen without transparency and with the influence of 600 mostly corporate advisors. Why would uninformed lawmakers wash their hands of their responsibility to read, debate and amend the terms of these agreements?”
The letter may be read here.
AFTER WINTER, SPRING, a film by Judith Lit
In partnership with Alliance Française of Washington, Institut Français, Goethe-Institut, and the National Family Farm Coalition, this special event screening will be preceded by a dessert tasting from our favorite local spots and followed by a discussion with the filmmaker and local farmers. Filmmaker Judith Lit is also available for interviews.
Award-winning feature documentary AFTER WINTER, SPRING, will have a special event screening at the Avalon Theatre (5612 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC) on Monday, May 4 at 8:00pm. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the filmmaker and local farmers. The event will be a partial fundraiser for the National Family Farm Coalition, and is presented in partnership with the Alliance Française of Washington, the Institut Français, and the Goethe-Institut as part of their “Forging the Future” series.
The evening will be sweetened by a spread of desserts donated by our favorite establishments on Connecticut Avenue from DuPont Circle to Chevy Chase Circle: Bread Furst, Nora’s, Firefly Farms, Keswick Creamery, Bread & Chocolate, Firehook Bakery & Coffee House, and Green Plate Catering. The pre-screening tasting will begin at 7:45pm.
ABOUT THE FILM
One hundred years ago, half of the population of France were farmers. Now less than 3% farm. In the Périgord, a rural community fears they may be the last generation of family farmers in a region continuously cultivated for over five thousand years. Filmed over four years, AFTER WINTER, SPRING captures the roots of farm-to-table and the tenacity of a people who have taken one season at a time for generations.
The farmers’ stories are recorded by one of their neighbors, an American filmmaker who grew up on her family’s farm in Pennsylvania. Inter-weaving her story and theirs, the film explores the nature of the farming life and the impact of rapid modernization on families whose survival is tied to the land. As the farmer’s stories unfold, we see their responses to change…the losses and the surprising adaptations. AFTER WINTER, SPRING reveals the human story of family farming at a turning point in history.
The film was chosen to tour in France as part of the Mois du Documentaire and has played to sold-out screenings in numerous festivals including The Seattle International Film Festival, The Environmental Film Festival in the Nations Capital (Washington, DC), The International Ecological Television Festival “To Save & Preserve” (Russia), and many more. The film has won a number of awards including: the Audience Favorite Award (Mill Valley Film Festival), Best Foreign Documentary (Arizona International Film Festival), Jury Award (Caméras des Champs Festival in France) and was chosen as one of the Best of Festival at the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR, JUDITH LIT
After a childhood spent on her family’s farm in rural Pennsylvania, Judith graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. She began her filmmaking career as Associate Producer of internationally acclaimed Dark Circle, winner of a National Emmy, the Grand Prize at Sundance, and a Certificate of Special Merit from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Judith went on to produce and direct other award-winning films, including Voices from the Classroom, and As Seen on TV. In addition to her production work, she served as director of the San Francisco Women on Screen Film Festival, has served on the jury of the San Francisco Film Festival and the American Film Festival. Judith recently completed, with Jane Weiner and Anne Kunvari, L’agriculture biologique: cultivar l’avenir?, a documentary produced by Arte France about organic farmers in Burgundy. For the last 18 years, Judith has divided her time between New York City and a small farm in the Périgord region of southwestern France.
ABOUT THE “FORGING THE FUTURE” SERIES
Organized by the Goethe-Institut and the Alliance Française Washington in relation to the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change in December 2015 in Paris, this series of events aims to contribute to innovative discourses for a better global future. Exhibitions, workshops, film programs and a website will highlight possibilities for a global culture of sustainability. Forging the Future is supported by a generous contribution from the Elysée-Fonds for German-French cultural programs abroad.
Tickets: aws-dc-screening.eventbrite.com or cash/check at the door; using discount code AWSnffc12 lowers ticket price from $15 to $12.
For more information on AFTER WINTER, SPRING: www.afterwinterspring.com
Film trailer: https://vimeo.com/63988204
Facebook: www.facebook.com/afterwinterpspring / Twitter: @afterwinterdoc
On March 1, NFFC ally Pesticide Action Network North America delivered a letter to President Obama and White House Task Force on Pollinator Health officials urging greater action to protect bees. An impressive 125+ groups from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines, including environmental, beekeeper, investor, farmer and faith, joined NFFC on PANNA’s letter.
Last updated: March 03. 2015 6:20PM – 691 Views
In a teleconference, representatives of the National Family Farm Coalition said the federal milk pricing formula leaves dairy farmers unable to pay their basic costs of production. Equally important they said, was the damage to support businesses which fold when dairy farmers do not make enough money to pay them.
With compensation for milk having dropped 85 cents per gallon since Nov. 2014, dairy farmers across the country believe the the impact of the reduction will negatively impact their families and communities in the short and long term.
“In my experience consumers are surprised to learn the formula used by United States Department of Agriculture does not take into consideration the cost of production,” said Tewksbury, of Meshoppen. “Farmers understand, consumers understand, but the government does not.”
“In 1981 when the formula was implemented, there were almost 200,000 dairy farmers in our country,” he said. “Today there are only 45,000.”
Tewksbury said the Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the Farm Bill, promised assurances to farmers that have not materialized.
“For example, the Margin Protection Program (margin insurance) designed to help farmers deal with prolonged periods of low margins, has not been as helpful to farmers as originally anticipated and not all farmers have opted to participate,” he said.
Kathy Ozer of the farm coalition said USDA assurances that exporting would increase farming profitability didn’t pan out.
“Exporting farm products was touted as the salvation of the American farmer,” said Ozer. “But that market has dried up.”
The conference also addressed negative publicity about milk and milk products in the media and amid nutritional advocates.
Tewksbury said not only does the sale of dairy products benefit the economy, it keeps people healthy.
Nina Teicholz, author of the New York Times best seller, “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet,” told the teleconference recent trends toward avoiding fat and dairy products have left farmers financially strapped and the public undernourished.
“Even the American Heart Association has withdrawn its warning regarding the relationship between saturated fat and heart disease,” she said.
Tewksbury said he drank milk all his life and believes it has been a healthy choice.
“Hot cocoa for breakfast, whole milk in my coffee, all that,” he said.
Reach Geri Gibbons at 570-991-6117 or on Twitter @TLNews.
Originally posted at: http://www.timesleader.com/news/business-local-news/152137781/
Here we go again. Presidential hopefuls are descending on Iowa like saviors from on high, feigning to listen to “we, the voters.” With frequent news stories about how our farming practices affect others downstream (like water consumers in Des Moines and fishers in the Gulf of Mexico), or how patented GMO seed and toxic pesticides get promoted around the world as a godsend for poor hungry people, it should be evident that as Iowa goes, so goes the nation and so goes the world. With so much at stake, we should be very clear about our vision for agriculture.
From the looks of it, giant agribusinesses and their spokespeople intend to drown out the voices of everyday Iowans by aggressively promoting a vision of agriculture that puts the interests of big-money corporations before people and our environment.
A clear example of this is a high-profile political gathering in Des Moines on Saturday, proclaimed as the “Iowa Ag Summit” by its sponsor Bruce Rastetter, agribusiness investor and major political donor. His investments in ethanol and hog factory companies and his campaign contributions have paid off handsomely, landing him a powerful position on the Iowa Board of Regents. While many politicians and candidates are invited, the only questions will come from Rastetter himself. Feel left out? Won’t this really be just a “Corporate Ag Summit,” given Rastetter’s long record of making money by putting profits before people, our air, land and water?
Similar to what I witnessed during the 1980s farm crisis, corporate agribusiness groups and their financially supported politicians will claim there’s nothing to worry about. (They said, “What farm crisis? Farmers that go broke are just bad managers.”) They’ll recruit everybody into thinking that their vision of agriculture, the status quo, is the only way forward. They will say consumers only want cheap food, so hog confinements, nitrate and pesticide pollution, and decimated rural communities are part of the bargain.
The agribusiness vision is not the only or best vision, especially for family farmers. You need to know that independent farmers won’t benefit from the agribusiness status quo. Farm prices are already headed down as herbicide-resistant GMO seeds have helped bring 157 million acres of new land into production around the world. The straitjacket of the corn-soybean rotation will result in fewer and fewer farmers to the point our land will be farmed without farmers! Furthermore, all the many weed, pest and disease problems we face today will get worse and only be addressed with more GMO seeds and more chemicals that go with them.
It’s time for us to speak out, recognize that Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” (published in 1962!) foretold our situation, and remember the wisdom of Jesse Jackson’s position in his 1988 presidential race: The best urban policy starts with the best rural policy.
There is a different vision and set of policies that serve rural and urban folks alike, young and old and future generations while restoring the all-important biodiversity that has been lost. Progressive organizations support the thousands of young women and men already taking on the challenge of growing healthy pesticide-free produce for local markets or raise livestock on their family farms rather than in factory farms.
Nobody wants their drinking water contaminated with toxic chemicals, fertilizer and manure. We need policy that makes sustainable, non-polluting kinds of farming the norm, not the exception. It’s your food, your water, your air, our future.
We must speak out and demand that this kind of economic opportunity be restored to rural America!
GEORGE NAYLOR has raised non-GMO corn and soybeans on his family’s farm in Greene County since 1976. He is a board member of the Center for Food Safety and a past president of the National Family Farm Coalition. He will be a featured speaker at the Food and Ag Justice Summit in Des Moines, March 6-7. For more information, go to: www.iowacci.org or call (515) 255-0800. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
NFFC vice president, Dena Hoff (Northern Plains Resource Council), is understandably concerned: a pipeline just dumped 50,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River near her farm. This is the second spill on the Yellowstone in three and a half years, and the Keystone XL pipeline is still under debate for construction.
Farm Aid explores the decline and rebuilding efforts of Black farmers in the US. FARM AID 2014 ISSUE BRIEF – BLACK FARMING and LAND LOSS
Andy Fisher and Robert Gottlieb explore the benefits – or detriments – of Walmart Foundation funding at Civil Eats.
Check out the latest article by Daryll E. Ray who holds the Blasingame Chair of Excellence in Agricultural Policy, Institute of Agriculture, University of Tennessee, and is the Director of UT’s Agricultural Policy Analysis Center (APAC). His latest article looks at a farmer’s decision on whether to participate in Price Loss Coverage (PLC) or the county-yield-based Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC)– Read it here.
The Health subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee convened on December 10th to discuss competing proposals; H.R. 4432, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014 and H.R. 1699, the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act.
Watch Congresswoman Chellie Pingree address a rally outside the House Hearing to represent public opposition to the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act.
Learn more about the hearing and the proposals here.