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Recipes
Saturday, 7 February 2015
The "Heart Healthy" Label
Topic: Nutrition and food safety

A Quick Recipe can be made healthier by taking a closer look at the labels of the foods you buy.

Today I would like you to focus on a new label placed on some processed foods—this one is from the American Heart Association, is called "Heart Healthy" and is intended to point out foods that promote their healthy diets.

“Risky foods” for people include high sodium (high salt) processed foods and those containing high cholesterol, any trans fats and high saturated fats. So, a new label you may see is the “Heart Healthy” label to promote those foods lower in sodium and saturated fat.

The Crockpot Chicken Stew I am making has this label on the skinless chicken thighs, pointing out it is a food low in saturated fats and has no trans fats.

And the American Heart Association Heart Healthy label is also on the can of lower sodium Cream of Chicken soup that I am using.This time it's because of lower sodium content.

The regular Cream of Chicken soup by the same company has twice the sodium of the can shown. People with hypertension and heart failure certainly need to be aware of the sodium content in their diet. But it's important to note that most processed foods still contain higher sodium than what people without blood pressure or heart problems need, too!

Salt is often added for flavor, but we can easily improve the flavor of our homemade foods with the addition of herbs, not more salt! So, if you are making a crockpot stew using a processed soup, consider looking for low sodium options, never add more salt, instead making sure you add dried or fresh herbs. In this chicken stew—the addition of thyme and/or rosemary would be a great choice, along with ground pepper.

 


 

Quick Crockpot Chicken Stew

4 servings

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs- cut up into 1” pieces

2 large carrots, cut into 1” chunks

2 large stalks of celery, diced

1 potato, diced 

½ small onion, diced

Place above into a lightly oiled crockpot.

Add 1 can of undiluted “Heart Healthy” Cream of Chicken Soup and stir in.

Add 1/2 cup of frozen chopped spinach or kale.

Add freshly ground pepper and extra dried or fresh thyme leaves or chopped fresh rosemary leaves.

Cook on “low” setting for 8 hours.

Last hour, stir in 3/4 cup of frozen peas and –if you want, and carb counting allows—place 4 small frozen potato dumplings on top. Cover, put on “high” setting until the dumplings are cooked. 


 

 


Posted by Karen at 08:28 CST
Updated: Saturday, 7 February 2015 09:48 CST
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Tuesday, 23 December 2014
Salute! To your Health!
Topic: Nutrition and food safety

This is what we're looking at this Holiday Season:

 Widespread Influenza Activity 

throughout most of the US. 

It's up to you to protect yourself and your family.Likely everyone has gotten their flu shot, but it doesn't appear to be completely protective this year. So, don't let your guard down. Continue to practice good health habits and keep your immunity at peak performance. Simple things help!

There are other commonsense things to keep you healthy:

I am stressing eating a balanced diet because we often neglect home food preparation when we are rushing around with holiday-related activities and shopping. We cheat ourselves by making easy choices for dinner, over-eating carbohydrates usually and missing balanced nutrtion.

Here's a couple of good ideas to stay on track between the holidays.

Some photos of “quick” dinners. These require no prep time, just heat, bake or microwave--or open the deli container:

Your Hot dog dinner has 3 different salads:

Your Veggie Burger (find in frozen food section)--add deli salads  or frozen mixed vegetables and baked beans:

 

 

Your Ham slices and quick sides:

Your Baked chicken, stuffed mushrooms and salad from the deli:


 

 

 

 

 


Posted by Karen at 12:42 CST
Updated: Tuesday, 23 December 2014 12:43 CST
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Saturday, 8 November 2014
Lower Carb Baked Apple Pancakes
Topic: Nutrition and food safety

I want, I want, I want...

Go ahead--there are less than 25 grams of carbohydrates (and no faux sweeteners !)  in this plate of Baked Apple Pancakes, your serving size. And if you add a couple of sausage links or bacon strips, you won't add any more carbohydrates. 

How difficult it is to face cold weather and hard work and crave those carbohydrates! But, it's also the time of the year when we have to really work to FORCE ourselves to minimize weight gain and temptations.

That means it's time to remind ourselves of the need to minimize carbohydrates as much as possible. 

What happens when you eat carbohydrates (which are sugars and starches)? They are quickly absorbed and immediately stimulate insulin release in order to reduce the high blood sugars and osmotic load in your blood stream. Insulin then causes the carbohydrates you are not immediately using for energy to be converted to fat for future use. And those fat stores can be used for energy in the future, if you ever decide you want to spend your extra time on a treadmill to burn those new fat stores up. Otherwise, if you do not break the cycle of eating more carbohydrates than you need, you continue to gain fat.

It gets worse, of course, the body becomes resistant to converting excess carbohydrates and storing giant amounts of fat, your body becomes "insulin resistant" over time and you are then at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, a national problem.

How to reverse? Stop the carbohydrate overload!  Look seriously into the foods you eat. There's really no reason to consume more than 25 grams of carbohydrate at a meal and you probably don't need more than 40-50 grams of carbohydrate all day. You DO need fats and protein, fiber (non-absorbed is not counted as a carbohydrate), natural sources of vitamins and minerals, that can readily be supplied by eating non-sugar and starch-laden foods. These would be supplied in meats, fish, poultry, and plants, predominantly vegetables.

So, are you craving those Baked Apple Pancakes?

Try this recipe. If you notice, there is very little sugar and flour, yet it's nutritious and protein-rich because each serving has 2 eggs in it! It's a good way to start to cut out carbs. And, I promise to post more of our low carb favorite recipes this holiday season.

Baked Apple  Pancakes  

serves 2

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prep a 6- muffin tin with spray oil.

Beat 4 eggs intil fluffy. Add 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup flour, a dash of salt and a couple drops of vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, combine 1 apple, diced with 1 teaspoon butter or butter and canola blend. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Allow a couple minutes to cool.

Stir into the apples: 1 tablespoon pure cane sugar and cinnamon to taste (1/4 tsp?).

Meanwhile, divide egg mixture into the 6 muffin tin. Then divide the apple mixture into the 6  Put it in the oven.

It will puff up like souffles do and separate from the edges. Also, like souffles, note that they will shrink upon cooling, so expect it.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. Then remove and plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar (this plate about 1 tsp. of powdered sugar)--add a mug of coffee or tea, maybe a couple of sausage links or bacon and this is one great Sunday breakfast!

And a great start for your LOWER CARB plan coming in at about 25 grams of carbohydrates in the 3 "puffcakes" that constitute 1 serving size, with the powdered sugar on. If it's your "big carb" meal of the day, you won't be disappointed. 


 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 


Posted by Karen at 09:12 CST
Updated: Saturday, 8 November 2014 09:18 CST
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Monday, 29 September 2014
Dinner in a Bowl
Topic: Nutrition and food safety

Do you agree that the "Dinner-in-a-Bowl" picture looks yummy?

And that it would appeal to a number of picky eaters, too--whether a fussy child or temperamental senior!

Yet this simple "dinner-in-a-bowl" contains all sorts of protein and nutrients--five different vegetables!-- and it's even lower in carbs than you might think at first glance. 

Allow me to deconstruct the photo:

First we have a beautiful, over-sized bowl with a raised edge. This allows you to put ingredients that have sauces that can move around the bowl without spilling. You can slide foods into each other and co-mingle the flavors. (I know some people don't like their foods touching, so might not like this idea, but most kids and gourmands love it!).

BTW- I found 4 of these great bowls on a clearance rack at Target!

Then we have a base of mashed "potatoes", but look closely--they are NOT typical because these mashed "potatoes" are really half mashed cauliflower, and then we have baby greens added besides. So, even your picky eaters will never object to eating this combination, presented this way. I cook equal portions of cut-up potatoes with fresh cauliflower florets together in the same pot until done, then drain and mash together with butter, salt and pepper. Extra milk isn't necessary because of the retained liquid in the cauliflower. Finally add a good handful or two of tender, fresh baby greens and stir in to blend. If using larger leaves, simply chop them into smaller pieces so the heat from the potatoes and cauliflower will wilt them and soften.

Next, we have a slow-cooked, grassfed beef roast--simply prepared in the crockpot, covered with 1 can of French onion soup or beef consomme (undiluted). Remove the roast to a serving dish, slice or rough cut into chunks, depending on the type of roast used. I have a pot roast above. Whisk about 1 rounded Tbsp of flour to thicken the reamining juices,using the High setting of the crockpot, cooking until just barely thickened. 

Finally take the opportunity to add one more vegetable blend, maybe something simple like the peas and carrots shown in the picture.

You have now served your family meat and potatoes--but with such a nutritious twist that they have 5 different vegetables in that bowl with their delicious beef.

And I'll bet everyone's plates are empty when the table is cleared.


Posted by Karen at 12:04 CDT
Updated: Monday, 29 September 2014 12:30 CDT
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Saturday, 26 March 2011
More on Genetically Modified Food Supply
Topic: Nutrition and food safety

I am posting a copy of March 24th's blog entry from the Food Democracy Now organization. References that follow are also good educational resources for this very important issue in the food industry. The business practices of Monsanto and its subsidiaries, directly influence our food-related and ethanol-production economies.

As you can see, they continue to upgrade their patents through additional gene technologies. We have no safety data and no real information at all with which to judge these processes and what risks the introduction of genes from other species into plant species is really creating.--Karen 

 

From Food democracy now--  www.fooddemocracynow.org

Tell the Department of Justice -
It's Time 
To Break Up Monsanto!

Don't let Monsanto and GMOs destroy your organic future
and our democracy!

It's time to return to a level playing field in seeds: Break up Monsanto!

Tell the Department of Justice it's time to do its job: Break Up Monsanto!

 

Last year the Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Agriculture held a series of 5 hearings investigating anti-competitive practices in the food and agricultural sectors. The hearings were historic and gave a vital opportunity for hundreds of thousands of America’s farmers, agricultural workers and citizens to call for an end to agribusiness’ excessive monopoly power. 1

Last December, Food Democracy Now! delivered more than 200,000 citizen comments to Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney with your demands to break up the worst abusers. 2

Nowhere are these abuses more prevalent than in the extreme market share enjoyed by the seed and chemical company Monsanto, which has a virtual stranglehold on seed supplies in crucial sectors that has severely limited farmers' choice in what seeds they can buy. Monsanto’s control of the seed market is so high that 93% of soybeans, 82% of corn, 93% of cotton and 95% of sugarbeets grown in the U.S. contain Monsanto’s patented genes. 3

Not only is this level of market share allowing Monsanto to jack prices up on farmers because there’s no competition, but it also threatens our democracy as Monsanto uses their corporate power to influence our regulatory agencies, like the USDA, EPA and FDA, as well as Congress and the White House.

It’s time to fight back and the only way to do that is to make sure that the Department of Justice continues their investigation into Monsanto’s anti-competitive business practices.

Click on the link below to automatically add your name to the letter asking for the Department of Justice to break up Monsanto. It’s time to stand up for farmers and our democracy. Tell the Department of Justice that it’s time to do what’s right!

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/sign/break_up_monsanto/

Over the past two months the biotech industry has gotten their way in Washington with the approval of three new genetically modified (GMO) crops. First GMO alfalfa, then GMO sugar beets and most recently an industrial GMO corn for ethanol.4

The common link between these crops, except for the fact that they’re bad for farmers and the environment, is that they face virtually no oversight once they're planted and their genes are allowed to contaminate neighboring fields and our food. These multinational corporations are not required to submit rigorous, independent peer reviewed studies prior to approval, but are allowed to submit their own corporate science to the federal government for approval.

To date, no petitions for approval of GMO crops have been denied. The only way to reign in the abuse that determines the quality and safety of the food that you and your family consume is to put pressure on the Department of Justice is to make sure that they follow through on their investigations into Monsanto’s abusive practices.

Last year seven state attorneys general launched an investigation into whether or not Monsanto “has abused its market power to lock out competitors and raise prices” while the DOJ is investigating anti-competitive practices with Monsanto’s marketing abuses in limiting access to seeds for farmers and competitors through manipulative contracts.5

It’s time to end Monsanto’s abuses, tell the DOJ to do their job and complete this investigation. It’s clear that abuses of farmer’s rights are taking place and the U.S. government needs to stand up to them now!

Click on the link below to automatically add your name to the letter calling for the DOJ to protect our democracy and break up Monsanto!

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/sign/break_up_monsanto/

Thanks for taking action — your support is greatly appreciated! We need your help to keep the pressure on! If you can, please consider chipping in as little as $10 to help us continue this fight.

https://fdn.actionkit.com/cms/donate/donate/

We rely on folks like you to keep us going. Thanks again for your support.

Thank you for participating in food democracy —

Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! Team

Sources:

1. "DOJ'S Holder Calls for Historic Era of Antitrust Enforcement in Agriculture", March 16, 2010.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-murphy/dojs-holder-calls-for-his_b_500974.html

2. “Your Voices Were Heard Loud and Clear in DC this Week, Thanks for Standing Up for Family Farmers”, Food Democracy Now!, December 10, 2010.

http://www.fooddemocracynow.org/blog/2010/dec/10/your-voices-were-heard-loud-and-clear-dc-week-stan/

3. "Monsanto's Dominance Draws Antitrust Inquiry" Washington Post, November 29, 2009.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/28/AR2009112802471_pf.html

4. “Update: Obama Goes Rogue on GMOs, Tell Him to Say NO to Monsanto”, Food Democracy Now!, February 15, 2011.

http://www.fooddemocracynow.org/blog/2011/feb/15/update-obama-goes-rogue-gmos-tell-him-say-no-monsa/

5. "Monsanto 7-State Probe Threatens Profit From Gene in 93% of Soy", Bloomberg, March 10, 2010.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aCK4Q3XZCpyw


Posted by Karen at 09:41 CDT
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Friday, 11 March 2011
Energy Cost of Food
Topic: Nutrition and food safety
This is a very interesting article referred to me by SLOW FOOD USA. I am copying it to my blog for all of us to get informed about the energy costs of food. Eating "local" isn't the whole solution because transportation methods food->to market must be analyzed. We must look at how we process, package, store, refrigerate,...
A little reminder to think about your own garden, too--it's almost a moral imperative to contribute at least something towards your own food production, isn't it?  --Karen
 
 
 
 

Beyond Food Miles

This is a guest post by Michael Bomford, a research scientist and extension specialist at Kentucky State University, an adjunct faculty member in the University of Kentucky Department of Horticulture, and a Fellow of Post Carbon Institute. This article was originally published on the Post Carbon Institute website.

 

"There is nothing as deceptive as an obvious fact." -Sherlock Holmes

 

A locavore is “a person who endeavors to eat only locally produced food.”[1] What better diet could there be for an energy constrained world? After all, feeding Americans accounts for about 15% of US energy use,[2] and the average food item travels more than 5,000 miles from farm to fork.[3] It seems obvious that eating locally will go a long way to reducing food system energy use.

Yet cracking the case of America’s energy-intensive food system demands that we look beyond the obvious. A local diet can reduce energy use somewhat, but there are even more effective ways to tackle the problem. Single-minded pursuit of local food, without consideration of the bigger picture, can actually make things worse from an energy perspective.[4]

If you realize you’re spending too much money, the first thing to do is figure out where it’s going. Cutting back on pizza won’t make much difference if you’re spending most of your money on beer. Similarly, the first step in reducing food system energy use is to figure out where all the energy is going. That’s what a team of economists working for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) did last year, in a report called Energy Use in the US Food System.

 


Where the energy goes: Energy used in the food system as a proportion of total energy used in the US in 2002.[5]

 

The report contains some surprises. Transportation is the smallest piece of the food system energy pie. Even farming isn’t a particularly big contributor. The big energy users turn out to be food processing, packaging, selling, and preparation. Our kitchens command the biggest slice of the pie, using twice as much energy as the farms that grew the food in the first place.

Dissecting that little transportation component of the system offers more surprises. The distance food travels between farm and fork has little impact on how much energy it takes to get there.

How food travels is far more important than how far it goes.[6] Big boats, like freighters and barges, can bring vast quantities of food thousands of miles using less energy per ton than a small truck or car uses to transport smaller amounts of food a few miles. Over land, freight trains are more energy efficient than big trucks, which are more efficient than small trucks. Worst of all are airplanes, which use a disproportionately large amount of fuel for takeoff and landing. In almost every case, flying food uses more fuel than other means of transport, regardless of the distance it travels. Fortunately, air freight still accounts for less than 1% of US food transport.[7]

Since the distance food travels has little impact on total food system energy use, obsessing over ‘food miles’ probably isn’t helpful when we're looking for ways to reduce energy consumption. When food is purchased from major grocery or fast food chain, the distance to the farm where it grew is probably just a small fraction of the distance it has traveled overall. For every mile between farm and plate, an average food item travels more than three additional miles[8]—but some travel much more and others much less. This means “place of origin” labels give consumers little clue as to how far food has actually come before purchase.

The USDA’s report offers some insight into what kinds of food are made with all the energy going into the system. More than half of that energy it is used for highly processed and packaged ‘junk food,’ like chips, doughnuts, soda pop, and beer. About a third is used for animal products, like meat, eggs, and dairy. A measly sixth goes to the grains, fruits, and vegetables that are the foundation of a balanced diet. In other words, the relative energy we invest in each food group reflects the opposite of how we should be eating. Eating well doesn’t necessarily require a lot of energy; eating badly does.

 


Inverted food pyramid: Daily per capita energy input to the US food system exceeds 17,000 Calories before food reaches the home.[9] This is more than eight times the average Caloric requirement for a healthy diet.[10] Most of this energy is used to provide highly-processed, high-Calorie foods.

 

Buying from the local farmers’ market offers great opportunities to cut down on food system energy use, but it's not because the food there has traveled less than the food at the grocery store. [11] It's because the aisles of a typical grocery store are mostly filled with highly-processed and packaged food, while farmers markets offer mostly whole or minimally-processed foods. Grocery stores are artificially heated and lit, with plenty of electricity-hungry coolers, freezers, checkouts, and other conveniences. By contrast, farmers’ markets tend to be held in the open air, with few electric gadgets. The farmers’ market saves energy by carving it out of the processing, packaging, and retail segments of the food chain, which are much larger than the transportation segment. From this perspective, the backyard garden offers all of the advantages of a farmers’ market, and then some.

There are even some cases in which growing food locally requires more energy than importing it. For example, produce grown out-of-season in heated greenhouses usually takes far more energy than field-grown vegetables trucked or shipped from a region where they are in season. Growing produce under artificial light can demand even more energy than heating a greenhouse. Energy demands are the downfall of popular futuristic schemes of ‘vertical farms’ in urban skyscrapers.

Highly-processed and packaged foods simply require far more energy than whole foods, regardless of how far they travel. Choosing imported whole foods over local processed foods almost always reduces food system energy use.

The way that food is grown usually has a bigger impact on energy use than the distance it travels. The proportional impact of farming on food system energy use is substantial for whole foods, but trivial for highly processed foods. Since organic farmers reduce agricultural energy inputs by about a third by eschewing synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, choosing organic over local can make sense for whole foods. It makes little difference for highly-processed foods, however. Organic soda pop is still soda pop: Far more energy goes into the aluminum can than was ever used to grow the corn for the corn syrup, organic or otherwise.

 


Daily per capita energy input to the US food system, by food group and production phase, excluding household energy use.[12]

 

Choosing local food is one way to reduce food system energy use; but even more effective ways include:

1. Choosing whole foods over processed foods;

2. Getting a small, energy-efficient refrigerator and getting rid of extra refrigerators;

3. Replacing animal products with grain and vegetable-based proteins;

4. Drinking tap water instead of processed beverages;

5. Choosing food that was grown in a region well-suited to the crop, using methods that build soil and rely primarily on sunshine for energy and rainfall for water.

By combining tactics we can eat well using much less energy than we currently do. An understanding of the food system helps put our various food choices in context. Following a single, hard-and-fast rule—even a seemingly-obvious one like “always eat local food”—can lead us astray.

Michael Bomford is a research scientist and extension specialist at Kentucky State University, an adjunct faculty member in the University of Kentucky Department of Horticulture, and a Fellow of Post Carbon Institute. His work focuses on organic and sustainable agriculture systems suitable for adoption by small farms operating with limited resources. His projects examine practical ways to reduce food system energy use and meet farm energy needs using renewable resources produced on-farm. Michael has a Master of Pest Management from Simon Fraser University, and a PhD in Plant and Soil Sciences from West Virginia University, where he conducted research on one of the nation's first land grant university farms operated entirely according to national organic standards.

Endnotes

[1] New Oxford American Dictionary.

[2] Patrick Canning, Ainsley Charles, Sonya Huang, Karen R. Polenske, and Arnold Waters. Energy Use in the US Food System. U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. (ERR-94) 39 pp, March 2010.

[3] Christopher Weber and H. Scott Matthews. 2008. Food Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States Environmental Science and Technology 42: 3508-3513.

[4] This article is concerned strictly with energy. Other reasons to favor local food include supporting local economies and building local food security.

[5] Graph by Michael Bomford, based on data in Canning et al, 2010, Figure 7, p. 20.

[6] Weber and Matthews, 2008, op. cit.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Graph by Michael Bomford, based on data in Canning et al, 2010, Table 6, pp. 22-23. ‘Fruit & vegetable’ group presented here sums fruit, vegetable and processed produce categories from original. ‘Meat & eggs’ group sums beef, fish, poultry, pork, other meat, and egg categories. ‘Dairy’ group sums milk and dairy categories. ‘Beverage’ group sums alcohol and beverage categories. ‘Oils, sugars, snacks & baked goods’ group sums oil, sugar, baking, and snack and processed food categories. Pet food category and household energy use excluded. Units converted from BTU per year to Calories per day.

[10] Stacey Rosen, Shahla Shapouri, Kathryn Quanbeck, and Birgit Meade. Food Security Assessment, 2007. U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. (GFA-19) 55 pp, July 2008

[11] Steve Martinez, Michael Hand, Michelle Da Pra, Susan Pollack, Katherine Ralston, Travis Smith, Stephen Vogel, Shellye Clark, Luanne Lohr, Sarah Low, and Constance Newman. Local Food Systems: Concepts, Impacts, and Issues, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. (ERR-97), May 2010.

[12] Graph by Michael Bomford, based on data in Canning et al, 2010, Table 6, pp. 22-23. ‘Fruit & vegetable’ group presented here sums fruit, vegetable and processed produce categories from original. ‘Meat & eggs’ group sums beef, fish, poultry, pork, other meat, and egg categories. ‘Dairy’ group sums milk and dairy categories. ‘Beverage’ group sums alcohol and beverage categories. ‘Oils, sugars, snacks & baked goods’ group sums oil, sugar, baking, and snack and processed food categories. Units converted from BTU per year to Calories per day. 


Posted by Karen at 09:55 CST
Updated: Friday, 11 March 2011 10:07 CST
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Wednesday, 16 February 2011
An urgent Message about GMOs referred by SLOW FOOD USA
Topic: Nutrition and food safety

In the past 3 weeks, the Obama administration has unbelievably chosen to approve three biotech crops, Roundup Ready genetically modified (GMO) alfalfa, Roundup Ready genetically modified (GMO) sugar beets and a new industrial biotech corn for ethanol production. Obama's recent approval of them will allow them to be planted as early as this spring, despite widespread acknowledgement that these crops are certain to contaminate both conventional and organic farmers non-GMO crops. Only last Friday, the USDA's approval of the new industrial biotech corn for ethanol production occurred despite massive outcry from major food companies who know that it will contaminate and possibly ruin the food they sell to you everyday.

These decisions are a devastating blow to our democracy and the basic rights of farmers to choose how they want to grow food on their land and the rights of consumers who increasingly choose organic and sustainably grown food for its positive health and environmental impacts. Please join us in telling President Obama that it's time to stand up to Monsanto and reject these GMO crops today!

 PLEASE read the following letter, consider signing and sending

 Dear President Obama and Secretary Vilsack,

We were greatly disappointed to learn of your decision to fully deregulate genetically modified (GMO) Roundup Ready alfalfa. This decision undermines opportunities for farmers in America, particularly in important export markets for conventional alfalfa and in the growing organic dairy industry. It also severely restricts the choice of farmers and 50 million U.S. consumers who every day exercise their right to consume food that is certified organic and free of GMOs, that are yet to be proven safe for human consumption and our common environment.

As farmers and leaders in the organic and sustainable agriculture community, we are profoundly concerned that the development and release of GMO crops have progressed rapidly, with inadequate oversight, scant public testing, and minimal public debate.

Collectively, we stand united in the firm belief that it is incumbent upon our nation’s regulatory agencies to put independent, peer-reviewed science over the vested financial interests of corporations who have shown a consistent disregard for our nation’s laws, sound scientific theory, the livelihoods of family farmers, and the health and well-being of our citizens and the environment.

As members of the fastest growing and most profitable segment in agriculture today, we are deeply disappointed that the Obama administration has refused to protect the livelihoods of conventional and organic family farmers from the loss of a main livestock forage.

According to university scientists, the deregulation of GMO Roundup Ready alfalfa could lead to the genetic contamination of all conventional and organic alfalfa within five years. As a result of this decision, organic and non-GMO farmers have lost another vital tool in their toolbox to expand into highly profitable domestic and foreign markets, eliminating important market opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers at a time when they can least afford it.

The approval of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa is yet another example of the agricultural biotechnology industry forcing an entirely unnecessary product onto the market not for farmer benefit, but simply to improve their bottom-line.

As any farmer worth their salt will tell you, alfalfa - a perennial legume - does not suffer from the same weed pressures as other crops, such as corn, soybeans, cotton and canola and that is why ninety-three percent of the alfalfa hay in the U.S. does not use any herbicides. In addition, by approving GMO alfalfa, the Obama administration has further weakened production agriculture since the increased use of herbicides will only lead to an increase of glyphosate-resistant superweeds, which have been called “the single largest threat to production agriculture that we have ever seen,” by Andrew Wargo III, the president of the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts as reported in TheNew York Times on May 3, 2010.

Last year, when the National Academy of Sciences released the report, Toward Sustainable Agriculture Systems for the 21st Century, it concluded that in order to meet the urgent demands of U.S. agriculture with regard to climate change, energy and water shortages and a rising population, “national agricultural policies and research programs should look beyond focusing only on low costs and high production and adopt a holistic perspective to farming that encompasses multiple end goals.”

In order to protect the biological integrity of our nation’s seeds and the organic industry, we call upon you as President to immediately rescind the recent of approval of GMO alfalfa and instruct the Secretary of Agriculture to implement a moratorium on the further approval of genetically engineered crops until the issues over the science, contamination and labeling are more transparently reviewed. In addition, we call for a further review of all scientific evidence regarding GMO alfalfa and independent testing on the long-term effects of all GMO crops on human health and the environment.

In approving GMO alfalfa, the Obama administration has undermined the most vibrant sector in agriculture today, placing an unfair tax on the rights of America’s farmers to grow food that is protected from genetic contamination. The USDA’s decision was ill informed, wantonly ignoring the basic biological principles of pollination and good agricultural practices.

We now join with previous generations, from the Founders of our Constitution to those who fought to free our nation from prejudice during the long battle for civil rights, in a renewed struggle to defend the livelihoods of family farmers and our basic right as citizens to choose the type of food that we want to grow and consume.

As such, we call for an immediate revocation of the decision to fully deregulate Roundup Ready alfalfa and to create a biotechnology regulatory process that effectively and democratically investigates the impact of this unproven technology on human health, the environment and farmers’ long-term ability to meet the challenges of 21st century agriculture.

Respectfully,

(See the whole article linked on Slow Food USA website.) 

 

EVEN if you do not sign and send this--at least be educated about this incredibly immoral manipulation of our food chain/supply. This is a criminal assault on all Americans, not just farmers. We will regret we allowed the USDA and President Obama to have such power to do this. We are experimenting with the food of the entire nation. --Karen


Posted by Karen at 15:22 CST
Updated: Thursday, 10 March 2011 08:57 CST
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