Reclaiming the future of food and farming

GroundTruth Blog

Margaret Reeves
Jan 08, 2013
New Year's Eve proved disastrous for farmers, consumers and the environment. That was the day Congress kicked the Farm Bill can down the road, failing to pass a new five-year law with much needed reforms and improvements — or even the reasonable short-term extension that was on the table. Instead, legislators passed an awful nine-month extension as part of the "fiscal cliff" bargain. The bill includes no reform of huge payments to the big commodity crops, no disaster assistance and no extension of funding for a range of important programs — from farmers markets to... Read More
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Judy Hatcher
Dec 20, 2012
A word that comes up over and over in our work is community. I’ve been reflecting on various physical and virtual communities here at PAN, and the ways in which our lives and aspirations are woven together around our shared goals. Looking at PAN’s accomplishments over the past year, I’m feeling deeply grateful to each and every person in these communities — including you. Be they a handful of people or hundreds of thousands with common concerns, these overlapping communities provide the inspiration and the muscle we need to transform corporate and government systems... Read More
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Margaret Reeves
Dec 20, 2012
The adage "we are what we eat" supports  food and nutrition education programs across the country. The same goes for the farm — production of an abundant diversity of healthy crops depends on healthy soil and crop management techniques. Farmers aren't born knowing how to do this, they learn. They learn from each other, and through programs like USDA's new soil health initiative. This is why we're working hard to make sure the next Farm Bill is a strong one that supports innovative farmer education. There will be a Farm Bill, we’re just not sure... Read More
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Sarojeni V. Rengam
Dec 17, 2012
The challenges faced by biodiversity-based ecological agriculture are not primarily technical but political. Evidence from three countries shows farming without fossil fuels works. But such methods will only be adopted widely once we prevail over the political power of agribusiness. Food production systems that do not use or make minimal use of fossil fuels exist and are successfully feeding communities. Across the world, smallholder farmers, gardeners and other small-scale food producers have decided to minimize the use of unsustainable and harmful inputs that depend on fossil fuels, such... Read More
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Medha Chandra
Dec 14, 2012
Over a year ago we blogged about the country’s broken pesticide regulatory system that is allowing certain rodenticides to remain on store shelves despite EPA declaring that they need to go. These are products that pose known health hazards to kids, pets and wildlife. As the L.A. Times reports, rodenticide manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser has still not complied with EPA’s decision, and has joined with other companies to push back with lawyers and lobbyists. Earlier this week, a coalition of public-health and environmental groups did their own pushing in California, urging the... Read More
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Pesticide Actio...
Dec 13, 2012
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In Iowa earlier this week, organic and conventional farmers delivered over 40,000 petition signatures and a clear message to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack: Stop the approval of "next generation" GE corn and soy crops. Now. Dow’s 2,4-D-resistant corn is the first of 10 herbicide-resistant crops in the queue pending USDA approval, with Monsanto’s dicamba soy and others not far behind. If approved, these new GE crops would dramatically drive up the use of harmful pesticides, placing the burden of increased costs and health risks on farmers and local communities.... Read More
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Paul Towers
Dec 12, 2012
Across the pond, the buzz is all about the impacts of pesticides on bees. Both the U.S. EPA, and its British counterpart, Defra, have been slow to act on the growing body of scientific evidence that would protect bees. But a series of important hearings may signal important changes afoot in that country. For the past 30 years, bee populations have been declining in the United Kingdom. And pollinators, like bees, provide more than half a billion pounds to the British agricultural economy each year. As a result, Parliament recently held a series of hearings to assess the impact of... Read More
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Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
Dec 11, 2012
Organic and conventional farmers are feeling rooked. And for good reason. A USDA-appointed advisory group known as the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21) has just concluded over a year’s worth of deliberation on how to address the thorny problem of transgenic contamination of organic and non-genetically engineered (GE) crops— a major threat to farmers’ businesses and livelihoods. The result? A report recommending that farmers and taxpayers bear the heavy costs of dealing with genetic contamination, while leaving the Big 6 pesticide and... Read More
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