GroundTruth Blog

Margaret Reeves's blog

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Today, March 19, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) released its platform for the 2012 Farm Bill — Farming for the Future: A Sustainable Agriculture Agenda for the 2012 Food and Farm Bill.

This powerful document lays out a vision of agriculture where safe, nutritious and affordable food is produced by a legion of diverse family farmers. These farmers make a decent living pursuing their trade while sustaining the environment and contributing to the strength of their communities. I hope decisionmakers in Congress are paying attention.

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A new study by French scientists demonstrates that pesticide use can be dramatically reduced — maybe even by half — without impacting crop yields or farm income.

And the French government is acting on the findings, pledging to cut chemical inputs in the country's agricultural fields in half by 2018. Why not, if it means spending less while maintaining yields and reducing risks of exposure to hazardous pesticides? Any responsible government would do the same.

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The 2012 Food and Farm Bill discussions on Capitol Hill are underway. The first Senate hearing, held this week, focused on conservation. Among other important topics addressed: the idea of tying crop insurance payments with soil conservation. We say yes, definitely!

This month and next the Senate Agriculture Committee, chaired by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), will hold three more hearings. Hearings in the House begin next month. PAN and our allies in the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) will be closely following the debates.

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Flowers on Valentine's Day? It's a lovely tradition, and I enjoy a gorgeous bouquet as much as anyone. I also do my best to remember — and support — the workers behind the enormous global flower trade.

They are mostly women, many of whom work in Colombia and Ecuador. They toil long hours for low wages, and too often brave exposure to pesticides known to be harmful to their health and the health of their children. They deserve our support.

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Direct marketing arrangements such as the popular community supported agriculture (CSA) systems across the country eliminate intermediaries. A greater portion of every food dollar remains on the farm – and families in urban areas are able to know and support their local farmer.

Now online innovators are stepping up to expand on the idea by helping farmers market their produce directly to consumers on the web.