Joel Salatin in Augusta!

April 22, 2015

MAINE: Get on the Bus for GMO Labeling and Right to Food in Maine!

What: Rally and public hearing on GMO labeling bill and Right to Food amendment
When: 
Thursday, April 30th 2015. Rally begins at noon. Public hearing begins at 1 p.m. 
Where: 
Rally outside the State house; Public hearing at 214 Cross Building, State House Complex, Augusta, Maine


We are closing in on a couple of big wins for food consumers in Maine, but we need your help to convince lawmakers to protect Maine citizens, not Monsanto’s profits. 

A bipartisan GMO labeling bill (LD 991) and a Right to Food amendment (LD 783) are headed for public hearings in the Maine legislature on Thursday, April 30. We need your support to make sure these bills are passed. So, to make it easier for you to attend the rally and public hearing, OCA will pay for buses from Portland, Bangor and Unity. 

RSVP here for a free ride from Portland, Bangor or Unity to a rally and public hearing on GMO labeling and the Right to Food at the Maine State House on Thursday, April 30. Or plan your own car pool!

LD 991:
Maine passed a GMO labeling law in 2013, but it included a trigger clause that requires five other New England states, including New Hampshire, to pass labeling laws before Maine’s law can take effect. 

LD991, “An Act To Amend Maine’s Genetically Modified Food Products Labeling Law” would remove that trigger so the law can be enacted, giving Mainers the right to know now–not years from now.

Monsanto lobbyists are fighting tooth and nail to kill this bill and keep consumers in the dark. Their interference delayed a public hearing that should have happened weeks ago. Now they are concerned about what will happen when this bipartisan bill reaches public debate. 

Almost 97 percent of Mainers support mandatory labeling of genetically modified food. And no wonder. Last month’s declaration by the World Health Organization that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup (sprayed on 84 percent of GMO foods) is a probable carcinogen has made it more urgent than ever that Maine consumers have the right to know if their food contains genetically modified ingredients.

Maine should take the lead on this issue and give Mainers the chance to decide for themselves if they want to eat genetically modified food.

You can make it happen. RSVP here for a free ride from Portland, Bangor or Unity to a rally and public hearing on GMO labeling and the Right to Food.

LD 783, “RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Establish a Right to Food”

LD 783 is a bill that proposes to amend the Maine constitution in order to give people the right to acquire food of our choosing and ensure their legal right to protect their health, property, food and lives.

The Right to Food bill states:

“Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to food and to acquire food for that individual’s own nourishment and sustenance by hunting, gathering, foraging, farming, fishing or gardening or by barter, trade or purchase from sources of that individual’s own choosing, and every individual is fully responsible for the exercise of this right, which may not be infringed.”

Increasingly, corporate food monopolies control our right to access the food of our choosing. And when they go to court to maintain that control, they often win. LD 783 would protect the rights of Maine citizens, not the “rights” of Big Food.

We need a 2/3 majority vote to get this bill before the people. The first step is to urge the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to pass the bill unanimously out of committee. 

We need your help to do that. RSVP here for a free ride from Portland, Bangor or Unity to a rally and public hearing on GMO labeling and the Right to Food.

Help us convince our legislators to pass this resolution and send the constitutional amendment proposal to a referendum vote this fall.

Joel Salatin, of Polyface Farm in Virginia, a leading voice for diversified eco-farming, will join us at the hearing to speak in favor of the Right to Food amendment.  Let’s put Article 25 in Maine’s Bill of Rights.

Food is Life. We have a right to it. 

RSVP here for a free ride from Portland, Bangor or Unity to a rally and public hearing on GMO labeling and the Right to Food.

Facebook event for the Public hearing: https://www.facebook.com/events/1480434938898170/

RSVP for a bus:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1wvOLt0jOiFD-m-cQKNIOGC8V-SPgrL1Kef0_fbIU0d8/viewform

More about LD 991: http://www.mainelegislature.org/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280055641

More about LD 783
http://www.mainelegislature.org/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280055343

Donate for #MaineLabelGMOsNOW!
https://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50865/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=11927

See you on April 30! Thanks!


Remarks on Food Sovereignty and GMOs

June 1, 2014

Last Saturday Betsy was in Monument Square in Portland  at the March Against Monsanto.   The week before that Heather was on the steps of the Maine Supreme Court at the press conference just before Dan Brown’s case was heard.   In between those two events two counties in Oregon passed bans on planting GMO crops.

Here is all those events:

March Against Monsanto

I have come here today to speak about the food sovereignty movement.   And I will do that in a moment but first I want to tell you a story and toward the end I’ll offer you a solution to the food situation in which we find ourselves.

Back in 2006 I was standing around with some friends at one of our Mud Season Dinners.   These are events meant to demonstrate that even in the dark days of February or March there is still enough, entirely local, food to feed a crowd. At that moment we were at the height of our resistance against the animal ID law.  This is the USDA regulations that say all farmers who have livestock have to register and tattoo or tag all of their animals with a number and then do all the paperwork that entails.   So if anyone gets sick from eating meat, when that animal goes into the churning cauldron that is our current food system, the Feds can trace that animal’s life and provenance from birth to slaughter.   Naturally the anarchists, non-anarchist, libertarians and plain old left wing activists, I was chatting with were none too pleased with this development.  One of them asked plaintively “What are we going to do?”   A good friend of mine, a farmer who feeds thousands of people every year, happened to be standing in the group.  He looked at her and said “We’re going to keep doing what we are doing…it’s just going to be illegal.”

And that is the essence of this movement.   It is; in the tradition of Suffrage, Civil Rights and Marriage Equality; essentially a human rights movement.    We got them out of our voting booths and bedrooms now let’s get them out of our kitchens.  We are; by eating fresh local food, sourced from farmers that we know; committing an act of civil disobedience. Like the Palestinians on the West Bank standing in front of their olive trees,  we are standing in front of our apple trees, protecting them from the encroachment of a hostile government.    They, the government bureaucrats, say they are protecting us from ourselves.   They say that we don’t know enough not to eat bad food.  They say that a farmer would sell tainted milk or meat or eggs or vegetables to his neighbors and friends.   They say that we would feed bad food to our own family and loved ones.    Well, let me tell you, the only bad food we are feeding anyone is the over-processed, GMO-ladden, vacant-of-nutrient foods that the big manufacturers shovel our way every day in the chain supermarkets.  If you are eating fresh nutrient-dense foods you are going to eat less, because your body is going to crave less.   And you are going to be healthier over all.  Twinkies just can’t do that.

This is what I call a “just walk away” moment.   My favorite kind of civil disobedience.   Just as Gandhi lead the salt march  to prove to the people of India, and to the British Empire, that they could make their own salt and did not need to remain enslaved to the English salt monopoly, so too we can grow our own food.   As Ron Finley of the South Central Garden in LA said so eloquently:  “Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do.  Plus you get strawberries.”  and my favorite quote from him: “Growing your own food is like printing your own money.”

So we in the food sovereignty movement offer you the opportunity to take back control of what you eat three times a day.   Let the big guys know that they cannot intimidate us into eating rubbish that nourishes neither our bodies nor our souls.   Anyone interested in getting a food sovereignty ordinance passed in your own town can speak to me and we’ll get you started.

We need to protect our small farms and farmers.   They are the people that feed us.  They are also, historically,  the people that brought us the populist movement which lead to so much government reform in the late 1800’s.   And currently the farmers in Nebraska are one of the major reasons we are winning the fight against the XL pipeline.   Farmers are independent, hard working, tough minded folk who see the truth more clearly than most and are not afraid to stand up for what they believe.

So stand with small farmers and farmworkers everywhere and take back your power.   Stand up in front of your apples trees or tomato plants or by the side of your local farmer and just say NO.   No to GMOs, no to heavy-handed government oversight, no to caving into the intimidation bought and paid for by the folks that make the most money selling us crap to eat.   Join the next great civil rights movement.   The right to know what is in our food and  to eat whatever we damn well please.

“Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.”  Wendell Berry

GMO Bans In Oregon


Children of the Corn

May 31, 2012

Bob looks over seedlings incubating for future planting at Saving Seed Farm. The farm this year will be host to Saving Seed Camp and Community Events.

This article reflects on an Iroquois tribe’s heritage seed survives the ages. Cultivating and preparing corn for long term storage, generates community wealth that can be transferred community to community. In Sedgwick, ME Saving Seeds Farm is building a seed bank and working to build a corn seed collaborative.

See on tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com