Friday, April 20, 2012


We all have the right to know what is in the food we eat and feed our children. Without common sense labeling requirements we cannot tell if our food contains substances of concern to us, including ingredients that have been genetically engineered. Join Vermont Right to Know GMOs and help us make sure Vermonters get the information they deserve.

Hundreds Gather in Support of Vermont GMO Right to Know Rally and Hearing

April 18, 2012
A great account of the April 12th public hearing by Farm Aid’s Joel Morton.
Farm Aid was on hand last Thursday evening at the statehouse in Montpelier where hundreds of Vermonters from all four corners of the state gathered to rally and publicly testify in support of bill H722, which would require clear labeling of all GMO products sold in the state. So many supporters of the bill packed the statehouse that the hearing before the House Agriculture Committee had to be moved from a smaller room onto the statehouse floor in order to accommodate everyone who wished to testify.…
continue reading »

Vermonters Fill State House in Support of GMO Labeling

April 16, 2012
The Vermont State House was filled to capacity Thursday night for the public hearing on H.722, the bill that would label genetically engineered foods in Vermont. People came from all corners of New England, and unanimously called the members of the House Agriculture Committee to pass H.722. In all, legislators heard testimony from one hundred and twenty-two citizens who asked them to vote the bill out of committee, and for the bill to become law. “One hundred percent wanted us to pass the bill,” said Committee member Will Stevens.…
continue reading »

Unnatural Buffet at State House Raises Questions About GMO Labeling

April 11, 2012
The Vermont Right to Know GMOs coalition held an “Unlabeled and Unnatural Buffet” at the Vermont State House today. The problem: right now, without a law requiring GMOs to be labeled, we just don’t know.
continue reading »

Public Hearing on GMO Labeling Bill this Thursday, April 12

April 11, 2012
The House Agriculture Committee has scheduled a public hearing so that Vermonters can voice their opinions on the Vermont Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act (H.722) for Thursday, April 12th from 6:30-8:30pm at the State House.
continue reading »

Bill requiring labeling of genetically engineered food saved from procedural death

March 20, 2012
Proponents of labeling also cite GMOs’ environmental effects. Gary Hirshberg, chairman of organic yogurt producer Stonyfield Farms, said that crops with a gene for resistance to a widely used herbicide, glyphosate (sold under the trade name Roundup), have resulted in herbicide-resistant “superweeds” on over 13 million acres of farmland in 26 states. This leads, he said, to greater use of stronger defoliants like 2,4-D.
continue reading »

Vermont Looks to Become First State in the Nation to Require Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods

February 23, 2012
The Vermont Right to Know GMOs coalition launched its campaign today in support of the Vermont Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act (H.722). This bill would make Vermont the first state in the nation to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kate Webb of Shelburne, would address consumer concerns by requiring food sold at retail outlets in Vermont to be labeled if it is genetically engineered, or partially produced with genetic engineering.

With Dairy Law Enacted, Vermont Turns to GMO Labeling

February 17, 2012
Food Safety News discusses the VT Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.
One bill that could shake things up in the current session is House Bill 722, a 16-page measure requiring labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients.
The bill, known as the Vermont Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, was called an “initiative against Monsanto and other biotechnology corporations” by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA).
“Perhaps most monumental is the fact that the legislation would prohibit GMO food manufacturers from using promotional labels like “natural,” “naturally made,” “naturally grown,” “all natural,” or any words of similar import, the OCA said.
continue reading »

Genetically Modified Organisms in Food

February 17, 2012
More support for the campaign from our friends at Black River Roasters:
More and more people are reading food labels before they buy products to be conscious of what they are actually consuming and to avoid certain things such as trans-fat, sugar, aspartame, and MSG.  However, one thing that you will not be able to avoid is genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) or genetically engineered (GE) ingredients since they are not listed on the food labels.  In the United States, over 70% of all packaged foods sold contain GE ingredients!  Now as consumers, shouldn’t we have the right to know what exactly is in our food?
continue reading »

Vermont Introduces Monumental GMO Labeling Legislation

February 9, 2012
Vermont has taken the initiative against Monsanto and other biotechnology corporations in launching new legislation that would require the labeling of products containing genetically modified ingredients.
The bill, known as the ‘VT Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act’, was introduced to the Vermont House of Representatives by Representative Kate Webb of Shelburne on February 1st, 2012.
continue reading »

Coalition Partners NOFA and Rural Vermont Join Vermont Farmers in Taking on Monsanto

February 3, 2012
NOFA, Rural Vermont and Full Moon Farm are among the 83 plaintiffs in a lawsuit looking to protect Vermont farmers from corporate giant Monsanto. The lawsuit, filed in March, seeks to protect Vermont farmers from being sued by Monsanto for patent infringement.
To learn more about the suit click here.
continue reading »

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Monsanto Taking Over Global Agriculture

JEFFREY SMITH Youtube Video - Monsanto has been on a mission to control US agriculture. With the help of politicians and regulation agencies, the biotechnology company has been putting many farmers out of business. Many critics of the company believe it is the right of the people to know if they are consuming genetically-modified food. Jeffrey Smith, author of Seeds of Deception, joins us with more on the Monsanto.
Video Link:


It's Time for a Better Food & Farm Bill.

Congress is hard at work writing the 2012 Farm Bill.  The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's comprehensive 2012 Farm Bill policy platform, Farming for the Future: A Sustainable Agriculture Agenda for the 2012 Food & Farm Bill, reflects the real, urgent needs of farmers, ranchers, and food entrepreneurs across the country. 
We need your help! Let's show Congress that people from around the country - from farmers to families, from Montana to Mississippi - are calling for change.  Sign on as a citizen endorser of Farming for the Future!

Sign on as a citizen endorser of Farming for the Future!

Add me to the following list(s):
  • Action Alerts

  • Weekly Roundup (NSAC's Blog)

  • 2184 total signers.

    More information on Farming for the Future and the issues:

    The 2012 Farm Bill should create jobs and spur economic growth through food and farms.

    Local and regional agriculture is a major driver in the farm economy.  Let’s develop policies that create economic opportunities through local and regional markets; improve processing and distribution infrastructure for local and regional agriculture; and invest in training, technical assistance, and microcredit for rural entrepreneurs that will enable small business development and revitalize rural areas.

    The 2012 Farm Bill should invest in the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

    Agriculture is a growing sector of our nation’s economy, yet barriers make farming and ranching one of the hardest careers to pursue.  We need policies that enable beginning and socially disadvantaged producers to access land, credit, and crop insurance; to launch and strengthen new farm businesses; and to receive appropriate training and mentoring; this will ensure that more people can start to farm and that the nation’s food supply remains viable.

    The 2012 Farm Bill should protect our natural resources and help farmers care for their land.

    As stewards of forty percent of the landmass in the United States, American farmers and ranchers are important managers of our natural resources.  We should fund and strengthen working lands conservation programs that help producers protect and rebuild soil, improve water and air quality, and reverse habitat loss while maintaining productive farms and ranches.  Ensuring that producers avoid environmentally harmful practices when they receive crop insurance subsidies will modernize the farm safety net and protect the productivity of agricultural lands.

    The 2012 Farm Bill should drive innovation for tomorrow’s farmers and food entrepreneurs.

    Agricultural research is important for continued productivity and innovation across diverse and expanding sectors of American agriculture – we need policy that funds and strengthens successful programs for sustainable agriculture, organic farming systems, and specialty crops; addresses new research and data collection needs; and improves coordination on essential public plant and animal breeding efforts.

    The 2012 Farm Bill should make healthy food widely available to all Americans.

    Let’s expand access to healthy food for consumers, including underserved communities, by connecting local and regional farmers with schools and communities with fresh food.  Policies should enable participants in food assistance programs to shop at farmers’ markets; bolster the amount of locally produced foods available in schools; and invest in community-led solutions to improving food access and quality.

    The 2012 Farm Bill should reform outdated subsidies and restore fiscal responsibility in farm policy.

    Reforms that restore common-sense rules to farm programs and crop insurance will help build the next generation of family farmers and will eliminate wasteful spending in agriculture.  While farm programs are capped by law, huge loopholes mean that unlimited subsidies go to mega-farms.  We need to close current loopholes and target payments to active farmers instead of absentee landowners and investment bankers.

    Tuesday, April 17, 2012


    GOP Unveils Plan to Gut Food Stamp Program

    - Common Dreams staff
    House Republicans have passed their budget that includes slashing food stamps in an effort to save billions in cuts to the Pentagon.
    House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan. House Republicans have started rolling out their austerity plan including massive cuts to the food stamp program. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite/File) Politico reports that the changes mean "an average family of four would face an 11 percent cut in monthly benefits after Sept. 1 and, even more important, tighter enforcement of rules would require that households exhaust most of their liquid assets before qualifying for help."  The Associated Press adds that elegibility changes would knock 3 million people off the program completely.
    The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops slammed the plan in a letter to the House Agriculture Committee saying lawmakers should “protect essential programs that serve poor and hungry people over subsidies that assist large and relatively well-off agricultural enterprises.”
    The House passed the budget by a "deeming resolution" saying it was necessary due to Senate failure to pass a budget. In a statement on Monday House Republicans stated: "When the Senate refuses to act, the House must take steps to ensure that it can responsibly proceed with the appropriations and budget process," the statement said. "This is accomplished through the use of budget enforcement language in a rule, commonly called a 'deemer' because it 'deems' the House budget levels in place until there's a joint agreement between the House and Senate."
    * * *
    From food stamps to child tax credits and Social Service block grants, House Republicans began rolling out a new wave of domestic budget cuts Monday but less for debt reduction — and more to sustain future Pentagon spending without relying on new taxes. [...]
    At one level, the pro-Pentagon, anti-tax stance fits traditional Republican doctrine. And the whole goal is to come up with enough savings to forestall automatic spending cuts that will fall most heavily on the Defense Department in January.
    But what’s also driving the latest cuts is a newer narrative, voiced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), that the social safety net is at risk of becoming a “hammock.” And even as the unemployment rate has begun to fall, conservatives are alarmed that the level of income-related government benefits continues to rise. [...]
    An average family of four would face an 11 percent cut in monthly benefits after Sept. 1 and, even more important, tighter enforcement of rules would require that households exhaust most of their liquid assets before qualifying for help. This hits hardest among the long-term unemployed, who would be forced off the rolls until they have spent down their savings to less than $2,000 in many cases.
    * * *
    Ezra Klein: Wonkbook: The House GOP's tax day lesson
    House Republicans think the Pentagon is in trouble. Under current law -- which includes the "sequester" that Democrats and Republicans agreed to in the debt-ceiling deal -- it's scheduled to take more than $500 billion in cuts over the next 10 years. Republicans are desperately trying to find alternative savings. And, on Monday, they named one of them: Cuts to food stamps. [...]
    Republicans argue that the food stamp program has been expanded in recent years, and they're just cutting President Obama's hammock back down to a safety net. Democrats reply that the food stamp program has been expanded because the economy crashed, and, by the way, the Pentagon's budget has grown by far more than the food stamp program in recent decades.
    * * *
    Food stamps have risen mainly because it has taken the place of traditional welfare, which after the reforms of 1996 has proven ineffective in recessions. The food stamp program helped keep millions out of poverty during the recession, and the rolls have increased out of need, not out of government generosity.
    In fact, while food stamp benefits did expand as part of the stimulus package, they were cut back twice in the last Democratic Congress, once to pay for a state fiscal aid bill and a second time to pay for the child nutrition bill, which quite literally provided children lunch and paid for it by taking away their dinner. The bump from the stimulus will end completely by November 2013. Republicans would roll it back a year early, ending it September 1 of this year, for a savings of $5.9 billion. Other onerous eligibility requirements would save $20 billion more, and like most eligibility rules the purpose is to make it harder for people with legitimate needs to access food stamp benefits, reducing the cost to the government.
    Even with the GOP’s eligibility rules, the savings are a pittance of what’s needed to offset the defense trigger, and it would have to be combined with a host of other cuts. But in a real sense it gives away the game. Programs for the poor are seen by this incarnation of the right as targets. So-called “welfare reform” shot welfare full of holes and now they’re going after food stamps and Medicaid and the Earned Income Tax Credit. They will not stop until those alien “others” lose all their benefits, which can then flow more easily to the rich, corporations and defense contractors.

    Sunday, April 15, 2012


    Fungal Threats to Biodiversity, Food Supply at 'Unprecedented' Levels

    - Common Dreams staff
    An "unprecedented" number of fungus-caused diseases are threatening biodiversity and the global food supply, scientists say in a study published yesterday.
    Bat with white-nose syndrome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters) "In both animals and plants, an unprecedented number of fungal and fungal-like species have recently caused some of the most severe die-offs and extinctions ever witnessed in wild species, and are jeopardizing food security," the study warned.
    In the research published in the journal Nature, scientists from the University of Oxford, Imperial College London, and institutions in the US say fungal infections destroy 125 million tons of the top five food crops - rice, wheat, maize, potatoes and soybeans. In addition to food crops, fungal infections are destroying trees, amphibians, bees, sea turtles and corals and bats.
    "Crop losses due to fungal attack challenge food security and threaten biodiversity, yet we are woefully inadequate at controlling their emergence and proliferation," said corresponding author Sarah Gurr, a professor of molecular plant pathology at Oxford University.
    Dr. Matthew Fisher, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, and a corresponding author of the study, said, "The alarming increase in plant and animal deaths caused by new types of fungal disease shows that we are rapidly heading towards a world where the 'rotters' are the winners. We need strive to prevent the emergence of new diseases as we currently lack the means to successfully treat outbreaks of infection in the wild."
    * * *
    Imperial College London: Tackle fungal forces to save crops, forests and endangered animals, say scientists
    More than 600 million people could be fed each year by halting the spread of fungal diseases in the world's five most important crops, according to research published today in the journal Nature.
    Furthermore, data reviewed by scientists suggests that in 70% of cases where infectious disease causes the extinction of a type of animal or plant, an emerging species of fungus is behind the problem. Evidence suggests this figure is increasing.
    The scientists behind the study, from the University of Oxford, Imperial College London, and institutions in the US, are calling for new solutions to prevent the proliferation of existing and emerging fungal infections in plants and animals in order to prevent further loss of biodiversity and food shortages in the future. [...]
    Diseases like rice blast, soybean rust, stem rust in wheat, corn smut in maize and late blight in potatoes affect more than just productivity; many have wide ranging socio-economic costs. Trees lost or damaged by fungi fail to absorb 230-580 megatonnes of atmospheric CO2, equivalent to 0.07% of global atmospheric CO2, an effect the scientists say is likely to be leading to an increase of the greenhouse effect.
    * * *
    Bats in North America and Canada are being decimated by "white nose syndrome," a pathogen called Geomyces destructans, which causes a white fungal patch to grow on their muzzles. The fungus is believed to have a natural home in cave soil.
    Species of the Microsporidia family of fungus are being blamed in part for for so-called colony collapse disorder among honeybees.
    In tropical climates, the fungus Fusarium solani is causing eggs laid by the loggerhead turtle to fail to hatch, while a soft coral, the sea fan, is in decline, its immune system depressed by a soil fungus.
    A pathogen called Magnaporthe oryzae, causing a disease called rice blast, has led to losses of 10% to 35% in the rice harvest in 85 countries.
    Another fast-emerging concern for farmers is wheat rust, caused by Puccinia graminis. A strain called Ug99 can cause 100% crop loss, helped by farmers' over-dependence on a single wheat type.


    April 13, 2012
    4:16 PM
    CONTACT: Center for Biological Diversity
    Miyoko Sakashita,, (415) 632-5308

    50-plus Corals in U.S. Waters Face Extinction by Century's End

    Endangered Species Act Protection Needed to Save Corals in Florida, Hawaii, Caribbean

    SAN FRANCISCO - April 13 - Without help, more than 50 coral species in U.S. waters are likely to go extinct by the end the century, primarily because of ocean warming, disease and ocean acidification, a government report said today. The National Marine Fisheries Service released a status review of 82 corals that are being considered for protections under the Endangered Species Act following a 2009 petition by the Center for Biological Diversity.
    “Coral reefs are at real risk of vanishing in our lifetimes if we don’t act fast,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Endangered Species Act has saved hundreds of species from extinction, but these corals will only benefit if they’re actually protected.”
    Of the 82 corals, 56 are likely to be extinct before 2100, the report said. The corals are in U.S. waters, ranging from Florida and Hawaii to U.S. territories in the Caribbean and Pacific. The report notes that the seven Florida and Caribbean corals are extremely likely to go extinct, and five of those corals ranked in the top seven of most imperiled overall. Today’s report makes no recommendation about whether the corals may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.
    According to the status review, “The combined direct and indirect effects of rising temperature, including increased incidence of disease and ocean acidification, both resulting primarily from anthropogenic increases in atmospheric CO2, are likely to represent the greatest risks of extinction to all or most of the candidate coral species over the next century.”
    Coral reefs are home to 25 percent of marine life and play a vital function in ocean ecosystems. Already one-third of the world’s coral reefs have been destroyed, and scientists warn that by mid-century most corals will be in inhospitable waters that are too warm or acidic. Since the 1990s, coral growth has grown sluggish in some areas due to ocean acidification, and mass bleaching events are increasingly frequent.
    “I’m eager to show my kids the wonder of a coral reef. I worry that if we wait too long, they’ll never get to experience a healthy reef teeming with colorful life,” said Sakashita. “These delicate corals need help, first with federal protections, and then with dramatic reductions in carbon dioxide pollution.”
    The Fisheries Service is accepting comments on the coral status review and management reports until July 31, 2012. Pursuant to a settlement agreement with the Center, the Fisheries Service will make a determination on whether listing is warranted for the corals by Dec. 1, 2012. In 2006, the Center secured protection for staghorn and elkhorn corals, making them the first — and so far, only — corals listed under the Endangered Species Act.
    For more information about these corals and how to submit comments, visit:
    At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.