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Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Mar 24th, 2011

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.

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Mar 20th, 2011

patentIn what could be the best news for organic advocates in months, our friends at the Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice filed a lawsuit against the USDA last Friday, challenging the agency's recent approval of Monsanto's genetically modified (GMO) alfalfa.


Center for Food Safety and their allies are arguing that the Obama administration's approval is not only unwise, since 93% of alfalfa hay planted in the U.S. is grown without any herbicides, but also unlawful since the USDA's final court mandated Environmental Impact Statement was not fully completed in accordance to the law.


After watching the Obama administration bumble through a series of approvals of GMO crops, including GMO alfalfa, sugar beets, and a corn for ethanol, it's good to know that some adults are finally stepping up to continue the fight against an out of control industry that continues to contaminate conventional and organic farmer's fields, destroying important markets for farmer income and exposing the environment to long-term genetic contamination with their GMO products.


Below is a copy of the press release that Center for Food Safety and EarthJustice announcing the latest round in their lawsuit. Despite heavy biotech industry influence in the entire U.S. government, including the White House, Congress, our regulatory agencies and state capitals, Center for Food Safety has won a series of impressive victories in the courts in the past several years. Let's hope their winning streak continues...

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Mar 07th, 2011

In March 2011, PUBPAT filed suit on behalf of 60 family farmers, seed businesses and organic agricultural organizations against Monsanto Company to challenge the chemical giant's patents on genetically modified (GMO) seed.

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Feb 27th, 2011

Vilsack O'BrienIn another sign that vision, integrity and persistence will take you everywhere, Food Democracy Now! would like to congratulate Denise O’Brien, an Iowa organic farmer on her new career in the Obama administration as an agricultural policy advisor in Afghanistan. 

O’Brien is a well-known and much respected leader in the Iowa and national farm community for her pioneering work in advancing opportunities for women in agriculture. Fighting for fair prices for family farmers and working to reform U.S. agricultural policy since the 1980s farm crisis, O’Brien has had a storied career addressing the United Nations General Assembly on behalf of farmer and founding Women, Food and Agriculture in1997. Food Democracy Now! was proud to include her on our “Sustainable Dozen” campaign of candidates at the beginning of the Obama administration when we advocated for personnel with a background in sustainable agriculture at the USDA.

O’Brien’s conviction and dedication to building a legacy for women in Iowa agriculture, an occupation dominated by men in Midwestern states, and her devotion to making local and organic agriculture a part of the mainstream has won her many fans over the years and a legion of supporters.

In 2006, O’Brien ran as the Democratic candidate for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and nearly won in a close race that was dogged by dirty tricks near the end of the campaign. Despite being outspent two to one on campaign ads and a barrage of negative publicity from agribusiness interests in the final days, O’Brien came within two percentage points of winning the election versus a conventional corn and soybean farmer, Bill Northey, a Republican and Iowa’s current Secretary of Agriculture.

Since the 2006 election, O’Brien has continued to be an inspiring voice for sustainable agriculture advocates across the country and the Obama administration is fortunate to have someone with such devotion to spreading the benefits of family farm agriculture on their team.

According to press reports, O’Brien left for Afghanistan this past weekend and will travel to the Nangahar Province, on the Pakistan border where she’ll work to “help restore the country’s infrastructure and assist farmers…working to establish a sort of ‘extension service’ for local farmers, and other such services.”

While searching the internet for some updated biographical information, I found this quote from Denise, a friend and hero of mine, that I believe represents the type of vision that the Obama administration and Afghanistan’s farmers would do well to embrace.

"Organic farmers are thinkers," says Denise O'Brien, in a typical comment. "They know about the interaction of the microbes in the soil, and they're also in tune with the broader “social agenda, taking care of their communities. Instead of being all about feeding the world, they're more interested in taking care of the neighborhood.”

Here at Food Democracy Now!, we wish Denise the best of luck in her new endeavors and know that she will win the hearts and minds of all that she comes in contact with, just as she has done here in Iowa and beyond.

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Feb 27th, 2011

On January 17, 2011, Dr. Don Huber, a senior plant pathologist and Professor Emeritus at Purdue University wrote Secretary Vilsack a private letter, detailing the discovery of a new organism, previously unknown to science, that a team of top U.S. scientists had found linked to a rise in crop diseases and sharp increase in infertility and spontaneous abortions in animal livestock.



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Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Feb 20th, 2011

Farmer GabeThere’s been a lot of bad news out of Washington DC lately. In the past 3 weeks we’ve called on President Obama to retract his decisions on 3 newly approved genetically modified (GMO) crops. Incredibly, more than 110,000 American family farmers and citizens have signed a letter calling for a more comprehensive regulatory process that effectively and democratically investigates the impact that genetically engineered crops have on human health, the environment and farmer’s long-term ability to meet the challenges of 21st century agriculture.

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Feb 15th, 2011

No MonsantoUnbelievably, in the past 3 weeks, the Obama administration has approved 3 GMO crops. First it was Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa, then Monsanto’s GMO sugar beets and just last Friday, as Egypt celebrated it’s freedom, the Obama U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the go ahead to a GMO variety of industrial corn to be used to produce ethanol.

That’s right, 3 GMO crops got the Obama Rubber Stamp in the past 3 weeks.

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Feb 10th, 2011

By Lisa J. Bunin, Liana Hoodes, Michael Sligh,


Last week, USDA announced its decision to allow the planting of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready (RR) GM alfalfa without any ongoing monitoring or regulation whatsoever.  Despite widespread consumer, farmer, and food industry opposition and contrary scientific evidence, the Agency proclaimed Roundup Ready alfalfa: “as safe as traditionally bred alfalfa." 


Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Feb 06th, 2011

Straus Organic DairyMarshall, CA - February 4, 2011 - Statement from Albert Straus, organic dairy farmer regarding approval of Monsanto's Roundup Ready GMO alfalfa.


Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Feb 04th, 2011

Alfalfa HayBy Phil Bereano,

At the end of January, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) unit of the US Department of Agriculture announced that it would fully deregulate the planting of GE alfalfa, despite its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) conclusion that such a course of action might lead to genetic contamination. To many observers, this appears to be in direct contravention to its obligations under law and court decisions.

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Feb 02nd, 2011

We Can Do It!Last week the Obama Administration chose to fully deregulate Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa, despite overwhelming public protest. In the past two weeks, more than 100,000 Food Democracy Now! members signed a letter asking President Obama and Secretary Vilsack to reject Monsanto’s genetically modified alfalfa based on concerns to consumer health, impacts to the environment and lack of adequate scientific testing, but they chose to cave to corporate pressure rather than protect the rights of America’s farmers and citizens.

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Jan 28th, 2011

Dear President Obama and Secretary Vilsack,

While gathered at the 31st Annual Ecological Farming Conference to celebrate the growth of the organic industry as a vital, mainstream segment in agriculture, 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.

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Jan 28th, 2011

For immediate release: Pacific Grove, Calif. January 28, 2011—News that the USDA had approved the planting of genetically engineered alfalfa was greeted with a collective dismay and condemnation by the more than 1,000 attendees from 34 states at the Ecological Farming Association Conference, the largest organic farming conference on the West Coast.  “We are appalled by this decision,” said pioneering organic farmer Larry Jacobs, President of Jacobs Farm-Del Cabo. “This is a sad day for the future of the sustainable agriculture.”


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