Farming While Black: An Interview with Soul Fire Farm’s Leah Penniman

Garden Therapy – Nov 18, 2018 – INTERVIEW· SOUL FIRE FARM

Gardening is therapy to so many of us and yet there is ecology and politics behind growing food that limits that opportunity for far too many people. Leah Penniman, co-founder of Soul Fire Farm and author of the just released book Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land is working to change that. Soul Fire Farm is an organization designed to uplift and empower farmers of color through practical skills and fostering a connection to the earth.

We have been fans of Soul Fire Farm on social media where they share snippets of stories, politics, and culture like this fascinating video about the Afro-Indigenous roots of many common vegetables that we normally think of as having European origins. When Farming While Black was announced, we immediately approached them to ask for an interview. Just a brief conversation with Leah Penniman covered a lot of complex issues including race, an oppressive food system, and the writing process.

Farming While Black is the first comprehensive “how to” guide for aspiring African-heritage growers to reclaim their dignity as agriculturists and for all farmers to understand the distinct, technical contributions of African-heritage people to sustainable agriculture. But you will quickly see that it is also so much more. A practical farming guide, a memoir, and history book intertwined on the pages, Farming While Black is a must read for everyone who loves plants and the healing benefits of working in the soil.

In Conversation with Leah Penniman

Garden Therapy: First, for our readers who don’t know, can you tell me a little about Soul Fire Farm and its mission?

Leah Penniman: Soul Fire Farm is a people-of-color-led community farm in Grafton, New York. We are committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system and we do that in three ways.

Read on…

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Can You Tell Which GMOs Will Be Labeled under the NBFDS?

Reposted Jan 18, 2019 – Living Non-GMO

Read part one of this blog.
Jump to quiz
Jump to FAQs
Read the NBFDS

The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard requires some food producers to put labels on some products that contain GMOs. Unfortunately, there are two glaring problems with this law that mean consumers will still not be able to tell what is in the food they are eating. Let’s take a closer look at disclosure options and exemptions under the NBFDS.

Disclosures

As a reminder, GMO foods won’t say they contain GMOs, they will say they are “bioengineered food.” However, many products will not even say that. A text disclosure is just one of four main options available. Food manufacturers have a few choices when it comes to disclosing GMO content:

  • Use a text-only disclosure including “bioengineered food,” “contains a bioengineered food ingredient,” and “derived from bioengineering.” “Bioengineered food” means that all ingredients in a product are or could be derived from GMOs. “Contains a bioengineered food ingredient” means a product contains at least one GMO ingredient, and other ingredients may or not be made with GMOs. “Derived from bioengineering” is a special voluntary disclosure.
  • Use one of these symbols instead of a text disclosure:

These symbols (and other types of disclaimers) will begin to appear on packages in 2020 to indicate the presence of GMOs in food.

These symbols say “bioengineered” but they do not explain what that means or how to find more information about it.

Read on…

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Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMNRs or SMRs) will directly affect indigenous lands and rights

Dr. Gordon Edwards – CCNR.org – Jan 16, 2019

IMPORTANT: Without any adequate consultation with Canadians, including First Nations, the Government of Canada is unilaterally moving ahead with the development and deployment of a whole new generation of nuclear reactors all over Canada, especially in the north, directly impinging on indigenous lands and rights.  These “small modular nuclear reactors” (SMNRs, or SMRs) will ALL generate post-fission radioactive wastes of all varieties: the high level waste which is the irradiated nuclear fuel, and the low and intermediate level wastes such as decommissioning wastes (rubble from dismantling the shut-down reactors or — more likely — just grouting them in place.)

Meanwhile we have learned that the CNSC has been trying to “rig the game” by getting the Canadian Government to EXCLUDE most of these new reactors from the requirement of having a FULL PANEL Environmental Assessment Review. This has been done by CNSC lobbying government officials behind closed doors without any public process, debate, oversight or discussion.

Most of us in the safe energy / renewable energy movement, who are fighting to have a more responsible approach to the long-term management of radioactive waste — including not producing more of this stuff — believe that now is the time to speak up loud and clear in opposition to these dangerous and misguided initiatives.

There should be NO federal money (tax dollars) spent on the subsidization of new nuclear reactors, there should be WIDE-RANGING PUBLIC HEARINGS on the long-term management of radioactive waste, and there should be a requirement for a FULL PANEL Environmental Review for any new nuclear reactor project in Canada.  In addition, First Nations should be fully consulted regarding each and every one of these initiatives.

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As you can see from the following article, not only CNL and NRCan, but also OPG and Bruce Power and the provinces of Ontario and New Brunswick are also deeply involved in plans for SMNRs

CNL is the same consortium of multinational corporations that is planning the MEGADUMP beside the Ottawa River, and the GROUTING AND ABANDONMENT of two shut-down nuclear reactors (the NPD reactor on the Ottawa River and the WR-1 reactor on the Winnipeg River).

CNL has also been working hard behind closed doors to get the Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources (NRCan) and the CNSC completely on board to finance (pay for) and approve (licence) the building of prototype SMNRs (Small Modular Nuclear Reactors) in Canada, at the two federal sites: Chalk River (ON) and Whiteshell (MB).

In early November, at the same time that the Anishinabek Lands and Resources Forum was taking place in North Bay (where Dr. Ole Hendrickson and I gave workshops on radioactive waste storage and transport issues), NRCan was releasing its “Roadmap” for SMNRs in Canada (we always call them SMNRs; they like to leave out the “N” because they know that no one likes “nuclear” anymore).

The NRCan roadmap indicates a desire to build small modular nuclear reactors all over Canada, especially in the north, to support the accelerated exploitation of natural resources and to replace diesel generators with SMNRs in small northern communities, including indigenous communities. – Gordon Edwards

Article referred to below:

Canadian utilities build SMR alliances  as developers tackle licensing – Nuclear Energy Insider

 

New EWG Tests Find Glyphosate in All Kids’ Cereals Sampled

Sustainable Pulse – Oct 26 2018

A second round of tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group found the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer in every sample of popular oat-based cereal and other oat-based food marketed to children. These test results fly in the face of claims by two companies, Quaker and General Mills, which have said there is no reason for concern. This is because, they say, their products meet the legal standards.

Yet almost all of the samples tested by EWG had residues of glyphosate at levels higher than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety. The EWG findings of a chemical identified as probably carcinogenic by the World Health Organization come on the heels of a major study published in JAMA Internal Medicine that found a significant reduction in cancer risk for individuals who ate a lot of organic food.

The first testing of cereals and other popular U.S. food products was carried out by The Detox Project and Food Democracy Now! in 2016 – you can find the results here.

The tests detected glyphosate in all 28 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats. All but two of the 28 samples had levels of glyphosate above EWG’s health benchmark of 160 parts per billion, or ppb.

Products tested by Anresco Laboratories in San Francisco included 10 samples of different types of General Mills’ Cheerios and 18 samples of different Quaker brand products from PepsiCo, including instant oatmeal, breakfast cereal and snack bars. The highest level of glyphosate found by the lab was 2,837 ppb in Quaker Oatmeal Squares breakfast cereal, nearly 18 times higher than EWG’s children’s health benchmark.

Glyphosate Box

Glyphosate Residue Free Certification for Food Brands – Click Here

Test Your Food and Water at Home for Glyphosate – Click Here

Test Your Hair for Glyphosate and other Pesticides – Click Here to Find Our Your Long-Term Exposure

Glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world, is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as “probably carcinogenic” to people. The IARC has steadfastly defended that decision despite ongoing attacks by Monsanto.

In 2017, glyphosate was also listed by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a chemical known to the state to cause cancer.

“How many bowls of cereal and oatmeal have American kids eaten that came with a dose of weed killer? That’s a question only General Mills, PepsiCo and other food companies can answer,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “But if those companies would just switch to oats that aren’t sprayed with glyphosate, parents wouldn’t have to wonder if their kids’ breakfasts contained a chemical linked to cancer. Glyphosate and other cancer-causing chemicals simply don’t belong in children’s food, period.”

Results of the new tests come two months after EWG’s first series of tests found glyphosate in all but two of 45 samples of foods made with conventionally grown oats, and in about one-third of the 16 products made with organic oats. About two-thirds of the samples of conventional foods had levels of glyphosate above EWG’s health benchmark.

Read on…

SOURCE

Canadian Environmental Groups and Seafood Companies Concerned Over GM Salmon Introduction

CBAN – Lucy Sharratt – Dec 3, 2018

Monday, December 3, 2018. Halifax – Twenty-eight environmental groups and seafood companies are together expressing concern over the introduction of genetically modified (GM or genetically engineered) salmon in Canada and calling on the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (ECC) to ensure precautionary and transparent regulation of GM fish.

“We need to set a stronger precedent for regulating such a potentially dangerous organism,” said Karen Wristen of Living Oceans Society in BC. “We cannot afford to make any mistakes with GM fish.”

A joint letter signed by 21 environmental groups and 7 seafood companies in Canada is calling on the Minister to ensure better regulation of GM fish and establish mandatory GM food labelling.

“Without mandatory labelling of GM salmon, we risk undermining consumer confidence in Canadian seafood,” said Franz Perrot, Quality Control Manager at seafood importer Lagoon Seafood.

The Minister could soon grant permission for the company AquaBounty to produce its GM Atlantic salmon at one or more on-land sites in Canada. A review appears to be underway for multiple locations, not identified for the public. The GM salmon is approved for eating in Canada and has been on the market unlabelled since the summer of 2017.

Read on…

SOURCE

French Court Cancels Monsanto Weedkiller Permit on Safety Grounds

Sustainable Pulse – Jan 16, 2019

A French court cancelled the licence for one of Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weedkillers on Tuesday over safety concerns, placing an immediate ban on Roundup Pro 360 in the latest legal blow to the Bayer-owned business, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Germany’s Bayer, which bought Monsanto for $63 billion last year, faces thousands of U.S. lawsuits by people who say its Roundup and Ranger Pro products caused their cancer.

A court in Lyon in southeast France ruled that the approval granted by French environment agency ANSES in 2017 for Roundup Pro 360 had failed to take into account potential health risks.

Bayer, which said it disagreed with the decision and was considering its legal options, has cited regulatory rulings as well as scientific studies that found glyphosate to be safe.

Glyphosate Box

Glyphosate Residue Free Certification for Food Brands – Click Here

Test Your Food and Water at Home for Glyphosate – Click Here

Test Your Hair for Glyphosate and other Pesticides – Click Here to Find Our Your Long-Term Exposure

The firm is appealing a first U.S. court ruling that awarded $78 million in damages to a school groundskeeper from California.

“Bayer disagrees with the decision taken by the Administrative Court of Lyon to cancel the marketing authorization for RoundUp Pro 360,” it said in a statement.

“This product formulation, like all crop protection products, has been subject to a strict evaluation by the French authorities (ANSES), an independent body and guarantor of the public health security.”

Glyphosate, which is off-patent and marketed worldwide by dozens of other chemical groups including Syngenta and DowDuPont’s Corteva Agriscience, is due to be phased out in France within three years under a pledge by President Emmanuel Macron, who stopped short of an outright ban.

The French court said ANSES had not respected a precautionary principle in French law, notably by not conducting a specific evaluation of health risks for Roundup Pro 360.

“Despite the European Union’s approval of the active substance (glyphosate), the court considered that scientific studies and animal experiments showed Roundup Pro 360 … is a potentially carcinogenic product for humans, suspected of being toxic for human reproduction and for aquatic organisms,” the court said in a summary of its ruling.

Bernstein analysts said in a note that the financial impact on Bayer of banning RoundUp Pro 360 in France would likely be limited, given it concerned one product in a market for glyphosate-based weedkillers worth around 40 million euros.

The World Health Organisation’s cancer agency concluded in 2015 that glyphosate was probably carcinogenic, an assessment cited by the French court in Tuesday’s ruling.

SOURCE