Take Time TODAY to Support Our Health and Environment with the Food and Farm Act

First, what is the Food and Farm Act?

The Food and Farm Act, otherwise known as H. R. 4425, is a bill that was introduced by Representative  Earl Blumenauer, on November 16, 2017. This bill plans to:

 “reform the safety net for farmers and ranchers, enhance soil, water, and habitat conservation, encourage beginning farmers and ranchers, strengthen nutrition for Americans, support agriculture research and innovation, reduce food waste, improve animal welfare, and invest in regional food systems, and for other purposes.”

To support this critically important bill, please dial 202-224-3121, and press 2, then enter your zip code to connect with your state representative. Here is a sample script you can use:

I am a constituent, and am calling to ask you to sponsor the Food and Farm Act, H.R. 4425, to create a fairer and more sustainable food system. 

Thank you for you your much needed support! Every call makes a difference!

Did you make the call? I’d like to hear from you!

-Friends of the Earth:

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Friends of the Earth today supported Representative Earl Blumenauer’s (D-OR) Food and Farm Act, a progressive alternative to farm policy dominated by industrial agriculture. Current federal agricultural policy directs significant tax-payer subsidies towards large, pesticide-intensive industrial farms at the expense of family farmers, rural communities, public health, animal welfare, and the environment. As Congress begins to deliberate the 2018 Farm Bill, Friends of the Earth applauds the Food and Farm Act’s alternative vision for an agricultural system that will help family farmers and ranchers thrive, while improving access to healthy food and protecting our planet.

“Instead of handing out endless taxpayer dollars to agribusiness polluters, the Food and Farm Act will provide farmers the support they need to produce abundant, healthy food while protecting our soil, water, climate and pollinators,” said Kari Hamerschlag, deputy director of the food and agriculture program at Friends of the Earth. “For the benefit of family farmers, consumers, animals and the environment, we urge Congress to reject the status quo and support Rep. Blumenauer’s alternative farm bill”

“I applaud Rep. Blumenauer for drafting a farm bill that will help farmers like me expand production of organic, grass-fed, humane, and locally processed meat and dairy products for the growing market of consumers who want healthier food for their families,” said Will Harris, a fourth generation farmer and owner of White Oaks Pasture, a diversified and certified organic, grass-fed and humane operation that raises and processes beef, lamb, poultry, rabbits, eggs, and vegetables in Georgia. “It would be a great leap forward to have a farm bill that supports regenerative and humane agricultural practices that serve to strengthen our local rural economies.”

Among other provisions, the Food and Farm Act includes measures to:

  • Level the playing field for family farmers by limiting subsidies in the commodity, conservation, and crop insurance programs;
  • Protect soil and water quality by requiring that crop insurance subsidy recipients implement good stewardship practices on their land;
  • Support regenerative, organic, pasture-based and humane farming practices that will protect pollinators, build healthy soil and reduce the use of antibiotics and pesticides;
  • Eliminate conservation subsidies for large factory farm waste facilities;
  • Increase access to healthy food in underserved communities and schools, and support infrastructure investments that will allow greater access to better quality, regionally produced meat, dairy and poultry products;
  • Protect farmers from anti-competitive, deceptive and abusive business practices by multinational meat processing companies;
  • Increase research for sustainable agriculture, climate resiliency, plant breeding and animal welfare; and
  • Require reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from factory farms and commodity crop production.

Expert contact: Kari Hamerschlag, (510), 207-7257, khamerschlag@foe.org
Communications Contact: Erin Jensen, (202) 222-0722, ejensen@foe.org

The Shadow in the Dark

“This  suspense is terrible. I hope it will last”   Oscar  Wilde 1-8-08 004

Today I am transporting all of us back in time. We are going back to my families’ 11 acres of land in River Falls, Wisconsin during the year 2008.

It is dusk, and my family and I have just come back from a summer campfire in the woods. We all settle in for the night, in our 27 foot Palomino Puma travel trailer. The outside world does not seem very far away in our plastic home, with the night sounds pressing in through our thin walls, open windows and the woods wrapped around us on all four sides. Mother Nature gently invites herself inside our dwelling with a variety of animal sounds, including hoo- hoohoo’s, and yip-yips, long into the night.

On this peaceful night in the woods, we are all busying ourselves with something, when our daughter Caroline asks, “Is Jemie outside? Jemie is our 80-pound Black Lab. No, Jemie was not outside. Caroline then proceeds to tell us that there is definitely SOMETHING outside. She is peering out the front of the travel trailer into the pitch black. We have no outside light, so whatever she is seeing is just a shadow. We all race over to the window, most likely envisioning a wide range of creatures. Could one of the goats gotten lose? Is there a coyote lurking around? Are the deer looking for a place to lie down for the night? All possibilities, I suppose. Caroline goes on to tell us that this shadow was REALLY big. We all have our noses plastered to the window, looking intently into the dark. Then, we all see it. An outline in the dark, about 40 feet from the travel trailer, moving up and down…stop…up and down…stop. Oh my God,what is that? It is huge! The first thing that I think of is a moose. A moose? What the hell am I thinking? A bear…too small. It moves again, away from the travel trailer. Goosebumps on my arms begin jumping up and screaming, “Run…hide!”

My husband Chris bravely opens the door and heads outside. The gigantic shadow is now on the move up the driveway. We waited to hear screams, growls, flesh ripping (maybe not flesh ripping), but we heard nothing but the rustling of many feet on the gravel driveway. My husband finally yells to come outside and we see the creature in its true form. It was an enormous…cow. Yes, a cow was in our “front yard”. We live in the country, so a cow isn’t that surprising and probably should have been the first thing I thought of. I am not quite used to country living yet, so a cow in the yard is far from a first thought.

It is now halfway up the steep driveway. We all jump in the car and follow it up the hill. By the time we are up to the driveway, we see that the cow is now heading back down the other side of the hill. It is heading into the woods, and towards the road below our property. We wind the car down the driveway and around our property, exhilarated by the possibility of meeting it on the road below ( yes, I know it’s a cow). We arrive just in time to see the beast entering the woods on the other side of the road. Tree branches are breaking and crashing to the ground, and we see the back-end of the cow disappearing into the dense forest. There are no roads into those woods, so the adventure has come to an end, leaving such possibilities for the next. We wish the creature well in finding its way back home safely, as my family and I find our way too.