The range of topics discussed was quite broad and interconnected and the collective knowledge and opinion on these was impressive. Forest continues to be especially appreciative of Family Farm Defenders connections to peasant struggles across the world and the effects of global commodity trading and scheming on food systems and farmers.
Conversation touched on and involved updates on:
-Police use of lethal force against minorities in this country as well as systemic police militarization and repression people’s movements here and across the globe.
-The ongoing dairy crisis: Price crash after recent high this past Winter.
– Frac sand mining, the Penokee mine likely not going to happen, and other current and potential mining projects – Genetically modified organisms – Aerial spraying of manure: Our state committee on this (which Lynn Utesch is on and was at the meeting for a short report) is fully expected to say – and is already indicating – that it’s perfectly safe. They are testing for aerial transmission of 6 pathogens in their tests and it seems as if their recommendations will be based on this study. No quantification or testing is going on around odors, NH3, H2S, VOCs, and health or property value effects of these. – Proposed Ag-gag legislation
– Fast Track authority for Obama administration to sign the Trans Pacific Partnership and general discussion on international trade deals historically and their potentials – National Organic Standards: Being updated. Major changes include the possibility for an “organic check-off” program (failures of other such check-off programs for any but the largest producers was discussed) and considerations of organic standards for hydroponic systems. Public comment appreciated (especially from organic farmers). Cornucopia has worked on making this as user-friendly as possible. – Increasing interest in grass-based agriculture was a hopeful point for many, looking forward. On an intimately related note, on Sunday Forest took a long walk with good friend and Executive Director of the Savannah Institute, Keefe Keeley. There are really exciting things going on in the world of permaculture, polycultures, and perennial agriculture. Major in-roads have been made in large land-grant universities. Forest believes that the Savannah Institute’s mission of spreading a Savannah-based agricultural system is especially appropriate here in our area which was once mostly oak savannah.
Necessary organizational annual meeting things were done briefly (election of officers, board nominations and elections, etc).
Buttons, stickers, and allied literature was great.
Forest did not stick around for the dinner and awards ceremony.