Green Gate Farm benefit at Lenoir on 11/19

Please consider coming to this benefit and gathering.  Green Gate Farm has faced some daunting challenges this year:
  "First, Farmer Skip was hit by a reckless driver, totaling their delivery van and resulting in medical issues that prevented him from planting crops for their Community Supported Agriculture distribution. They then received a notice from their landlord that rent will be raised on their city farm. And lastly, Bastrop County denied agricultural valuation for their River Farm, meaning their taxes will be nearly seven times higher than they usually pay."
  Please help out by spending a lovely evening at Lenoir, and let's show our farmers how much we need them.

Action Alert: Protect Small Farmers and Food Producers from FSMA Regulations, Which Could Cause Many to Go Out of Business

Sign the letter to the FDA!  This is the second round of comments to the FDA and all of these problems were pointed out in the first letter. "We fought hard for the Tester-Hagan amendment to exempt small-scale, direct-marketing farms and artisan food producers from the most burdensome aspects of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This exemption is essential to the continued vitality of the local foods movement. Now the FDA is proposing rules that make it very easy for the agency to force even small-scale farmers to comply with the extensive, burdensome FSMA regulations, and all but impossible for these vulnerable farmers to protect themselves. Under the proposed rules, if the FDA decides to revoke the Tester-Hagan exemption and force a small-scale, direct-marketing farmer or artisan food producer to comply with the new federal requirements:
  • The farmer or producer gets only 10 days to submit a written appeal;
  • FDA does not have to grant the farmer or producer a hearing;
  • The agency is not held to any specific standard for what evidence must be shown to justify the revocation; and
  • The farmer must comply with all FSMA regulations within 60 days, and food producers will have to comply within 120 days; under either deadline, it will be impossible for most small-scale businesses to survive and stay in business.
In practical terms, under the agency’s proposed rules, the FDA will be able to target small farms and food producers one-by-one and put them out of business, with little to no recourse for the farmers. While the agency has added a provision that allows the farmer or food producer to petition to re-instate the Tester-Hagan exemption, that could only occur after the farmer has already complied – which, for many, would be too late."

Life, and financial success, on a sustainable farm

White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, GA, is the subject of this article from Take Part.  The farm practices organic growing, high animal welfare standards, and even has two human slaughterhouses.

Good Eggs – locally grown and prepared, then delivered to your door

As of yet it's only available in the Bay Area (ain't they all), New Orleans, Brooklyn and L.A.  You place your order on the Good Eggs website, and this way you know where your food is coming from.  The farmers harvest, the preparers get to work, and they do not have to worry so much about waste because they exactly how much to prepare.  Then the food either gets delivered to your home or to a pickup spot.  You can bring your own bag to the pickup.  You can do a new order every time or subscribe to the items you buy regularly.

Want to be sure what you’re eating is local? Sustainable? With good labor practices?

There's an app for that - How Good.  The site uses  60+ indicators that cover a company’s behavior over time, the provenance of ingredients and the manufacturing process.  You simply use the app on your smartphone while shopping to scan barcodes.  You can also type in a search.  At the time of this post they've rated more than 104,000 products.

I’m now a Heifer International volunteer!

hi   As many of my friends and family know, I have been a big supporter of Heifer International for years.  Every Christmas I make a large donation in their name instead of buying gifts.  But I am happy to say that I am now an outreach volunteer here in Austin.  I may be visiting schools, churches and other organizations for various events (the website has a full curriculum for teacher use), I will look into getting a table at a farmers market, and I am looking forward to it.
When I started volunteering with Heifer they only gave gifts of animals.  Now they also offer water pumps, safe stoves, tree seedlings, bees, girls education fees, materials for building shelter, vegetable seeds, and much more.  They are changing the world and I am proud to be standing up for them in public to help others give the gift of goat.

Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance Citizen Action Workshop 2014

Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA) is offering a two-day Citizen Activism Workshop to help you learn how to be effective in speaking up on the issues that matter to you, whether it’s as part of a larger group like FARFA or leading the charge at the local level. The knowledge and information you will gain will help you make good use of your valuable time and have a greater impact.
  • Citizen Lobby Day 2013Do you care about what’s happening with our food system, but you’re not sure where to start?
  • Ever wondered which elected official you needed to call to take action on an issue or what to say to the person on the other end of the phone line when you do call?
  • Already done some activism work and want to learn more about how to be really effective and make a significant impact?
If any of these describe you, then check out the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance’s two-day intensive training on how to be an effective citizen activist! It's $40 for both days, including lunches.

Farmer Starter Harvest Festival 10/25

Come to the education farm in Cedar Creek to celebrate! The Farmer Starter program began October 1 with the arrival of Lizette Dahlgren, Caity James, Lindsey Jo Smith, Jaclin Stinus, Ben Swisher, and Krissy Voutas.  Immediately the new farmers began work by seeding kale, beets, carrots, garlic and transplanting cabbage, broccoli, spinach, dandelion greens, and turnips.  They also weeded the already planted mustard greens, arugula, cucumbers, crooked neck squash, zucchini squash and xenias.  In addition, they built a compost bin, prepared for vermicomposting, and spread compost on the new beds in the field.  They each have worked with the walk-behind tractor, trenched and covered seeds, ran drip tape, hand cultivated between beds, made new potting soil mixture for transplant starters and then seeded into the potting soil for future transplants.  In addition, they are preparing the greenhouse.  Each day volunteers alternate cooking with a smorgasbord of dishes made from freshly harvested vegetables.  Some favorites have included bean chile, quiche, SPABS (sweet potato almond butter spectacular, with bananas), kale salad, and  veggie tacos.

St. Philip is open!

Pain au chocolate and a bacon brioche bun.  image

Food is Free crisis – please help brainstorm!

I just received this email from Food is Free: Friends and Food Liberators, We need your help! Yesterday our landlord of the Food is Free Project (501c3 nonprofit) urban teaching farm stopped by to tell us that someone has made a $450,000 cash offer on our 1/2 acre property in Austin, TX to tear it down and redevelop. It wasn't even on the market. We are shocked, saddened and unsure of what to do. Our landlord really needs the funds and has offered us first choice on purchasing the land since he supports the project however we certainly don't have the money to do so. We could really use your advice, ideas and creative solutions. We don't know what the next chapter of Food is Free Project looks like and recognize this may be an opportunity in disguise. People like you around the world have taken what started as a front yard community garden and turned it into a worldwide movement. Food is Free is growing stronger every day and we will continue to spread inspiration across the globe. We truly love and appreciate every one of you for supporting the vision and taking action in your communities. Onward and upward! Please like, comment and share this post to help spread the word and let us know any thoughts or advice you may have. Thank you so much. email us at info@foodisfreeproject.org or send a message to our http://www.facebook.com/foodisfree page Best, John and the Folks at The Food is Free Project UPDATE: Thank y'all so much for the outpouring of support online already. We know this is just the beginning of a new chapter and we'll use this momentum to grow that much more. We're brainstorming and opening up to all kinds of possibility and are so grateful for all of the advice and guidance from this beautiful community we have created together. We'll be in touch in the next few days about our next steps.