Mar 29


BAD BACON: The MRSA found in Dutch pigs has infected farmers and others

A DEADLY new form of MRSA is believed to be spreading from farm animals to humans – already the bacteria has been found in hospitals abroad.

It is the first time the bug has spread in this way and experts believe excessive use of antibiotics in factory-farmed animals may be behind its development.

“Farm animal” MRSA, as it is known, can cause a raft of illnesses including skin infections, pneumonia, bone infections and endocarditis.

The revelation raises fears about viruses and bugs moving from animals to humans in the way that Avian flu infected humans from poultry.

The new MRSA bug, known as ST398, could reach hospitals in the UK, causing serious illness and death among vulnerable patients.

The bug is not only in the animals but also in slaughtered meat. Scientists believe one way it could get into the UK is through contact with raw meat during food preparation.

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Nov 24

In a sign of bad economic times, more than 40,000 show up when a Weld family invites people to gather surplus produce.

An estimated 40,000 people came to a Weld County farm Saturday to collect free potatoes, carrots and leeks.

Cars snaked around cornfields and parallel parked along Colorado 66 and 119 early in the morning to get free food from the Miller family, who farm 600 acres outside of Platteville, about 37 miles north of Denver.

As this prolonged Indian summer continued, the Millers had decided to give away produce because so much was left over at the end of their annual fall festival. Any day now, a few deep freezes would kill it off.

They expected between 5,000 and 10,000 people spread out over a couple of days. Instead, they found themselves on Saturday morning inundated with cars and people with sacks and wagons and barrels ready to harvest whatever was available.

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Mar 15

IF you’ve stood in line at a farmers’ market recently, you know that the local food movement is thriving, to the point that small farmers are having a tough time keeping up with the demand.But consumers who would like to be able to buy local fruits and vegetables not just at farmers’ markets, but also in the produce aisle of their supermarket, will be dismayed to learn that the federal government works deliberately and forcefully to prevent the local food movement from expanding. And the barriers that the United States Department of Agriculture has put in place will be extended when the farm bill that House and Senate negotiators are working on now goes into effect.

As a small organic vegetable producer in southern Minnesota, I know this because my efforts to expand production to meet regional demand have been severely hampered by the Agriculture Department’s commodity farm program. As I’ve looked into the politics behind those restrictions, I’ve come to understand that this is precisely the outcome that the program’s backers in California and Florida have in mind: they want to snuff out the local competition before it even gets started. Continue reading »

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