Water is increasingly hard to come by in drought-stricken California, where many farmers are struggling to get enough water just to pay the bills. But the situation in the Golden State is far worse than many people realize, according to new reports, as underground aquifers that take decades to recharge are being sucked dry, and water infrastructure that has long sustained the agricultural growing regions of the state continue their collapse.
Writing for The Washington Post (WP), journalist Joby Warrick draws attention to what many scientists say is an unprecedented collapse of California’s vast water infrastructure, which is marked by an elaborate system of canals, reservoirs and wells that transfer water from the mountains and other areas to the Central Valley. Altogether, the state contains some 27 million acres of cropland. This system is now failing, say experts, and the consequences will more than likely be unparalleled in California’s history. Continue reading »
British dairy farmers are threatening to take matters into their own hands as fears grow that volatile markets for their milk, butter and cheese products could jeopardise their livelihoods. Some larger dairy farmers are said to have incurred debts of more than £1m since milk prices first began to plummet in May.Caught between a UK supermarket price war and a ban by Russia on EU produce, including dairy, which many fear could lead to a glut in Europe, dairy farmers are being asked to take action to help save their industry. Continue reading »
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (Maine-D) has a lot to say about local alternative farming, small farms, farmers markets and restaurants serving local produce. She has a lot to say and a lot to do with its resurgence. She believes the answer to current top-heavy industrialized problems lies in reviving local agriculture.
How does she know so much about food, farming and food politics? Let her tell you in this little-known TEDx talk – she’s been through it all. Let’s just say she has a reason to be passionate about farming. She remembers how a small percentage of local food provided Maine’s necessities – even Boston’s.
A German farmer has revealed shocking GMO company tactics to silence him in an exclusive interview with RT Op-Edge.
German dairy farmer, Gottfried Glöckner, has told William Engdahl about attempted blackmail, character assassination and, ultimately, wrongful imprisonment he suffered when he refused to back off his charges that the Anglo-Swiss GMO company, Syngenta, had provided him with highly toxic GMO Maize seeds that ruined his prize dairy herd and his land.
After spending two years in prison, Glöckner is traveling round the world to tell the story and warn the public of the extreme danger of GMO seeds.
William Engdahl:Mr Glöckner, we’ve known each other since just before you were wrongfully sentenced to prison, but it is only recently that you have legally been able to tell your real story to the public. Please give us a little background.
Gottfried Glöckner: Since 1995 when genetically modified RoundupReady (RR) Soy was imported into the EU, approved under the principle ‘substantially equivalent,’ I had been interested in the subject GMO technology in plants. When in 1997 the EU approved the commercial sale of Syngenta GMO corn (Syngenta Bt176) I decided, as a farmer interested in new better technologies, to grow Syngenta’s Bt176 on my land. Continue reading »
My 22′ Growing Dome has no heater, -28Degrees F and is still producing Winter vegetables; lettuce, carrots, beet, turnip, kale, broccoli, tatsoi, arugula, swiss chard, spinach, plus lots of vibrant herbs. Amazing: constantly blows me away
In New York City, farming on a rooftop is not just an idea. Brooklyn Grange farms more than two and a half acres of rooftops in Brooklyn and Queens, and then sells what it produces to New Yorkers. A special soil mixture is used to minimize weight on the roofs and allow rapid drainage during heavy downpours. The farmed rooftops also house chickens and an apiary.
In the latest stunning assault on Americans’ right to grow their own food, the freedom-crushing state of Michigan has ruled that local governments (cities, towns, counties) can now ban any animal they wish from small residential farms. The move opens the door to the mass criminalization of backyard farms and small, residential farming operations where people might keep a few goats or honey bees for food security.
On this Wednesday April 9 edition of the Alex Jones Show, Alex covers the latest developments on the federal government’s persecution of a rancher over grazing rights in Nevada. The rancher, Cliven Bundy, will talk with Alex on today’s worldwide broadcast. Bundy’s refusal to recognize federal authority over the land under dispute and his failure to pay tens of thousands of dollars in grazing fees stems from his assertion that his family’s history trumps Byzantine government bureaucracy. Alex also covers Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval’s criticism of the feds after they established a “free speech zone” for Bundy supporters.
The federal government is out of control yet again, staging a heavily militarized siege of the Bundy cattle ranch in Nevada, where the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has decided to bring a literal army of heavily armed “soldiers” to intimidate the Bundy family and steal his hundreds of cattle.(1)
The Bundy family has run cattle on the scrubland since the 1870’s, but in 1993, the government decided it “owned” the land and would start charging Bundy rent fees for his cows grazing on it. The Bundy family refused to pay the fees, so BLM went to court over the payments, and when that didn’t pan out the way they wanted, they decided to unleash an army of heavily armed, militarized “soldiers” to lay siege to the ranch and steal Bundy’s cattle.(2)
“They’re carrying the same things a soldier would,” Clive Bundy told the Free Beacon. “Automatic weapons, sniper rifles, top communication, top surveillance equipment, lots of vehicles. It’s heavy soldier type equipment.”
NHK, Mar. 3, 2014 (emphasis added): Japan’s education ministry has revised its instructional booklets on radiation [...] The new booklets include maps [...] They also explain the impact of harmful rumors about the disaster on the farming and tourism industries [...] Education ministry officials say they hope the materials will provide accurate facts about Fukushima to help school children make the right decisions.
They gathered residents in […] a very highly radioactive place. After these ‘radiation safe’ lectures, the mayor of Iitate Village came and directly thanked the lecturers in front of the village people. This kind of thing repeated again and again. [...] the mayor himself evacuated his own children to other areas. I think this is a significant crime. […] children can’t run away by themselves. And these lecturers reassured the parents to stay here, and so the children stayed too. So I think what the mayor did is a crime. […] Mr. Yamashita he was really terrible, because he said what the government is saying is right, you have to believe them because you are the people — you are the nation. And also he said, “I’m a doctor and I’m a scientist and I have data backing me up. That’s why you need to believe […] The radiation, it likes negative people.”
“I don’t want to be their guinea pig,” that’s what I wrote and sent to [Yamashita]. What’s incredible to me, what’s making me very angry — according to some news article in Asahi recently — those people are now saying that iodine pills should have been taken at that time […] which is unforgivable. Continue reading »
The US Bureau of Reclamation released its first outlook of the year and finds insufficient stock is available in California to release irrigation water for farmers. This is the first time in the 54 year history of the State Water Project. “If it’s not there, it’s just not there,” notes a Water Authority director adding that it’s going to be tough to find enough water, but farmers are hit hardest as “they’re all on pins and needles trying to figure out how they’re going to get through this.” Fields will go unplanted (supply lower mean food prices higher), or farmers will pay top dollar for water that’s on the market (and those costs can only be passed on via higher food prices).
Federal officials announced Friday that many California farmers caught in the state’s drought can expect to receive no irrigation water this year from a vast system of rivers, canals and reservoirs interlacing the state.
Without help from the heavens, Joe Del Bosque figures that 2014 will be the last year before many family farmers in California’s vast San Joaquin Valley begin to go bankrupt.
And 2014 is going to be bad. Really bad. Del Bosque has 2,000 acres scattered across several farms west of Fresno, near Firebaugh. He will leave 500 to 700 acres unplanted because there is no water for his crops.
That’s about 650,000 boxes of cantaloupe, regular and organic, he won’t be harvesting come July — about $3 million worth of produce, he estimated. It’s a few hundred workers, most of them migrants, he won’t be hiring. It’s money that won’t be spent in grocery and hardware stores in small towns across the region that produces half of the country’s homegrown fruits and vegetables. It’s a lot of schools with empty seats as farm workers looking for jobs move on with their families.
“Everybody will be hurt,” Del Bosque said. “When farmers idle land, the people who have small businesses in small communities . . . they’ll all suffer. It’s a huge ripple effect through the whole valley.”
California is entering its third year of drought, a recurring nightmare for those old enough to remember the prolonged dry period of 1987 to 1991 and the disaster of 1976 and 1977, the previous record-setting drought.
A Michigan farmer says he could be facing an armed raid by government agents soon, following a lengthy disagreement with state Department of Natural Resources officials over his refusal to obey an order to kill his feral pigs.
Mark Baker, owner of Baker’s Green Acres, told Natural News in an interview that he was informed recently by a former business associate that local state and federal agriculture officials have been forbidden from contacting him because he is potentially dangerous.
Meet Marvin Horne, raisin farmer. Horne has been farming raisins on a vineyard in Kerman, Calif., for decades.But a couple of years ago, he did something that made a lot of the other raisin farmers out here in California really angry. So angry that they hired a private investigator to spy on Horne and his wife, Laura. Agents from a detective agency spent hours sitting outside the Hornes’ farm recording video of trucks entering and leaving the property.
What did the Hornes do to become the subject of a surveillance campaign? They sold raisins. More specifically, they sold all the raisins they produced.
The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition), Oct. 10, 2013: Rice Grown Near Fukushima Cleared for Sale [...] Rice grown in some areas within a 30 km radius of the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant will be cleared for sale this year, but concerns remain. Some samples have tested positive for radiation well above the permitted level. So far only test farming of rice in the region was allowed. Fukushima Prefecture on Wednesday said 44 out of 52 sacks of 30-kg rice harvested in Minamisoma, 20 to 30 km from the power plant, likely exceeded the permissible levels of radioactive materials when tested with a conveyer-belt detector. The prefecture carried out thorough test of the 44 sacks, and detected 120 becquerels of cesium per kilogram, way over the permissible level of 100 becquerels. “It is possible to sell rice that does not exceed the level,” said a prefecture official. [...] Continue reading »
Fighting to save his beloved farm from Canada’s elite soldiers, Frank Meyers is finally forced to surrender
In Frank Meyers’s eyes, the view from his dining room window is priceless. Literally. He can see the old wooden house where he lived as a little boy. The family barn, rebuilt with his talented hands. Rows and rows of sweet corn, sprouting from prime Ontario soil. No matter how many federal bureaucrats knocked on his door—or how much cash they offered to pay—the 85-year-old farmer refused, again and again, to sell his beloved land. As he likes to say: “You can’t eat the money.”
But as Frank Meyers learned today—in a heartbreaking moment he’d been dreading for years—you can’t stop the government, either. If the feds want your property (in his case, to build a state-of-the-art training ground for the Canadian military’s elite special forces commandos), fighting back is futile. “In other countries, they’re crushing you with bullets and guns and ammunition and tanks and explosives,” Meyers says. “Not in Canada. It’s pencil and paper here, and then they’ve got control.”
The increasing use of SWAT teams across these United States is completely and totally incompatible with a free and civilized society. As I mentioned in my recent article about how there are now 50,000 SWAT raids in America annually, many of these military-styled operations target nonviolent offenders, and are often merely money making rackets for local police departments.
It appears the trend is getting even worse. Just like cops will pull you over on the highway and claim to “smell marijuana” as an excuse to violate your 4th Amendment rights, this claim of drugs being present is now being used to SWAT raid organic farms. Or perhaps it’s just because your neighbor thinks your yard is untidy. The story below is nothing short of a complete and total disgrace and we should not stand for this sort of behavior any longer.
Members of the local police raiding party had a search warrant for marijuana plants, which they failed to find at the Garden of Eden farm. But farm owners and residents who live on the property told a Dallas-Ft. Worth NBC station that the real reason for the law enforcement exercise appears to have been code enforcement. The police seized “17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, 14 tomatillo plants … native grasses and sunflowers,” after holding residents inside at gunpoint for at least a half-hour, property owner Shellie Smith said in a statement. The raid lasted about 10 hours, she said.
Local authorities had cited the Garden of Eden in recent weeks for code violations, including “grass that was too tall, bushes growing too close to the street, a couch and piano in the yard, chopped wood that was not properly stacked, a piece of siding that was missing from the side of the house, and generally unclean premises,” Smith’s statement said. She said the police didn’t produce a warrant until two hours after the raid began, and officers shielded their name tags so they couldn’t be identified.
Barb’s Note: Klamath county, Oregon water shutoff – The Klamath Tribes, in collusion with the Federal government and corrupt Oregon officials have started turning off water to farms and ranches. Since the tribe has first water rights, it has claimed those rights and is requiring that all other users with dates later than theirs be shut off. This is everyone else. Read it and weep. Not only will livestock and crops start dying, but this leaves us wide open to rampant wildfires that have the potential to decimate the basin. The following is a communication from Flying T Salers, the best, in my opinion, cattle rancher in the area. Continue reading »
BARCELONA — Sustainable entrepreneurship — a buzzword in an increasingly eco-conscious business world — is often described as a balance between profit and environmental impact.
It’s a subject that Douglas Tompkins seems to have thought a lot about. He founded Esprit and The North Face, two of America’s most iconic clothing and fashion brands, only to quit the business world to become a staunch conservationalist, environmentalist and critic.
“Remove ‘sustainable’ from your dictionary, there is no sustainable business. Only biological sustainability counts,” he told a room full of business students at the IESE business school Doing Great and Doing Good conference on responsible business. (Disclosure: I moderated a panel at the same conference).
“Economic activity has impact and we are just now doing a better job of measuring what those impacts are,” said Mr. Tompkins in an interview.
A strict conservationalist, he rejects the idea that big business can reform itself and thinks the answer lies outside what he calls the “techno-industrial culture.” He thinks measuring biodiversity is a yardstick for how society is doing.
“Healthy biodiversity is at the base of everything,” he said, with species extinction being the ultimate catastrophe. “We’ll be living on a sand heap with a Norwegian rat and a few cockroaches at the end.”
Despite having co-founded ESPRIT, the multinational clothing giant, and The North Face, the maker of outdoor equipment, in the 1960s and having earned millions of the sale of the former, Mr. Tompkins is critical of business’s paradigms.
“We have an economy that’s based on growth without limits,” he said. “How is that possible?”
“To grow and grow and grow without limits is out of the question,” he said.
Even the companies that he is famous for launching do not escape his disapproval.
The European Commission wants to impose on farmers and gardeners in the future the use of standard seeds. Old and rare varieties have little chance of an approval, their cultivation will be punishable by law – even if it takes place in private gardens.
The European Commission is working on a revision of the European seed market in the form of a regulation. Thus, a decision of the European Court is legalized in July 2012: Farmers are allowed to sell only officially authorized seed. So far, old and rare seed varieties were excluded that were grown in long standing economic and exchange traded, usually in small quantities. If it goes to the Commission’s plans, small farmers or private persons may not even give away their homegrown seeds in the future.
Former MSNBC host and author of the book Greedy Bastards Dylan Ratigan has announced that after leaving his show in June of 2012, he has re-launched his life as an organic, hydroponic farmer. In an open letter on his website DylanRatigan.com, Ratigan proclaimed that his life changed direction when he found himself burnt out by “hollow political debates” and “in search of meaning and purpose in my work and life.”
Ratigan said that it was meeting a Marine combat veteran war protester and his wife who appeared on “The Dylan Ratigan Show” in June that inspired him. The couple explained to him a technique for hydroponic farming that reportedly uses 90 percent less water than a conventional farm, but produces three times as much food.
United States President Barack Obama has signed a bill into law that was written in part by the very billion-dollar corporation that will benefit directly from the legislation.
On Tuesday, Pres. Obama inked his name to H.R. 933, a continuing resolution spending bill approved in Congress days earlier. Buried 78 pages within the bill exists a provision that grossly protects biotech corporations such as the California-based Monsanto Company from litigation.
“In an outrageous betrayal of all Americans, President Obama just signed the so-called “Monsanto Protection Act” into law. This law gives Monsanto authority over federal courts and allows it to plant experimental GMO crops even if they pose an extreme risk to human health and environmental health.” - Mike Adams (Natural News)
President Barack Obama campaigned on promises to end secret prisons, decriminalize marijuana, balance the budget, honor the Second Amendment and make health care affordable. But what really unfolded was an explosion in the national debt (now $16 trillion and climbing), the signing of the NDAA, a claimed new power to kill any American at any time, even on U.S. soil, the use of military drones to murder American children overseas, a full-on assault against the Bill of Rights, a doubling of health insurance rates and the destruction of the U.S. economy.
But that’s not all.
Now Obama has signed the “Monsanto Protection Act” into law, stabbing America in the heart yet again and proving that no matter how convincing politicians appear on the campaign trail, they are still sociopathic liars in the end.
The Monsanto Protection Act, part of the HR 933 continuing resolution, allows Monsanto to override U.S. federal courts on the issue of planting experimental genetically engineered crops all across the country. Even if those experimental crops are found to be extremely dangerous or to cause a runaway crop plague, the U.S. government now has no judicial power to stop them from being planted and harvested.
As ibtimes.com reports, the bill “effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of GMO or GE crops and seeds, no matter what health consequences from the consumption of these products may come to light in the future.”
With the Senate passage of the Monsanto Protection Act, biotech lobbyists are one step closer to making sure that their new GMO crops can evade any serious scientific or regulatory review.
This dangerous provision, the Monsanto Protection Act, strips judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer and farmer rights and the environment, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops, endangering farmers, citizens and the environment.