Lon Frahm may represent the future of farming. Inside a two-story office building overshadowed by 80-foot steel grain bins, he points to a map showing the patchwork of square and circular fields that make up his operation. It covers nearly 10% of the county’s cropland, and when he climbs into his Cessna Skylane to check crops from the air, he can fly 30 miles before reaching the end of his land. At 30,600 acres, his farm is among the country’s vastest, and it yields enough corn and wheat each year to fill 4,500 semitrailer trucks. Big operations like Mr. Frahm’s, which he has spent decades building, are prospering despite the deepest farm slump since the 1980s. Years of low prices for corn, wheat and other commodities brought on by a glut of grain world-wide are driving smaller American farmers out of business.
Real Food Films is calling for filmmakers to submit projects by April 1st that correspond to the themes of:
- Crafting Public Policies for Public Health: Taking on Big Soda
- Building Power with Food Workers
- Tackling Climate Change Through Food
Selected films will be included in their 2017 Organizing Toolkits, which will be jam-packed with educational materials for groups and individuals interested in working in food system reform.
Seriously, we really want to know, and so do these film makers. Specifically, they’re focussing on the chicken industry, asking, if chicken is America’s favorite meat, generating more than $30 billion a year in revenue, but who benefits from this multi-billion dollar industry?
Spoiler alert! It’s not the farmers. This is a story that we hadn’t heard yet of the greed of large industrial ag companies, and it’s absolutely repulsive.
There have been several stories lately about the poisons of teflon and the down-right corruption from DuPont (influencing the EPA, among other agencies). There is currently a corporate lawyer battling it out with DuPont in order to get the many people affected by the manufacturing of teflon their settlement, but there’s a long way to go in terms of consumer awareness.
Starting around 1951, DuPont began using another laboratory-formed chemical known as Perfluorooctanoic (PFOA) acid, or C8 (so called because it contains eight carbon molecules), to smooth out the lumpiness of freshly manufactured Teflon. An unusually durable chemical, C8 first entered the world in 1947 and due to its nonstick and stain-resistant properties its use as a “surfactant” spread with extraordinary speed. The white, powdery compound, often said to look like Tide laundry detergent, would ultimately be used in hundreds of products including fast food wrappers, waterproof clothing, electrical cables, and pizza boxes. (DuPont used to purchase C8 from another chemical company called 3M until 2002, when the company phased it out. DuPont then started manufacturing C8 on its own at a factory in Fayetteville, North Carolina.)
The trouble was that the compound – which has since been linked to a variety of health risks including cancer, liver disease, developmental problems, and thyroid disease – escapes into the air easily. In fact, C8 was often shipped to factories pre-mixed with water to keep the dust from worker’s lungs.
This could be any small diversified farmer. Greenhorns far and wide, stay updated on this situation. Share it broadly. Make a fuss. Start a conversation.
SPREAD THIS FAR AND WIDE. SOCIAL MEDIA NEEDS TO COME TO HIS RESCUE.
Rewild! Escape from Monomania
by: George Monbiot
October 17, 2015, Rural America
Most human endeavours, unless checked by public dissent, evolve into monocultures. Money seeks out a region’s comparative advantage—the field in which it competes most successfully—and promotes it to the exclusion of all else. Every landscape or seascape, if this process is loosed, performs just one function.
This greatly taxes the natural world. An aquifer might contain enough water to allow some farmers to grow alfalfa, but perhaps not all of them. A loch or bay or fjord might have room for wild salmon and a few salmon farms, but if too many cages are built, the parasites that infest them will overwhelm the wild fish. Many farmland birds can survive in a mixed landscape of pasture and arable crops, hedgerows and woodlands, but not in a boundless field of wheat or soybeans.
Some enthusiasts for rewilding see reserves of self-willed land as an exchange for featureless monocultures elsewhere. I believe that pockets of wild land—small in some places, large in others—should be accessible to everyone: no one should have to travel far to seek refuge from the ordered world…
Read on here!
Lest we forget why we care so much about this whole sustainable ag movement… Tyronne Hayes and Penelope Jagessar Chagger on “The Toxic Baby,” or how the chemicals in our world– especially in our food– affect our unborn children.
AGRICULTURAL REFORM HAS NEVER BEEN MORE IMPORTANT.
Although his jokes are goofy, he makes some very important points.
Thank you for bringing these issues to the mainstream, John Oliver.
As you can read in the article below, Chipotle is at the top of fast food restaurants in sales, beating out KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut. They are the leading the trend for sustainable fast food that we also see as Amy’s Organic opens a drive-thru and Applegate shows up at rest stops next to McDonalds. We can applaud these environmentally conscious chains as they attempt to change where large meat comes from, but maintain healthy skepticism and demand transparency as they piggy back on a very important cultural shift.
Chipotle Boasts Another Quarter of Billion-Dollar Sales
Stephanie Strom, The Washington Post, April 21, 2015
“So-called fast-casual restaurants like Chipotle, which allow their customers to tailor their meals, and still have them ready in a flash, are booming right now, playing to consumer tastes for customization, speed and ingredients from sources that adhere to animal welfare, organic and other standards.
Sales in its stores open at least one year were up 10.4 percent in the first quarter, which ended March 31. Overall sales were up 20.4 percent to $1.09 billion, compared with $904.2 million in the same period last year. Profits jumped 47.6 percent to $122.6 million.
“We are very proud of our start to 2015, as our average sales volumes reached a record $2.5 million per restaurant,” Steve Ells, Chipotle’s co-chief executive, said in a statement.”
Our friend Jonathan Shepard is a documentary film maker who is the mastermind behind “The Sharecroppers.” Recently, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver borrowed some of his chicken footage for their amazing piece. Check out both videos!