On March 15th, the Obama administration released a draft offshore drilling plan for 2017-2022 that includes 10 lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and 3 in the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Alaska. This proposed drilling plan puts our communities, wildlife and environment in danger — all so oil companies like Shell and BP can increase their profits. The Obama administration has the power to stop it — but it needs to hear from you.
Submit your comment today to protect our oceans and coastal communities from Fossil Fuel Empires!
Food, safety, modernization—all good words. But the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) President Obama signed into law in 2011—giving the Food and Drug Administration new authority to regulate how food is grown, harvested and processed (i.e. produced)—places costly burdens on the small farmers who can least afford them.
What is the FSMA?
Prior to the law, the FDA’s approach to food contamination was reactionary. When instances of foodborne illnesses were reported, they responded, often with voluntary recalls. The new regulations, finalized last year and currently being implemented in phases, mark a distinct shift in an agency strategy that seeks to prevent contaminants from entering the food supply in the first place.
Food poisoning is a problem nationally. According to the CDC, of the 48 million Americans who get sick from eating tainted food every year, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die. Furthermore, massive recalls and settling the inevitable legal fallout costs the food industry billions. In addition to authorizing the FDA to issue mandatory recalls, the FSMA has incrementally unveiled 1,286 pages of new safety regulations.
While the food industry’s largest producers can afford to accommodate the various certifications, infrastructure changes and inspections that the law now mandates, small farmers already struggling to compete in their local markets risk getting priced—and regulated—out of business. Counter-intuitively, this is happening as consumer interest in food that hasn’t been doused in pesticides, wrapped in plastic and shipped halfway around the world should be offering regional farmers expanding economic opportunity in the form of community supported agriculture (CSAs) and weekend markets. To read more, click HERE.
This week’s Ind.ie roundup focuses on de-mystifying two areas relevant to our privacy and freedoms: encryption and trade deals. They can both sound like dull and difficult topics, so I’m going to do my best to make them clearer, with the help of many, much-smarter, people…
Encryption is a way to make data more secure, and unable to be intercepted by anyone unauthorised to view it. For example, encryption allows us to send messages to each other that can’t be read by anyone besides the intended recipient.
Accordingly to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) Surveillance Self-Defense guide, there are three key concepts in encryption:
Private and public keys
Common types of encryption include a private key, which is kept secret on your computer and lets you read messages that are intended only for you. A private key also lets you place unforgeable digital signatures on messages you send to other people. A public key is a file that you can publish or give to others that allows people to communicate with you in secret, and check signatures from you. Private and public keys come in matched pairs.
Click here to visit the ind.ie roundup blog to read lots more!
Mark Bittman’s article in the New York Times, Nov. 25, 2014.
There are four basic ways to change the food system. I talk about three of them a lot: The first is to eat differently, focusing on good food and especially plants; the second is to bring change to your work, whether that means becoming a farmer or helping other people eat better through your role as a teacher, doctor, artist, techie, lawyer or journalist. The third is to work locally to effect change in, for example, school systems or municipal politics.
The fourth is the toughest: Change the system that governs everything, including food. This means changing dominant economic theories and practices, and indeed the nature of capitalism itself. That isn’t happening anytime soon.
But incremental changes are possible within that system. Click HERE to read more of this fantastic article! (more…)
Yes We Can influence Obama’s choices for Ag Secretary, and other appointments in the USDA! In the last week there has been much exciting talk of potential people Obama could or should choose for Secretary of Agriculture. So how do we take action?
Chrys Ostrander of Chrysalis Farm at Tolstoy compiled an amazing list of many of the names that have been bandied about on Comfood and other places in recent days, and at The Future is Organic, also the work of Chrys, there’s some great information on how to push for the kinds of appointments that we in the Sustainable Ag movement would dance and sing about. Check it out, and read on for brief bios of folks who should be in consideration…