What does farmland protection have to do with what’s on your dinner table? Or maybe it should be put this way: What does what’s on your dinner table have to do with farmland protection? Think about it… Today, the typical American prepared meal contains, on average, ingredients from at least five countries outside the US. What if we had to grow our food “back home?”
Take a drive north on Highway 97 and you will pass along the Columbia and Okanogan Rivers between tiers and tiers of orchards growing all kinds of fruit, from stone fruit – apricots, nectarines, and peaches – to apples, pears, and cherries, and the occasional quince. Just a few miles north of Tonasket WA you’ll find River Valley Organics. What’s is it that makes River Valley Organics so special? A unique combination of karma and heart.
Walk into any supermarket and what do you find? Bins of shiny red, yellow, and green apples. What seems like an abundance of apples is an illusion. Just 11 varieties of apples make up 90% of those grown, sold, and eaten in the US. What’s more, 40-plus percent of apples sold are only one variety: Red Delicious. The apple industry has succumbed to the same consolidation and specialization affecting the rest of the food industry. As a result, the number of apple varieties has plummeted.
In mid-June, beginning farmer Dayna Burtness was delivering her farm’s vegetables to clients in Minneapolis when she got the call: the rain that had started at mid-day had not let up for hours. Things were looking bad back at Laughing Loon Farm.
This comprehensive report extols the multiple societal benefits of organic farming in North America. To partner with stakeholders who share in these benefits, OFRF produced this document for policy makers, educators, researchers, healthcare professionals, business leaders and families, like yours and mine.
Jim Riddle is the Organic Outreach Coordinator for University of Minnesota – Southwest Research and Outreach Center. He answers the question: “What does it mean when produce and meat products are labeled organic?”
The Environmental Working Group and authors Anna Lappé and Dan Imhoff initiated the following letter of frustration with the lack of meaningful reforms and public input into the legislative process by the Senate Agriculture Committee as it drafted its 2012 Farm Bill. Read what Mario Batali, Michael Pollan and more than 70 of the nation’s food and health leaders said in urging Congress to cut crop insurance subsidies and redirect that money into vital investments in nutrition, healthy food and conservation programs.
Last Sunday, as we sat down to dinner, we realized that three family businesses were responsible for most of the food on our plates. Here is our “tip of the hat” to these fine folks!