Posts tagged sustainable agriculture

Ag secretary petition

An Iowan is in the running for Agriculture Secretary. Following is a petition from sustainable agriculture advocates:

We’re in the final run for Ag Secy.  Unfortunately, two Monsanto men are near the top of the list.   Below is a link to a simple petition with four candidates that have been endorsed by leading food and farm people.  Could you sign it and send it on in your circles?  Our only hope is many voices together.

As a society at large, we have lost the connection between food, water, air and health. Food, our vital resource of nutrition and energy, our basic component of health and vigor, has largely become, a processed, fungible commodity. For the most part, we have lost our regional food systems and economies, and in the last century, we have lost 97% of our food species along with 90% of our farmers. Biological diversity is not an abstract concept. It is life itself: the life of people, nature, and our planet. A high price is being paid with the health of our people and the health of our natural environment. Doing nothing will increase the distance and disconnections between food and health, the disjointing separation between eater and producer, the steady increase in food-related preventable diseases and the continued deterioration of our planet’s greatest treasures; biological diversity and healthy ecosystems. 
We need a Secretary of Agriculture who understands the health and environmental impacts of food production and who will work with both sustainable agriculture and industrial agriculture to create a secure food system based on:
1) Regional food systems
2) Renewable energy based farming systems
3) Human nutritional needs
4) Health to consumers, land and the environment.
Please add your voice to the petition below encouraging President-Elect Obama to consider a Sustainable Choice for our next Secretary of Agriculture.
Atina Diffley, Organic FarmingWorks





From Dave Murphy of  Clear  Lake :
We would like to invite to sign this live petition effort to encourage President-Elect Obama to consider a Sustainable Choice for our next Secretary of Agriculture.
The letter is at:
Time is of the essence…
Within the next few days President-Elect Obama will be naming one of the most important posts in his cabinet — our next Secretary of Agriculture. For those of us who care about the environment, sustainability, healthy food, animal welfare and creating  local food systems, NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT. 
A groundswell of grassroots support is needed to encourage President-Elect Obama to nominate a Secretary who will bring sustainable change to the United States Department of Agriculture.
A grassroots effort has taken flight.

We invite you to JOIN US in this grassroots effort by signing this live letter advocating a Sustainable Choice for the next Secretary of Agriculture. 

Current signers to this letter include Rick Bayless, Michael Pollan, Wendell Berry, Marion Nestle, Bill McKibben, Wes Jackson, Catherine Sneed and Alice Waters among many others.

Please join them by once again casting your vote for change by supporting a Sustainable Choice for our next Secretary of Agriculture. 

Help make this type of change possible by signing this letter. Our work has only begun.

PLEASE SIGN this letter at:

And then FORWARD to all your friends.

As you may know that this effort has appeared in numerous blogs, including Grist, Salon and in the New York Times online:








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Practical Farmers

   Practical Farmers of Iowa will host a two-part event on Saturday, August 2. The field day will begin at 4 p.m. at the home of Eric and Ann Franzenburg. Discussion will include: culture and post-harvest handling of medicinal herbs, high tunnel tomato and flower production, adding an enterprise to the farm, making more profit on fewer acres, corn boiler heating systems, and organic certification.

    At 6:30, the event will move to the Tara Hills Country Club for a gourmet fundraiser dinner by Ben Halperin, executive chef and owner of the acclaimed Augusta restaurant. Reservations are required for the dinner. To register, contact Cedar Johnson at (515)232-5661 or

    Eric and Ann Franzenburg started farming in 1993 with Eric’s parents Don and Pat. They added herbs to the conventional farm in 1995 as a way to diversify and increase profits. The new enterprise was quite a success, and the Franzenburgs now grow 130 acres of medicinal herbs. 2008 will be the third year of tomato production on the farm, and the first year for flower production. The Franzenburgs constructed three new high tunnels on the farm this year to accommodate their new enterprises.

   Ben Halperin recently moved to Iowa via New Orleans with his wife Jeri. They opened Augusta Restaurant in Oxford this past January. The restaurant, serving “comfort food with a Cajun twist,” has become a destination place for many. The gourmet dinner Saturday evening will feature food from local farmers.

    Direction to the farm: 6925 19th Ave., Van Horne. From Hwy 30, turn north on CR-V42 for 3 miles. Turn north on CR-E44 for 4 miles. Turn north on 19th Ave. for .7 miles. The Franzenburgs’ farm is on the right.

   Directions to Tara Hills Country Club: 1846 70th St., Van Horne. From the Franzenburgs, go south on 19th Ave. for .7 miles. Turn west on CR-E44 for .4 miles. Tara Hills is on the left.

   This event is sponsored by the Ceres Foundation. Sustaining sponsors for Practical Farmers of Iowa Field Days are the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University Extension, Iowa Pork Producers Association, American Natural Soy, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, Midwest Organic Services Association, Henry A. Wallace Endowed Chair for Sustainable Agriculture, and the CROPP Cooperative of Organic Valley/ Organic Prairie Family of Farms. Major sponsors for the Field Days are Wheatsfield Cooperative Natural Foods Grocery, Hubbard Feeds, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, Iowa Forage and Grasslands Council, King Corn and Mosaic Films, and the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education. 

    PFI is a non-profit sustainable agriculture group dedicated to farming that is profitable, environmentally sound, and healthy for consumers and communities. Founded in 1985, PFI has over 700 farmer and non-farmer members throughout Iowa. For more information, call (515)232-5661 or visit

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