What's Growin' On at the Farm

Posted 7/2/2012 12:40pm by Minnesota Food Association.

We are seeking a volunteer to help one of our farmers who has no available family to help him on his farm.  Here is the information.  Please let us know if you know anyone interested in volunteering 1 day a week on a farm.  

 

Field Assistant Volunteer Needed

 

To assist a beginning Somali farmer in the Big River Farms, a training program of Minnesota Food Association

 

Volunteer should be available 1 day a week between Monday and Thursday between the hours of 8 and 5.  We expect to need this person throughout the growing season.  If you are available 1/2 days, that is ok too.

 

Tasks will be harvesting and weeding a 1 acre plot under the supervision of the Somali farmer. 

If interested contact Joci at  jtilsen@mnfoodassociation.org

 

 

Joci Tilsen

Assistant Director

Minnesota Food Association

14220-B Ostlund Trail North

Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047

651-433-3676

www.mnfoodassociation.org

Posted 6/26/2012 1:29pm by Minnesota Food Association.

 

What’s in your box?

green onions
garlic scapes
beets
turnips
broccoli rabb
zuchini (Golden Karen Farm)
poc choi (Intrinsik Farm)
napa cabbage (Intrinsik Farm)
cilantro (Sebra Farm)


Next week get ready for:

carrots
cherry tomatoes
broccoli
green onions

chard
lettuce
zuchini


and more... 

Get creative with your CSA box…try out our recipes!

Turnip and turnip greens soup

Spicy napa cabbage slaw with cilantro dressing

Zuchini and Almond Pasta salad


Things to remember

1. When you arrive to pick up your box, remember to check your name off of the appropriate roster. There will be one each for Summer's Best & Fruitshare members. If you are picking up both, you will need to check your name off of both lists.

2. Please bring a bag or other container to transfer your veggies into & follow the instructions for breaking down your box found in the CSA bin.  The waxed cardboard boxes will need to stay at your site so that we may pick them up the following week for reuse.

3. In the spirit of community, please do not open or go through other boxes. Boxes are packed identically each week and there is no need to look for a better one.  If you are concerned with the contents of your box, or something is missing, please let me know as soon as you can & I'll do my darndest to remedy the situation.

4. Planning a vacation this summer? You've got some options. Invite a friend or neighbor to pick up in your stead while you're away. OR, you can contact me at least 24 hours in advance to donate your box to Minneapolis Market (a foodshelf with dignity).  All donations are tax deductible.  We are unable to prorate or credit you for canceled or forgotten boxes.

 

Upcoming Events

August 19th—Dinner on the Farm

September 23rd—Slow Food MN presents a Slow Food meal at Big River Farms!

 

Notes from the Field  


Hey folks,

This week I
was continually reminded of how much each box of produce we deliver is truly the work of many hands and many hearts. Here at Big River Farms, we could not continue to fill our boxes without the extreme dedication of all of our programs’ growers. They put forth a tremendous effort each day they come out to the farm. 

 

As a farmer, you have to wear many hats; you have to understand how plants grow, how soils behave, you have to be able to read the weather, understand irrigation, post-harvest handling, and be able to constantly and consistently adapt how you do things. The farmers in our program are no exception. However, they also hold down full-time jobs outside of their small farm plots here at Wilder Forest and they all live at least a half an hour away from where their plants are growing. Logistically, this means that they have to get off work after an 8 hour shift or more, get into their cars with all their farm supplies and make the long drive out here each day to do the work they truly love. 

 

The other night I came out to the field around ten o’clock to close the chickens up for the night. It was already dark and a beautiful full moon was hanging in the sky, casting a soft light over our fields. I did not think anyone was still around and yet when I reached the edge of the field, there was Tha wa and his family from Golden Karen Farm. They were bent in their field harvesting zuchinis.  They had been there for four hours. They would be there for another hour more. Then they would drive the thirty minutes home and go to bed. The next day they had to work early.

 

Please enjoy this week’s veggies. They were grown with love and dedication. The zuchinis have moonlight in them!    

This N That

We are just days away from carrots, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, and broccoli but they just do not want to fully ripen for us yet.  I harvested a few carrots yesterday and they were not a bad size but they had not sweetened up into the carrots you desevre. Our cherry tomatoes are also right on the verge of golden juicyness.  Yet the waiting game will have to last one more week. So another week of greens!    

The flowering bunch of greens in your box is called broccoli raab (say it: rawb).  It has a hint of mustard, but over all, is fairly mild.  The flowers are perfectly okay to eat and add some color to the green!  To keep raab fresh the longest, store it DRY in a plastic zipper bag in your crisper drawer.  It doesn't last long in our house, however, as it cooks up quick and even our 3 year old likes it!  For a quick dish - melt some butter (or use olive oil) in a pan, toss in 2 minced garlic whistles, 1 bunch of broccoli raab whole or cut up.  Let it suatee for about 2 minutes over medium-high heat.  Add 2-3 Tbsp water and cover for 1 more minute.  Add a few shakes of lemon juice, some salt and remove from heat.  Keep it covered until you're ready to serve.  I like to pair this with anything - rice, beans, meat, fish...anything!

The pac choi in the box this week is one of my favorite stir fry greens.  They are a little holey from the flea beetles this spring but will still cook up tender and sweet.  You can either cook the leaf and stem whole or chop them up.  I ussually throw them into the stirfry at the last minute, add a little water, cover them, and in a few minutes they will be wonderfully tender.

Remember that you can always go to our website and look up recipes for veggies in our archives.  We have many recipes in there for many of the veggies in the box this week.

As always, if you come up with something good please share it with us!  You can send me your recips at brfcsa@mnfoodassociation.org

Happy eating!

Aaron

 

 

 

©2012 Minnesota Food Association, 14220 B Ostlund Trail North, Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047 

651-433-3676 ph.  651 433-5050 fax
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Posted 6/19/2012 4:38pm by Minnesota Food Association.

 

What’s in your box?

green onions
arugula 

lettuce (Chicken Head Farm)
garlic scapes
turnips
beets

basil
radishes (Intrinsik Farm)
kale (Intrinsik Farm )


Next week get ready for:

green onions
arugula
turnips
rappini
chard
lettuce
zuchini
beets

maybe:

broccoli
cherry tomatoes

and more... 

Get creative with your CSA box…try out our recipes!

Balsamic Beet Greens and Goat Cheese Crostini

Spring turnips with Green and Raisins

Roasted Beet Soup

Things to remember

1. When you arrive to pick up your box, remember to check your name off of the appropriate roster. There will be one each for Summer's Best & Fruitshare members. If you are picking up both, you will need to check your name off of both lists.

2. Please bring a bag or other container to transfer your veggies into & follow the instructions for breaking down your box found in the CSA bin.  The waxed cardboard boxes will need to stay at your site so that we may pick them up the following week for reuse.

3. In the spirit of community, please do not open or go through other boxes. Boxes are packed identically each week and there is no need to look for a better one.  If you are concerned with the contents of your box, or something is missing, please let me know as soon as you can & I'll do my darndest to remedy the situation.

4. Planning a vacation this summer? You've got some options. Invite a friend or neighbor to pick up in your stead while you're away. OR, you can contact me at least 24 hours in advance to donate your box to Minneapolis Market (a foodshelf with dignity).  All donations are tax deductible.  We are unable to prorate or credit you for canceled or forgotten boxes.

 

Upcoming Events

August 19th—Dinner on the Farm

September 23rd—Slow Food MN presents a Slow Food meal at Big River Farms!

 

Notes from the Field 

Hey folks,
 
I awoke this morning to the sound of thunder and the cracks of wind-whipped lightening, with rain pouring off the roof outside our open bedroom window.  Before I was a farmer, I would love a good strong storm to rip across the plains and shake us up a little. I would sit on my roof in college and watch storms come in over the horizon with such green-light intensity and beauty and think of nothing but the energy of it all.

Now as a farmer, I still love thunderstorms but my unequivocal joy of them has turned more towards a mixture of awe and fear. This morning my first thought was about our hoop houses.  Would they be okay in the wind?  My next thought was for our peppers and tomatoes and all the crops in the field that get blown around in storms. 

Brother! Hard to sit around with all those thoughts running around in your head. So I got up, drank a cup of coffee, and when the rain stopped I walked out to the fields to see if any of my early morning fears had come true.  Well...they did not.  The hoophouses and our crops were still standing up straight and true in the predawn light.  Instead of anxiety I was now filled with that feeling of rejuvenation that can only come by standing knee high in summer pasture, watching the sun come up after a Midwest thunderstorm.  Instead of worrying that the rain might bring destruction, I was joyfully reminded that, most of time, rain just brings life.  

Aaron


Farmer Profile



Name: Vince Xiong
Farm name: Intrinsik Farm
Farming since: 2010
1st year with MFA: 2010
Country of birth: Laos
Languages spoken: Hmong (several dialects), English & a little Thai
Favorite crop to grow: Peppers
Business motto: “Healthy food is intrinsic for healthy people.”
Favorite activity other than farming: Fishing
Right-hand woman: Vince’s mom—Soua Xiong—assists Vince in all aspects of farming. From consulting on different crops to using a hoe at 100 mph, her skills are invaluable to Intrinsik farm!

In this week’s box, we are excited to share radishes and kale from Vince Xiong’s Intrinsik Farm. Vince is a third year farmer here at Big River Farms and he is farming two full acres this season.  Throughout his time here with MFA, Vince has shown dedication to learning new techniques and implementing them on his farm to improve quality. Vince says “everything that I know about farming is from MFA—so, that’s a lot.”

Although this is only his third year officially farming here in Minnesota, Vince comes from a farming family. His parents farmed in Laos for 25 years before coming to Minnesota in 1979 when Vince was just 4 years old. According to 2010 Census Data, over 65,000 Hmong people currently live in Minnesota. The Hmong are an ethnic minority group from Laos who fought with the United States during the Vietnam War. Following the conflict, thousands were resettled to states like California, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.  Vince strongly believes in supporting fellow members of the Hmong community. In the next five years, Vince hopes to own his own land and run a business based on a similar model to MFA working primarily with Hmong people in Minnesota.  Currently, all of Vince’s family helps out on the two acres, but it is mainly Vince’s mom, Soua Xiong, that you will see working long, hard hours in the field, keeping up on weeding and harvesting and sharing her knowledge about growing crops.

In addition to his plans for his own business, Vince is involved in organic and sustainable agriculture here in Minnesota as well as abroad. This year Vince became a board member for the Minnesota Institute of Sustainable Agriculture (MISA) and for the past two years he also served on the committee that organized MFA’s annual Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference held in February. This year, Vince is very excited to have been selected to go to the Terra Madre Annual Gathering put on by Slow Food International in Italy. He is very excited to go to this international exchange of food, culture, agriculture and ideas. Vince hopes to meet other Hmong people from around the world at the conference!

 

This N That

This box is the perfect early season box to test the faith of those CSA members who are dubious about spring greens.  We are again heavy with greens this week and, oh boy, I have to admit that I love what is in this box.  For greens we have kale and arugula and lettuce.  

We are still trying to make up for all of our early season lettuce bolting two weeks ago but we were lucky enough to get some smaller heads to you today.  These are supposed to be butterheads but they did not really form heads.  We just think of them as loose leaf lettuce.  They are a bit dirty because we harvested them this morning right after they got pounded by the rain.  Just make sure to give them an extra washing.

The turnips this week are one of my favorite early season treats!  They look beautiful all white and clean and when cooked their mild nutty flavour is fabulous.  I eat these by the handful when they are on.  These are a 2 for 1 deal as well.  The roots cook beautifully in butter and you can also use the leaves in stir frys or on their own.
Check out the turnip recipe at the top of the page.

Lastly, we have the beets.  There is no better perfection of dark earthly flavors than the common beet.  Just boil them until they are fork tender and eat them on their own.  You can also shred the raw root in a salad.  Beets also are a 2 for 1 deal.  Cook the greens just like you would chard, cut them up and then stir fry them.  Yum! 




 

 

 

©2012 Minnesota Food Association, 14220 B Ostlund Trail North, Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047 

651-433-3676 ph.  651 433-5050 fax
Unsubscribe from this email list.
Privacy Policy.

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Posted 6/4/2012 1:29pm by Minnesota Food Association.
CSA Header

When is the first delivery?

Either:

Tuesday, June 12th
(for Big River Farms, White Bear Lake South, Mahtomedi, and Stillwater)

or

Thursday, June 14th
(for Woodbury, Wilder Foundation, Highland Park, Lake Nokomis, Mayflower Church, Butter Bakery, Health Partners Como Clinic, and Roseville) 




First Box Possibilities:

Green Onion
Red Oak Leaf Lettuce

Butterhead Lettuce
Garlic Scapes
Radishes
Chard
Arugula
Basil
Spinach

















t

                                                  June 4th, 2012

The harvest season is about to begin!
 

We will have your first boxes of the Vegetable shares
to you next week!  The Fruit Shares will be starting one week after the vegetable csa on the week of June18th.  The fruit share will be beginning with some amazing blueberries and they are not quite ready for harvest next week. So we will have to wait.
 
I hope you are all ready for a summer full of veggies and good eating.  Some of you have been with us for a number of years and some of you are new to Big River Farms.  We will do our best each week to provide you with some of the freshest and tastiest produce we can offer. 

This first box will be a little lighter than most of the boxes this season.  This is typical of first boxes because we are just getting started.  I contemplated waiting a week so that we would have more on but I felt like it was time to get started.  We have beautiful lettuce in the field just dying to be eaten and I do not think they will last for two more weeks.   

Last night I spent the evening under a huge moon walking the fields in complete contentment.  There was no wind and the light was perfect.  Many of the farmers in our program were still out in their fields; watering, cultivating, and pounding in tomato stakes.  Porfirio and his family were finishing up their tomato stakes and admiring all of their dry beans that are just begining to sprout.  Tha Wah was hoeing his beautiful chard and watering in a planting of cucumbers.  Sharon, a first year farmer from Guyana, got out here with her daughter freshly back from her first year at college and put her to work planting broccoli.

We have a great group of farmers in our program this year and they are doing fantastic.  Every week or two we will profile one of the farmers in our program in our newsletter so that you get to know a little more about the folks growing your food for you.  We have folks from Guatemala, Laos, Burma, Iran, Somalia, Mexico, and from the Hmong community in Minnesota growing veggies out here this year.  They are some of the only folks in their communities who are able to call themselves Certified Organic vegetable growers.  Your support of our CSA is a show of strong support for diversifying the communities here in Minnesota who have an intimate knowledge of Organic Farming.  For that we thank you!

Individual Dropsite Information will be e-mailed to you soon!

I am putting the final touches on the detailed dropsite info for each of you.  I want to have this out to you tomorrow.  If you have any questions at all please feel free to e-mail me at brfcsa@mnfoodassociation.org.  Or give me a call 651-433-3676!


We still have room for a few more members!

If you have any friends or family members that might be interested in getting their hands on some beautiful vegetables and supporting our farm and training program, please encourage them to sign up for a CSA share.  They can visit our website at www.mnfoodassociation.org or contact me directly at brfcsa@mnfoodassociation.org.

Thanks for all of us here at Big River Farms,

Aaron
Farm Manager





   
   



 
Posted 5/25/2012 12:27pm by Minnesota Food Association.

A good solid rainy day said to me it is a good day to get out the word early!  We are having our 3rd annual Big River Slow Food Dinner on Sunday September 23 from about 2 pm until the later evening. This is absolutely great fun, with the best chefs you could ever ask for, doing their creative art on a beautiful organic farm, served fresh and hot, on the spot, with the chef giving you a personal introduction about what she or he has prepared. If you love food and a real dining experience, you should join us. Please join us! This is a fundraiser for Minnesota Food Association, to support our immigrant farmer training program, and for Slow Food MN, our chapter of a world-wide organization with the goal to create a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet.

 So, this is a white-tablecloth, full-service dinner with wine pairings. The menu combines produce from the immigrant farmers-in-training at the Minnesota Food Association’s Big River Farms Program with some of the favorite dishes of our guest chefs. Here we go … where are you going to find a line-up of chefs like this in one setting, in one place, cooking for you on the spot? Lucia Watson of Lucia’s; Nick Rancone and Thomas Boemer of Corner Table; Joe Hatch-Surisook of Sen Yai Sen Lek; and John Kraus of Patisserie 46.  

 You can learn more and sign up here:  http://slowfoodmn.org/bigriver-res.html

 I really hope you will join us. It is an absolutely fantastic fun event on the farm at a beautiful time of the year.

 Glen

 Glen Hill

Executive Director

Minnesota Food Association

Email: glenhill@mnfoodassociation.org

 May 24, 2012

Posted 5/14/2012 1:20pm by Minnesota Food Association.

Spring has sprung with a glorious burst! I counted 15 plant sales on Saturday, not including the normal greenhouse floral shops and box stores, so obviously people are exciting to get planting. I put in my ‘whole’ garden on Sunday – it’s about 12’ x 12’ – and continue to dig up and convert our front lawn in Stillwater. We had a great Spring Open House and Plant Sale on Saturday. We had well over 100 people visit and sold a large amount of seedlings. Thank you to everyone who came out to visit, tour the farm and buy plants. We still have many, many plants, so if you would like to buy more flowers, herbs or vegetable starts, please give us a call. The many highlights included a wonderful traditional Karen Dong Dance put on by the Karen-American youth from St. Paul. We also enjoyed the visit by many potential new farmers from the Hmong, Bhutanese and Karen communities. I had a lot of fun taking a group on a short farm tour, with me speaking in English, with interpreters translating into Hmong and Bhutanese, and then speaking in Thai for interpretation into Karen. We had five languages going. Reminded me of many of my travels where you may not have a common language, but if you have the will and a smile, communication happens. Thank you to everyone who came out to make it such a wonderful day. Thank you to everyone who volunteered and helped at the event - Spencer, Jean Ann, Lynn, Ann, Jada, Marilyn, Joel, Bjorn, Leslie, Emily, Paul … you were all great.

 Glen

 Glen Hill

Executive Director

Minnesota Food Association

Email: glenhill@mnfoodassociation.org

 May 14, 2012

Posted 5/9/2012 11:56am by Minnesota Food Association.

We have waited long enough to get planting and now is the time! While we farm out here on Big River Farms, many of us, like me, are backyard (and frontyard) gardeners. Without our current farmers, we could not get the wonderful produce that we all love in the season. Without the future farmers, we will be in a real hungry dilemma. But the conclusion is in now, the frost is gone till October in my opinion, and we need to get planting! With the mild Winter and the warm Spring, it was tempting to plant early, but being wary and nice Minnesotans, sort of set in our ways, we held off in planting. You never know, you could have snow on Mother’s Day. But it’s not going to happen this year, so now is the time to get out there and plant and grow! Be fruitful! We can help.  Minnesota Food Association will have it Annual Spring Open House and Plant Sale on Saturday May 12 from Noon – 4 pm at our Big River Farms site. Come out and enjoy an afternoon on the farm. Meet the many farmers in our training program. Learn more about what we do to promote a more sustainable food system. Buy some seedlings for your garden. We have over 2,000 plants just aching to get in the ground. There are over 35 varieties of Certified Organic vegetable, herb and flower starts ready for you to plant. This event is free and open to the public so please bring your friends and family! We will have food – an eclectic community potluck table that ebbs and flows as folks bring in food and others eat it up. So bring a dish if you can.

See you this Saturday!

Glen

Glen Hill

Executive Director

Minnesota Food Association

Email: glenhill@mnfoodassociation.org

May 9, 2012

Posted 5/8/2012 12:02pm by Minnesota Food Association.

 

What’s in your Gardener’s Special?

Marigolds

Violas

Nasturtium

Peas

White Sweet Alyssum

Cayenne Pepper

Sweet Pepper

Heirloom Tomato

Sage

Thyme

Oregano

Basil

Sweet Marjoram

Anise Hyssop

Tromboncino Summer Squash

 

Get ready for our Plant Sale and Spring Open House…

This Saturday, May 12th from 12-4pm at the farm! Bring a dish to share to this open house and potluck event. Bring your friends and family to visit the farm, meet new folks, and stock up on organic herbs, flowers and heirloom veggies!

 

Have you signed up for our CSA yet?! There are still shares available.

Visit our website at www.mnfoodassociation.org to sign up for a summer or fall share and see our drop site list!

Here is a preview of what might be in our first box:

lettuce
radishes
spinach
arugula
basil
green onions
garlic whistles
spring turnips
broccoli raab

A photo of a CSA box from last season!

 

Upcoming Events at MFA & Big River Farms

June 2nd—Work Day

June 12th—First week of CSA deliveries

August 19th—Dinner on the Farm

September 23rd—Slow Food MN presents a Slow Food meal at Big River Farms!

 

Notes from the Field

The Gardener's Specials are packed and ready to go!  This e-mail is being sent to you because you have oredered a Gardener's Special.  We have taken the nicest looking things from our greenhouse and made an enticing flat of plants for you to put in your garden.  






We hope you enjoy them for the whole summer.

The greenhouse is in full bloom mode this week and we are gearing up for our Spring Open House and Plant sale this Saturday May 12th from Noon until 4:00 here at the farm.  We designed the Gardener's Special to be picked up here at the farm on the day of our plant sale.  There are directions here.  If this does not work for you please let me know and we can make other arrangements.

I am looking forward to seeing you all on Saturday!

Aaron


 

A Guide to your Gardener’s Special

 

Thank you for purchasing a Gardener’s Special! 

We hope you find much enjoyment watching these plants grow through the season.  Below you will find a list of everything included in your flat, plus any special care instructions for over-wintering.

 

6-packs

Marigold (A): Annual, full sun,  spacing 8”, pinching makes plants bushier (1 Durango Outback Mix)

Violas (B): Biennial, full sun/partial shade, spacing

6-9”, deadheading encourages blooms all season

2 Majestic Giants

Nasturtium (C): Annual, full sun to partial shade, spacing 12”, edible flowers are delicious! (1 Jewel Mix)

Peas (D): Full Sun, spacing 3”, cool weather tolerant, trellis for easier picking and better yields (2 Sugar Snap Peas)

White Sweet Alyssum (E): Annual, full sun, spacing 1-3”, tolerant of both cool and hot weather, ideal for edging and ground cover, the aromatic flowers attract hoverflies and other beneficial insects!

4” pots

Hot Pepper, Ring of Fire Cayenne (F): This is a hot pepper! Matures to fire-engine red, dry peppers after harvest to grind and make your own chili seasoning, full sun, 12-18”

Sweet Pepper, Gypsy (G): Matures to deep orange and then red with increasing sweetness, full sun, 12-18” spacing, give enough dry-down time between watering

Heirloom Tomato, Great White (H): Full sun, spacing 18-24” apart, before transplanting harden plant off by reducing water and temperature for a week, may stake plants, harvest ripe fruits regularly

2” pots

Sage (I): Perennial (Zone 4-8), sun/part shade, spacing 12-18”, see box on over-wintering herbs

Thyme (J): Perennial (Zone 5-8), sun/part shade, spacing 6-8”, see box on over-wintering herbs

Oregano (K): perennial (Zone 4-9), full sun, spacing 12”, great pizza herb, see box on over-wintering herb

Basil (L): Annual, full sun, spacing 6”, will show signs of stress at 45° and lower, likes warmth (2 Italian Large Leaf)

Sweet Marjoram (M): Tender perennial (Zone 9-11, spacing 6-8”, grows well in pots, place in a sunny window over winter or treat as annual

Anise Hyssop (N): Tender perennial (Zone 6-9), full sun, spacing 6”, makes a great bee plant, leaves & flowers are edible with an anise flavor, flower tops make a lovely infused hone

Tromboncino Summer Squash (O): Full sun, spacing 36” apart, this summer squash likes attention from pollinators so plant it near bee attracting flowers, transplant no more than 2 weeks after taking home

                 

 

 

 

©2012 Minnesota Food Association, 14220 B Ostlund Trail North, Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047 

651-433-3676 ph.  651 433-5050 fax

 

Posted 4/10/2012 3:14pm by Minnesota Food Association.

It’s a little side track but Burma is fascinating to me, and I am sure the MN-based Karen community are surely intently watching events unfolding in their home country. In Burma, in recent parliamentary by-elections, Aung San Suu Kyi (democracy activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate) and members of her National League for Democracy party, won 43 of the 45 seats being contested. This is one of the more significant steps the country has made in decades. The story is deep and complicated, but a quote from her shows her grace and dignity and could be applied to any of our life’s pursuits.

"Passion translates as suffering and I would contend that in the political context, as in the religious one, it implies suffering by choice: a deliberate decision to grasp the cup that we would rather let pass. It is not a decision made lightly -- we do not enjoy suffering; we are not masochists. It is because of the high value we put on the object of our passion that we are able, sometimes in spite of ourselves, to choose suffering."

 

Glen

 Glen Hill

Executive Director

Minnesota Food Association

Email: glenhill@mnfoodassociation.org

 April 10, 2012

Posted 4/10/2012 3:10pm by Minnesota Food Association.

In 1992 biotech seed and chemical giant Monsanto convinced the FDA that foods genetically engineered in laboratories were “substantially equivalent” to traditionally bred plants and animals.  Americans are denied their right to know what is in their food because the FDA is basing flawed decisions on corporation-based research.  Today, about 80% of processed foods in the US contain ingredients that have been genetically modified in laboratories, and Americans do not realize this.

Does anyone notice a significant increase in food allergies in the past 20 years? I never realized how many people are allergic to peanuts. I don’t remember any kids allergic to peanuts when I was a kid.  We talk about the increase in diet-related diseases in the past 20 – 30 years, and we talk about the need for “good, real food”. But it is about both the food and what is in the food. What’s wrong with taking a drought resistant gene from a nut in Argentina and a pest resistant gene from a nut in Tanzania and splicing them into the good’ol peanut grown here in the US? Maybe we are finding out now.

Numerous studies and surveys show that people want to know if there are Genetically-Modified Organisms  (GMOs) or Genetically Engineered (GE) components in our food, and they want it labeled as such.  Hawaii, California, Vermont and even Minnesota all have state legislation pending that would require it for food products sold their states. Large Agribusiness, specifically Monsanto, is lobbying hard against this.  Despite overwhelming public support, and support from a clear majority of Vermont's Agriculture Committee, Vermont legislators are still hesitating to bring a proposed GMO labeling bill to the table. The reason is that Monsanto has threatened to sue the state if the bill passes. It’s probably going to hinder free commerce or something, and the Vermont doesn’t want to spend it’s resources on a legal battle with an Agri-Giant. You can read more here http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_25180.cfm

California is an even bigger player in this movement. As the 8th largest economy in the world, forcing the labeling of GMO foods would have a hugely significant impact on the labeling of GE foods. Food manufacturers and food retailers in California know that when they are forced to admit and label GE components in their food that it's only a matter of time before people stop buying GE food. And then food manufacturers stop making it.

 

The European Union, the largest agricultural market in the world, requires GE Foods to be labeled, so there are essentially no genetically engineered crops under cultivation. Oh, you can grow them, but people won’t buy them. More than 50 countries, including Japan, Russia, Hong Kong, Australia, South Korea and China, have either passed mandatory labeling laws or outlawed GMOs altogether. Why hasn't the US? Don’t we pride ourselves in being at the forefront of the world? A world leader? Whya re we dragging our feet on this?  It’s because the US also has one of the most corporate influenced political systems in the world and the Big Ag and Big Food companies are more concerned about protecting their profits than the safety of our food supply.  So when Monsanto threatens, you listen. Did you know that 194 countries in the world have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and only two countries have not? Somalia and the USA. Why would the USA not sign this; because of strong political lobbying

How about Minnesota? Well, Minnesota recently tried to pass legislation requiring the labeling genetically engineered foods. Rep. Karen Clark authored a bill (HF 2808) requiring Genetically Engineered Food Labeling to the MN State House of Representatives. It was denied a committee hearing in the House Agriculture Committee. She then offered a stripped down amendment to the House Omnibus Agriculture Bill to create a genetically engineered food labeling study committee which would have reported their recommendations back to the 2014 legislature. This was defeated 81 – 44, almost exclusively along party lines.  It appears that the message at the legislature was, we don’t want this and we don’t want to spend time and money on some “study” either. The Senate companion bill, SF 2563 is still active.

Glen

 

Glen Hill

Executive Director

Minnesota Food Association

Email: glenhill@mnfoodassociation.org

 

April 10, 2012