Investing in Local Business – New Book

You shop locally, you buy locally, so why don’t you invest locally? Why not invest your assets in your favorite small business just down the street from where you live? Truth is, it’s not as easy as it should be, says Amy Cortese, a veteran business journalist and author of the new book Locavesting, which takes a look at the local-investing movement and how individual investors can participate.

 

See the article in Mintlife Blog

Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Assoc. Joins Suit Against Monsanto

Organic Farms and Seed Sellers File Suit Against Monsanto:

Preemptive Action Seeks Ruling That Would Prohibit Monsanto from Suing Organic Farmers and Seed Growers if Contaminated by Roundup Ready Seed

On behalf of 60 family farmers, seed businesses, and organic agricultural organizations, including the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA), the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed suit today against Monsanto to challenge the chemical giant’s patents on genetically modified seed.

The organic plaintiffs were forced to sue preemptively to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement should they ever become contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed, something Monsanto has done to others in the past.

The case, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, was filed in federal district court in Manhattan and assigned to Judge Naomi Buchwald.

Plaintiffs in the suit represent a broad array of family farmers, small businesses, and organizations from within the organic agriculture community who are increasingly threatened by genetically modified seed contamination despite using their best efforts to avoid it.  The plaintiff organizations have over 270,000 members, including thousands of certified organic family farmers.

“This case asks whether Monsanto has the right to sue organic farmers for patent infringement if Monsanto’s transgenic seed should land on their property,” said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT’s Executive Director and Lecturer of Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. “It seems quite perverse that an organic farmer contaminated by transgenic seed could be accused of patent infringement, but Monsanto has made such accusations before and is notorious for having sued hundreds of farmers for patent infringement, so we had to act to protect the interests of our clients.”

Once released into the environment, genetically modified seed contaminates and destroys organic seed for the same crop.  For example, soon after Monsanto introduced genetically modified seed for canola, organic canola became virtually extinct as a result of contamination. Organic corn, soybeans, cotton, sugar beets and alfalfa now face the same fate, as Monsanto has released genetically modified seed for each of those crops, too.  Monsanto is developing genetically modified seed for many other crops, thus putting the future of all food, and indeed all agriculture, at stake.

“Consumers indicate, overwhelmingly, that they prefer foods made without genetically modified organisms,” said Dr. Carol Goland, OEFFA’s Executive Director. “Organic farms, by regulation, may not use GMOs, while other farmers forego using them for other reasons. Yet the truth is that we are rapidly approaching the tipping point when we will be unable to avoid GMOs in our fields and on our plates.  That is the inevitable consequence of releasing genetically engineered materials into the environment.  To add injury to injury, Monsanto has a history of suing farmers whose fields have been contaminated by Monsanto’s GMOs. On behalf of farmers who must live under this cloud of uncertainty and risk, we are compelled to ask the Court to put an end to this unconscionable business practice.”

In the case, PUBPAT is asking Judge Buchwald to declare that if organic farmers are ever contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed, they need not fear also being accused of patent infringement.  One argument justifying this result is that Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seed are invalid because they don’t meet the “usefulness” requirement of patent law, according to PUBPAT’s Ravicher, plaintiffs’ lead attorney in the case.  Evidence cited by PUBPAT in its opening filing today proves that genetically modified seed has negative economic and health effects, while the promised benefits of genetically modified seed – increased production and decreased herbicide use – are false.

“Some say transgenic seed can coexist with organic seed, but history tells us that’s not possible, and it’s actually in Monsanto’s financial interest to eliminate organic seed so that they can have a total monopoly over our food supply,” said Ravicher.  “Monsanto is the same chemical company that previously brought us Agent Orange, DDT, PCB’s, and other toxins, which they said were safe, but we know are not.  Now Monsanto says transgenic seed is safe, but evidence clearly shows it is not.”

The plaintiffs in the suit represented by PUBPAT are: Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association; Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association; Organic Crop Improvement Association International, Inc.; OCIA Research and Education Inc.; The Cornucopia Institute; Demeter Association, Inc.; Navdanya International; Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association; Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts Chapter, Inc.; Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont; Rural Vermont; Southeast Iowa Organic Association; Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society; Mendocino Organic Network; Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance; Canadian Organic Growers; Family Farmer Seed Cooperative; Sustainable Living Systems; Global Organic Alliance; Food Democracy Now!; Family Farm Defenders Inc.; Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund; FEDCO Seeds Inc.; Adaptive Seeds, LLC; Sow True Seed; Southern Exposure Seed Exchange; Mumm’s Sprouting
Seeds; Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co., LLC; Comstock, Ferre & Co., LLC; Seedkeepers, LLC; Siskiyou Seeds; Countryside Organics; Cuatro Puertas; Interlake Forage Seeds Ltd.; Alba Ranch; Wild Plum Farm; Gratitude Gardens; Richard Everett Farm, LLC; Philadelphia Community Farm, Inc; Genesis Farm; Chispas Farms LLC; Kirschenmann Family Farms Inc.; Midheaven Farms; Koskan Farms; California Cloverleaf Farms; North Outback Farm; Taylor Farms, Inc.; Jardin del Alma; Ron Gargasz Organic Farms; Abundant Acres; T & D Willey Farms; Quinella Ranch; Nature’s Way Farm Ltd.; Levke and Peter Eggers Farm; Frey Vineyards, Ltd.; Bryce Stephens; Chuck Noble; LaRhea Pepper; Paul Romero; and, Donald Wright Patterson, Jr.

For a copy of the complaint, go to http://www.pubpat.org/assets/files/seed/OSGATA-v-Monsanto-Complaint.pdf.

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About OEFFA
OEFFA was founded in 1979 and is a grassroots coalition of farmers, backyard gardeners, consumers, retailers, educators, researchers, and others who share a desire to build a healthy food system that brings prosperity to family farmers, helps preserve farmland, offers food security for all Ohioans, and creates economic opportunities for our rural communities. OEFFA also operates one of the oldest and most respected organic certification programs in the nation, certifying more than 650 operations throughout the Midwest. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.

About PUBPAT
The Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) is a not-for-profit legal services organization affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. PUBPAT protects freedom in the patent system by representing the public interest against undeserved patents and unsound patent policy. For more information, go to www.pubpat.org.

Market and CSA Preview at Wexner Center

Thu, Feb 24, 2011  |  5:30–7:00PM
Wexner Center Lower Lobby

Jaime  Moore of Wayward Seed Farm will be on hand before tonight’s Field &  Screen film to chat with guests about CSAs (Community Supported  Agriculture) and plans for the 2011 season at the Market at 15th &  High on the Wexner Center Plaza.

If you are farmer offering a CSA, a vendor at a Columbus area farmers’ market or a market representative come out to this event for some quality networking with other supporters of local food.

More Information

Food Safety for the Garden

Weds Mar 2 Food Safety for the Garden at Franklin Park Conservatory 6- 8 pm
Food safety expert Shari Plimpton, Ph.D., Director, Industry Outreach, CIFT, will discuss the fundamentals of proper food handling and good agriculture practices for community gardeners, urban growers and those involved in farmers’ markets. Registration required; space limited. Sponsored by Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT), Ohio Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Program and the Conservatory’s Growing to Green Program. Free with Conservatory admission. Location: 1771 East Broad St Columbus 43203. Web: http://www.fpconservatory.org  Contact: 614-645-8733.

Defining What is Local

We have all heard the term local food. But what does it mean? How local is local? Local is shorthand for an idea that doesn’t have a firm definition. Unlike organic standards, which entail specific legal definitions, inspection processes, and labels, local means different things to different people, depending on where they live, how long their growing season is, and what products they are looking for.


Practically speaking, local food production can be thought of in concentric circles that start with growing food at home. The next ring out might be food grown in our immediate community – then state, region, and country. For some parts of the year in Ohio it’s easy to eat local with lots of produce available from local farms. In winter and early spring, however, eating local requires adjustment to what is available for the season. This is an opportunity to learn about the cycles of how food is produced and will bring us closer to nature and our environment.

For me local means produced within my state of Ohio. Clearly there are some foods that are produced much more locally than others. All things being equal, we should give preference for that which is most local, starting with the food we produce or gather in our own backyards.

How do you define local and why?

Good News for the Local Food Movement

Good News for the Local and Regional Food Movement

President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act today, after a long bout of legislative wrangling by local food advocates, small farmers and their allies for food safety rules that protect consumers without curbing the growing movement toward fresh, local and regional food.  The food safety bill passed by the House in July of 2009 would have imposed a one size fits all regulatory system biased toward  industrial agriculture with a regressive registration fee, expensive food safety plans, and regular on-farm FDA inspections regardless of the degree of the potential risk for food borne illness.  The new regulatory burdens threatened to erect formidable barriers to the developing local and regional markets for many small and moderate sized farms.

In the past two years, small farm advocates worked to win small and mid-size farm amendments to the legislation.  One organization that was key to the efforts was the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

The  amendments incorporated into the Food Safety Modernization Act and signed today by the President include:

Continue reading Good News for the Local Food Movement