UPDATED March 15, 2007


    Send back the clones

    New water filter purifies without chemicals

    Factory farming hearings to travel the country

    New site romances Iowa’s place-based foods…

    …as new webzine boosts the local in New England

    Group threatens USDA suit over organic grazing regs


Send back the clones

Don't miss your chance to comment on the FDA's plans to unleash unlabeled cloned animal products on the American public. The opportunity to make your voice heard closes April 3. In case you missed it in our news section last month, learn more about the issue here.

Novel water purifier works without chlorine; eyed for produce washing

University of Delaware researchers have developed an inexpensive, nonchlorine-based technology that can remove harmful microorganisms, including viruses, from drinking water.

UD's patented technology incorporates highly reactive iron in the filtering process to deliver a chemical “knock-out punch” to a host of notorious pathogens, from E. coli to rotavirus. The new technology could dramatically improve the safety of drinking water around the globe, particularly in developing countries.

Besides helping to safeguard drinking water, the UD technology may have applications in agriculture. Integrated into the wash-water system at a produce-packing house, it could help clean and safeguard fresh and “ready to eat” vegetables, particularly leafy greens like lettuce and spinach, as well as fruit, according to Kniel.

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Factory farming hearing series continues through November

An April 9 to 11 meeting in North Carolina is the next in a series of public hearings being hosted by the National Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production.

The task of the commission, an independent entity launched by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is to examine the impact of factory farming on public health, the environment, rural areas and animal welfare.

Invited to speak are family farmers, citizens in communities affected by factory farming and others who have particular knowledge of the issues.

Details and registration to testify

Sites visually romance Iowa’s food system…

Place-based Iowa foods are getting a boost from a new website that tries to find an authentic, Midwestern way to honor products that are closely tied to the land, people and cultures that produce them.

The Iowa Arts Council produces the site, which features 10 items in a series of photos, brief or long narratives, audio clips, list of establishments where the items are sold and background on learning to cherish food with strong ties to place.

The site was developed with funding from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture as a way to increase opportunities for Iowa’s farmers.

Iowa Place-Based Foods

….and local in all of New England

NewEnglandGrown is a new webzine devoted to New England agriculture and food. Its third electronic edition came out in February.

Content will include articles, recipes and interviews about New England farming, as well as a listing of upcoming events of interest like festivals, open-farm days, country fairs and agricultural workshops. Goals are to increase the vitality of local food systems, preserve open space and strengthen rural New England communities.

Editor Kathleen Weldon included a profile on “Local Food Dude” Tom Cipriano of Bloomfield, Connecticut, and how he is bringing more local fresh fruits and vegetables into the district’s schools.


Group demands USDA enforce organic grazing rule

A Wisconsin organic watchdog group recently notified the USDA of its intention to file a complaint in federal district court accusing the agency of ignoring the organic regulations, and the intent of Congress, by their failure to enforce parts of the law on organic certification.

The Cornucopia Institute says it supports the efforts of several organic dairy groups who recently asked the USDA to crack down on an increasing number of industrial-scale factory-farms that are producing organic milk without meeting what the groups say is the clear intent of the law.

"There are five sections in the federal organic standards that relate to pasture and grazing. Taken together they leave little doubt as to what is expected of organic livestock producers," said Jim Riddle, of the University of Minnesota and former chair of the National Organic Standards Board. "It is no coincidence that except for the handful of mega-farms, all of the nation’s organic dairy farmers, and most of the certifiers that inspect them, understand that grazing is required and operate their farms in accordance with the law."

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