Action Alert

Fair trade or free trade? Let your voice be heard on Minnesota’s future!

The Obama Administration is negotiating two new mega trade deals (one with Pacific Rim countries, another with Europe) entirely in secret, with the goal of further expanding the NAFTA-model of free trade. These trade agreements could have major impacts on Minnesota's farmers, workers, small business owners and rural communities. They could limit Minnesota’s ability to support local food and energy systems and grow local businesses. In order to stay up to speed, Minnesota has set up a new Trade Policy Advisory Council (TPAC) to advise the state legislature and Governor.

TPAC wants to hear from Minnesotans: What concerns do you have about free trade? What role could TPAC play in the future? Now is your opportunity to have a say in our future trade policy. Complete the survey and let them know future trade negotiations should be public, not secret. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard in the development of trade agreements and that they protect local control and our quality of life. The free trade model has failed for Minnesota and we need a new approach to trade. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard before trade agreements are completed, and that they protect local control, our natural resources and our quality of life.

Please take five minutes and complete the survey. To find out more about these trade agreements, go to

Raise more voices for effective farm policy—now!

Posted November 7, 2011 by    

ParentEarth creates online videos to help increase parent's awareness of food policy, currently the Farm Bill is a focus.

The projected course of action regarding the Farm Bill changed dramatically over the past two weeks. The general expectation was a spring 2012 Farm Bill, with the possibility that Presidential election politics would push things back to potentially 2013. Now it seems that the odds-on favorite is to have a Farm Bill introduced any day now as part of the super committee budget reduction process.

As IATP’s Ben Lilliston described last week, the super committee process would throw democracy and transparency out the window:

The 12-member Super Committee will consider these recommendations in secret. Then, the Super Committee’s proposal on the Farm Bill will be presented after November 23 and put to a simple up or down vote in December.  No hearings, no amendments, no debate. Under this scenario, we may have very little idea about what is in the Farm Bill until after it has passed.
What are our options at this point? Clearly this isn’t a “business as usual” Farm Bill process, and our usual tactics of creating coalitions of family farm, conservation and public health groups are insufficient. Congressional leaders will be forcing members to have one up or down vote on an enormous piece of debt reduction legislation, and no input will be allowed from most of the elected officials that we count on for an effective democratic process.
Our best—and perhaps only—option is to make more noise with more voices. While the number of people that have a clear position on issues such as direct payments, SNAP and CRP is limited, eating is universal. And many of those eaters are particularly cautious about food and diet because they care for children, have a family member with health concerns or have health concerns of their own.
IATP Food and Community alum Nicole Betancourt and her colleagues at ParentEarth have done amazing work increasing parents’ awareness of the Farm Bill through video. Watch this video and pass it along. Stay up-to-date on health-related Farm Bill issues through Healthy Food Action. Join Understanding the Farm Bill on Facebook. And make it clear to your federally elected officials that a secret Farm Bill will not be tolerated. They will be hearing from us!

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