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

URGENT: Act today to ensure Senate's Farm Bill supports healthy food for all

Posted April 24, 2012 by     Healthy Food Action

Food and HealthHealthy Food ActionFarm BillFoodHealth

The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee has finally issued its draft of the 2012 Farm Bill. Despite some good provisions supporting the growing and consumption of healthy food, the Senate’s draft doesn’t level the playing field for small and midsize family farmers who produce fruits and vegetables and makes significant cuts to food stamp (SNAP) benefits for low income people. The Senate’s draft incentivizes large farms to grow a few commodity crops (primarily corn and soybeans) through a revamped crop insurance program, without taking any steps to manage the overproduction of these crops.  The bill does not go nearly far enough in supporting farmers who grow healthy food for local and regional food systems. 

It’s URGENT that you contact committee members TODAY about the key healthy food provisions that are still missing, because the Senate Agriculture Committee will begin work on the bill tomorrow. Write or call members of the Senate Agriculture Committee today and ask them to include the following key provisions:

Full funding for the SNAP program (food stamps) that protects against hunger and improves nutrition by providing critical resources to vulnerable people. Cuts to SNAP will only make it harder for millions of families to afford a nutritious diet.

  • Better, more affordable crop insurance for organic farmers that helps reduce the increase financial risk of growing organic crops, which reduce the use of harmful chemicals that endanger human health and the environment.
  • Support for Senator Leahy’s public health reporting amendment which would require USDA to report on the public health impacts of federal agricultural policies.
  • Restore funding for outreach to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The funding provides assistance in successfully acquiring, owning, operating, and retaining farms and ranches and helps ensure they can equitably participate in all USDA programs. The program has been important in addressing historic discrimination against farmers of color by USDA and also supports domestic production of healthy food, as 18 to 20 percent of farms that grow vegetables, melons, fruits and tree nuts are operated by farmers of color
  • Authorize schools and other service institutions to use federal program dollars to purchase food from local agricultural producers. 

Take action now!

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