IATP News June 2009
The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems.
5/8: Almanac. Baby Bottle BPA Ban
5/9: Los Angeles Times. Flu? Don't blame the pig
5/10: Chicago Tribune. It's called swine flu, but don't blame pigs
5/15: Food Service News. IATP: the global watchdog in our backyard
5/20: Toronto Star. What's wrong with orange juice?
5/26: Downtown Journal. Building a case for local, sustainable food
5/27: Huffington Post. Have We Rejoined the World?
6/1: Biodiesel Magazine. Aggressive policy changes need to be considered carefully
6/3: Oakdale Lake Elmo Review. Oakdale church growing more than faith
U.S. and EU Bear Special Responsibility for the Global Food Crisis
A new report by CIDSE (an international alliance of Catholic development agencies) and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy finds that policies enacted by the United States and the European Union, and aggressively pushed through global institutions during the last several decades, laid the groundwork for the ongoing food crisis. The paper, Global Food Responsibility: The European Union and the United States Must Chart a New Path, identifies the convergence of the food, economic and climate crises as indicators that call into question the viability of existing models of food production and consumption.
"The EU and U.S. need to contribute to, rather than block, the establishment of an entirely new global model for food and agriculture—one that is housed at the U.N. but includes non-state actors and mobilizes all forces to eradicate hunger," said IATP's Alexandra Spieldoch, co-author of the report, in the press release.
Farm-to-Backpack Project Debuts in St. Paul
Thirty families from the Webster Magnet Elementary School in St. Paul, Minn., are participating in a pilot program—initiated by IATP—that provides students with healthy food to take home. The program is operated in partnership with Whole Foods Market in St. Paul, the City of Saint Paul, and Saint Paul Public Schools.
Whole Foods Market is providing the initial pantry items, including cereal, pasta, soup, and fruits and vegetables, with the hope that customer donations alone will support the program in the future.
“After learning how many families with school children are struggling to provide well-balanced meals, and how many children rely on school meals for most of their nutrition, we felt compelled to find a way to help provide healthy, nutritious food outside the school setting,” said Jen Finger, Marketing and Community Relations Specialist for Whole Foods Market Saint Paul.
“We are grateful for the healthy boost this program will give our students and their families and it will be a long-term learning event for Webster,” said Principal Lori Simon in the press release. “Our students will maintain and manage the pantry as part of our school’s commitment to service learning.”
Sustainable Forestry is for the Birds
Literally! Iowa's Yellow River Forest Area is the first in the state to be certified under international Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards for its protection of native vegetation and ecologically important wildlife, including rare bird species. In May, 77 acres in the area owned by Iowan Jack Knight achieved FSC certification under an FSC group certificate held by the Community Forestry Resource Center at IATP.
“Forestry is often focused just on trees to produce lumber, but it is much more than that,” said Don Arnosti, director of IATP’s Forestry program, in our press release. “Jack’s forest management is a model for what Iowa’s landowners can do to protect wildlife and native plants while still growing trees for lumber.” Private landowners learned more about protecting vulnerable wildlife at a May 29 workshop, "Bird Conservation Practices in Forests on Private Lands," co-hosted by IATP.
Minnesota Toxic Chemical Bills Passed!
On Friday, May 8, Minnesota became the first state in the country to ban the use of the toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) from baby bottles and "sippy" cups. It was landmark legislation pushed by the 31 member organizations of the Healthy Legacy coalition, which is co-directed by IATP. BPA is a synthetic sex hormone used as a building block for polycarbonate plastic, and has been linked to diabetes, reproductive disorders, learning disabilities, breast and prostate cancer, and more. The bill takes effect January 1, 2010, but retailers have until January 2011 to sell existing stock. The effort faced strong opposition from the manufacturers of BPA but Minnesotans, through the coalition, expressed their concern about exposing the youngest and most vulnerable Minnesotans to BPA, and an overwhelming number of legislators voted in favor of the bill.
Healthy Legacy also helped pass the Toxic Free Kids Act. This bill grants authority to the Minnesota Department of Health to rank dangerous chemicals, and sets Minnesota on a path to comprehensive chemical policy reform. Healthy Legacy would like to thank everyone who called their legislator or the governor.
Land Grabs: The New Colonialism
More and more news organizations are shedding light on an issue intimately linked with the food, climate, water and economic crises: land grabbing. This largely exploitative practice wherein rich countries and corporations purchase farmland from poor countries (often without the landowners’ consent) has sparked international outrage over what is being called “new colonialism.” At a Woodrow Wilson International Center forum, IATP's Alexandra Spieldoch examined the lopsided power relations that prevail in foreign land acquisitions. Watch her presentation (start the video at 33 minutes) and visit Trade Observatory to learn more about this alarming trend.
Featured IATP Food and Society Fellows
This month, the IATP Food and Society Fellows launched Food Independence Day, a campaign asking our nation’s first families to lead and eat by example by sourcing their Fourth of July meals “as locally, sustainably and deliciously as possible.” Visit the Web site to add your family’s holiday menu to the map, contact your state’s first family, or help your children participate in the “Why I’m a Victory Grower” video contest.
Fellow Alissa Hamilton was featured in the New Yorker for her recently released book, Squeezed: What you Don’t Know About Orange Juice. The book is required reading for the New York Post and has garnered international acclaim in various media outlets.
And IATP Food and Society Fellow Bryant Terry continues to rake in great press for his most recent book, Vegan Soul Kitchen. Writes the New York Times: "This young food activist makes Southern cooking healthy and cool."
Several IATPers have been working hard during the last month to create and plant IATP's staff garden. IATP has had staff gardens in previous years, but this is the first with a well-defined border and slightly raised bed, created with landscaping bricks generously donated by Anchor Block. The Minnesota Food Association graciously donated several transplants, including bell peppers, eggplants and a variety of tomatoes. In addition to these fruits, Garden Crew members have also planted starters for basil, thyme, parsley, squash, Swiss chard and kale. And as expected, we have had visits from rabbits who find the kale and chard to be perfect for munching—they love local, too!
This garden is being grown without using fertilizers or pesticides, and most importantly, is being grown with the spirit of community at its heart, along with a strong desire to grow our own. Join us in the growing experience and check out our photos. Happy gardening!
Peace Coffee: Map My Beans
Wondering where your Blendo Suave beans come from? Check out Peace Coffee's Map My Beans, an interactive site that acts as a mini guidebook to the places—and faces—behind the beans. And if you want to know more, all of the contracts, invoices, and even bills of lading and organic certificates for your favorite coffees can be found as part of Peace Coffee's effort to increase transparency all along the supply chain.
We Love Social Media
What’s New on IATP’s Think Forward blog?
IATP staff have been busy blogging about climate policy and corn ethanol, the Obama administration's re-engagement with the world, a remarkable shift in food system debates and much more. Don't miss our update on mercury and high fructose corn syrup, and watch for former IATP intern Devin Foote's entries about what it's like to be a young farmer growing for a local food system.
Upcoming IATP Events
5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP by June 18 to Anne Walters or 612-870-3408.
IATP Special Event: June 23, 2009
Breakfast refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP by June 18 to Anne Walters or 612-870-3408.
Getting Juiced, Sustainably!
Midwest Rural Assembly
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IATP News is an occasional publication reporting on recent events and activities at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). It is sent to board members, supporters, partners and friends. Your comments and suggestions are appreciated.
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