Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Have a Healthy Halloween!

Today is Halloween, and even though the first word that comes to mind for many of us when we think about Halloween is "candy", the holiday doesn't have to revolve around sweet treats in order to be fun.  You can have a more healthy lower sugar Halloween experience by using some of the following tips:

From Snack Girl, comes ten tips for a healthy Halloween. I especially like numbers 6 and 7:
6. If your children are young, tell them about the CANDY FAIRY. My six year old bought the idea that she could put her candy out and a fairy would replace it with a toy. She is truly excited about giving away her candy - magic, no?

7. If your children are old enough to understand, try making a care package of candy for a soldier in Afghanistan. There are a bunch of different organizations that can help you find a way to cheer up a soldier. One example is Any Soldier. They seem to always be looking for snack food.
Now, some of Snack Girl's candy tips might not be up your alley, but if you are okay with the idea of handing out an inedible item to Trick or Treaters, the American Dental Association has teamed up with Pop Cap Games to offer free downloads of its wildly popular game Plants -vs- Zombies.  You can download coupons to hand out here.  The ADA's colleagues at the Center for Science in the Public Interest have also come up with this comprehensive handout detailing healthy Halloween ideas that you can use at parties and for trick or treaters. There are many recipes and craft ideas that will entertain groups of all ages without consuming large amounts of sugar.

Whatever your plans for this holiday, I hope it's safe, delicious and fun!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Urge Congress to Pass a Farm Bill This Year

From the National Center for Appropriate Technology:
As of this month, our nation’s food and farm policy in the form of the 2008 Farm Bill has officially expired, with no workable replacement moving forward in Congress. This has left critical low-cost but very high-value programs high and dry with no funding— and it means Congress missed the chance to make real reforms and an investment in an equitable, sustainable future for food and farms in America.

With no new farm bill or extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, the programs that address rural and urban job creation, training opportunities for beginning farmers, natural resource conservation, and access to healthy food are in big trouble. These are programs that NCAT has been part of and support our work to assist farmers and ranchers in building a more sustainable future.

Can Congress still finish a farm bill this year? YES!

There is a short window of time for Congress to finish the bill after Election Day. So when Congress returns to Washington, we’ll need YOU and other farmers and advocates across the country to tell them loud and clear: we need an equitable, sustainable 2012 Farm Bill!

Sign your name and tell Congress we need a 2012 Farm Bill that:
• Invests in the future of healthy farms, food, and people
• Protects our precious air, soil, and water
• Reforms farm subsidies and levels the playing field
Without a working Farm Bill, funding for many of the resources CT NOFA promotes to farmers will be in jeopardy.  The farm bill is one of the most important and influential pieces of legislation the United States government is in charge of.  Please sign the petition urging Congress to pass a farm bill by the end of the year.

Click here to sign the petition

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Today is Food Day!

A Pig's Tail
Today represents a nationwide celebration and movement toward a more sustainable, healthy, and affordable food system. Celebrate Food Day today by attending one of the many Food Day Events located across the country and online. You can also participate by having a healthy dinner at home using one of the Food Day recipes or watching a film recommended in Food Day's Film Screening Guide.  At least two food-related films, including the Humane Society’s A Pig’s Tail and Anna Lappe’s Food Myth Busters, are having their premieres today online.

This evening, Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME), one of the keynotes at the NOFA Summer Conference, is hosting a conference in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington D.C. on the Future of Food: 2050, during which panelists from Walmart, the Worldwatch Institute, the Institute for Alternative Futures and other organizations will speculate on what diets and agriculture might look like by the middle of the century.

In New Haven, the University of New Haven will celebrate Food Day today with a panel discussion and movie. Bill Duesing, our Executive Director, will be on the panel, and the movie, “Fresh,” will be shown at 1:30 p.m. “Fresh” is a documentary featuring Michael Pollan, the author of “The Omnivore's Dilemma.” The movie celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people responsible for the country’s food supply. Additional information about the documentary can be found at here.

No matter what your tastes are, or how you'd like to get involved, there is a Food Day event out there for you.  Let's raise awareness for more sustainable food in our future!

Have a great day!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Prop 37 Debate

The arguments against GMO labeling, up for a vote in the California's Proposition 37 will come up again and again as GMO labeling is proposed in different states.  So take a look at the debunking of the Proposition 37 myths, written by Katherine Paul published on the Organic Consumers Association website. To read all of the myths' debunking, please visit the original article. Some of these arguments already came up in the Connecticut GMO-Labeling campaign!

BUNK: Prop 37 is full of "arbitrary" exemptions that don't make sense.
Here's what doesn't make sense. Trotting out the likes of Henry Miller - a guy who still thinks DDT is a good idea - to convince voters that GMO labeling is a bad idea. Miller does a masterful job of twisting the truth and confusing voters about why, under Prop 37, some products will require labels and others won't. But if you take away the smoke and mirrors and look at the facts - as carefully explained by the YES on 37 campaign - every single exemption in Prop 37 is guided by common sense. 
For example: 
-- Meat, cheese, milk and eggs from animals. If an animal is genetically engineered, the meat from that animal would be labeled under Prop 37. (So far, genetically engineered salmon is the only imminent possibility here). But meat, cheese, dairy, and eggs from animals that have been fed genetically engineered food? No labels. After all, a steak from a cow that ate GE corn is no more a genetically engineered cow, than you're a genetically engineered human because you ate an ear of GE corn. Soy milk labeled? Yes, if it contains GE soy. Milk from a cow? No GE ingredients, no label. This exemption is common all around the world. Would the NO on 37 campaign have preferred a stricter law in California than the international standard for GMO labeling? 

-- Food from restaurants and bake sales. When's the last time you saw a label listing the ingredients in the seafood pasta you ate at a restaurant or the pizza you took out from the local pizza joint? Never. Because while we have strict labeling laws for food purchased at grocery stores, we don't have similar laws for foods we order in restaurants. Why would GMO labeling laws be any different? 

-- Alcohol. Alcohol labeling is regulated under different laws than food at both the federal and state levels. Because of the single-subject law in California that requires initiatives to apply to only one subject, Prop 37 doesn't include alcohol. (This is also true for medical food, which is exempted from Prop 37.) 

Check out the YES on 37 website for more on Prop 37 exemptions and why they make perfect sense. 

BUNK: Prop 37 means higher prices at the checkout counter
What better way to scare consumers than to threaten higher prices at the checkout? Legitimate studies - and more compellingly, evidence from countries that have already passed GMO laws - are clear: Requiring GMO foods to be labeled doesn't mean you'll pay more for your food. 

In 1997, opponents of GMO labeling laws in Europe used the same scare tactics, threatening double-digit increases in food prices if government required mandatory labeling. But food prices didn't go up, according to David Byrne, then-European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection of the European Parliament. 

And they won't go up in California either, says an independent economic assessment of Prop 37, conducted by Joanna Shepherd Bailey, Ph.D., a professor at Emory University School of Law.  Among Bailey's findings - backed by empirical literature and historical precedents - is that companies would rather absorb the "trivial" costs associated with labeling, than risk passing them on to consumers. 

What's the basis for the NO campaign's fear mongering? Their own bought-and-paid-for, flawed and highly biased economic analysis of Prop37. It was conducted by Northbridge Environmental Management Consultants, a consulting firm with no economic expertise and best known for opposing recycling laws for the soda pop industry.

For more on GMO labeling and food costs, read this statement by the Yes on 37 campaign. 

BUNK: Prop 37 will provoke an avalanche of lawsuits.
Not true. And beyond ironic, coming from a campaign whose largest donor ($7.2 million) has a long history of ruthlesslysuing farmers for growing their own seeds. 

The NO on 37 campaign depicts Prop 37 as a "measure for trial lawyers written by trial lawyers." But in fact, the initiative was written by a group of food industry, farm, science, consumer protection, and public health groups. The original instigator of California's historic GMO labeling law? Pamm Larry, a mom and grandmother, and former midwife and farmer. In 2011, Pamm started organizing mothers and volunteers across the state toward a 2012 ballot drive with only one goal in mind - to let California consumers know if the food they are eating is genetically engineered. Lawyers and lawsuits couldn't have been further from her mind. 

Prop 37 was intentionally written to provide no economic incentives for lawyers to sue. So who's most likely to sue? Consumers. But consumers can't file a class action suit without first giving notice. Once notified, all the defendant has to do is fix the label to avoid the class action suit. Any penalties resulting from labeling violations will go to the state - none to plaintiffs (consumers) or lawyers. 

The argument that retailers and farmers will be subject to lawsuits? More bunk. Under Prop 37,  legal liability for labeling processed foods  lies with the person responsible for putting the label on the product. That's the manufacturer. Not the farmer, not the retailer. 

And just to make certain retailers aren't targeted by lawyers or consumers, prop 37 goes even further by shielding them from lawsuits or penalties in the event they unintentionally, or accidentally, violate the law. Since retailers have no reason to know what's inside the packages of food on their shelves, they aren't liable. Period. 
Read this YES campaign article for more on Prop 37 and false claims about lawsuits. 

BUNK: Prop 37 favors special interest groups over consumers
This one takes the GMO-free cake. Who is better served by being able to put genetically modified ingredients in 80% - 85% of all processed foods - without your knowledge - than companies like Monsanto and PepsiCo?

 Let's not forget who started the campaign in California to label GMO foods: Pamm Larry, Mom and Grandma. What did she - what do any of us - have to gain other than the right to know what's in our food - and the ability to avoid gene-altered ingredients that haven't been tested, and may be harmful to our health? 

According to recent national polls, more than 90% of consumers want GMOs labeled. Who doesn't want them labeled? A host of "special interests" who have been manipulating the government, consumers, and our food - and denying us the right to know - for the past 20 years. Now is the time to stop them. Passing Prop 37, California's historic citizens GMO labeling ballot initiative, is our best hope. 

Have a Great Weekend!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Get Ready for Food Day!

Yesterday was World Food Day, and Food Day in the US is less than a week away!  Food Day's priorities include promoting safer, healthier diets, supporting sustainable and organic farms, reducing hunger, reforming factory farms to protect the environment and animals, and supporting fair working conditions for food and farm workers. To reach these goals, organizations across the country are holding events to raise awareness about food in the United States and foster excitement about affecting change for the better.  Below are just a few of the upcoming Food Day events going on in Connecticut.  If you want to learn more about events in your area, check out Food Day's Find an Event page.

Food Day in New Britain
October 24, 2012 at 12pm - 9pm
Urban Oaks Organic Farm
225 Oak St
New Britain, CT 06051
A celebration of fresh, organic, and local!

Barnum School holds Food Day Event in Bridgeport, Connecticut 
October 24, 2012 at 3pm - 6pm
Barnum School
945 Waterview Ave
Bridgeport, CT 06608
An event to celebrate local farms supporting the Bridgeport community. There will be booths set-up for nutrition workshops for students and parents, a Cooking Matters booth doing tastings, local pumpkins and apples for applesauce to talk about a healthy halloween, local eggs for omlette station, produce from the the school gardens around Bridgeport for tastings and much more!

Food Day at the Rowayton Library
October 24, 2012, all day
Rowayton Library
33 Highland Avenue, Rowayton, CT
The Rowayton library is holding three events in celebration of Food Day: The French Twist: Twelve Secrets of Decadent Dining and Natural Weight Management, Design Your Own Smoothies - For Kids, and Guilty Pleasures – Healthier Choices: Sports Night REDO! – for Adults.

Since the purpose of Food Day is as much to facilitate discussion about the past, present, and future of our food system as it is about celebrating healthy, affordable, and sustainable food, why not use Food Day as an excuse to have a diner party?  To help make the process of planning such a Food Day party relaxing and fun, Food Day has developed a Dinner Party Kit that includes Food Day recipes from Mario Batali, Dan Barber, Ellie Krieger, and other celebrity chefs; conversation cards; and a pumpkin stencil so that even your jack-o’-lantern can eat real!  What a great way to enjoy the company of friends, family, and coworkers while enjoying a great meal and becoming more well-versed on that state of food in America.

Have a deliciously thoughtful day!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Peak Fall Foliage is Coming Up!

Within the next few weeks, peak foliage in Connecticut will roll through the state from north to south, (check out CT DEEP's interactive foliage map here) and that means cold weather is on its way.  In fact, that cold weather is closer than you might think.  According to the National Weather Service, the first freeze of the season is happening overnight tonight.  I know I'm going to go out and pick the last of my peppers before the sun sets, but what I haven't decided yet is what I'm going to do with them.  Sounds like I'm in need of either some food preservation techniques, or a good recipe, right?

For the last year or so we have been sharing guidelines for winter food storage, recipes for cooking fall and winter foods, and farming and gardening tips for the off-season in the Winter Food Project section of our Gleanings eNewsletter.  With winter literally on our doorstep, now's a perfect time to start reviewing our enewsletter archive and our Winter Food Project webpage to refresh your memory about all the information that's available.

Below are some of the recipes we've featured in Gleanings.  Try making one this weekend with some of your harvest, or from food you purchased at a local fall event.

Have a bountiful weekend!

Winter Food Project Gleanings Recipes
  • From the 2012 Getting Started in Organic Farming Conference:
    • Holcomb Farm CSA Coleslaw
      If you are longing for some warm weather foods as winter drags on, this is a great way to use winter foods to make a traditional summer favorite.
      Holcomb Farm's winter CSA provides all the vegetables for the slaw.

      -organic oil
      -white wine vinegar
      -salt and pepper to taste

      Grate or chop all ingredients and combine in a large bowl.  Serve immediately or refrigerate.
    • Hearty Veggie Soup - VEGAN
For a traditional winter dish, you can't go wrong with this one. The version we had at the conference had homegrown organic veggies.
-kidney beans

Chop up ingredients as finely or coarsely as you want and combine in a large soup pot. Cook on medium heat until all the veggies are tender and have released juice - you can always add some vegetable stock if you want a thinner soup.
  • Dutch Kale Dish - From Johan van Achterberg, a longtime farmer and board member from Easton. He wrote that this was the way his mother made kale.
-Peel and boil 4 good size potatoes for mashing with some butter and milk; add salt before cooking.
-Remove the leaf part from the kale stem (about 12 stems) and shred the greens. Cook the greens for about 15 to 20 minutes so it is tender.
-After draining the water add the kale to the mashed potatoes; mix well and season to taste.
-For real flavor fry bacon, cut into small pieces and add the bacon and some fat to the mix.
-Ring Belogna (PA Dutch) or sliced Kilbasa are a great supplement.
-For the best flavor kale should not be used until it has had some frost.
For this recipe, be sure to wash the kale well - dirt and grit hides in the leaves. Chop the kale finely to avoid floppiness in the potatoes, and avoid over mixing the kale into the potatoes as that will add a green tinge to the dish. You can use either peeled or unpeeled potatoes for this recipe.

-3 lbs potatoes, cut into large chunks
-sea salt
-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 bunch kale, large stems stripped and discarded, leaves chopped
-1/2+ cup warm milk or cream
-freshly ground black pepper
-5 scallions, white and tender green parts, chopped
-1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish (opt)
-fried shallots, for garnish (opt)

Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil and continue boiling for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, chopped kale, a big pinch of salt, and saute just until tender - about a minute. Set aside.

Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or fork. Slowly stir in the milk a few big splashes at a time. You are after a thick creamy texture, so if your potatoes are on the dry side keep adding milk until the texture is right. Season with salt and pepper.

Dump the kale on top of the potatoes and give a quick stir. Transfer to a serving bowl, make a well in the center of the potatoes, and pour the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with the scallions, Parmesan cheese, and shallots.

Serves 6.
4 pounds            Jerusalem Artichokes, washes & scrubbed, diced 2 inches
1 pound              Leeks, white and light green part only
8 cloves              Garlic, Roasted
1/4 cup               Olive oil
1 quart               Vegetable stock
2 Tbl.                 Thyme, fresh
2 cups                2% low-fat milk
As needed          Salt, kosher and fresh cracked peppercorns
1. Split the leeks lengthwise and wash well to remove all sand and grit. Slice them thinly.
2. Sweat the leeks in the olive oil without browning them.
3. Add the Jerusalem Artichokes, roasted garlic, thyme and vegetable stock and bring to a simmer.
4. Simmer until the Jerusalem Artichokes are tender, approximately 45 minutes.
5. Purée the soup in a food processor, blender or with an immersion blender; season with salt and pepper.  Add milk and return to low simmer to heat through for 5 minutes.
6. Serve hot or chilled.
Yield: 4 quarts
  • Deb's Dried Apples - From the CT NOFA Office Manager Deb Legge

    Slice your favorite unpeeled apples into 16 slices. (One of those corer/slicer gadgets makes the job go a lot more quickly.) Sprinkle with a small amount of lemon juice, if available. For seasoning, use a mix of mostly cinnamon, with a bit of nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves to your preference. Arrange in a single layer in each dehydrator rack and dry for 20-24 hours. Store in glass jars.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The CT NOFA Farmers Pledge

Farmer's Pledge from Sullivan Farm.
Farmer's Pledge from Hunt's Brook Farm.
Many farms that are not USDA Certified Organic adhere to or even exceed the requirements of the National Organic Program.  Recognizing this, and to further enable consumers to identify the farms they want to support with their food dollars, CT NOFA uses the Farmer’s Pledge, separate and distinct from USDA Certified Organic. Farmers and market gardeners who adhere to the Farmer's Pledge have signed a copy which they display for customers and neighbors to view. This pledge is based on the integrity of the farmer/gardener, and can be signed regardless of whether or not the farm is USDA Certified Organic. Those who sign this pledge agree that consumers may inspect, by appointment, their farm or garden to judge the truthfulness of this statement. CT NOFA does not investigate or make any guarantee that the individual farmer is complying with the Farmer’s Pledge.  If you're a farmer who's signed the pledge, you can print out the text below and display it proudly at your farm stand, CSA pickup, farmers market booth, or anywhere you interact with customers to let them know about your association with CT NOFA and your dedication to sustainability.  If you are a member farmer and you'd like us to send you a new Farmer's Pledge Certificate, shoot us an email.  If you're a consumer, look for the Farmer's Pledge Certificate hanging up at farm stands and markets, and if your local farm doesn't have one, ask them about their farm practices and if they have considered signing up.

Knowing your farmer is the best assurance that the food you buy is responsibly grown, with methods that recognize the inherent implications of the web of life in all our individual actions. CT NOFA believes that farmers should work in harmony with natural forces and leave the little piece of the world over which they have stewardship in better condition than when they found it.  The Farmer's Pledge and the National Organic Program are both important ways of quantifying this encompassing and holistic idea.

  • Reject the use of synthetic insecticides, herbicides, fungicides & fertilizers
  • Reject the use of GMO’s, chemically treated seeds, synthetic toxic materials, irradiation & sewage sludge
  • Treat livestock humanely by providing pasture for ruminants, access to outdoors & fresh air for all livestock, banning cruel alterations, & using no hormones or antibiotics in feed
  • Support agricultural markets & infrastructures that enable small farms to thrive
  • Maintain & build healthy soils by farming practices that include rotating crops annually, using compost, cover crops, green manures & reducing tillage
  • Conserve natural resources by reducing erosion & pollution of air, soil & water through responsible farming practices
  • Maximize the nutritional value of food & feed by practicing careful post harvest handling
  • Ensure food safety by using potable water for washing crops
  • Handle raw manure & soil amendments with care
  • Practice minimal processing for all food products to preserve the natural nutritional value of food: NO use of irradiation, ultrapasteurization, excessive heat, synthetic preservatives, or GMO processing agents or additives
  • Reduce the ecological footprint of farms & homes by limiting energy use & converting to renewable sources of energy
  • Reduce food miles by selling produce locally & regionally
  • Create beneficial habitat for wildlife & encourage biodiversity
  • Help preserve farmland & farming knowhow
  • Use ethical business practices
  • Pay a living wage to all farm workers & acknowledge their freedom of association & their right to collective bargaining
  • Treat family members & farm workers with respect & ensure their safety on the farm
  • Work in cooperation with other farmers & with neighboring community to create a more sustainable way of life
  • Sustain the land in healthy condition for future generations
Have a great evening,

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Our CSA Fair was this Weekend!

This past Sunday was our CSA Fair held in conjunction with the Willimantic Food Coop's Downtown Country Fair.  The Country Fair was really fun, despite some rain (okay, quite a bit of rain) and CT NOFA was at the fair handing out information about CSAs.  We were also joined by our new fall intern, Julia Russi!  Even if you missed the fair, you can read on to meet some of the farmers and get to know their CSAs!

Brown Paper Bag Harry's is located in North Franklin but has pick-up locations in Franklin and in Newington. The CSA lasts from July to October. They provide members with a large variety of vegetables, fruit like melon, cantaloupe and blueberries.  If you're interested in joining, contact  
Raspberry Knoll Farm  is in North Windham, CT and has a CSA season from Mid-June to Late September and provides members with a variety of vegetables, cut flowers and a variety of blueberries and raspberries.  You can visit for more information!

Shundahai Farm is in Storrs and provides shares from Early May until the End of October.  Shundahai Farm also grows an amazing variety of vegetables, and provides members with fruit like watermelon, strawberries and raspberries.  They also employ no-spray agriculture, which doesn't allow for any pesticide use (organic allows a very restricted list of pesticides and fertilizers to be used) For more information about Shundahai Farm, visit their website

The last farm is Down to Earth CSA in Stafford which has a summer season from June to November and grows a variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers for CSA members.  For more information visit

If you were able to make it, thanks for coming! If you missed it, or you live in a different area of Connecticut, don't worry, we will have more in 2013.  All of our fairs are funded by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program of the Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA and administered by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.  Farmers who are interested in participating in one of our regional 2013 CSA fairs should e-mail Kristiane Huber at
Happy Harvest Everyone!

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Farm for the Future - a Documentary

The BBC series Natural World focuses on wildlife around the globe.  One 45 minute episode, titled A Farm For the Future, delves into the idea of low energy farming as compared to our current high energy model, and the reasons why an immediate change in agricultural methods is necessary.  In my opinion, it's a well-developed film that provides not only a clear wake up call for farmers and consumers, but also tangible solutions for the future.  Here is the BBC's synopsis:
Wildlife film maker Rebecca Hosking investigates how to transform her family’s farm in Devon into a low energy farm for the future, and discovers that nature holds the key.

With her father close to retirement, Rebecca returns to her family’s wildlife-friendly farm in Devon, to become the next generation to farm the land. But last year’s high fuel prices were a wake-up call for Rebecca. Realising that all food production in the UK is completely dependent on abundant cheap fossil fuel, particularly oil, she sets out to discover just how secure this oil supply is. Alarmed by the answers, she explores ways of farming without using fossil fuel. With the help of pioneering farmers and growers, Rebecca learns that it is actually nature that holds the key to farming in a low-energy future.
Check out there first ten minutes of the film below.  View the full film here.

The documentary goes on to explain that a food system based on permaculture can not only eliminate the detrimental effects of conventional farming, but also, if done correctly and with care, be more productive with less effort in the long run than conventional agriculture.  That notion may seem a bit far fetched until you start to think about the power of nature.  Conventional farming today is so labor intensive in large part because it works against nature instead of with it.  It takes a lot of time and energy to force a forest into pasture, for example, but it requires a much smaller input to work with that same forested space to produce an equal quantity of food in a manner more consistent with how the forest would have grown in the first place.  Nature does an excellent job growing plants and raising animals, so why not use that to our own agricultural advantage instead of fighting with it?

To ensure an agricultural model that can feed all of us in the near future, it is essential that we all become informed farmers, gardeners, and consumers.  If you watch the film and agree with the argument it makes, share it with your friends.  Let's start looking at agriculture from a new perspective, and be open to the more sustainable possibilities that are available to us.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

California's Ballot Initiative is Only A Month Away

There is so much conversation going on about the safety of genetically modified foods and labeling laws!

There is this video of Troy Roush, a farmer that grows GE soybeans and corn discussing the essential right that a consumer has to know the details about the ingredients in their food.

There is also a live stream conference this Saturday, October 6 of the Seeds of Doubt Conference with our 2012 Winter Conference Keynote, Jeffrey Smith.  The speaker list includes Dr. Don Huber, Professor Emritus of Plant Pathology at purdue University and one of the leading scientists to test (and doubt) the safety of GMOs and Jeffrey Smith. For more information about the conference, visit the webpage

The "Yes on 37" campaign has also released new advertisements to battle with the anti-labeling campiagns going on in California.  Watch them here and share them on facebook and twitter!

Right now polls are showing support for the ballot initiative, according to the Los Angeles Times' video by Marc Lifscher.

This is all pretty good news given a recent paper published in Environment Sciences Europe found that Monsanto's Roundup Ready technology has resulted in increased usage of herbicides.  In Tom Philpott's article in Mother Jones, titled "How GMOs Unleashed a Pesticide Gusher" Philpott summarizes that the
study found:

"GMO technology drove up herbicide use by 527 million pounds, or about 11 percent, between 1996 (when Roundup Ready crops first hit farm fields) and 2011. But it gets worse. For several years, the Roundup Ready trait actually did meet Monsanto's promise of decreasing overall herbicide use—herbicide use dropped by about 2 percent between 1996 and 1999, Benbrook told me in an interview. But then weeds started to develop resistance to Roundup, pushing farmers to apply higher per-acre rates. In 2002, farmers using Roundup Ready soybeans jacked up their Roundup application rates by 21 percent, triggering a 19 million pound overall increase in Roundup use."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Join us at the CSA Fair this Sunday!

Community Supported Agriculture is more than a sustainable food movement buzzword, it is increasingly the distribution method that farms in Connecticut are using.  Community Supported Agriculture, or a CSA, is an opportunity for consumers to invest directly in their local farmers with an upfront membership fee, and then to receive shares of the harvest for an extended period of time.  There are over 60 CSAs throughout Connecticut, giving Connecticut consumers a wonderful opportunity to support local agriculture.  The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut (CT NOFA)’s new CSA Project strives to help you find the right CSA for you.
CT NOFA will be hosting a CSA Fair at the Downtown Country Fair at the Willimantic Food Coop on October 7.  Visit the CT NOFA table at the fair to receive more information about CSAs and for a list of the CSA farmers at the fair.  Meet the participating CSA farmers and talk to them about their farm and what their shareholders receive. Some of the farmers will be selling produce at the fair, this way you can try before you buy a share.
Our current list of participating farms is:Down to Earth CSA in Stafford
Shundahai Farm in Mansfield
Brown Paper Bag Harry's in North Franklin
Spring Lake Gardens in Sterling
McV Farm in Canterbury
Raspberry Knoll Farm in North Windham
There are a number of benefits for a CSA member.  Members usually pick up their shares at the farm where to food is produced, which provides an opportunity for children to learn about agriculture and where food comes from.  Members build a relationship with their farmer, and are not only customers, but are shareholders investing directly in local farmers. Each CSA offers different flexibility in terms of share size, pick-up frequency, season length, and products in the share.  If a share might be too much food as it might be for an individual or couple, ask your farmer if they offer half shares.  If there are only full shares, ask friends and neighbors if they would like to split a share and divide the food pick-up responsibilities.  If you receive foods you are unaccustomed to, your farmer will probably have cooking recommendations and recipes; they love good food as much as their members!
For a full listing of the CSAs in your area, visit and view the listings by county.  The time to buy CSA shares is generally late winter or early spring before the growing season. Winter is the time to think about which CSA you would like to join, and initially contact a farmer to ask about their deadlines.  Keep an eye out for CT NOFA’s upcoming CSA Fairs in winter of 2013.  This rogram is supported by a grant from the USDA's Specialty Crops Funding distributed by the Conneticut Department of Agriculture.