Map of 200+ worker-cooperatives in the USA, Source: American.coop
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Dick Durbin Democratic majority whip and sponsor of S.510 insists that every Senator had enough time to read a 3,427 page omnibus spending bill…over a period of “46 hrs. and 8 minutes.” That would equate to reading 1 1/4 pages of the bill every minute for 46 hrs and 8 minutes straight. Did you read the bill Sen. Durbin?
Rescue Local/Organic Farming in the Food Safety Bill!
Urgent—Call your Senator Today
Next week, as early as Tuesday, April 13, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a sweeping overhaul of federal food safety law – S. 510. The House food safety bill passed last year (HR 2749) included several measures that threaten small-scale organic producers, including a registration fee of $500 and blanket application of complicated monitoring and traceability standards — regardless of one’s farm size.
There’s no doubt that industrial agriculture needs better oversight. But, family-scale local and organic farms are probably the safest in the nation — they are part of the solution, not part of the problem – and need to be protected!
Now is your chance, as a supporter of sustainable family farming, to help fix these problems! Senator Tester (D-MT), a certified organic farmer himself, is proposing an amendment to S. 510 that would exempt small-scale farmers and food processors from the most burdensome regulations.
We need your help TODAY, please call your U.S. Senators in support of these proposals.
The vast majority of recent food safety scandals in the U.S. — E. coli on fresh spinach, melamine in dairy products, Salmonella in peanut butter — were all linked to industrial agribusiness practices, and these large-scale operations clearly warrant more federal food safety oversight and strict enforcement action. What is NOT needed is a “one-size-fits-all” approach that poses unfair costs and onerous reporting on local and organic farmers.
Safer, healthier food options provided by local, organic, and sustainable farmers should not be punished for their responsible work with expensive and complicated new rules. These rules may make industrialized food production safer, but offer no real food safety gains to consumers of local and organic foods. Small-scale operations are already subject to adequate regulation by local and state agencies. Smaller farm size inherently poses less risk (they are almost always owner-operated), and direct marketing also offers consumers better quality food with more transparency and accountability — and easy traceability.
Taking Action is Easy:
Call your Senators today, and tell them that you support Senator Tester’s amendment to S. 510.
To reach your state’s Senators,
1. Search his/her phone number online: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
2. Or call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
Sample Talking Points:
Specific talking points you can share with your Senators from Tester’s proposed amendment to S. 510 include:
1) With respect to the hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls, add the following new section to Section 103:
(l) EXEMPTION FOR CERTAIN FACILITIES – This section shall not apply to a facility for a year if the average annual adjusted gross income of such facility for the previous three-year period was less than $500,000.
2) With respect to traceability, add the following new section to Section 204:
(f) EXEMPTION FOR CERTAIN FACILITIES – The traceback and recordkeeping requirements under this section shall not apply to a facility for a year if the adjusted gross income of such facility for the previous year was less than $500,000.
With respect to the produce standards, add the following new section to Section 105:
(g) EXCEPTION FOR DIRECT MARKET FARMS – This section shall not apply to farms whose annual value of sales of food products directly to consumers, hotels, restaurants, or institutions exceeds the annual value of sales of food products to all other buyers.
Thanks for your support of organic, local and sustainable farmers!
The full action alert can be viewed at: http://www.cornucopia.org/2010/04/action-alert-rescue-localorganic-farming-in-the-food-safety-bill/#more-2770
The Cornucopia Institute P.O. Box 126 Cornucopia, WI 54827 www.cornucopia.org
My name is Wendell Potter and for 20 years, I worked as a senior executive at health insurance companies, and I saw how they confuse their customers and dump the sick –- all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors.
Source: Wall Street Journal
The U. S. health system spends a higher portion of its gross domestic product than any other country but ranks 37 out of 191 countries according to its performance, according to the World Health Organization‘s World Health Report 2000.
“The United States spends more than twice as much on health care as the average of other developed nations, all of which boast universal coverage. Yet over 39 million Americans have no health insurance whatsoever, and most others are underinsured, in the sense that they lack adequate coverage for all contingencies (e.g., long-term care and prescription drug costs). However, other systems that are completely or partially based on social risk-pooling principles are under threat from neoliberal policies worldwide.
Why is the U. S. so different? The short answer is that the U.S. is alone in treating health care as a commodity distributed according to the ability to pay, rather than as a social service to be distributed according to medical need.”
Wendell Potter: How Corporate PR Works to Kill Health Care Reform
When I testified before the Senate Commerce Committee in late June, I told the senators how the industry has conducted duplicitous and well-financed PR and lobbying campaigns every time Congress has tried to reform our health care system, and how its current behind-scenes-efforts may well shape reform in a way that benefits Wall Street far more than average Americans. I noted that, just as they did 15 years ago when the insurance industry led the effort to kill the Clinton reform plan, it is using shills and front groups to spread lies and disinformation to scare Americans away from the very reform that would benefit them most. The industry, despite its public assurances to be good-faith partners with the President and Congress, has been at work for years laying the groundwork for devious and often sinister campaigns to manipulate public opinion.
Universal health care is health care coverage for all eligible residents of a political region and often covers medical, dental and mental health care. Typically, costs are borne in the majority by publicly-funded programs.
In Australia, Medibank — as it was then known — was introduced, by the Whitlam Labor government on 1 July 1975, through the Health Insurance Act 1973. The Australian Senate rejected the changes multiple times and they were passed only after a joint sitting after the 1974 double dissolution election. However, Medibank was supported by the subsequent Fraser Coalition (Australia) government and became a key feature of Australia’s public policy landscape. The exact structure of Medibank/Medicare, in terms of the size of the rebate to doctors and hospitals and the way it has administered, has varied over the years. The original Medibank program proposed a 1.35% levy (with low income exemptions) but these bills were rejected by the Senate, and so Medibank was funded from general taxation. In 1976, the Fraser Government introduced a 2.5% levy and split Medibank in two: a universal scheme called Medibank Public and a government-owned private health insurance company, Medibank Private.
During the 1980s, Medibank Public was renamed Medicare by the Hawke Labor government, which also changed the funding model, to an income tax surcharge, known as the Medicare Levy, which was set at 1.5%, with exemptions for low income earners. The Howard Coalition government introduced an additional levy of 1.0%, known as the Medicare Levy Surcharge, for those on high annual incomes ($70,000) and do not have adequate levels of private hospital coverage. This was part of an effort by the Coalition to encourage take-up of private health insurance. According to WHO, government funding covered 67.5% of Australia’s health care expenditures in 2004; private sources covered the remaining 32.5% of expenditures.
Direct comparisons of health statistics across nations are complex. The Commonwealth Fund, in its annual survey, “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall”, compares the performance of the health care systems in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and the U.S. Its 2007 study found that, although the U.S. system is the most expensive, it consistently underperforms compared to the other countries. A major difference between the U.S. and the other countries in the study is that the U.S. is the only country without universal health care
In the disturbingly near future, Venice is submerged, Canal Street in New York City has become a real canal again, and it’s 87 degrees in December in Boston. Catastrophic global warming has moved from theory to fact. At the Biosphere Climate Change Expo, undersecretary for the Department of Global Warming Mason Park (Tim Kang) informs the crowd of scientists and activists that the tipping point has passed, and that they are all at fault.
He tells them that the scientists of the world failed to create the necessary pressure, which would have allowed for the political changes needed to confront global warming. Now the Department of Global Warming has been defunded, drying up research money for climate initiatives.
That night at the hotel bar, Park runs into Dr. Gloria Holtzer (Betty Gilpin), a former graduate school classmate, and one of the scientists who will be losing her grant money. Park blames himself for failing to prevent the climate catastrophe in time, but finds comfort in Holtzer’s arms. However, she has an ulterior motive. Park awakens in the morning and soon realizes that everything has changed.
Holtzer’s ecotech company has developed an entirely new way to confront the challenge of catastrophic global warming — by changing the very nature of the human race itself. And Park has become a very powerful test subject.
Mister Green is a parable about change — both personal and political.
Farmers discuss how to choose what your farm produces. There may be an element of passion in your decision but it’s a good idea to consider your goals, land and facilities, and markets too.
Embedded video from Cornell University
In the Voices of Experience series from the Beginning Farmers Resource Center, you’ll find the kind of dirt-under-the-fingernails advice that can only come from someone who’s been there.
The NY Beginning Farmer Project is led by a team of Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators in partnership with the Cornell Small Farms Program. The project, launched in 2006 in response to increasing interest in farm start-ups, aims to enhance the likelihood of success of new ag enterprises by making the best resources and training available to new and diversifying farmers.
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