Agriculture

Atrazine and the Roots of ALEC's State Data Quality Act

The herbicide atrazine, one of the most heavily used herbicides in the United States has been found in almost 94 percent of U.S. groundwater and can harm human health in multiple ways. ALEC has promoted "model" legislation friendly to Syngenta, atrazine's primary manufacturer, across the country. At least once, this legislation was introduced to ALEC by a lobbyist paid by Syngenta.

Activists Rally Around Wisconsin Dairy Farmer Facing Criminal Charges

As snow started to fall, a Mennonite dairy farmer arrived at the courthouse in Baraboo, Wisconsin, on March 2 for a hearing on four charges against him related to the production and distribution of milk and other foods. Vernon Hershberger operates Grazin' Acres Farm, a small family dairy farm in Loganville, and is part of a private food club that leases his cows and receives distributions of raw milk and other foods via what he calls a members-only "food pantry" on the farm.

Neighbors Occupy Road, Blockade Sludge Trucks

Recently, a group of farmers and neighbors in Salmon Valley, near Prince George, British Columbia, successfully blockaded Wright Creek Road and turned back a truck full of sewage sludge headed for a 117 acre parcel of farm land contracted as a dump site by the City of Prince George. One neighbor brought a snowmobile towing a portable fire pit on a sled so that they were able to keep warm while they blocked the road. As of this writing, the trucks have not returned.

California is Farmer Brown

This is the second in a two-part series by the Center for Media and Democracy's Food Rights Network (FRN) about challenges to local food sovereignty across the United States. It was originally published on Alternet. For more, see the first article, on the lawsuit against Blue Hill, Maine farmer Dan Brown brought by the State of Maine and Maine's Agriculture Commissioner, here.


Maine farmer Dan Brown, who milks one cow and sells milk to his neighbors, is being sued by the State of Maine for "unlicensed distribution and sale of milk and food products." The lawsuit has sparked protest in Maine and concern in communities around the country.

In an interview with the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), Brown said, "One of these times, they're going to come after one of us, and it's going to be that Rosa Parks moment ... [for] the food system."

The "Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance" that passed in Brown's town of Blue Hill, Maine, on April 2, 2011, asserting its "citizens' right to foods of their choice" without impediment by federal and state regulations, served as a model for several counties in California. CMD spoke with three farmers and advocates about the food sovereignty movement there, and how the suit against Farmer Brown may affect their struggle.

We Are Farmer Brown

This is the first in a two-part series by the Center for Media and Democracy's Food Rights Network (FRN) about challenges to local food sovereignty across the United States. This was originally published on AlterNet. Stay tuned for the next installment, coming soon.


More than 150 supporters gathered on the steps of Town Hall in Blue Hill, Maine on Friday, November 18. They protested the State of Maine's and Agriculture Comissioner Walt Whitcomb's lawsuit against local farmer Dan Brown of Gravelwood Farm in Blue Hill. In response to a shout of, "Who is Farmer Brown," the crowd shouted, "We are all Farmer Brown!"

Guns, Farms and Stealth: Armed Raids and Surveillance of Farms and Food Clubs

Michael Schmidt is a Canadian dairy farmer, and he's scared. Why?

Milk Glass Gunpoint"Over the last 17 years I have made every effort to engage the authorities in a constructive dialogue about the issue of non-pasteurized milk in Ontario and Canada. In return my farm has been raided by armed officers, my family has been terrorized and I [have] been dragged through the courts -- first being acquitted and then being found guilty.

Local Food Ordinances from Maine to California

Los Angeles County, California, is considering a resolution "recognizing the rights of individuals to grow and consume their own food and to enter into private contracts with other individuals to board animals for food."

This resolution did not arise in a vacuum. Santa Cruz County, California, recently passed a similar resolution. Nevada County, California, citizens are pushing a similar resolution. And in El Dorado County, California, Farmer Pattie Chelseth has proposed a "Local Food and Self Governance Ordinance."

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