North Carolina’s city of Asheville is the most recent town in our nation to create a Food Action Plan. These sensible strategies address difficult issues, such as food deserts, community health, food insecurity, nutrition knowledge deficits, barriers to local food production and distribution, as well as food sovereignty. The plan was approved 6-0 on January 21, 2013 by the city council; this legislation will play an active role in improving healthy food access, and will also help to build a more sustainable local food infrastructure.
Considering the growing list of problems erupting from destructive modern agriculture practices, it is clear that new leadership is desperately needed at our Department of Agriculture (USDA). Many of these problems have been issues for decades, and only superficial responses have been made by the USDA.
In a major victory for sustainable farmers everywhere, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just issued a summary order upholding the previous decision in a long-running lawsuit over the impacts of genetically engineered (GE) “Roundup Ready” sugar beets. The ruling allows all previous court rulings in favor of farmers and environmental activists to now remain in place, and it also mandates that the USDA now must extensively research all of the potential hazards of Monsanto’s modified plant.
When times are tough, the tough plant victory gardens! [Digging a Victory Garden. Creative Commons photo by Tavis Ford] Last Thursday, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack began turning a stretch of pavement at the Department of Agriculture into a garden. They dedicated the land on the 200th anniversary of the USDA founder’s birth: Abraham Lincoln. Not only are they working on a garden at USDA headquarters, but Vilsack announced plans to start community gardens at all USDA offices across the…