Mondays with Maureen

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Live Long & Prosper… Organically

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Summertime Sustainable Solutions

The other week, while the House of Representatives were fumbling around with the farm bill, I had the privilege of joining more than 200 funders who work to create a healthy, safe and secure food and agriculture system in this country. I attended the Sustainable Agriculture Food System Funders annual forum in Providence, Rhode Island – Rethinking, Risk and Resilience. We spent three muggy and dynamic days delving into issues that impact how our food and fiber is grown, distributed and accessed.

We toured a health center that ‘gets’ the connection between healthy food and healthy humans.  It included non-clinical programs such as a fully accessible community garden, on-site farmers’ markets and even bicycles! The waiting room is filled with samples from the on site vegetable garden and healthy recipes.

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Will Congress have the foresight to pass a bill that supports organics?

“A good hockey player skates to where the puck is, a great hockey player skates to where the puck is going to be.”  - Wayne Gretzky

Last week, the San Jose Mercury newspaper published an article on new research from scientists at the University of California, Berkeley. The report identifies how the brain tracks fast-moving objects. How do those hockey players, baseball batters, and tennis players know where that ball or puck is going to be? How do humans predict the path of moving objects when it can take one-tenth of a second for the brain to process what the eye sees? 

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Where Are Your Tax Dollars Going?

Last week, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation released a report addressing the need to reduce the use of fumigants in conventional strawberry production. This is old news for organic farmers. Fumigants are gaseous pesticides that are injected into soil before strawberries and other crops are planted, primarily to control fungal pathogens and nematodes. This practice is not allowed in organic production. OFRF has been funding research to determine alternative methods for controlling these pests for organic farmers for more than three years.

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MOSES

Spring is nature’s way of saying “LETS PARTY!”   - Robin Williams -

The apple trees are pruned, the tomato seeds are planted and cover crops are just about ready to be worked into the soil. My own cover crops will have to wait until I return from MOSES Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service Farming Conference. My small organic garden in California pales in comparison to the scale of most organic farms across the country, it does, however, hint at what it takes to put healthy, organic food on our tables.

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Can We Fuel Nine Billion People?

Has it really come to this?  A trade-off between feeding or fueling our world?  Apparently so.

Recently, I’ve noticed a crop *ahem* of articles addressing the growing debate of land use.  The Feb. 3, 2013 Sunday NY Times featured a story how Western Colorado Valley’s new economy, based on tourism and organic peaches, is now being threatened by polluted water and toxic chemicals as a result of hydraulic fracturing.  The day before, I read of California’s Central Valley ‘solar farms’ are taking over v

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Organic food on our holiday table

There is a lot of uncertainty these days. Will we have a farm bill? Will Congress avert the fiscal crisis? What were the Mayans thinking anyway? One thing I do know is certain, as long as organic farming is the fastest growing sector in agriculture, OFRF will fill an important role in championing the needs of organic farmers. 
 
 
 
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Let's take flight with organic agriculture

On Friday, thousands of volunteers will flock to fields and shorelines with binoculars for the start of the 113th Annual National Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Last week, I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peak of what birders will see. I had the pleasure of introducing, Mike Sutton, the new Executive Director of California Audubon to the Lundberg Family Farms family members in the Sacramento Delta.

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"One Ringy Dingy..."

Well, we couldn't find an image of an American phone flash mob because WE'RE GOING TO BE THE FIRST TO DO IT!  The Organic Trade Association is holding their annual Organic Summit next week on Wednesday 9/19/12 and I will be leading the audience and YOU on the First American Phone Flash Mob to Congress on behalf of organic farmers.

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We Can't Afford to Turn Our Back on Organic Farmers

We are on needles and pins at the OFRF offices waiting to hear word from DC about the fate of the 2012 Farm Bill. The farm bill is the major body of legislation driving our food and agricultural policy in this country. We can ill afford for our food production policies to be tossed around as a political football. This impacts millions of American farmers and everyone who eats.

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