Monday, February 27, 2012

Meatless Monday: Why I Joined CT NOFA

Today is not a typical Meatless Monday. It is Occupy Our Food Supply’s Blogger Day of Action, a day in which journalists and bloggers from around the nation are calling for the reclamation of our food systems from industrial agribusiness. It seems an appropriate day to tell you why I have recently become a member of CT NOFA, the Connecticut chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association.

I am a city dweller. I will never farm on my tiny city lot. So why join a “farming association?” CT NOFA is far more than a membership organization for farmers. In short, “CT NOFA is a growing community of farmers, gardeners, land care professionals, and consumers that encourages a healthy relationship to the natural world,” a not-for-profit which “encourages the growth of a sustainable, regional food system that is ecologically sound, economically viable and socially just” as one of its missions  You can read more here

CT NOFA has been on my radar for some time now. Its executive director, Bill Duesing, is well-known in the Green scene in my area. He was founding president of CT NOFA as well as founding chair of the New Haven Ecology Project and its Common Ground High School.

Under his leadership, CT NOFA became one of over 80 plaintiffs in a preemptive suit by organic seed growers, farmers, and farmer organizations to prevent Monsanto from suing farmers or seed producers should their crops become contaminated by Monsanto’s patented seeds. The suit, filed in March of 2011, is titled organic Seed Growers & Trade Association (OSGATA), et al. v. Monsanto. You can read more about the suit here

On February 1, Bill Duesing represented CT NOFA and its members at a hearing in Southern District Court in lower Manhattan on Monsanto’s motion to dismiss the suit. You can read the details in Bill’s blog post on the day’s activities. 

More recently, CT NOFA rallied its members to lobby AGAINST a bill raised in the CT legislature which would modify the ban on the use of pesticides on school grounds, and FOR a bill which calls for labeling of foods that contain or might contain genetically-engineered ingredients and for instituting “best practices” for farmers who choose to grow genetically-engineered crops. CT NOFA is not trying to prevent farmers from choosing to use genetically-engineered seeds. It is seeking to preserve the rights of farmers and consumers who choose not to take that route.

I support CT NOFA’s efforts to provide a safe, secure food supply in my state. That’s why I intend to be a dues-paying member from now on. I hope you’ll consider joining me as a new member of the association. Check it out. There’s a new category — introductory membership of just $15 for your first year. 

Have a great week. “See” you next Monday.

I often blog on food or food issues on Monday in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal  health and the health of our planet.”

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