Climate Change: Sequestering Carbon the Easy Way

Learn how restoring ecosystems can reverse global warming in 16 years. Plants absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere can fix it permanently as carbon in the soil using already proven organic farming practices.
Learn how restoring ecosystems can reverse global warming in 16 years. Plants absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere can fix it permanently as carbon in the soil using already proven organic farming practices.

While much attention has been given to stopping global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, little attention has been given to the fact that even if we reduced carbon emissions to zero, the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere would still remain above 400 ppm and the devastation of global warming would continue. Only if the carbon dioxide concentration is brought down to 350 ppm or below will we be able to return to a comfortable climate again.

The Climate Stewards of Greater Annapolis is holding a program at the Annapolis Friends Meeting House on November 14, 2015. The mini-conference will address how the carbon dioxide concentration can be reduced.

By photosynthesis and fixing the carbon in the soil using organic agricultural systems, carbon dioxide concentration can be potentially reduced to 280 ppm in 16 years,   even with continued emissions from burning fossil fuels, though reducing fossil fuel emissions would certainly help.

The key to increasing carbon fixation in the soil is restoring the micro organisms in the soil that convert some of the plant sugars (from photosynthesis) in the roots into humus, which permanently fix the carbon. Grazing animals on grasslands accelerates the process.

The organization providing the speakers for the program  is Biodiversity for a Livable Climate. The D.C. Chapter is directed by Philip Bogdonoff.  Biodiversity for a Livable Climate has presented other conferences on climate change, carbon sequestration, and organic farming, including, Tufts, Harvard Science Center , and University of the District of Columbia.

Climate Change: Sequestering Carbon the Easy Way is sponsored by the Greater Annapolis Climate Stewards, the Maryland Sierra Club, and the Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association, (MOFFA). The program will be  on Saturday afternoon, November 14 at 2 PM. For further information, contact Dick Vanden Heuvel,  410-267-9009.

The MOFFA meeting is on for tomorrow, as originally planned

The MOFFA meeting is on for tomorrow, as originally planned.

If the weather looks too severe for the afternoon, the meeting may be shortened.

The MOFFA meeting is on for tomorrow, as originally planned

ALL ARE WELCOME to the MARYLAND ORGANIC FOOD AND FARMING ASSOCIATION 2015 WINTER MEETING

FEBRUARY 21, 8AM-5PM

Maryland Dept. of Agriculture
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD

PRESENTATIONS on: soil health; pollinators in peril; social justice at farmers’ markets; farm to faith; connecting with chefs and distributors; farming with horsepower; and more!

HOMEGROWN ‘EAT LOCAL’ POTLUCK, SEED SWAP, SILENT AUCTION.
SEE EVENTS PAGE FOR DETAILS & SCHEDULE.

MOFFA WINTER MEETING 2015 POTLUCK LUNCH

Bring a dish to share at the Homegrown ‘Eat Local’ Potluck Lunch!

A potluck is a gathering of people where each person or group of people contributes a dish of food prepared by the person or the group, to be shared among the larger gathered group.

MOFFA’s Potluck lunch is one of the highlights of the Winter Meeting. Bring a dish to share at the best local lunch around!

We are looking for some volunteers to make some of the wonderful dishes that they make last year!

  • soups and stews both meat and veggie based
  • bread, no more than 2-3 loaves(my notes from last year said we had too much bread)
  • salads
  • casseroles
  • desserts(my notes from last year said we didn’t have enough)
  • breakfast items-muffins, quiche, sweet breads

Fay Walton, our Hospitality Coordinator (Yay Fay!),  will be making pumpkin something, (bread or muffins) for the morning, and egg pie. For lunch, something with chicken, (casserole maybe) and pumpkin crisp for dessert.

MOFFA will provide the following:

  • Cheese
  • Coffee, tea, juice and milk
  • Cream, honey, and sugar
  • Butter
  • Water

I can hardy wait! See you soon!

Check out the great Schedule

MOFFA WINTER MEETING 2015

FEBRUARY 21, 2015

(Snow Date February 28)
 

8:00 AM-5:00 PM

Maryland Dept. of Agriculture
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD

PESTICIDES AND THE CHESAPEAKE BAY WATERSHED PROJECT EIGHTH ANNUAL MEETING

EIGHTH ANNUAL MEETING PESTICIDES AND THE CHESAPEAKE BAY WATERSHED PROJECT OCTOBER 6, 2014 9:45 AM - 3:45 PM MOFFA MEMBERS ARE INVITED TO THE
EIGHTH ANNUAL MEETING
PESTICIDES AND THE CHESAPEAKE BAY WATERSHED PROJECT

OCTOBER 6, 2014
9:45 AM – 3:45 PM
PEARLSTONE CONFERENCE AND RETREAT CENTER, REISTERSTOWN, MD

REGISTER AT: mdpestnet@aol.comWITH YOUR NAME, TITLE & AFFILIATION
REGISTRATION DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 19TH

PRESENTERS

  • Moderator: David Love, PhD, MSPH, Project Director for Public Health & Sustainable Aquaculture, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
  • Keynote Speaker: Melissa J. Perry, Sc.D., MHS, President, American College of Epidemiology; Chair, Dept of Environmental & Occupational Health, George Washington University Milken School of Public Health; will discuss pesticide impacts in the Potomac River Valley
  • Dennis vanEngelsdorp, PhD, Assistant Professor of Entomology, University of Maryland, is Maryland’s top bee expert and will discuss the plight of bees in our nation & region – and what can be done
  • Vicki Blazer, PhD, Fish Pathologist, USGS National Fish Health Research Lab, will present current research on fish impacts in the Bay watershed from endocrine disruptors & pesticide contamination
  • Cathleen Hapeman, PhD, Environmental Organic Chemist, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, will discuss the Long-Term Agro-Ecosystem Research Network and identifying areas where conservation practices would be most useful
  • Greg Allen, M.E.M. Environmental Scientist, USEPA Chesapeake Bay Program, will provide an update on the Chesapeake Bay Agreement

RSVP at mdpestnet@aol.com with your name, title & affiliation

Meeting agenda and details

Our Eighth Annual Meeting brings together Project stakeholders and others interested in protecting the Bay watershed, sharing cutting-edge research and monitoring data on pesticides, discussing initiatives of the Project’s four working groups and collaborating on the direction of the Project. Registration is free and an organic lunch and snacks will be served.
Registration is free & an organic lunch and snacks will be served. Directions to Pearlstone: http://goo.gl/bsxtk4

American Chestnut Land Trust is hiring a Farm Manager for the Double Oak Farm CSA

American Chestnut Land Trust  Double Oak Farm CSA …Connecting people with the land
American Chestnut Land Trust
Double Oak Farm CSA
…Connecting people with the land

The American Chestnut Land Trust (ACLT) Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program: ACLT operates a sustainable agriculture program that provides fresh, locally grown produce for up to 25 paid shareholders and 5 work shareholders over a 25-week growing season. The produce is grown using approved organic methods, however, ACLT’s program is not certified under the National Organic Program. Farm improvements include a one-acre fenced area with available drip irrigation, a 70’ x 30’ hoop house, and a 30’ x 30’ timber frame barn for equipment storage. Available equipment includes a vintage Gravely A10 commercial walk behind tractor with 30″ tiller, rotary plow and bush hog attachments; a Troy Bilt 14″ tiller; a Mini Honda tiller; an Agra-Fab 48″ spreader; a Solo broadcast seeder; a Jang Precision Seeder as well as miscellaneous hand tools.

Description of Skills and Duties:
ACLT is seeking a farm manager for the 2014 season. The position requires knowledge of and willingness to perform the following duties: supervise volunteers and work shareholders; coordinate work schedules; follow an existing plan for growing sufficient crops in progression and rotation to assure delivery of a weekly share (adequate for a family of four) of a variety of fresh produce to a maximum of 30 shareholders; carry out application of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides as well as manual control of insects, pests and weeds in accordance with approved organic gardening standards; maintain and operate irrigation system and farm equipment.

The position is flexible, part-time and seasonal (May – October). The farm manager should expect to spend part of every day, Monday – Friday, at the farm supervising volunteers and work shareholders. The number of hours per week will depend on conditions, but is expected to average approximately 30 hours per week over the course of the season. Position pays an hourly wage, depending on experience, and is a temporary position, not eligible for benefits.

A cover letter and description of experience should be sent to:

Karen Edgecombe, Executive Director
American Chestnut Land Trust
P.O. Box 2363
Prince Frederick, MD 20678
 
(410)414-3400

Or email to: Karen Edgecombe

 

 

A Call for Food Transparency

Mike Tabor of Licking Creek Bend Farm, asks Marylanders to contact their legislators to support bills SB0778 and HB1191, before March  2014 in support of GMO labeling.
MOFFA Member, Mike Tabor of Licking Creek Bend Farm, asks Marylanders to contact their legislators to support bills SB0778 and HB1191. Please call or email before March 11, 2014 in support of GMO labeling.

Regarding the March 11th hearings on GMO labeling legislation, Marylanders should contact their legislators to support bills SB0778 and HB1191.  As a farmer and consumer, I believe we should have the right to know if genetically modified organisms are in our food, just as we do with the amount of calories, preservatives and food coloring that consumers fought to have on food labels.  We’re intelligent enough to read, research and choose, if we have the information. Thus, we need to have GMO foods labeled.

Regarding the FDA’S role in protection of the public, FDA does no independent testing of GMOs.  They rely on short term tests conducted by the bio-tech industry!  And FDA’s Chief of Food Safety, Michael Taylor, has been a Monsanto Vice President.  Are these tests and individuals impartial?  You can’t blame the public for being skeptical.

On the argument of selective breeding of seeds, I do want the most disease and pest resistant varieties of seeds when I farm.  But, genetic engineering is a hit or miss, new and risky process of splicing genes from one species (usually animal) into the DNA of another (vegetable).  This is not “natural” and not what is meant by the age old practice of “selective breeding” within the same species.  GMOs are not an extension of “natural breeding”, but rather ultimately meant for company profit because bio-tech companies have received patents on these new life forms.

Monsanto, Syngenta and other bio-tech companies want control of what seeds farmers use.  They have bought up the majority of the smaller seed companies in this country.  The purchase of their GMO seeds mandates the use of their exclusive chemicals such as Roundup (glyphosate) and Atrazine, which have created super weeds that their chemicals can no longer kill.  These chemicals flow into our drinking water.  Syngenta recently lost a $100 million class action suit against many states and municipalities to clean the Atrazine out of the drinking water. Maryland has one of the nation’s highest amounts of Atrazine in its drinking water, but for some unknown reason it was not part of the suit and did not receive any money for the cleanup.

The issues of GMO health dangers have raised enough questions that 64 countries, including the European Union, require labeling.  The bio-tech industry cannot prove to them that GM foods are safe. In fact, we, the American public, never had that choice – and in the end we are really the bio-tech industry’s guinea pigs.

I am always saddened by the fact our governor, and our senate president, and most members of the
General Assembly turn to the MD Dept of Ag for guidance on these issues.  Its head, Buddy Hance, was the former president of the MD Farm Bureau.  The farming sector, which represents only 2% of the Maryland GNP, controls public policy when it comes to the health and safety of 100% of its citizenry, the environment, and health of the Chesapeake Bay.  The Farm Bureau, although composed of family farmers like myself, mostly represents the interests of large corporate farming including the multi-billion dollar profits of the biotechnology chemical companies.  They pour millions of dollars into state campaigns against the labeling of GMO foods because they believe it will cut down on company profits.  Our health and well-being are not a concern of theirs.

So, we, the citizens of Maryland, have the right to know, so we can make informed choices, which is the backbone of a democratic society.  We need to pass a GMO labeling law for ourselves, our children and the future.  Call your state delegates and let them know that!

Michael Tabor is a farmer, consumer and Maryland resident. For more information, visit needtoknowmaryland.org.

 Mike Tabor

Takoma Park, MD
esiegel2@igc.org
240-505-6282 cell

Who Is Making Our Farming Choices?

need to knowMany farmers in Maryland and across the country are using genetically modified organisms—also know as GMOs.  Most of the corn and soybeans, growth hormones and vaccines sold by Monsanto, Elanco, Syngenta, Dow, Dupont, Bayer and BASF are produced with gene altering biotechnology.

This technology allows the creation of life forms that would never occur in nature because genes from one species are being transferred into a totally different species.  In addition, these new life forms are patented so farmers cannot legally save and reproduce them.

In the mid-1990’s the promise from the bio-tech companies was that these novel products would help cows produce more milk, control or eliminate weeds, repel insects and diseases, and create heat and drought tolerance.

The idea was that us farmers would make more money, our yields would go up, our pesticide use would go down (good for sustaining the environment), and we would be on our way to ending world hunger.  Sounded pretty good.  So how do these promises stack up after 20 years?

Well, I do not know if you are feeling any richer, but most farmers I know have not noticed the difference.  On the other hand, the bio-tech companies have done pretty well for themselves, and they had enough money to buy up most of the small regional seed companies.  Genetically engineered seeds are more expensive, and now it is hard to even find locally adapted non-GMO seeds.  Interestingly, some mid-West farmers are returning to older corn varieties because they feel they are losing yield and profits with the bio-tech seeds.

Dairy farmers found cows treated with rBST hormone get more udder infections.  Most dairies have abandoned rBST, and consumers welcomed that change.  We ignored the predictions from some university weed scientists, and our fields are now plagued with about two dozen superweeds that can’t be killed by RoundUp.

But don’t worry, the bio-tech companies are trying to license new seed that resists other stronger herbicides such as 2,4D.  Without the benefit of sophisticated technology, nature’s weeds began to out smart bio-tech in a mere half a dozen years.

And pesticide use has not gone down.  And insects? You guessed it, they are attacking the Bt crops that are supposed to repel them. Drought and heat resistance, well they are still working on that one.  And world hunger?  Don’t ask.

If bio-tech were a “silver bullet,” we would all know it by now.  Instead, consumers across the nation are demanding GMO labeling laws.  They want to know what they are eating.  They want a choice.  Just as farmers want a choice to buy non-GMO seeds and vaccines.

Our rights as farmers and consumers to know and chose is in danger of being lost.  As federal Judge Jeffrey White warned in a recent case involving RoundUp ready sugar beets, genetic engineering could mean the “potential elimination of farmer’s choice to grow non-genetically engineered crops, or a consumer’s choice to eat non-genetically engineered food.”

Who is making the choice of how you farm or what you eat?  If you want the right to choose, support bills HB1191/SB0778 now in the Maryland legislature that would require GMO labeling for produce and most packaged food.

Once consumers know what they’re eating, their choices will expand and so will ours.  Get involved, go to NeedToKnowMaryland.org.

Nick Maravell,
organic farmer, Montgomery and Frederick Counties, MD
member, National Organic Standards Board

Cow Share and Raw Milk Legislation in Maryland

Liz Retzig will be presenting an update on cow share and raw milk legislation in Maryland at the 2014 MOFFA Winter Meeting.

In Maryland it is illegal to sell raw milk (as in unpasteurized, fresh-from-the-cow milk).

It is not illegal to drink fresh milk from the cow that you own, but it is illegal to even own a share of a cow in Maryland.

The Maryland General Assembly is considering lifting the ban on raw milk by reinstating cow shares which have been criminalized since 2006. This bill would do wonders for Maryland farmers who wish to engage directly with eager consumers wanting raw milk from their own animals. This legislation, once passed, would repeal the ban on cow shares (and goat) and allow people to contract directly with the farmers of their choice for raw milk.  http://nourishingliberty.com/raw-milk-could-be-legal-in-maryland/

Liz is a Mother, a MOFFA Board Member, and the Co-Founder, Farm Food Freedom Coalition. Liz has been working hard to realize the availability of raw milk in Maryland. She blogs about the right for food choice at Nourishing Liberty .

The Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association 23rd Annual Winter Meeting, is on Saturday February 15, 2014, from 8 am to 5:00 pm, at the Maryland Department of Agriculture Building, 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway in Annapolis.

Registration is $20 for non-members and $5 for members. Membership is $25 for one year or $45 for two years. Registration is at the door.

Exploring Low Tech Food Dehydration to Increase Profits on Small Farms

Tanya Tolchin will be Exploring Low Tech Food Dehydration to Increase Profits on Small Farms at the MOFFA Winter Meeting on February 15, 2014.

Tanya says,

 “One of the challenges we face on our farm is that we often grow more produce and flowers than we can market during the peak season. We are hopeful that dehydrating some of our fresh produce and creating new products like kale chips, dried tomatoes, dried herbs and dried f lowers, will help our farm be more profitable and resilient in the changing marketplace. In early 2013, we received a “Farmer Grant” from USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE) to build and test the two commercial scale dryers on our farm, one solar and one electric.”

Tanya is one of the newest member of the MOFFA board and the Vice Chair.  She stepped in because she has dreams of MOFFA growing into a bigger and more  powerful entity like the great Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. She is hoping to help MOFFA win grants and attract a broader membership base. Tanya and her husband Scott Hertzberg grow vegetables and flowers at Jug Bay Market Garden just 20 miles from Washington DC and around the corner from Heron There Farm. She is a manager  of Israeli Harvest , a small business that supports farmers in Israel by selling organic olive oil and dates in the US. She writes about farming, parenting and Jewish life on her blog, On the Lettuce Edge, and else where. Prior to farming, she worked for Sierra Club in Washington DC for ten years on efforts to help protect national forests and build new strategic partnerships.

MOFFA, the Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association 23rd Annual Winter Meeting, is on Saturday February 15, 2014, from 8 am to 5:00 pm, at the Maryland Department of Agriculture Building, 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway in Annapolis.

Registration is $20 for non-members and $5 for members. Membership is $25 for one year or $45 for two years. Registration is at the door.