THE FARM BILL – THE GOOD, BAD AND THE UGLY; SPECIFICS ON THE ORGANIC CHALLENGE & FSMA

THE FARM BILL - THE GOOD, BAD AND THE UGLY; SPECIFICS ON THE ORGANIC CHALLENGE & FSMA Tacoma Park Silver Spring Co-op’s Second Annual Food and Public Policy Series:

This year, the series will focus on healthy and safe food and how our representatives are addressing the issue of food safety and the availability of healthy food.

Consumers and Farmers must stay alert as the FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) regulations are developed, in order to protect sustainable farming and access to fresh, organic produce. Find out what’s happening to farmers, the Farm Bill, organic agriculture and the ability for all income groups to have access to sustainable foods. (Are we still subsidizing large farms and penalizing low income folks?)

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY, 1, 2014

THE FOOD SAFETY MODERNIZATION AND ITS IMPACT ON OUR CO-OP AND FAMILY FARMS

1:00 – 4:00PM

Historic Takoma Building
7328 Carroll Ave. Takoma Park MD 20912
 

SPEAKERS:

  •  Michael Taylor, Deputy Director, FDA
  • Ferd Hoefner, NSAC (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition) — will cover Farm Bill big picture and what is good, bad and ugly in the final product
  • Steve Etka, NOC (National Organic Coalition) – will discuss specific organic issues
  • Ariane Lotti, NSAC – will discuss FSMA, where we are, what comes next and we will all share

Q&A and discussion that follows about the future of sustainable agriculture

 Upcoming forums include:

  • Saturday, Feb 15, 1-4pm, GMOs, AND HOW LEGISLATION MIGHT IMPACT MARYLAND CONSUMERS
  • Guest Speaker: Barbara Mikulski, MD US State Senator
  • Saturday, Feb 22, 1-4pm, HEALTH OF THE BAY AND ITS IMPACT ON FOOD, FARMERS AND CONSUMERS
  • Invited Guest: Ben Cardin, MD  US Senator
  • Saturday, March 1, 1-4pm, IMPACT ON US AGRICULTURE POLICIES ON MARYLAND CONSUMERS
  • Invited Guest: Chris Van Hollen, MD US Congressman, 8th
  • Saturday, March 22, 1-4pm, TAKOMA PARK/SILVER SPRING CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR COUNTY OFFICE AND THEIR POLICIES ON FOOD, AGRICULTURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT

 Seating is limited, please do not hold seats.

For more information contact: outreach@tpss.coop

 Please join me for a tour of the Co-op after each event.

Sherri Collins

MOFFA Members on the New Federal Regulations that could Threaten Local Farms

Bees love the sunflowers in my Maryland Garden
Bees love the sunflowers in my Maryland garden

Maryland Organic Food and Farming Members Mike Tabor and Nick Maravell speak out about how new federal regulations could threaten local farms.

“Each week at farm stands in the Maryland area, we try to explain a peculiar situation to our customers. On the one hand, they want to buy our fresh fruit and vegetables. However, I tell them, that in a few years, these will all be illegal to sell!

Why?

Because they have some degree of dirt and bacteria on them. The strawberries for instance, have some trace amount of straw and soil on them. As do the tomatoes, beans and cucumbers. We do rinse them before leaving the farm — but we won’t put them through a disinfectant bath nor pack them in antiseptic plastic containers and put “PLU” labels on them. That’s not what consumers want at a farm market — nor is it something we’ll ever be able to do.

Regulations for a new food law — FSMA, the Food Safety Modernization Act — administered by the FDA are currently in the process of being finalized. Although the act originally had protections for family farmers like myself, we see those being ignored or phased out over time.

Common sense and following the data of recent food safety scares lead us to a very strong conclusion: the further the food travels from the farm to the consumer, the more opportunities it has to become a food safety problem. The current cyclospora food poisoning problem in bagged salads is a good example.

This is one reason why 20 million consumers come to farmers markets like ours and want fresh produce from our fields — preferably grown without pesticides, herbicides or GMO seeds. And sadly, protecting consumers from these synthetic perils is not addressed by FSMA.”

Read the entire article in the Gazette.