Category Archives: Meetings

Your chance to speak out against GMOs in NH

The ramifications of the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture are varied—some have slowly become evident over time, and some remain unknown. Hearings for HB 1172 “GMO Labeling Bill” and HB 1388 “GMO Liability Bill” are scheduled to be held this Thursday in Concord, NH, and the Northeast Organic Farming Association–NH Chapter (NOFA-NH) invites the public to help build support for these bills. If you can describe why GMOs are bad for our health, are concerned about GMO seeds contaminating organic crops, or simply believe in the right-to-know in seed labeling, then your oral testimony—or written statement—is requested!

WHAT: Public hearings for HB 1172 “GMO Labeling Bill” and HB 1388 “GMO Liability Bill” (read more in ADDITIONAL INFO below and in links)

WHEN: Thursday, 2/11/2010, at 11 am (HB 1388) and 1 pm (HB 1172)

WHERE: Legislative Office Building (LOB), Room 308, 22 North State Street, Concord, NH

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW: If you can’t attend the hearings on Thursday, submit your written statement for the record. Comments to the House received by email are not included in the permanent record, so please email statements to Elizabeth Obelenus of NOFA-NH (, and she will print out the required copies and submit them in person at the hearings on Feb. 11 as official testimony.


  • HB 1172 (GMO Labeling Bill) “defines genetically modified seeds and organisms and requires that genetically modified seeds be labeled as such.” (More and more people raise their own food in NH to ensure quality and purity—and to save money. How do they know if their seeds contain GMOs if the seeds they buy are not labeled? This bill asks that the time-honored consumer’s right-to-know be extended to seed labeling.)
  • HB 1388 (GMO Liability Bill) “defines genetically modified seed or organism” and “establishes a cause of action for farmers sustaining damage from the use of mislabeled or genetically modified seeds or organisms.” (Genetic drift is proving to be a huge problem for farmers that do not purposefully raise GMO crops. If a farmer’s crop becomes contaminated with GMOs through pollen drift, this bill gives the farmer the right to seek damages.)
  • If you wish to testify in person or want more information about how you can participate, contact Elizabeth Obelenus of NOFA-NH at 603-224-5022 or
  • Slow Food Seacoast posted about a February 3 meeting related to these bills.
  • Read an interesting recent article about GMO policy in NH in Front Door Politics.
  • The House Environment & Agriculture Committee is set to make recommendations 1 week later, on Feb. 18.

GMOs in NH Action Alert: Meeting Feb. 3 in Exeter

From Northeast Organic Farming Association of NH (NOFA-NH) via the Seacoast Eat Local blog:


There is nothing locally grown nor heirloom about genetically engineered food. The NH localvore, slow food and organic movement can collaborate and take the first steps in discouraging the presence of genetically engineered food and products in our state.

Take part in a meeting on

Wednesday, Feb 3
6:00-7:30 PM
Blue Moon Market and Café
8 Clifford Street, Exeter, NH

to hear about two bills in the NH House Committee on Agriculture and the Environment: one to label seeds that are genetically engineered or contain genetically engineered organisms (GMOs) and the other to provide farmers the right to seek damages if their crops become contaminated by GE crops. (The Café will still be serving food if you come hungry.)

Speakers at this meeting:

  • Bob St. Peter of Food for Maine’s Future, will share his experience working on the GE issue in Maine, and will brief everyone on current Maine laws regarding GMOs and past failed attempts at labeling.
  • State Representative Susan Wiley and others that sponsored the bills will be present
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association of NH (NOFA-NH)

There will also be time for an open discussion about your interests in this issue.

The hearings for the two bills are scheduled for

Thursday, February 11
Legislative Office Bldg (LOB)
Concord, NH

11 AM for HB 1388 – Compensation for contamination

1:00 PM for HB 1172 – Labeling of GMO seeds

Please make the time to appear in person at any of these hearings, and let Elizabeth Obelenus at NOFA-NH know your plans. The many aspects as to why genetic engineering is not welcomed need to be covered at these hearings to build a strong case. For example, if you or someone you know works in the sciences and can talk from that point of view about why genetic engineering is bad for our health, or know a farmer that wants to grow sweet corn organically but wonders if their crop will get contaminated by neighboring GE corn, ask them to contact Elizabeth at NOFA. Written testimony is also encouraged.

NOFA-NH CONTACT INFO: (603) 224-5022 or

Sustainable Portsmouth

Sustainable Portsmouth Initiative is opening a “visioning dialog” to everyone who lives, works or plays (!) in Portsmouth and the Seacoast. The results of citizen input will be the basis for an economic, environmental and community sustainability plan to guide Portsmouth’s future. The City Council asked for this to be done, and here is your opportunity to be part of the solution!
There is a Community Conversation to start the dialog on Nov. 21. Anyone and everyone can register at There will be many more conversations based on what comes out of this first one.

Menu for the Future

Seacoast food and sustainability groupies have been buzzing about Menu for the Future. It’s a reading and discussion group program created by the Northwest Earth Insitute and run locally by the helpful and friendly Granite Earth Institute, their regional partner. The program format is simple: Groups form (anyone can attend) and meet for six weeks. Each week, participants complete a set of short and interesting readings in a workbook. Then during the meetings, the group members exchange thoughts and reactions to the reading. The Granite Earth Institute has created several programs on different aspects of sustainability; Menu for the Future, with its focus on food issues, has been very popular around these parts lately.

A new group is forming in Barrington, NH, and will meet every Monday night for six weeks, starting April 13th. There is a $20 charge for the workbook, but that is the only cost (and a friend can reuse the workbook!). Space is limited, so please contact to sign up. When this program fills, don’t worry – you can contact Granite Earth Institute to coordinate your own. No special skill is needed.

Erin Go to the Potluck

For the next Slow Food Seacoast potluck and meeting, on Sunday, March 4th, we’ll be exploring flavors of the Emerald Isle. This theme was chosen in honor of the approaching St. Patrick’s Day, as well as the strong influence of Irish culture brought to New England over its entire history.

For many, the phrase ‘Irish food’ conjures a bad reputation for blandness and monotony. Certainly, for many decades, the potato monoculture, poverty, and privation determined much of the national diet, a fact which contributed to the idea that Irish food was not rich or varied.

Here in the United States, many of us are familiar with the supposed classic Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage – but that’s really an Irish-American dish, a variant on a traditional bacon and cabbage mixture. It seems that immigrants to the United States could not find the fatty, salt-cured, thick-sliced bacon of the old country, and substituted the corned beef found at Jewish butcher shops in East Coast cities. This new combination became the basis for the New England boiled dinner.

But Irish food is not all potatoes and cabbage. There are some wonderful things to be found if one looks more deeply into the culture and its food history.

To allay any fears of a table full of soda bread and Guinness (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), here’s a look at some Irish food history and recipe sites, which may inspire you to explore a food culture shaped by history and economics, grassy dairylands, rocky soil, the produce of a cool moist climate, and abundant fish from the oceans.

  • Wikipedia gives an overview of Irish Cuisine from its earliest history (venison stew and mead) to the arrival of the potato in the 1600s to the ‘New Irish Cuisine’ of the 20th century, based on seafoods and cheeses.
  • Irish Culture & Customs has an exceptionally long list of recipes and a collection of articles on specific food topics.
  • DoChara’s History of Food in Ireland does a similar overview in greater depth, and also offers a small collection of recipes.
  • Ireland’s Eye offers a set of traditional recipes featuring ham, oats, jams, and other classic ingredients.
  • FoodIreland has some excellent recipes for baked goods and meat dishes, many featuring brand-name ingredients commercially available in Ireland.With all this variety, we should have plenty to explore. Please plan to come — and bring friends. Slainte!