Category Archives: Volunteers Needed!

NH GMO Bills: Report, Request, and Resources

This week, Slow Food Seacoast has posted twice about NH policy related to genetically modified organisms (GMOs): Your chance to speak out against GMOs in NH and Attend GMO hearings today. Elizabeth Obelenus (info@nofanh.org), program coordinator at the Northeast Organic Farming Association, NH Chapter (NOFA-NH), provides a brief report of yesterday’s hearings here:

The hearings were delayed till 2 pm and we finished at 5 pm.  The morning’s hearing on a study committee to ban pesticides went from 9am to noon (it was an excellent hearing too) which was a problem for us because we had at least 60 people show up all anxious to be a part of the hearings.  However, our hearings went very well, and even better, biotech’s lobbyists were in DC digging out from the snow so could not show up and their substitute lobbyist was a joke.  Rich Bonanno from the NE Veg & Berry Growers though showed up against (I was surprised) but after all the people signed in (not including the 150+ emails sent) we out numbered the opposition by what, 30-1?

The interim results sound promising … but the game is still on! If you haven’t yet, please urge your NH legislators to support the labeling of GMO seeds and protect NH farmers whose non-GMO crops are contaminated by GMO crops by February 15. Use the following link to quickly send (or customize)  a form email to the members of the NH House Environment and Agriculture Committee and your own representative: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1221/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=2253. Suggestion: Write the message on your own computer, SAVE IT, then copy and paste it into the window provided. If the website doesn’t work properly, please send your message to the following addresses, provided by Elizabeth from NH House of Representatives, Environment and Agriculture Committee, website (http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H06):

Tara A. Sad, (d) Chairman (tara.eric@gmail.com)
Jane E. Beaulieu, (d) Vice-Chairman (jane.beaulieu@leg.state.nh.us)
Suzanne J. Smith, (d) Clerk (zanne1@metrocast.net)
Derek Owen, d (owen31@juno.com)
Leigh A. Webb, d (leigh.webb@leg.state.nh.us)
Roger R. Beauchamp, d (roger.beauchamp@leg.state.nh.us)
Steven W.Lindsey, d (steven.lindsey@leg.state.nh.us)
Brian D. Poznanski, d (bpoznanski@anselm.edu)
Susan E. Wiley, d (stephmwv@ncia.net)
Robert H. Haefner, r (bobhaefnerjp@comcast.net)
J. David Knox, r (jdknox@worldpath.net)
Laura J. Gandia, r (laura.gandia@leg.state.nh.us)
Warren J. Groen, r (warrengroen@gmail.com)
Stephen J. Palmer, r (spalmer_peanuts@msn.com)
Pamela Z. Tucker, r (pamzt@comcast.net)

And finally, here are some GMO-related facts and resource links from Pam, to inform and motivate you.

  • Geneticist Marcello Buiatti says, “From a scientific point of view GMOs are a total failure.” He adds that they “use out-dated technology, do not increase production of useful food crops, do not help fight famine and do not do what their patents claim” and “serve only to make their owners rich as farmers have to pay royalties to the multinationals to use their seeds” (http://www.slowfood.com/sloweb/eng/dettaglio.lasso?cod=D5D7F482190d022CD4RxY105A0A2).
  • Monsanto is a U.S.-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. It calls itself an agricultural company yet was founded as manufacturer of agricultural chemicals, then expanded to include molecular biology, biotechnology, genetic modification, and pharmaceuticals (http://www.monsanto.com/who_we_are/history.asp).
  • Monsanto sells 90% of genetically engineered or GMO seed worldwide. It started to acquire existing seed brands in 2004 and has continued to do so almost every year since (http://www.monsanto.com/who_we_are/history.asp).
  • Monsanto also is the world’s leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate (active ingredient in the Roundup family of brands). Its broad-spectrum, nonselective herbicide products “are registered in more than 130 countries and are approved for weed control in more than 100 crops” (http://www.monsanto.com/monsanto/content/products/productivity/roundup/back_history.pdf).
  • GMO farming encourages monoculture (growing one single species or crop), which decreases ecosystem diversity and is not a sustainable approach to agriculture. “Monocultures deplete the soil, and fruits and vegetables become more susceptible to pests and disease than those grown in a diverse crop environment, thus requiring larger amounts of chemical sprays” (http://www.sustainabletable.org/intro/dictionary/).
  • Farmers growing GMO crops are prohibited from saving seeds (i.e., collecting and drying seeds from one crop to use the following season) because GMO seeds are patented (http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstryc657.html?recid=505).
  • Many GMO crops are genetically modified to either be tolerant of or contain (directly in the seed) pesticides or herbicides. Examples include Roundup Ready varieties of soybean, cotton, canola, and corn (which require the application of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide) and YieldGard Rootworm corn (with “in-seed insect-protection against the corn rootworm”) and Bollgard II insect-protected cotton (http://www.monsanto.com/who_we_are/history.asp). Both kinds of seed increase environmental exposure to pesticides and herbicides, which has implications for the health of water, plants, insects, and humans as well as other animals.
  • The use of pesticide-tolerant GMO seeds has been implicated in the widespread decline in the populations of honeybees and other plant pollinators (http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4557.cfm). Without pollinators, plants cannot bear fruit or vegetables.
  • The results of a recent study indicate an alarming effect of GMOs on human health: Monsanto’s GMO Corn Linked to Organ Failure (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/12/monsantos-gmo-corn-linked_n_420365.html).
  • Because of nature (in the form of wind, birds, and other animals), GMO seed and pollen inevitably “drift” into non-GMO crops. And in cases of GMO drift, liability usually falls on the farmer (http://www.caff.org/publications/aa/02_Fall/gmo_threat.shtml).
  • GMO drift and cross-pollination spell economic loss or ruin for farmers whose valuable non-GMO crops have been contaminated by GMO crops. What’s more, Monsanto has a history of criminalizing small farmers who have been unwitting victims of the forces of nature (e.g., Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser, http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/schmeiser012004.cfm and http://www.percyschmeiser.com/).

Thanks in advance for sending your written statement!

Holiday Goodness at Winter Farmers Market Dec 5

From Seacoast Eat Local:

Fresh salad greens, spinach, and lettuce … carrots, parsnips, onions, and potatoes … locally raised meats, locally caught fish, locally made jams, jellies, breads, and teas  … New Hampshire grown Christmas trees, wreaths, poinsettias, and kissing balls — these are just some of the products that will be for sale this Saturday, December 5th from 10am-2pm at our next Winter Farmers’ Market indoors at Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollinsford! Wentworth Greenhouses is located at 141 Rollins Road, a mile past Red’s Shoe Barn of Dover. You can find a full list of participating vendors and the products they will be selling at www.seacoasteatlocal.org

Eat Local – Shop Local!
December brings on the Christmas shopping season for many. While you are picking up meats, cheeses, milk, bread, and a bountiful variety of vegetables for yourself and your family, you can also begin your holiday shopping!

  • Home decorating: Wentworth Greenhouses will have New Hampshire grown Christmas trees, their own gorgeous pointsettias, wreaths, kissing balls, bows, and greenery. In addition, they have greenhouses full of beautiful houseplants ready for giving as gifts.
  • Local foods make great gifts! Maple syrup, teas, jams + jellies, prepared sauces, wines, granola are all welcome gifts. Think: co-workers, your child’s teacher, holiday gift exchanges, etc.
  • The gift of time for yourself: prepared, ready to heat and eat foods you can feel good about and that taste great! Kellie Brook Farm and Riverslea Farm both offer prepared foods made from their own farm-raised meats including stews, potpies, and shepherd’s pie. Also available: chowders, soups, and curries. Be Sweet offers frozen cookie doughs, perfect for holiday baking!
  • Not sure what to buy someone? We have gift certificates! Available at the information table, you can buy gift certificates to the winter farmers’ markets in $5 increments.  We’ll also have an assortment of regional foods not otherwise available at the market including organic sunflower oil and apple cider vinegar from Maine, alongside gardening, food preparation, and food storage books from Chelsea Green publishers of Vermont, and tote bags to put everything in! Proceeds from these sales support the winter farmers markets.

But wait, there’s more!

  • The New Hampshire Food Bank will be on hand to provide information about their programs and collect food donations; please consider buying a few extra potatoes, carrots, or a loaf of bread so that our neighbors in need can share in our local bounty in this season.
  • We’ll have live music and a place to relax and enjoy some tea and a snack.
  • Seacoast Eat Local will be holding a raffle to support the winter markets — 3 prize tote bags will be raffled off in time for pick up at the December 19 market. The prize baskets are filled to the brim with fantastic goods and include a subscription to Edible White Mountains, a Green Alliance membership, gift certificates to Water Street Bookstore, a gift certificate to Yellow House Farm’s Chicken or Seed Saving Class, a cooking class with Tracey Miller, 1/2 pint of maple syrup and maple candy from Sugarmomma’s Maple Farm, homespun yarn from misshawklet, gift certificates to both Seacoast Growers’ Association summer farmers’ markets and Seacoast Eat Local winter farmers’ markets, gift certificates to 45 Market Street Bakery, an apron from Popper’s Sausage Kitchen, a gift certificate to Divine Cafe & Grill, granola and gift certificates for Borealis Breads, and 3 pounds of delicious organic onions from Meadow’s Mirth Farm! Raffle tickets will be continue to be on sale at the December 5 and December 12 markets.
  • The market is open until 2pm - If you have something else to do in the morning, want a relaxed morning, or just want to avoid the crowds, feel free to come later! Our vendors are well prepared for a large number of customers and will appreciate your business whenever you can get there!
  • Volunteer! We’re still looking for a few more volunteers to help set up, provide information during the market, or clean up afterward. Volunteers come for one or two hour shifts, and play a key role in ensuring the success of the markets! Email erin@yogaonthehillkittery.com if you would like to volunteer.

It’s Buy Local Week on the Seacoast. Our friends at Seacoast Local have been organizing and promoting a wide variety of opportunities to shift your spending locally, including buying local food! Read all about their other ideas and events for buying local art, toys, and more >

Help spread the word! Forward this email, post a message on your blog/website/facebook profile, invite a friend to come with you to the market this Saturday – the more the merrier!

For more information, maps and driving directions, visit www.seacoasteatlocal.org. Please note, when coming from the west, Google maps incorrectly lists Shady Lane as a through street near Wentworth Douglass Hospital.

We hope you’ll join us on December 5th as it is going to be another amazing farmers’ market, with an abundance of locally grown and raised foods that you can feel great about buying as you’ll be supporting local farms and agriculture while enjoying safe, healthful, and delicious food!

- Sara Zoe Patterson, on behalf of Seacoast Eat Local
www.seacoasteatlocal.org
blog.seacoasteatlocal.org
on Facebook

Volunteers Wanted for Winter Farmer’s Markets!

From our friends at Seacoast Eat Local comes the following request. We hope you can take part!

***

The Portsmouth Farmers’ Market is open through November 7 and the Kennebunk Market will be open through November 14, and indoor winter farmers’ markets are coming soon!

Seacoast Eat Local has organized a total of 11 winter farmers’ markets for the 2009-10 season, ensuring you can buy local food from your farmers all winter long. The first market is just three weeks away, on November 21 at the Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollinsford from 10am-2pm.

We’re looking for volunteers!

Volunteers play an important role during our winter farmers’ markets. From helping unload and carry foods, to making sure the customers coming in know about the next markets and have answers to their questions, to clean up, volunteers make sure the markets are the best possible for farmers and customers.

Some of the volunteer roles include:

Coming before the market to help unload and carry products for vendors. (2 hours before the market)
Staying during the market to help with information booth activities, fundraiser table sales of books and totebags, food donations etc. (1 or 2-hour shifts during the market)
Arriving near the end of the market to help carry goods back out, sweep, and tidy up. (2 hours after the market)
Driving food donations to a food pantry drop off spot after the market. (1 hour after the market)

In addition to these jobs, we’re also looking for a volunteer who might want to take on a larger, organizing role. We’d like to set up a simple area for families to take a break and relax with their kids and we’re looking for someone who has a vision for what that might look like, to be implemented with volunteer support.

If you would like to volunteer, please contact Erin Ehlers at erin@yogaonthehillkittery.com. Mention the date(s) that you are available, and preferred volunteer role if you have one.

Market dates/locations: (All markets are Saturdays with hours of 10am-2pm)

November 21 – Wentworth Greenhouses, 141 Rollins Rd, Rollinsford, NH
December 5 – Wentworth Greenhouses
December 12 – Exeter High School, 1 Blue Hawk Drive, Exeter, NH
December 19 – Wentworth Greenhouses
January 9 – Exeter
January 23 –
Wentworth Greenhouses
February 13 – Exeter
February 27 –
Wentworth Greenhouses
March 13 – Exeter
March 27 –
Wentworth Greenhouses
April 10 – Exeter

No matter your availability to volunteer, we hope to see you at the markets!

Sara Zoe Patterson, on behalf of Seacoast Eat Local
sarazoe@seacoasteatlocal.org
blog.seacoasteatlocal.org
www.seacoasteatlocal.org

Seacoast Eat Local welcomes donations in support of the winter farmers’ markets. Your donation supports the growth of these markets, enabling a more sustainable, self-reliant food system in our region. Donate online via PayPal, or contact us to send a donation by mail.

Help the Hungry with the Giving Gardens Network

If you’re a gardener, chances are you will have some extra produce this summer—or might even be willing to plant a little extra. Those efforts could go a long way to helping feed folks for whom food is scarce—and this year, there is even more need than usual. The recession means that more families are experiencing food shortages, and food banks and assistance agencies are finding their resources are also required to stretch further and further.

Though lots of people know how to grow fresh food and are willing to share, in the past, it’s been hard to figure out how to get that food to people who need it. Most of us thought that food pantries could not accept fresh food. As it turns out, that isn’t always true! Many pantries  do take fresh veggies and other perishable items. And thanks to a new initiative called the Giving Gardens Network, it’s easier than ever to find them.

A volunteer-driven cooperative campaign set up with the help of several partner organizations,  the Giving Gardens Network is described as “a network of home gardeners, farmers and organizations that are working to encourage and support the donation of fresh food, grown locally in New Hampshire, to food pantries and shelters. By planning to raise a little extra … by growing the foods that are most needed … and by donating to locations that can accept fresh foods…we can help reduce hunger in New Hampshire.”

Using the Giving Gardens Network website, you can plan, grow, and donate your food to any one of the Seacoast food pantries that accept fresh food. And you can also keep track of statewide efforts to help feed the hungry using food grown right here at home.

Now that’s helping your neighbor.

We Want You…as a Local Food Advocate!

Love local, fresh, good, clean, fair food? Then you might want to become a Local Food Advocate. By participating in this brand-new program, you can be a member of a trained corps of volunteers, helping local food groups talk to the public about sustainable food this summer at the Seacoast Growers Association (SGA) Farmer’s Markets, public fairs and festivals, and a wherever food is on people’s minds.

Slow Food Seacoast, Seacoast Eat Local, the SGA, and Seacoast Local (the “4 Food Groups,” as we sometimes like to call ‘em), are teaming up to offer this collaborative training opportunity. On Saturday, May 2 (first day of the Portsmouth SGA Farmers’ Market!) please join us for a training session that will run from 12:30 – 2:00. We’ll meet at the Farmer’s Market Info Booth at 12:30 to look at the setup for sharing information about the market and local food events. Then, we’ll head over to the Portsmouth Library’s Hilton Garden Room for the “classroom” portion of the training. There, you’ll learn more about the food awareness movement and how our local organizations are working to improve the food system and local economy for everyone. You’ll get fact sheets about each of the 4 Food Groups, information about how a local food system improves our lives, tips and tricks, and answers to frequently asked questions. Also at the training, we’ll sign you up for a day of “shadowing” with an experienced volunteer so you can learn the ropes.

We know many of the supporters of these four groups would really like to spend more time doing outreach with the public – but just want a little help figuring out what to say and which information to share. This training will help you do just that and give you all the tools to be an informative and inspiring Food Advocate. Please join us! RSVP recommended (but not required – come if you can!) to SlowFoodSeacoast@GMail.com

Local Food Advocates Training

Day: Saturday, May 2
Time: 12:30 – 2:30 PM
Place: Meet at Portsmouth Farmer’s Market Info Booth, walk to Portsmouth Public Library about 1:00 PM
Bring: weather-appropriate clothing, notepaper and pen, and your personal story of what got you interested in local food!