Author: Kate Nelson (Kate Nelson)

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The toxicity of weedkiller products
May 24, 2018May 24, 2018
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The toxicity of weedkiller products

A recent article published in The Guardian discusses the toxicity of popular weed-killing products such as Monsanto’s Roundup.US government researchers have uncovered evidence that these formulated products are more toxic to human cells than their active ingredient.  Government scientists are taking the first ever tests on herbicide formulations as a part of the US National...

NOFA Summer Conference 2018
May 17, 2018May 17, 2018
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NOFA Summer Conference 2018

This 3-day immersive annual gathering held at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA is packed with amazing education programming for adults and children, an array of fun spirited activities and the opportunity to be nourished by the collective wisdom and knowledge of decades of farming, gardening and activism that makes up the work of our 7...

Farms Under Threat: No farms, no food, no future
May 10, 2018May 10, 2018
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Farms Under Threat: No farms, no food, no future

Today the American Farmland Trust released the most comprehensive assessment of the state of American farmland. “Farms Under Threat: The State of America’s Farmland” studies the loss of farmland from 1992-2012. During this time, almost 31 million acres of farmland  was lost due to development and expanding urban areas; 11 million of which was the...

Backyard Composting
May 8, 2018May 8, 2018
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Backyard Composting

International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) is being celebrated during the first full week of May and is a major educational initiative stimulating the compost industry. Its goal is to raise the public’s awareness of the benefits of using compost to help improve soil, grow healthy vegetation, reduce food waste, cut back on the use of...

Stand With Family Farmers and Rural Communities
May 2, 2018May 18, 2018
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Stand With Family Farmers and Rural Communities

The House Agricultural Committee has voted to send a version of the Farm Bill including an amendment introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) to be considered by the rest of House. H.R. 4879/3599, the “Protect Interstate Commerce Act” seeks to negate most state and local laws regarding agricultural production, limits consumer choice, negate the ability...

Carrageenan allowed under organic label
April 26, 2018April 26, 2018
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Carrageenan allowed under organic label

Carrageenan is a food emulsifier derived from seaweed that acts as a thickening agent. The organic industry is divided over its inclusion under the organic label. Carrageenan has been observed to cause intestinal stress of lab animals, while its natural emulsifying properties allow for a longer shelf life.  Recently, the USDA decided to disregard the...

Get your soil tested this spring
April 25, 2018April 25, 2018
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Get your soil tested this spring

Nutrients in the soil must be in the proper balance for optimal growth and production of lawn and garden plants. Soil macronutrients including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium are needed in high amounts and are essential to the plant life cycle. Other nutrients are needed in trace amounts and include iron, cooper, and zinc. ...

USDA is seeking nominations for Fruit and Veg Industry Advisory Committee
April 23, 2018April 23, 2018
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USDA is seeking nominations for Fruit and Veg Industry Advisory Committee

The USDA announced today that it will re-establish the charter for the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee (FVIAC) and seek to fill 25 upcoming vacant positions. The FVIAC charter was established in 2001 to examine issues facing the produce industry and had expired in January.  Eligible nominees for FVIAC include anyone actively working in...

Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen
April 13, 2018April 13, 2018
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Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen

Not all produce is created equal.  Some fruits and vegetables are more susceptible to soaking up pesticides than others. The dirty dozen include fruits and vegetables that have a softer outer layer such as strawberries and apples, while the clean fifteen include thicker-skinned produce such as eggplant and cantaloupe. The Environmental Working Group has comprehensive guides...

What does it mean to be certified?
April 11, 2018April 11, 2018
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What does it mean to be certified?

Consumers may notice a new label on the supermarket shelves this summer. Approximately 15 farmers met in Vermont last month to create the standards for an additional product label under the organic certification program.  They plan to roll out the new label with a test pilot program of 20-60 farms.  The move comes five months...