After a bit of a hiatus with 30 Days and then a few Christmas blogs, it's a new year and a new Friday Five! Wishing you all the best in the New Year, and some good reads to kick it off.
Sometimes a theme emerges as I sort through these stories. This week, it appears to be about walking in someone else's shoes. From veggie deliverers to daughters-in-law to vegans, may this be the year we all learn to consider where someone else is coming from. May we all learn to get along a little better. And may the temperatures warm up this weekend, and my the calves not be born outside the barn. Amen.
Farm Confessional: I Deliver CSA Veggies in Manhattan: Far from the grain fields of the Midwest, small farmers are delivering CSA (community-supported agriculture) produce to skyscrapers. In bags. Down sidewalks. This is the story of how it gets there and I'm telling you, it's a good read if you're removed from this segment of agriculture, as I am. And it reminds me, a bit, of our visit with Illinois produce farmer Carl Smits, who hauls vegetables, herbs and more into the Dailey Plaza Farmer's Market in Chicago throughout the spring, summer and fall. Granted, that's a farmer's market where people come to him and carry their own bags of produce away, but imagine the logistics of driving a truck into the city, setting up shop, parking it elsewhere and driving it all home at the end of the day. Day. After. Day. Which is all to say: we all have our challenges.
Judge Considers Halting Vermont GMO Law: The GMO labeling law passed last year in Vermont is now facing judicial scrutiny, in the lawsuit filed by the Grocery Manufacturers Association against the State of Vermont. The Vermont law would require that processed foods made entirely or partially with genetic engineering be labeled "produced with genetic engineering," or "partially produced with genetic engineering" or "may be produced with genetic engineering." Federal Judge Christina Reiss pressed lawyers on both sides about whether there was value in a label that tells consumers something they already know, given that 90% of U.S. corn and other grains are grown with GM seed. She has also made it clear she does not intend to rule on the safety of GMOs, simply the law itself. Consider this the second inning of a long but incredibly contentious ball game.
Let's End the War Over Food: I came across this piece by Bob Wallbridge on the Genetic Literacy Project website. It's a good read from a reformed anti-GMO crusader, who's now seeing conventional ag take on the same rhetoric as his organic and non-GMO activist friends – a food movement he's also described as a religious cult on his blog, The Fanning Mill (my new favorite read). Or in other words, we're all just becoming a little too shrill and a lot too partisan. It's worth the read, and worth the time to consider whether you're part of either camp.
The Most Important Person on the Farm is Not the Farmer: My friend Katie Pratt wrote this earlier this week, and it's such a great read. I messaged her right away when I read it, as my mother had the same poem cross-stitched and hung on our living room wall (done while she was in the grain truck). I've never seen it anywhere else until Katie's story, and I love that it came to her via her father-in-law. This a good read as your family farm heads into the new year…or perhaps as you prepare to welcome a daughter-in-law this year.
The Highs and Lows of Week One on #Farm365: You'll have to read this for the backstory but suffice to say, an Ontario dairy farmer had a great idea to photograph his farm every day for a year. He started a hashtag, #farm365. Then the vegans showed up, took it over, harassed him and every other farmer who's dared to post anything with the #farm365 tag. Most telling is the incredibly vile, raw and insulting things they've said to farmers. These are not people who want to engage or simply live a certain lifestyle; they are people who want destroy and end animal agriculture. They coordinated an online attack against farm businesses and individuals, in very personal ways (including a farm employee who'd just returned from maternity leave). I have chosen not to engage with the tweets I've received, because these are not people who either want or merit a conversation. There's an old saying: you don't have to attend every argument you're invited to. Amen.
Note: I'm heading to the American Farm Bureau Federation convention this weekend, to report news back for our websites and magazines. Maybe I'll see you there!