Submit Final Public Comments on Class B Sewage Sludge Application #VPA00076

The public hearing on the proposed permit (VPA00076) took place Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at the Madison County High School.  The Virginia Water Control Board will render a final decision to deny or approve (or approve with amendments) the application during its next regular meeting on June 27th. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:30 am.

General Assembly Building, House Room C
9th & Broad Streets, Richmond, Virginia 23219

Only those citizens who spoke at the hearing on June 8 and/or submitted a public comment by June 17, 2016 will be permitted to address the Water Control Board on June 27.

Please review the Public comment policy at State Water Control Board meetings  if you plan to participate.


After a Century In Decline, Black Farmers Are Back And On the Rise

These Black farmers don’t stop at healthy food. They’re healing trauma, instilling collective values, and changing the way their communities think about the land.

via Yes! Magazine

After a Century In Decline, Black Farmers Are Back And On the Rise

Lindsey Lunsford gathers peppers at TULIP’s community garden. Photo by Wil Sands.

For decades, the U.S. Department of Agriculture discriminated against Black farmers, excluding them from farm loans and assistance. Meanwhile, racist violence in the South targeted land-owning Black farmers, whose very existence threatened the sharecropping system. These factors led to the loss of about 14 million acres of Black-owned rural land—an area nearly the size of West Virginia.

In 1982, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights extrapolated the statistics on land loss and predicted the extinction of the Black farmer by the year 2000.

They were wrong. While the situation is still dire, with Black farmers comprising only about 1 percent of the industry, we have not disappeared. After more than a century of decline, the number of Black farmers is on the rise.

These farmers are not just growing food, either. The ones you’ll meet here rely on survival strategies inherited from their ancestors, such as collectivism and commitment to social change. They infuse popular education, activism, and collective ownership into their work.

We Live Here. We Work Here. We Give Here.

As you know, Rural Madison, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit citizen’s organization dedicated to thoughtful planning and policies for sustainable growth, stewardship of our natural, cultural and historical resources and the protection of the rural character of our region.

Give Local Piedmont

We ask that you consider making a donation to Rural Madison during The Northern Piedmont Community Foundation’s annual Give Local Piedmont fund drive for local non-profits on May 3rd. Your donation will allow us to continue to be involved in important activities such as the Stone Soup Project, The George Washington Carver Food Enterprise Center, The Community Garden and the recent Madison County Green & Clean Day, to name just a few.

Thank you for all you do to help preserve and protect the natural beauty of our mountains, woodlands and farmlands, and to improve the well-being of our people, environment and economy!

Samsara – The Food Sequence

SAMSARA is a Sanskrit word that means “the ever turning wheel of life” and is the point of departure for the filmmakers as they search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives. Filmed over a period of almost five years and in twenty-five countries, SAMSARA transports us to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites, and natural wonders. By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, SAMSARA subverts our expectations of a traditional documentary, instead encouraging our own inner interpretations inspired by images and music that infuses the ancient with the modern.

This clip showing industrial food production is both beautiful and disturbing..

Learn more at http://www.barakasamsara.com/

Agricultural pollution is the price we pay for cheaper food

Agricultural pollution is the price we pay for cheaper food

 

In certain situations, Virginia and Pennsylvania continue to allow the land application of organic waste to be nitrogen-based, guaranteeing a massive over-application of both nitrogen and phosphorus and proving that agricultural economic concerns continue to trump concerns about water quality.

Pollution is an externality and its real cost is never accounted for. In Virginia, dairy manure is applied assuming that 35 percent of the nitrogen is available to the next crop because it takes time for microbes to decompose the organic material in the waste and release the nutrients for plant uptake.

What happens to the other 65 percent of the nitrogen? Unless nitrogen fertilizers are considerably reduced for subsequent crops — which is not required and rarely done — much of the excess nitrogen is pollution. It is easy to understand why animal waste — poultry litter, sewage sludge and manure — accounts for half of all agricultural nutrient pollution, or a little more than a quarter of Bay nutrient pollution because less than half of the disposed nitrogen and phosphorus ends up in the crop.

Read the rest..

http://www.bayjournal.com/article/agricultural_pollution_is_the_price_we_pay_for_cheaper_food

Rural Madison 2016 Pop-Up Film Fest

Please join Rural Madison for a pop-up film fest featuring stories about food, farming, and sustainability.

REAL FOOD FILMS CONTEST  TOP 10 FILMS
2016 FOOD AND SUSTAINABILITY SHORT FILM COMPETITION

FEATURING 40 MINUTES OF FILMS THAT STIR HEARTS,
MINDS – AND STOMACHS – FOR A BETTER FOOD SYSTEM.

7:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Madison County Extension Office
2 South Main Street
War Memorial Building, 2nd Floor
Madison, VA 22727

This event is free and open to the public.
Donations to help us cover expenses greatly appreciated!

food, farming, and sustainability

 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Real Food Films Contest is pleased to announce the outstanding finalists in its third short films competition featuring stories about food, farming, and sustainability. From the depths of fishing in Thailand, to the true grit of Alabama, the changing climate of maple syrup and creative ways to quell hunger, the ten finalist films cover a broad range of topics in today’s growing good food movement. A panel of judges, including Padma Lakshmi, Raj Patel, Susan Ungaro, and chef Tom Colicchio, will select the Grand Prize winner, first runner up, and special awards. Online voting, starting today, will determine the “People’s Choice Award” at www.realfoodfilms.org.

The 2016 Finalists were selected from 160 submissions representing filmmakers from 20 countries in this year’s first ever call for entries outside of the U.S. and Canada. Diverse formats include documentary to advocacy to spoken word. Films are all four minutes or under and feature original voices and stunning cinematography that lean toward the get-your-hands-dirty stories at the heart of the food movement over the perfectly styled plates of restaurateurs. Top 10 short films eloquently capture action in the food system from down the block and around the globe.

This year’s finalists include:

Everybody Eats | Boone, North Carolina | USA
Mindful Vineyards | Napa Valley, California | USA
Farmed with Love | Outskirts of Shanghai, China
A Sustainable Catch | Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand
McEwen & Sons True Grits | Wilsonville, Alabama | USA
Naturali Tea | Fujieda, Japan
Saving Sap | Loudon, New Hampshire | USA
The Kelly Street Garden | South Bronx, New York City | USA
Home Flavored | Oakland, California | USA
Beyond the Seal | El Oro Province, Ecuador

Prize winners will be announced on May 2, 2016 and include a $5,000 Grand Prize, a new $5,000 Lens on Hunger Award, as well as $5,000 more in awards for best student film, best cinematography, and more. All winning films have distribution opportunities with Contest media partners, including Devour! The Food Film Fest, Disposable Film Festival, SXSW Eco and Vimeo.

Viewers can join Real Food Media in celebrating the stories featured in these Top 10 films and vote for their People’s Choice favorite now through April 30 online.

Announcing EWG’s Updated Guide to Healthy Cleaning, Spring 2016

The cleaning products in your home may be harboring hazardous ingredients. Many brands make it difficult, if not impossible, for consumers to learn what ingredients are in them. These products commonly contain chemicals that can cause reproductive problems, exacerbate asthma, burn or irritate your skin and harm the environment. Some have even been linked to cancer.

All those chemicals wind up going down the drain, where they ultimately wind up in streams, rivers, municipal drinking water and sewage sludge applied as fertilizer to agricultural land.

Antibiotic use in livestock is getting worse

Antibiotics From Farm to Fork

via AlterNet

By now, most conscientious eaters know that Big Food uses tons of antibiotics to make animals gain weight with less feed thus driving antibiotic resistant bacteria and infections. Antibiotics are also used to prevent illness in the extremely crowded and unsanitary conditions of “factory farms.” What people may not realize is that Big Food has repeatedly defeated government attempts to regulate and prohibit antibiotic use, and that Big Pharma and Big Food, not the government, actually call the shots. In 2008, the egg, chicken, turkey, milk, pork and cattle industries stormed Capitol Hill over the proposal to prohibit the use of Cefzil and Keflex (important human drugs called cephalosporins), claiming they could not “farm” without the drugs. They won.

 In 2014, the FDA tried regulation again, proposing a voluntary plan in which drug makers would agree to remove the use of “growth promotion and feed efficiency” on antibiotic labels and the drugs would only be used to prevent disease. Did the government really think Big Pharma and Big Meat would undercut their own profits and meat producers would comply?

Soon after the announcement, Michael Hansen, senior staff scientist at Consumers Union, told me it was likely Big Pharma would simply replace “growth production” with “disease prevention” on the labels and continue the routine antibiotic use. Cattle producers could continue to feed grain instead of grass to animals even though it produces more liver abscesses, then treating them with the antibiotic Tylosin to “prevent disease,” he told me.

So far, according to the FDA’s 2014 Summary Report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals, domestic sales and distribution of livestock cephalosporins increased by 57 percent between 2009 through 2014, antibiotics like clindamycin by 150 percent and antibiotics like gentamicin by 36 percent. Thanks for nothing, FDA.

The Wendell Berry Farming Program

Wendell Berry, the 81-year-old award-winning poet, fiction writer and essayist, has continued throughout his life to care for the Kentucky farm that generations of his family have tended. Seeking to pass on their farming legacy to a new generation, Berry and his family have formed an alliance with Saint Catharine College, a small Catholic liberal arts scohol run by the Dominican Sisters of Peace. Correspondent Judy Valente talks with Mary Berry, Wendell Berry’s daughter, and with nuns, students, and faculty members at the college about the lessons and values that spring from having a spiritual kinship with the land.

Related Reading

Too small to survive, not too big to fail

Quitting Season: Why Farmers Walk Away From Their Farms

“Our food system today allows terrible pollution of water and the degradation of soil, climate and endangered species. It subsidizes the large wealthy farmers the most and allows unhealthy food to be promoted and served to our kids and poorest families. It wastes nearly half the food produced. Until we become more strident and say “NO MORE,” our small farmers and ranchers — who love their work — will continue to fail in extreme numbers and our poorest families will continue to disproportionately die from diet related disease. Many farms are clearly too small to survive, not too big to fail. And that stark contradiction reveals an American misconception of what is important in the world.”

-Roots of Change

 

Read the rest

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