Currently showing posts tagged Farms

  • U.S. Rep. Pingree sponsors bill to help farm to school programs

    School gardens, local food would gain support in bipartisan bill

    Congresswoman Chellie Pingree has signed on to an effort to increase funding for important farm to school programs.  The bill would triple funding for an already successful USDA program that puts more local food in schools and helps schools support food-based educational programs like school gardens, cooking classes and farm field trips.

    "Maine is already doing a great job on this front," said Pingree.  "Over 40 percent of schools have a garden and over 80 percent are buying some local food.  But the demand is much higher than the available funding, and with a little help these programs could expand."

    Pingree is cosponsoring the H.R. 1061 Farm to School Act of 2015, which was introduced by Representatives Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH). 

    Some of the provisions of the bill include:

    • Increasing annual mandatory funding from $5 million to $15 million to better meet the high demand and need for this funding;
    • Fully including preschools, summer food service program sites and after school programs for farm to school funding
    • Improve program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. 

    "Getting local food into schools is a win for everyone.  Kids get fresh, healthy meals and our local farm economies get a boost, which keeps more money and jobs in our local communities," Pingree said.

  • Pingree introduces amendment to stop DARK Act - the GMO promotion bill

    Organic farm tour, photo by Ramona du Houx 

    Congresswoman Chellie Pingree has introduced an amendments to strike parts of a controversial bill- the DARK ACT - that would limit the ability of states like Maine to require labeling of GMO ingredients in food.  What DARK Act would overturn laws in Maine and other states relating to GMO ingredients and GMO crops.

    "This is really an anti-consumer, anti-right-to-know bill that would prevent families from making intelligent choices about whether or not they want to buy food with GMO ingredients," Pingree said.  "It takes choices away from consumers and rights away from states and Congress should reject it."

    The bill, H.R. 1599, would make it illegal for states to pass laws requiring GMO labeling and would block laws that have already been passed from being enforced.  Maine was the second state in the country to pass a GMO labeling law, which takes effect if five other states in the region also adopt similar legislation.

    Pingree's amendment strikes the dangerous parts of the bill—effectively blocking the DARK Act from taking effect—while keeping the provision that requires USDA to create a non-GMO certification program and label. 

    "The DARK Act is just what Big Food and Monsanto want," Pingree said.  "But nine out of ten consumers say they support GMO labeling, so it sure isn't what the public wants.  GMO crops lead to the increased use of herbicides like Roundup and that's something a lot of consumers don't want to support."