April 24, 2012
About the Program: This week we’ll be talking with activist Daniel Imhoff, who has written a book called Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill, published by Watershed Media.
The Farm Bill is up for renewal in September of this year–it is generally renewed and revised every four years–and in his book, Dan explores its myriad complexities and the issues that will likely be coming up.
Farmer/writer Wendell Barry says:
The United States government’s agricultural policy, or non-policy, since 1952 has merely consented to the farmers’ predicament of high costs and low prices; it has never envisioned or advocated in particular the prosperity of farmers or farmland, but has only promised “cheap food” to consumers and “survival” to the “larger and more efficient” farmers who supposedly could adapt to and endure the attrition of high costs and low prices. And after each inevitable wave of farm failures and the inevitable enlargement of the destitution and degradation of the countryside, there have been the inevitable reassurances from government propagandists and university experts that American agriculture was no more efficient and that everybody would be better off in the future.
Our Discussion with Daniel Imhoff
About a year ago, we spoke with Daniel Imhoff about his book CAFO: Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, which described in graphic detail the cruelty and health problems associated with factory meat farming. He has recently released another richly detailed and illustrated book called Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill. Dan is the president and co-founder of Watershed Media in Healdsburg and he speaks and conducts workshops on a wide range of food, farming, and environmental issues.
–Your book is a collage of essays, photographs, charts, and quotes on about the Farm Bill that will come before congress in the fall. Why did you write the book and why did you present it in this form?
–In the Foreword to your book, Michael Pollan says, “Don’t Call it the ‘Farm Bill,’ call it the ‘Food Bill’,” and one of your aims in writing the book is to educate people about this huge piece of legislation. To begin, then, what is the Food/Farm bill, and could you tell us about its history? When was it created? for what purposes? How has it evolved over the years?
–What is the authorization and funding process that will be happening starting in September and carrying on throughout the life of the bill? [Authorization, Funding, CHIMPING, reconciliation, etc.]
–You write, “Delving into the Farm Bill can seem like visiting another country (if not another planet),…” (p. 12). You have a very helpful chart that shows the major components of the bill, and perhaps we could talk about each. What have been the promises, successes, and complications in the areas of:
…Commodity Support (22%) ~$89.9 billion. What’s a “commodity” crop as opposed to a “specialty” crop? What are the major commodity support programs? Are farmers really paid not to farm? Who gets the lion’s share of the support? How do small farmers make out under the commodities appropriations? What has commodity support achieved? What problems has it created?
…Nutrition (72%) ~$470 billion. What are the elements of this program? When and why did “Food Stamps” begin? How has the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) progressed over the years? How does it help its target audience of the hungry? How does it fail? Is ketchup a vegetable? Why does the Department of Defense participate in school nutrition programs? How does the commodities support program conflict with the stated aims of the nutrition program?
…Conservation and Energy (6%) ~$38 billion. What does the conservation element of the Food and Farm Bill include? What kinds of programs have been established? How has the conservation aspect fared under budget cuts? What have been its major accomplishments? Is it making a genuine contribution to global efforts to reduce pollution and increase sustainability?
–You point out that the agricultural lobby is strong and well funded. Who will be lobbying in Washington this fall? What will they be trying to accomplish? Do you see the ag bill being a major issue in the presidential campaign?
–In your book, Food Fight, you say, “It would be naive to imagine that the Farm Bill could be radically overhauled in any single negotiation cycle” (105). In this segment, we’d like to discuss some of your recommendations. [We know we can't possibly cover all of these, but we'd like to spend about fifteen minutes discussing your choice of topics]. How can the Farm Bill catalyze See chart 22-23]:
–Beginning Farm Programs–Good eating habits and the food pyramid
–Know Your Farmer programs
–SNAP good food incentives ( Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
–Ethanol from noncorn sources, biobased energy
–Energy efficient farming (National policy on renewable energy and climate change, p. 147)
–Many models in existence that are “ignored, marginalized or largely underfunded.”
–You write, “The time has arrived for a food fight,” (187) and your book includes an “activist toolkit” (p. 193. also described online at foodfight2012.org). What are the steps, and in particular, what can our concerned listeners do to get involved?
…Learn about the bill (as in tonight’s program)
…Adopt a local food charter
…Bring officials up to speed
…Communicate with representatives (Do you have recommendations for Northern California reps?)
…Be clear about connections [benefits]
…Think beyond Washington
..Take the long view
–What will you and your various organizations be doing to promote a better Food and Farm Bill over the coming months?
Learn more at http://foodfight2012.org/.
Playlist 1. Poor Old Dirt Farmer 3:53 Levon Helm Dirt Farmer Classic Rock 2. On This Old Farm 2:54 Si Kahn Courage Country & Folk 3. Factory Farms 3:40 Trouser Factory Farm Songs Rock 4. Down on Penny’s Farm 3:44 Natalie Merchant The House Carpenter’s Daughter Folk 5. Weave Me the Sunshine 4:28 Peter, Paul And Mary The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary Folk 6. Maggie's Farm 3:58 Bob Dylan Bringing It All Back Home Folk 7. Farmer's Delight 3:38 Busy Kid Barbecue Beets Electronica
April 17, 2012
Tonight we’ll talk with people who are working on production of healthy foods in our area. First we’ll talk with Monica Bell, one of the leaders of Cultivating Community. She’ll tell us about how this new group is working to strengthen the local food network and access for low income people. In the second half of the show, we’ll talk with Dave Miller. Dave as just been designated a local hero by Edible Shasta-Butte for his work as a food artisan, in his bakery, Miller’s Bakehouse.
Our Questions for Monica Bell
You are listening to Ecotopia and with us in the studio now is Monica Bell, a major leader of Cultivating Community. Welcome, Monica.
–Strengthening Local Food Security
–Supporting Community Gardens
–Supporting Small Farmers
–Promoting Local, Healthy Use of Nutritional Assistance Funds
–Supporting Lower-Income Residents
4. Tell us about some of the workshops and activities you’ve sponsored so far
5. You have a workshop coming soon on drip irrigation. Could you tell us when and where that will be?
6. What are some of your hopes and dreams for the future of this project?
7. Who do you hope will be involved in Cultivating Community? How can people become involved?
Thank you, Monica Bell. Monica is a leader of Cultivating Community. Check out their website cultivatingcommunitynv.org
Our Conversation with Dave Miller
You’re listening to Ecotopia on KZFR 90.1, and with us in the studio now is Dave Miller. Dave has just been designated a local hero by Edible Butte Shasta. Dave is the owner and baker of Miller’s Bakehouse, and sells his bread at the Saturday morning Chico Farmer’s market. Welcome, Dave.
Playlist for Eco 185
1. Dirt Made My Lunch 2:25 Banana Slug String Band Dirt Made My Lunch
2. Back To The Garden 4:03 Jason Webley Against The Night
3. Real Food 2:58 Jerry Engler Very Jerry
4. Food Food Food (Oh How I Love my Food) 2:10 The Wiggles Toot Toot
5. Weave Me the Sunshine 4:28 Peter, Paul And Mary The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary
6. Blinuet 4:35 Zoot Sims Rushmore
7. Working On A Dream 3:30 Bruce Springsteen Working On A Dream
Date: April 3, 2012
In late March, a week before this broadcast, leaders from fifty nations , including President Obama, gathered in Seoul, Korea for a summit on Nuclear Terrorism, ways of reducing the threat of terrorism given the amount of fissile material that resides around the globe.
Tonight we’ll assess the results of that summit, including the implications for the environment. Our first guest will be Alexandra Toma, who is the Executive Director of the Connect US Fund in Washington, D.C., a nonprofit working to reduce the possible nuclear terrorism and war.
Then we’ll talk with Paul Walker International Director of the Environmental Security and Sustainability Program for Green Cross International (GCI) and its US national affiliate, Global Green USA, in Washington. He is interested in the nuclear terrorism issue and is also concerned with the destruction and of chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction.
Our Discussion with Alexandra Toma
Our guest on the phone from Washington is Alexandara Toma, Executive Director of the Connect U.S. Fund, which has a mission of “advancing a vision for responsible U.S. engagement.” She is also founder and cochair of the Fissile Materials Working Group, a non-governmental coalition of more than 60 U.S. and international organizations working to provide action-oriented policy solutions to keep the world safe from nuclear terrorism.
–In the first part of our discussion, we’d like to focus on the Nuclear Summit held in Korea last week. The press issuing from this summit was lukewarm at best. Could you please give us your appraisal:
…What were the initial aims of and hopes for the summit?
…Were there modest or major achievements?
…What were the disappointments?
–Perhaps the greatest concern with fissile materials at the moment is their falling into the hands of “terrorists.” Could you please explain what this risk is? Where is this material now? Who are the terrorists and what would it take for them to make use of it?
–There is equal concern about nations (rather than terrorists) developing and employing nuclear weapons, in particular, North Korea and Iran. What’s your perspective on those countries’ nuclear efforts and their long-range missile development?
–Both of your organizations, the Connect U.S. Fund and the Fissile Materials Working Group (as well as Ploughshare, for which you have also worked), have long recommended that the U.S. reduce is nuclear stockpiles. START calls for a reduction of nuclear warheads from 2200 to 1600 by 2018. Is that anywhere near enough? What are the loopholes in START? Does START address “rogue” uses of fissile materials?
–Please tell us more about your work with the Connect U.S. Fund. You seek “responsible U.S. global engagement.” What is that engagement? Is it principally military? economic? social? How do you hope to bring it about?
–And where does your work with the Fissile Materials Working Group fit in?
–How can our listeners learn more about your work in particular, and more generally, about ways of getting nuclear materials under sensible control?
Connect U.S. Fund, http://www.connectusfund.org
Guest Part 2:
Our Conversation with Paul Walker
Our guest on the phone now is Paul Walker, who is the International Director of the Environmental Security and Sustainability Program for Green Cross International (GCI) and its US national affiliate, Global Green USA, located in Washington. He’s part of an international effort to facilitate and advocate the safe and sound demilitarization, nonproliferation, and remediation of nuclear, chemical, biological, and conventional weapons stockpiles. He is also a U.S. Army veteran from the Vietnam era.
–In the first part of the program, we spoke with Alex Toma of the Connect US Fund about the recent Nuclear Security Summit. A couple of weeks ago you wrote: “The Seoul Nuclear Security Summit must provide real progress in eliminating high-level nuclear materials, and the major nuclear weapons states, including Russia and the United States, must lead the way.” How well did our leaders do?
–Please tell us a little about Green Cross International and Global Green. You are “Director of Security and Sustainability”. One doesn’t often see “security” and “sustainability” linked together. What is your view of a secure and sustainable world? How can this come about? What sorts of attitude, economic, political, or military changes would be necessary to bring this about? [Impossibly broad questions, we realize.]
–We recently watched two classic antinuke films on late night TV–Dr. Strangelove and War Games–where military and political arrogance and bumbling nearly bring about the end of the world. Are such scenarios just relics of the cold war?
–We tend to think of nuclear bombs as the greatest threat to civilization, but you have long been concerned about other weapons of mass destruction and about non-bomb dangers of nuclear materials. Could we talk about (your choice of topics as time permits):
…The Chemical Weapons Convention and the destruction of chemical weapons supplies. [We've recently interviewed a guest on the destruction of chemical weapons at Umatilla, Oregon.] Is the world safer because of efforts to control and destroy chemical weapons? Are chemical weapons a terrorist threat?
…Biological Weapons. Officially, they have been banned since 1972, yet some countries maintain biological weapons programs. What are your concerns about bioterrorism? How are these being addressed by Global Green and Green Cross?
…Disposing of radioactive materials. There is reportedly enough nuclear material lying around to build 100,000 bombs. Can we possibly dispose of it in environmentally sound ways? Thoughts on Yucca Mountain
–Global Green has a much larger agenda than just weapons of mass destruction. Please tell us about some of its other projects and how they mesh with your immediate concerns with WMD?
We’ve been talking with Paul Walker, Directory of Security and Sustainability with Global Green USA. You can learn more about their work at www.globalgreen.org, where they have a number of excellent articles and blogs on the kinds of issues we discuss on this program.
1. Nuclear 3:25 Ryan Adams Demolition
2. Masters Of War 4:36 Bob Dylan The Freewheellin’ Bob Dylan
3. Nuclear Infected (Album Version) 2:16 Alice Cooper Flush The Fashion
4. The Great Mandella (The Wheel of Life) 4:45 Peter, Paul And Mary The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary
5. Weave Me the Sunshine 4:28 Peter, Paul And Mary The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary
6. The Invention of Nuclear Power 2:46 Peter Adams The Spiral Eyes
Spring Has Sprung
March 27, 2012
You are listening to KZFR 90.1 community radio for the Sacramento Valley, the Foothills, and Beyond. I’m Stephen Tchudi. Usually in this time slot we bring you Ecotopia, exploring ecosystems: environmental, technological, and social. But tonight we are bringing you a ninety minute special that we call Eco-Storyteller-Kids-N-Creeks-O-Topia.
I’m Susan Tchudi. We’ll joining forces with Adrienne Scott and Kathryn Robinson of the StoryTeller, usually on at 7 pm, and a bit later, we’ll be joined by Marcie Holmes and other members of the Kids-and-Creeks show that is featured on the third Tuesday of the month.
I’m Adrienne Scott, and in the next hour and a half you’ll hear stories, poems, music, and nonfiction for ecologically minded kids of all ages as we talk about seeds and sprouts and frogs and ladybugs and water and a bunch of other critters and events taking place in the Northstate and beyond in these spring months.
And I’m Kathryn Robinson. We’re doing this program as a special part of KZFR’s pledge week. We hope you’ll call in during this hour–the number is: 895-0131