Food Fight

People who live in the Valley, eat eggs, cheese, or meat, and care about farm animals' quality of life may need to visit farms themselves. President Trump is weakening so-called “animal welfare standards” for organic food. Enid Wonnacott runs the Vermont chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. On December 29, she told the Valley Post that Trump “has blocked the movement of the animal welfare standards that we have worked on for years.”

The best way to find out if farm animals are being treated humanely is to visit the animals. To find farmers who will let you do this, contact www.nofa.org or go to a local farmers' market. There are winter markets in Northampton, Brattleboro, and towns throughout the Valley. To find out what to look for on your farm visit contact www.HumaneSociety.org.

Another option is to look for the Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC) label. That's according to Katherine Paul, a spokeswoman for the Organic Consumers Association (OCA). On January 2, she told the Valley Post, “OCA condemns this latest move by the Trump administration and corporate lobbyists to degrade organic standards.... OCA has always, and will continue to fight for stronger organic standards. But with industry lobbyists intent on weakening those standards, and politicians eager to reward corporate donors by rolling back regulations, OCA also supports add-on certifications such as the new Regenerative Organic Certification."

More information on ROC is at:

https://rodaleinstitute.org/assets/ROC-One-Pager-9.12.17.pdf

Farmers who want their food labelled "organic" pay a fee to the USDA via a certification group like NOFA. Some farmers choose not to pay the fee even though they farm organically. Consumers can ask farmers if they farm organically, and visit farms to see for themselves. Katherine Paul's group can tell people what to look for on farm visits. The USDA allows organic vegetable farmers to spray organic insecticides.

In other news from the Valley, the number of people who have RSVP'd for the Northampton Women's March has reached 956. More information is at:

http://valleypost.org/node/1351

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