Pastured Meats, Chemical-Free Produce, Hoke Co.


Field Testers Needed in the Sandhills

In these our Sandhills, folks are needing to know more about cover-cropping. For building bio-mass and green manures, holding moisture, amending soils with nitrogen-fixers, erosion control, short-term cropping, cover-cropping is necessary. But there is much further research needed to determine the needs of our sandy soils.

That's where you come in. Farmers and gardeners wanting to use and learn more about cover-cropping can get FREE sample seed from your county's Ag. Extension office. Moore County's is in Carthage, stop by or call 947-5183.

The seeds I've gotten so far include velvet bean, sunn hemp and sesbania. Let's run some science experiments, Y'all! Maureen

Sou. Pines Long-Range Planning Meetings, June 3-4

Critical Public Workshops For Southern Pines Next Week

Southern Pines is working on a comprehensive set of long-range policies for nearly everything Town government oversees: housing, transportation, recreation, public services, economic development, land-use and zoning.

Initial results reveal the citizens recognize that their individual and civic livelihood depends on their Town’s relationship with the natural environment, including streams, lakes, ground water recharge areas, native vegetation including the longleaf pine, and the large open spaces typical of “Horse Country.”

Although outreach efforts by our 20-member Long-Range Advisory Committee (AC) have been broadly based, citizens participation has been disappointing. No money has been allocated for future direct mailings to citizens, beyond a flyer included in town water bills. So folks living in the ETJ (extra-territorial jurisdiction) may not be aware of these important workshops. This includes Horse Country.

Your participation is of utmost necessity, and please forward this email to notify as many as possible.

The next public workshops run in a repeating format at three times:

Wednesday, June 3, 7:00pm-9:00pm, S. Pines Recreation Center, 160 Memorial Park Court

Thursday, June 4, 11:30am-1:30pm, Douglass Community Center, 1185 W. Pennsylvania Avenue

Thursday, June 4
, 7:00pm-9:00pm, S. Pines Recreation Center, 160 Memorial Park Court

Next week’s workshops will focus on important policy topics: 1) A distinct central business district, or downtown. 2) A traditional mixed-use district, for application to the Morganton Road and Pine Needles areas, communicating development expectations in those areas. 3) An “urban reserve” district for application to the McCaskill Road and Elks Club areas, anticipating that any development decision should be deferred at this time. 4) A revitalization mechanism of some sort for West Southern Pines to encourage reinvestment along the West Pennsylvania Avenue corridor and the edge of U.S. 1.

It is important to note that current thinking regarding our community’s needs might shift with public discussion and input. No matter what your opinion on these topics, I invite you to share it at the workshops planned for the upcoming week.

Best, Ray Owen
For more information about planning in Southern Pines: http://southernpines.studiocascade.com/


Get to Know These Bugs


Iraq Vets Testify


Killer Compost, Orange County

Killer Compost Surfaces in Orange County, North Carolina

Please find information below about Aminopyralid which has turned up in our Mt Sinai Road property and is affecting two other local farmers who source toxic manure in the last four weeks. Here is detail about Forefront that is the Dow Chemical program that was used by an Orange County haymaker and was sold to a local horse breeder who delivered one year old horse manure well-composted to us. The herbicide is pernicious and persistent and is killing our broadleaf plants, and soil remediation is problematic. Here are some details to share:

Aminopyralid has caused problems in gardens in the UK last year and Dow amended their label recommendation to try to eliminate the problem.

Basically the herbicide is used in pastures because it kills thistles, clover and many other dicot weeds. It is very selective to the grass. It has a long half life - 533 days has been reported. It is also very active on leguminous, solanaceous and sunflower crops. A major problem is that the chemicals absorbed to lignins in grass cell walls. It is then released if that grass is digested by a horse or cow. So the manure may influence the growth of sensitive crops, especially if that manure is not well rotted down for a year or more.

If you have the problem there are probably a couple of things to consider.

I would not replant with a sensitive crop this year. Rotavate the soil and plant a non sensitive food or cover crop. I would recommend not returning harvested material as mulch, although the residue levels may be really low. So if you grow a cover crop, mow it off when mature and compost it separately or dispose elsewhere (landfill?).

I think if the area has been well rotovated and keeps moist, you should not have a problem next year; stuff breaks down fast in North Carolina.

Interrogate the compost supplier on his source of manure and ensure he is aware of the issue.

Lobby that EPA withdraws this use of the product and that Dow modifies its label. Cattle farmers love the product and vegetable producers hate it.


Who's Behind Common Dreams?


No Farms, No Food

No local farms – no local food!

Action Alert:
Protect farm land and invest in local economic development
Agricultural Development & Farmland Preservation Trust Fund

North Carolina has the dubious distinction of being tied for first place in farm land loss among US states. We need to keep farms working in order to feed our state and meet consumer demands for locally produced foods.

Right now, the North Carolina House is making some very difficult decisions about what will be included in the state budget – this is a critical time to contact your NC House member to let them know that funding for farmland preservation and agricultural development is important to you.

Find contact information for your NC House member here:

Sample letter to your House member:

Dear Representative _______,

I’m writing to ask for your support for the Agricultural Development & Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. As you make some very difficult budget decisions, consider that this trust fund is not just a way to preserve resources for the future – it is also an important economic development tool for our state’s small farmers. For example, in 2008 a project focusing on the 11 counties surrounding Ft. Bragg received grant funds to not only protect working farmland, but also to develop new markets and programs to keep landowners and farmers economically viable.

North Carolina leads the nation in farmland loss. The Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund can help us reverse this tragic loss and ensure that our farmers will be able to meet our state’s needs for fresh, locally-grown foods, today and for the future.

[Please mention why this issue is important to you personally!]

Thank you for your work on behalf of our state’s future.

Your full name and address

*If your Representative is Pricey Harrison, please thank her for sponsoring the Farmland Preservation Trust Fund Legislation!

Kate DeMayo, Campaign Manager
NC Sustainable Food System Coalition
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
PO Box 488
Pittsboro, NC 27312
Phone: 919-542-2402
Fax: 919-542-7401

Transition Conference



Transition Mode


200 Years in Bolivia

Bolivia marks freedom bicentenary
Bolivians mark 200 years since their country's uprising against Spanish rule with President Morales decrying capitalism.



The Powerdown Show


Nourishing Traditions


Why Do It?


In Durham, Hrens Are Doing It



More About Baby Carrots


It's About Tea



CCNC, NC Green Tie Awards


Sweet Potato Nutrition


Fresh, the Movie


Inn at Bryant House Going Green


Concert, May 24, Aberdeen



Biking to Work


More About Soy


Sally's Letter to Pollan


Love a Challenge

A quote on ecology, environment, awareness, proactivism, ego, responsibility, and healing

"I love a challenge and saving the Planet seems like a good one."
Paul Stamets, author of Mycelium Running

Mowing with Goats


Monsanto's Link to NPR


Labeling for GM Foods

[In Europe, yes; in U.S., no labels]
If you really want to be green about your food and you care about not buying GMO, then support organic and local and ask questions.
More importantly, get politically active. Obama has publicly stated he would support a label for GMO foods. And polls show that if GMO foods were labeled in the U.S., an overwhelming majority of people wouldn't buy them.
So sign up for action alerts on our website at www.centerforfoodsafety.org and be informed about bills that may be coming up that you can support.
Kucinich introduces bills almost every year for labeling.

Climate Change Odds


Potluck in the Pasture, CCCC, Jun 7

“Potluck in the Pasture” celebrates Chatham’s agricultural and artistic heritage

PITTSBORO – Art and food lovers take note: ChathamArts celebrates the county’s unique agricultural and artistic heritage at the annual Potluck in the Pasture on Sunday June 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Central Carolina Community College’s (CCCC) two-acre Student Farm in Pittsboro (764 West Street). You’ll have a unique chance to see what’s growing at America’s first two-year sustainable farming program, share a potluck picnic of locally produced food, and meet local artists and musicians. You may also purchase farm fresh food and make a donation to ChathamArts, the nonprofit arts council. For more information: contact ChathamArts at www.chathamarts.org or 919.542.0934 or call Katy McReynolds, Potluck Coordinator, at 919.444.1900.

“This is our way to pay tribute to our farmers and artists who inspire and nurture us,” said Daryl Walker, director of the potluck project. “We hope the Potluck encourages more people to buy locally produced food and art and become more aware of the farmers and artists who contribute to our community and our economy.”

Two of the artists who will display their work are also working farmers: Mixed media painter Kristy Church is co-owner of Winfield Farm and portrait/landscape artist Tim Tron is co-owner of Grandview Farms. Other artists include: Cindy Bainbridge, Roger Dinger, Michele Mosca, Rita Spina and Diane Swan. Live music will be performed by Breadfoot (a.k.a. Stephan Meyers) and singer/songwriters Chris Kelley and Mike Slaton.

Visitors are asked to bring a potluck dish to share with at least one locally grown ingredient (and the recipe noting origin of local items), as well as a beverage, lawn chair or blanket, and a donation to ChathamArts, which supports diverse arts through gallery sales, and cultural programs in the schools and community.

Local food ingredients for your potluck dish are easy to come by in Chatham. They might come from your own garden or neighboring farms; from local farmers’ markets at the Chatham County Fairgrounds in Pittsboro or Southern Village (Thursdays), Fearrington Village (Tuesdays), or Pittsboro, Siler City, Carrboro and Sanford (Saturdays); or from Chatham Marketplace in Pittsboro, or Weaver Street in Southern Village and Carrboro.

CCCC’s Sustainable Agriculture Program was the first of its kind in the nation. Its two-year associate’s degree and certificate programs provide hands-on training in every aspect of sustainable, chemical-free farming, including vegetable and fruit production, animal husbandry, financing, management and marketing. It’s part of an array of innovative programs at CCCC encouraging sustainable energy, food, technology, building practices and public policies, earning the campus the new moniker “Green Central.”

Debbie Roos

North Carolina Cooperative Extension


We CAN Stop


Greatest Security Threats


How Make Compost Tea


Led Astray


Living Sustainably in the City


Energy, Where We Stand Now


Carbon-free Home, Durham


Obama, Emission, MPG Standards



Go, Maggots, Go!


Fifty-cent Tomato Stakes, Sou. Pines

Tomato stakes, 50 cents a piece. Sherri & Matt at 692-5506

Human Emotional Care

"Compared to the impact of sunshine and turnip greens, the impact of medication on the biology of the human emotion is crude and incomplete."

- William Painter

Mayor for 31 Years! Be Inspried!


Advice from Slow Food



Concert, Rain or Shine, Rooster's Wife

Hello music lovers, it's time for music on the porch !

And the band played on...
We've got it covered !
Don't let the weather change your plans.
Rain Site : 111 W. Main St., Aberdeen
Chairs, blankets, picnics welcome.

Those of you who have lived in Moore County for several years may have fond memories of Cabbages and Kings, a wonderful shop that occupied the old hardware store in downtown Aberdeen. When Ramona left us, so did that special place. The building is still gorgeous and begs the imagination to recreate another splendid respite from the everyday.

Until that happens, the generous folks at Clubhouse Properties have invited the Rooster's Wife to come in from the inclimate weather and make music in their space. There will be room for everybody, so don't let a few clouds change your plans. We will loan you an umbrella if need be and help you unload.

Site change information will be available by phone at (910)944-7502. Season tickets and May series tickets will be available at the door.

Jeff and Vida
Angela Easterling
the 3rd season !
Thanks for supporting LIVE LOCAL music !

Troops to Support Police Against Peruvian Tribes

Peru army call for Amazon protest
Peru authorises the temporary use of the armed forces to support police over protests by indigenous tribes in the Amazon.


Film on Amazon, May 17, Weymouth Center

Film about the Amazon jungle...

Perhaps you saw his show at the Campbell House "The Road and the Wilderness:Beauty and Destruction in the Peruvian Amazon"

Here is link...with upcoming destinations of his art exhibit
"The Road and the Wilderness:Beauty and Destruction in the Peruvian Amazon"

also a link to Weymouth Center.. http://www.davidhewsonart.com/

Location: 555 East Connecticut Avenue, across the street from the Campbell House, home of the Arts Council of Moore County, and four blocks east of Broad Street, the Southern Pines business district.


Migratory Birding, Weymouth, May 16

International Migratory Bird Day
Saturday, May 16th, 2009 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve

Bring along your picnic lunch

8 a.m. - Meet at the Visitor’s Center for a bird walk and bird banding. Learn what a neotropical migrant is and why birds migrate. Make sure you have your camera!

10 a.m. and 1 p.m. - Bill Kastern, owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Aberdeen with suggestions on how to augment your property with feeders, bird boxes, water features and more.

11 a.m. - Beginning birdwatching program at the Visitor’s center.

1 p.m. - Susan Campbell speaking on hummingbird research conducted at the park. View a hummingbird being banded.

3 p.m. Learn about the ecology, conservation and monitoring of the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker.

All day - Taste and learn about shade grown coffee from the Tropics. View a photo display by local wildlife photographers, prepared by members of eth Sandhills Natural History Society. Enjoy the world renowned video, Winged Migration, in the auditorium. Test your identification skills with a display of bird skins and nests.

Special thanks to Sandhills Ecological Institute (Southern Pines), Wild Birds Unlimited (Aberdeen), Toucanet Coffee and volunteers from Sandhills Natural History Society for making this program possible.

For more information, feel free to call the park office at (910) 692-2167.


Easy Rule to Remember

[Our dollar is our vote]
"Omnivore's Dilemma" Author Michael Pollan's New Advice on Buying Food: "Don't Buy Any Food You've Ever Seen Advertised"

Michael Pollan is one of the nation's leading writers and thinkers in this country on the issue of food. He is author of several books about food, including The Botany of Desire, The Omnivore's Dilemma and his latest, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. In light of what he calls the processed food industry's co-option of "sustainability" and its vast spending on marketing, Pollan advises to be wary of any food that's advertised.

The Flick We've Been Waiting For



Rethinking Afghanistan


Pollan on Eating Well

Here's a sampling of Michael Pollan's rules of how to eat well:

Avoid food products that contain ingredients that are unfamiliar, unpronounceable, more than five in number or include high-fructose corn syrup.
Avoid products that make health claims.
Shop in the peripheries of the supermarket, where the fresh food is; avoid the middle, where processed food resides.
Eat meals, not snacks.
Eat plants, especially leaves.
Don't get your fuel from the same place as your car gets its gas.
Eat slowly, at a table, and try not to eat alone.

Zinn on Obama, MLK

Howard Zinn: "I Wish Obama Would Listen to MLK"
Legendary historian Howard Zinn joins us to talk about war, torture and the teaching of history. Zinn says Obama had Obama heeded the lessons of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he wouldn't be escalating US attacks abroad and increasing the size of the US military budget. We also play excerpts of the forthcoming documentary, The People Speak, featuring dramatic readings based on Zinn's A People's History of the United States and Voices of a People's History of the United States. http://www.democracynow.org/2009/5/13/howard_zinn_i_wish_obama_would

HFCS, It's Everywhere. Read the Label



eBlast, Sustainable Sandhills

Sustainable Sandhills 2009 Earth Day/Week Events Review

There is no busier week of the year for Sustainable Sandhills than the week of Earth Day. Here is a roundup of a few of the events we are involved in during “Earth Week 2009” in the Sandhills. Activities included the Apple Crate, Sandhills Community College, Fayetteville Technical Community College, the Air Quality Poster Contest Awards and Alma Easom Elementary School.

Cumberland County Local Government Goes Green

In celebration of “National County Government” Week, May 3-9, and with encouragement by James Martin, the County Manager, Cumberland County is going green. As part of the Sustainable Sandhills’ “Greening Local Government” project, 12 Cumberland County departments are now Certified Green Businesses!

New Century International Elementary School Breaks Ground

Cumberland County government and school system officials participated in the ground-breaking ceremony for New Century International Elementary School, the first LEED elementary school in the Sandhills region. In addition to the school, a new branch of the Cumberland County Library System will also be built.

May 3-9: National County Government Week

May 7: Greening Fayetteville’s New UDO Community Meeting, 6:30 - 8:00 pm,PWC Operations Center, 955 Old Wilmington Road, Fayetteville.

May 7 - 8: North Carolina Conservation Network Retreat

May 19: Moore County CAT meeting, 6:30-8pm, Sandhills Community College, Dempsey Student Center, Clement Dining Hall, 3395 Airport Rd, Pinehurst.

May 21: Cumberland County Sustainable Film Series, 6:30-8pm, "The Power of Community - How Cuba Survived Peak Oil." Pate Room, Cumberland County Public Library Headquarters, 300 Maiden Lane, Fayetteville.

May 26: Harnett County CAT KICKOFF, 6:30-8pm, Central Carolina CC, Harnett County Campus, Miriello Administration Building, Room #135, 1075 E. Cornelius Harnett Blvd (Hwy 421), Lillington.

Support Sustainable Sandhills
Our continued growth and success depends in large part on your support.
Become a fan of Sustainable Sandhills’ new Facebook page to find out more about upcoming projects in your community!

Henside the Beltline, Raleigh, May 16

The Tour d'Coop, Henside the Beltline, Raleigh
Saturday, May 16 from 10am - 4pm.
Raleigh’s city chicken owners invite you into their backyards for a first-hand look at keeping chickens in an urban environment.
Bring the family, but please leave pets at home, since some flocks are not accustomed to four-legged visitors. You do not want to miss this unique “Parade of Combs” and their homes.

A Nation of Fecaphobes


Getting Real About Crap



Scoop on Genetically-engineered Foods at YOUR Supermarket


Shop Abundance, Pittsboro


America's Stuff, NYT


Moore County Beekeepers, May 12

The May meeting of the Moore County Beekeepers Association will be held on Tuesday, May 12th at 7pm in the Moore County Agricultural Center in Carthage.
This will be our "Who wants to bee a Millionaire" session. During our business meeting, Kevin, Rick, and Dwight will report on suggestions for our website design.
We will also need an accurate headcount for our picnic in June, so if you are unable to attend tomorrow's meeting, but will attend the picnic, contact Debbie Tyner at rdtyner@embarqmail.com or 295-3639. Remember that the picnic is on June 9th at Cannon Park in Pinehurst and starts at 6:30 instead of 7:00pm. We would like to have enough food for all attending without overbuying.


Venezuela's Petrol

Chavez extends state oil industry
Venezuela's President Chavez announces plans to nationalise companies that provide services for the country's oil industry.

History Channel Schedule



Run It Again!


Show Us the Money

UN 'stunned' by scale of bail-out
If extra money is not found to tackle climate change, bail-outs could be a "waste of money", UN head of environment warns. http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/science/nature/8036559.stm

3-Week Window for Conversion to Organic

Organic and Transitional Farmers Restored to Rightful Status in EQIP*

*Washington, D.C. May 5, 2009* USDA today announced a special three-week sign-up for farmers in the process of converting to organic farming to receive technical and financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a move applauded by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and its grassroots member organizations across the country.

The organic conversion assistance was provided for by the 2008 Farm Bill but the plan went awry when the Bush Administration issued rules for the EQIP program just before leaving office which baffled state and local offices of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). As a result, in a majority of states organic farmers and transitioning farmers were simply not being served, in contradiction of Congress’ intent in the farm bill.

“This was a was a wrong that needed righting, and with today’s announcement USDA is not only setting it right, but doing so in an innovative and farmer-friendly manner,” said Aimee Witteman, NSAC Executive Director. “We thank NRCS and USDA leadership for listening to the concerns of organic farmers and applaud their new initiative.”

Today’s announcement sets aside $50 million out of the $1 billion EQIP program for a special three-week sign-up for farms converting to organic production, farms expanding their organic production, or existing organic farms who desire conservation support to reach even higher levels of environmental performance. The sign-up period begins Monday, May 11 and goes through Friday, May 29.

Six core conservation practices (conservation crop rotation, cover cropping, integrated pest management, nutrient management, rotational grazing, and forage harvest management) are being made available to transitioning organic farmers on a nationwide basis. Each state may then also add a variety of ‘facilitating’ conservation practices specific to the type of agriculture in their region.

“Obviously we would wish to have more than a very short three weeks to work with our farmer networks to get the word out and get farmers into local NRCS offices to sign up for this exciting new initiative,” said Witteman. “We will work quickly to get the word out far and wide and our member organizations with expertise in organic agriculture will be helping farmers understand their options under the new program terms.”

Organic farming has strong environmental benefits for soil and water quality, climate change mitigation, and biodiversity. In recognition of this fact, Congress retooled the EQIP program in the 2008 Farm Bill to provide a general EQIP priority for organic farming in the program overall as well as a specific EQIP subcomponent for farms converting in whole or in part to organic farming.

The new initiative addresses the special “organic conversion assistance?’ component of EQIP in particular. Funding under the organic conversion section of the farm bill is capped at not more than $20,000 per farm per year, and not more than $80,000 per farm in any 6-year period. Organic farmers may opt to compete in this special pool, with the tighter payment caps, or may opt instead to compete in the regular EQIP pool for which the 6-year cap is $300,000. However, under the terms of the new initiative announced today, farmers will receive higher payments, relative to conventional EQIP rates, for five of the six national core practices for organic conversion option. The higher payment rates reflect the higher management costs associated with the mandatory three-year organic transition period and the higher ongoing management costs associated with organic farming.

“We expect this program to evolve and grow over time,” said Witteman.

“NRCS has made a good faith effort to address the needs of organic farmers and appears to be willing to make this program even better on an iterative basis in future years. This is a very welcomed new day.”

Aimee Witteman, Executive Director
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
p: 202-547-5754
f: 202-547-1837

Cheryl Ripperton Rettie, Bookkeeping & Member Services
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
PO Box 448, Pittsboro NC 27312
Tel: 919.542.2402 - Fax: 919.542.7401


Local Honey for NC State Fair

North Carolina State Fair 2009 Honey Sales

Last year the NCSBA (NC State Beekeepers Association) honey sales booth at the state fair was a resounding success thanks in no small part to the efforts of Don Hopkins, Danny Jaynes and their group of dedicated volunteers. Approximately 3,300 pounds of honey were sold, generating over $22,000 and yielding a profit in excess of $8,000.

This year there have been a few suggestions to make the booth even more interesting for our state members and hopefully generate even higher sales volume and awareness of beekeeping in North Carolina. A current recommendation is to purchase up to two sixty-pound pails of honey from any NCSBA member at a price of $200 per pail.

The plan is to promote regional - local - honey for sale on specific days by having NCSBA members from that region man the fair booth on the days a specific local honey is featured. Last year several people asked for honey from their home region and were disappointed that the products couldn't be identified by region. Members representing their regions may find new sales opportunities in their area, as well as increasing the public's awareness of the NCSBA.


Eco Flick on Netflix


30-Minute Video re No-Till Gardening



Plastic in the Doldrums



The Farmer Speaks

Published on Thursday, April 30, 2009 by CommonDreams.org
Agriculture and the Environment, It's Our Choice
by Jim Goodman

Farmers claim to be stewards of the environment, some would say it's best friend; others, its worst enemy. The truth is we can be both.

Humans have never left a small footprint, we have always tried to shape the environment to suit our needs. Initially farming had one purpose, food; farming provided a more stable diet than the hunter-gatherer existence.

As we became more "civilized" our effect on the land became more pronounced and more devastating. We thought the oceans were too vast, the soil too deep and the forests so thick that we could never harm them and, of course, we were wrong.

We used to grow food and fiber, now we raise commodity crops and commodity livestock. Farmers, for the most part, no longer sell to the consumer, they sell to processors who slice, dice, mince, preserve, pasteurize, color, flavor, package and deliver what they call food.

Agricultural production is neither controlled by nor is it supportive of farmers or consumers. Farmers have no control over prices so they do what they must to survive. Consumers buy what the global market provides, is there a choice?

We produce more than enough to feed the world. Yet, not everyone shares the bounty. Not everyone has the money or the access. Equally as sad, by the time the processors are done with their slicing, dicing, coloring and flavoring much of the "food" they deliver assaults, rather than supports our health.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) claims agriculture is one of the biggest threats to the environment. The National Cattleman's Beef Association (NCBA) says agriculture does not harm the environment.

The University of Minnesota cites a seven fold increase in use of nitrogen fertilizer, a three fold increase in phosphorous fertilizer and a near doubling of irrigated cropland between 1961 and 1996. Since the introduction of Genetically Modified crops in 1996, fertilizer and pesticide use have steadily increased.

WWF notes global agriculture uses 70% of the worlds water and threatens the oceans with agrochemicals and the atmosphere with greenhouse gases from livestock production.

The US Geological Survey points to fertilizer, manure and agricultural runoff from the Mississippi basin as being responsible for the Gulf "Dead Zone".

The United Nations estimates that farm animals world-wide generate 18% of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions. Couple that with emissions from transportation, refrigeration, clearing land for crops and pastures and livestock do not appear as environmentally benign as NCBA would have us believe.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO's) have a negative affect on our health as well. The 2004 outbreaks of avian flu in Laos and Nigeria occurred on CAFO's and the current swine flu epidemic has Mexican lawmakers pointing the finger at CAFO's while Mexican health officials back them up.

CAFO's, crop production, water, processing and transportation comprise an industrial agricultural system that is no friend of the environment. The argument supporting the system,"we need to feed the world", is a lie. As the system industrialized, world hunger increased.
In the end the question is, who will decide if agriculture will protect or destroy the environment?

We can continue to allow multinational agribusiness corporations and industrial agriculture to control our food system. We can continue to accept CAFO's, mono-culture cropping and the inherent environmental damage they cause. Or we can think about the environment and humanity when we make our food choices. We can, as Michael Pollan says, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants".

We need to think before we eat.
Jim Goodman is a dairy farmer and activist from Wonewoc, WI and a WK Kellogg Food and Society Policy Fellow.