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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It’s time to bring innovation and creativity to finance!

Want to be an eco-chef? There are plenty of books, videos, and classes for you! Looking into organic farming? A number of organizations are ready to help you with technical skills. But if you’re a social entrepreneur farther up the food chain and need capital, “just go to the bank” just doesn’t cut the mustard. Where can you go find the money you need to launch, maintain, or grow your business?

More and more entrepreneurs – from local restaurants to fair trade importers and everything in between – are tapping into innovative and community-based sources of financing.

I’m working on a guide to help you find the capital options – both traditional and cutting edge – that best fit your business. Case studies, entrepreneur testimonials, referrals to capital providers, and legal templates will help you keep the values baked into your business.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fair food tastes better! Help secure dignity and respect for Florida farmworkers.

In July 2010, a now familiar ritual unfolded in federal court. For the eighth time since 1997, officials unsealed an indictment for forced labor in Florida's fields. These cases have involved well over 1,000 workers harvesting tomatoes, oranges, and other crops for Florida's multi-billion dollar fruit and vegetable industry.

Modern-day agricultural slavery is the most extreme abuse on a spectrum of human rights violations that includes sub-poverty wages, no right to organize, and inhumane living conditions.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a Florida-based farmworker organization, trains law enforcement to investigate, uncover and prosecute existing slavery operations. The CIW also partners with consumers nationwide to win support for farm labor reforms from the retail food industry. These major corporate produce buyers must leverage their market influence to clean up slavery and other labor abuses in their supply chains once and for all.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Let Them Eat Healthy – Better Policies for Brighter Futures

A healthy, bright future requires healthy, bright children. Healthy children require healthy food. Yet for too many children, healthy food remains out of reach.

We can create a system that provides everyone access to healthy, affordable food; and, at the same time, is fair and just to the people who grow our food. Take action to support policies that preserve farmland, reduce regulatory barriers for farmers, treat farm workers fairly, provide healthy food at school for our children, and bring more fresh, affordable and sustainably produced food to low-income communities. Let's take action to make healthy food for all people the rule rather than the exception!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Support keeping water public, affordable, and clean. Think Outside the Bottle.

No other factor is as crucial to human health and food productivity as the supply of clean water. On August 30th, 2010, the UN General Assembly unanimously declared the right to clean, safe drinking water a Universal Human Right. The U.S. and other industrialized countries abstained from the vote.

There are no borders on the mounting global water crisis. Here in the United States, there are hundreds of struggles to keep water clean, affordable, and in the public trust. An estimated 40,000 citizens of Detroit do not have access to water because of inability to pay their water bill. And the Safe Water Drinking Act, which regulates our drinking water from 90 chemicals, must be strengthened to protect us from even more toxins.

A national campus tour called "A Drop of Life" is bringing attention to the gravity of this crisis. The aim of "A Drop of Life" is to use wildly imaginative film and web-based media to engage America’s youth to the water crisis, and to empower new activists with water rights information, tools for action and strategic partnerships. Every drop makes a difference.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Color of Money: Make Farmers Markets Work for Everyone

Forty five million Americans have the wrong kind of money to buy farm fresh food. Only one of every five farmers markets takes food stamps. Most farmers markets can't afford the terminals nor the staffing to accept food stamps. Ironically, food stamp recipients are the ones who could most use access to farmers markets, because they tend to live in communities most underserved by supermarkets.

Farmers markets- and the healthy food and environment they promote- need to be for everyone, not just those with the right kind of cash.

Tell USDA to put its money where its mouth is! USDA spends billions of dollars on federal nutrition programs, such as food stamps. More of it needs to go to keep family farmers on the land, and less of it to Big Box retailers gobbling up farmland. These programs must be the cornerstone of the new type of food system the public is demanding.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Harvest Health with FoodCorps

It seems to be a paradox: One in four U.S. children struggle with hunger, while one in three is obese or overweight. Yet the root cause is the same: lack of access to healthy food. Give children nourishing food in the cafeteria; nutrition education in the classroom; and hands-on learning through school gardens; and a lifetime of healthy eating can take root.

Enter FoodCorps.

An AmeriCorps Farm to School and school garden program, FoodCorps members will work in school districts suffering disproportionate rates of childhood obesity. The program will serve vulnerable children, improving access to healthy, affordable school meals, while also serving its AmeriCorps members by training them for careers in food and agriculture. Serving your country will take on meaning beyond fighting on foreign soil. It can also mean farming American soil as a food soldier on the front line in the war against obesity.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Online video can revolutionize the way families feed their children

How can we foster a world that nurtures healthy, thriving children? Parent Earth creates, gathers and shares the best videos about food for parents and kids, on topics including cooking, gardening, nutrition, behavior, and food policy. Parent Earth videos reflect diverse perspectives and showcase a wide range of parenting styles and food choices—all aimed at promoting healthy, fresh, safe and affordable food for all children. At, parents can take action on the food system via campaigns created in partnership with innovative non-profit organizations. Parent Earth's on camera experts include best-selling authors, Dr. Bob Sears and Paul Greenberg, mom and actress from "The Office" Melora Hardin, nutritionist Latham Thomas, the renegade lunch lady Ann Cooper, and parents like you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Health starts where we live, learn, work and play

Growing up in Detroit 50 years ago, most neighborhoods had a corner store, a grocery store and backyard gardens within walking distance of home. All these options provided healthy, wholesome, affordable food.

Today, with too many corner stores and too few grocery stores, there’s little affordable, healthy food. Good food is scarce, and not within walking distance. This is not unique to Detroit. The landscape is the same in many urban centers.

Everyone has a right to healthy, affordable food in their community. Just as a plant thrives in rich soil, a community thrives when people have access to healthy foods. To make this possible requires active planning. Large grocery stores are part of the solution, as are farmers markets, urban gardens, and community participation in creating acceptable store inventory in corner stores. Good access to good food is good public health.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Food is a sacred gift, not a system.

Let’s change our food system first by ridding ourselves of the word system. Food is a sacred gift; it should not be saddled with the language of industrialization. A system is impossible to love, even one that’s organic or local. I have no alternative labels. I do have stories. As a writer, I tell stories of farmers and communities who recognize that the act of eating implies moral and ecological limits. From a church-supported community garden planting peace among neighbors, to Trappist monks growing oyster mushrooms for the glory of God, to a Kansas geneticist whose perennial wheat will one day revolutionize agriculture, I tell the stories of those whose work resists labels but whose lives embody a more holistic way to eat and live. I seek stories that provide glimpses of what the biblical writers called shalom, that graced state of being that results from a right relationship between land and people, made whole through food.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

So what kind of salmon does Uncle Sam want?

It almost seems preposterous to ask this question, but what type of salmon would you prefer to see on your plate:

1. Genetically-modified Atlantic salmon, spliced with Pacific salmon
growth gene and modulated by a regulator protein from an Ocean Pout; or

2. Wild Sockeye from the pristine unpolluted waters of Bristol Bay, Alaska.

But as Paul Greenberg points out in his commentary on Living on Earth,
our government is making that choice, and many of us are afraid it
isn't going to be the right one. How else can you explain that:

1. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is close to approving an engineered Atlantic salmon; and

2. The international mining giant Anglo American plans to construct
the largest open pit copper and gold mine in the U.S. at the headwaters of Bristol Bay,
putting perhaps the most productive salmon run left on earth at risk,
as the Environmental Protection Agency ignores the power it has to stop
the mine through the Clean Water Act.

And as Paul points out in the commentary, it is a little ironic that
the complete adoption of genetically engineered salmon into the existing

Meet the Fellows

Jane Black

Jane Black is a food writer who covers food politics, trends and sustainability issues.

Ideas in focus

Cultivating Leadership and Equity in the Food Movement

April 2013

The IATP Food and Community Fellows Program is coming to an end, but it's springtime for our work growing equity in the food system and cultivating diverse leadership in the movement.

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

2105 First Ave. S. / Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404
(612) 870-0453 / Fax (612) 870-4846






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