Food and Faith is a blog of the Presbyterian Hunger Program.
New Seed Survey Report Highlights Privatization Concerns
The U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance today released A Preliminary Report on Seeds and Seeds Practices across the US in celebration of La Via Campesina's International Day of Farmers' Struggles in Defense of Peasants' and Farmers' Seeds – April 17.
The report is based on surveys of seed savers and seed advocates from around the United States. It documents who saves seeds, as well as why, where and which ones. Responses reveal that many growers save and share seeds to produce healthy food, preserve their cultural heritage, and to defy efforts by transnational agribusinesses to privately patent and monopolize control of seeds.
The report is especially pertinent during 2014, the International Year of Family Farming, as designated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Based on the surveys and the Call to Action of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, the report provides individual, community, national and international action recommendations aimed at defending seeds from privatization and preserving them for the common good.
As a member of the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, a ministry of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), joins in presenting this report in solidarity with La Via Campesina in its global efforts to defend food and seed sovereignty. The report is available to read at usfoodsovereigntyalliance.org and on our website at pcusa.org/food.
For more information:
Andrew Kang Bartlett, Presbyterian Hunger Program, PC(USA) – 502.569.5388
Devika Ghai, Pesticide Action Network North America – 415.728.0169
Lisa Griffith, National Family Farm Coalition – 773.319.583
Charity Hicks, East Michigan Environmental Action Council – 313.725.0554
Sara Mersha, Grassroots International – 617.524.1400
My name is Andrew Kang Bartlett and I am grateful to have been able to serve as associate for national hunger for the past 13 years ever since Gary Cook (sitting in the pews) hired me on for a 6-month interim position. I hope you know the ‘minute’ in Minute for Mission is a euphemism. No one has ever done it in a minute, and I’ll be speaking for about 4 minutes. Also in the name of transparency – a principle seekers of justice promote – my salary is provided through One Great Hour of Sharing, and my job is to ask you to give generously to OGHS. A clear conflict of interest.
But I believe you should give generously in any case. Actually, all you need to do is read the story of Huerto de la Familia in the bulletin and you’ll be convinced. So I’ll just tell you a story.
It was silly, but I was still surprised that they did not come out of the ground ready to be borsht. They are covered in dirt, dark brown, earthy smelling. And I realized; it was a root.
Gardening in winter and looking forward toward spring!
Update from our farm (by Will Summers and Kitty Ufford-Chase)
Greetings from the winter wonderland that is the Stony Point Center!
What a winter it's been. In the past month, we've had snow, snow, and more snow. And it has just kept piling up.
During one recent 24-hour stretch, we probably got about 18 inches! My major concern in a blizzard like that is the greenhouse. It's not what's inside the greenhouse that I'm worried about in a snowstorm, but the greenhouse itself. More than a foot of heavy, wet snow has the potential to damage the entire structure.
After this particular snowstorm, Matt and I spent an entire morning clearing snow off the greenhouse roof and then removing all the snow that had piled up on the sides that continued to put pressure on the plastic and the frame. We had to dig in the snow by hand because snow shovels can very easily puncture the greenhouse plastic. It was quite a day-I was soaking wet after spending the entire morning essentially waist-deep in the snow.
Despite the polar vortex, our greenhouse crops continue to grow. We've taken extra precautions by double-covering them when weather forecasts indicate temperatures will be in the single-digits (which has been quite frequent this winter). In just the past week, our greenhouse spinach has really started to grow quickly as the days get incrementally longer. We're still harvesting kale, collards, chard, and arugula from the greenhouse as well.
Recently we've put a lot of energy into preparing our greenhouse for spring seeding. In fact, by the end of February, we will have seeded lettuce, spinach, and onions that will be transplanted in the fields in March or April (assuming, of course, that all that snow eventually melts!).
Needless to say, here at Stony Point Center, all of us on the farm crew are eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring.
Peace and winter blessings,
Will (the Stony Point Center Farmer) and Kitty
“You can be an ambulance driver at the bottom of the hill or you can build a fence at the top.”
Christians are good (although not as good as we could be) at the idea of charity which involves taking care of the people who have been thrown off the proverbial mountain—the poor, hungry, and homeless. We do this through emergency assistance such as food pantries, shelters, free meals, etc. We are not so great at asking why are these people poor and underprivileged and then doing something about it—either by building a fence at the top of the hill or by changing the system that only allows a few people at the top, if you’ll allow me to extend the metaphor.