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Long-fought small victories are what Pete Seeger meant when he spoke of a “teaspoon brigade” and the power of small. When asked to comment upon the size of an assembled crowd of tens of thousands, he responded-- ‘Why not a hundred small ones?

Seeger’s metaphor for the teaspoon brigade involved a teeter-totter which had a concrete weight at one end and a porous laundry basket on the other. He asked us to imagine that people were trying to fill it with teaspoons of sand that simply ran out. Others would laugh at them, saying ‘How can you expect to fill that!”. He asked us to further imagine if a lot of people were doing this and it became full, so that people would say, ‘Now how did that happen so quickly?

A basket was filled in my town last week by a small determined group of people who have been loading their teaspoons of sand over the past two years when their Food Bill of Rights Ordinance finally passed Constitutional muster and can now appear on the ballot.

The Ordinance:

The Benton County Local Food System Ordinance establishes a right to local and sustainable food systems, seed heritage, clean air, water and soil for Benton County, and prohibits unsustainable activities – like the planting of GMO’s – that would violate these rights.

These three people—two longtime farmers (organic and conventional) and a former farmer now home baker—represent the growing ranks of local grassroots efforts under the banner of the national Community Rights Movement. Local communities are successfully applying the direct democracy tactics of county and state ballot initiatives to bypass the Federal, State and local officials who are firmly in the grip of corporate interests.

Popular sovereignty, which supports this kind of citizen action, is enshrined in the first article of the Oregon State Constitution:

Article 1: Section 1. Natural rights inherent in the people. We declare that all men, when they form a social compact are equal in right; that all power in inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness; and they have at all times a right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such a manner as they think proper.
Long urged by the Progressive movement as the basis for calling a new Constitutional Convention on a national level, these natural rights can be extremely effective on the local level to claim the people’s sovereignty to deal with all the ills brought upon their communities from harmful corporate activities such as fracking to water-despoiling industries to GMO contamination of conventional and organic crops.

Make no mistake, this is a battle for our rights to protect our communities from corporate rapaciousness, and there will be pushback. Congress passed the Monsanto Protection Act which forbade federal courts from halting the sale and propagation of genetically modified seeds and crops if safety tests revealed safety concerns. It was mercifully allowed to die through the prodigious efforts of progressive U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-Md) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore) backed by overwhelming public support.

Threatened by GMO bans in three counties, the Oregon legislature attempted to pass a bill dubbed the “Oregon Monsanto Protection Act” which would preempt counties and local municipalities from enacting laws concerning agriculture. It failed due to overwhelming public outcry. As we have seen on the federal level, this legislation was “gutted and stuffed” into an appropriations bill in order to secure Republican votes and was made law. Proponents of this law argued that it was necessary to prevent a “crazy patchwork quilt” of ordinances which would hurt commerce.

What if all those crazy quilt squares of local communities and counties keep being stitched together until they form a quilt to cover all thirty-six counties in Oregon?

Lane and Benton Counties’ initiatives have passed judicial review and are on their way to the ballot. Many other Oregon counties have expressed interest in launching their own grassroots initiatives for such ordinances.    

There will likely be legal challenges, particularly concerning Oregon’s Monsanto Protection Act; however, in a contest between the first article of our Constitution and an act that did not pass legislative muster, I am betting on the people to prevail.

Photo by occupystephanie

Caption: Chief petitioners Harry MacCormack, Dana Allen, Clint Lindsey, and their attorney, Ann Kneeland, on the courthouse steps after the ruling that the Local Food System Ordinance had met the constitutional "single subject" requirement for initiatives to be placed on the ballot.

Originally posted to occupystephanie ~ Stephanie Hampton on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 12:53 PM PST.

Also republished by Environmental Foodies, Koscadia, DK GreenRoots, PacNW Kossacks, Pink Clubhouse, Daily Kos Oregon, Community Rights Movement, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Do you know where Polk County is on this? (13+ / 0-)

    I'm planning to move up there later this year and plan to do some very small scale biodynamic farming again when I get there.

    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

    by RMForbes on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 01:33:05 PM PST

    •  No I do not but I can ask around (14+ / 0-)

      There is a national group which facilitates community rights work. They are the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF,org) and they are currently working in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. They have been around since 1995. They began in PA, working against fracking. I do know that they have a staff member here on the ground who has been giving workshops on how to do this.

      Community Rights really excites me because it is something effective we can do on our own ground, literally. Check out the CELDF site and see the myriad of issues that they have tackled.

      An idea whose time has come! The Willamette Valley is perfect for farming.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 02:04:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is good news. Thank you for spreading (13+ / 0-)

    the word about citizens' natural rights and how everyone can have a voice. Good to see this on the ballots of two counties already.

    •  It's been in front of us all this time (12+ / 0-)

      After petitioning our governments and voting for those who promise to do something for us, it appears that other "constituents" have a higher priority with them.

      So, we begin where we live and we simply claim our rights as communities to self governance.

      What really struck me was their Constitutional argument for not accepting it on the ballot--a technicality that prevented more than a "single subject" for an initiative. This ordinance is constitutional!

      The ordinance establishes certain provisions which are not subjects but parts of the law that are essential to establishing, maintaining a sustainable healthy local food system.

      Took two years but was well worth the time!

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 03:25:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is great. (11+ / 0-)

    Local, sustainable food production is key. I look forward to hearing more about how this goes. Thank you.

  •  Good luck, sister (8+ / 0-)

    Benton County is a decent battleground. I've fought in Linn County for decades and we've moved things a couple of degree to the left over the years.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 06:39:43 PM PST

    •  Thank you 6412093 (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TX Scotia, RiveroftheWest, ichibon, OKath

      Hey, we are neighbors! After this next election, I hope we share Sara Gelser as our Senator. She has been a great Rep--fought to ban canola in the valley. Might help you in moving Linn over a few notches!

      Benton is supposed to be the most Democratic county in Oregon--rural and urban.

      Waiting on a ballot title and summary now. Not sure if it could still be legally challenged but it has passed the constitutional hurdle.  

      Good to talk to you!

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 06:58:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Who are the people in the photo? (7+ / 0-)

    I live in Lane County and am very excited about this. Great job.

    Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

    by Ellen Columbo on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 06:54:40 PM PST

    •  Thanks for asking (9+ / 0-)

      I tried to put a caption in but got lost in the process!

      Harry MacCormack is our premier organic farmer, been at it 40 years. He co-founded our Farmer's Market among other things--has always worked for a local food system.

      Clint Lindsey is a 5th generation conventional farmer.

      Dana Allen is a former farmer and now a home baker.

      Ann Kneeland is a land use attorney from Eugene. I believe that she helped the Lane County effort. I love her battered old briefcase and wonder if it was her Dads'.

      What the organic and conventional farmers fear is GMO contamination. Buyers now require testing since our wheat contamination fiasco and it is expensive. We also have a burgeoning specialty seed industry which could be destroyed by GMO plantings.

      There are good reasons why GMO should not be grown here. We were able to ban canola, which is really bad, by the skin of our teeth last session.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 07:30:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds Utterly Unenforcable (0+ / 0-)

    Who decides what is a "GMO?"  How would the county be aware of what varieties of seeds are planted?  What's the enforcement mechanism? Drive a farmer in bankruptcy?  Bring in the swat team to shoot the corn?   I'm just asking, I mean surely this was all thought through.

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 11:03:37 PM PST

    •  Under present conditions the only farmers losing (8+ / 0-)

      their farms are those conventional and organic farmers and the specialty seed industry whose crops are rendered unmarketable by GMO contamination. That is what has driven much of this. You do remember the wheat contamination which damaged overseas markets? The blowback from that has been buyers requiring expensive testing for GMO contamination.

      I linked to the actual ordinance in the text which you may read; however, here is a section to answer one of your questions:

      c)  “Genetically Engineered Organism”:  Any organism, organisms, or life forms, in which the genetic or self replicating material has been changed, engineered, modified or altered  using techniques such as, but not limited to:

      1)       In vitro nucleic acid techniques, including recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) techniques and the direct injection of nucleic acid into cells or organelles, or

      2)       Fusion of cells (including protoplast fusion) or hybridization techniques that overcome natural physiological, reproductive, or recombination barriers, where the donor cells/protoplasts do not fall within the same taxonomic family, in a way that does not occur by natural multiplication or natural recombination.

      The phrase shall not include traditional selective breeding, conjugation, fermentation, hybridization, in vitro fertilization, or tissue culture.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:03:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As Fallout From Kukashima Falls On Tokyo (0+ / 0-)

        The Japanese government pitched a fit over traces of GMOs while the Fukashima reactors still burn less than 300 miles from Tokyo.  

        Two points:

        First there is trace contamination because activists prevented the implementation of anticontamination technology ("Terminator" seeds etc) which was somehow going to trigger a Sterile Pollen Apocalypse.  As a result of the activists protests, they got cross contamination, because they demanded it.

        Second, wasn't the consequences of the wheat contamination driven by decades of activist hype?  This led Tokyo to make a huge deal about potentially contaminated wheat even while they had three nuclear reactors burning just over the horizon.

        Surely you read the serious diary last week on the economic challenges of organic farms.  It was also notable for the almost complete lack of discussions about GMOs. The wheat ban was a good example of an activist-driven event that hurts the actual farmers. The farmers seem to be squeezed between big agricultural companies and the activists, neither of which seem to care much about the farmers.

        Here's my suggestion - insist on sterile pollen technology so the contamination problem goes away. Yes some people will never get on board and they will insist to their dying breath that somehow this would spread, the same way vasectomies are contagious.

         

        Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

        by bernardpliers on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 08:07:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The people who brought this initiative are farmers (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest, kmoore61

          both organic and conventional. Their livelihood is threatened so they pursue their protections constitutionally.

          The aptly named Terminator seeds are a fine example of how the Biotech industry--spurred by short-term profits-- pushes their products on a fast track. They turn the free market standard of supply and demand on its head so that we see corporations forcing their products on a public which has no demand for them. They oppose labeling which would give the people the right to choose what they feed their children.

          The article you mention began with a false premise. Comparing organic farming with our current industrial agricultural system proves nothing except the fact that we have an unsustainable system. (And it completely ignored conventional non-biotech agriculture which would likely have compared much more favorably.)

          International experts working free for the UN have identified our current industrial model of agriculture as a road to disaster for humanity. In the UNCTAD 2013 report Wake Up Before it is Too Late, sixty experts strongly urge that the "green revolution" be replaced with a "truly ecological intensification" approach.

          And that is a serious report which we ought to heed as we try to adapt to Climate Change and survive as a human race.

          We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

          by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 09:26:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No Red Herrings Please (0+ / 0-)
            The aptly named Terminator seeds are a fine example of how the Biotech industry--spurred by short-term profits-- pushes their products on a fast track. They turn the free market standard of supply and demand on its head so that we see corporations forcing their products on a public which has no demand for them. They oppose labeling which would give the people the right to choose what they feed their children.
            That completely ignored my point - if contamination is a big problem, why not just make it go away instead of kicking the can down the road another 20 years.
            The article you mention began with a false premise. Comparing organic farming with our current industrial agricultural system proves nothing except the fact that we have an unsustainable system.
            Actually the misleadingly named "Failure to Yield" article put this issue front and center for GMO critics, who were claiming glorious yields for organic methods.  Contrary information from actual organic framers shouldn't be rejected for not fitting the activist narrative.

            Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

            by bernardpliers on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 09:51:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You drug that particular red herring... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest, Brecht

              into the conversation, not me. Biotech's response of bringing out yet more genetic monstrosities to solve the real problem of contamination is just another sales promotion.

              I have responded to your comments yet you have ignored my diary which is about citizens using local sovereignty to establish a sustainable local food system.

              What do you think of that?

              We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

              by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 10:06:10 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Your Main Beef Is Contamination (0+ / 0-)

                A problem that had a solution 20 years ago and a technique that is used in plant breeding today without any apocalyptic side effects.

                Besides, you aren't going to buy it anyway, so it's no skin off your nose if other people use it.  Not only would this cost you nothing, you could absolutely ignore it because it would have nothing to do with you.

                Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

                by bernardpliers on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 10:14:49 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  How our food is grown has everything to do... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  RiveroftheWest, kmoore61, ozsea1

                  with us. And we have the right to choose.

                  The Biotech industry is driven by profits only and has a long track record of rushing their products to market with disastrous effects, like Agent Orange and DDT among many others. Those two facts do not engender trust in a public which has been fed these products unknowingly over two decades.

                  The Willamette Valley is one of only five valleys in the world which share unique agricultural properties. Our valley has been mentioned as a possible seed cradle for humanity after industrial GMO-monoculture agriculture fails. Indeed, we have a World Seed Repository right outside town. They have a huge orchard which is the World Pear Collection.

                  It would be the greatest folly to subject this valley to biotech experiments.

                  We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

                  by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 10:46:55 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And Deciding For Others Is So Seductive (0+ / 0-)

                    Helluva a drug, isn't it?

                    They have a huge orchard which is the World Pear Collection.
                    Grafting creates horizontal gene transfer. I just thought you should know about that.

                    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

                    by bernardpliers on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 11:16:13 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Oh, Bernard... (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      RiveroftheWest, kmoore61, Brecht

                      grafting is not a GMO process that is covered under the ordinance but a time-honored farming technique.

                      This is GMO:

                      2)       Fusion of cells (including protoplast fusion) or hybridization techniques that overcome natural physiological, reproductive, or recombination barriers, where the donor cells/protoplasts do not fall within the same taxonomic family, in a way that does not occur by natural multiplication or natural recombination.
                      We need to bring back those old farming techniques which worked, like cover crops and crop rotation. Research could bring us new ways of supporting ecologically intensive agriculture which would be sustainable. Yet USDA funds are drying up while the private sector steps up to fund their own lines of biotech research.

                      So again, what do you think about people claiming local sovereignty to support their right to self governance which is the subject of the diary?

                      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

                      by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 11:29:46 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Horizontal Gene Transfer Is Everywhere We Look (0+ / 0-)

                        Pretty much anywhere the tissue of two species come together (sucking insect and host plant, grafting, plant and fungi, parasitic vascular plant and host), a significant (and often quite large) amount of information is being exchanged.  Because plants can thrive despite massive rearrangements of their chromosomes, while a tiny rearrangement creates fatal mutations in animals.  Plants have no trouble incorporating stray DNA from the environment and have been doing it for millions of years.  

                        Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

                        by bernardpliers on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 11:40:04 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You are still talking about natural processes (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          RiveroftheWest

                          which is not what genetic engineering does. Refer to the above quote of what is considered GMO in the ordinance.

                          It does, however, call to mind the University of North Dakota's USDA funded study which discovered weeds that had hybridized to contain two pesticides--a product never manufactured by Monsanto. So these genetic manipulations can leak into weeds and enter the natural systems and produce super weeds which are immune to these pesticides. So Biotech sells even stronger pesticides which is a wonderful marketing ploy but may leave us with food that is inedible.

                          No corporation has the right to force upon the consumer that which they do not wish to consume. That is not the free market; it is a rigged market.

                          These people are working to establish and protect a sustainable ecologically sound local food system, and I fail to see what kind of problem you have with that unless you own a great deal of stock in biotech companies.

                          We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

                          by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 12:13:48 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Natural Processes On A Massively Larger Scale (0+ / 0-)

                            This is happening everywhere, all the time, and it has been for millions of years.

                            Still no answer on why you won't demand your neighbors use Terminator seeds?

                            I fail to see what kind of problem you have with that unless you own a great deal of stock in biotech companies.
                            You've run out of reasons when you start crying "shill!"

                            Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

                            by bernardpliers on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 12:25:02 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  When the crops of organic farmers are contaminated (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      occupystephanie, 6412093, Brecht

                      by GMO cross-pollination, that certainly qualifies as having had a decision made for you against your will. And a very long-lasting one at that, since your farmland is no longer free of the GMO contaminants that you were working to avoid.

                      •  Nobody Will Answer The Question (0+ / 0-)

                        Why not demand that other farmers (the ones with GMOs) use "Terminator" type seeds?  demand that the seed companies sell this technology, and they should be happy to comply.

                        Activists demanded this problem, do we want to keep kicking down the road another 20 years?

                        I've been asking this question for months and nobody will touch it.

                        Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

                        by bernardpliers on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 12:05:39 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I not only touched it... (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          RiveroftheWest, Brecht

                          in fact, I believe I walked around on it.

                          GMO products cause problems, in this case, contamination of organic and conventional crops which are then rendered unmarketable.

                          Biotech's solution, which acknowledges this problem, offers yet more genetic engineering.

                          People do not trust the biotech industry because of a long track record of marketing products which later turned out to be harmful and persist in the environment.

                          People do not trust any food product called "Terminator". They have only themselves to blame if people do not like it.

                          Lastly, Americans have the right to make their own decisions within their own communities about their own food systems. Biotech has for far too long decided for all  of us what we may eat by lying about their products and spending millions to keep that choice out of people's own hands.

                          We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

                          by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 12:48:25 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  20 Year Old Name For A Product That Was Never Sold (0+ / 0-)
                            People do not trust any food product called "Terminator". They have only themselves to blame if people do not like it.
                            I think we can all agree that a stupid name, but have you got anything else?
                            GMO products cause problems, in this case, contamination of organic and conventional crops which are then rendered unmarketable.
                            And again, if cross contamination you're biggest gripe, why not demand that we stop that from happening.  Such technologies are already being used in conventional plant breeding.  We can even demand a priori that the technology will be based on the deletion of a gene (such as one needed for fertilization) rather than the addition of a gene.
                             

                            Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

                            by bernardpliers on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 01:09:26 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The GMO contamination is of immediate concern for (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            RiveroftheWest

                            those farmers who depend upon markets that will not accept it. We have a burgeoning farming community that could be destroyed by that. As I mentioned earlier, our valley is special in many ways and is managed with exclusion zones which have recently been assaulted by the Oregon Dept of Ag. We were able to stop that but it shows how vulnerable our valley is.

                            There are other concerns that genetic manipulation represents a real Pandora's box of unknowns. Most of the science supporting the safety of GMOs was funded by the Biotech industry which hopes to make a quick profit. Most people do not trust that.

                            The Seralini study which was retracted also adds to distrust. It was a replication of the Monsanto study with the same rats but it ran the experiment over the entire life span of two years rather than the 90 days that Monsanto used. That, to me, would make the Seralini study better not worse.

                            The retraction, condemned by the Ethics commission, is suspect because it sure looks like Christie-style strong-arming.

                            So in short--a strong profit motive to move product to market is not the best way to convince people that due care has been taken. Sec of Ag Vilsek is a Monsanto man--that further erodes people's confidence that this is a fair and unbiased process.

                            And I did not mean to characterize you as a "shill". I apologize if that is how you took it. I do wonder why this seems to be such a burning issue for you.

                            We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

                            by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:24:42 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Are Your Kids Vaccinated? (0+ / 0-)

                            I ask this because your only answer is that you have a blanket distrust of everything except the computer you're typing on.  And you know many of those vaccines are from GMOs.

                            Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

                            by bernardpliers on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:37:56 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Bernard (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Brecht

                            I have made a good faith effort to communicate with you on many issues which are actually off topic to the diary. You press me for an answer and then reject the answer I have given you and explained over to you again and again.

                            I really feel that it is counterproductive to continue so I'm just going to sign off on any more back and forth.

                            Peace.

                            We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

                            by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:16:36 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I Give Up (0+ / 0-)

                            But it's been fun listening to you speaking in tongues.

                            Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

                            by bernardpliers on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:30:28 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  so, since your concern trolling was getting you (3+ / 0-)

                            nowhere, you then try to change the subject and make a lame attempt to connect back to the OT by conflation of anti-GMO pov to anti-tech, which it is not.

                            Rather than allowing you to troll, derail and threadjack further, I ask nicely - once - for you to stop.

                            You get one warning.

                            “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

                            by ozsea1 on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 07:29:31 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

      •  Biodetails (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        occupystephanie, RiveroftheWest

        Ha ha.  Benton county is home to Oregon State University, once known as the "aggies".  If it has to do with agriculture, then there's going to be plenty of expertise in Benton county!

        I'm still mad about Nixon.

        by J Orygun on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 01:26:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Our Cow College! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LakeSuperior, RiveroftheWest

          It's a land grant university so agriculture is big. There are a lot of good scientists there, scratching for funding as always.

          I attended a public forum about the future of land grant universities. One of the forum guests was the Global Plant Breeding Director for Monsanto. He got up and said one sentence then sat down.

          With USDA funding drying up, the university should partner with private industry.

          We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

          by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 01:40:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sell out, in other words. n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            occupystephanie
            •  I heard it as a threat (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ozsea1, RiveroftheWest

              I'm not exaggerating that it was the only sentence he spoke. Everyone else had a short speech of the future of our land grant universities. From him, we got one sentence on MONEY.

              There are virtually no botany students who want to work for Monsanto et al but they are constantly bombarded with recruitment ads.

              The Republicans starve science through cutting government programs and then they are vulnerable from industrial funding.

              There are some very good professors there. Science has been suffering for years.

              We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

              by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:40:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Exactly; corparate money or no money at all. n/t (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                occupystephanie
                •  His message was clear (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  RiveroftheWest

                  I was actually there in a quickly organized protest. We were nice and did not miccheck during proceedings. But one of the organic-loving PhDs said that we laughed in all the right places and made a big difference. It was videotaped.

                  When the Q & A began, the first question was about GMO to this Monsanto dude and the moderator immediately shut it down.

                  I had dropped by our local newspaper and let them know we were protesting there and they showed up. Just killed OSU in their article the next day! I'm sure they did  not like that. But the wheat contamination had just happened.

                  We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

                  by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 07:47:45 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  When local farmers have to fight (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      occupystephanie, kmoore61, ozsea1, Brecht

      just for the right to put measures on the State ballot protecting their ability to grow crops in a sustainable manner without contamination, and vast amounts of money from out-of-state interests are spent to defeat measures simply requiring labels telling people what is in the food on their families’ tables, it becomes very clear why local sovereignty is so important.

      Federal, state and many county governments are pathetically broken and controlled by corporate interests. The ability to protect air, water and soil locally while producing wholesome food in a sustainable way should be every farmer's right. It's essential to the job of making that food available to the people who want it.

      •  Thank you River (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, ozsea1

        That is exactly where we find ourselves. And I thank our ancestors for leaving us the means of changing the laws which govern how we live.

        This effort is part of the transition that UNCTAD warns us must happen to replace our industrialized chemically-drenched agriculture which cannot be sustained under climate changed conditions.

        We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

        by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 10:52:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Local sovereignty is the way to go. (4+ / 0-)

    Our national and state political systems are broken beyond repair.  Whatever semblance to representative democracy that they ever had has been completely lost.

    Local sovereignty is a return to the traditions in this country that were truly democratic like the New England town meeting.  On environmental issues, civil liberties issues, marijuana legalization, health care, voting rights, women's right to choose, LGBT equality, local sovereignty offers great possibilities.  Even in red state areas, there could little islands of justice and democracy that would stand in stark contrast to the areas around them and serve as a practical inspiration.

    •  Beautiful observation! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, kmoore61

      We no longer have democratic representation on a national or state level. We have forgotten that we have in our own hands the means to represent ourselves.

      You are so right about community rights being the means by which we can deal with the multitude of issues which result from corporate sovereignty.

      We hold the only live coals of democracy, and we must fan those flames, share them until we push democracy up through the system to the states and finally to the federal government.

      Even in red state areas, there could little islands of justice and democracy that would stand in stark contrast to the areas around them and serve as a practical inspiration.
      We cannot allow the politicians and corporate media to divide us into Red and Blue states. We are a whole people and we live everywhere.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 08:57:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Code Word For Violent Right Wing Militia Lunatics (0+ / 0-)

      The Sovereign Citizens are notorious cop killers who seem to operate in a fantasy world of literal paranoid schizophrenic delusion.  FWIW, they really hate GMOs, chemtrails, HAARP, the United Nations, and fluoridated water.  

      If you do any reading at all on the subject of "sovereignty," you'll find plenty of this stuff.

      Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

      by bernardpliers on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:35:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oregon is also home to this gigantic (3+ / 0-)

    agriculture operation near Boardman, OR:

    http://goo.gl/...

    i'm fairly sure that some part of this is the three mile canyon farms dairy  (about 25,000 dairy cattle), but it also looks like there may be beef cattle feedlots there also, in addition to the dairy barns.  

    •  Wow, that is huge (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, 6412093

      Can you imagine the e-coli living in all that mud and manure?

      Industrialized chickens are now rife with e-coli as news has broken lately. Here we are lucky to have organic meat farmers.

      Our current industrialized food production is unsustainable but we are told that we must keep putting our resources into it because it is too big to fail. I think we ought to heed the well-founded and thought out recommendations of the UN experts and begin the transition that has a future.

      Cuba lost their own industrial agriculture means when the Soviet Union failed. They had to live on cane sugar water for years during their own transition to a fully ecologically intensive food system. We have been warned and we ought to shift resources now to avoid famine.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 11:14:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The primary issue from (3+ / 0-)

        a water resources-water quality perspective that could be
        posed in sites such as these (I don't have any specific knowledge on this particular site) is likely to be problems with the issue of buildup of excessive concentrations of nitrate in groundwater under the open feedlot, under any process wastewater storage lagoons without plastic liners, and under the irrigated production fields.

        I don't know if this operation draws raw supply water from the Columbia River or from groundwater, and if it is from groundwater then I also don't know what the spatial relationships are between water supply wells and the agricultural production fields where the process wastewater is irrigated with center pivot irrigation onto potato crops.

        The type of surface soils and soil profile above groundwater are also  critical features in understanding the relationship between a groundwater discharge operation of nitrogen-bearing agricultural process wastewater and the nitrate concentration in groundwater in any future year.

        •  Thank you, LakeSuperior (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LakeSuperior, 6412093, RiveroftheWest

          You sound very knowledgeable about this.

          OSU has a small dairy farm somewhat near a creek which is monitored all the time. They were downsized because of finances and had to sell off most of the herd. People in town could get manure there for free.

          We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

          by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 01:49:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  In 2005, I busted the Michigan State (3+ / 0-)

            University Beef Cattle Teaching & Research Center for discharging agricultural process wastewater to the Red Cedar River via a facility discharge to an agricultural drain tile leading to the river.

            This was a water pollution control enforcement action by the Sierra Club directed to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality that got results:

            http://www.great-lakes.net/...

            ....it is all kind of ironic....a Wolverine-human hybrid educating MSU Spartans on what they can and cannot do with their CAFO process wastewater by subjecting those MSU Spartans to the jurisdiction of the Senator Muskie's Federal Clean Water Act.

            Here is a view of stormwater mixed with animal waste flowing down the public ditch along Bennett Road south of the MSU campus and headed toward a wetland on MSU property from back in 2005:

            http://www.sagady.com/...

            http://www.sagady.com/...

            •  The Michigan Legislature ultimately made an (3+ / 0-)

              appropriation for MSU to fix the problem by rebuilding its facility to eliminate mixing roof water with outdoor cattle exercise yards.... an artifact of the facility as it was originally designed 40 years earlier......

              .....In other words, what happened here is that the MSU Beef Cattle Teaching and Research Center facility had been illegally discharging in the manner I found for about 40 years previous to the enforcement action because of the facility design.

              Neither Michigan State University, nor the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, had ever recognized, realized or acknowledged that its facility had illegal discharges with every appreciable storm event until I proved it on a cold winter day in 2005.   This was despite a prior campus-wide stormwater control and discharge review committee that missed what was going on at the
              Beef Cattle center completely.

            •  40 years of spilling cow dung into a river... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LakeSuperior, RiveroftheWest

              And done by a university! Hard to hide something like that without attracting an inspection.

              That must have given you a great deal of satisfaction!

              We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

              by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:44:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  What made this difficult to see as a discharge (3+ / 0-)

                situation was that the point(s) of discharge from the facility is/are remote from the Red Cedar river by about 2 miles....and are connected only by agricultural field tiles and area stormwater drains.    A second discharge point on the east side of the facility had closer access to a blue line stream, but the drain leading there eventually plugged up causing the wastewater to be diverted to groundwater discharge through a wetland....however, before that drain plugged, it would have discharged to waters of the U.S. on the East side of the facility also.

                •  Took some real sleuthing to discover that! (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  6412093, RiveroftheWest

                  I admire the work you did on that one and likely have done for a lifetime.

                  The Benton County ordinance includes this provision for the rights of natural systems (which the county attorney called "giving rights to dirt"):

                  Rights of Natural Communities: Natural communities, such as soils and other terrestrial systems, and aquatic systems such as aquifers, streams, rivers, and wetlands, shall possess the right to exist, persist, maintain themselves and regenerate their own vital cycles, structures, functions and evolutionary processes to the extent necessary to further the creation and protection of Benton County’s local food system. That right shall include the right to be free from genetically engineered organisms and the right to be free from the patenting, licensing, or ownership of their genes within Benton County.

                  We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

                  by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:24:09 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Earlier I had listed a few states where... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, RiveroftheWest

    the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund CELDF.org was helping communities organize to press for their local sovereignty.

    Their mission statement:

    “Building sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature.”
    Here is the list of places and topics.

    WHERE WE WORK
    Internationally
    California
    Colorado
    Illinois
    Marcellus Shale  
    New England
    New Mexico
    Ohio
    Oregon
    Pennsylvania
    Virginia
    Washington

    ISSUES WE WORK ON
    Chemical Trespass
    East-West Corridor
    Factory Farms
    Gas Drilling and Fracking
    Mining
    Northern Pass
    Retail Chains
    Sewage Sludge
    Sustainable Agriculture
    Sustainable Energy
    Water
    RIGHTS OF NATURE
    CORPORATE RIGHTS
    HOME RULE
    STATE COMMUNITY RIGHTS NETWORKS

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 01:31:18 PM PST

  •  That Boardman, OR - area agricultural (3+ / 0-)

    operation will likely also be a very large annual emitter of ammonia.   That operation will likely be the largest or one of the largest single sources of ammonia emissions in the entire northwestern region of the United States.   The emissions will be in the rough ballpark range of about 15,000 to 60,000 tons of ammonia per year as evaporative losses from all parts of the operation.

    On an industrial sector basis, animal agriculture operations are the largest single source of ammonia emissions in the United States.  

    Ammonia discharged to the atmosphere reacts with power plant and other source NOX and SO2 emissions to form ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere.....the principle constituent of PM-2.5 regional air pollution.

  •  Thank you, Daily Kos, for the Community Spotlight! (4+ / 0-)

    Made my week!

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:00:15 PM PST

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