[GreatBasinFoodCoop] CALL TO ACTION!! Upholding Nevada's Organic Food & Agriculture Integrity

  • From: GBFC Info <info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: gbfc@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 22:21:09 -0800

Hello co-op members and extended community,

I am writing to everyone this evening after receiving rather grave news in
regards to the Nevada Department of Agriculture's Organics Program
(NDOA). After
public outcry saved the position last year, another round of budget cuts are
threatening to terminate funding for the state of Nevada's organics
certifier. Currently, the NDOA’s Plants Division has a single employee
charged with certifying small and large organic farms for the entire state.
If this post is de-funded, our small farmers would have to pay for a
certifier to come from out of state. This cost is not feasible for many of
our smaller growers and the end result is likely a state with NO ORGANICS or
else a drastic increase in the price of local organic goods.

The good news is that we (as consumers and taxpayers) were able to save this
position within the NDOA last year and I have faith that we can do it
again!! We wrote thousands of letters, made hundreds of phone calls and many
folks even carpooled to the hearing in Carson City only to find out that our
efforts resolved the issue before it even hit the floor!! *I now urge every
food lover out there* who cares about the air, land, water and
(subsequently) food in Nevada to please take the time to *write your state
legislators* and committee members letting them know that the Nevada
Organics Department needs to stay...FOREVER!!

Co-op member Philip More provides a couple of good points on how cutting
this funding would affect our area's organic growers (and you, and the

"The USDA authorizes the State of Nevada to certify farmers as organic.
However, the state must fund the workers to complete the certification
process. Cutting this program will have the following impacts:

1) No organic certification for our Nevada Farmers unless they pay
themselves the expense of bringing in a commercial certifier – which many of
them cannot afford.

2) No continued incentive for farmers to go through the process of growing
organic since they will no longer be able to differentiate their goods from
any other goods grown in Nevada.

3) An increase in practices that are damaging to our environment, our
farmers, farm workers, and ourselves through the food we eat.

Tell our government to fully fund the Nevada Department of Agriculture's
Organic Certification program!"

Please see the attached
Nevada organic growers, Steve and Marcia Litsinger, drafted and to
Nevada's legislators *last year*.  Another
*(from last year)* to this budget cut can also be used to send to any of the
NV senate <http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dhnpqzsr_126tnx273ds> or
assembly <http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dhnpqzsr_41fzcf7kcc>.  You can
use their letter as a template for your own letter opposing this funding
cut, and you can send it to any of the members of the Nevada State Senate or
State Assembly.

It would be wise to direct your comments to Senator Horsford at
shorsford@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with a copy to Lynn Hettrick at
lchettrick@xxxxxxxxxx , and to NDOA director Dr Tony Lesperance at
tlesparance@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx .  Senator Horsford proposed the budget cut
originally as a way to "balance the budget".

 Please forward and distribute this email to your colleagues to show our
support for our state's Plant Industry Division.

 The co-op will also have envelopes, labels, and information available
on-site if you are interested in coming down to write an original letter,
sign a generic one, or just discuss the issue with an equally concerned


Sadly, I must continue on with another layer of local food advocacy which
requires our immediate attention. It has been brought to our attention that
the USDA is in the process of approving genetically engineered Roundup-Ready
(RR) alfalfa into the state of Nevada.  This is actually taking place on the
national level through the USDA, yet the impact that it could have very
serious and fatal effects on Nevada.  Why??  Alfalfa is Nevada's #1 "cash
crop" this could very seriously and negatively impact the plant and all of
the animals which feed off it. And if it cross-contaminates other alfalfa
crops in Nevada which are organic, they will lose their organic integrity
and will then be considered GMO. The USDA has also stated that alfalfa is
viewed as the test pilot for RR crops generally. This means that if we don’t
stop RR alfalfa, the next genetically engineered Roundup-Ready crop to be
introduced in Nevada might be an edible crop like a tomato or a beet. I
don't know about you, but I don't want to be ingesting some of the chemicals
in Roundup that are proven to kill certain human and animal cells on
contact!!  Read information from the USDA about RR alfalfa

*The good news is that the USDA has just extended the public commentary
period until March 3rd, 2010!!* If you are interested in learning more about
RR Alfalfa please read the LETTER that the Nevada Organics Council sent in
opposition to RR alfalfa
our state OR visit the Cornucopia Institute link
If you click on the last link to the Cornucopia institute's site, you can
scroll to the end of the page and see where you can send physical letters.
You will also send your comments directly to the USDA on their online

Thank you for your attention to these important issues which will surely
impact our delicate local food network. We know that our many small farmers
and have been working very hard to protect the integrity of our food here in
Nevada...lets do our part..."small acts done with great love."

In Solidarity,

Amber Sallaberry

Great Basin Community Food Co-op


775.324.6133 co-op -- 775.324.2922 office -- 542 1/2 Plumas St.  Reno, NV

Other related posts:

  • » [GreatBasinFoodCoop] CALL TO ACTION!! Upholding Nevada's Organic Food & Agriculture Integrity - GBFC Info