Posts Tagged ‘food security’

The ARTS/West building, formerly a church, seemed an appropriate venue for Monday night’s talk by Warren Taylor, Meigs County dairy evangelist and co-owner of Snowville Creamery. The pews were packed with the faithful, both young and old (later referred to by Warren as the AARP contingent or Athens Area Radical Progressives).

colorful posters

Just inside the doors on the right were cookies and, yes, samples of Snowville’s ‘the way it used be’ milk. On the left was a donation jar for the Art Gish Peacemaking Fund (more about that below). Anyone donating could take posters, Snowville T-shirts, and other paraphernalia.

Will Perkins

The evening began with some rousing folk songs and fiddling by Will Perkins, with The Answer My Friend is Blowing in the Wind setting the stage for the evening’s topic, Food Sovereignty vs. Corporatism: The Battle for Personal Choice and Freedom in the New Millennium.

Angie Starline

Angie Starline, co-owner of Starline Organics welcomed everyone on behalf of the evening’s sponsor, the Ohio Ecological Farm & Food Association, and then introduced Warren and Victoria Taylor. Warren asked Peggy Gish to say a few words.

Peggy Gish

Peggy’s husband, Art, was known locally and internationally for his work as an activist. He died this summer in a tractor accident at his Athens County farm. He devoted much of his life to peace and social justice issues, as has Peggy. She told the crowd that the Art Gish Peacemaking Fund will provide small grants to youth or adults who want to develop new peacemaking projects or who want to take the first steps in getting involved in work to foster peace and justice. She noted that they are focusing on groups and individuals in Athens County, Ohio, with limited access to other sources of funding. Donations will support this work.


Warren began his talk (or walk since he never once stood behind the podium, preferring to pace the stage as he spoke) by describing his recent trip as one of ten delegates from Ohio participating in the 4th gathering of Terra Madre (Mother Earth) in Turin, Italy. The five-day meeting brought together food communities, cooks, academics, youth and musicians from all over the world, who share a desire to promote sustainable local food production in harmony with the environment while respecting knowledge handed down over the generations. Here are some clips from the conference.

Citing a NY Times article on USDA support for Domino's Pizza chain

Warren described the sorry state of the dairy industry and government regulations that favor large producers. He led the crowd through the labyrinth of the Federal Milk Market Order System (FMMOS) and its actions that penalize the smallest dairy processors. Did you know that one half of the milk produced in the U.S. comes from 3% of the country’s dairy (mega) farms? That dairy farmers have no control over what they are paid for their milk? Last year America’s milk makers were paid as little as $12 per 100 pounds of milk while their cost of production was $17 a pound. This meant they had to borrow and take on new debt, with their collective debt greater than the worth of all the dairy cows in the U.S. At the same time, Dean Foods, which processes, packages and sells nearly 40% of America’s drinking milk, made their greatest profits ever. Warren asked is this capitalism or corporatism?

Answering questions

And what about the issues that aren’t even on the table yet? Like requiring that dairy workers at least receive the minimum wage or the need for “honest and informative” labeling?

How fortunate we are here in southeast Ohio to have the Taylors’ Snowville Creamery. Milk you can feel good about – good for the cows, the land, the workers, and the taste buds!


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Agtivist Francis Thicke

An Agtivist! Francis Thicke is currently running for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. According to The New Agtivist, “Thicke is a down-to-earth Iowa dairyman and professorial, statistics-spouting visionary. He’s been a full-time farmer 27 years, running what’s now a 450-acre farm with 80 cows that he and his wife, Susan, got certified organic in 1993. After a B.A. in music and philosophy, he went back to work on the family farm, then a decade later got a PhD in agronomy/soil fertility; at one point he was the USDA’s National Program Leader for Soil Science. He’s served on the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission and the Iowa Food Policy Council at the appointment of then-governor Tom Vilsack (now the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture), and on the Iowa Organic Standards Board. He’s won several awards for sustainable agriculture and land stewardship.”

Here’s an excerpt from his book, A New Vision for Iowa Food and Agriculture.

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100 Fruit and Nut Trees Available Free to The Plains Residents


Damage from the storm


A local tree planting project working to replant trees in The Plains, Ohio needs donations of $20 a tree to cover costs.  After a devastating tornado tore through the village on September 16, 2010 and destroyed many of the village’s trees local agencies are taking advantage of an opportunity to cover the community with edible fruit and nut trees for free.

Ohio University’s College of Medicine Americorps program (OU Comcorps) will be planting 100 fruit and nut trees on Saturday, October 23, 2010 for the national program Make A Difference Day (MADD). The goals of the project are to increase food security in The Plains, Ohio and surrounding communities, sustainability of local food pantries, and to aid in the recovery and restoration of natural landscape in The Plains.

“Currently we have money to pay for trees that will be planted on municipal land but we need other monies that will pay for trees planted on private land” says OU Comcorps member Kurt Belser.  “$20 a tree will not only pay for the cost of the planting and maintenance but will also provide nutritionally superior food for the families and community for generations.  Please donate today.”

Collaborators include OU Comcorps, Community Food Initiatives, Athens County Health Department, Athens Arborist ltd., and many local community volunteers.  Trees can be sponsored for just $20 a piece, with that cost covering the tree, fencing, mulch, and water. Make checks or money orders payable to Community Food Initiatives and mail or drop them off at 94 Columbus Rd, Athens, OH 45701.  For questions or information contact Keri Brannon 740-593-2274 or Brannon@oucom.ohiou.edu

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