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MOF&G Cover Spring 1997


 


  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerSpring 1997News - Spring 1997   
 News & Events - Spring 1997 Minimize


First Annual Wildgathering!
Scionwood Exchange – Where Graft Pays Off
Seed Swap Soon
Plant Swap in Cornish
Northern New England Products Trade Show
Portland Public Market Accepting Applications from Food Vendors
Organically Grown, Heirloom Seed Available
Working Capital Available
Permaculture Seed and Plant Exchange
Maine Ag in the Classroom Teacher Institutes
McLaughlin Garden Saved!
Hands-On Cultivation Workshop
Organic Produce Making Its Way Into Mainstream
Organic Dairy Farms on the Horizon?
Inverness Farm Not Recertified
League of Women Voters Promotes Organic Agriculture
Chartrand Submits Bill to Label Genetically Engineered Foods
Maine’s First "Environment Day” in the Legislature – March 27
Teach-In on Endocrine Disruptors to Be Held in Camden
Pesticide Ban in San Francisco, Reduction in South Korea
Consumers Union Urges Major Reduction in Pesticide Use


First Annual Wildgathering!

The First Annual Wildgathering! (sic) is a day-long (9 a.m. to 9 p.m., May 24) event designed to increase awareness about how to preserve wild plants, creatures and places. It is sponsored by and will be held at the farm of Blessed Maine Herb Company in West Athens, and proceeds will benefit continuing education programs in Maine elementary schools that focus on replanting rare, threatened and endangered plant species.

The day will begin with an opening prayer ceremony, after which people can listen to speakers, visit booths that sell herbs, crafts and great food, or participate in other events. Special events will be scheduled for children.

Speakers include Joann Clark on Saving Seeds from Wild Plants; Abby Shaun on Connecting with the Wild Earth through Art; Carol Dove and Michael Vernon on Defending the Wild Earth; Bianca St. Louis on The Magical Properties of Plants; Gail Edwards on the Ethics of Wildgathering; Ernie Glabau on Growing Medicinal Shrubs and Trees; and Ann Gibbs on Cultivating Ginseng and Other Woodland Medicinals.

Evening events include a fire, a drumming circle and dancing, and a sweat lodge and conclude with a closing prayer ceremony. “We definitely want the day-long celebration to have spiritual energy,” says organizer Gail Edwards. Admission is $3; children get in free. Booths for exhibition are still available. For more information, call Gail at 654-3994.

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Scionwood Exchange – Where Graft Pays Off

Oddly enough, if you plant a seed from a McIntosh apple, you won’t get a McIntosh tree. In fact, only a few fruits will come ‘true to type’ if propagated from seed. Thus, for hundreds of years, orchardists have been taking cuttings from the varieties they hope to reproduce and splicing them onto small trees called ‘rootstock.’ The fruit (or nut) tree cuttings are called ‘scions.’ (pronounced sigh-on) or scionwood, and the splicing technique is called ‘grafting.’ Once you get the hang of it, you can collect your own scions from any tree you like and start your own trees by grafting them yourself. It’s not hard to do.

On Sunday, April 6, from 12 to 4, the Maine Tree Crop Alliance once gain will host its annual Scionwood Exchange at Unity College, in Unity, Maine. Just follow the signs once you get to the college. Participants are encouraged to bring scionwood, cuttings or seeds if they have any to share. Last year scions from dozens of varieties of apples, pears, plums and other fruit were given away. Grape and kiwi cuttings as well as other cuttings were also there for the taking.

This year we will have the usual assortment of interesting workshops. Mark Fulford will be teaching grafting techniques for beginners and experts. Jerry Rodman will be sharing his expertise on growing and breeding grapes. Ernie Glabau will be doing pruning demonstrations for ornaments and fruit trees. Rootstock and grafting supplies will be for sale. There is no admission fee, although donations are accepted.

– John Bunker

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Seed Swap Soon

The Maine Seed Saving Network’s Annual Seed Swap will be held Saturday, March 1, at Medomak Valley High School, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is open to the public, and all are welcome. The schedule is:

10:00 to 12:00 Registration and seed swap – bring seed to swap or come without
12:00 to 12:30 Potluck lunch – bring food, silverware and plates
12:30 to 1:00 Questions and answers, information sharing
1:00 to 1:30 Talk: Seed Storage Technique
1:30 to 2:00 Movie
2:00 to 3:00 Maine Seed Saving Network annual meeting

Come to learn and share. For more information, call Roberta Bunker at 993-2837 or Nicolas Lindholm at 326-0751.

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Plant Swap in Cornish

The Red Road Cooperative, a group of seven “very loosely affiliated” growers who market together at a farmers’ market and “come together to do things,” according to member Pat Foley, is holding a Plant Swap on Sunday, May 25, from 10 to 4 at Pat’s house just outside Cornish. “Bring one plant and take one plant,” says Pat, “or bring 10 and take ten.” She explains that the group did this on a small scale last year, since members always had sown more seedlings than they could use, and they want to expand the swap this year. “You can bring anything,” says Pat, “perennials, herbs, vegetable seedlings, house plants. We’re going to take any leftovers and sell them at the farmers’ market and donate the proceeds to MOFGA’s permanent site.”

To get to Red Road Farms from the Portland area, take Route 25 to Cornish. At the library, go right on Bridge Street. Go over the bridge. When the road forks, go left past an orchard and past a second road to the right. (Don’t take the second road!) The house is on the left, just past that second road (Tripp Town Road). The barn says “Smith Farm.” There’s no number and no mailbox, but Pat promises that signs from Route 25 will clearly lead visitors to her house. For more information, call 625-4179.

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Northern New England Products Trade Show

Since its inception in 1985, the Northern New England Products Trade Show has become the premier juried, wholesale giftware and specialty food show in the region. This nationally recognized show offers over 300 exhibitors from Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont the opportunity to market their products to nearly 3,000 wholesale buyers from across the country. This can be a good place for growers with value-added products to meet people with successful markets and, perhaps, embark on a joint marketing venture.

Categories in the show include traditional and contemporary products, such as folk art, specialty foods, furniture, ceramics, clothing and accessories, furnishings, glassware, jewelry, prints and cards, toys and games, baskets, wooden ware, garden and outdoor accessories, metalwork, linens, canvas products and much more. The show also presents the New Venture Group featuring additional quality products new to the wholesale market and never before shown at New York or Boston shows.

The show takes place on March 9, 10 and 11, 1997, at the Cumberland County Civic Center & Portland Exposition Building in Portland. For more information, contact the show office at Northern New England Products Trade Show, Maine Small Business Development Center, Univ. of Southern Maine, 96 Falmouth St., P.O. Box 9300, Portland ME 04104-9300 or call (207)780-4420.

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Portland Public Market Accepting Applications from Food Vendors

“Applications for operating a business inside the Portland Public Market are now being accepted,” Ted Spitzer, project director for the new , year-round indoor food market in downtown Portland, has announced. “The Portland Public Market will be an exciting, vibrant location for local food producers to grow their businesses. Vendors inside the market can meet their customers face-to-face and be associated with Maine’s other best food producers,” he said. “Individuals interested in operating a stall should contact the Portland Public Market office at 772-8140 to receive an application packet.”

The Market will contain about 30 independent, locally owned businesses selling meat, poultry, seafood, produce, breads and pastries, dairy and cheese, delicatessen, flowers, and specialty foods (such as condiments, pasta, coffee/tea). Vendors will be encouraged to conduct some production on site. There will be some prepared foods, as well, and space for a sit-down restaurant that highlights local foods.

The Portland Public Market reestablishes the tradition of indoor public markets in Portland. From 1825 until 1882, a market hall stood at what is now Monument Square. The Portland Public Market expands upon today’s outdoor farmers’ market, which operates Wednesdays on Monument Square in downtown Portland, one-half block from the site of the Public Market. The seasonal farmers’ market will remain undisturbed in its current location and additional farmers will be invited to set up on Preble Street, outside of the Market building. The Portland Public Market plans to open for business in the spring of 1998.

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Organically Grown, Heirloom Seed Available

High Mowing Organic Seed Farm offers 50 varieties of open-pollinated seeds, half of which are rare and heirlooms, and six of which have been introduced commercially for the first time. All of the seed is grown by Tom Stearns at a farm in Holland, Vermont – zone 3! – using the principles of biodynamics, no black plastic, no hybrids, no poisons, and using mostly hand and animal labor. For a copy of the High Mowing seed list, write to Tom at RD 1, Box 95, Derby Line, VT 05830, Tel. 802-895-4696.

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Working Capital Available

The nonprofit Working Capital Loan Program increases the income and success of the self-employed through loans, business training and mutual support. Local municipalities and nonprofit organizations offer Working Capital programs in communities throughout New England. The Program, which started in Athol, Massachusetts, is now the largest micro-business loan program in the United States. Retail business owners, child care providers, consultants, carpenters, craftspeople and farmers have all participated in the Working Capital program. For more information call Kit Whited at 948-2367.

Source: Extension Perspectives, Univ. of Maine Coop. Extension, Waldo County, January, 1997.

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Permaculture Seed and Plant Exchange

The Permaculture Seed and Plant Exchange offers members a chance to sell their surplus seeds by mail from their own homes, thereby increasing populations of rare and useful heirloom vegetables, Chinese medicinal herbs and native American plants. The first catalog offers over 470 species from 20 seed savers, along with information about the use, growth habit and cultural requirements of the species. The membership fee of $7 per year includes annual updates of the catalog and a discount on seed purchases. For more information, write to: Permaculture Seed and Plant Exchange, Attn: Joe Hollis, Mountain Gardens, 3020 White Oak Rd., Burnsville, NC 28714.

Source: The Permaculture Activist, No. 34, June 1996 (PO Box 1209, Black Mountain NC 28711)

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Maine Ag in the Classroom Teacher Institutes

The Maine Agriculture in the Classroom announces two one-week Teacher Institutes to be held this summer. One will occur from June 23 through June 27 at Central Maine Technical College in Auburn; the other from July 28 through August 1 at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. These week-long institutes are designed to provide Maine classroom teachers with first-hand knowledge of Maine agriculture. Extensive field trip experiences will provide teachers with useful strategies to integrate this new knowledge into their existing curriculum within the framework of Maine’s Learning Results. A video tape of a visit with Maine Ag in the Classroom by Maine Public Broadcasting program “RFD Maine” is available from MPBC Audience Services at 1-800-884-1717.

Full scholarships for the institutes are available to cover tuition, room and board. Recertification credits are available. For more information and an application, please contact Neil Piper, 59 Hillside St., Presque Isle, ME 04769, Tel 764-4556 (home) or 1-800-831-4640 (work); or Anne Johnson, 100 Bennoch Rd., Orono, ME 04473, Tel. 866-2511.

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McLaughlin Garden Saved!

The eight-month long effort by the McLaughlin Foundation to purchase Bernard McLaughlin’s 3.5 acre perennial garden and arboretum in South Paris, Maine, is nearing closure! As we went to print, the newly formed nonprofit was working with western Maine banks and the Oxford Hills Growth Council to obtain a mortgage and was preparing to close on the property before February 18th. Bernard’s garden, one of Maine’s most beloved privately-owned collections of Maine wildflowers, lilacs, sempervivums, hostas, daylilies and iris, will be maintained open to the public; the historic home and barn will eventually house a center for Maine horticulture. Tax-deductible donations are welcomed and needed. For more information please contact Lee Dassler at 743-7620 or ldass@ maine.com, and check out our web site at: www.mclaughlingarden.org/.

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Hands-On Cultivation Workshop

The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY) Continuing Education Committee invites farmers to a hands-on workshop on mechanical cultivation, Saturday, May 17, 1997, at the H.C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y., from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 7 is the rain date. The workshop will begin with a viewing of Vern Grubinger’s excellent video, “Vegetable Farmers and Their Weed Control Machines.” A panel of farmers will share their experience with controlling weeds in vegetables, grains, and field crops with tractor and horse drawn implements, stale seed bed techniques and other alternatives to herbicides. Professor Robin Bellinder will present the results of her cultivation research project. Lunch will be followed by a demonstration of cultivation techniques. Participants will have a chance to see equipment up close, to get pointers from more experienced farmers on their equipment needs and on how to set up equipment they own. Please bring a picnic lunch. Drinks will be provided.

The implements available for demonstration or examination will include: vibrating tines (Lely or Einbok), basket weeders, finger weeders, brush weeders, flame weeders, S-tines, rotary hoes and a broad array of hand tools. Participants will be able to arrange follow-up visits to other farms. A twilight meeting will be held later in the season at Grindstone Farm with most of these same implements. Call Dick DeGraff for more information at 315-298-4139.

To attend the workshop, please register in advance by calling or faxing the NOFA-NY office, 315-365-2299 phone, or 315-365-3299 fax, by May 1. Registrants will be sent a map. Participants should come prepared to discuss their cultivation needs: bring actual implements or photos. They will also be asked to write a brief report at the end of the season evaluating whether the workshop helped with weed control. Space is limited to allow one-on-one counseling, so register soon!

This workshop is made possible by a SARE grower grant.

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Organic Produce Making Its Way Into Mainstream

Organic produce is “making its way into the mainstream” and “will become more prominent in produce departments” of supermarkets across the country, according to “Fresh Trends 1996,” a detailed magazine summary of The Packer’s most recent survey of consumer trends in the purchasing and consumption of fresh produce. One reason for the increase in organics at traditional stores may be the fact that natural food stores are growing at a faster rate than mainstream grocery stores: 14 percent a year during the past five years, compared with 3.3 percent a year for supermarkets. “Grocery stores are aware of that situation and want a piece of that growth,” says the magazine. Another reason for the increase is “the good taste of organic produce,” the survey found.

Here are some of the other findings of the Fresh Trends 1996 survey on consumers and organic produce:

Is organic produce available? Asked if their supermarket sells organic produce, 54% of all respondents said yes; 32% said no; and 14% didn’t know.

Who buys organic produce? Asked if they had purchased organic produce during the six months prior to the survey, 23% of all respondents said yes; 72% said no; and 5% didn’t know. Of those who said organic produce is available in their supermarket, 36% said they had purchased it during the six months prior to the survey; 62% said they had not; and 2% didn’t know.

What kind of organic produce are consumers buying? According to the survey, the top organic items consumers purchased in the six months prior to the survey were (in order) tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, apples, squash and broccoli.

Why are consumers buying organic produce? Of those who had purchased organic produce in the six months prior to the survey, 24% said their reason was that they liked the appearance of the produce or it looked good; 17% said it looked fresher and riper; 16% said they wanted to try it to see if it was different from conventional produce; 16% said it was healthier and better for them; 15% said it tasted good and flavorful; 15% said it was the only thing available; and 12% said it contained no pesticides, fertilizers or insecticides.

Why are consumers not buying organic produce? Of consumers who had not purchased any organic produce, 35% said it was because the produce had not been available, it had not been marked organic, or it was in too small a section of the supermarket; 28% said because it was too expensive or a higher price; 19% said they didn’t see a need for it or a difference in it; 8% were not aware of what organic produce was; 6% said the quality was not as good; 6% did not intentionally select it; and 5% had no particular reason.

How satisfied are consumers with organic produce? Of consumers who had purchased organic produce, 24% were extremely satisfied with it; 51% were very satisfied; 20% were somewhat satisfied; 5% were less than satisfied; and no one was extremely dissatisfied.

Will consumers buy organics in the future? All respondents were asked if they plan to purchase organic produce in the six months following the survey; 20% said they were extremely likely or very likely to do so; 27% said somewhat likely; 20% said somewhat unlikely; 31% said very or extremely unlikely; and 2% were not sure.

The magazine summary of “Fresh Trends 1996” is $10 from Vance Publishing Corp., P.O. Box 2939, Shawnee Mission, KS 66201-1339; 1 (800) 255-5113. The in-depth “Fresh Trends 1996 Demographic Data Report” is $175.

Source: Alternative Agriculture News, Jan. 1997, Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture, 9200 Edmonston Rd., Suite 117, Greenbelt, MD 20770-1551.

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Organic Dairy Farms on the Horizon?

For the first time, a number of dairy farmers in Maine seem to be seriously considering a conversion to certified organic production. A combination of several interested buyers (The Organic Cow and Stonyfield Farms) and continuing volatility in conventional milk prices has many dairy farmers pushing their pencils as they try to figure out whether organic production will work on their farms.

Much of the discussion began after a well-attended meeting in November at Thomas College, organized by John Joseph. Peter Flint of the Organic Cow, in Chelsea, Vermont, talked about his need for more milk. Currently about 30 Vermont and New Hampshire farms ship to The Organic Cow, where the milk is packaged as fluid milk, made into cheese, or shipped to other companies, including Stonyfield Farms, for further processing. After their fluid milk won “first place” in a New York Times taste comparison, the phone started ringing and it hasn’t stopped yet.

Peter has been a dairy farmer himself for the past 25 years. When he was a conventional farmer, he says, “I was driven, pushing my cows pretty hard.” As he looked into organic milk production, he realized that system wouldn’t allow him to push so hard. He’s made a conversion, selling his old milking herd to switch to organic and to processing.

He’s currently paying a base price of $18 per cwt., plus premiums for butterfat and quality. A good farmer can get close to $23 with all premiums.

Three elements are important to The Organic Cow, beyond the standard certification issues. They include no docking of tails; a good understanding of organic by the farmers, including monthly meetings; and a commitment to graze animals, not just exercise them. If a load of 30,000# of milk (alternate days) can be arranged, Peter and Bunny Flint would be interested in buying.

Several weeks later, Nancy Hirschberg from Stonyfield Farms visited with a group of dairy farmers in Turner, bringing along George Siemons of the CROPP (Coullee Region Organic Produce Pool) dairy cooperative in Wisconsin. Stonyfield is interested in increasing the organic part of its business from 20% to 100%, and needs more milk to accomplish that goal. It works now with CROPP on some specialty products, including some processing at Deering Ice Cream. Stonyfield and CROPP would like to see a pool of milk develop in Maine to help meet some of the growing market demand. As George put it, “The challenge is to fill the supply gap with pools before it’s filled with large corporate farms. We’re working on a biological (family farm) model instead of an industrial model.” CROPP offers pay prices similar to those being discussed by The Organic Cow, but it does require an equity commitment from its producers. Stonyfield is also willing to discuss other options for those who supply them, including access to its group health insurance plan and profit-sharing.

Nearly 30 Maine dairy farmers attended one or both of these gatherings. Afterwards, MOFGA’s certification committee sat down with a group of dairy farmers and other organic livestock producers to review our livestock standards and make sure they’re both workable and appropriate. One result is a recommendation for the Board to move to 100% organic feed for organic livestock, and to require feeding organic grain for three months prior to claiming milk as organic.

MOFGA followed up with a presentation by Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm in Vermont at the Agricultural Trades Show. It was pretty exciting hearing Jack’s story of how he has run his farm organically for the past 20 years, and about the decisions he and Anne have made to focus on adding value to their own milk. They started as butter producers, but are now well known yogurt producers.

Jack and Anne have made a real commitment to their farm. Jack says, “Organic is not about Rule A, B or C, but about life.” They put minerals back on the land and work to build soil life. He sees organic production as a way to catch consumer attention and educate the public about the issues involved in farming.

Particularly exciting was seeing almost 10% of Maine’s dairy farmers in the room. The calls we’ve received indicate that many farmers have been thinking about organic production.

Several elements seem critical for a farmer to be successful in organic dairy production. First, the more the farmer has been operating as a grass farmer, the less the farmer relies on (expensive) organic grain. Second, we can’t rely long-term on purchasing grain from the Midwest. Maine farmers will need to establish relationships with local grain producers to get at least a portion of their grain to make the business viable for the long term. Third, a lot of pressure will exist to figure out solutions for medical problems that do develop. Farmers in Vermont and elsewhere have been relying heavily on preventive care and homeopathy to solve health problems. Finally, farmers will need to work together to find ways to take care of trucking, grain transportation, and health care issues. MOFGA is ready to work with these farmers throughout the years ahead.

By later this spring, we should have a good sense of how many farmers feel ready to make the transition this year. Right now it’s refreshing to see the market for organic milk growing and to see how many Maine dairy farmers have quietly been farming in ways compatible with organic production.

– Russell Libby

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Inverness Farm Not Recertified

In the last issue of The MOF&G, we noted that organic grain was available from Bob Crane at Inverness Farm. However, since NOFA-NY has not recertified Inverness as organic this year, that grain can no longer be used to fulfill the requirements of organic livestock production. Ellie MacDougall says that she and Eric Sideman are looking for other sources of organic grain in the area.

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League of Women Voters Promotes Organic Agriculture

“We can greatly reduce our own and our family’s exposure to pesticides by buying organic food. These purchases help society at large, as well as ourselves directly.” So states a flyer that the Lake Michigan Inter-League Group Pesticide Committee of the League of Women Voters has produced for mass distribution. The flyer also discusses the neurotoxicity of pesticides and the greater susceptibility of children to pesticide exposure than of adults.

The group claims, “Many newer studies indicate that exposure to even very minute amounts of [lawn and landscape pesticides] causes damage to our immune, hormone, reproductive and nervous systems. Increased aggression, cancer, learning disabilities and lowered IQ scores have also been linked with low level exposure to products that kill insects, weeds and fungi … In the interest of public health, we urge you to choose nontoxic alternative products for your home and garden. We also urge you to call your local officials and request that they use nontoxic products in public places, especially parks and schools.”

For copies of brochures on nontoxic alternatives for lawn care and mosquito management, or for the “Buy, Grow and Eat Organic Food” brochure, contact the League of Women Voters of Evanston, 2100 Ridge Ave., Evanston, IL 60201.

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Chartrand Submits Bill to Label Genetically Engineered Foods

Representative Paul Chartrand has resubmitted MOFGA’s bill from two years ago that would require that genetically engineered food be labeled. MOFGA has always believed that these foods should be labeled so that consumers can make a choice about what they buy. The argument for labeling is stronger than even now, however, since the New England Journal of Medicine and European consumers have expressed the need for it. To help get this bill passed by the Maine Legislature this session, contact your Senator and Representative and let him or her know that you think it is essential for consumers to have free choice and as a marketing tool, as well.

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Maine’s First “Environment Day” in the Legislature – March 27

The Natural Resources Council of Maine is working with other conservation groups and sustainable businesses from throughout Maine to organize an “environment day” on March 27, at the State House in Augusta. Friends of Maine’s environment are invited to attend the day, which will include a morning workshop, displays by Maine businesses that thrive on healthy natural resources, and the opportunity to talk with legislators about pressing environmental concerns.

For detailed information about this event, please call Jay Ritchlin at NRCM (800) 287-2345.

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Teach-In on Endocrine Disruptors to Be Held in Camden

A teach-in will be held on the effects of endocrine disruptors, such as dioxins, PCB, PVC burn products, chlorinated hydrocarbons, many pesticides, plasiticizers, etc., on the morning of April 19, 1977, at the Congregational Church in Camden. Dr. Beverly Paigen, senior staff scientist at Jackson Labs in Bar Harbor, who spoke on the subject at the 1996 Common Ground Fair, will be the keynote speaker, to be followed by a panel discussion on solutions and political action. For more information call 236-8732.

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Pesticide Ban in San Francisco, Reduction in South Korea

Last October, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban, in all city departments, including city buildings and grounds, parks and golf courses, the use of all pesticides known or believed to cause cancer and known to cause reproductive harm. The ban was to have begun on January 1, 1997; use of all other pesticides must be cut in half by 1998 and eliminated by 2000.

The ordinance does not apply to schools or school grounds, which are not city departments. Exceptions may be made to protect the public health.

The ordinance provides for an Integrated Pest Management specialist to work with city employees in the transition away from toxic pesticides. It also requires that the city keep careful records of pesticide use, and that warning signs be posted from four days prior until four days after pesticide applications.

Before the ban, more than two tons of pesticides were sprayed by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department annually, and 60 pesticide active ingredients were used by the city. Approximately half of these chemicals are believed to cause cancer, genetic damage or damage to the reproductive system.

On the other side of the Pacific, the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has announced national targets for reducing pesticide use by 50% and fertilizer use by 40% by 2004, based on 1993 levels. Government institutions that will be affected by the new policies are developing strategies for achieving the targets. An active IPM training program is supported by the United Nations Development Program in South Korea.

Source: Global Pesticide Campaigner, Vol. 6, No. 4, Dec. 1996.

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Consumers Union Urges Major Reduction in Pesticide Use

Because the risks and costs imposed by pesticides on society are “unacceptably high and getting higher,” Consumers Union has released a two-year study written by Dr. Charles M. Benbrook that recommends “a program to reduce public health and environmental risks from pesticides at least 75% by the year 2020” through Integrated Pest Management (IPM). “Pesticide residues in food and drinking water put consumers at heightened risk for cancer, and affect human nervous and reproductive systems in ways that are still not fully known,” the report says. “Pesticides exact a toll on the economy, siphoning off billions of dollars to feed a research and regulatory apparatus that only grows fatter, not better … The evidence is now clear that intensively chemical-dependent approaches often fail to manage pests effectively.” The report calls for “accelerating progress toward IPM” by making the transition to the most advanced biointensive IPM a national policy goal, and makes recommendations for the public and private sectors, and for consumers. “Pest Management at the Crossroads” is available for $35.95 from Professional Mailing and Distribution Services Inc., P.O. Box 2013, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701; Tel. (301)617-7815; e-mail pmac@pmds.com.


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