Fifth Season Cooperative finishes first year as a success
Dec. 13, 2012
The Fifth Season Cooperative, founded in August 2010, is co-owned by farmers, distributors, buyers, producer groups, workers, and processors within a 150-mile radius of Viroqua, and organizers are calling its first year of operation a success.
The cooperative produces and distributes locally grown produce, meats, dairy and value-added food products to institutional and foodservice buyers from farms and regional processors through its distribution member, Reinhart FoodService.
Fifth Season requires sustainable practices and provides fair pricing for small and mid-sized growers and processors.
The cooperative also works together with businesses and organizations to provide education on and increased exposure to locally produced foods.
Current membership includes 14 independent farms, three farmer cooperatives, seven processors, and one distributor. Thirty-five hundred foodservice buyers have access to Fifth Season's products through Reinhart, located in La Crosse. Read more here
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Congress Should Protect, Not Eliminate USDA’s Biotech Regulations
Over the past few years, courts and government reports have sharply criticized USDA’s oversight of genetically engineered (GE) crops, and numerous courts have determined that the agency’s approvals failed to comply with environmental laws. Rather than responsibly improving its oversight, the chemical-biotech industry and their allies in Congress are seeking to weaken the rules and fundamentally alter USDA’s regulation through a number of policy riders. Specifically, Sec. 10011, 10013, and 10014 to the House Agriculture Committee’s discussion draft of the 2012 Farm Bill and Section 733 in H.R. 5973 the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2013.
Together, they seek to severely weaken the USDA’s oversight and regulation of GE crops and fundamentally bypass science-based review, judicial review and liability. These policy riders will create serious risks to farmers, farm workers, the environment and public health by forcing the rushed commercialization of GE crops. This will eliminate meaningful review of their impacts and strip federal courts of their authority to halt the sale and planting of an illegal, potentially hazardous GE crop.
More info here
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Palermo Pizza Labor Dispute
NOTE: VFC will not reorder Palermo's Pizza until the labor dispute has been settled.
Fight Over Immigrant Firings from July 27 New York Times
Striking Palermo workers ask Costco to boycott The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has postponed indefinitely a vote scheduled for July 27 that would have decided whether Palermo Villa Inc. employees would form a union while it investigates accusations of unfair labor practices against the company. July 30 BizTimes
June 7, 2012 - A group of consumers is seeking a boycott of all Palermo's products due to unresolved labor concerns between staff and management at the company's Milwaukee production facility. VFC will post information here when a boycott has been formed so our Co-op owners & shoppers can make their own informed choices.
See also PRwatch and BizTimes
WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio 89.7 story July 6, 2012 Vote to Unionize Palermo's Pizza Workers Postponed
Palermo Pizza statement on their blog
If you'd like to speak out directly to the company, make a comment here
WPR Newsmakers May 31, 2012: FOOD CO-OPS AND PROVIDING LOCAL FOODS
Part 1: A discussion about the growing food cooperative industry and local foods movement with Viroqua Food Co-op General Manager Jan Rasikas and La Crosse People's Food Co-op General Manager Michelle Schry.
* Web Extra: An extended interview with Viroqua Food Co-op's Jan Rasikas and People's Food Co-op's Michelle Schry. Topics include how they decide to sell the products they do and why, for example, a product like Coca Cola is offered.
Dr. Phil Howard, an Assistant Professor at Michigan State, is responsible for the creation and updating of the organic food business chart. He teaches in the University’s Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies program. Dr. Howard created a graphically animated version of the consolidation occurring in the organic food sector between 1995 and 2007. You can view this by clicking here.
Last month, the 525 + partners of the Just Label It Campaign submitted a record-breaking 1.1 million comments to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in favor of labeling genetically engineered foods. To date, the FDA said: “We haven’t made a decision yet.” Read more
Growing Power is hosting their second National-International Urban & Small Farm Conference, to be held in Milwaukee from September 7th to 9th, 2012. They anticipate over 3,000 participants will attend, and 200 of the nation’s most well-known food-system experts will share their knowledge. The conference will provide guidance on how to plan, develop and grow small farms in urban and rural areas. with 17 tracks to provide a thorough learning and networking experience for all! Read more