| October 25, 2012
Two separate but very much related events that could radically change the way America farms and feeds itself are big in the news right now. Both concern a matter dear to my heart: Food labeling.
As leading food and ag writer, Tom Philpott, recently wrote, the upcoming vote in California on Proposition 37 “could spur a revolution in the way our food is made.” If adopted, Prop 37 would simply require the labeling of food containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients.
For over 50 years, TK Ranch has been committed to taking care of the wild prairie and producing quality beef for Albertans. Situated about a three-hour drive southeast of Edmonton, 10,000-acre TK Ranch is located in the endangered northern fescue grasslands of east-central Alberta. Thomas Koehler Biggs established TK Ranch back in 1956; today, three generations live, work, and raise Animal Welfare Approved grassfed beef cattle on the ranch.
Working with a staff of technicians, farm workers, temporary employees, and fellow scientists, Dr. Joan Burke leads the small ruminant livestock research at the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center in the Ozarks region of Arkansas. The research center is approved to supply Animal Welfare Approved sheep and goat breeding and feeder stock.
Grover and John Garner raise Animal Welfare Approved beef cattle on Heather Hill Farm in Warnerville, NY. For more information, you can reach Grover and John at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (518) 234-2896.
Fox Squirrel Farm is a 13-acre patchwork of pasture, woodland, vegetable production and silvopasture (woodland grazing) in the Sandhills of North Carolina. The property was originally designed and operated in the early 1920s as the Routh Pines School, a private boarding school for girls. In 1989, however, the Smith family bought the property and converted the old school into a successful bed and breakfast.
When Chris London, a full-time United Airlines pilot, and his wife Karen purchased the first 51 acres of Springhill Ranch in Petaluma back in 1999, neither had much experience with farming. In fact, they hadn’t even decided what to grow on the property. After consulting with local agriculture experts, the couple settled on wine grapes. Chris and Karen soon enrolled in farming and viticulture classes with the University of California – and learned very quickly. Today, the 138-acre ranch grows and supplies quality pinot noir grapes to five local wineries.
I’m sorry to say it, but news that a large-scale “organic” egg producer is being sued for making misleading marketing claims about the welfare of its chickens comes as no real surprise. To be honest, I’m more shocked that it’s taken this long to make the headlines.
Several news agencies are reporting that the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has filed a class-action lawsuit against Judy’s Family Farm Organic Eggs and Petaluma Egg Farm for allegedly violating California’s consumer protection laws. Judy’s Family Farm Organic Eggs cartons feature images of hens roaming on an expansive green field, while the carton wording states that the hens are “raised in wide open spaces in Sonoma Valley, where they are free to ‘roam, scratch, and play’.” However, the ALDF claim that the organic hens at Judy’s Family Farm “are crammed in covered sheds with no outdoor access. Implying their hens are free-range when they are not provides an unfair advantage over actual free-range egg producers, and also cheats consumers.” The complaint? The packaging used by these egg producers leads consumers to mistakenly believe the eggs come from free-range hens. From what I know about the farm in question, I couldn’t agree more.