USDA Now Asking People to Register Their Vegetable Gardens for National Database

In a move that has many folks scratching their heads, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has renewed its push for the People’s Garden Initiative which now includes registering vegetable gardens nationwide. According to the USDA, the move is to foster a “more diverse and resilient local food system to empower communities to address issues like nutrition access and climate change.” But those who have been following the USDA closely for years know that they couldn’t care less about your health and nutrition.

To register your garden with the USDA, one must meet several easily obtainable standards.

School gardens, community gardens, urban farms, and small-scale agriculture projects in rural, suburban and urban areas can be recognized as a “People’s Garden” if they register on the USDA website and meet criteria including benefitting the community, working collaboratively, incorporating conservation practices and educating the public.

These standards essentially define every community garden in the country. Now, the government organization that shells out billions every year to companies whose products, like high-fructose corn syrup, are responsible for a massive epidemic of obesity across the planet, will have a database of them.

“We welcome gardens nationwide to join us in the People’s Garden effort and all it represents,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, “Local gardens across the country share USDA’s goals of building more diversified and resilient local food systems, empowering communities to come together around expanding access to healthy food, addressing climate change and advancing equity.”

Secretary Vilsack added: “We encourage existing gardens and new gardens to join the movement. Growing local food benefits local communities in so many ways, and we offer technical resources to help. Also, it’s a great way to connect with your local USDA team members.”

Again, it is important to point out that the mission statement of the USDA does not involve anything to do with keeping Americans healthy. In fact, their track record over the years has done the complete opposite.

Keep reading

Following USDA Guidance, State Clinics Destroyed Thousands of Cans of Usable Baby Formula

Amid a national shortage of baby formula, family care centers in at least two states discarded thousands of cans of unopened, unexpired baby formula—because state and federal officials said so.

Guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in November 2019 advises clinics run by state-level Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) programs to “dispose of unused, returned…infant formula.” Formula might be returned for a number of reasons: parents might decide to switch brands at the recommendation of a doctor or due to an infant’s allergic reaction, or they might simply not use all they’ve been given. When that happens, clinics are told to discard the returned formula—even if it is not expired.

“Unused, returned infant formula may have been inappropriately stored (e.g., exposed to extremely high temperatures), may be past its use-by-date, or subjected to tampering (e.g., labels or use-by dates changed),” the USDA advisory reads, in part. The same memo also warns against “donating unused, returned WIC infant formula to entities such as food banks or food pantries.”

Apparently taking that memo to heart, WIC centers in Georgia have reportedly destroyed at least 16,459 cans of baby formula since October of last year, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which first reported on the frustrating policy last month.

The state also banned donations of formula to food banks and other locations. As a result, Georgia was “throwing formula down the sink,” Vanesa Sarazua, founder of the Hispanic Alliance of Georgia, a nonprofit, told the paper. “I mean, talk about waste.”

Keep reading

Food Price Inflation Getting Worse, Farming on Idle Land Disallowed Due to Climate Goals: USDA

In March, several agricultural groups—including the American Bakers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, and Agricultural Retailers Association—wrote to the USDA (pdf), requesting that farming be allowed on idle land under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). About 26 percent of CRP acres are classified as prime farmland.

However, the USDA rejected the request, insisting that such a move would harm climate goals (pdf).

“It is critical to point out that if we allow the tillage of CRP acres, the marginal at best benefit to crop production will be coupled with a significant and detrimental impact on producers’ efforts to mitigate climate change and maintain the long-term health of their land,” the agency said in its response.

Keep reading

Hemp farmers forced to destroy crops over USDA rules

Hemp farmers across Tennessee are having to destroy their hemp crop that tested over the new federal THC limit.

The USDA made a ruling in 2021 that all hemp must have a total THC level of 0.3%. Before that decision, hemp farmers needed to keep the levels of Delta-9 THC below 0.3%. The new rules apply to numerous other compounds in the plant.

According to the Department of Agriculture, 42% of crops are being found non-compliant with the requirement.

About half the crop at Nashland Farms, a Middle Tennessee hemp operation, was found to be over the limit. The farm grows hemp for its CBD.

Seth Fuller, co-owner of Nashland Farms, said it means many thousands of dollars lost.

Keep reading

USDA MAY ALLOW GENETICALLY MODIFIED TREES TO BE RELEASED INTO THE WILD

On August 18, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a petition by researchers at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) seeking federal approval to release their genetically engineered (GE) Darling 58 (D58) American chestnut tree into U.S. forests. Researchers claim the transgenic D58 tree will resist the fungal blight that, coupled with rampant overlogging, decimated the American chestnut population in the early 20th century. In fact, the GE American chestnut is a Trojan horse meant to open the doors to commercial GE trees designed for industrial plantations.

The D58 would be the first GE forest tree approved in the U.S. and the first GMO intended to spread in the wild. (GE canola plants were discovered in the wild in 2010 but that was unplanned.) “This is a project to rapidly domesticate a wild species through genetic engineering and accelerated breeding, and then to put it back into ecosystems to form self-perpetuating populations—an intentional evolutionary intervention that has never been attempted before with any species,” explain scientists at the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA), which are nonprofits based in Washington, D.C.

Keep reading

USDA will operate new lab for most dangerous biological agents

The USDA will operate the new $1.25 billion biosafety level-4 laboratories the federal government is building in Manhattan, KS. A biosafety level 4 laboratory provides the highest level of containment facilities to isolate the most dangerous biological agents, meaning those with high fatality rates and no known treatments, such as the Ebola virus.

The new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) will replace the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC), which since 1954 has defended against the accidental or intentional introduction of foreign animal diseases.

The mysterious Plum Island, which has been off-limits to the public for more than a century, will have a new future most likely as a nature preserve and historical site.

Keep reading