Announcing the Agricultural Reclamation Act

Note: The following was forwarded from the Friends of Family Farmers, and we proudly pass it on here.

Today, we are happy to announce that the Agricultural Reclamation Act document is finished and ready to go out into the world. If you would like a copy of the document, you can contact me directly, or download it from the Friends of Family Farmers website.

We have an online endorsement form where you, your friends, family, neighbors and customers can sign on to show your support for the Agricultural Reclamation Act. We also have a new video up that Colin has put together from the Delegation. All of this can be found at the web address above!

Also, we recently presented the Agricultural Reclamation Act to the Oregon Department of Agriculture. While there were some glimmers of hope, it seemed clear that the current mindset of the ODA will remain unabated unless there are significant outside forces influencing the future of the agency.

The Agricultural Reclamation Act has real potential to be that positive outside influence. We must be unrelenting in our pursuit for agency education and the support systems that the socially responsible farming sector deserves.

With that said, the Department of Agriculture needs to continue to hear from all of you. If you have not done so already (and a big thanks to those who have), please take a minute or two to send us personal comments or anecdotes on any of the following topics:

  1. Specific examples on how the ODA has demonstrated inconsistent interpretation of rules and regulations,
  2. How the ODA could improve their service and further support you,
  3. Your experience with confusing local, state and federal jurisdiction issues,
  4. The need for something like the ARA and the process we have been through

We will continue to send these to the ODA on a weekly basis until they begin to understand what is actually happening on the ground.

Finally, as a community, we also need to continue to effectively organize, network with other farmers and ranchers, talk to our neighbors and customers, and provide a base of support for one another so that we can strengthen the economic and physical viability of agriculture in Oregon. The future of change lies in our hands.

Please help us spread the word as we build widespread public support for these ideas and work to create change that will positively effect our farms, ranches, economy and communities.

All of our best to you,

Megan and the rest of the FoFF crew

Megan Fehrman
Grassroots Coordinator
Friends of Family Farmers
P.O. Box 1286
Molalla, OR 97038
FriendsofFamilyFarmers.org
Office: 503.759.3276

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Transition Granges

Over the week of June 20, the Oregon State Grange held it’s annual Convention in the Southwest Oregon community of Roseburg. Here, the Silverton Grange has decided to let itself be known to those involved in State and National Grange legislative policy. What follows is our letter, as a local Grange, in regards to current legislative policy trends.

Transition NetworkMany of us in the Silverton Grange became involved at the urging of several friends and neighbors. To be quite honest, most of us had no clue what the Grange as an organization represented. However, once we researched the roots of the Grange movement in the latter half of the nineteenth century, our interest was piqued. Everything the Grange stood for: Support of local agriculture and industry, community cooperatives, sustainability, are all principles that we have tried to live by. It is extremely refreshing to be a part of a greater community of folks interested in the same community goals.

However lately we have been receiving “legislative alerts” and similar communications from the State and National Grange organizations, urging us to move against many of the same principles many of us were attracted to in the first place. Whether it is siding with multinational chemical companies like Monsanto that force their patented seeds on the world, or “advising us” to contact our elected officials to oppose sensible legislation, geared to addressing renewable energy and climate change.

Frankly, we have taken the tact of advising our members to simply do the opposite of what the State or National “Legislative Policy” experts advise. Meanwhile, Grange memberships Nation-wide continue to dwindle, and more vacant Grange Halls are sold to land developers.

What happened to the support for local Farmers and the communities they serve? Are they not more important to the core Grange base than the likes of monopolistic multinational corporations? And is that not one of the initial sparks that ignited the Grange movement in the first place? The corporate monopolies and their middlemen?

The Grange as an organization, needs to focus on relocalization of the rural economy. The coming years will see increased energy costs, which will dramatically affect the cost of most of our commodities, as most goods are produced and shipped vast distances and their price depends on how much it costs to ship. This “centralized” approached to our daily needs is flawed and is already failing, as it is based on non-renewable resources, planned obsolescence and unsustainable growth.

However, society as a whole, is slowly moving towards a relocalization paradigm, even if many in industry fail to recognize it, or actively oppose it. We see this in our grocery stores with the ever-expanding range of local organic produce; Or in the increase in vibrant Farmer’s Markets and in the creative ingenuity of many of our rural citizens.

Our society has grown up around the paradigm of cheap energy and rapid mobility. This is changing no matter what anyone feels about it one way or the other. The Grange can either accept this changing paradigm, and indeed become a major player and even leader in rural communities. Or we can continue support the promise of a past that no longer has a future. Many of us plan the be a part of the change.

Gus Frederick, Lecturer
Silverton Grange No. 748
Silverton, Oregon