Last week, people converged in Nebraska to speak out about the Keystone XL Pipeline at the State Department's only public comment period. Farmers, ranchers, climate activists, and people of all stripes and colors spoke out in opposition to the pipeline.
Click here for videos covering the entire hearing, it was a really great crowd of passionate people who stood up to speak against the proposed tar sands pipeline. There were even families who were victims of the Exxon Pegasus pipeline rupture in Arkansas who traveled to the hearing to remind and warn others what happened to their community.
Concerned citizens of Western Pennsylvania and friends of Lawrence County farmer Maggie Henry recently locked themselves to a giant paper-mache pig at the entrance to a Shell Oil Co. natural gas well site to protest the company’s threat to local agriculture and food safety. The newly-constructed gas well is located less than 4,000 feet from Henry’s organic pig farm.
The farm has been in the Henry family for generations and has been maintained as a small business despite pressure from industry consolidation. The Henry’s made a switch from dairy to organic pork and poultry production several years ago as part of their commitment to keeping the operation safe and sustainable for generations to come. Joining Maggie Henry at the well site are residents from other Pennsylvania counties affected by natural gas drilling and Pittsburgh-area residents of all ages who support Henry’s fight. Many are customers who buy her food at farmers’ markets and grocery stores who do not want to see the integrity of their food source compromised.
The Henry farm is especially vulnerable to the risk associated with fracking because it is located in an area riddled with hundreds of abandoned oil wells from the turn of the 20th century. According to hydro-geologist Daniel Fisher who has studied the area, “Each of these abandoned wells is a potentially direct pathway or conduit to the surface should any gas or fluids migrate upward from the wells during or after fracking.” Methane leaks from gas wells have been responsible for numerous explosions in or near residences in Pennsylvania in recent years. Migrating gas and fluids also threaten groundwater supplies, on which Henry and her animals depend for their drinking water. Last summer a major gas leak in Tioga County, PA caused by Shell’s own drilling operations, produced a 30 ft geyser of methane and water, which spewed from an unplugged well and forced several families to evacuate.
Protesters, wearing signs that read "Fracking Threatens Food," and "Protect Farms for Our Future," chained themselves to the nine foot tall pig situated in the driveway of the gas well site, and blocking traffic to and from the site. A few dozen supporters attended the event as well.
Henry resorted to civil disobedience after all avenues within the legal system had been exhausted, and Shell continued on with their operations at the well.
This 2-minute story is about a powerful new solution that will help feed starving people in every city, town and village in America as told by Howard G. Buffett, Eva Longoria, Bono and Ben Afflect. This is a message funded by the Howard G. Buffett foundation and directed specifically to the world's most productive, hard-working men and women -- America's farmers.
In a recent Parademagazine article, Buffet (Son of Warren Buffet) was asked what made him turn his attention from global hunger to hunger in America:
"Before, I never understood how difficult things were in this country, and how they were getting worse. In America, hunger is hidden; people are ashamed of it. I was in Tucson at a food distribution [center] and noticed a woman walk in with three kids. She looked around and then walked back out. I later found out it was the first time she had ever asked for help, and she was embarrassed."
"Last year I attended a Thanksgiving dinner at Harris Elementary School right here in Decatur, where I learned that 92 percent of the kids are on free or reduced-cost lunches. I spoke with some parents who told me that school lunch is the best meal their kids get all day. That shocked me because the school sits in a community that has the largest food-processing facility in the world for corn and the second largest for soybeans; 1,500 to 2,000 train cars roll out of those plants and through these kids' neighborhoods every day. The irony of that is unbelievable."
"In this country, the number of people who are living on the edge, who exist paycheck to paycheck, who have been foreclosed on, has exploded. If you're choosing between medicine or food, between school supplies for your kids or food, between paying the electric bill or food, those are tough choices—and they happen every day. Yet I have hope, because the single biggest difference between fighting global hunger and fighting hunger in this country is that I don't believe we can get global hunger down to zero. There will always be conflicts and infrastructure challenges [abroad]. But there's no reason we cannot put hunger out of business in America."
Here are the ways Howard Buffett is trying to achieve his goal of putting hunger out of business in America:
Map the Meal Gap: Feeding America first published the Map the Meal Gap project in early 2011, with the generous support of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and The Nielsen Company, to learn more about the face of hunger at the local level. In August, 2011, with the support of the ConAgra Foods Foundation, child food insecurity data was added to the project.
At the link you can interact with their map, which reflects data from 2009 and 2010, to begin learning how the residents in your community are struggling with hunger and what the anticipated needs will be to meet future goals. There is a donation link, a food bank locator, a "Tell Congress" take action link and further information about the project.
2014 Hunger in America Study: Hunger in America, also known as the Hunger Study, is the largest study of charitable food assistance in America. Hunger in America 2014 is the most recent in a series of Hunger Studies, which are conducted every four years. Feeding America is the primary sponsor of this study, with generous funding from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
The purpose of the Hunger in America 2014 study is two-fold. First, it will collect information on the current work of the Feeding America network of food banks. This includes talking to agencies that get food and grocery items from food banks (agency survey) and from the clients they serve (client survey). The information collected from this study will help Feeding America, and its network of food banks, to better understand the agencies they work with to provide hunger relief. Second, it will also identify issues faced by both the agencies and the clients they serve. Findings from this study will give Feeding America the information they need to fight hunger in America for the next several years. Feeding America will use the data to advocate for government assistance such as TEFAP, CSFP, and SNAP. The findings will also support fundraising efforts by helping to educate donors and the public about the scope of services provided by food banks.
Invest an Acre :The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Feeding America and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) has established Invest An Acre, an innovative partnership that engages U.S. farmers in helping provide food to their neighbors.
Through Invest An Acre, farmers are able to invest the proceeds from one acre or more of their crops in Feeding America to support their local food bank. This is the first effort to mobilize farmers on a national scale to support hunger relief.
Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, providing food assistance to people in every county through a network of more than 200 food banks.
The Howard G. Buffett Foundation brings resources to support this vital work by creating an opportunity for every U.S. farmer doing business with ADM to invest a portion of proceeds at the point of sale, either when the farmer signs a contract or delivers the crop.
ADM is one of the largest agricultural processors in the world. It operates the world’s premier crop origination and transportation network, connecting crops and markets in more than 75 countries. ADM transforms oilseeds, corn, wheat and cocoa into products for food, animal feed, industrial and energy uses.
Feeding America has 53 food banks operating in communities near ADM locations.
The Howard G. Buffett Foundation is underwriting all Feeding America costs as well as a public awareness campaign. ADM is managing the accounting and transactions with farmers and the local food banks. All of the proceeds from Invest An Acre will go towards helping the hungry in the local community.
Another awesome video from the folks at anothernyc.org, and the weekend's scheduled events for NYC.
May 10-15: A Week of Actions Against Budget Cuts and Austerity
Tuesday May 15 @ 6 PM: Mass Convergence in Times Square on Global Day of Action
Say no to the system that produces record profits for the 1% by impoverishing the 99% of us; say yes to a fair city and a better world!
Beginning on May 10th and culminating on May 15th in a mass convergence at Times Square, NYC organizations and individuals from all across the city will join together in action around the many issues we face: from cuts in social services, to an austerity agenda that redistributes your tax revenue into private hands, to the financial institutions (that we bailed out) that continue to make record profits at our expense.
As part of a global resistance, as part of the Occupy movement, as a broad movement for social, political, and economic justice, we say enough! We reject Bloomberg's New York, and we demand another city. We reject the notion that there is no alternative, and we demand a better world. Join the week of actions, take to the streets, raise your voice, and come to Times Square on May 15th at 6 PM to stand together as a global movement and declare that another city, and another world, is possible!
Occupy the Farm, a coalition of local residents, farmers, students, researchers, and activists are planting over 15,000 seedlings at the Gill Tract, the last remaining 10 acres of Class I agricultural soil in the urbanized East Bay area. The Gill Tract is public land administered by the University of California, which plans to sell it to private developers.
For decades the UC has thwarted attempts by community members to transform the site for urban sustainable agriculture and hands-on education. With deliberate disregard for public interest, the University administrators plan to pave over this prime agricultural soil for commercial retail space, a Whole Foods, and a parking lot.
"For ten years people in Albany have tried to turn the Gill Tract into an Urban Farm and a more open space for the community. The people in the Bay Area deserve to use this treasure of land for an urban farm to help secure the future of our children," explains Jackie Hermes-Fletcher, an Albany resident and public school teacher for 38 years.
Occupy the Farm seeks to address structural problems with health and inequalities in the Bay Area that stem from communities’ lack of access to food and land. Today’s action reclaims the Gill Tract to demonstrate and exercise the peoples’ right to use public space for the public good. This farm will serve as a hub for urban agriculture, a healthy and affordable food source for Bay Area residents and an educational center.