Water Fights

With your help, we succeeded in stopping the  bill to study how to create a “statewide marketing and conveyance grid” for water in Texas.  But the fight is not yet over!  The water marketers are seeking to attach the bill as an amendment to other bills over the Memorial Day Weekend –  we need your help again!

In practical terms, a statewide water marketing and conveyance grid will mean taking more water from rural areas to supply urban centers.  But average residential water usage ranges from 60 gallons to over 300 gallons per person per day in different cities in Texas.
cracked land and green lawn-1
Are perfect green lawns important enough to drain aquifers and destroy the future of rural communities and local food?

Ultimately, this approach hurts us all, by fueling unsustainable growth and using up the water resources we all need.   

Tell your Texas legislators that we must conserve first, transfer later
Oppose any amendment that focuses on water marketing and conveyances

TAKE ACTION

Call or email your State Representative today – the amendment could come up as the Sunday before Memorial Day!…

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Good news for raw milk and small farmers from the Texas legislature!

 

May 11, 2015: Four good local food bills have passed the House of Representatives!  We have just a few weeks to get them through the Senate in order to become law:

  • HB 91, which would expand legal access to raw milk by allowing licensed farmers to sell at farmers’ markets and make delivery arrangements with consumers
  • HB 1900, which would provide fair property tax treatment for small farmers, vegetables farmers, and diversified farms
  • HB 262, which would limit liability for landowners who allow their property to be used for community gardens, increasing access to land
  • HB 1846, which would require transparency in the state’s implementation of new federal food safety regulations

At the same time, the massive water marketing bill that we oppose has also passed the House and is moving through the Senate, where we will continue to fight to stop it.

Thank you to everyone who has already taken action!  Your voice truly does make a difference, and we’ve come a long way already.  Will you help us keep fighting for our farmers and our food system in this final month of the session?…

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Good news for local foods from the Texas Legislature!

Two important bills for local food producers and consumers are making progress in the Texas Legislature:

  • The fair property taxes for small farmers bill, HB 1900, is scheduled for a vote by the full House on Friday, May 1.
  • The raw milk bill, HB 91, passed the House Public Health Committee and is going to the Calendars Committee to be scheduled for a vote

Please speak up now to help keep these two great bills moving forward!Cows in Pasture 2

 

TAKE ACTION #1

Call or email your State Representative to urge him or her to:

  • Vote YES on HB 1900
  • Support HB 91 and help it move forward as quickly as possible

You can find out who your State Representative is by going to www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us  or calling the Texas Capitol Switchboard at 512-463-4630.

If you call after hours, you can simply leave a message: “Hi, my name is ____, and I am a constituent.  I am calling to urge Representative ______ to vote YES on HB 1900, the fair property taxes for small farmers bill, when it comes to the floor this Friday.  Please also support HB 91, the raw milk bill, and do everything you can to get it scheduled for a vote as soon as possible.”

More information and talking points about both bills are at the end of this alert.…

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Support Access to Raw Milk in Texas

 

Raw milk is already legal in Texas. But government regulations require consumers to drive to the farm every time they want milk, burdening both consumers and farmers.

Representative Flynn has introduced a bill, HB 91, to allow licensed farmers to sell raw milk at farmers’ markets and to make delivery arrangements with their customers. This bill reduces costs and hassle for consumers, while allowing farmers a fair opportunity to market their products.

The Texas House Public Health Committee will hold a hearing on HB91 on Tuesday, April 21. This is a critical step in getting the bill passed.

Please speak up now to help raw milk farmers and consumers!

TAKE ACTION #1

Call or email your State Representative to urge him or her to support HB 91 and help move the bill forward. texas capitol

You can find out who your State Representative is by going to www.fyi.

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Texas legislative update

April 11, 2015:  The Texas legislative session is heating up, and the next eight weeks are going to be extremely busy.  You won’t be able to act on every alert, but please do take action as often and in whatever way you can.  Your voice DOES matter!

This week, we have good news, bad news, and multiple ways you can help fight for local farmers.

Good News

Three good bills have Committee hearings scheduled for next week!

HB 184judicial-system6, by Representative Susan King, requires Texas state agencies to be open and transparent in implementing new federal food safety regulations.  The FDA is working on massive new regulations and has already announced that it plans to rely heavily on state agencies to implement them.  HB 1846 requires the  Department of State Health Services and the Department of Agriculture to publish notice of any proposed agreement with FDA, allow for public comment, and consult with key legislators.…

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Say NO to Damaging Trade Agreements

May 28, 2015: The controversial bill that would put the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the Fast Track to approval passed in the Senate. We need to stop it before it moves any further in the House.

Big Business is lobbying hard to push this bill through, so we need you to speak up now!

A broad coalition of groups are opposed to Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership because of the threat posed to American jobs, the environment, our financial system, and more. So-called free trade deals have cost Americans millions of good jobs (we lost 700,000 with NAFTA alone) by shipping work overseas to countries with lax environmental and labor protections.

Passing the TPP would be repeating history, with potentially worse consequences. This deal includes a key provision that would allow foreign companies to sue local, state, or national governments to attack any law that they claim  hurts their anticipated profits.  The corporations could bring their claims in an international tribunal, bypassing our court system completely.  “Buy Local” preferences, energy and environmental policy, financial regulations, consumer labeling and more could be overturned by international courts in the name of corporate profits.…

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Fair property tax bill gets a hearing on Wednesday, April 8th!

We have been working hard on a wide range of bills to help local farmers and local food producers.  Next week, the first of our bills will be heard by Committee — the first step in getting it passed!

The issue of property taxes, while not fun, is vital for many farmers.  Small farmers who have been denied agricultural valuation of their land face thousands of extra dollars in extra taxes — a cost that they cannot readily absorb with their narrow profit margins.  The issue is also critical for nonprofit community gardens that are trying to provide healthy food for low-income communities.

There are multiple ways you can help, whether you have just a few minutes to call, can stop by the Capitol for 15 minutes, or can stay through the whole hearing.  Your efforts — combined with those of farmers and consumers across the state — really do make a difference!

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Monsanto’s Dream Bill

Representative Pompeo just introduced a bill, HR 1599, that would prohibit state efforts to require labeling of genetically engineered foods (GMOs).

This is Monsanto’s dream bill — it would allow big corporations that make and use GMOs to continue to hide them from consumers, keeping Americans in the dark about what is in their food. In fact, some of our allies are calling this the DARK, or the Denying Americans the Right to Know, Act.

Who’s behind this bill?

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), an industry group that represents corporations like Monsanto, Nestlé and Dow, has been working with allies in Congress to get this bill re-introduced in the current Congress, after failing to pass it last year.

Federal GMO Labeling Bill

 Voluntary Labeling is a Proven Failure

While we usually support voluntary programs over mandatory programs, when it comes to GMOs, this is the wrong approach. There has already been voluntary labeling for the last 13 years — and not one company has voluntarily labeled its products as containing GMOs.…

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Tell Congress to reject the DARK Act

Big Food Doesn't Label Image

GMOs: Why the secrecy?

The new Congress is now in session, and it’s only a matter of time before what’s known as the Deny Americans the Right to Know (or DARK) Act is re-introduced. If passed and signed into law, this act would overturn state laws that require the labeling of genetically engineered (GMO) foods.

Big Food and the biotech companies like Monsanto are pushing to reintroduce the DARK Act, which would:
Prevent states from adopting their own GMO labeling laws.
Block any attempt by states to make it illegal for food companies to put a “natural” label on products that contain GMO ingredients.
Prevent the FDA from requiring companies to label GMO ingredients and instead continue a failed “voluntary” labeling policy.

Voluntary Labeling is a Proven Failure

While we usually support voluntary programs over mandatory programs, when it comes to GMOs, this is the wrong approach. There has already been voluntary labeling for the last 13 years — and not one company has voluntarily labeled its products as containing GMOs.…

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2015 TOFGA Conference

 

Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association Conference
January 29 – 31, 2015
Hilton San Antonio Airport
San Antonio, Texas

Click Here to Register

A wide range of Texans and neighbors of many ages, backgrounds, and experiences will gather at the city once called the Crossroads of the nation to exchange ideas and knowledge in order to reclaim our Texas food system and garden and farm communities.

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