Happy New Year! Wild Farm Alliance is excited for 2016, and we are so grateful to begin this new year with you.
Your support is the backbone of our work. Because of you, we are starting off 2016 stronger than ever. Last year, you helped strengthen the capacity of farmers to adapt to the impacts of climate change through regenerative agriculture. You also helped to educate consumers about the impact on biodiversity that their food choices have. And finally, your support in 2015 helped finalize the new food safety rule that encourages wildlife habitat on the farm.
With our encouragement, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) written by Congress sought to make sure that conservation mandates would be addressed in these regulations, and that no conflicts or duplication would occur with the National Organic Program. While we don't like everything in this Produce Rule (there was no attempt to rein in misguided buyer requirements), we feel FDA heard our concerns about conservation.Read more
Fifteen years ago I helped found the Wild Farm Alliance with other sustainable agriculture and wildlands advocates alarmed that agriculture was recklessly disrupting natural ecosystems and destroying native species of plants and animals.
We knew that the sacrifice of complex, sustainable natural systems for sterile fields of high producing crops was not the best way to produce food for humans. We devised a positive mission for the new Wild Farm Alliance: to promote a healthy, viable agriculture that helps to protect and restore wild nature.Read more
While summer’s bounty and our farmers are churning out an abundance of food for us humans and non-humans (think insect pollinators and beneficial birds), we are keeping our eye on research and policies that benefit conservation-minded farmers and the wider landscape.
On August 2015, the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, released the findings from a study that revealed that the elimination of natural vegetation surrounding farm fields failed to reduce the presence of foodborne illness-causing pathogens in fresh produce grown in those fields. The study, titled "Comanaging fresh produce for nature conservation and food safety," found not only that the absence of natural vegetation did not contribute to pathogen reduction, but also that cleared land resulted in increased pathogen prevalence over time.
In 2006, an outbreak of E. coli O157 from spinach was traced back to a farm on California's Central coast, the home of our nation's fresh-cut salad industry. While it was never determined how the spinach became contaminated, non-native feral pigs were considered possible culprits. This resulted in ALL wildlife being viewed as a source of food-borne pathogen contamination, even though research so far indicates that NATIVE wildlife generally pose a low risk of carrying human pathogens (although certain localized populations have increased risk).Read more
Wild Farm Alliance (WFA) is excited to announce some great up-coming events. If you'll be near Salinas, California in late August, join us at this year's Food Safety and Water Quality Forum and get the latest on co-managing food safety and conservation. Later in October, WFA will be hosting two field tours at our on-farm habitat restoration project sites near Watsonville and Hollister, CA.
Photo courtesy of NRCS
Learn about co-managing food safety and conservation on produce and specialty-crop farms in a webinar hosted by Wild Farm Alliance, Oregon Tilth and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reached this settlement of the new deadlines for publishing final rules implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) with the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and the Center for Environmental Health.
The settlement also removes any prior deadlines for public comment periods, which CFS says <http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/press-releases/2919/victory-your-food-will-be-safer-thanks-to-center-for-food-safety-lawsuit> will allow for “more robust public participation throughout the rulemaking process.”Read more
Right before the winter holidays, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced plans to revise certain sections of the proposed rules of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In the official statement, Michael Taylor, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, stated that FDA plans to make significant changes to four key provisions found in the proposed Produce and Preventative Controls Rules, including the raw manure and compost standards, as well as the water quality standards. These revisions were considered necessary to allow FDA to meet its goals of producing new food safety standards that are flexible enough to accommodate the diversity of the produce sector, as well as be practical to implement. Taylor also stated that there may be other revisions to the proposed rules, which will be determined after FDA completes their initial review of the public comments. FDA plans to publish the revised proposed rules by early summer 2014. At that time, they will seek public comment on only the revised sections of the proposed rules.Read more