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Fast Track sets stage for showdown on free trade

24 June, 2015 - 21:16
Language:  English IATP author(s):  Karen Hansen-Kuhn File:  2015_06_24_FastTrackPassesSenate_PR.pdf Washington D.C.–Following an intense lobbying campaign, the Senate today caved in to demands from the Obama administration and GOP leadership and gave Trade Promotion Authority six years of life support. Better known as Fast Track, this legislation means that Congress has forfeited its right to amend any international trade agreement for the next six years; all it can do is vote the proposed agreement up or down. “While Fast Track’s fate has been decided, the fate of the trade bills themselves has not. Fast Track will grease the skids for secretly negotiated trade agreements, but what it will not do is shut up millions of Americans who will fight for a thumbs down...

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Scientists’ Open Letter to FAO Director General Graziano da Silva, in Support of the February 2015 Declaration of the International Forum for Agroecology

24 June, 2015 - 19:48
Language:  English Author(s) (external):  IATP, et al. File:  Scientists letter-nyeleni.pdf 24 June 2015 Dear Director General da Silva, As scientists and scholars working in sustainable agriculture and food systems, we are writing to support and bring to your attention the recent Declaration of the International Forum for Agroecology1, dated 27 February 2015. The Declaration affirms that agroecology can produce food in ecologically sustainable and socially just ways, and can “generate local knowledge, promote social justice, nurture identity and culture, and strengthen the economic viability of rural areas.” The Nyéléni Agroecology Declaration resulted from a historic meeting in Nyéléni, Mali of “delegates representing diverse organizations and international movements...

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Building Minnesota’s Farm to Institution Markets

16 June, 2015 - 14:47
Subtitle:  A Producer Survey Language:  English IATP author(s):  Pete Huff File:  2015_06_25_ProducerSurvey.pdf Overview As part of our shared work on farm to institution in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), the Sustainable Farming Association (SFA) and Renewing the Countryside (RTC) conducted an online survey of Minnesota growers interested in farm to institution markets in fall 2014. The goal of the survey was to determine the resources Minnesota growers—specifically specialty crop growers—need to engage with institutional markets in a consistent and economically viable manner. Background and Motivation Related documents:  ...

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Fast Track stalls in the House

11 June, 2015 - 21:47
Subtitle:  Public opposition overpowers Obama, Corporate money Language:  English IATP author(s):  Karen Hansen-Kuhn File:  2015_06_12_HouseFastTrackVote.pdf Washington D.C.–Following months of intense public opposition to Fast Track, the House of Representatives today defied the Obama administration’s trade promotion package. The debate over Fast Track blurred party lines. “It took real courage for those Democrats and Republicans who stood up to the President and Republican leadership and opposed the free trade package. They defended working families, farmers, natural resources, the environment and most importantly, democratic principles,” says Juliette Majot, President of the Institute for...

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Trade policy removal of regulatory “irritants”

5 June, 2015 - 18:15
Subtitle:  An effective geopolitical tool? Language:  English IATP author(s):  Dr. Steve Suppan File:  2015_06_05_TTIP_GeoPolitics_SS.pdf “The [U.S.] economy is not working for those who depend on paychecks to make a living, that is to say, almost everyone.”1 New York Times editorial: November 7, 2014 The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), currently under negotiation, “is not just about free trade; it is an expression of our geopolitical partnership. We agreed to step up our efforts towards reaching agreement.” European Union President Donald Tusk, reporting a conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama, December 1, 2014.2 Overview Foreign policy elites and military leaders...

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G7 food initiative driving hunger in African countries, say global civil society groups

3 June, 2015 - 22:02
Language:  English Author(s) (external):  IATP, et al. File:  2015_06_04_G7_Food_Initiative_PR.pdf Minneapolis–Politicians and executives from some of the world’s biggest agribusiness companies are today meeting in Cape Town, South Africa for the leadership council of the controversial New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. On the same day, a coalition of a hundred farmers organisations, social movements, unions and civil society groups around the world have released a statement calling on the G7 and African governments to stop supporting the New Alliance. The policies of the New Alliance have been criticised as they “facilitate the grabbing of land and other natural resources, further marginalize small-scale producers, and undermine the right to adequate food and...

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Fast Track bill undermines democracy, promotes secret mega-trade deals

16 April, 2015 - 22:36
Subtitle:  Congress should reject Fast Track, chart a new course on trade Language:  English IATP author(s):  Karen Hansen-Kuhn File:  2015_04_16_FastTrackIntroduction_PR.pdf Minneapolis–Congress should reject a new bill that would grant the President Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), known as Fast Track. It would speed passage of two huge secret trade deals that would negatively impact farmers and ranchers, jobs, natural resources and our democracy, said the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). The new Fast Track bill introduced today follows the playbook of past Fast Track bills by allowing the President to negotiate two mega-trade deals in secret, and present a final version to Congress for an up or...

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Fast Track a Bad Deal for Farmers and Our Food System, 110+ groups say

10 April, 2015 - 22:16
Language:  English IATP author(s):  Karen Hansen-Kuhn File:  2015_04_13 _FastTrackLetter_PR.pdf WASHINGTON, D.C.– Over 110 farm, food and consumer groups urged members of Congress in a letter today to oppose trade promotion authority or “fast track” legislation that would pave the way for trade agreements detrimental to farmers, ranchers and food systems, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). A fast track bill, expected to be introduced this week, would allow the President to negotiate two mega trade deals in secret, and present a final version to Congress for a simple up or down vote—depriving Congress of its right to amend the finalized agreement. The groups expressed concern that pending trade deals would primarily benefit agribusiness corporations and not...

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Food sovereignty: an alternative paradigm for poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation in Latin America

7 April, 2015 - 21:15
Language:  English IATP author(s):  Dr. M. Jahi Chappell Author(s) (external):  Hannah Wittman, Christopher M Bacon, Bruce G Ferguson, Luis García Barrios, Raúl García Barrios, Daniel Jaffee, Jefferson Lima, V Ernesto Méndez, Helda Morales, Lorena Soto-Pinto, John Vandermeer, Ivette Perfecto File:  chappell_f1000_dec_2013.pdf Abstract Strong feedback between global biodiversity loss and persistent, extreme rural poverty are major challenges in the face of concurrent food, energy, and environmental crises. This paper examines the role of industrial agricultural intensification and market integration as exogenous socio-ecological drivers of biodiversity loss and poverty traps in Latin America. We then analyze the potential...

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Extending the Growing Season

7 April, 2015 - 05:00
Subtitle:  High Tunnels Use and Farm to School in the Upper Midwest Language:  English IATP author(s):  Pete Huff File:  2015_04_02_SeasonExtension_PH.pdf Introduction The Upper Midwestern states of Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin are simultaneously known for their cold winters and their high agriculture production. Like many states in the country, these states are experiencing increased interest in local and regional food procurement, particularly from institutions such as schools, childcare centers, universities and hospitals. While many farms in the Upper Midwest only produce during the typical growing season of mid-May through early October,1 the use of technology and practices to extend the growing season is rising, in...

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