International Day of Peasant Struggle – Farmers and Allies Converge in Chicago on Mon. April 17th to Demand an End to Price Fixing and Land Grabbing – Food Sovereignty Now!


Contact: John E. Peck, Family Farm Defenders #608-345-3918
12:00 Noon Chicago Mercantile Exchange (141 W. Jackson) Leaflet and Speakout Against Commodity Price Fixing and Demanding Food Sovereignty

2:00 pm TIAA Financial Services (200 N. La Salle Dr.) Leaflet and Speakout Against Land Grabbing by Pension Fund Speculators

5:00 pm DePaul University – Lincoln Park Campus, Rm. 103 McGowan South (1110 W. Belden Ave.) Community Potluck & Seed Swap;  La Via Campesina Video and Report Back on the International Conference on Agrarian Reform, held in Maraba, Brazil in April 2016 – the 20th anniversary of the massacre at Eldorado dos Carajas with Jeff Frank of the Friends of the MST (Landless Workers Movement) of Brazil; Food Sovereignty Forum with speakers: Joel Greeno (Family Farm Defenders), Jessica Fujian (Food and Water Watch) and Amy Mall (Family Farm Defenders), among others followed by audience discussion.  Hosted by the
DePaul University Steans Center for Community-based Service Learning and Community Service Studies.
For over a decade now FFD and its allies have protested outside the front door of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) to mark the International Day of Peasant Struggle in solidarity with La Via Campesina, the largest umbrella organization for family farmers, fishers, herders, hunters, gatherers, foresters, and indigenous peoples in the world.  As the dominant commodity trading platform, the CME determines farmgate prices that ultimately dictate the fate of people across the planet.  Without effective government oversight, this “thin market” is easily manipulated by agribusiness giants, which is why FFD will be holding a speak out against the CME’s complicity in bankrupting family farmers and price gouging consumers.
This year, FFD will also be shining a spotlight on another little known perpetrator of injustice in our food/farm system – namely TIAA, one of the world’s largest pension fund managers.  Given their vast investment clout, TIAA is now the second largest landowner in the U.S. and is pursuing other speculative landgrabbing from Brazil to Australia.  This callous “profit over people” strategy, however, is causing massive deforestation, aggravating climate change, and driving small farmers off their land.   On Thurs. April 20th a coalition of environmental, human rights, labor, and farm organizations will be delivering over 100,000 signatures to the head office of TIAA in New York City, calling on them to adopt a more responsible investment policy that does not entail destroying forests and evicting farmers. 
For more details on the April 20th NYC action, please visit:
“The world can no longer tolerate such unethical mercenary behavior from the likes of the CME or TIAA if we want to guarantee the future livelihood of our family farmers and the basic right of everyone to enjoy nutritious, healthy, and culturally appropriate food,” noted John E. Peck, executive director of Family Farm Defenders. “The only real solution to the global food crisis is to restore democratic control over our entire agricultural system – and that is why we will be coming to Chicago on April 17th to demand food sovereignty now.”
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Twice the Toxicity: Farmers and Public Interest Groups Sue EPA for Approving Dow’s Deadly Pesticide Combo


March 21, 2017


Courtney Sexton; 202-547-9359,

Paul Achitoff; 808-599-2436,

Stephanie Parent; 971-717-6404, sparent@biologicaldiversity. org

Linda Wells; 563-940-1242,

Jay Feldman; 202-255-4296,

EPA approval of Dow AgroScience’s Enlist Duo will lead to sharply increased spraying of toxic pesticides, harming farmers, neighboring crops, and wildlife

SAN FRANCISCO—Today farmers, conservation groups, and food and farm justice organizations stood up to protest against the contamination of rural communities, our food supply, and the environment by filing a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration. The groups are suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under new administrator Scott Pruitt for approving Dow AgroScience’s Enlist Duo, a mixture of the weed-killing chemicals glyphosate and 2,4-D—both of which are known to be highly toxic. The novel combo pesticide is sprayed directly on corn, soybean, and cotton plants that are genetically engineered by Dow specifically to survive exposure to the pesticide. EPA approved the use of the pesticide in 34 states.

Farmers will be hit hard by the human health harms of Enlist Duo, and are put at risk financially by 2,4-D’s known tendency to volatize, drift, and damage neighboring crops. The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects  that Enlist Duo’s approval will lead to as much as a seven-fold increase in agricultural use of 2,4-D—a component of the infamous Vietnam-era defoliant “Agent Orange”, which has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and other reproductive problems. The other component of Enlist Duo is glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s flagship pesticide Roundup. Glyphosate was classified as a probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organization in 2015.

This is the second lawsuit the groups have had to bring over the product. After the groups challenged its initial approval in 2014, the Obama Administration agreed to re-analyze some of its impacts. Unfortunately, EPA then re-affirmed its original approval and dramatically expanded it, allowing Enlist Duo to be sprayed in more than twice as many states and on cotton in addition to corn and soybeans.

Enlist crops and Enlist Duo are part of a disturbing, industry-wide trend where crops are genetically engineered to withstand multiple pesticides, allowing pesticide companies like Dow and Monsanto to sell both expensive GE seeds and large quantities of the pesticide cocktails that are sprayed on them. While these GE crop systems initially provide a quick-fix way to kill weeds, the intensive spraying triggers rapid evolution of weed resistance to the chemicals. Just as overuse of antibiotics breeds resistant bugs and more antibiotics to kill them, so these GE crop systems drive a toxic spiral of increasing weed resistance and pesticide use.

In addition to health risks, significant crop damage from pesticide drift, and increases in both weed resistance and pesticide use, spraying Enlist Duo on millions of acres will contaminate waterways and important wildlife habitat. EPA’s own assessments found that Enlist Duo is highly toxic to numerous plants and animals, including endangered and threatened species found in or near agricultural fields.

The petitioners bringing the lawsuit are National Family Farm Coalition, Family Farm Defenders, Pesticide Action Network North America, Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety, and Center for Biological Diversity, represented jointly by legal counsel from Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety.



“Further industrialization of agriculture through Dow’s chemical solutions will lead to fewer family farmers, more pollution and more resistant weeds, but that will be okay for chemical companies like Dow with only one solution to every problem in agriculture—a sledge hammer of more chemicals and the GMOs immune to them.  Enlist Duo’s own label recognizes there may be weed biotypes already resistant to glyphosate or 2,4-D,” said George Naylor of the National Family Farm Coalition, who farms non-genetically-engineered crops in Iowa.

Jim Goodman, Family Farm Defenders board member and organic farmer from Wonewoc, Wisconsin, commented: “Roundup was initially touted as a replacement for older, more dangerous chemicals like 2,4-D. Now that Roundup, the widely used carcinogenic pesticide is failing to kill weeds, Dow is bringing back 2,4-D and teaming them up to create a more toxic mix than ever. Will the buffer strips on my organic farm be adequate protection from the more volatile drift-prone nature of 2,4-D? I should not be put in the position to find out.”

“Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration are endangering farmers and the environment by caving to Big Ag and approving this highly toxic pesticide combo,” said Sylvia Wu, staff attorney for Center for Food Safety and legal counsel in the case. “Fortunately we have laws written to protect farmers and the environment, and we intend to have the Court enforce them.”

Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff commented: “EPA knows that spraying a hundred thousand tons of this pesticide on millions of acres every year will threaten the survival and recovery of some of our most iconic endangered species, but it refuses to follow the law that protects them. We will hold EPA accountable.”

“The lack of vision and oversight by our federal agencies is outrageous,” said Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, PhD, senior scientist at Pesticide Action Network North America. “By continuing to defer to the pesticide industry’s every wish, EPA shirks its duty to protect the health of rural communities and the livelihoods of farmers. It also locks us into a failed and obsolete model of chemical-intensive agriculture, rather than spearheading a transition to the healthy, vibrant food and farming system that Americans deserve. ”

“EPA’s registration of Enlist Duo, which causes unreasonable adverse effects to health and the environment, is responsible for increased 2,4-D use –as much as a seven-fold increase to 176 million per year by 2020, without the economic return achieved by those who practice sustainable organic production,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides.

“In reissuing an expanded approval for this toxic chemical cocktail, the EPA has shown an utter disregard for human health, our drinking water and endangered species like the iconic whooping crane,” said Stephanie Parent, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The law requires reasonable safeguards and the EPA has left us with no choice but to force the issue in this suit.”



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Sixth Annual John Kinsman Beginning Farmer Food Sovereignty Prize will be Awarded by Family Farm Defenders to Eduardo Rivera of Sin Fronteras Farm and Food on Sat. March 11th 6:00 pm at UW-Madison’s Union South as Part of the Food Sovereignty Symposium and Festival!

For Immediate Release: 3/3/17
Contact: John E. Peck, executive director, Family Farm Defenders #608-260-0900
EduardoSinFronteraSixth Annual John Kinsman Beginning Farmer Food Sovereignty Prize will be Awarded by Family Farm Defenders to Eduardo Rivera of Sin Fronteras Farm and Food on Sat. March 11th 6:00 pm at UW-Madison’s Union South as Part of the Food Sovereignty Symposium and Festival!
Family Farm Defenders is pleased to announce the winner of this year’s John Kinsman Beginning Farmer Food Sovereignty Prize: Eduardo Rivera of Sin Fronteras Farm and Food! Eduardo is a young immigrant from Zacatecas, Mexico, who’s dream is to one day own his own farm. Currently, he must commute an hour to his leased land near Stillwater, MN, where he grows wholesale produce for sale to many Twin City co-ops, and also offers a culturally appropriate CSA for the Latin@ community. He serves on the board of the National Young Farmers Coalition and was recently profiled in a New York Times 4/25/16 article titled “Growing Organics Sin Fronteras.”  For a video about Sin Fronteras visit: rmM9GH9xdSk
Eduardo will be receiving a $2000 cash prize, as well as a local food fair trade gift basket, at an award dinner to be held on Sat. March 11th at 6:00 pm at UW-Madison’s Union South – Varsity Hall. The keynote speaker for this year’s ceremony is Dr. Martin Reinhardt, Anishinaabe Ojibway citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe and Associate Professor of Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University who will be speaking on “Decolonizing the Diet.”
The Beginning Farmer Food Sovereignty Prize is named after FFD founder and longtime president, John Kinsman, who dedicated his life to advocating for family farming and food sovereignty. John passed away in Jan. 2014, but Family Farm Defenders is extremely proud to continue this award in his honor and to further his legacy.  Many members of the extended Kinsman family will be in attendance at this year’s award dinner.
Previous prize winners include in 2011: Lindsey Morris Carpenter of Grassroots Farm, near Monroe, WI, and Daniel and Hannah Miller of Easy Yoke Farm near Millville MN;  in 2012:  Nancy and Jeff Kirstein, Good Earth Farm, Lennox SD and Tracy and Dick Vinz, Olden Produce, Ripon, WI; in 2014:  Blain Snipstal of Five Seeds Farm near Sparks, MD and Jed Schenkier and Will Pool of Loud Grade Produce Squad in Chicago, IL; in 2015: Carsten Thomas from Moorhead, MN and Emmet Fisher and Cella Langer with Oxheart Farm near Mt. Horeb, WI; and in 2016: Donald (Jahi) Ellis from Vidalia, GA and Polly Dalton and Oren Jakobson with Field Notes Farm near Custer, WI.
Other Food Sovereignty Symposium events before the dinner will also feature FFD speakers, such as the Wed. March 8th 7:00 pm screening of the film, Seed, the Untold Story, with a followup discussion with John Peck, FFD executive director; Sat. March 11th 1:00 pm Food Sovereignty and the WI Idea panel with organic dairy farmer and FFD board member, Jim Goodman, as well as the Sat. March 11th 3:00 pm Leadership for Food Sovereignty panel with Patty Lovera, assistant director of Food and Water Watch and FFD board member.
For a complete schedule of events, please visit:
Conference is free, but tickets are required for the meals featuring native foods (students half price).
Advance registration closes on Mon. March 6th.
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Join FFD for the 6th Annual John Kinsman Prize Award on Sat. March 11th at UW-Madison, held in conjunction with the Food Sovereignty Symposium and Festival!

cropped-cornThis year’s 6th Annual John Kinsman Beginning Farmer Food Sovereignty Prize Award Ceremony will be held on Sat. March 11th at UW-Madison’s Union South, Varsity Hall, with a reception at 5:30 pm and award dinner at 6:00 pm  Tickets for the award banquet are $35 and can be purchased online at:
This year’s award dinner is being held in conjunction with a much larger and exciting first ever Food Sovereignty Symposium and Festival, being held at various UW-Madison venues and other Madison locations over the course of the week of March 7th – 12th.
For a full schedule of events, please visit:
The symposium focuses on ways that communities and individuals seek to control and manage their food systems, including food sovereignty issues for Wisconsin’s American Indian communities.   The festival celebrates Indigenous, local, and regional foods, with a variety of special meals and movies throughout the week.   Highlights include:
Tues. March 7th – 7:00 pm Food Sovereignty Film Shorts, Union South Marquee Theater
Wed. March 8th – 7:00 pm  Madison Premier of Seed – The Untold Story, Union South Marquee Theater
Fri. March 10th – 9:30 am morning session on Genetic sovereignty: seeds, breeds and wild species
Fri. March 10th – 1:00 pm afternoon session on Food Sovereignty and the Law
Fri. March 10th – Native Fish Fry
Sat. March 11th – 10:00 am small plates brunch, and morning keynotes by Rowen White, Seed Keeper from the Mohawk community of Akwesasne and Elizabeth Hoover, Dept. of American Studies at Brown University
Sat. March 11th – 1:00 and 3:30 pm afternoon sessions on:  Food Sovereignty and the Wisconsin Idea; Access to Land, Markets, and Food; Health and Food Sovereignty; Cuisine of this Place; Food Sovereignty in Dane County; and Leadership for Food Sovereignty
Sat. March 11th 5:00 reception; 6:00 pm dinner and John Kinsman Prize awards with keynote address on Decolonizing Our Diet by Dr. Martin Reinhardt, Anishinaabe Ojibway citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and Associate Professor of Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University.
Sun. March 12th  8:00 – 10:00 am Family Farm Defenders Annual Meeting
Sun. March 12th 10:30 am  brunch and native chef panel
Hope you can join us and please spread the word!
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Family Farm Defenders is seeking nominations and sponsorships for the 2017 John Kinsman Beginning Farmer Food Sovereignty Prize!


Deadline to submit your nominee for the 2017 John Kinsman Prize is Jan. 16th!
The criteria to be nominated include: jk
Engaged in own farm for less than 5 years        
Small scale livestock and/or vegetable and/or fruit production
Market products locally
Practice sustainable management of natural resources
Promote healthy soil
Conserve biodiversity
Support food sovereignty principles
Winners of the prize will be honored at an award dinner held in conjunction with the Food Sovereignty Symposium and Celebration at UW-Madison on Sat. March 11th, 2017
Please send name(s) and complete contact information of your nominee(s) by Jan. 16th, 2017 to:
Family Farm Defenders PO Box 1772 Madison, WI 53701
Tel/Fax. 608-260-0900   or  email: 
Sponsors of the 2017 John Kinsman Prize will also receive mention in the celebration program, and any sponsorship donation over $100 will also receive two complimentary tickets to the award dinner itself.
Tax deductible donations to “Family Farm Defenders” can be sent to the address above.  You can also make an online donation through Razoo on our website:
Previous prize winners include: 2011: Lindsey Morris Carpenter of Grassroots Farm, near Monroe, WI, and Daniel and Hannah Miller of Easy Yoke Farm near Millville MN; in 2012: Nancy and Jeff Kirstein, Good Earth Farm, Lennox SD and Tracy and Dick Vinz, Olden Produce, Ripon, WI; 2014: Blain Snipstal of Five Seeds Farm near Sparks, MD and Jed Schenkier and Will Pool of Loud Grade Produce Squad in Chicago, IL; 2015 Carsten Thomas of Moorhead, MN and Polly Dalton and Oren Jakobson of Field Notes Farm near Amherst, WI; and in 2016 Donald (Jahi) Ellis from Vidalia, GA and Emmet Fisher and Cella Langer of Oxheart Farm near Mt. Horeb, WI.
Thanks for your support of food sovereignty and please spread the word!
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