2004 Legislative Agenda
In 2004, CT NOFA had legislative success working with coalitions to pass Climate Change Legislation and to keep the Department of Agriculture separate. CT NOFA is always in favor of Farmland Protection and is a member of the Working Lands Alliance as well as having a representative as vice president of the board of the Connecticut Farmland Trust.
CT NOFA weighed in less successfully on pesticide legislation (not in schools and no selling near food) and GMO labeling (very powerful forces are against this but the new leader of the Senate introduced the GMO labeling bill last year). These last two and the invasive plants issues are hot button topics on the other side for some folks we might like to work with otherwise.
Bills in the Connecticut Legislature to support:
- S.B. 109 that increases funding for the Farmers Market Senior Nutrition program would provide important benefits to both senior citizens and farmers. The growing number and success of Farmers Markets in Connecticut is an important element in our state's nutrition and food security,
- CT NOFA strongly supports the preservation of farmland in Connecticut as proposed in H.B. 5211. For freshness, flavor, sustainability and widespread understanding of our connection to the Earth, we need to grow more of our food locally.
- CT NOFA's organic land care program (in collaboration with Massachusetts NOFA) has trained about 140 landscape professionals in the methods of organic land care in the past two years. We have also promoted organic land care methods to the general public. These methods, based on the Standards for Organic Land Care which the NOFA Organic Land Care Committee wrote, not only avoid the use of polluting synthetic fertilizers and toxic pesticides, but also forbid the planting of invasive plants. Because of this, we support the efforts to ban the sale and importation of invasive plants in H.B. 5305.
- We also support H.B. 6547 regulating the storage of pesticides in retail establishments. Personally, I've been working for two decades to decrease our use of these lawn care chemicals that are derived from our country's chemical warfare materials of the Vietnam era. Our work with organic land care has shown that these chemicals are not only dangerous, but also are unnecessary. Certainly we should not be polluting indoor air with these toxic materials.
- Support S.B. 1045, an act concerning Genetically Engineered Foods. As you may know, organic agriculture and land care forbids the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). For organic agriculture, GMOs are pollution, threatening to pollute organic crops. Seeing these human created genetic aberrations, which are largely designed as sales tools for herbicides, as dangerous pollution is easy when we look at the two major US corporations which produce and benefit from GMOs. They are the same corporations which created and distributed PCBs, Chloroflurocarbons and Agent Orange, put lead in gasoline, as well as spread a broad range of other toxic substances all over the Earth. The president of our Board remarked that this labeling legislation is "So important and crucial." It is a basic right to know what is in our food. Recent surveys of public opinion have found overwhelming public support for the labeling of GMOs in food in Connecticut and in the United States.
In Congress, support:
- The Leahy-Snowe Organic Restoration Act (S. 457) and the Farr-Kind bill (H.R.955) to repeal Section 771 from the Omnibus Appropriations bill and restore the integrity of the National Organic Program.