Tom Fiegen in Fairfield 06-06-15 (Dawn’s report)

Report from Dawn:

I had a wonderful day at Fairfield listening to Tom Fiegen discuss food and climate issues with Jefferson County folks.  (Saturday, June 06, 2015)

When I said I was a member of 100Grannies, everyone had heard of us and most said, “Wow!”

I told Fred Rosenberg that I’d keep in touch about Thomas Linzey’s visit and our plans for Democracy School.

Tom Fiegen would like to talk with the Grannies.  The environmental issues he mentioned today included getting the nitrates washed off of tiled fields to be designated point pollution sources so they can be regulated; changing zoning to limit the number of animals per unity of land; and decreasing our carbon footprint by switching to small farms growing local and organic foods.  He said that farmers with CAFOs are paid $8 per hog, are not allowed to refuse any hogs sent to them (not even sick ones), and that Cargill mandates a high protein diet that the pigs cannot digest after they reach a certain age.  This faulty digestion is a big part of the odor problem, but now that China has bought Smithfield, the Chinese corporation is planning on using an enzyme that decreases the odor substantially.  (No one knows what the enzyme is or how it will affect the hogs or the environment.)  Also Terry Branstad’s friend Gross is a member of the law firm that writes the CAFO contracts and Branstad is an active promoter of CAFOs.

Tom’s goal is to help rewrite the 2019 Farm Bill with most of the aid going to farmers with less than 400 acres, some going to those with 400 to 1000 acres and none to the big corporate farm corporations.

He is advocating local food systems as Iowa’s way to gain importance.  He mentioned that before Iowa started growing commodity crops we had 11 Representatives; now we have 4.  He believes that switching to local food (as opposed to corn and beans agriculture) will bring young families back to Iowa.  His vision is a couple on an acreage with one of them holding a regular job until they are established as organic growers with contacts who will buy their produce.  With the draught in California, it is a good time for Iowa to create orchards.

Local foods and being a good neighbor are concepts that have been well received in throughout Iowa.

What is the procedure to see if the Grannies would like to have a discussion with Tom?


This was the schedule for today:

Maharishi World Peace Vedic Organic Greenhouse-Tour by Maharishi Vedic City Mayor Bob Wynne

Local Food Systems – Barbara Stone, Director, SE Iowa Food Hub, Stuart Valentine, Director, BioMimicry Local Food Systems Challenge, Fred Rosenberg, M.U.M. Permaculture Club Newsletter

Genetic Engineering – Steve Druker, (by phone) Executive Director, author of new book: Twisted Genes, Altered Truth and Anne Dietrich, Director, Truth in Labeling Coalition

Addressing Hunger – Chad Romer, Director, Carry on Bags – a Jefferson County program to send non-perishable food home with school kids on Friday afternoon), Harold and Louise Frakes, Owners, A Place in the Heart/Brighton Community Garden; Steve Winn, Director, Fairfield Soup Kitchen.  (All programs were designed to be discrete.  Steve Winn said that he originally thought that young women who bought lattes at Starbucks didn’t need to come for a free meal, then he realized that someone who needed to maintain her social position by spending her limited money on a status coffee item really did need both, position and nourishment. I hope you will get to watch the video as he said it very beautifully.)

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