Monday, September 29, 2008

California Adopts GE Protections for Farmers

Good news came this weekend (which is amazing considering all that's going on). AB 541 was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger on Saturday, September 27. The bill, a landmark piece of legislation, brings much-needed regulation to genetically engineered (GE) crops.

AB 541 indemnifies California farmers who have not been able to prevent the inevitable - the drift of GE pollen or seed onto their land and the subsequent contamination of non-GE crops. Currently, farmers with crops that become contaminated by patented seeds or pollen have been the target of harassing lawsuits brought by bio tech patent holders, most notoriously Monsanto. Further, if their contaminated crops cause harm to other farmers, the environment or consumers, they have not been protected from that liability. AB 541 provides protections for farmers from such liability.

The bill was unique in that it had some unlikely sponsors all working together including the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Earthbound Farm, California Certified Organic Farmers, and the California Farm Bureau, that has opposed any regulations or restrictions for GE crops in the past.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Its Pumpkin Time!!!

Well, the book talk went pretty well I think, there were only a few people who seemed to drift off to sleep!

Since I was talking about the wonderful Ishibashi farm last night and how they might still have corn left, I wanted to give everyone an update. They do have corn left and they also have the first of the season pumpkins! I took home a couple of "munchkins" for my table and am going to go back when they get more. Just don't wait too long, they will go fast since they not only have their sign up (see below) but I saw the guys moving the big pumpkin decoration out of storage and getting ready to set it up!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

LA Farm Girl Book Talk Tonight

I just thought I'd post a note to let everybody know that tonight I will be giving a brief talk and book signing for my book, Farming in Torrance and The South Bay. I will be talking about our wonderful farm families and their many lasting contributions to our community. I am finishing up my Power Point now and I hope it comes out OK!

Let me know if you are a blog reader, I'd love to actually meet somebody who reads it.

Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Katy Geissert Civic Center Library Meeting Room
Address: 3301 Torrance Boulevard, Torrance, 90503
Phone: (310) 618-5959

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Number of Farmers' Markets Continues to Rise

I got a blurb in my email box this morning about a survey conducted by the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS) that indicates that as of August 2008, there are 4,685 farmers' markets in the United States. This represents a 6.8 percent increase from August 2006, when there were 4,385.

When they first started tracking markets in 1994, there were about 3,500. AMS maintains a database of nationwide markets, so for those traveling out of California, you can check it out before you go:

And for those of us living here in LA, according to the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures there are over 100 certified farmers' markets in the County, meaning there's bound to be one near you. Check them out:
We also have some of the most diverse markets in the nation. We have the almost carnival-like atmosphere of the Sunday Hollywood Farmers' Market:
And, the relaxing and beautiful coast alongside the Thursday, Redondo Beach Farmers' Market.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Honoring Our Farmers

Well, I haven't really wanted to "use" my blog to "sell" my book. But then I got to thinking, I did the book to tell the stories of our South Bay farmers and unless I talk about it, and sell it, then I can't talk about them.

So, as you can see by the little announcement at the top of this blog, my book officially went on sale on Monday (it should be at most local bookstores by the end of the week and I am giving several presentations and signing books so check out the event section to find them). It's called Farming in Torrance and the South Bay and its a pictorial history book that tells the story of those who made up our once thriving agricultural industry.

It also includes modern urban agriculture in the last section. And, one of the few people in my book and in our area who actually bridges both our farming past and present, is Tom Ishibashi (pictured here in February).
He is not one to boast or to brag about himself, but since my new Farm Aid T-Shirt asks the question, "Who's Your Farmer Hero," I will brag for him by saying that my answer is "Tom Ishibashi."

He is part of a family that has farmed in the South Bay for the past 100 years and that has contributed to our local economy through the hard work of farming, starting first as dry farmers!

His farm at the Torrance Airport is the last "traditional" farm in Torrance and the long lines at his produce stand on Crenshaw Boulevard that start forming when his first strawberries appear in spring attest to the fact that we are appreciative of his life's work and hope that he continues to farm.

If you haven't been fortunate enough to try his wonderful produce, make sure you stop by the stand at 24955 Crenshaw Boulevard. He has strawberries in spring, and the sweetest corn you ever tasted starting in summer and he also grows a variety of veggies including tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, and coming soon watch for pumpkins.

He is also one of the quickest and funniest men I have ever meant and is always good for giving me a laugh. I want to thank Tom for telling me his story, taking me out to the fields to take photos and actually posing for me even though he is camera shy.