Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer 2012 Transitions

Mandatory labeling of GMO's, Clean Air Cities, Urban Farming Guys, California Homemade Food Act (AB1616), 1500th member of Transition California community, and extremely hot weather are the subjects of the Transition California 2012 Summer. 

It is the current heat wave that has us in front of the computers with the swamp cooler blowing on our backsides as we play a good game of catch up with all of the SeThInk Media sponsored networks.  Our last TCA network updates and broadcasts were in April so a great deal of things have happened for everyone and we hope to hear some news from you via blog post or simple sharing of media. 

Mandatory Labeling of GMO's

California is poised to become a GMO Free Zone and the rest of the country and even the world has their eyes on this November's vote.  Everyone has a right to know what is in their food and if you are as passionate as most people are about this issue then now is the time to help make sure this new law passes.  

Informing and educating people who do not know about GMO's is the best way to make sure the public is not fooled by any of the 'It's perfectly safe and feeding the world" propaganda coming from opposition interests.  Here is a blog that has great videos that can be easily shared via email.

Clean Air Cities

What does Berkeley, Santa Monica, Arcata, Oxnard, Santa Cruz, Richmond, Los Angeles, and 26 other major cities across the United States have in common?  They have all passed Clean Air Cities resolutions.  

"The Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute has launched “Clean Air Cities,” a nationwide campaign urging cities around the United States to call on the Obama administration and the EPA to use the Clean Air Act to make significant reductions in greenhouse gas pollution.
Click on this image to check out our full-sized map of Clean Air Cities that have approved resolutions.
It’s clear that climate change is here now and already having a profound effect on the places we live, the natural resources we depend on and the species that provide rich biodiversity around the planet. We need to take significant steps now to curb greenhouse gas pollution and avoid the worst effects of runaway global climate change.
Cities across the country can be a powerful voice for prompting action in Washington. That’s why the Center is calling on volunteers from coast to coast to urge their local elected officials to pass resolutions in support of the EPA using the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon in our atmosphere to no more than 350 parts per million — the level scientists say is needed to avoid catastrophic climate change."

The Center is providing all the materials needed, including a sample city resolution and supporting documents. There’s also an online community through their Facebook page, where you can provide updates, ask questions and get support from other volunteers. They can connect you with others in your community and support you every step of the way.

Urban Farming Guys 

This past spring we found the "Urban Farming Guys" and we knew we had found a story and media resource that was not only the perfect example of what 'Transition' means but an inspiration that is spreading like 'green fire' across the country.  Check out this video and be sure to visit their website!


Currently in California if you were to make some jam or bake a cake and sell it to the public - like at a farmers market or bake sale - you are breaking the law if it is not prepared in a commercial kitchen.  Setting up a commercial kitchen is a huge investment and without some working capital pretty much prohibits the ambitious baker/cook from making a living selling their home made recipes and goods.  

That will change if AB1616, proposed by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) becomes law.  32 other States have 'Cottage Food' laws that allow small-scale food sales from private kitchens.  This law does not include potentially hazardous food (PHF) like cheeses or meats but is meant to cover foods that are safely held and eaten at room temperature.  

Cottage food makers would still be subject to regulations like labeling and they would have to register within their local county.  They would also have to allow their kitchens to be inspected if a consumer complaint warrants it but inspection is not a prerequisite for registration.  

This has already passed the State Assembly and is currently in the Senate with its next hearing set for August 16th.  

This law would allow an enormous amount of economic and health benefits and the language reads:

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Small businesses have played an important role in helping slow economies recover and prosper as an engine of job creation. During the 1990s, small businesses created the majority of new jobs and now account for 65 percent of United States employment.
(b) California, and the United States as a whole, are facing growing obesity and obesity-related disease epidemics.
(1) Two-thirds of American adults and nearly one-third of children and teens are obese or overweight, placing them at risk for developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
(2) One in every nine California children, one in three teens, and over half of adults are already overweight or obese. This epidemic affects virtually all Californians.
(3) These health conditions are preventable and curable through lifestyle choices that include consumption of healthy fresh foods.
(c) For decades, low-income and rural communities have faced limited opportunities to purchase healthy foods. Often, without cars or convenient public transportation options, low-income residents in these areas must rely for much of their shopping on expensive, fatty, processed foods sold at convenience and corner stores.
(d) There is a growing movement in California to support community-based food production, sometimes referred to as “cottage food,” “artisanal food,” “slow food,” “locally based food,” or “urban agriculture” movements. These movements seek to connect food to local communities, small businesses, and environmental sustainability.
(e) Increased opportunities for entrepreneur development through microenterprises can help to supplement household incomes, prevent poverty and hunger, and strengthen local economies.
(f) At least 32 other states have passed laws that allow small business entrepreneurs to use their home kitchens to prepare, for sale, foods that are not potentially hazardous.
(g) Even some bake sales are currently illegal in California.
(h) It is the intent of the Legislature to enact a homemade food act specifically designed to help address these challenges and opportunities.

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