3RD ANNUAL COMMUNITY COMPETITION TO BUILD GIANT SCULPTURES OUT OF FOOD: Community Members compete to help MOM End Hunger in this Community

Join Middleton Outreach Ministry at the free and family-friendly third annual Madison-area Canstruction® Competition on Thursday, May 2nd at KEVA Sports Center in Middleton.

Canstruction® Madison is a competition where community members come together to build incredible, highly imaginative structures out of canned goods and packaged food. After the structures are built and the winners are declared, all food used in the structures is donated to the MOM Food Pantry. During the first two years, the event raised nearly 90,000 pounds of food in total.

The community event on May 2 will be great fun for the whole family. Besides viewing and voting for favorite structures, there will be food concessions, children’s activities, and free ice cream is provided by The Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream. The event runs from 5-8pm, with the award ceremony beginning at 7pm. Gilbert Brown, Former Green Bay Packer and Super Bowl Champion and founder of the Gilbert Brown Foundation will join Canstruction Madison as this year’s celebrity judge.

The event is presented by Northwestern Mutual—The Kosnick Financial Group. The site is sponsored by KEVA Sports Center. More information about the event can be found at canstructionmadison.org.


FROM SACCHARIN TO GE SEED, REPORT PROFILES
MONSANTO’S HISTORY PEDDLING CHEMICALS FOR FOOD, AGRICULTURE, WAR
From its beginnings as a small chemical company in 1901, Monsanto has grown into the largest biotechnology seed company in the world with net sales of $11.8 billion, 404 facilities in 66 countries across six continents and products grown on over 282 million acres worldwide. In April, the consumer advocacy nonprofit Food & Water Watch released its report, Monsanto: A Corporate Profile.

“There is a growing movement of people around the country who want to take on Monsanto’s undue influence over lawmakers, regulators and the food supply,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “People need to know about Monsanto’s history as a heavy industrial chemical manufacturer; a reality at odds with the environmentally friendly, feed-the-world image that the company spends millions trying to convey.”

The report offers a timeline of milestones in the company’s history including chemical disasters, mergers and acquisitions, and the first genetically modified plant cell.
“Despite its various marketing incarnations over the years, Monsanto is a chemical company that got its start selling saccharin to Coca-Cola, then Agent Orange to the U.S. military, and, in recent years, seeds genetically engineered to contain and withstand massive amounts of Monsanto herbicides and pesticides,” said Ronnie Cummins, executive director of Organic Consumers Association. “Monsanto has become synonymous with the corporatization and industrialization of our food supply.” Monsanto: A Corporate Profile can be downloaded at http://fwwat.ch/MonsantoProfile.


LAUTENBERG RENEWS DRIVE TO PROTECT PUBLIC FROM TOXIC CHEMICALS
Legislation introduced in mid-April by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) would overhaul the way synthetic chemicals are regulated. Lautenberg’s proposal would for the first time place the burden of proof on chemical companies to ensure the substances they create in the lab are safe for human health and the environment before they are allowed on the market.

The Safe Chemicals Act of 2013 would revamp the federal Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, the weakest environmental law on the books, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). This law has allowed more than 80,000 chemicals to be grandfathered in or fast-tracked through the loophole-riddled approval process at the Environmental Protection Agency, with little or no safety testing.

Key provisions of the Lautenberg bill would:

  • Ensure that all chemicals on the market are evaluated against a safety standard of “reasonable certainty of no harm,” the gold standard for protecting people, especially children.
  • Require manufacturers to justify all claims of “business confidentiality,” currently invoked to deny the public full disclosure of chemicals, safety tests and other essential data.
  • Ensure that first responders and other public safety personnel have access to important safety information in cases of chemical spills and fires.
  • Require that new chemicals be screened before going on the marketplace.
  • Protect states’ ability to pass safety laws even stronger than federal regulations.

For more on the story, see www.ewg.org.


BILL PROMOTES LOCAL FOOD
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced in Congress the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, which seeks to make fresh, healthy food more accessible to consumers and to support the farmers who grow it.
Brown and Pingree’s bill includes a comprehensive package of cost-effective policy reforms that would boost farmers’ and ranchers’ incomes by helping them meet the growing demand for local and regional food. Given the nation’s costly epidemic of diet-related disease, small investments that increase access to and affordability of healthier food—especially fruits and vegetables—will save billions of dollars in health care costs down the road.

The bill would:

  • Increase support for local food production, aggregation, processing and distribution so that farmers can more easily sell healthy food, including locally raised and processed meat, directly to schools, hospitals, stores and restaurants.
  • Enable schools to use more of their federal food funding to buy fresh, local foods. A pilot program would allow ten school districts to use a percentage of their school lunch commodity dollars to buy food from local farmers and ranchers, instead of through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s national commodity food program.
  • Improve the diets of food stamp recipients and low-income seniors by making it easier for them to use food stamps to purchase healthy fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets, community-supported agriculture programs and other direct food marketing services. This would also provide more income for local farmers and stimulate economic activity in nearby business districts.
  • Diversify and promote production of healthy and sustainable food by improving access to credit, crop insurance and other support for organic producers as well as diversified farming operations and smaller-scale and beginning farmers.

For more information on the bill, see www.ewg.org.


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