Cesar Chavez Comes to Life In Film About California’s Heroic Labor Leader

one Mexican actor-turned-director has made Chavez’s life the subject of a new film – opening in theaters across America this Friday, March 28 – which, for him, was both a cause to educate himself and an invitation to resolve Chavez’s legacy.

“I knew his name and that he was an activist, and part of the movement that had something to do with the farm workers in California,” said director Diego Luna, who starred most recently alongside Matt Damon in last year’s dystopian sci-fi film Elysium. “But I didn’t know what they had achieved, and what he represents. Once I realized there was no film that celebrated his legacy, he became a necessity and it became my priority.”

Luna, who also had a role in the 2008 film Milk, about the life of gay San Francisco politician and activist Harvey Milk, said he took extensive input from the family of Chavez in writing the script.

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Access To Affordable, Healthy Food In Canada’s North Nears Crisis

“Evidence from a variety of sources concludes that food insecurity among northern aboriginal peoples is a problem that requires urgent attention to address and mitigate the serious impacts it has on health and well-being,” the report said.

The cause of food insecurity — the lack of consistent access to an adequate amount of healthy food due to cost or other factors — is complex.

It is more than the high cost of flying food into isolated communities far from distribution centers in the south of Canada. Environmental and cultural as well as economic factors are in play, the researchers said.

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Vertical Farms Sprouting Up All Over The World

URBAN warehouses, derelict buildings and high-rises are the last places you’d expect to find the seeds of a green revolution. But from Singapore to Scranton, Pennsylvania, “vertical farms” are promising a new, environmentally friendly way to feed the rapidly swelling populations of cities worldwide.

In March, the world’s largest vertical farm is set to open up shop in Scranton. Built by Green Spirit Farms (GSF) of New Buffalo, Michigan, it will only be a single storey covering 3.25 hectares, but with racks stacked six high it will house 17 million plants. And it is just one of a growing number.

Vertical farms aim to avoid the problems inherent in growing food crops in drought-and-disease-prone fields many hundreds of kilometres from the population centres in which they will be consumed.

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Heinz Targeted: All Natural Does Not Mean GMO Food

The campaign to require labeling on products containing GMO’s is using the tactic of targeting individual products as well as seeking law demanding labeling. Elaine Watson writes about how Heinz is the latest target. She writes a lawsuit filed in California on March 17 by Debbie Banafsheha alleging false advertising as the term “natural ingredients” does not mean the unnatural GMOs.

“Defendant’s ‘all natural’ representations are false, deceptive, misleading, and unfair to consumers, who are injured in fact by purchasing products that Defendant claims are ‘all natural’ when in fact they are not,” reads the lawsuit, according to FoodNavigator.

Banafsheha calls it “false, deceptive and misleading; and unfair to consumers.” She also notes that consumers can be injured by these products.

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Judge Stops Government-Sanctioned Pollution

A major decision in federal court today will put an end to government-sanctioned pollution that’s been fouling Lake Okeechobee for more than three decades.
The case, first filed in 2002 by Earthjustice, challenged the practice of “backpumping.” For years, South Florida sugar and vegetable growers have used the public’s waters, pumped out of giant Lake Okeechobee, to irrigate their fields. They wash the water over their industrial-sized crops, where it is contaminated with fertilizers and other pollutants. Then, they get taxpayers in the South Florida Water Management District to pay to pump the contaminated water back into Lake Okeechobee, where it pollutes public drinking water supplies. Lake Okeechobee provides drinking water for West Palm Beach, Fort Myers, and the entire Lower East Coast metropolitan area.

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Emergency Action At BP’s Chicago Headquarters

Monday afternoon, March 24, an estimated 500 gallons of oil from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, leaked into Lake Michigan, poisoning the source of drinking water for 7 million people in and around Chicago.

The BP refinery on the lake’s shore has admitted responsibility, but has yet to take sufficient action to ensure the safety of drinking water and the ecosystem.

This serves as further evidence that the reliance on fossil fuels in all its forms has serious and long-term effects on the health of the planet and the people who inhabit it. This is doubly true in the case of the processing of tar sands that goes on at BP’s Whiting facility. This most current spill comes after years of legal challenges to the Whiting plant, which is one of the largest sources of industrial pollution in the nation.

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Did Tar Sands Spill Into The Great Lake?

Is it conventional crude or tar sands? That is the question. And it’s one with high stakes, to boot.

The BP Whiting refinery in Indiana spilled between 470 and 1228 gallons of oil (or is it tar sands?) into Lake Michigan on March 24 and four days later no one really knows for sure what type of crude it was. Most signs, however, point to tar sands.

The low-hanging fruit: the refinery was recently retooled as part of its “modernization project,” which will “provide Whiting with the capability of processing up to about 85% heavy crude, versus about 20% today.”

As Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Midwest Program Director Henry Henderson explained in a 2010 article, “heavy crude [is] code for tar sands.”

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Walmart Admits Public Assistance For Workers Needed For Their Profits

Nestled in the latest annual report from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is a line that underscores just how much the world’s largest general merchandise retailer and its shareholders have depended on public assistance programs in recent years. A couple of items stand as newcomers to Walmart’s menu of risks. Here’s what the annual report released on Friday says: “Our business operations are subject to numerous risks, factors and uncertainties, domestically and internationally, which are outside our control … These factors include … changes in the amount of payments made under the Supplement[al] Nutrition Assistance Plan and other public assistance plans, changes in the eligibility requirements of public assistance plans, …”

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Radical New UN Report On The Right To Food

In calling for democratic control of our food, De Schutter and Patel are threatening the business interests of some of the world’s largest and wealthiest corporations. Given that De Schutter’s report has been submitted to the highest international representatives of civil society, it has the potential to effect change, but only if there is enough pressure from below.

Patel told me the report is “only as good as the mobilization that is able to use it.” Although it provides “ammunition to groups like La Via Campesina in their ongoing fight to be able to democratize the food system,” he warned that there is much work to be done, saying, “we do need to keep organizing and to keep the pressure up and in fact to be dreaming much bigger than we’re allowed to be dreaming by the governments that purport to represent us.”

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Duke Energy Caught Dumping Toxic Waste Into Local Watershed


The revelation comes less than two months after the Dan River disaster, where at least 30,000 tons of coal ash spilled from another of Duke Energy’s toxic coal ash lagoons. The pumping also came just days before a federal grand jury convenes in Raleigh to hear evidence in a criminal investigation of Duke Energy, the North Carolina Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the handling of coal ash.

In these revealing stories in Sunday’s New York Times and Monday’s Los Angeles Times, Duke Energy admitted its workers were pumping coal ash wastewater out of a toxic wastewater pond and into a canal which drains into the Cape Fear River. The Cape Fear River is a source of public drinking water for residents in Fayetteville, Sanford, Dunn, Harnett County, Fort Bragg and Wilmington.

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Avoid Eating Genetically Engineered Foods

Why are thousands of physicians advising patients to avoid eating GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) [1] and how did these high-risk foods get onto the market in the first place? The answers are disturbing, even shocking, but may help you get healthy and stay healthy.

Foods with added bacterial or viral genes were quietly slipped into your diet two decades ago. Using the excuse that GMOs weren’t that much different, the FDA didn’t require labels or even a single safety study from GMO makers like Monsanto. But a lawsuit forced the agency to release their files and the truth finally came out.

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Survey: Organic Farmers Pay The Price For GMO Contamination

As the U.S. Department of Agriculture wraps up its comment period on the feasibility of genetically engineered (GMO) and non-GMO crops to coexist, Food & Water Watch in partnership with the Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM) releases survey results that clearly show contamination from GMO crops is happening and it’s non-GMO farmers who are paying the price. The survey results reveal that the risks and the effects of GMO contamination have unfairly burdened organic and non-GMO farmers with extra work, longer hours and financial insecurity, which has led to a general skepticism of coexistence amongst the organic community. Five out of six responding farmers are concerned about GMO contamination impacting their farm, with 60 percent saying they are extremely concerned. One out of three responding farmers have dealt with GMO contamination on their farm. Of those contaminated farmers, over half have been rejected by their buyers for that reason. They reported a median cost of a rejected semi load (approximately 1,000 bushels) of $4,500.

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Grassroots Organizing Rescued West Virginia’s Water Crisis

Only a few hours after news of the spill began trickling out, a grassroots group called WV Clean Water Hub had already begun organizing water deliveries through its Facebook page. That quickly turned into a massive community-organized effort supported by new volunteers, as well as long-established grassroots groups in West Virginia — including Aurora Lights, Coal River Mountain Watch, Keeper of the Mountains Foundation, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, and RAMPS. By working to identify communities in need of clean water and supplies, as well as connecting affected communities with volunteers and donors, this wiki-style relief effort has filled the gap left by larger relief organizations.

“There is so much bureaucracy [at the larger relief organizations] that communities fall through the cracks,” said Nate May, a volunteer organizer with WV Clean Water Hub. “We’re hearing directly from the people who need the water. Someone will post on the Facebook page that they need water and we’ll make a meme out of it. Then someone else will post when they can deliver some.”

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California Farmers Demand Fracking Moratorium With Water Crisis

With more than 80,000 farms producing about $45 billion in annual profits, California is the nation’s largest farm state, and agriculture is California’s leading industry. In states like Pennsylvania, Colorado and Ohio, grazing animals have gotten sick and died after drinking fracking runoff and water from farm wells near fracking operations. In Kern County, one farmer lost millions of dollars worth of almond and pistachio crops from groundwater contamination from a nearby oil and gas operation.

“Farmers are vital to a healthy food system and a healthy economy and they must be protected,” said Adam Scow, California campaigns director for Food & Water Watch. “We call on Gov. Brown to place a moratorium on fracking to protect California farmers from the severe threat of fracking.”

“California needs an immediate halt to fracking to protect our state’s precious water from this toxic technique,” said Brian Nowicki of the Center for Biological Diversity. “To safeguard our farmers and others affected by our state’s crippling drought, Gov. Brown should halt fracking in our state to protect the air we breathe and the water we so desperately need.”

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Veolia’s Other Offenses

Profits over people…

Veolia is the largest water privatization business in the world, and has come under attack by water rights activists for many of its contracts that reveal consistent prioritization of private profit at the expense of the environment and public interest. See the 2011 report by Food & Water Watch for more information. While public facilities are accountable to the public, often creating increased transparency and efficiency, private facilities are not. If a company chooses to abuse its privilege by hiking up price rates or cutting costs in ways that are detrimental to the public, it is much more difficult to fight. Worldwide, consumers report that Veolia consistently charges high rates, provides poor service, and fails to make promised improvements.

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