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WESPAC Foundation supports Environmental and Food Justice with a separate listserv used for promoting upcoming events and discussion. WESPAC opposes fracking and two of our members have produced a documentary that highlights Indigenous Peoples’ perspectives on fracking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdwCKzqVRdQ. We have cultivated an extensive cooperative network of food justice activists around the county who seek to expand access to fresh, local food. We also partner with the Wassaic Community Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture): http://wassaiccommunityfarm.com. To get involved or for more information, please contact the office at 914.449.6514 or by email at [email protected]
The bids from private companies to take over the Westchester Airport are due shortly before the rally. Speakers include: George Fuss, Legislator Parker (Dist.-7), Jonathan Wang, and a public health expert. After the rally, we will attend the Board of Legislators regular meeting in the 8th floor of the building, where representatives plan to speak during the public comment period. The rally is permited.
Sponsored by Citizens for a Responsible County Airport, Westchester for Change, WESPAC, Sierra Club, Federated Conservationists of Westchester County, Purchase Environmental Protective Association, Food & Water Watch, Grassroots Environmental Education, We Persist, and Indivisible Westchester.
Citizens for a Responsible County Airport is a nonpartisan grassroots group committed to sustainable, conscientious management and improvement of the airport by holding our government accountable. crcairport.org
Building the Movement for Social & Ecological Justice
Join community organizations in Westchester for a social forum on May 20 to exchange ideas and information, foster solidarity, and celebrate our work to create a more just and equal society. We live in a time of struggle as we witness growing threats to the well-being of our planet and communities, as profit is placed over people and land, and corporations, not citizens, control our democracy.
Yet, we, the people, have the collective power to organize a movement for change. The Westchester Social Forum will provide the space to learn from one another, strengthen our organizing skills, and connect as a community.
The day will include a people’s march, workshops on organizing for social and ecological justice, and a culminating cultural celebration! We hope you can join us!
Construyendo el Movimiento por la Justicia Social y Ecológica
Únase a organizaciones comunitarias en Westchester durante un foro social en mayo para intercambiar ideas e información, fomentar solidaridad y celebrar nuestra labor para crear una sociedad más justa e igualitaria. Estamos viviendo tiempos de lucha, mientras presenciamos crecientes amenazas al bienestar de nuestro planeta y nuestras comunidades, que anteponen la ganancia de dinero por sobre el pueblo y la tierra, y donde las corporaciones, no los ciudadanos, son los que controlan nuestra democracia.
Sin embargo, nosotros, el pueblo, tenemos el poder colectivo de organizar un movimiento por el cambio. El Foro Social de Westchester proveerá el espacio para aprender de unos y otros, fortalecer nuestras habilidades organizativas y conectarnos como una comunidad.
El día incluirá una marcha popular, talleres sobre organización social y justicia ecológica y culminará con una celebración cultural. ¡Esperamos que puedan unirse a nosotros!
Urge Senator Schumer to
Resist Trump’s Anti-Environmental Agenda and Entire Agenda
Thursday, February 2, 2017
Noon – 1:00 pm
Office of Senator Schumer
1 Park St., Peekskill, NY
Donald Trump’s presidency represents nothing less than an all-out war on our climate, environment, and communities. Tell Senator Schumer that we won’t stand for this!
Trump’s administration of Big Business cronies would protect corporate interests while endangering our water, air, and food, threatening our civil rights and safety, and risking climate chaos.
As the nation’s top Democrat, Senator Chuck Schumer must stand strong against Trump’s catastrophic Cabinet appointments and his climate-destroying plans.
DiNapoli: Expansion of Farm-to-School Programs Depends on Innovation and Collaboration
DiNapoli released his report when he toured the Gov. George Clinton Elementary School garden in Poughkeepsie.
“Interest in farm-to-school programs is widespread, but it’s not always easy for school districts across New York to bring fresh, locally produced foods to their students,” DiNapoli said. “We’ve seen many successes on the local level across New York. Local communities and policymakers should consider steps outlined in my report to strengthen these programs to bring more food from local farms to school cafeterias.”
“We are honored to partner with the Poughkeepsie Farm-to-School Project in this mission-critical, equity initiative focused on incorporating fresh, local, healthy foods into the daily diets of the scholars we serve in the district,” said Dr. Nicolé Williams, superintendent of the Poughkeepsie City School District. “The Poughkeepsie Farm-to-School project provides procurement assistance for local foods, professional development in a community of practice around healthy eating and nutrition, access to information and local support on how to start a school garden, and in-school taste testing of healthy fruits and vegetables. As a result of this robust partnership, scholars and families are making data-informed decisions about their food choices.”
“When Farm Project educators arrive at Poughkeepsie schools, the students exclaim with delight and ask what they will be tasting that day,” said Jamie Lovato, education director of Poughkeepsie Farm Project. “Our partnership with Poughkeepsie schools is really changing what kids eat. When students have the opportunities to see where their food comes from while exploring farm fields, cooking simple healthy dishes, and learning their academic curriculum in farm and garden settings, they are more interested in eating local food in their school cafeterias, growing their own food at home, and teaching their families new recipes with local produce.”
DiNapoli’s report, “Locally Grown: Farm-to-School Programs in New York State,” details hurdles school districts face when creating and sustaining such programs. For example, schools face constraints involving staffing and facilities and challenges in purchasing the food.
The report also outlines federal and state initiatives that are intended to encourage farm-to-school programs. New York state’s Farm-to-School Program, created in 2001, is run by the Department of Agriculture and Markets and the State Education Department. In 2015, Ag and Markets awarded close to $325,000 in grants to help build capacity for farm-to-school programs in six areas of the state. The 2016-17 enacted state budget included $550,000 in funding for such initiatives. Federal and state funds are key sources of support for school lunch and breakfast programs. This year’s state budget includes $1.1 billion in federal funding and $34.4 million in state funds for these programs.
According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture national census of farm-to-school programs, 298 districts in New York, or 43 percent of state school districts, reported participating in farm-to-school activities. At least 292 districts maintained school gardens. In total, the 298 school districts with 1,336 schools and nearly 759,000 students reported spending $45,324,500 on local food in New York, with the average school district spending 11 percent of its food budget on local products.
Over the years, the food industry has moved to a system that relies on transporting products long distances and may not track where foods come from. The programs described in the Comptroller’s report found ways to access foods from local producers including new procurement tools added in state and federal laws to assist schools in this effort.
The report describes how six school districts around New York are working to address challenges and bring these programs to their students. For example:
DiNapoli’s report describes the challenges farmers can face in entering a farm-to-school market and competing in school food procurement. Farmers may not be aware of the publications in which schools post their request for bids, or may not be familiar with other aspects of the procurement process such as billing complexities. The expense of complying with food safety processes can also be a barrier, particularly for small vendors.
DiNapoli outlines a set of suggestions for districts and policy makers to consider in building on the statewide farm-to-school program infrastructure, including:
For access to state and local government spending and more than 50,000 state contracts, visit www.openbooknewyork.com. The easy-to-use website was created by DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.
The birth of agro-resistance in Palestine
Jonathan Cook won the 2011 Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism.
His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan
to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s
Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). You can read all of Jonathan’s
recent reports and commentaries on his website, the View from Nazareth:
www.Jonathan-Cook.net and on his blog: www.Jonathan-Cook.net/blog/
When: Wednesday, September 14, 2016, 12pm to 1:30pm
Where: The Fountain in Downtown White Plains (Intersection of Main Street and Mamaroneck Ave), White Plains, NY 10601
Solidarity Vigil with Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance. We will also link to the resistance locally working to STOP the Spectra Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (AIM), which is planned to run next to the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The Spectra AIM Pipeline is being built by the same company as the Dakota Access Pipeline. We will have a few signs but please also bring signs.
Speakers: Ms. Betty Lyons (Onondaga Nation), President of the American Indian Law Alliance and Ms. Karenna Gore, Director for the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, as well as local Westchester County residents who recently traveled to the Sacred Stone Camp in Lakota Territory [North Dakota].
Sponsors: WESPAC Foundation, American Indian Law Alliance, Center for Earth Ethics, Resist Spectra Pipeline, Friends of Turtle Island Committee-WESPAC.
A big thanks to Sadie’s initiative at the Bethel Baptist Community Gardens in White Plains. The WESPAC plot has produced dozens of pounds of fresh produce for the Open Arms Men’s Shelter in downtown White Plains. Thank you, Sadie, and to all who have volunteered!