Register Now for the Western Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (W-SAWG)
Annual meeting in Moscow, Idaho. January 31 - February 2, 2003

W-SAWG announces the details of its 9th annual meeting at the University Inn near the University of Idaho Campus in Moscow, Idaho. The theme this year will be "Building Sustainable Communities". The meeting will begin on Friday, January 31 with a noon luncheon and ends Sunday, February 2 at noon.
Information and registration forms are available on our web site at .

Featured speakers include:

Dana Jackson, Associate Director of the Land Stewardship Project
Dr. Ignacio Chapela, Assistant Professor at University of California-Berkeley
Dr. Charles Benbrook , Benbrook Consulting
Kristin Dawkins, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Reed Smith, President of the National Association of Conservation Districts
Jan Tusick, Mission Mountain Market
Jonda Crosby, AERO
BrightSprit, PEACH
Collette DePhelps-Brown, Rural Roots
Jeff Schahczenski, Western Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

Keynote Speakers:

Dana Jackson, noon luncheon, Friday, Jan 31, Farming with the Wild
Dr. Charles Benbrook, Banquet Dinner, Sat, Feb 1, The 10 biggest shoes to fall in ag. biotech

Background of Speakers:

Dana Jackson, Associate Director of the Land Stewardship Project and co-editor of a recently published book, "The Farm As Natural Habitat".
She is also a member of the steering committee of the Wild Farm Alliance. Dana
challenges the notion that the dominant agricultural landscape - bereft of its original vegetation and wildlife and despoiled by chemical run-off - is inevitable. Her book describes farming systems that produce not only healthful food, but functioning ecosystems and abundant populations of native species. She will discuss how farmers can establish profitable enterprises that promote bio-security without destroying wetlands, and wildlife habitat, and how to communicate to consumers and public policy makers the importance of the connection between the grocery list and the endangered species list. A review of her book is available at:

Dr. Ignacio Chapela, Assistant Professor (Microbial Ecology), Department of
Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, and Scientific Director, The Mycological Facility: Oaxaca, Capulalpam, Oaxaca, Mexico. Dr. Chapela has been the center of a recent controversy when he and his collegue David Quist published an article in the November 2001 issue of Nature that reported that transgenic corn was found in Oaxaca, Mexico. The news was especially troubling because it means that GE corn strains now occupy the center of diversity for the world's maize. It also indicates that the behavior of the introduced DNA is unpredictable and uncontrolled. However, the controversy deepened when in April of this year Nature did an about-face, running an editorial and two letters that were extremely critical of the study's conclusions despite the original paper going through careful peer review. The controversy was fueled by a barrage of emails to a science oriented listserv that were later traced to a public relations firm tied to Monsanto. For an in depth interview of this story see:

Dr. Chapela has also taken important stands on the issue of corporate investment in public university research. A recent statement of his position on this issue is available at:

A Mexican biologist dedicated to ecological research on fungi, Dr. Chapela's career has spanned from a purely biochemical/ecological base in Mexico through research stages in academia (Univ. of Wales, Cornell University) and three years of scientific research in the discovery of new pharmaceuticals with Sandoz, Ltd (Basel), to an involvement in the debate on biodiversity loss, its economic and social consequences, and the perspectives for future action. Returning to Mexico, he helped found the Mycological Facility: Oaxaca, where he now serves as Scientific Director. The Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley, has recently provided a home to build upon his dual interests as a natural scientist and an environmental practitioner.

Dr Charles Benbrook. Dr. Benbrook runs Benbrook Consultant Services, a small consulting firm based in Sandpoint, Idaho. He worked in Washington, D.C. on agricultural policy, science and regulatory issues from 1979 through 1997. He served for 1.5 years as the agricultural staff expert on the Council for Environmental Quality/The White House at the end of the Carter Administration, during a period of intense focus on soil conservation, farmland preservation, and pest management policy. With the election of Ronald Reagan, he moved to Capitol Hill and was the Executive Director of the Subcommittee of the House Committee on Agriculture with
jurisdiction over pesticide regulation, research, trade and foreign agricultural issues, and oversight of the USDA. He worked for the late Congressman George E. Brown, a great champion of agricultural research and progress toward more environmentally friendly technology and farming systems.

Benbrook was recruited to the job of Executive Director, Board on Agriculture of the National Academy of Sciences, in early 1984. During seven-years as ED, he helped establish the Board as a major voice on agricultural science and regulatory policy. In late 1990, he formed Benbrook Consulting Services. Several Board on Agriculture projects in the 1980s addressed the promise of agricultural biotechnology. As a long-time expert in pesticide regulatory law, Benbrook's work extended to agricultural biotechnology issues in the early 1990s. In 1998, he developed Ag BioTech InfoNet, ( one of the Internet's most extensive independent sources of technical, policy, and economic information on biotechnology. For a variety of clients, he has commented extensively on Bt-transgenic plants, resistance management issues, impacts of herbicide tolerant plants on weed management and herbicide use, and the economic impacts of agricultural biotechnologies.

Other long-term activities include work on the implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act, as a consultant to Consumers Union (see the CU FQPA website and participation in the University of Wisconsin-WWF-Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable association potato IPM project. Benbrook has a PhD in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an undergraduate degree from Harvard University.

Read Smith. Mr. Smith is a farmer and conservation leader from St. John, Washington and is current President of the National Association of Conservation Districts. NACD's new president says he learned to be a good land steward from his father and grandfather before him. He has been active in conservation for most of his adult life, both on his own farm and in conservation district, state and national leadership posts. As president-elect, Smith spearheaded NACD's National Farm Bill Task Force, which has developed an action strategy for coming National Farm Bill deliberations. That strategy is designed to help increase funding for conservation efforts while strengthening NACD's bedrock principles of locally led and incentive-driven conservation programs on America's private lands. Read Smith is featured in the February issue of Top Producer Magazine. Writer Darrell Smith does a flashback to a 1993 article on Smith as an innovative conservation farmer and introduces the new NACD president as one who will lead the charge for the concept of green payments. See

Ms. Kristin Dawkins. Kristin is Vice President for International Programs at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Kristin has been with the Institute since 1991. Her own research has focused on food security, environmental policy and intellectual property rights. Kristin travels widely, representing the Institute at a broad range of international negotiations and conferences. She has published numerous articles in journals from the U.S., Europe, Brazil, Malaysia, South Africa and elsewhere. She is the author of Gene Wars: The Politics of Biotechnology and producer of The Ownership of Life: When Patents and Values Clash. Kristin Dawkins came to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy from the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation, where she was senior writer for their international publication Consensus. From 1973 to 1989, Kristin worked in community development and related public policy in Philadelphia. During that period, she served nine years as executive director of the Philadelphia Jobs. In Energy Project, three years with Food and Energy Systems, Inc. and two years as director of research and public policy for the Institute for the Study of Civic Values. In addition, she helped coordinate several coalitions including the Pennsylvania Energy Ratepayers Coalition and the Community Labor Alliance and taught "Spanish for Activists" for six years. In each of these positions, Kristin's work has emphasized the role of citizens in policy formulation. You can access the Institute for Agricultural Trade Policy at:

Jan Tusick As the Program Manager of the Mission Mountain Market Project (MMMP) Jan is responsible for developing and implementing the project's strategic plans and providing day-to-day oversight of project development activities. She develops partnerships and cooperative agreements with statewide agencies and organizations regarding value added agriculture and entrepreneurship programs; establishes links between the agricultural community and the MMMP; and creates, with the advisory committee and development center participants, supportive programs for the processing center and enterprise development center. You can access Mission Mountain Market on the Internet at Jan also lives on an 80-acre organic farm in the Mission Valley of northwest Montana with her husband Will and son Joey. The farm supports a 150 head ewe herd and produces grass fed natural lamb, certified organic garlic and market produce.

Jonda Crosby. Jonda is the sustainable agriculture program manager for the Alternative Energy Resource Organization (AERO). She works with Montana farmers and ranchers, retailers and consumers to localize and revitalize Montana s food and farm system. Jonda has 18 years of experience working with communities, farmers and institutions to incorporate sustainable agriculture practices, marketing opportunities and principles on their farms and in their communities. Before coming to AERO, Jonda worked for Pennsylvania State University, helping to research and then design a regional infrastructure for sustainable agriculture. Jonda has also worked for Cooperative Extension for Cornell University, has been an instructor for the Agricultural Economics department at Penn State University, and has taught high school vocational agriculture. Jonda also has managed a Farmers' Market in upstate NY, worked as an organic certifier and operated a goat dairy in Illinois. She grew up on a dairy farm in Western New York and still owns cattle in the family business. She has an Agronomy undergraduate degree and an M.S. in Agricultural Education. Jonda also farms (certified organic) part-time in the Helena Valley and grows specialty seeds and irrigated hay. AERO is a 28-year old Montana member-driven organization that supports farmers and ranchers moving towards a more sustainable agriculture and food system. AERO promotes sustainable agriculture, smart growth and transportation options, resource conservation and community self -reliance.

Colette DePhelps-Brown. Colette is the Executive Director of Rural Roots. Rural Roots is working to create healthy, vibrant, and sustainable community-based food systems in the Inland Northwest. The Inland Northwest food and agricultural system is made up of urban and rural communities that actively support and participate in locally owned and operated food and farm enterprises. These sustainable enterprises contribute to individual and community health, prosperity, and quality of life. Our communities are built on reciprocal relationships where people are valued for their unique contributions and creativity. There is a strong network of inspirational small acreage farmers, ranchers, market gardeners and food-based businesses. All of our community members have access to affordable, high quality local food and fiber. The health of the people in the region is echoed by the health of the land. See more at their website:

BrightSpirit. BrightSpirit is the Executive Director of People for Environmental Action and Children's Health (PEACH). The mission of PEACH is to inform, educate and act holistically on issues of environmental toxicity affecting the wellness of every child. PEACH is founded on a holistic view, which recognizes that individual choices represent a microcosm of global environmental, social and economic issues. PEACH is made up of a new breed of activist, that does not do battle with opposing forces, but instead provides information, community, and support for individuals seeking personal wellness for themselves and their families. This inevitably leads to greater awareness of the larger issues, and opens doors naturally, without conflict, to lifestyle changes that promote justice, peace, integrity, wellness, and opportunity. This approach results in a large diversity of individuals participating in PEACH's programs, which is essential to changing public policy and correcting social, environmental, and economic imbalance. The stated priorities of food production corporations and government regulatory agencies clearly indicate that profit continues to take precedence over safety and health concerns. This leaves the consumer with personal responsibility for differentiating science from advertising, yet the education required for successfully negotiating that process is lacking. See more at their website at:

Jeff Schahczenski. Jeff is the Executive Director of the Western Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (Western SAWG). The Western SAWG, now in its ninth year of operation is a non-profit organization bringing together diverse individuals and groups working in sustainable agriculture and food systems to share successful models, realize our collective strengths, build regional capacity and inform the agriculture policy debate. Jeff is also a part-time adjunct instructor at Montana Tech of the University of Montana where he teaches intercultural communications. Jeff has a M.S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a M.A. in political science from the University of Florida. Jeff has many years of experience working with farmers and ranchers both nationally and internationally. Jeff attempts to live his values and has built his own straw bale home and passive solar greenhouse in mountains near Whitehall, MT.

Building Sustainable Communities
9th Annual Meeting of the Western Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
University Inn, Moscow, Idaho
January 31-February 2, 2002

Friday January 31:
10:30 am - Noon- Registration
Noon - 1:30 pm - Introductions and Welcoming: Opening Luncheon- Keynote
Dana Jackson , Land Stewardship Project, Minnesota---Farming with the

Panel Session One: 1:30pm- 3:00pm
Building Local and Regional Food Systems.
How can sustainable agriculture be an engine for local and regional economic development? Can the purchase of local and regional food by public institutional buyers such as school systems, hospitals and universities provide a boost to local and regional sustainable agriculture producers? Can expanded and active farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms, value-added processing and new food product development play a significant role in the revitalization of rural communities in the west? How can cooperative and direct marketing play a role in providing greater return to sustainable farmers and ranchers in the west?
Jonda Crosby- Alternative Energy Resource Organization, Helena, MT
Collette DePhelps- Rural Roots, Moscow, ID
Jan Tusick- Mission Mountain Market, Polson, MT
Bright Spirit-PEACH- People for Environmental Action and Children's
Health (PEACH), Spokane, WA
Break - 3:00- 3:20
Panel Discussion- Q&A's ---- 3:30- 4:30 pm
Dinner: On your own...a. variety of local sustainable restaurants are available. Meeting space available for groups to self-organize around topics, tentative suggestions. 1) Enterprise Facilitation. 2) Western Foundation Funding Cooperation and Collaboration. 3) Stop GMO Wheat Campaigns in the west. 4) biodiversity and GMO's 5) Sustainable building

Saturday, February 1
8:00am to 9:00am- Continental Breakfast Served
8:00 am to 9:00 am- Registration
9:00 - 9:05 am- Welcoming.
Panel Session Two:
The Land Grant University and the Agricultural Biotechnology Research Agenda.
Transgenic crops are currently the subject of joint corporate and Land Grant University (LGU) research partnerships and are being field tested in several western states. For example, genetically modified wheat is being developed and field-tested by joint LGU/corporate research despite widespread opposition to its commercial introduction on the part of western wheat growers, environmentalists and sustainable agriculture organizations. Additional transgenic crops like alfalfa, apples, tomatoes, pears, livestock and pharmaceutical crops are also being developed and tested by western LGUs in close cooperation with biotechnology corporations. Western LGUs have invested a great deal of public/private research dollars into biotechnology research, with many wishing to increase that investment, while research dollars devoted to alternative, organic and sustainable agricultural research lag far behind.
This session seeks to explore the following questions:
What are the sources of social and economic support for biotechnology research?
How is the role of the public Land Grant University challenged by close relationships between universities and private industry?
What influence does the average citizen, farmer and rancher in the West have on the development of agricultural biotechnology and the setting of agricultural research priorities in general?
What are the long-term effects of university relationships with private industry on science and society?
What inhibits greater citizen influence over the kind of research that our land grants undertake and how can citizen influence be improved?
Speakers ------ 9:05am-10:30 am
Dr. Ignacio Chapela- UC Berkely
Dr. Charles Benbrook, Benbrook Consulting
Kristin Dawkins, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Break - 10:30- 10:45 am
Panel Discussion--- 10:45- Noon

Lunch- 12:15 - 1:30 pm

Panel Session Three:
Get EQIPed!- Harvesting the New Farm Bill- Sustainably.
The new farm bill has committed billions of dollars in new funding for expanded and new conservation programs. This session will explore how sustainable farmers and ranchers can take advantage of new and expanded conservation programs like the Conservation Security Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). This session will also explore how we can use these new and expanded federal programs to build stronger ties between western environmental organizations and the sustainable agriculture movement. Also, we will discuss how sustainable agricultural organizations can impact the development of these important programs so that they can serve the further development of a western sustainable agriculture.
Speakers------ 1:30pm-3:00pm
Jeff Schahczenski, Executive Director, WSAWG, Butte, MT
Dana Jackson-Land Stewardship Project, Minneapolis, MN; Wild Farming Alliance
Read Smith, President of National Association of Conservation Districts,
St Johns, WA
Break - 3:00 pm- 3:20 pm
Panel Discussion --- 3:30pm- 4:30 pm
Dinner and Keynote speaker: 6:30- 8:30 pm--
with Dr. Charles Benbrook, Benbrook Consulting

Sunday, February 2
WSAWG organizational meeting:
8:30am- 10:00 am
Board of Directors election
Other Business
Break- 10:00 am - 10:15 am
Final session:
National and Regional Public Policy Development:
10: 30 am to Noon
Members can have a chance to discuss and set priorities for new national public policies that can support sustainable agriculture in the west and nation that hopefully will arise from our previous work. Additional discussions on how we can better coordinate our activity in the coming year and other issues that members raise.

~~ Jill Davies - - ~~
How we treat the Land is determined by how we view ourselves.
~~~~~The machine model kills living systems.~~~~~
406/ 847-2228

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