On Thanksgiving, families across America are gathering around tables to enjoy the season’s bounty. Yet, behind the scenes, a complex web of challenges threatens the agricultural foundation of this tradition. The recent one-year extension of the 2018 Farm Bill by Congress has brought temporary relief, but the call for a new, comprehensive five-year farm bill echoes loudly. Wisconsin Farmers Union is raising its voice, emphasizing the urgent need to address issues plaguing family farmers and the agricultural sector as a whole. Gratitude for the bipartisan support in extending the 2018 Farm Bill is tempered by a pressing reality: the long-term stability of family farmers still hinges on a new, five-year farm bill.
In July, Gov. Tina Kotek signed Oregon Senate Bill 85, which places a moratorium on factory farms’ ability to use unlimited amounts of groundwater. While some advocates consider the bill to be a diluted compromise, it has potential to significantly limit the destructive activities of CAFOs in a state where a healthy remnant of the family farming economy still thrives. On a national level, it represents the first major state legislative victory against factory farming in the U.S. in years. SB 85 is the product of a years-long organizing effort, whose ultimate goal is to pass a full moratorium on new factory farms in Oregon.
Shannon and Eve Mingalone avow that their farmers market booth is “very gay.” They hang strings of pride flags and sell rainbow stickers to help pay for gender-affirming care, like hormone replacement therapy, for Eve. Sometimes, when parents and their teenagers pass the booth, the adults glance, then speed ahead. The kids pause for a second look. Shannon, 34, hopes it means something for them to see LGBTQ professionals out and succeeding. People often share stories. The middle-aged woman who confided that her daughter is transgender. The teen who stood in the middle of the Mingalones’ booth and said, “This makes me feel safe.” “That means everything to me,” Shannon said.