Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association


How farming reshaped our smiles and our speech

March 15, 2019 – By Ann Gibbons, Science – The switch to farming and a softer diet reshaped adults' jaws and teeth—and gave them the ability to pronounce new sounds. When humans switched to processed foods after the spread of agriculture, they put less wear and tear on their teeth. That changed the growth of their jaws, giving adults the overbites normal in children. Within a few thousand years, those slight overbites made it easy for people in farming cultures to fire off sounds like "f" and "v," opening a world of new words, according to a study. The newly favored consonants, known as labiodentals, helped spur the diversification of languages in Europe and Asia at least 4000 years ago.


Squirrels are damaging some maple syrup operations

March 15, 2019 – By Lisa Rathke, AP, Bangor Daily News – Maple syrup producers have more than the weather to worry about. Frenetic squirrels are chomping on equipment, crimping the flow of sap at some operations.


Soil Health, Human Health Research Priorities Identified

March 15, 2019 – Soil Health Institute – The Soil Health Institute (SHI) today released the Conference on Connections Between Soil Health and Human Health report, which includes recommendations for better understanding soil health – human health relationships. The conference was designed to bring the soil health and human health communities together, establish the current state of collective knowledge, identify gaps and associated priorities, and scope a collaborative path forward. Held October 16–17, 2018, in Silver Spring, MD, the conference included more than 180 attendees from more than 120 organizations.


Scientists Found Worrisome New Evidence About Roundup and Cancer

March 14, 2019 – By Tom Philpott, Mother Jones – The long-simmering debate about whether the world’s most widely used herbicide causes cancer has bubbled up anew. Glyphosate is the key component of weedkillers such as Monsanto’s Roundup. On March 12, attorneys made closing arguments in San Francisco on the first phase of a closely watched lawsuit against German chemical giant Bayer, which acquired Monsanto last year. Plaintiff Edwin Hardeman claims his use of Roundup caused him to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), a type of cancer.


QAI Releases New Organic Certification Mark

March 14, 2019 – Quality Assurance & Food Safety – San Diego-based Quality Assurance International (QAI), a provider of organic certification services, has launched a new certification mark to help consumers understand that USDA organic certified products are required to be free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Its slogan: “If it’s organic, it’s non-GMO.”


Organic Farmers Association Welcomes New Leaders

March 14, 2019 – By Mark Rusnak, Growing Produce – The mission of the Organic Farmers Association is to provide a strong and unified national voice for domestic certified organic producers. Having the right people in the right place is key to completing that mission. Recently, new representatives were elected to the organization’s Governing Council and Policy Committee for 2019. The representatives will serve two-year terms, up to three consecutive terms. Newly elected members officially began their terms at the association’s annual meeting on March 13 in Washington, DC.


Senators Collins, Feinstein introduce bill to strengthen oversight of personal care products

March 13, 2019 – Penobscot Bay Pilot – U.S. Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., introduced the Personal Care Products Safety Act, bipartisan legislation to protect consumer health and strengthen the Food and Drug Administration’s efforts to regulate ingredients in personal care products, according to a news release from Collins’ office. The bill will update 80-year-old federal safety rules for the $60 billion personal care products industry.