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Archive: Farley M. Peters

Gardens For Us All

Farley M. Peters / Mar 27 2009

For Release March 29, 2009

Farley M. PetersThings are cooking on the Washington food front.

First, Tom Vilsack, our new Secretary of Agriculture from the big farm food factory of Iowa, had pavement torn up outside departmental offices to create a “people’s garden.” His announced goal: community gardens to promote “green” concepts at all USDA facilities worldwide.

Next, Michelle Obama, accompanied by a band of local fifth-graders and White House staff, broke ground on the White House lawn for an 1,100-square foot kitchen garden. It’s to grow no less than 55 varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs–lettuces to berries, cilantro and hot peppers. The plot, in clear view to passerbys, is being fertilized with White House compost and Chesapeake Bay crab meal. Mrs. Obama promises her entire family, the president included, will help out pulling weeds–and of course enjoying the fresh goods from their efforts.

There’s strong precedent: the fabulously successful nationwide Victory Garden campaign Eleanor Roosevelt kicked off from the White House in 1943. By the end of World War II, some 20 million American home gardeners were supplying 40 percent of the nation’s fresh produce. Read More »

Lifting the ‘Gag Rule’ — Strategic, Moral, Vital

Farley M. Peters / Jan 29 2009

For Release February 1, 2009

Farley M. Peters Largely invisible during the general election fray, the abortion issue surfaced suddenly during President Obama’s first days in office as he revoked the so-called “gag” rule that has prevented the United States from funding family planning services around the world in cases where agencies offer abortion services or counseling of any kind.

Additionally, Mr. Obama declared his intention to restore American funding for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA)–a collaboration of 180 other donor nations that have been providing family planning assistance in 154 countries in need, the goals ranging from cutting back on the need for abortions to reducing poverty to improving the health of women and children, including prevention of HIV/AIDS.

These actions were read by many to be a revival of partisan divides that have played political football with women’s lives and their reproductive rights since the first imposition of the gag rule by President Reagan in the 80’s.

But there is a huge difference today. We have entered into a deeply imperiled century–environmentally, economically and demographically. This new president was making an urgent and humane effort to position the United States as a responsible global partner and leader. Read More »