To the editor: It should come as no surprise to anyone who drives in this county (actually the country) that we live in a land of pigs who blithely throw their garbage onto our roads and streets. They go on unseen with their uncaring disregard for our land, our water and our wildlife. There probably isn't much we can do about this idiocy largely because too many hate our government of laws and believe in our individual right to do as we please and damn the consequences. Well here's hoping that there are a few of us who actually believe our own actions can improve our lot. Let's say ENOUGH!! How about we each of take 10 minutes a month (just 10 minutes a month away from the TV set) and pickup the garbage around say a 20 foot section in front of our driveway or along a road we travel. I just spent 3 hours cleaning up about a one mile section of Friday Creek Road. And now instead of looking at trash while I walk my dog, I see our eagles, hawks and kingfisher gracing the unmarred landscape instead of beer cans, wine bottles, and, well, a few things I just don't want to mention. I got a thank you from one neighbor and jeers from several other drivers who I hope aren't neighbors. I will keep up this battle. This is my home and I take pride in where I live. How about we each take some responsibility for this individual freedom we pay lip service to, and, at least, for the love of God, prove we are worthy to call ourselves citizens of this breathtaking county.
Hunger and malnutrition are serious problems in our community
Many people are unaware of the hunger that exists in Skagit County.
Because of the lack of jobs and wage depression as well as with more and more support services being cut while corporate handouts are ever increasing, it’s not surprising that many families are having a hard time affording food. Children are especially hurt by the lack of enough good nourishment.
Here is the situation in Skagit County by the numbers:
Hunger in Skagit County – 2012:
20% of all Skagit households rely on area food banks
23% of our low-income citizens report going hungry from lack of food and
48% said that someone in their household had skipped meals in the past 12 months because there was not enough money for food
1 in 4 children are hungry
14 Food Banks
47,202 clients served by Community Action, Skagit County, and other partners— mostly through the Food Bank program
On average, 53% of students use the free or reduced lunch program at our schools
Highest rate: Mount Vernon School District at 63.3%
Lowest rate: Conway School District at 32.1%
Hunger alleviation in Skagit County – 2012:
Total pounds distributed: 2,057,394, this was a 7% increase from 2011
Local Farm products: 58,424 total pounds (down 35%)
23,213 pounds were donated (down 43%)
21,554 pounds were purchased (down 40%)
13,657 pounds were gleaned (up 7%)
There are many Community Action programs such as the Mobile Food Express, Victory Gardens, Skagit Food Share Alliance, Harvest for Hope, as well as Bite of Skagit, 1095 Club, Helping Hands, as well as many other programs and organizations are trying to address hunger in Skagit County. All of them would appreciate your help.
The Bow Little Market, in response to the above information, would like to have a box available not only to collect surplus produce from their vendors but also from our customer’s kitchen gardens. This fresh produce would then be delivered weekly to Community Action’s Sedro Woolley Distribution Center. If you are interested in volunteering to deliver this food to the Distribution Center, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Patty Sweaney at 724-3333.
When Workers and Community Stand Together, They Can Make A Difference
In last month’s newsletter, a report was given about the United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) worker dispute and that UNFI (Skagit Valley Food Co-op’s main distributor) has a monopoly over natural and organic foods in America.
Despite the consolidation of business, wealth, and power by UNFI, a huge victory was won on February 7 by the warehouse workers and drivers, represented by Teamsters Local 117 when they overwhelmingly voted to ratify a fully-recommended 5-year contract agreement with UNFI.
A short summary of what happen to cause the workers to go on strike follows: UNFI employs 168 members of Teamsters Local 117 at its warehouse in Auburn, WA. During the yearlong contract negotiations, UNFI allegedly committed over 45 violations of federal labor law (allegations that were not pursued in order to win a fair contract). Contract negotiations were mainly about safety conditions and the huge compensation gap between UNFI and other major grocery distributors in the area. The company illegally hired a replacement workforce by permanently firing 72 warehouse workers, subcontracted driver routes, cut workers’ hours, erected a fence around its facility, hired security guards, and sent letters home to workers instructing them how to resign from their union.
UNFI repeatedly showed no willingness to end the strike. Instead, the company refused in federal mediation to reinstate the 72 workers it replaced, sought a court injunction to restrict workers’ rights to picket at the Auburn facility, and violated federal law by committing additional unfair labor practices. In addition, UNFI prematurely cancelled workers’ health insurance.
Because workers at UNFI stood together courageously in difficult conditions to fight for dignity and respect along with the tremendous support and help of their community partners, workers were able to achieve a fair and just contract.
The workers are deeply grateful to all of the individuals, unions, co-ops, small grocers, and other community organizations that took actions in solidarity with the striking workers and to those who donated to the hardship fund set up to provide workers with financial relief. The generosity made a tremendous difference in the lives of the 168 workers and their families who were impacted by the strike.
The agreement provides for the reinstatement of all workers, including the 72 who had been permanently replaced, health and welfare protections for workers, and meaningful wage increases.
February 21st, 7:40 am, Janet Mckinney and five other concerned citizens of Skagit attended the Skagit Co-op board meeting and presented them with a letter regarding the above strike and three requests to the board members for future consideration. The group was received with respect and courteously This is an important first step in addressing the monopoly on natural and organic food distribution and how our community may begin to respond to the problem. Download file below to read the letter submitted:
Vote in the Skagit Conservation District Board of Supervisor Election or apply for a position on the board.
Skagit Conservation District Appointed Board Supervisor Opportunity:
The Washington State Conservation Commission is seeking applicants for one expiring appointed board supervisor position on the Skagit Conservation District Board. Candidates must be registered Washington state voters, live in Skagit County, and file an application, which is available at skagitcd.org or from the Commission and must be received by the Commission no later than March 31, 2013. Board supervisors are volunteers who oversee the work of the SCD, which provides voluntary, incentive based options that support working landscapes while protecting and enhancing our natural resource land base. For more information, please call 360-428-4313.
If you or someone you know who is a registered Washington state voter and lives in Skagit County and would like to vote in the Skagit Conservation District Board of Supervisor Election, they can either come to the only poll election in Skagit County from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19 at 2021 E. College Way, Mount Vernon or request an absentee ballot. Attached is a request form. Requests can be made by mail, phone (360-428-4313) or email (email@example.com) until 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 12, 2013.
If you have any questions, please call Cora at 360-428-4313.
Cora Amburn-Lijek, Staff Assistant
Skagit Conservation District
Nothing from my garden gives me more satisfaction then a European Green called Mache. It bears various cultural names such as Corn Salad .I grow the plants in raised beds and allow them to reseed on their own and am probably on the fourth generation.This versatile salad green with a mild lettuce flavor can be harvested year around in the Maritime Northwest. If you keep young plants harvested ,they will regenerate for months.Plant from seed in early spring or late fall.Seeds are available from all major suppliers. A tool that makes a wonderful gift is a "Rose Stem Cutter",they enable you to cut greens ,hold what you cut and put directly into your colander thus not disturbing the dirt.Oh yes, they also work great for Roses too. I think I will try to find some to offer up at the BOW LITTLE MARKET.
Sincerely, "The Little Red Hen"
2013 Skagit Human Rights Festival - 10th Anniversary - Celebrating Community, Honoring Diversity
March is Human Rights Month in Skagit County, and the 10th Skagit Human Rights Festival is coming up soon!
Please help us to get the word out to the community by including event details in your public calendars, or by sharing this email with your friends and colleagues? All Festival events are free, and open to the public. We hope you will be able to make it to a few of these evenings and afternoons as well!
This year, we're looking at food and agriculture from a few different angles, with a night on GMO foods and a night on local food systems. We're also looking deeper at the issues that Transgender people experience, offering a free concert with Dana Lyons, investigating Women in Leadership in media and politics (with our mayor on the panel!), and talking about Health Care.
Most events are held on the Skagit Valley College Campus in Mount Vernon.
Further event details are available on our website: www.skagithrf.wordpress.com
I've attached a copy of the poster as well. Feel free to print it out and put it up!
AN ACT Relating to addressing ocean acidification by taking action on the recommendations of the governor's blue ribbon panel on ocean acidification
The legislature finds that the levels of acidification in ocean waters, including Washington's coastal and Puget Sound waters, are increasing at an alarming rate, and that the increase in acidity in ocean waters is primarily human caused. Ocean acidification is caused both by increased absorption by seawater of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and coastal and estuarine waters may be additionally affected by pollutants in runoff from land-based activities. Ocean acidification harms a broad spectrum of the marine ecosystem and is particularly harmful to organisms such as shellfish that are "calcifiers" and unable to form durable shells and other hard body parts in corrosive acidic water conditions. Mitigating ocean acidification is vital to maintaining the state's strong shellfish industry, which generates an estimate 3000 direct and indirect jobs and two hundred and seventy million dollars annually to the states economy.
Below is the document:
News: the co-lead agencies are now reporting that they received 124,000 comments during the scoping period and that they believe they have at least 14,000 "substantive" comments (that is, longer more detailed comments). So if the numbers were already considered unprecedented; now they are even more unprecedented!
Perhaps surprised by the numbers of comments we sent, the proponents of the Cherry Point coal terminal project are beginning a big push back campaign. You can already see it in media ads and the January "poll" they claim shows a majority of Washingtonians support the coal terminal. We believe this may have been what is called a "push poll" - that is a technique usually used to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a genuine poll. Those conducting a "push poll" give false, incomplete, or misleading information to those being "polled."
So, we can push back by taking action. Some of you may have seen an e-mail sent out by Robin a few days ago. I am pasting it in here so if you did not see it or did not already take action, you can do so. Let's let Governor Inslee know where we stand on coal exports in Washington! Click here to take action.
Mary Ruth Holder
Linda Versage and Walter Brodie are looking to buy a farm for a small commercial growing operation (7-30 acres) with house and outbuildings, in NW Skagit (Bow-Edison, Blanchard preferred) or central Whatcom. They plan to grow food for schools and institutions and have other diverse offerings and enterprises. They prefer an older house with good bones and outbuildings (barn, accessory dwelling, etc.) but will consider other options. They are open to remodeling an existing home. They are also interested in cooperative farming ventures.If you know of any land for sale or opportunities that would fit their needs, please let them know.
Linda and Walter are community-oriented folks and look forward to connecting with others in the valley. They have recently transitioned from Seattle though have long-time connections to Whatcom and Skagit Counties. They currently live in Bellingham and are an environmental/science/garden educator and school nurse/RN in Mt. Vernon Schools. They will be thoughtful land stewards!
Linda: 206-718-2623, firstname.lastname@example.org Walter: 206-718-2605, email@example.com
Chuckanut Transition Community
We're all rural, independent and capable people learning to live cooperatively with one another and with our natural surroundings while recreating our lost village economic network.