Action Alert

Fair trade or free trade? Let your voice be heard on Minnesota’s future!

The Obama Administration is negotiating two new mega trade deals (one with Pacific Rim countries, another with Europe) entirely in secret, with the goal of further expanding the NAFTA-model of free trade. These trade agreements could have major impacts on Minnesota's farmers, workers, small business owners and rural communities. They could limit Minnesota’s ability to support local food and energy systems and grow local businesses. In order to stay up to speed, Minnesota has set up a new Trade Policy Advisory Council (TPAC) to advise the state legislature and Governor.

TPAC wants to hear from Minnesotans: What concerns do you have about free trade? What role could TPAC play in the future? Now is your opportunity to have a say in our future trade policy. Complete the survey and let them know future trade negotiations should be public, not secret. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard in the development of trade agreements and that they protect local control and our quality of life. The free trade model has failed for Minnesota and we need a new approach to trade. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard before trade agreements are completed, and that they protect local control, our natural resources and our quality of life.

Please take five minutes and complete the survey. To find out more about these trade agreements, go to

Fact Sheets

Whose Century Is It?: The Trans-Pacific Partnership, Food and the “21st-Century Trade Agreement”

Published August 27, 2014

The future of trade deals? In the final year of the George W. Bush presidency, the U.S. entered into negotiations to establish a gargantuan new trade deal. The negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) currently involve 12 countries—Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico...

From GMO to SMO: how synthetic biology evades regulation

Published August 7, 2014

Products derived from synthetic biology (popularly called synbio), a rapidly growing new technology, are beginning to enter the marketplace without a regulatory framework in place that provides for pre-market safety assessment of its unique risks to health and the environment. In the very near future, a host of food...

A Farmer and Landowner Guide to Pollinators and Neonicotinoids

Published July 17, 2014

Pollinators are essential to the environment and our food supply. Nearly one out of every three mouthfuls of food we eat relies on a pollinator, and they have been shown to boost crop yield and quality, providing clear economic benefits to farmers. Most people know that bees are pollinators, but there are many others,...

10 reasons TTIP is bad for good food and farming

Published May 16, 2014

The United States and the European Union have launched negotiations on a new Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): a free trade agreement that aims to “harmonize” standards and regulations in both regions to expand corporate profits. However, the regulations in question are critical to...

Nanotechnology Risk to Soil Health

Published March 19, 2014

Overview: Nanotechnology and its application to agriculture and food The application of nanotechnology techniques and engineered nanoscale materials (ENMs) to agricultural inputs is one of the means proposed for the “sustainable intensification” of agricultural crop production. The United Nations Food...

Autism: What Do Environment and Diet Have to Do With It?

Published December 3, 2013

Background Autism is one of a growing number of developmental and learning disabilities that now affect 1 in 6 children.1 Autism is distinctive among these disabilities for its devastating effects on individuals and families, its astronomical costs to society and families and for its disturbing and unexplained...

Scaling Up Agroecology

Published October 9, 2013

If there was a silver lining in the disastrous 2007–2008 food price crisis, it was that it prompted governments and international donors to re-examine their priorities for agricultural development. They committed to invest in agriculture and food security in a manner that prioritizes small-scale producers (...

EU-US trade deal: A bumper crop for "big food"?

Published October 9, 2013

The drive for "regulatory coherence" in the transatlantic trade talks risks pushing food and farming standards down in the U.S. and EU. Big food and biotech companies are pushing to eliminate EU restrictions on genetically modified (GM) foods and food additives, challenge food labelling laws...

Agriculture on the Road to Bali

Published September 10, 2013

There are several proposals on the WTO’s agricultural negotiations table, but the dominant discussion ahead of December’s Bali Ministerial Conference is the November 2012 proposal put forward by 46 countries under the auspices of the G-33. The G-33 is a group of developing countries united by primarily...

Chemicals and Obesity

Published July 8, 2013

While diet and exercise are important factors in the obesity epidemic, an emerging body of science demonstrates that exposures to chemical obesogens may be important contributors. A number of chemicals known to disrupt hormones also appear to affect the size and number of fat cells or hormones that regulate appetite...