Seeds of Change

In Sacramento, food activists are creating a seed library of heirloom and GMO free seeds in order to empower locals to know their produce and share their knowledge communally. 

“When someone has a relationship with their food, it should start with the seed and it should end with the seed,” Liberation Permaculture founder Rafael Aguilera said. “We don’t want to be pessimists, we don’t want to be doomsday about it, but we really feel like if we’re going to be a resilient community, we need to define our own food system and participate in it.”

Read more about LIberation Permaculture and local seed banks at healthycal.org 

California probes skin-lighteners for mercury content

There could be a dark side to skin-lightening creams often found in stores that cater to ethnic communities. Starting next week, California health officials will collect and test a sampling of skin-lightening products in the Bay Area for possible mercury contamination. 

Marriage has long been recognized as good for the health of heterosexual men. Now new research suggests that marriage may also be good for the health of gay men — even for those who don’t get married.
Prison reform comes to Merced when jails are already full

Like other jurisdictions in California, county officials in Merced are looking at AB 109, or prison realignment, as an opportunity to change corrections for the better. AB 109 was signed into law in April by Gov. Jerry Brown as a response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which called for California to reduce its prison population by 34,000. After Oct. 1, all non-serious, non-violent, non-sex offenders will be sentenced to county jails rather than state prison. Once current lower-risk inmates finish serving their time in state prison, they will come under the supervision of county probation rather than the state’s parole department. 

 Merced’s focus will shift from incarceration to treatment with low-level offenders. The local Community Corrections Partnership (CCP), the group of law enforcement and special services officials tasked with creating an implementation plan, advocates routing lower-risk offenders towards alternative sanction options such as electronic monitoring, behavior modification and treatment programs, and participation in specialized courts. Read more