Volume IV, Issue II
WINTER 2011 FREE
MONSANTO: WHERE THE GMOs GROW, p. 24
A Chance at Life (pictured right) A coalition of local pet shelters works to eliminate the need for euthanasia by 2015. No dog will die at the end of this story.
Published with support from Campus Progress/Center for American Progress (online at CampusProgress.org). Editorial Board
Kelley Antoniazzi Travis Epes Lydia Fiser Chelsea Hetelson Henry Taksier Jeremiah Tattersall
Creative Writing Editor
Kelley Antoniazzi Isabel Branstrom Chelsea Hetelson
Our mission is to serve the Gainesville community by providing an independent outlet for political, social and arts coverage through local, in-depth reporting.
Swallowtail: Beyond Organic (pictured above)
No herbicides, pesticides, genetically modified seeds or super bugs: just photos from a local farm that pushes the boundaries of ecoagriculture.
Cover art by Kelli McAdams.
columns Fight Back Florida, p. 07 A network of students and families work to ensure accessible education and workers’ rights throughout Florida.
spotlights No ID, No Vote, p. 27 Republican-sponsored voter ID laws risk marginalizing women, minorities, youth and low-income voters. Is there an ulterior motive?
features Pushing the Limit, p. 14 A new restriction requiring police clearance checks to receive meals at St. Francis House appears just weeks after the 130 meal limit repeal. UF Says Yes to Rape Awareness, p. 18 UF, once the national leader in rape awareness, gets back on track with a new rape awareness program. Uncharted Territory, p. 32 Amidst poverty and deforestation, dedicated travelers sow the seeds of ecotourism in Haiti’s rugged terrain.
02 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintuf.org
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from The fine print’s
E D I T O RI A L D ES K by Travis Epes
Y llective M2 Co lioni / e Bib by Jos Photo
Black Friday marked the official start of the holiday shopping season, and while there’s much to be said of the stampeding consum-o-gasm it produced, we shan’t forget that somewhere, past the rushing hordes and clouds of pepper spray, people were buying gifts. I’m well aware that the mayhem recorded on cell-phones across the country suggests the very antithesis of financial stability, and many point (not without reason) to those images as evidence of the moral decay wrought by American Capitalism. But, being the positive guy I am, I think it’s reasonable to assume that $11.8 billion in sales will cross off loads of items on Americans’ wish lists. We at The Fine Print are not isolated from this holidaze obsession. We, too, have a unreasonably long wish list, and I thought you might like a peek. I do this for you, my reader. This is not a thinly disguised plea to those inclined to philanthropy, and it’s definitely not directed at any altruistically motivated individual that might find pleasure in supporting a local, independent publication such as ours. Nope, I share our secret wish list strictly for your edification, dear readers. 1. Interns, Spring 2012 – School’s for suckers. We’ll educate you real good. 2. One XL Vial, Black Typewriter Ink – We ran out, and this stuff ain’t cheap. 3. One Extra Hour – We all agree life would be better with one more hour of sleep. 4. Office Display Sign – Our building sits on an odd corner, so a big, bright sign would really help direct people to our office. Preferably in black and white neon, please. 5. New Web Master – After nearly erasing our entire website from the Internet, we realized that English and Journalism students do not make for the best web developers. All interested designers and code-monkeys are encouraged to apply for the position, which comes with benefits. In addition to housing the most comfortable couches in town, our office also employs a small army of anti-carpal-tunnel masseuses, on-call at all hours to revive your horrendously over-worked hands. If you happened to have found any of the above this past Black Friday, e-mail us at email@example.com and let us know what we can expect to find under the Chanukah bush and in our stockings this year. We’re really gunning for that extra hour of sleep, but will be no less grateful for a handful of interns and one brilliant web developer.
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IN E PR
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Wren by Irina Wang
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featured staffer Lily Wan A sophomore at UF, Lily secretly wishes she could take up flight school. Her other aspirations include becoming quadrilingual and skilled in lucid dreaming. Upon graduating, Lily plans on relocating to the Pacific northwest to further pursue studies in sustainable urban design. You can check out her writing in this issue on pg. 24 in “Where the GMOs Grow.” Winter 2011 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 03
column / paper cuts
Ouch! The truth stings, doesn’t it? Paper Cuts are our short, erratic and slightly painful updates on current local and national events. See our website for more Paper Cuts at thefineprintuf.org
Facebook, the Official Authority on Hilarity
Image courtesy of the Nationaal Arc hief via Flickr Co image can be foun mmons. The origin d at http://bit.ly/iA al YOvR
When Facebook changes its layout, all hell breaks loose. “We want old Facebook!” “Change it back!” “I hate new Facebook!” This happens about once or twice a year, and Facebook ignores it, and everyone gets used to it until it happens again in six months. Isn’t that just the worst. Facebook is hoping this same approach, ignoring its users’ protests and hoping they’ll just get used to it, will work for more than just layout changes. Maybe it’ll work for rape joke pages they don’t want to take down, too. Here’s a short list of the Facebook funnies: “What’s 10 inches and gets girls to have sex with me? My knife.” “Kicking sluts in the vagina because its funny watching your foot disappear” “It’s not rape if you yell surprise” “How dare you call me a rapist!!! Jk, Get in the Van” “If I wanted you to open your mouth I would have dropped my pants” Isn’t that hilarious? No? C’mon, can’t you feminists take a joke? Of course, Facebook knows rape is seri04 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintuf.org
ous. Didn’t you read their statement of rights and responsibilities? “You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.” See? If rape jokes were any of those things, Facebook would of course immediately take action. Just like they took all those disgusting, obscene pictures of women breastfeeding down.
of Facebook said to the BBC. Okay, okay, okay, I got one. What gives you lots of money, has few moral and ethical values, and are arguably members of the hated 1%? Your advertisers, Blackberry, Sprint, PBS, Sony, and American Express, to name a few. Not funny? Oh, I forgot the punchline. These Big Businesses, who generally don’t care what 99% of the people want, would rather pull money-
Just as telling a rude joke won’t get you thrown out of your local pub, it won’t get you thrown off Facebook. Nudity is nudity. And just as Holocaust deniers are exercising freedom of speech, rape jokes are exercising freedom of hilarity. They call ‘em like they see ‘em. “It is very important to point out that what one person finds offensive another can find entertaining, just as telling a rude joke won’t get you thrown out of your local pub, it won’t get you thrown off Facebook,” a representative
making ads from your website than stand by silently and take the risk of being associated with your pee-in-thepants hilarious jokes about “silently riding your girlfriend so she won’t wake up.” Man, Big Business. Way to bail. Apparently, that’s the one thing Facebook doesn’t find funny: loss of money. On Nov. 7, Facebook finally took action and took some of the pop-
column / paper cuts ular pages down. Kind of. “Ok so facebook is gay and made me put HUMOR in the front becuz people called it offensive,” posted the creator of the page now titled “[Humor] How Dare You Call Me a Rapist!!! Jk, Get in the Van” on Nov. 13. Hey, at least now we can all still yuck it up about sexually abusing dumb hoes without any chance of being accused of condoning or promoting violence against women. Right? by Chelsea Hetelson
Fine Arts Too Fine To Quit Early last August, the UF Dean of University Libraries, Judith C. Russell, sent an e-mail to the UF Libraries Staff Listserv, announcing major changes to come in the following semester. Although no final plan had yet been made, those who read the e-mail inferred that the Fine Arts Library would close, and its collections moved to the third floor of Library West. These changes came in response to the College of Fine Arts (CFA) receiving only provisional accreditation during its last accreditation process. The lack of adequate studio and work space for students was cited as their major concern. As reported in the Gainesville Sun, the lack of space and use of ad-hoc space (such as gym showers or athletic dorms) for graduate art studios has been a longtime issue for the college. Opposition to the move mobilized almost immediately after faculty and students were notified. Only a week into the Fall semester, the blog “Library Watch” appeared on blogspot.com, while an online petition began to circulate around Facebook, along with whisperings of a rally to come. The outpour of opposition culminated on Oct. 10, when over 100 students rallied outside Fine Arts buildings. The organized students told reporters that they were not protesting, only voicing disagreement and encouraging alternative suggestions. The college and library staff have taken a similar stance. After an inhouse poll found a 92 percent disapproval rate among faculty in the Schools of Art and Art History (SAAH), School Directors Mellisa C. Hyde and Richard Heipp met with CFA Dean Lucinda Lavelli to discuss in detail why they believed the library’s relocation would be detrimental to the college.
In an e-mail sent to students and faculty after the meeting, Mellisa Hyde wrote that their concerns were heard and understood. The meeting also initiated a dialogue among the affected colleges, the Provost’s office, and library staff. To the collective relief of those involved, tensions have cooled and the discussion has now progressed from “relocating the library” to “collaborating on how best to solve the college’s space and facilities issues creatively and efficiently.” In an admirable display of intercollegiate cooperation, Dean Chris Silver of the College of Design, Construction and Planning has offered to perform a re-evaluation of SAAH facilities. Dean Silver has done similar evaluations at his own college when faced with space limitations in the past, leading to new designs that sat-
States (HSUS): The nation’s largest animal protection organization, HSUS provides free spay and neuter services, cruelty investigations, disaster response teams, shelter advocacy, veterinary assistance to low-income communities and much more. And finally, beware of impostors. Stay clear of the Humane Society for Shelter Pets (HSSP), a newly formed “nonprofit” that claims to help animals in shelters. Despite existing for only a few months, they’ve managed to afford expensive ads in major newspapers across the country. Their primary message is that HSUS (mentioned above) doesn’t directly finance pet shelters and therefore should not be supported. Why is one “humane society” antagonizing another? According to its own mission statement, the HSSP is “dedicated to creating a sustainable
In reality, the Humane Society for Shelter Pets doesn’t provide a single service for shelters. Their sole purpose is to smear the Humane Society of the United States, an organization that actually does help shelters. isfied accreditation requirements. For the time being, it would appear that a wholesale relocation of the library is off the table. Until an official decision is made, however, the SAAH will update their website regularly as new information becomes available. by Travis Epes
Not all “Humane Societies” are Created Equal This holiday season, we brought you a story about local pet shelters and their efforts to help animals that desperately need homes (see page 23). Maddie’s Pet Rescue of Alachua County, a coalition of shelters led by the Alachua County Humane Society, worked hard to reduce the regional euthanasia rate from 7,000 to under 3,000 animals each year. It’s a depressing topic, but the story needs to be told every now and then. If you’re willing to lend your support, consider the following resources: Local Pet Shelters: They’re all over the country, overcrowded, underfunded and eager for volunteers. Every shelter’s ultimate goal is to find a home for every animal that passes through its doors and reduce the need for euthanasia. Humane Society of the United
base of local support” for pet shelters through “grassroots advocacy.” In reality, they don’t provide a single service for shelters. Their sole purpose is to smear HSUS, an organization that actually does help shelters. Let’s dig a little deeper. According to its initial press release, HSSP shares the same address (and presumably the same employees) as Berman and Company, a lobbying firm for tobacco companies, tanning salons, chain restaurants, factory farms and puppy mills. HSSP’s co-director, Jeff Douglas, said the organization is funded by “individuals, corporations and foundations that support the pet industry.” To put it more simply, the pet industry is hiring lobbyists to attack HSUS while pretending to care about animal shelters. It makes perfect sense, considering HSUS fights for laws that would hold the pet industry accountable for its irresponsible breeding operations (A.K.A. puppy mills), which contribute to the mess that shelters are trying to solve in the first place. And that concludes our holiday message: do not be fooled by corporate front groups masquerading as charities. by Henry Taksier
Winter 2011 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 05
C A L EN D A R Weâ€™ve revamped our online community calendar! Check it out at
thefineprintuf.org for local events from dawn to dusk. Submit events + event fliers* to
firstname.lastname@example.org *PDFs, please.
06 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintuf.org
column / monthly manifesto
FIGHT BACK FLORIDA by Richard Blake
Fight Back Florida is a network of progressive students, labor activists, and workers throughout Florida that fight for accessible education and the rights of working families. In the spring of 2011, the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, unleashed his assault against Floridians with a host of laws ranging from tuition increases for college students to pay decreases for teachers. An affordable college education would be a thing of the past: Florida students would be saddled with increasingly high student loans as they pay 15 percent more per year in Scott’s tuition increases, while at the same time slashing Bright Futures scholarships. Governor Scott went after all state employees next, proposing that they pay 3 percent of their current salary into the Florida Retirement System as a forced “contribution,” while also weakening their labor unions through bills designed to cripple their ability to function and negotiate with employers.
Floridians from all walks of life rallied in over 10 cities around the state of Florida to say no to union busting, no to anti-worker bills, and no to attacks on affordable education. The people of Wisconsin were facing similar legislation affecting teachers, students and the rights of union members. In Madison, Wisconsin, over 100,000 protesters occupied the capital building opposing laws very similar to the ones brought to Florida. It was the ongoing sit-ins and protests in Wisconsin that really jolted several organizers in Florida to “bring Wisconsin to Florida.” The very night that much of the de-unionizing and budget cut legislation was passed in Wisconsin, five student and labor organizers from Tampa, Tallahassee and Gainesville decided to build a network to connect people from all over Florida willing to fight back against the right-wing assault. Fight Back Florida was born that night, in early March. In order to be an effective resistance, we needed to unite all the labor and student groups around the state. Within a week, groups such as Students for a Democratic Society, the Florida AFL-CIO, and central labor councils all over Florida signed on to the call for a statewide demonstration. Floridians statewide planned and networked for the big event. There was an excitement in the air that had not been felt in some time. It seemed as though people felt they were finally a part of
something that would give the people of Florida their state back from those who refrain from taxing the rich while asking the average citizen to sacrifice. Finally, on March 25, Floridians from all walks of life rallied in over 10 cities around the state of Florida to say no to union busting, no to anti-worker bills, and no to attacks on affordable education. They demanded that tuition stay low so that education could be accessible for all and that unions continue to be allowed to fight and negotiate for their members. One of the largest rallies in the state was held here in Gainesville. Hundreds took to the streets and marched to city hall, proclaiming Gainesville a “Labor Sanctuary.” These rallies, alongside an unprecedented unity among all the labor unions of Florida, led to the defeat of most of the proposed legislation. From this success, we realized the need to maintain the network we created not only to fight back against future bills, but also to create an organization that could create a sense of activism both within the student and labor movements. We set up permanent groups in many cities around Florida to continue to meet and plan. This came to a head during the state wide Fight Back Florida Conference in Orlando on Nov. 5. Over 50 student and labor activists from over seven cities came together to develop a plan for the upcoming year. The strategy was to expose the budget cuts, tuition hikes, and anti-worker legislation for what they really were - attacks on the working majority of Floridians by powerful right-wing politicians. This Jan. 21, Fight Back Florida is gearing up to lead the struggle against the government’s plans to place the burden of the state economic crisis onto the backs of the people with a multi-city, coordinated rally. Then, uniting activists from all over the state, Fight Back Florida will continue to give average Floridians a voice against Rick Scott and the corporate interests he represents by mobilizing to Tallahassee for a day of action on Feb. 25. Fight Back Florida plans to host another statewide conference at the end of May to plan for the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa on Dec. 6. Fight Back Florida was created less then a year ago to confront anti-worker and anti-student legislation. We have already helped gain meaningful wins, but the fight back continues. For more information, visit fightbackfl.com. The Monthly Manifesto is a podium for local organizations to tell Gainesville what they’re about. Submissions and inquiries should be sent to email@example.com with the subject “Monthly Manifesto.” Winter 2011 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 07
THE POLLS A
GUESS WHO? Match the caricature to the candidate. Answers are at the bottom of the next page. Good luck!
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spotlight In addition to the Presidential Primary on Jan. 31, the City of Gainesville has two seats up for election, the District 1 Commissioner and at-large 1 City Commissioner. The two people elected to these positions will be in office for at least the next three years, so here’s some background on your choices. by The Fine Print staff / Illustrations by Susie Bijan James Ingle (5) electjamesingle.com Ingle is a union electrician and activist that ran in last year’s Gainesville District 2 race. Ingle’s platform includes a local hiring preference to encourage investment in the local economy and a renter’s bill of rights. Ingle has been seen protesting with Gator Student Alliance against tuition increases and with the Graduate Assistants United for a fair contract. Donna Lutz (6) electdonnalutz.com Lutz is a real estate agent who is currently serving on the Community Agency Partnership Program for Alachua County. Although a registered Republican, Lutz stresses that this is a non-partisan race and the need to eliminate labels that parties bring about. Lutz was once a leader in her flight attendants union and advocates middle class politics. Lutz has purposefully left her platform vague and instead focuses attention on the dismal voter turnout for city elections. Darlene Pifalo (7) electdarlene.com Pifalo is a real estate agent, avid cat lover, member of the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce, and describes herself as “very conservative.” Pifalo’s platform includes increasing private property rights in Gainesville and is very critical of the biomass plant, as it will increase the financial burden on businesses and lead to layoffs. Lauren Poe (8) laurenpoe.com Poe is the former District 2 city commissioner that lost his seat last year to Todd Chase. Poe is a blue dog Democrat who Mastrodicasa has endorsed saying that he is the “biggest fiscal conservative I have served with.” A moderate on most issues, Poe has been criticized for his support of the 130 meal limit restriction on serving food to the homeless. He’s also been criticized for voting for the 2008 unlawful change in city worker retiree health benefits without going through the required bargaining stage with city employee unions. District 1 City Commissioner Our current District 1 Com-
missioner is Scherwin Henry. Henry was first elected in 2006 and then re-elected in 2009. His legacy includes repealing the 130 meal limit at St. Francis House and the redevelopment of the Depot Avenue corridor. These are the candidates that are up for his spot as the District 1 Commissioner: Armando Grundy (9) Grundy is a veteran paratrooper for the Army who has held numerous non-elected seats, including the Alachua County Charter Review Commission and the Alachua County Veterans Advisory Board. Current District 1 Commissioner, Scherwin Henry has endorsed Grundy saying that “he is duly qualified for the position.” Grundy’s platform includes renaming the downtown bus station to Rosa Parks and expanding RTS service in East Gainesville. Yvonne Hinson-Rawls (10) yvonnehinsonrawls.com Hinson-Rawls is a retired elementary school principal, on the Gainesville Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, and an active member of the Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church. Hinson-Rawls’ platform includes creating and expanding youth programs as deterrents to crime and extensions of the school day. Ray Washington (11) Washington is a former Gainesville Sun reporter, an attorney and a major figure in the anti-biomass movement. Washington registered to run for District 1 very close to the deadline only after he could not persuade any of the other two candidates into taking an anti-biomass stance. Washington’s platform includes increasing government transparency and citizen input at city hall. Remember to vote on Jan. 31. The last day to register to vote in this election is Jan. 3. You can register online or at various locations around town. Go to elections.alachua.fl.us to register online or to see a list of locations where you can register in person. 1. I, 2. C, 3. J, 4. E, 5. A, 6. F, 7. H, 8. D, 9. G, 10. K, 11. B
At-large 1 City Commissioner Our current at-large 1 City Commissioner is Jeanna Mastrodicasa who has reached the end of her service after two consecutive three-year terms. Mastrodicasa was first elected in 2006 and then reelected in 2009. Her legacy includes adding “gender identity” to a list of classes of people protected from discrimination -- a part of a lawsuit that unilaterally changed city retiree health benefits in 2008. She’s also been known as a staunch supporter of the biomass plant. These are the candidates that are up for her spot as the at-large City Commissioner: Richard Selwach (1) voteselwach.com “Diamond Rick” Selwach has run for local office more times than Pat Fitzpatrick has been thrown out of city hall. Selwach is a local pawn shop owner, something he makes sure to announce at every opportunity, no matter how awkward. Selwach has often referred to unions as a communist plot. He is against the homeless onestop center and the biomass plant. Mark Venzke (2) “Taxi Cab Mark” is a taxi cab driver that got into the Gainesville political scene by advocating for keeping the 130 meal limit at St. Francis House in place even though he frequently uses their services. Currently, Venzke is advocating for limiting the ability of Occupy Gainesville to stay at Bo Diddley Community Plaza. Nathan Skop (3) vote4skop.com This man is the reason conspiracy theory buff Harold Saive dropped out of the race. Skop has recently developed a strong anti-biomass stance; which is odd because he was on the board that approved the biomass plant. Dejeon Cain (4) caincampaign2012.com Cain is a newcomer to the Gainesville political scene. He was on the Black on Black crime task force and is currently a security guard at Shands and a minister for Anointing Truth Ministries. Cain’s platform includes allowing bars to have a soft close (doors open until 4am but no alcohol past 2am) and expanding S.N.A.P to apartment complexes on Archer Road.
Winter 2011 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 09
Local startup engages the community with composting services Text and Illustration by Diana Moreno Compost! I bet you’ve heard the word. And if you’re a hip n’ happenin’ green mean environmental machine, it’s probably one of your favorites. But what is this magnificent pile of brown stuff that gardeners hail as “black gold”? Essentially, compost is a mix of organic food waste, dry leaves, paper and cardboard, harmoniously decomposing into the best soil food your garden could ask for. The most indispensable compost ingredient, food waste, is also the most abundant -- the United States produces 34 million tons in one year alone, and Gainesville is no exception. So, it was only a matter of time until environmentalism and entrepreneurship met, fell in love and married into a little local business named Gainesville Compost.
10 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintuf.org
Chris Cano, the Compost Guy Gainesville Compost began this September when 25-year-old UF graduate, Chris Cano, turned his passions, sustainability and gardening, into his own business. The goal was simple: to turn waste into food using local resources. Having reaped the benefits of composting in his own garden, he decided to expand the operation into the community. With the help of friends employed by local restaurants, he developed a pilot program that included various local joints, such as Karma Cream, Reggae Shack, The Midnight and The Jones. By participating in Gainesville Compost, restaurants are able to cut down on the amount of waste their businesses produce. Food scraps are collected in old ice cream containers donated by Karma Cream and carried back to Cano’s home and composting
site using a bike trailer as carbon-neutral transportation. Science! So, is it as easy as throwing a bunch of leftovers and dried leaves into a bucket and letting the magic happen? Hardly. Composting is a process. It takes a minimum of six weeks for the raw composting goodness to turn into useful organic fertilizer. But, the longer it stays in the process, the better the results. Here’s how it works. In large containers, food scraps, which supply the nitrogen and water, are mixed with dried leaves, paper and cardboard, which supply the carbon. The mix is then aerated by being turned periodically. This procedure creates the perfect environment for microbes to start breaking things down. The energy
Continued on page 37
A Powerful Incentive
GRU’s FIT program first in nation to encourage solar energy use among residents By Kelsey Grentzer Infographic by Susie Bijan The most Kevin Priest has spent on his electricity bill this year is $4 in one month. And that was only because it was a particularly cloudy month. For the rest of the year, Priest’s energy bill has essentially been paid for by the sun. The 30-year-old graduate student is a participant in Gainesville Regional Utilities’ solar photovoltaic feed-in tariff (FIT) program, an energy initiative that encourages solar energy use in Gainesville by paying participants for the energy produced by their solar panels. “Every month I get a check from GRU, and every month they send me a bill for the energy that I’m using,” Priest said. Usually, he receives more than he pays. Participants in the Solar FIT program sign a contract to sell the energy produced by their solar energy systems back to GRU, at a fixed rate, for 20 years. In the eyes of Mark Robinson, another participant in the program, the situation is a win-win. Robinson will earn more than 13 percent a year in profit through the program. “The system should pay for itself in about eight years,” Robinson said. “Everything produced after that is profit. The panels have a 30-year warranty, so one can expect 20 plus years of prepaid clean energy.” Bill Shepherd, GRU’s energy and business services manager, anticipates that the program will have almost 11.3 megawatts’ worth of solar energy installed by the end of the year and 32 megawatts’ worth by the end of the program’s duration in 2016. “That is equivalent to about just under 2,000 homes effectively being powered by renewable energy annually,” Shepherd said. “By the end of this year we’ll be reducing 16,400 tons of carbon annually from those systems generating electricity.” That num-
ber is based on how much carbon would have been produced had that electricity been made using fossil fuels. For many, the deciding factor about whether to apply for the program comes from an economic standpoint. Although participants must pay for the initial instal-
Gainesville Regional Utilities’ Solar Photovoltaic Feed-in Tariff
How (f)it Works
> GRU customers pay GRU about 16 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity > GRU sends FIT participants a check paid at 32 cents per kilowatt-hour for all electricity produced by solar systems > Monthly checks to FIT participants average around $200-$400 resulting in a 13-18 percent annual return on customers’ investments
> 32 megawatts of solar energy produced by the end of 2016 > About 2,000 homes powered annually > 16,400 tons of carbon reduced annually
lation of the solar panels, GRU strives to provide solar energy users in the program with a 4 to 5 percent rate of return, Shepherd said. However, it’s not always just the eco-
nomic incentive that leads Gainesville residents to apply for the program. “I think it’s a very clean and efficient way to do things,” Robinson said. “Economically it makes sense, and environmentally I think it’s the right thing to do.” The program has drawn steady interest in the Gainesville community since its initial opening in 2009, but it has its limits. GRU allocates 4 megawatts per year for the program, an amount determined by funds provided through a $1 addition to monthly GRU utility bills to help cover the program’s costs. Some of this year’s capacity was already taken up by a queue that was implemented before the year even started. When GRU began accepting new applications in January, there were 2.7 megawatts available for new FIT users, Shepherd said. But GRU received 9 megawatts’ worth of applications. Unfortunately for those eager to apply, GRU does not currently have the capacity to reopen the application process in January as previously expected, Shepherd said. Despite its popularity, some Gainesville residents argue that the program could be managed better. Due to allegations that GRU did not execute the 2011 application process fairly, GRU opened an additional megawatt for applicants who were not selected this year. This utilized all of the open capacity that GRU had planned to offer to new applicants in 2012. One applicant, Annie Orlando, filed a lawsuit on Nov. 22 claiming that GRU had given an unfair advantage to select applicants while denying the same options for others. According to a review of the application process conducted by the City Auditor’s Office, GRU granted an exception for one contractor, allowing the company to submit multiple applications through limited-
Continued on page 39 Winter 2011 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 11
by Adara Ney Photos by Henry Taksier
Supporting local businesses is a small way you can make a big impact on our local economy. So this holiday season, skip the generic gifts from corporate monstrosities and consider what’s made right here in Gainesville. Check out these unique, crafty items to inspire your holiday shopping. Just now seeing this and the holidays have already come and gone? These guys aren’t going anywhere. You can check them out anytime during the year for gifts, or just to spice up your own life.
This locally owned chocolatier offers a large selection of chocolates that are made with responsibly sourced, high-quality chocolate as well as organic butter, cream and nuts. “The Ocho” would make a great holiday gift. There are four varieties in this box of hand-crafted delectable treats, including chocolate-dipped caramels sprinkled with Maldon smoked salt. Armadillo Chocolates are available at Volta Coffee, Tea and Chocolate, The Jones Eastside, Alcove Bar and Citizen’s Co-op. A limited selection is also available online for Florida residents.
When Ana Haydeé Linares, 22, graduated from the University of Florida’s School of Art and Art History, she decided to open Lucky Elephant Designs and pursue her passion for making jewelry. From her travels around the world, Ana found that many cultures, including her own Cuban culture, had adopted the elephant as a symbol of prosperity and good luck. Lucky Elephant Designs creates one-of-a-kind necklaces and earrings out of locally sourced, vintage and new components. The necklaces cost between $15 and $30. In addition to her re-purposed jewelry designs, Ana also sells a collection of Tarot card designs, handmade rosaries and international good luck charms, which are all featured and available for purchase at www.luckyelephantdesigns.com. 12 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintuf.org
Dragonfly Graphics, established in 1976, is a full-service screen printing business. The company gives back to the community through discounted school rates and donations to Camp Crystal Lake, a local outdoor education facility and recreational summer camp owned by the School Board of Alachua County. The company will soon be launching a line of graphic T-shirts with vintage logos of area businesses, available atdragonflygraphics. com/spirit326. On Dec. 23, Dragonfly is hosting the Loco Bizarre where customers can watch live screen printing. Dragonfly Graphics is located at 319 SW Third Ave.
Haskell and Melanie Martin founded Moksa Organics, Inc. on a simple idea: to provide people with bath products made from organic, chemical-free ingredients and responsible packaging. Moksa has gained national attention for its soaps, bath salts, body oil and body butter. This locally based company has been featured in several publications including Country Living and TreeHugger. Their products are available for purchase online at moksaorganics.com as well as the Citizen’s Co-op on Main Street.
Luz Reyes, the owner of Bella Headbands (pictured above), makes each handcrafted creation herself. Since each headband is made-to-order, customers are able to decide which colors they’d like. Headbands start at $7. For a few extra dollars, she will add additional accessories, such as bows, decorative gators and faux flowers. You can place an order on www.facebook.com/ bellaheadbands or by calling Luz at 352-792-7193.
Sometimes the best gifts are experiences, not things, whether it’s a pair of tickets to a performance at the Hippodrome State Theater or dinner at a favorite restaurant.
For other great ideas If you are feeling particularly crafty, there are many places in Gainesville that will help you channel your creativity. At Do Art, you can paint your own pottery and make mosaics. Once you pick your “raw” piece of pottery, you choose your paint colors and stencils. When you’re finished, your piece gets fired in the kiln. You can also create a mosaic including items such as mirrors and picture frames. Bead All About It and Gifts of Avalon are two bead shops in town to check out if you want to make your own jewelry.
Be sure to check out local vendors on Etsy.com. Just type “Gainesville, FL” in the search bar. Many vendors also offer affordable items at a monthly craft market at The Doris, located at 716 N. Main St. For more information, visit the Facebook event page “Monthly Craft Market” or email Zoma, the market creator and director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, be sure to check out the “Buy Locally, Gainesville!” Facebook page. This page is used to post news and specials from many local business owners.
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Pushing the Limit
Criminal background checks replace meal limit at local soup kitchen by Ellen McHugh Photo by Erik Knudsen After years of protests by activists, supporters and the needy, the meal limit at the St. Francis House, which allowed only 130 meals to be served per day, was finally repealed this November. Now St. Francis House can serve unlimited meals to the hungry men, women and children who line up every day within a three-hour window. But on the first Wednesday without the limit, it was reported that only 81 people received meals. Why? An end to meal limits only meant there were new regulations to be made. The end of one restriction ushers in another. Recipients of any St. Francis House service are now required to have a police clearance form and picture ID upon arrival at the front 14 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintuf.org
desk. Previously, this requirement was only for those who needed to stay overnight at the facility. Now, it applies to anyone who wants a meal or even just wants to use the bathroom.
Unlike the meal limit law that was [a city ordinance], these new rules stem from the St. Francis House’s own board of directors. Every 30 days, anyone who plans on going to the St. Francis House for food or shelter must first go to the police station to receive a clearance form that states they are cleared from any warrants for arrest. They
must also show valid ID, something many homeless people cannot provide. Because of this, the meals that were once expected to increase after the recent repeal have actually dwindled. Unlike the meal limit law that was part of the City of Gainesville’s City Ordinance, these new rules stem from the St. Francis House’s own board of directors. After the meal limit repeal, a series of meetings were held among downtown businesses and neighbors and the board members of the St. Francis House. Kent Vann, executive director of the St. Francis House, called the new rule “compromise.” “We were going to be serving more people, so we needed to monitor the people in a safe manner,” he said. “Increasing the crowds calls for increasing responsibility on our part.” Vann said he had to present the
city with a management plan that would address the safety issue. He says that’s when the extension of the background checks was proposed. The St. Francis House already has close to 500 current police clearances on file. But, not all agree with the new “compromise.” Arupa Freeman is the the director of The Home Van, a group of volunteers who drive to serve food to people in Gainesville. “As of November 2, the 130person meal limit at the St. Francis House soup kitchen came to an end. It was replaced by requirements so harsh, so difficult to meet, and so humiliating and demeaning that St. Francis House is now serving lunch to between 70 and 90 people a day,” Freeman said on her blog. She also addressed the ID requirement issue, citing how problematic it is for homeless people to get the documents they need. “Under the new laws passed as a result of the Homeland Security Act, it has become a long and complicated nightmare for homeless people to obtain state of Florida IDs or even to obtain the documents, such as birth certificates, necessary to obtain a state ID. Many homeless people do not have such IDs and have given up trying to get them,” she said. Pat Fitzpatrick, a prominent and passionate advocate for Gainesville’s homeless, keeps a close eye on the relationship of big developers, like the McGurn and Collier families, and the City of Gainesville. McGurn Management Company is responsible for, among other things, the Union Street Station, the Sun Center, apartments and parking garages. The Collier Companies own and manage more than 9,600 apartments in Florida and Oklahoma. It was Ken McGurn who, in March of 2009, presented data at a meeting with the City Planning
Board indicating the St. Francis House was giving out more meals than was allowed in the permit. Shortly thereafter, the limit was enforced. If it seems odd that a homeless shelter would agree to more seemingly self-imposed restrictions on its meal giving, Fitzpatrick says one doesn’t have to look much further than the might of Big Business and developers promoting their interests.
“It’s not St. Francis’ fault. They have to stay in good graces with the city. And the city ‒ they just bow down to downtown developers.” “It’s not St. Francis’ fault. They have to stay in good graces with the city. And the city -- they just bow down to downtown developers.” The self-regulation of the St. Francis House seems to be the only way the city would even agree to repeal the limit. And while many don’t like what’s happened, the need for compromise between the St. Francis House and influential forces was necessary in order to change the meal cap. Ronald Young, 51, is a Gainesville resident who has been hanging
around the St. Francis House for years. He says Vann’s a good guy and understands he had to make negotiations with the city. However, Young knows the deeper implications of the requirements and how they will deter many from getting a police clearance form. “A lot of homeless people have warrants just for some petty 1s [first misdemeanor]. I mean, they have an open container on their record, they’re not about to go down to the Gainesville Police Department. They’re going to try to stay far away from there,” he said. He says St. Francis House seems anti-homeless now, and that it almost feels like a jail. “This is a homeless shelter, you know? You can’t even use the restroom without a form. What if you just got in town and hopped off the bus?” Young says these policies are pushing people away, and the long line of people that once stood outside St. Francis House before the limit was repealed has now disappeared. “You’ll still see a little bit of a crowd in the morning. But, it’s not like it used to be.” The struggle between the homeless and the city has been going on for years. Unfortunately, the St. Francis House receives a lot of the spotlight due to its mission to feed and shelter the poor. Providing services to those confronted with homelessness or hunger is never an easy task. But it is even further complicated in a city like Gainesville, where downtown businesses and wealthy developers have strong, conflicting interests with Gainesville’s own population, including the poor and homeless. (pictured on opposite page) Pat Fitzpatrick, a prominent and passionate advocate for Gainesville’s homeless. Winter 2011 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 15
The Cottage Food Law
Recent legislation enables entrepreneurs to sell homemade goods by Ashira Morris Photos by Ashley Crane Ruthann Macheski used to drive 40 miles from her farm in Williston to Gainesville, just to bake in a commercial kitchen. Some did not have the equipment she needed, so she lugged pounds of large-scale pots and pans, baking sheets and springform pans back and forth. When House Bill 7209, commonly referred to as the Cottage Food law, passed on July 1, the breads and cakes made in Macheski’s own home kitchen became legal to sell. “[Before] I would go wherever I could get space,” she said. “It was a hassle. Now I don’t have to leave the farm.” Before the law passed, any food for sale had to be cooked 16 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintuf.org
in a commercial kitchen. These kitchens are inspector-certified and guarantee a government-approved level of sanitation. Macheski, who formerly
“[Before] I would go wherever I could get space,” she said. “It was a hassle. Now I don’t have to leave the farm.” worked as a kitchen inspector before permanently moving out to her farm, can now sell homemade breads and cakes under her company name, Ruthie’s Country
Kitchen, at the farmers’ market. Food sold under the Cottage Food law must be a direct sale. It can be sold from the seller’s home, at farmers’ markets and at roadside stands. Macheski now sells baked goods in addition to meat, dairy and produce from her farm and at local farmers’ markets. The law does not cover indirect sales, such as providing for a restaurant. Selling online is also not allowed. Although some rules are welldetailed, the entire law is not clearly explained. The pamphlet printed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services was not explicit enough, said Macheski. Her copy of the brochure is covered in penciled notes and questions. She called the lawmakers in the Florida Senate with a list of
feature questions. Did “homemade pasta” refer to fresh or dried noodles? Did dehydrated soups fall under the category of “dry herbs, seasonings and mixtures?” “I burned up the phone line to Tallahassee,” she said. The government workers were stumped. Although they promised to call back, her questions remain unanswered. The guide says to check with local municipal, city or county government for official requirements. The problem? Not all of these officials are even aware the law exists. With her calls and questions, the local officials who oversee this new law have realized they may have to address it within their business structure. “I have brought this to the attention of so many county and city inspectors,” Macheski said. She had followed the law as it went through the house and legislature. After it passed, she began spreading the word to her friends. For farmers already selling at markets, baking, say, a zucchini bread out of the squash that didn’t sell, allows them to effectively double their profit. They can make more money without growing more produce. In addition to baked goods, the Cottage Food law covers jam and other fruit products like vinegars, pasta, dry herbs, granola, nuts and honey. The product must be labeled with the name of the Cottage Food Operation and product, all ingredients, the net weight and any allergens. The new law does not cover many food items, including meats, dairy products, ketchup and canned pickled products. If these products aren’t made properly, they can cause salmo-
nella or botulism. To prevent any sanitation disasters, Macheski recommends that anyone interested in selling from a home kitchen take an online course in food handling. “My worry is that too many people will get involved, who don’t know what they’re doing,” she said. Stefanie Samara Hamblen, who owns the Illegal Jam Company, understands the importance of food safety. She gets a certain satisfaction out of the noise the jars make when they are properly suctioned, guaranteeing that they won’t spoil.
ma’s preserves. By this summer, jam had grown from pastime to obsession. She was able to give some jars away to friends and family, but her jam-making outstripped her gift-giving. By June 30, there were 160 Bell jars of homemade jam stacked in her kitchen, overflowing out of the pantry and on to her front hall table. “It was out of control,” Hamblen said. Since the jams were made in her home instead of a commercial kitchen, Hamblen couldn’t sell them. She dubbed
The [state] says to check with local municipal, city or county government for official requirements. The problem? Not all of these officials are even aware the law exists.
“It’s that ping you hear when you know they’re sealed,” she said. “That’s when you know it’s done.” Her jam hobby started four years ago, when she took the excess figs from her neighbor’s trees and re-created her grand-
her enterprise the “Illegal Jam Company” in the July issue of Hogtown HomeGrown, the monthly newsletter she writes and publishes that promotes local eating and home cooking. But after the Cottage Food law passed - ironically, the day
after she published the newsletter - her homemade jam became legal. Suddenly, Hamblen’s passion for preserves had the potential to become a profitable business. “I realized I was sitting on a gold mine,” she said. Hamblen keeps her operations as simple as her recipes. She uses her “plain old fourburner” stove to make the jam. Her part-time job as a nanny provides her with toddler tastetesters. Hamblen sells her jams at the Alachua County and Haile Village Farmers’ Markets and from her house. Though at one point she was making more jam than she could give away, Hamblen doesn’t anticipate selling over the profit limit of $15,000 per year. Macheski, however, is considering building a separate commercial kitchen on her farm within the next two years. Although the Cottage Food laws cover her current operations, a commercial kitchen eliminates restrictions. She could start selling homemade pickles, tomato sauces and other products not covered by Cottage Food laws and would not be subject to the profit limit. She would also be able to sell these products in restaurants and specialty food stores. These new laws work well for simpler operations, but a commercial kitchen still allows for a wider range of options. (pictured) Stefanie Samara Hamblen, owner of the nowlegal “Illegal Jam Company,” cans a batch of her locally sourced jams. Find her on Facebook by searching “The Illegal Jam Company.”
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UF Says “Yes” to Rape Awareness
by Chelsea Hetelson Illustration by Susie Bijan In the early morning hours of Nov. 29, a female student was raped somewhere between midtown and Fraternity Row. The 20-year-old victim said she accepted a ride from a man she did not know after leaving 101 Cantina and the man then sexually battered her in his car. She was able to escape from the car afterward and was picked up by a female driver passing by who saw her running from her attacker. The driver called the police and took the victim to the hospital. In both the UF news release of the attack and an e-mail alert sent to the entire university listserv, the University Police Department took the opportunity to remind people of some “basic safety considerations.” The list included: “Avoid walking alone” and “Stay in welllighted areas away from alleys, bushes, and entryways.” 18 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintuf.org
These “safety considerations” are rape myths. According to a 2005 National Crime Victimization Study conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, 73 percent of all sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim, not strange masked men lurking in the shadows. “Most of the cases we see are not the stranger jumping out of the bushes,” said Chris Loschiavo, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution at UF. Loschiavo said almost all sexual assault cases at UF involve “two students who have had a lot to drink and the issue is, was one person able to consent to sexual activity.” In addition to perpetuating false advice and rape myths, every link on UPD’s website that is supposed to lead to UF policies and procedures concerning sexual assault as well as links to rape awareness resources are broken. One link directs to UF’s own rape aware-
feature ness group, CARE, which is not only a broken link, but is a group that no longer exists on campus. Despite the public image that UPD presents today, this was not always the case. At one time, UF was a national leader in rape awareness and prevention tactics. Now, in light of the fact that local and national rape statistics have not improved in decades, UF is beginning to make an effort to once again learn and implement effective ways of preventing rape. STRIVE, UF’s current rape awareness program, reports on its website that one in four female college students will be victims of sexual assault -- defined as any unwanted sexual contact. The U.S. Department of Justice confirms this statistic, and states that once women graduate college, the ratio widens to one in six. STRIVE has also been able to bring that one in four statistic closer to home. “When we give an anonymous poll in a classroom of 500 and ask ‘Have you experienced a sexual assault?’ it matches up. We’ve asked every time and it’s always in the 20 percent to 25 percent range,” said Ron Del Moro, peer educator in the STRIVE program. STRIVE, which stands for Sexual Trauma/Interpersonal Violence Education, aims to educate the university community by holding “open, nonjudgemental forums where we explore questions such as ‘Why does this happen?’ and ‘What can we do?’” This January, STRIVE plans to expand by implementing a new program modeled after the University of New Hampshire’s successful program called Bringing in the Bystander. This program has a heavy focus on
bystander intervention. “A lot of people stand around and see a lot of shady stuff go down,” Del Moro said. “We want to get those people involved.” According to the UNH Bringing in the Bystander website, under the tag line, “Everyone in the community has a role to play in ending
least a dozen national TV talk shows, supplied information to more than 500 universities and media organizations and served as models for similar programs at other schools. In the 1988 book titled, “I Never Called It Rape,” one of the first extensive studies of rape on college campuses, COAR was called out as “one
The reality is that these kinds of cases go woefully under-reported. sexual violence,” the program “approaches both women and men as potential bystanders or witnesses to risky behaviors related to sexual violence around them.” UNH developed this program through in-house research conducted by Prevention Innovations, a consulting, training and research unit that develops, implements and evaluates programs, policies and practices to end violence against women on campus. Vice President Joe Biden spoke at UNH in April on the success of the program and called on everyone to take responsibility. Biden, a longtime proponent of rape awareness, co-authored the Violence Against Women Act that passed in 1994. Back in the 1980s, cuttingedge and innovative rape awareness programs like the current one at UNH were few, but UF had one of the best. SARS, Sexual Assault Recovery Service, and COAR, Campus Organized Against Rape, were both founded by therapist Claire Walsh in 1981 and 1982, respectively. Throughout the ‘80s, Walsh and COAR representatives spoke on at
of the nation’s most comprehensive programs,” which included a rape-myth quiz, a slide show of sexual stereotypes in the media, and discussions of body language and assertiveness in dating. COAR also made it a point to discuss the societal and cultural attitudes of men, women and relationships that may lead to rape situations as well as ways to enhance general communication between men and women. Walsh credited COAR’s success to its unique approach to involve both men and women as its target audience. Half of COAR’s members were men. “We see males as absolutely crucial in helping to change attitudes that are put out by the culture,” Walsh told the Gainesville Sun in 1986. “Women can’t do it by themselves, males can’t do it by themselves -- we need to work together.” However, this nationally recognized and successful program came to an end in 1991. A mess of differing politics, separate budgets and general bureaucracy crippled, defunded and eventually disbanded COAR Continued on next page
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Cont’d from pg. 19 entirely. SARS was redistributed from the Infirmary, where SARS counselors were able to focus specifically on rape victim counseling, to Mental Health Services, which left rape victims to check in as mental health patients and be randomly assigned to a general counselor, regardless of the counselor’s specialization. Basically, both programs were eliminated. Since COAR and SARS, UF has seen a few half-hearted and not nearly as passionate attempts at rape awareness. The names change almost yearly and are hard to research and keep track of. “It could change names as the mission evolves and as funding
murder victim of 1986. The Clery Act also requires every university to publish an annual report of its past three years’ worth of campus crime statistics. The sexual assault definition used in these reports is “forcible rape,” defined as: “The carnal knowledge of a person forcibly and/or against that person’s will; or not forcibly or against the person’s will where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity (or because of his/her youth). This offense includes the forcible rape of both males and females.” It also includes “forcible sodomy,” “sexual assault with an object,” and “forcible fondling.”
When we give an anonymous poll in a classroom of 500 and ask ‘Have you experienced a sexual assault?’ it matches up. We’ve asked every time and it’s always in the 20 percent to 25 percent range. changes,” said Jennifer Stuart, coordinator of STRIVE. “But there is a mandate that any university has to have education on sexual assault. So that will happen.” That mandate is the Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights of 1992, which requires all federally funded schools to provide sexual assault prevention programs as well as provide information on what to do if an assault occurs and who victims can contact. The mandate is a part of the 1990 Clery Act, named in memory of a sexual assault and
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Between 2008 and 2010, 17 “forcible rapes” were reported at UF. This seems more than a little bit shy of the one in four statistic reported by STRIVE and most rape advocate groups. “The reality is that these kinds of cases go woefully under-reported,” Loschiavo said. This past summer, in an effort to increase reporting and awareness, the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights sent a “Dear Colleague Letter” to universities and school districts nationwide. The letter clarified ex-
actly how Title IX should be interpreted and what misconduct code guidelines to abide by, specifically in sexual misconduct cases. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education or activity. Though the letter does not have force of law, the 19-page “policy guidance” outlines the standards that will be considered if a sexual assault case in a school or university is investigated by the Office of Civil Rights. But, if the same sexual assault case is brought to state court, the standards may be different. “State law has some different standards and so the institution now is forced to choose: do we want to lose in state court if an accused appeals and says these regulations are invalid and violate my due process rights, or do we want to lose in an OCR case? That’s really the choice we have,” Loschiavo said. In light of how few cases of sexual assault are actually reported and prosecuted, the Bringing in the Bystander program aims to reduce the number of victims overall. Loschiavo is optimistic about the new program, though he does think it’s going to take a long time to effect change. “We’re working against the culture,” he said. “Even when there were minimal consequences to the bystander getting involved, bystanders have chosen not to get involved. As a campus, we’re trying to have a culture shift to empower bystanders to intervene.” Legal systems, police departments and rape awareness groups can only go so far in prevention and recovery tactics. The Bringing in the Bystander program affirms that encouraging people to speak up is the most effective way to help reduce sexual violence.
A CHANCE AT LIFE Coalition of local pet shelters works to eliminate euthanasia by 2015 by Caitlin Ludke Photos by Ashley Crane The lobby of the Alachua County Humane Society is small and clean. Dogs are barking from the kennels outside in the background. There are black and white portraits of different animals on the walls, pictures children have drawn of their adopted pets and a cork-board advertising the need for various donations: cleaning supplies, 13-gallon bags, and most of all, volunteers. Next to the cork-board is a small piece of paper with the Humane Society’s goals and policies. First and foremost on the sheet -- Alachua County Humane Society is a no-kill shelter.
Alachua County is currently working toward becoming a no-kill county, ending the euthanasia of healthy and adoptable pets. The Alachua County Humane Society is the leading organization of this movement by Maddie’s Pet Rescue. Maddie’s is comprised of five shelters in the county dedicated toward reaching no-kill status by 2015. The combined efforts of the Humane Society, Haile’s Angles, Puppy Hill Farm, Gainesville Pet Rescue and Helping Hands Pet Rescue have lowered the amount of animals put down from 8,063, the 2000 baseline, to just under 3,000 this past year. The formation of Maddie’s was brought about by the need to stop euthanasia at Alachua County Animal Services.
The Humane Society, and other local shelters, cannot take animals directly from citizens. Animals must first go to Animal Services. “Animal Services does all the enforcement work; it’s where strays go,” said Eric Vanness, the executive director of the Humane Society. It’s the middle-man for Alachua County animal shelters. Since all strays first end up at Animal Services, and not all are able to be taken in by the no kill-shelters in town due of lack of space and workers, space at Animals Services is a constant problem. Euthanasia is one option to continuously open up room for incoming animals.
Continued on next page Winter 2011 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 21
feature Cont’d from pg. 21 Before turning to euthanasia, when space is getting slim at Animal Services, its employees send a list of animals on “death row” to the no-kill shelters in Alachua County. Vanness said that his shelter picks last, and they try to take as many animals as possible based on space-to-staff. The Humane Society relocated in February of this year. With more than double the space of its previous facility, the shelter would be able house more animals and keep more off of the euthanasia list. However, the society was forced to reduce its staff by about half, due to lack of funding and the $400,000 spent beyond projected costs for the new building. A total of four full-time Animal Care Service Workers, the society’s paid staff, and one of the two administrators were lost in the move. Opening shifts at the Humane Society are strenuous on staff. They must open the building and ensure that supplies and animals are in order. They oversee distribution of medicine to animals and check in on dogs and cats in quarantine or special care areas. Cages need to be cleaned, dogs need to be taken out and played with, cats must be groomed and cared for, and food and water must be replenished. Opening shifts pick up where the evenings leave off, and employees must also make sure there are no problems throughout the building in the midst of these tasks. With the aid of volunteers, these tasks can be completed while employees work on their other duties.
even fewer regulars. People fill out a volunteer application online and then need to go through an orientation training session. But not all who fill the application follow through with orientation. Another issue lies in those only trying to fulfill a community service obligation. “They have 15-hour requirements and they can honestly do that in three or four days,” said Vanness. “It’s not the easiest to recruit past that.” Audrey Geoffroy, a volunteer since September 2009, said that it doesn’t have to be a difficult thing to volunteer and that anyone should try. Geoffroy is one of the Humane Society’s regular volunteers, and she brings her daughter with her to look after the cats. “I enjoy it, all [the cats’] personalities, you really get to know them,” she said. While caring for animals is always on the surface at the Humane Society, economic constraints struggle in the background, dictating what the society can accomplish with its staff and volunteers. Eric Vanness said maintaining the payroll for his staff continues to be the
“Volunteers are the only reason we can do what we do here.” The more volunteers there are, the more interactions they can provide with each dog and cat and the more area they can clean and maintain. Thus, the more volunteers, the more animals that can be saved. Vanness said that there are about 900 volunteers on file, but only 60-70 actually come to volunteer. And there are 22 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintuf.org
biggest obstacle the society faces. Without the proper funds, the society can’t hire more hands to help, in turn reducing the amount of animals taken in. “Everything comes back to staff,” he said. Donations help, but they can’t fully cover the $130,000 mortgage from the new
building, salaries, supplies and expenses. “People donating don’t want to pay someone’s salary,” Vanness said. It’s easier for someone to donate an old dog bed or toys that the Humane Society’s Thrift Store can sell. The Humane Socetiy’s Thrift Store is its main source of income. The store offers retail, pet food, flea care and spay/neuter vouchers. Donations are taken and resold for affordable prices, though Vanness did chuckle a bit as he recounted some of the more questionable conditions of a few donations. Zach Toundas, an Animal Care Service Worker, spoke adamantly about the Humane Society’s mission. He said that with the community’s efforts, the goal of becoming a no-kill county could be reached. “Volunteers are the only reason we can do what we do here.”
(pictured on previous page) Latrell Hunter, who started volunteering at the Alachua County Humane Society with her son two months ago, spends some time outdoors with Topher. (pictured on pg. 21 and current page) Adoptable dogs and cats wait patiently at the Alachua County Humane Society (ACHS) for someone to grant them a permanent home.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED To join the Alachua County Humane Society volunteering staff, go to alachuahumane.org and fill out a volunteer application. Youâ€™ll be contacted by the Humane Societyâ€™s volunteer coordinator and can then sign up for an orientation time. If you would like to donate, the Thrift Store accepts lightly used donations, or you can give money directly to the Humane Society. Winter 2011 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 23
Where the GMOs Grow Florida Organic Growers joins defensive lawsuit against biotech empire by Lily Wan Illustration by Susie Bijan For the vast majority of Americans, food is food. And corn is corn. And a soybean is a soybean. And a seed of either of these vegetables is, well, a seed. Or is it? To the corporate eye of Monsanto, that seed looks more like one of its transgenic creations, and if they can fish a lawsuit out of it, possibly millions of dollars. Transgenic seeds are simply Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Many crops and foods are genetically altered nowadays. Corn, alfalfa sprouts, soybeans, cotton, sugar beets and rapeseed are just a few of many GMOs being specifically engineered with Monsanto-manipulated herbicideresistant DNA . Taking into account all the products derived from GM crops, experts estimate 60 to 70 percent of all processed foods sold in the U.S. contain at least one GM ingredient. GMOs are omnipresent in the modern diet and life-
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style. Omnipresent; however, not omni-wanted. Organic farmers are trying their hardest to retain at least some portion of our food in its natural state, with DNA unmutilated. This isn’t the fight many are familiar with, or at least expecting. In a way, this is the stereotypical “little guy vs. massive corporation” fight. But the “little guy” here includes more than just the “crunchy granola” organic farmers. Plaintiffs in Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto also include non-organic farmers who simply don’t want to produce GM crops. March 2011 marked the beginning of a preemptive lawsuit, with 83 plaintiffs joining forces against corporate giant, Monsanto. Florida Organic Growers, a nonprofit organic certification and sustainable farming outreach group based in Gainesville, joined the fight in July. The 83 plaintiffs, representing a coalition of more than 270,000
farmers, united together as the Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association (OSGATA), represented by the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), are filing this lawsuit against Monsanto out of fear. Some of these farmers have forgone growing certain crops they feared could have the possibility of being cross-contaminated with Monsanto’s seed. They would rather lose money from under-production than subject themselves to the risk of being sued by Monsanto and potentially losing their farms. Tom Helscher, director of corporate affairs, made sure to clarify that Monsanto would, has and will take legal action if farmers retain or replant seed obtained from the original seed purchased from Monsanto. By buying Roundup Ready seed, farmers are entering into an agreement with Monsanto to not save, reproduce or redistribute purchased seed. This agreement forces farmers to buy new seed every planting season, guaranteeing Monsanto’s sales
feature will stay strong. Sometimes a contract isn’t good enough, though. In 2007, Monsanto acquired ownership of Delta & Pine Land Company and thus, ownership of its extremely controversial patent, co-owned by the USDA, for Terminator seeds. Yes, like the Arnold Schwarzenegger terminator. Terminator seeds only live once, unlike natural seeds that may be saved, cleaned and recycled for the next growing season. After the first round of harvesting, the suicidal seed self-exterminates. This is an especially concerning issue for farmers in developing countries who typically cannot afford to buy new seed every year. Many farmers are also concerned about cross-pollination and potential infection of traditional and organic seed by the terminator gene. In the eyes of Monsanto, terminator seeds seem like a reliable method to stop biopiracy, but widespread public opposition and uproar has quelled the use of these seeds for now. Monsanto made a legal commitment not to produce, distribute, or sell Terminator seeds, but skeptics believe Monsanto is still furthering research into this technology. Clearly, Monsanto is willing to go to great lengths to maintain domination of the seed market and safety of its patents from what it sees as intentional theft, even though it is common agricultural and sustainable practice to recycle seed. However, what if this patented genetically modified seed is unintentionally replanted, grown, harvested and sold? Many of the plaintiffs in this case are modest family-owned farms; their entire life, savings and future is invested in their farms. With commercial farms occupying tracts of farmland saturated in Monsanto’s transgenic seed, the much smaller neighboring farms fear that cross-contamination is inevitable. Monsanto has suggested farmers create a buffer zone to avoid inadvertent seed drift, which is just one of many ways crop contamination can occur. This is an expensive suggestion; small-scale organic farmers typically are not sitting on wads of cash. And this suggested buffer zone wouldn’t even guarantee their
crops’ safety from Roundup Ready. For farmers like Noah Shitama, co-founder and owner of the small organic farm, Swallowtail (see pg. 28), in Alachua, a patent infringement lawsuit from Monsanto would mean complete extermination and death of his farm. The farmers in this case just want assurance and the promise that Monsanto won’t sue them for patent infringement in the case of accidental cross-contamination by Roundup Ready. After all, organic farmers don’t want to produce and sell Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seeds. Such contamination would strip the farmers of their organic certifications that they worked so hard to be granted, following a strict set of regulations set forth by the USDA. Organic crops are more difficult to grow and sell, but the profit the farmers gain is significant enough
rying about its effects on the health of their crops, stripping the land of everything save their desired crop. But, since the Roundup Ready seeds are entirely undesirable to the plaintiffs in this case, it would seemingly make just as much sense for the plaintiffs to sue Monsanto for having their seed “trespass” onto their farms. However, “trespass” as a legal term implies that some sort of monetary or physical damage was inflicted upon the victim of the trespassing. And, since this is a preemptive lawsuit, OSGATA is merely taking a defensive stance. The organic farmers are not looking to collect money or damages from Monsanto -- they’re just asking for a written promise. “Right now, Monsanto says they don’t have plans to sue, but they refuse to make a written legally binding promise. So, they could
In a way, this is the stereotypical “little guy vs. massive corporation” fight. But the “little guy” here includes more than just the “crunchy granola” organic farmers. to encourage them to keep up their efforts. This monetary incentive is, of course, complementary to the farmers’ concern for providing healthy foods to the public. “I want clean food that’s not going to poison me,” Noah said. “Some non-organic commercial farmers won’t even eat their own crops; how are we expected to be able to eat it?” These non-organic commercial farmers, “the big guys,” who choose to buy Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seeds do so for the convenience herbicide immunity affords them. This convenience factor makes theft tempting, so It’s understandable why Monsanto worries. Genetically modified soybeans, for example, have been engineered to host an herbicide resistant gene. This allows farmers to douse their farmland in herbicide without wor-
just wake up tomorrow and decide to sue,” Daniel Ravicher, Executive Director of PUBPAT and patent attorney on the OSGATA v. Monsanto case said, explaining the plaintiffs’ worries. It may seem difficult to imagine how small organic and family-owned farms can show up on such a large corporation’s radar. If a neighboring farmer suspects any seed sharing, intentional or unintentional, he may call Monsanto’s anonymous tip line and report his suspicion. Then, Monsanto may send an investigator to the accused farmer’s land to take samples for lab testing. Monsanto has made a promise to the farmers; however the confusion resides in Monsanto’s actual intentions and meanings behind
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feature Cont’d from pg. 25 words. “Monsanto policy never has been, nor will be, to exercise its patent rights where trace amounts of its patented seeds or traits are present in a farmer’s fields as a result of inadvertent means.” Helscher made this perfectly clear. So did Monsanto’s website, their motion to dismiss, and a letter to the USDA signed by Monsanto Vice President Jerry Steiner. Yet, despite how confidently Monsanto espouses this promise, plaintiffs feel the corporation’s words still remain legally insignificant. To some degree, this case hinges on simple semantics. Marty Mesh, director of FOG, along with the 82 other plaintiffs are skeptical of
definition, the organic farmers are not set at ease. In mid-July, Monsanto responded to OSGATA’s request by motioning for a dismissal of the case. Monsanto fears granting the plaintiffs the explicit and immutable promise they are requesting would be diminishing the significance of its patents. This preemptive commitment may just be too openended. Monsanto worries farmers with intention for patent infringement may join one of the plaintiff organizations and thus be legally protected, if Monsanto is forced to issue the promise the plaintiffs are demanding. The corporation’s motion for dismissal isn’t enough to snuff out OSGATA, though. OSGATA objected to Monsanto’s request for dismissal and is pressing on. As of
“I want clean food that’s not going to poison me. Some non-organic commercial farmers won’t even eat their own crops; how are we expected to be able to eat it?” Monsanto’s vague definition of “trace.” “What if you get more pollen from your neighbor this year, and that adds onto the “trace” amounts from last year?” Marty said, voicing the concern of many of the small farms. After seed drift, accidental cross-pollination, contamination via harvest and processing equipment, traces upon traces start to become a drawing. And Monsanto may interpret this drawing as a patent infringement. However, according to Helscher, “defining ‘trace’ doesn’t seem to be particularly relevant.” “Of course it’s relevant if you’re the one being sued,” Mesh said. Despite Helscher dismissing many farmers’ worries of this vague
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now, both parties are awaiting the Southern District Court of New York’s decision. Ravicher says if the objection is denied, OSGATA will still push through to the Court of Appeals, unrelenting in this drawn-out legal battle, which has the potential to be an extremely influential case for the agricultural underdog. Although Monsanto would only be legally committed to presenting a written promise to the 83 plaintiffs, this case would set a precedent to any case that may arise in the future. A documented and unequivocal promise would be nice, and necessary, for the life of organic farms, but there’s also a possibility that the court could deliver a harsher ruling against Monsanto. This further verdict would po-
tentially deem Monsanto’s transgenic seed patents invalid because of their being “injurious to the well -being, good policy, or sound morals of society,” as presented in OSGATA’s documented complaint. If the court rules Monsanto’s GM seed patents invalid, “the precedent from such a decision,” Ravicher explained, “may also indirectly call into question the validity of other similar GMO patents.” “The only real advantage Monsanto has is their deeper pockets,” Ravicher said. “They don’t have the truth on their side.” Monsanto’s seemingly infinite cash flow is intimidating to the organic and smaller-scale farms involved in this case. If the 270,000 farmers prevail and win this case, the final verdict would ripple through not only the United States, but the world. Remember, Monsanto domineers the world in terms of distribution of GMO seeds. If organic or non-GMO conventional farmers overseas have their crops contaminated with Roundup Ready, and then want to turn around and trade their products into the United States market, they will have crossed back into Monsanto’s more familiar territory and onto their radar, giving Monsanto a better opportunity to press charges for patent infringement. Again, these overseas farmers are no different than many of America’s small-scale farmers--their farm is their life and they cannot afford a battle with a mammoth corporation. “They just lie and lie and lie, and try to keep up the con for as long as they can so they can make as much money as they can,” Ravicher said, likening Monsanto to the tobacco companies in America. “That’s what corporate America is about.” Ravicher says he feels really good about this case, representing “the best people who are just trying to give back the best foods. They’re not greedy, and not corrupt.”
No ID, No Vote Republican-sponsored legislation risks deterring legitimate voters by Melanie Brkich
Graphic by Kelley Antoniazzi
In 1870, African Americans won the right to vote, followed by women 50 years later. In 1971, the voting age went down from 21 to 18, a critical victory for young soldiers who fought and died in wars without any voice in the political establishment -not that they were smart enough to vote responsibly, according to a handful of politicians and conservative pundits. “[Voting liberal is] what kids do. They don’t have life experience,” one legislator said about young voters. “They just vote with their feelings.” The legislator was New Hampshire Speaker William O’Brien (R), explaining the need for tighter voting restrictions to an assembly of Tea Party members in January. In recent months, voter ID laws have provoked heated debates throughout the country. Republican lawmakers claim voter fraud is a pressing issue and that voter ID laws present a solution. Opponents tend to be women, minorities, college students and the poor -- who are far more likely to be inconvenienced by voter ID laws and, coincidentally, more likely to vote Democrat. In 2008, only Indiana and Georgia had voter ID requirements. At the start of 2011, both had adopted strict voter ID laws, followed more recently by Kansas, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. None of the most recent laws are in effect yet, but they will be by January 2012, before national elections. There are currently three levels of voter ID law restrictions: non-photo, photo requested, and photo required. Florida’s laws
fall under the middle category. A “current and valid” photo ID must be provided at the polls. For those without valid driver’s licenses (namely the elderly, the poor and students without cars), the restrictions are a hindrance. Luckily, alternative forms of ID
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law pointed out in 2006 that voter fraud is a “foolish way to attempt to win an election.” In exchange for just one extra vote, offenders risk thousands of dollars in fines and up to five years
Voter ID Laws, State-by-State
VT NJ DE DC
No voter ID law Non-photo Photo Strict photo
FLORIDA’S LAWS The following types of ID are accepted at the polls... Florida driver’s license, Florida ID card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, United States passport, Debit or credit card, Military ID, Student ID, Retirement center ID, Neighborhood association ID, Public assistance ID (Note: If your picture ID does not contain your signature, you’ll need additional identification with a signature.) *Source: Florida Divisions of Elections and the National Conference of State Legislatures. For complete state-by-state requirements, see http://bit.ly/IAKrY
are accepted, including a student ID with a photo and a signature. This works out fine for UF students, but the latest Santa Fe ID does not include the latter. Is preventing voter fraud worth the inconvenience and potential deterrence to legitimate voters?
in prison. As a result, “fraud by individual voters is both irrational and extremely rare.” In the 2008 election, for example, 2.9 million votes were cast in Wisconsin. Out of those votes, 18 were reported as cases of ID fraud (less than one thousandth
of 1 percent). Other closely scrutinized elections in 2004 revealed similar ratios: 0.0009 percent in Washington State and 0.00004 percent in Ohio. Comparatively, Campus Progress estimates that 15 percent of low-income voters, 18 percent of the youth (read: students), and 24 percent of black voters would lack the qualifications to vote in 2012 based on the requirements of current voter ID laws. Additionally, a majority of women change their names after marriage and may face further complications with paperwork when discrepancies arise from previously issued IDs. Richard Scher, a professor of political science at UF and author of The Politics of Disenfranchisement, contends voter fraud is a partisan fabrication. He points out that there’s a difference between voter fraud and voting fraud. The former means to accidentally vote twice, while the latter classifies any ballot that must be thrown out for being marked incorrectly in some way. This means even the trivial number of cases marked in studies as “voter fraud” may be incorrectly classified. “In the old days during the Emancipation up until 1865, the Democrats were trying to keep blacks from voting,” he said. “Everybody does it. Now it’s just Republicans’ turn.” As far as the new laws in Florida, Scher said he thinks Florida has gone as far as it can with a “back-door approach” because “no matter what your politics, people just aren’t going to buy it.” Voter ID laws are not the only bureaucratic obstacle threatening
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SWALLOW TAIL FARM:
Text by Lily Wan Photos by Ashley Crane Every Wednesday and Sunday, Noah Shitama, co-founder and owner of Swallowtail Farm, drives about 25 miles to downtown Gainesville to sell his week’s best organic produce at the farmers’ market and Citizen’s Co-op’s Sunday market. Although Swallowtail Farm isn’t certified organic, Noah refuses to use pesticides or herbicides. (Continued on facing page)
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(Continued from facing page) He doesn’t even treat his crops with the few substances permissible under USDA certified organic standards, so he considers Swallowtail “beyond organic.” “We’re a community farm and, as such, it’s a direct-to-consumer, trust-based relationship that exists between us and all the people we’re feeding,” Noah said. In June, Florida Organic Growers (FOG), a Gainesvillebased nonprofit that works to promote sustainable community farmers like Noah, joined 82 other plaintiffs in a preemptive lawsuit against Monsanto, the world’s leading producer of genetically modified seeds. Plaintiffs claim Monsanto’s predatory patent enforcement tactics threaten the future of organic agriculture (see page 24). (pictured, clockwise from top, left) Sami Kattan, an anthropology student at UF with a minor in botany and sustainability, prepares freshly picked flower bouquets for the Swallowtail farm shares. / Rain clouds pass over the field of Swallowtail Farm. / Noah Shitama, owner and cofounder of Swallowtail Farm, uproots sweet potatoes from the field. / Emily Eckhardt, a fulltime worker at Swallowtail Farm, accomplishes daily tasks in the rain. / Noah holds a delicate piece of his work in his hands.
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in the (pictured above) Bea (left) and Sylvia (right) knead dough at Morning Meadow. The bread often includes leftover ingredients from earlier in the week. (pictured, top of next page) Soulie peeks down from the clubhouse at Morning Meadow to see where her marble rolled to. (pictured, bottom of next page) Tayeko (left) and Zolthan (right) ride a skateboard made out of toy blocks.
Meadow by Alli Langley Photos by Erik Knudsen At 5, Sylvia Paluzzi had to complete a task, putting pegs in their proper holes, before she could join her friends outside. At 6, teachers pulled her out of class for coloring outside the lines. They told her she was careless and couldn’t draw. Some kids withdraw from school because of incidents like these, Paluzzi said, now a teacher herself. Positive preschool experiences can make children think school is wonderful, while negative ones can make them lose their natural love of learning, she said. Paluzzi hopes this never happens at her school. “I think we as human beings are unlimited,” she said. All children can be artists, musicians and growers and can understand chemistry and math, she said, if they are exposed to the material in a pleasant way by a teacher who helps them find their natural talents, strengths and passions. Paluzzi, 48, is the founder and director of Morning Meadow Preschool and Kindergarten, an alternative private school in Gainesville
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for children aged 2 1/2 to 6. For almost 20 years, she has been igniting her students’ fire for learning using the Waldorf method. This century-old, nonreligious educational system emphasizes not only children’s intellectual development, but also their emotional, physical and spiritual growth. Although the number is growing, the United States has fewer than 200 Waldorf schools, so Paluzzi’s approach to education is far from common. So is the way she dresses. Paluzzi teaches and plays with her students wearing long, flowing skirts, an apron and bangles that cover her forearms. She frames her big, brown eyes with thick, black eyeliner, loosely wraps her long black hair with a headscarf, and pins flowers in the back. She looks like a gypsy, said Cristina Eury, a friend who used to teach with her. Nina Hofer, a friend whose children attended Morning Meadow, said she was overwhelmed when she first met Paluzzi 15 years ago. She said Paluzzi is “the most amazing and insightful person I’ve met in my life, by far.”
Discovering Waldorf Growing up in Miami, Paluzzi was one of six children. At 17, she gave birth to her first son. While at the University of Florida in the early 1980s, Paluzzi drifted through pre-med courses she didn’t like, then took a year off. Back home in Miami, her mom pointed out that every job she picked involved kids. Upon returning to UF, Paluzzi graduated with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. After having her second son, Paluzzi’s best friend introduced her to the Waldorf School of Gainesville, open from 1979 to 1996, where Paluzzi could bring her baby with her to work. She became an assistant teacher and was struck by how happy the children were. They still fought from time to time, she said, but they were laughing and singing and the teacher wasn’t micromanaging them like some from her childhood. At a traditional school where she worked previously, Paluzzi saw kids brought to tears when learning fractions. But at the Waldorf School, they seemed vibrant, harmonious and carefree. A few months later, the teacher she assisted left, and Paluzzi was asked to replace her. She spent three summers training to be a certified Waldorf teacher at Sunbridge Institute in New York while also teaching at the Waldorf School in Gainesville. That’s when she met Edy Zettler, a mother of one of Paluzzi’s “original families.” “She’s a fabulous person, but that’s obvious. You’re able to tell right off the bat,” Zettler said. “She’s very straightforward, honest, no nonsense.” In 1993, Paluzzi left the Waldorf School and started her own school out of her house with five students. After nine years, Morning Meadow moved out of her house, and five years ago, it settled at its current location. Paluzzi’s school has grown to 48 students in two classes, each with two teachers who are encouraged to bring their young children with them to work. This fall, the first-, second- and third-grade students left Morning Meadow and moved to Heart
Pine Elementary, a new outgrowth of Morning Meadow that is renting space at Highlands Presbyterian Church. Heart Pine is run by a board of parents, including Paluzzi, whose 7-year-old son attends the school with 14 other students. Teaching at Morning Meadow Instead of labeling their cubbies and art projects with their names, preschoolers in Paluzzi’s class use their spirit symbols. She tries to pick a symbol, like a tree, cat or heart, that fits the child’s personality. One student, Maya, was a “light-filled, ethereal being, flitting from one activity to the next,” she said, “and you felt like if you tried to hold her, she would flutter away.” Paluzzi chose the butterfly as Maya’s spirit symbol. Sometimes she assigns symbols to the children before meeting them. Most of the time, she said, they unknowingly go to the cubby labeled with their symbol. Although her students are very young, “She really sees them,” Hofer said. “She’s really listening.” The school day begins outside. “I think it’s important for children to have an experience with nature,” she said, “to dig, and look for worms and bugs, and plant seeds and watch them become something.” Most kids today have lost their connection to nature, she said -- a connection that is important if society wants responsible adults who appreciate the environment and fight for its preservation. Surrounded by a tall wooden fence covered in chalk drawings, her
kids sing, crawl and jump around the trees, monkey bars and vegetable garden. In their minds, they are gourmet chefs, truck drivers or puppies. Paluzzi walks among them, solving disputes, offering words of wisdom and engaging in their fantasies. As a gentle signal, Paluzzi and her co-teacher sing to their class of 4- to 6-year-olds, and they line up to wash their hands. Paluzzi sits with a large ceramic bowl in her lap and scrubs their hands. Then, the two teachers and the preschoolers form a circle on a large rug. They hold hands, dance and sing about the wonders of nature, tasks like washing the floor and baking bread, and make-believe creatures.
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Sowing the Seeds of Ecotourism in Haiti by Aleks Bacewicz After last year’s notorious earthquake, Haiti’s recovery has been slow and riddled with setbacks, worsened by an allegedly preventable cholera epidemic. Fortunately, Gainesville hosts a variety of organizations that actively support Haiti, whether by raising money or sending medical volunteers. Jeff Depree, a doctoral candidate in Computer Science at UF, thought he could help in his own way. Depree traveled to Haiti this year with nothing more than a backpack and some bare essentials. His goal, without the aid of an organized group, was to explore the landscape and interact with locals. He kept a detailed log of logistical issues that could be encountered by travelers and mapped out hiking trails in hopes of encouraging other ecotourists to follow his lead and visit the country’s rugged terrain. The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as a way to travel responsibly to natural areas while respecting the environment and local culture. It’s not a novel idea, but in Haiti, it’s uncharted territory. 32 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintuf.org
Haiti’s tourism industry consists of isolated resorts, providing foreigners with private beaches and bars but no glimpses into the rest of Haiti. Despite the obstacles presented by deforestation and widespread poverty, DePree hopes ecotourism will eventually become a viable option for travelers, as well as a source of income for locals and an incentive to protect Haiti’s resources. Depree’s journey began in Portau-Prince, where he saw the reality of the earthquake’s devastation: a tent city had replaced the main square and most of the buildings were in ruins. He continued, focused on reaching Haiti’s untamed landscape, and hopped onto a tap-tap, a brightly colored bus or pick-up truck used as a common form of transport. After spending his first night in a church rectory in the southern town of Furcy, DePree awoke early to begin hiking. Markets and vendors lined segments of the ridgeline to the southern coastline. He picked out a lady with pots in the dirt alongside the trail and bought a cheap and filling meal: a hodgepodge of fried spa-
ghetti, onions, tomatoes, ketchup, and mayonnaise. For the rest of the trip, DePree mapped out up to 50 miles of hiking trails. “Haiti is one of the last places I would imagine as a destination for ecotourists,” said Dr. Gerald Murray, professor emeritus of anthropology at UF. Murray designed and directed an agroforestry project in Haiti over a 20-year period and conducted research on the country’s culture and religion. Murray attributes his lack of optimism to Haiti’s high population density and rapid deforestation. The government protects only two patches of land: Pic Macaya in the southwest and La Viste in the south, both national parks. Throughout the country, Haitians clear forests and use the resulting wood and charcoal for energy. The land is subsequently used for subsistence farming until overuse triggers soil erosion, creating a vicious cycle of resource depletion. In the past two decades alone, roughly 13 percent of Haiti’s forest cover has been eliminated. “Haiti’s environment has been sidelined to deal with more pressing issues,” said Dr. Paul Monaghan, an
assistant professor at UF’s Department of Agricultural Education and Communication. Monaghan worked with the US National Park Service on an assessment of Pic Macaya over a decade ago. Aside from the deteriorating landscape, he encountered human rights issues, including a lack of clean water and no viable economic opportunities. The Haitians he came across on the outskirts of the park had no choice other than clearing the forests to survive. Although Monaghan doesn’t imagine ecotourism in Haiti would ever replace conventional tourism, he foresees its development as an incentive for Haitians to take the preservation of natural resources into their own hands, reversing the current cycle of deforestation and soil erosion. Travelers like DePree hope to plant the seed from which ecotourism could expand from the ground up. As of now, ecotourists in Haiti are virtually on their own. Throughout his entire trip, Depree ran into one wilderness guide, an English-speaking Haitian who advised Depree on where to go, despite his inability to afford the guide’s price of $40 per day. He appreciated any monetary help he could get from DePree, explaining that he needed the money to buy bread for his children. Unlike DePree, the vast majority of tourists in Haiti flock to resorts operated by foreign businesses. Labadee, one of Haiti’s most popular tourist destinations, is exclusively for
those traveling with the Royal Caribbean cruise line. The 600,000 tourists who pour into Labadee annually enjoy an assortment of commercial attractions, surrounded by a 12-foot fence. Haitian locals are not allowed into the fenced property, with the
“His goal, without the aid of an organized group, was to explore the landscape and interact with locals. He kept a detailed log of logistical issues that could be encountered by travelers and mapped out hiking trails in hopes of encouraging other ecotourists to follow his lead and visit the country’s rugged terrain.” exception of those employed by the cruise line and a couple hundred others who sell trinkets at a small flea market. Aside from these 530 Haitians who receive monetary benefits, the Guardian reported last year that other Haitians lament the loss of one of their country’s most pristine natural areas to foreign enterprise. “Haiti is beautiful,” said Getro Naissance, a Haitian student at UF.
“There’s no place like it.” Born and raised in Haiti until the age of 14, Naissance makes a point to visit biannually and explore his homeland. He mentioned that the media focuses too much on the negative without showcasing the unique culture and landscape Haiti offers. Naissance travels by means of local transportation, getting by with the help of people he meets along the way. Dr. Monaghan encourages Haitian émigrés, already well-versed in the country’s language and culture, to set an example for foreigners and revisit their homeland. DePree will continue to promote a self-sufficient Haiti and hopes to go back again, next time with more camping gear and a small group of fellow travelers. He and others will build upon previous efforts, exploring uncharted areas and recording their trip in hopes of guiding future ecotourists. “At present, Haiti has a bit of an image problem,” DePree said. “But the Haitian people are passionate about improving their country and, with a little direction, I think they could create a really enticing ecotourism industry that could put Haiti high on the list of adventure travel destinations.” (pictured) Photographs taken Dec. 2010 in Haiti by Jeff DePree while hiking between Fermathe, Quest and Depot, Sud-Est. Winter 2011 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | 33
PART II an excerpt
Less Clear, Less _______, Less Organized, Less ________, Less _________, Less Hegemony, Less_________ a. the sun is globular spherical perfection nippled Arabic tanning suns of crocodiles lying in the ferns of the Nile tickling your ear, the world is gooey gushy yellow golden,
that an indoor beach like at a waterpark waves waves you have installed within my heart? my Grandfather born with a top hat on, the flight of the immigrant eagle, purple mountain majestic logs, slack lines, creeks to be crossed as lying next to each other on laptops, tech- tight ropes roped, criss-crossed, lagging slacknobubbles of we don’t talk to each other, our ing movement fasting, lines and boxes, lines minds have found other things more interest- boxes, everywhere unclipped fingernails, no, ing than other minds, soft pig feet all around my face and body, than other trees, other birds, other flowery pressing down on me herds of doves released pine needled scratch the green tree gone, c. and my mother will never know what it’s chicken factory steroids factories manufactur- like to have grandchildren, and that makes ing chicken factories, kitchen cages subway me cry like a mother can’t deal with that. cages wet chopped muck olfactories, sky- Amanda, she couldn’t deal with it, James scraper cages compartmentalization, every- couldn’t deal, Michael, Linda, Frank, Robert, where telling the curves of things unknown, Breanne, Ava, Peter, thousands of them everywhere harboring the horrible things they let eruptive scary volcanic kitchen-kitten voices, happen to their mother in this society where suppress bubble suppress feel, dark yertle everyone sat down and stared at boxes living the tertle licking slowly away my everywhere in computer boxes listing your friends and heart, writing them notes hi, how are you, I miss you, I’ve been so busy directing everything Beijing Olympic drummers into sparkling inward, and with our demons unexorcised, pillow-scattered birch wood legless trees, little negative energy foraged for and catalogued, clay pieces of my body crafted by a potter, on starch fat thighs filling starch fat brains, all at the spinner, once needy are you ready count “1, 2, 3…” and explode, explode, internally combust until the ceiling fan is a symbol of national- America, we are cars we our cars fill burn turn istic unity, until the paint drips on the wall go exploding anger stress fear untapped desire turn into lonely peering clown faces, little untapped sex untapped regret, and man they antpeople red water rafting in my veins, is put too much provolone on this sandwich, 34 | T H E F I N E P R I N T | thefineprintuf.org
night and sit and watch this box broadcasting moving images of a couple of special chimd. , all the animals had formed not out of panzees who have millions of bananas, laugh water but from the gasses, they captured and sleep and wake up to earn your three bamethanes and turned them into energies and nanas and eat your three bananas and be your floated, giant herds, up through the down three bananas clouds, bemoaning noises whalelike palelike, and they were round red flamboyant wonder- g. sexual things happening to me, in an Elcolored, and that same day Melody was fired derly Woman’s House, where all the doors are and walked the streets of Philadelphia raging painted red American night, despair in the lamps, moon in the lamps, lamps on the moon, crumbled h. in everything everywhere in its simplicity newspaper folding itself, bum alleyed trash and complexity and growing forming dissemican headlights of the siren song, waving pa- nating cycles recycling. Like a slow watercolor rade magic, hung forlorn from trees, up the painting by the sun that will be forgotten; like steps Rocky Balbao runs up in millions of all of us flower people blooming and fading American minds, look out on the desolate away, we are a plant waking up and discoverelectric confetti of skyscraped lonely people ing itself, wiggling back down into the gas, working late, that or fucking their married wiggling back down into the, wiggling back coworkers, and she stands on Rocky’s Victory down into, wiggling back down, wiggling Steps and takes her own life, well really just a back, wiggling. part of it, by smoking a spliff. You think,” says Amanda to her mother, sautéing green beans, - John Moran “that college kids are just binge drinkers and fatalists because they’re young and wild and free, but really it’s because e. who were from the Unglupi Tribe, who shared Nunavut with the Inuits, and they did not feel far from home because Nunavut had KFC and KFC had Nunavut f. found the chimpanzees living in wooden boxes doing tasks and being given a number of bananas based on their task, never talking or resting, tasking fast get bananas get paid, since bananas come from chimpanzees, didn’t exist on trees. The chimpanzees vote for one chimpanzee to talk and the other chimpanzees listen and the chimpanzees go home at
Editor’s note - The excerpt above was taken from a larger work entitled “Use Drugs 24/7 Because You Are Not Gay, Furiously Type This 120-Page Hopelessly Dense Existential Shitshow, Contemplate the Waxes and Wanes of 25 Unseen Moons, Mourning Light Pollution And Unfortunate Patterns Of Indoor Living Prevalent During Anthropologically Problematic Concept of Modernity, Return With Dapper, Demur Sensibility, Cut Up Shitshow To Bare On Your Dropped-Below-65-Floridians-Are-Mad-For-UggBoots-and-Long Sleeves”.
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yello/blu by Travis Epes
Look for more yello/blu comics on our website at thefineprintuf.org
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JUMPS Soil Food, cont’d from page 10 created by the working bacteria generates heat that reaches temperatures as high as 145 degrees Fahrenheit, giving off steam as a visible side-effect of the process. The heat contributes to decomposition, decreasing the volume of the original compost material. Because the food is naturally deteriorating rather than rotting, compost gives off a pleasant, earthy scent, not the stinky smell of your kitchen garbage can. The resulting compost is sifted and should resemble crumbly, dark brown potting soil when ready for the garden. As opposed to the inorganic fertilizer sold at generic home improvement stores, a good pile of compost has the quality of being a soil-builder -- a time-consuming but valuable long-term benefit. From a Healthy Garden to a Healthier Economy In addition to creating and selling compost to restaurants, Gainesville Compost also has plans to extend its services to the homes of environmentally-conscious Gainesville residents interested in growing their own food. This new project would be based on the farm Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) model, where paying members receive fresh seasonal produce each week. In this case, Compost CSA members will receive nutrient-rich, local compost products, educational resources for gardening with compost and weekly face time with local compost experts. The program will launch early next year, likely operating from the weekly Farmer’s Market at the Bo Diddley Plaza. Cano’s complete vision for Gainesville
(pictured above) Chris Cano, founder and “compost” executive officer (CEO) of Gainesville Compost, works in the garden. Compost goes beyond the vertical business model, which tends to exploits resources to turn a profit and be unfavorable to laborers and the environment. The objective is to create quality compost out of available waste resources, while engaging the Gainesville community in the process. The beauty of this “pedal-powered, community compost network” is its potential long-term effects in the sustainable urban agriculture movement, as well as in our local economy. Creating your own job, especially one that speaks to your interests as well as to the
greater good, sounds impossible in today’s economic climate. But it’s not. Cano threw out the Classified ads and started a business that corresponds to his own interests. It’s not just about wonderful soil food; it’s about creating an alternative way of doing business that is both environmentally and financially sustainable. Now, that’s an idea worth recycling. If you are interested in becoming a Gainesville Compost CSA member, please contact Chris Cano at GainesvilleCompost@gmail.com.
No ID, No Vote, cont’d from page 27 inclusive participation in Florida’s elections. Erin Murphy, president of the College Democrats at UF, contends that thirdparty registration is the most important change in the state’s voting laws. Now, all third-party organizations, from College Democrats to the NAACP, have to register with the Florida Division of Elections to get approved for registering citizens. But that’s not all. Every registration has to
be meticulously documented, the forms numbered, and any mistake results in a $50 fine per form. Murphy had extensive experience with the issue as a legislative intern for Senator Nan Rich of Florida last spring. She helped file 18 amendments against House Bill 1355, which “requires that third-party voter registration organizations register with Division of Elections and pro-
vide division with certain information.” Though none of them passed, she said, “it did make a statement and at least delayed the process of passing.” Third-party organizations have been a great convenience to those who aren’t able to get to specially designated locations for registration, especially college students who don’t have transportation or permanent addresses in Gainesville. Murphy said that
of all those who registered with the help of College Democrats for the 2008 election, 90 percent came out to the polls. She said College Democrats is currently registering people of any party at Turlington on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. So, what’s Murphy’s advice in these bleak times for would-be voters? “Register,” she said. “Just get it done.”
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jumps In the Meadow, cont’d from page 31 Then, it’s snack time. The children sit at tiny tables, where they thank Mother Earth and Father Sun and bless their friends and families before eating. Blessings said throughout the day are often earth-based, Paluzzi said, “because I wanted the children to have an experience of reverence without an attachment to any one religion.” The school has parents from many religions and cultures, so in addition to more general blessings, Paluzzi also chooses fairy tales from cultures around the world. While parents pack their children’s lunches, the school prepares their snacks. Students eat a vegan meal of whole grains and vegetables, such as rotini sprinkled with broccoli and nutritional yeast. Though not a vegan, Paluzzi buys organic food when she can and supports local farmers at the downtown farmers’ market. At school, her kids use glass cups and ceramic bowls instead of more kid-friendly disposables, because Paluzzi said she likes to live by a Native American saying: “Whatever you do, do it with the seven generations after you in mind.” After the preschoolers clean up, Paluzzi sings again to signal playtime. Her classroom is filled with “open-ended toys” -- objects like colorful cloths, shells and wood that students can transform into whatever they want -- which Paluzzi said encourages creativity and imagination. The boys and girls ask, “Miss Sylvia, will you help?” and she pulls out art supplies or ties cloth around their bodies to make costumes. Waldorf teachers make toys in class so students see the time and effort involved, and thus, have more respect for toys when they play with them, she said. All their toys are made from biodegradable materials. Waldorf ideology discourages plastics as well as TVs and computers around young children, so Paluzzi encourages her Morning Meadow families to find other avenues of entertainment.
(pictured above) Bea makes a sun from a bit of flour she borrowed from the bread recipe at Morning Meadow. Creating an Extended Family The school doesn’t have room for all the children who want to attend. Paluzzi is trying to find a larger property so she can enroll more students and give them “a more wild setting” with less urban noise, where they can explore nature. Friends of Morning Meadow Preschool, a nonprofit devoted to establishing a permanent Waldorf school in Gainesville, found a 14-acre property that Paluzzi said would be convenient for families because it’s only 10 minutes from University Avenue, but “you can still go into the woods and hear the sounds you should hear.” The nonprofit’s Waldorf initiative keeps attracting more supporters, she said, and every year it raises more money than the year before. Last year, it raised about $35,000. But the organization still doesn’t have enough to buy the property and build a facility that
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unites the growing preschool and elementary school. Paluzzi said she’d like Morning Meadow to outlive her, and might someday pass the school on to one of the younger teachers. But for now, teaching and running Morning Meadow has her up at 6 a.m. every day. “I really, really love it,” she said, “so to me it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. It feels like a blessing.” Paluzzi seems to embody the spirit of Waldorf education; parents talk about her and the school’s ideology as if they were one and the same. After almost 20 years in the Gainesville community, Paluzzi says Morning Meadow is more like an extended family than a school. Parents whose kids are long gone from the school still volunteer, and former students return to help with summer camp or holiday parties. Paluzzi keeps in touch with several students who are now in their early twenties. She takes pride in knowing her students leave Morning Meadow
with “a sense of openness and possibilities awaiting them.” After teaching children, Paluzzi said teaching parents is her second favorite thing. They come to her with their questions and concerns, said Ashlee Sharpe, a mother and Morning Meadow teacher. “She’s good at listening, thinking about it, picking apart the issues and helping you figure it out,” Sharpe said. It’s not always obvious, said Peter Polshek, a Morning Meadow parent, but Paluzzi has an incredible depth of understanding of each child. And not only does she understand the children, he said, but she also understands the families and the parents. Hofer agreed. “She’s not just a teacher for my child,” she said. “She’s a teacher for me.” Interested in learning more about Morning Meadow Preschool and Kindergarden? Check out www.MorningMeadow.com.
JUMPS A Powerful Incentive, cont’d from page 11 liability corporations that were not registered until after the selection process. Orlando said that when she asked GRU if she could submit more than one application, she was told that it would not be permitted. She expected that other applicants would be told the same. “All I wanted was to be treated fairly,” she said. “I told GRU, ‘I don’t care what your rules are; I just want to play by the same ones.’” The auditor’s report had suggested that GRU make an effort to further clarify its application regulations and to notify applicants of exceptions granted to other applicants. Shepherd said that GRU regularly changes its processes to improve the program along the way.
Although still evolving, GRU’s Solar FIT program serves as an example for many utility companies across the nation. Inspired by similar efforts in Europe, it was the first of its kind in the United States. She may not be happy with the management of the Solar FIT, but Orlando recognizes the significance of the program’s presence in Gainesville. “This is a very important program,” she said. “The whole country has their eyes watching us, and it’s a shame that it’s been hijacked by people who took advantage of the weaknesses in it.”
Veterans for Peace
25th Annual Winter Solstice
Sunday, Dec. 17 at 8p
at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (4225 NW 34th St.) Doors at 7p, Concert begins at 8p Tickets are $10-$30 on a sliding scale and can be purchased at Hyde and Zeke’s Records or by calling 352-375-2563. This year’s lineup includes Drums of Peace, John Chambers, Lauren Robinson, David Beede, Kevin O’Sullivan, Scrub Hill Billies, Talking Stick, Quartermoon, the Heavenly Semi-Angels and others. Learn more about Vets for Peace at afn.org/~vetpeace
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The winter 2011 print edition of The Fine Print.