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Thai Labor Leader Luncheon

Please accept this invitation to meet Jittra Cotshadet over lunch on Friday October 28 at the Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council, 640 Page Boulevard, Springfield (get directions here).

Please reserve your seat now (no later than noon, October 27) by replying to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or calling the Labor Council, (413) 732-7970.

Over the course of the past three years, Ms. Cotshadet has become a well-known labor activist in Thailand.  Her work as the President of the Triumph International Thailand Labour Union thrust her into the international spotlight, when large numbers of unionized workers were laid off from their factory jobs at Triumph International, a global underwear manufacturer headquartered in Switzerland.  According to Ms. Cotshadet, the employees were fired so the company could expand production at another plant whose workers did not belong to the union.  Advocating on behalf of the women at the garment factory resulted in Ms. Cotshadet being fired.  In response, she founded her own underwear manufacturing firm, Try Arm Worker Cooperative, employing many of the women who were laid off from Triumph.  In addition to her efforts in the labor sector, Ms. Cotshadet has also worked closely with the disadvantaged in Thailand.  She has served as an AIDS counselor and has fought numerous times to protect the labor rights of disabled workers in various industries.

more about this event and Jittra
Rebuild Springfield

Springfield Residents Urged to Show up and Be Heard at Neighborhood and Citywide Meetings

Rebuild Springfield Planning Meetings begin week of October 11
Springfield, Mass., October 6, 2011-Rebuild Springfield, an initiative of DevelopSpringfield and the Springfield Redevelopment Authority, kicks into high gear with the first series of three neighborhood meetings during the week of October 10th, followed by a citywide meeting on Saturday morning, October 15th. Residents and stakeholders are asked to help create a vision for Springfield that will ultimately help form the master plan for both the tornado-impacted and related areas of the City of Springfield.

Networking event brings local farmers and energy experts together
The Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP), a project of Berkshire-Pioneer RC&D, celebrated the release of the Massachusetts Farm Energy Best Management Practices Guide with a Farm Energy Networking Event on Monday, October 17th at Bramble Hill Farm in Amherst, Mass. This event linked farmers with energy experts and resources, including state and federal agencies, installers, vendors, and public utilities to initiate on-farm energy projects. This event linked farmers with energy experts and resources, including state and federal agencies, installers, vendors, and public utilities to initiate on-farm energy projects.·

Read more and watch a video at:

NRCS publishes handbook to help you understand several conservation programs

Massachusetts farmers and forest land owners considering looking for financial and technical help from NRCS  now have a resource to help them understand what's involved in applying for and participating in several federal conservation programs. "Understanding the 2008 Farm Bill Conservation Programs" is an eight-page handbook that walks landowners through the entire process from conservation planning to submitting an application to signing the contract, and beyond.

· Read more at:

USDA announces sign-up dates for conservation programs in Massachusetts

NRCS has announced three rounds of funding for four conservation program in Massachusetts. These federal programs, authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill, provide financial and technical help to farmers and forest land owners to protect soil, water and other natural resources. The assistance is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA), and the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP), all administered by NRCS. NRCS will offer three ranking periods with the following closing dates: February 3, March 30, and June 1, 2012. Farmers can submit applications for these programs anytime throughout the year; all complete applications will be batched and ranked on these closing dates for funding decisions.

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