CONTACT: John Stauber, Senior Adviser, Food Rights Network
PHONE: (608) 260-9713; (608) 279-4044
SAN DIEGO–Leading organic gardening and food safety advocates who oppose growing food in sewage sludge are attending the national BioCycle magazine conference Tuesday, April 12, 2011 in San Diego to demand an apology and retraction from Sally Brown, a columnist and editorial board member of BioCycle magazine, and from Nora Goldstein, the executive editor of BioCycle.
Sally Brown, who is also a research associate professor at the University of Washington, is delivering a keynote address at the BioCycle conference; she promotes growing food in sewage sludge “fertilizer.” John Stauber, senior adviser to the Food Rights Network and co-author of the bestselling book Toxic Sludge Is Good for You!, plans to personally deliver letters to Brown and Goldstein demanding an apology and retraction.
Last month, Brown wrote and Goldstein published that “six ecoterrorists have the City of San Francisco quaking in its boots, leading officials to stop a compost giveaway program that was making hundreds happy.”
As John Stauber of the Food Rights Network and Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association note in their letter to the two:
“Dr. Brown’s column in the March 2011 edition of BioCycle magazine makes a false and defamatory charge calling us ‘ecoterrorists.’ The Organic Consumers Association and the Food Rights Network are proud to have led the coalition that successfully put this sewage waste disposal scam on apparently permanent hold in San Francisco. Indeed, we are expanding our efforts to warn the public at large that so-called “biosolids” and “biosolids compost” are actually sewage sludge and thus contaminated with toxic and hazardous substances. ”
Your smear of us as ‘ecoterrorists’ recklessly disregards the truth. We are the proponents of genuine organic food and farming practices and federal law forbids putting sewage sludge on organic farms and gardens. It is a fraud upon the public to promote sewage sludge products containing hazardous substances—such as pathogens, pesticides, dioxins, PCBs, flame-retardants, endocrine disruptors, metals, and thousands of other contaminants—as ‘organic compost.’ The success of our coalition in exposing and stopping this fraudulent practice bears absolutely no resemblance to the felony crime of ‘ecoterrorism.’ “
“Such vilification is particularly pernicious in the post-9/11 environment, with the expanded powers of the federal government to investigate charges of ecoterrorism. . . . That BioCycle magazine would call us ‘ecoterrorists’ is also quite possibly malicious, given your financial interests in promoting sewage sludge-derived products. We expect a written apology from both of you for your libel against us . . . . Additionally, we demand that . . . this retraction and apology be publicly announced from the podium at the national BioCycle conference April 12th in San Diego.”
The BioCycle conference begins April 12, and the keynote address at which Brown is slated to speak is scheduled for 9 AM PST.
The Food Rights Network is a project of the Center for Media and Democracy, based in Madison, Wisconsin:
The Organic Consumers Association is based in Finland, Minnesota: