Search OCA:
State News & Activities:

Organic Bytes #80: Health, Justice and Sustainability News Tidbits with an Edge

  • By Craig Minowa and Ronnie Cummins
    Organic Consumers Association, 4/28/2006

Subscribe to this Bi-weekly Email Newsletter: http://www.organicconsumers.org/organicbytes.htm

IN THIS ISSUE

  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS GIANTS MOVE TO CONTROL HOW YOU SURF THE WEB
  • ACTUAL & VIRTUAL MARCH OF ORGANIC CONSUMERS AGAINST THE WAR & CLIMATE CHAOS
  • NEW FOOD LABEL HIGHLIGHTS LOCALLY GROWN PRODUCTS
  • A MOUTHFUL OF MONEY: THE CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF ORGANIC FOODS
  • HOW TO BE AN ENVIRONMENTALIST: GOTTA GIT A GREEN THUMB
  • HOW GREEN IS YOUR LAWN?
  • QUICK TIDBITS

___________________________________

TELECOMMUNICATIONS GIANTS MOVE TO CONTROL HOW YOU SURF THE WEB
A nationwide network of nonprofit organizations, including the Organic Consumers Association, are mobilizing to stop Congress from passing a law that would enable telecommunications giants to control the flow of traffic on the internet. Companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are pressuring Congress to pass the "Telecom Reform Bill" that would allow them to restrict or slow down your access to certain websites on the internet. As an example, last year, Canada's version of AT&T -- Telus -- blocked their internet customers from visiting a web site sympathetic to workers with whom Telus was negotiating. This controversial bill would create a similar situation in the U.S. whereby telephone and cable companies would have increased power to control how well (or poorly) specific websites, including those operated by nonprofit organizations, would function on your computer. The current construction of the internet allows everyone to compete on a level playing field. This is the reason that the internet is a force for economic innovation, civic participation and free speech. If the public doesn't speak up now, Congress will hand over control of the internet to these telecommunications monopolies.
Please take action:
http://www.organicconsumers.org/rd/telecom.cfm

____________________________________

ACTUAL & VIRTUAL MARCH OF ORGANIC CONSUMERS AGAINST THE WAR & CLIMATE CHAOS
A massive march and rally, organized by a network of peace, environmental, and public interest organizations, including the OCA, will take place Saturday, April 29 in New York City. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators will call for an end to the war in Iraq, a massive reduction in greenhouse gases, and a transformation of the American economy to sustainable and organic production. If you can travel to New York, please attend the march, but you can also take part online by joining organic consumers across the country in calling for an end to the war in Iraq and a massive reduction in greenhouse gases.
Sign on as a "Virtual Marcher" here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/Politics/itstime060428.cfm

__________________________________

NEW FOOD LABEL HIGHLIGHTS LOCALLY GROWN PRODUCTS
A new certification and labeling system has been launched in Western Montana that goes a step beyond federal "USDA Organic." The Western Montana Sustainable Growers Union has launched the "Homegrown" label, which guarantees that products sold to consumers are not only organic, but were also produced within a 150 mile radius. The Homegrown label also aims to promote fair labor practices. Farmers with the Homegrown certification are also urged to purchase supplies locally to keep money in the community. According to Lynn Byczynski, editor and publisher of Growing for Market, a national magazine dedicated to farmers' markets, "What they (the Growers Union) are doing there is not uncommon. There are groups like this bubbling up all over the place in response to the corporate takeover of organics."
Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/btc/montana060420.cfm

____________________________________

A MOUTHFUL OF MONEY: THE CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF ORGANIC FOODS

  • Kraft Foods bought small natural cereals producer Back to Nature in
    2004. The company is a subsidiary of Altria Group, which also owns Phillip Morris Companies Inc., one of the largest cigarette makers in the world. Kraft also owns Boca Burger Inc.
  • Odwalla Inc., which produces natural and organic fruit juices, was purchased by Coca-Cola in 2001.
  • Dean Foods Co., the largest dairy company in the U.S., bought out Horizon Organic in 2003, in addition to Silk soymilk and White Wave tofu.
  • Kellogg's has acquired several natural and organic brands: Kashi Cereal and Morningstar Farms.
  • General Mills purchased Cascadian Farm, in 2000. The brand consists of items such as frozen fruit, vegetables, granola bars and fruit spreads. General Mills also bought out Muir Glen, which produces ketchup, tomato sauce, and salsa.
  • Unilever bought out Ben & Jerry's for $326 million.
  • Colgate-Palmolive Co. is purchasing Tom's of Maine, which specializes in natural oral and personal care products.
Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/sos.cfm

PROTECT ORGANIC STANDARDS: DONATE TO THE OCA
Donate Now!
http://www.organicconsumers.org/donations.htm

____________________________________


HOW TO BE AN ENVIRONMENTALIST: GOTTA GIT A GREEN THUMB
If you don't have one already, there's no better time than the present to start your own vegetable garden, whether it's on your own land or in a local community plot. According to the latest data from the US Department of Agriculture, the level of home food production is at its lowest point in US history. With the average food traveling more than 1500 miles from farm to fork, the environmental impact of big agribusiness foods is at an all time high. Concerned about global warming and peak oil? Consider the fact that it takes 400 calories of fossil fuels to transport a single 5 calorie strawberry from California to East Coast supermarkets. What's more, that flavorless non-organic strawberry was grown with methyl bromide, a carcinogenic and ozone depleting pesticide. In contrast, a perennial patch of strawberries in your yard grows back on its own every year, requires no fossil fuels and no pesticides, and tastes a whole lot better. The environmental benefits of growing some of your own food are staggering. The Organic Consumers Association is developing a new campaign to help turn every thumb into a Green thumb.
Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/btc/subversive060419.cfm


__________________________________

HOW GREEN IS YOUR LAWN?
Consumers are forcing the $35 billion per year lawn & garden care industry to make space for organics. Stores like Lowe's, Sears and Home Depot, which traditionally have only sold synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, are selling record amounts of organic soils and fertilizers this Spring. A recent survey from the National Gardening Association found that, while only 5% of U.S. households now use all-organic methods in their yards, some 21% said they would likely do so in the future. Studies over the past three decades have linked common lawn and garden chemicals with cancer and kidney or liver damage, particularly in children and pets. "Initially, it may feel harder, but in the long term, it's easier," says Scott Meyer, editor of Organic Gardening magazine. He likens using chemicals to "putting your yard on steroids." Over time, he says, "it weakens the system."
Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/ofgu/lawn060418.cfm


___________________________________

 

QUICK TIDBITS

The EPA has responded to the flood of public comments opposing the registration of the carcinogenic pesticide methyl iodide, thanks to the tens of thousands of Organic Bytes readers who responded to our alert in the February 10th issue and to the work of ally organizations like the Pesticide Action Network. In January, the EPA had indicated it would allow farmers to apply up to 400 lbs. of the carcinogenic chemical to each acre. Unlike many other pesticides, methyl iodide vaporizes quickly, causing it to drift far distances. Although the state of California has categorized it as cancer causing, and the EPA admits it causes thyroid tumors, the chemical was on the verge of being given the green light by the EPA but was stopped by the barrage of letters from all of you. Thank you!
Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/2006/article_258.cfm

----------------

Just because they are bigger than they used to be, doesn't mean they're as nutritious. According to data collected by the USDA, non-organic vegetables have fewer vitamins and minerals than they did 50 years ago. On an overall scale of all produce tested, protein has declined by six percent, iron has declined 15 percent, vitamin C has dropped 20 percent, and riboflavin has fallen by 38 percent. An analysis of the nutritional drops was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition and suggests the loss is due to the increased cultivation of crops that were bred for high growth and production and not for nutritional value.
Learn more:
http://www.organicconsumers.org/politics/FEED060417.cfm

----------------

A new survey in India has found genetically engineered cotton (Bt Cotton) is causing negative health effects among farm workers. The survey, covering six villages, reported, "All the evidence gathered during the investigation shows that Bt has been causing skin, upper respiratory tract and eye allergies among persons exposed to cotton." The people affected did not have previous histories of allergies to cotton. One woman in the report had such a severe reaction to the biotech cotton she had to be removed from the fields and was taken to Barwani District Hospital where she remained for 9 days.
Learn more:
http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/illness060426.cfm

----------------
The Nestl� Corporation, the world's largest food manufacturer, has successfully secured a patent on genetically modified coffee. The company, with over $65 billion in annual sales, claims their biotech coffee has a higher level of solubility in water, thereby increasing flavor and caffeine levels per cup. Nestle is also in the process of patenting genetically manipulated yogurt bacteria and genetically modified cocoa. Nestle promotes genetically engineered foods while claiming "the Fair Trade approach is not a solution."
Learn more:
http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/coffee060417.cfm

----------------

____________________________________

 

******** messages from sponsors**********

Speak Up for a Better World - Working Assets Wireless

Speak up for a better world - get a FREE cell phone, a great plan, and FREE shipping from Working Assets. We donate 1% of your wireless charges to progressive causes at no extra cost to you. Since 1985, we have raised over $50 million for groups like Organic Consumers Association, Organic Farming Research Foundation, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and many more. Find out more now.

We partner with a leading carrier to provide you with an all-digital national network. You can travel coast to coast and be assured of reliable wireless service. Find out more about this special offer now!



THE ORIGINAL GUIDE TO LIVING WISELY

For more than 35 years, Mother Earth News has been the nation�s largest �green� consumer magazine. Each page shares ideas and information on ways consumers can make a difference in their everyday lives. You can learn about nutrient decline in articles like �Is Agribusiness Making Food Less Nutritious?� The Mother Earth News Library � Safe Meat - includes stories on mad cow disease and E. coli contamination, information about the benefits of choosing grass-fed meat, eggs and dairy products, and resources for producing your own safe, healthy and delicious natural meat.

Incorporate earth-friendly living into your life today through a subscription to Mother Earth News magazine. Pay $14.95 for a one year subscription and receive a FREE Mother Earth News TOTE BAG. Enjoy the good life, subscribe today!

____________________________________

DONATE TO THE OCA
Donate Now!
http://www.organicconsumers.org/donations.htm

 

__________________________________

 

 

Please forward this publication to family and friends, place it on websites, print it, duplicate it and post it freely. Knowledge is power!

Help others learn about food safety, organics, and related topics. Place a link on YOUR website to http://OrganicConsumers.org Banners for your use - http://OrganicConsumers.org/logos.htm
__________________________________

NOTE TO CO-OP AND NATURAL FOOD STORE SUBSCRIBERS:
Organic Bytes is a great tool for keeping your staff and customers up to date on the latest issues. Please forward this email to your staff and print for posting on bulletin boards and staff break tables. You are also welcome to use this material for your newsletters. Within 24 hours of the release of each email version of Organic Bytes, an attractive print-friendly PDF version is posted and available for free download at http://www.organicconsumers.org/organicbytes.htm

_________________________________

ORGANIC BYTES is a publication of:
ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION
6771 South Silver Hill Drive
Finland, MN 55603
Phone: (218)- 226-4164 Fax: (218) 353-7652

__________________________________

Subscribe: http://www.organicconsumers.org/organicbytes.htm
Unsubscribe: http://organicconsumers.org/unsuborganicbytes.cfm

Change your subscription settings to receive Organic Bytes as plain text here:
http://www.organicconsumers.org/campaign.cfm

__________________________________

For additional daily environmental and political news, visit:
http://www.ens-newswire.com

Organic Consumers Association mailing lists are powered by L-Soft's renowned LISTSERV� list management software together with L-Soft's LSMTP� mailer for lightning fast mail delivery. More information...