ORGANIC BYTES #148
Health, Justice and Sustainability News Tidbits with an Edge!


10/16/2008

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IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Fighting Organic Label Fraud--Round One Legal Victory for Organic Consumers
  • National Call-In Day of Action for Farmworker Rights! Whole Foods: Can you Hear Us Now?
  • Organic Facts of the Week
  • Open Letter to the President-Elect by Michael Pollan: Farmer in Chief
  • Help Get Out the Organic Vote: Volunteer with Organic Consumers Association!
  • Sustainability Tip of the Week: Users Guide to the Backyard Chicken Movement
  • Honey Bee Deaths Reaching Crisis Point- How to Have a Bee-Friendly Yard
  • Web Videos of the Week
  • Quote of the Week
  • Headlines of the Week

Written and edited by Craig Minowa and Ronnie Cummins

 


 


Campaign Update of the Week:
Fighting Organic Label Fraud--
Round One Legal Victory for Organic Consumers

As reported previously in Organic Bytes, the Organic Consumers Association and Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps have sued organic certifier Ecocert in the ongoing campaign to stop the certification and misleading labeling of fake organic personal care products that are fundamentally made-up of synthetic ingredients and petrochemicals. Dr. Bronner's has launched a further umbrella lawsuit against specific companies who label their products as "organic" but have primary ingredients that are synthetic. After hearing oral arguments earlier this month, the San Francisco County Superior Court ruled on October 8 that Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps can proceed with its lawsuit seeking to compel so-called "organic" companies and certifiers to drop, or stop certifying, deceptive organic label and brand claims. Brands denounced by OCA and Bronner's include Avalon "Organics", Jason "Pure, Natural & Organic", Nature's Gate "Organics", Kiss My Face "Obsessively Organic", Giovanni "Organic Cosmetics", Head "Organics", Desert Essence "Organics" and Stella McCartney's CARE "100% Organic".

Learn more

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Alert of the Week: October 24th
National Call-In Day for Farmworker Rights!
Whole Foods: Can you Hear Us Now?

Despite a mobilization by thousands of organic consumers, Teamsters, and United Farm Workers, sending in petitions and handing out leaflets at Whole Foods Market stores in 33 states, WFM is refusing to stand up for workers rights! Oregon-based Beef Northwest, the feedlot corporation that fattens up Country Natural Beef's herds, refuses to negotiate with the United Farm Workers in good faith. Whole Foods in the single largest seller of Country Natural Beef in the U.S. Joining leading elected officials in Oregon, Presidential Candidate Senator Barack Obama, in a letter earlier this year urged Beef Northwest to sit down and negotiate a contract with the United Farm Workers. In the spirit of Cesar Chavez, please support the United Farmworkers Union drive at the Beef Northwest feedlots in Oregon and send a message to the world: eliminate labor exploitation in the organic and natural food sectors.

  • Call and fax Whole Foods' Corporate Headquarters and you local Whole Foods' General Manager.
  • Spread the word in your community and send a letter to the editor in support of sweatfree organic and natural food.
  • Send a letter to Whole Foods executives here.

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Organic Facts of the Week

  • If organic farming methods were practiced on all the planet's food-growing land, it would be like taking more than 1.5 billion cars off the road.
  • You can increase your antioxidant intake by 30 percent by choosing organic.
  • The average child in America is exposed to five pesticides daily in their food and drinking water.
  • The U.S. water system is regularly contaminated above safe limits immediately following chemical fertilizer applications to farm fields.
  • Farms in developing countries that use organic techniques produce an average of 79% more than farms that don't.

Source

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Open Letter to the President-Elect by Michael Pollan: Farmer in Chief

Dear Mr. President-Elect,

It may surprise you to learn that among the issues that will occupy much of your time in the coming years is one you barely mentioned during the campaign: food...The era of cheap and abundant food appears to be drawing to a close. What this means is that you, like so many other leaders through history, will find yourself confronting the fact - so easy to overlook these past few years - that the health of a nation's food system is a critical issue of national security...In the past several months more than 30 nations have experienced food riots, and so far one government has fallen...All this suggests that a political constituency for change is building and not only on the left: lately, conservative voices have also been raised in support of reform. Writing of the movement back to local food economies, traditional foods (and family meals) and more sustainable farming, The American Conservative magazine editorialized last summer that "this is a conservative cause if ever there was one."... We need to wean the American food system off its heavy 20th-century diet of fossil fuel and put it back on a diet of contemporary sunshine...

Read the full letter, printed in the New York Times, here.



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Help Get Out the Organic Vote!
Volunteer with Organic Consumers Association!

OCA is concentrating on voter outreach in 7 key states, Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. From October 30th to November 3rd, volunteers all over the country will be calling our contacts to get out the organic vote. Please sign up to volunteer with us so we can reach as many potential voters as possible! Each volunteer can choose how many people they're able to call, and we'll provide you with call lists, a phone script and materials, as well as an optional conference call training on Tuesday, October 28th. Sign up today and help make sure organic consumers are heard in this critical election.

Volunteer to call voters in: Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin


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Sustainability Tip of the Week:
Users Guide to the Backyard Chicken Movement

In cities across the U.S., health and organic-minded "locavores" are starting to raise their own chickens. This backyard farmers movement is a direct result of the birth and evolution of the "eat local" consciousness. On a city by city basis, a nationwide grassroots campaign is gradually convincing municipalities to drop previous laws that did not allow small flocks of poultry to be raised in city limits. "Fresh is not what you buy at the grocery store. Fresh is when you go into your backyard, put it in your bag, and eat it," said Carol-Ann Sayle, co-owner of an urban farm in Austin, Texas, located within walking distance from the state capitol. "Everyone should have their own henhouse in their own backyard."

Learn more

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We know times are tough for everyone right now. That's why the OCA continues to work for consumers, family farmers, our environment, and our most precious assets, our children. We want to continue fighting the good fight, as well as bring you Organic Bytes, but we need your donations to survive these financially difficult times. If you enjoy Organic Bytes and believe the world is a better place with OCA's nonprofit work, please consider donating today. Any size of donation is helpful and appreciated.

Donate Now: http://www.organicconsumers.org/donations.htm

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Web Forum Discussion of the Week: Honey Bee Deaths Reaching Crisis Point: How to Have a Bee-Friendly Yard

The following was posted by "Honey Gal" at OCA's web forum: "I'm a beekeeper and teach classes in bee stewardship. One thing folks can do to help, even if you aren't a beekeeper, is to make your yard bee friendly. Plant a flowering herb garden. Bees use herbs medicinally and your plants can help make a difference. I suggest rosemary, sage, THYME (lots of it), marjoram, chives, basil, all the mints and other herbs with flowers. Bees will find them. To do more, plant native flowering bushes, too. In our area (WA) spirea and goldenrod are bee magnets. Try to have flowers in bloom through into fall. Put out a big shallow dish of water with sticks or moss in it (so they don't fall in) and keep it moist. If you can get seaweed, bees are particularly fond of the minerals so I keep a little pile of seaweed in the "bee pond." All these small actions add up and make it a little easier on your local bees."

Read more and join the discussion at OCA's web forum


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Web Videos of the Week:

  1. Organic Body Care Rap Video: "If It Doesn't Have the Seal, It Ain't the Real Deal" from Terressentials.
  2. Organic Bytes Co-author on Weather Channel's "Forecast Earth"

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Quote of the Week:

"Some people think that the Federal Reserve Banks are United States Government institutions. They are private monopolies which prey upon the people of these United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers; foreign and domestic speculators and swindlers; and rich and predatory money lenders." -

The Honorable Louis McFadden, Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee in the 1930s

Who Owns the Federal Reserve?


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Headlines of the Week:

1) McCain and Obama Need to Talk Real Farm Policy

2) Equal Exchange Launches New Campaign to Create A Green and More Just Food System

3) Scientists Say Destruction of Forests Causing Greater Losses Than Bank Crisis

4) Farm & Ranch Groups Expose NAIS as Attempt to Confuse Consumers & Destroy Small Livestock Producers

5) The Medical Establishment's Ridiculous Opposition to Home-Births

Let OCA sift through the media smog and bring you the top new and analysis of the day. The OCA website has 20 or more news articles posted each day, and a library of over 40,000 articles covering issues including health, justice, food and farming, politics, and the environment. Bookmark OrganicConsumers.org

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

 

 

ORGANIC BYTES is a publication of:
ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION
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Phone: (218)- 226-4164 Fax: (218) 353-7652
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