Organic Bytes
Health, Justice and Sustainability News 
February 5, 2009 -  Issue #160
In This Issue
Quote of the Week: Why the Farming Crisis Has Everything to Do With the Economic Crisis
Alert of the Week: Tell Your Senators: 'Yes' to a Green Stimulus
OCF Alert of the Week: Localizing School Food
Sustainability News of the Week
Web Video and Book of the Week: Agenda for a New Economy- Rebirth of the Local Economy and Family Farm
Health News of the Week: The Health Care Revolution Begins
Headlines and Articles of the Week
Sustainability Tip of the Week: A Consumer's Guide to Sustainable Sushi
Organic Geek News of the Week: Do You Twitter?
Join Our Mailing List!
 
Organic Consumers Association
Quote of the Week:
Why the Farming Crisis Has Everything to Do With the Economic Crisis
KATHARINE-MULHERIN"We live off of what comes out of the soil, not what's in the bank. If we squander the ecological capital of the soil, the capital on paper won't much matter... For the past 50 or 60 years, we have followed industrialized agricultural policies that have increased the rate of destruction of productive farmland. For those 50 or 60 years, we have let ourselves believe the absurd notion that as long as we have money we will have food. If we continue our offenses against the land and the labor by which we are fed, the food supply will decline, and we will have a problem far more complex than the failure of our paper economy. Remember, if our agriculture is not sustainable then our food supply is not sustainable... Either we pay attention or we pay a huge price, not so far down the road. When we face the fact that civilizations have destroyed themselves by destroying their farmland, it's clear that we don't really have a choice."

Source: Wes Jackson, co-founder of The Land Institute, in an interview with Alternet -- Read the Full Interview

Alert of the Week:
Tell Your Senators: 'Yes' to a Green Jobs, Good Health, and Reduced Hunger

President Obama and Congress are currently crafting an economic stimulus and recovery plan. Although OCA believes, given the severity of the crisis, that the the plan should be "bigger and bolder," the stimulus package nonetheless contains important provisions which could jumpstart a new green economy, begin to address global warming, and create hundreds of thousands of green jobs.  The House of Representatives signed on to Obama's economic stimulus plan last week, including $500 million to train workers for green-collar jobs. But a number of Senators need a little nudge to get on board. Please write to your Senators today. Tell them to pass President Obama's stimulus bill, including $500 million for the Green Jobs Act. It's time to simultaneously address the economic, energy, and climate crisis and build a strong, green economy.

Learn more and take action

OCF Alert of the Week:
Appetite for a Change Takes on School Food
The Organic Consumers Fund, Organic Consumers Association's partner for legislative and electoral advocacy, has a new graduate student intern, Chantal Wei-Ying Clement, who is working on our Appetite for a Change campaign, lobbying Congress for healthy local and organic food to be included in the Child Nutrition Act. Read Chantal's first report reviewing the Institute of Medicine's recommendations for updating the school lunch and breakfast programs. What changes would you make to school food? Write to Congress.  Do you support the work the Organic Consumers Fund does in Washington, DC? Make an OCF membership donation of $5 or more.

Sustainability News of the Week:
Saving the Family Farm
Obama Gothic While Congress debates a second major federal stimulus package, the banks are salivating in anticipation of their next payout. Meanwhile, thousands of family farmers find themselves squeezed between increased energy and production costs and a monopolized banking and distribution system bent on maximizing corporate profits. To stand up for the family farmer, a coalition of farm groups are pushing Congress to include loan restructuring for family farms as part of the economic stimulus package. As noted by Willie Nelson, the President of Farm Aid, "American family farmers are the backbone of our economy, the first rung on the economic ladder. When family farmers thrive, local economies thrive, and that's a common-sense approach for rebuilding our country."
 
Learn more

Image by Frank Harris
Web Video and Book of the Week:
Agenda for a New Economy - Rebirth of the Local Economy and Family Farmer
The first 100 days of the current presidency will be the most heavily scrutinized in history, and the number one concern for the new administration is the financial crisis. Desperation has driven many to support approaches that are just re-infusions of lifeblood capital into the dying appendages of Wall Street-- treating the symptoms rather than curing the disease. A new book by author David Korten offers a better approach: dismantle Wall Street, and its foundation of phantom wealth, spinning gold from nothing. And bring into being a new economy-locally based, community oriented, and devoted to creating a better life for all, for generations to come. David Korten says the ideal banking system emulates farmer's markets.
 
Watch and learn more

Health News of the Week:
It's Time for a Health Care Revolution
Yet another new poll was released last week indicating massive support for universal health care coverage. While Congress debates whether or not they should fulfill campaign promises and tackle the issue in 2009, political pundits are convinced there's no reason to stall.  This week, David Swanson gives us three solid reasons why single-payer health care has become possible:
 
1) Almost every other wealthy country is successfully implementing this type of health care. The Democratic majority could easily pass it on their own, let alone the fact that some Republicans also support it.
 
2) A massive, well-organized public movement has been built that is pressing right now for single payer. In the House of Representatives, the leading advocate is Congressman John Conyers, D-Mich., whose bill H.R. 676 already has 93 cosponsors in the last Congress.
 
3) The alternative to single-payer is multiple-payer. That means massive waste and inefficiency, not what a new government ostentatiously looking for solutions that really work should settle on. It also means maintaining the only things in America less popular than Dick Cheney: health insurance companies, and funding them with public money as well as money directly from citizens.
 
Learn more

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The work of the Organic Consumer's Association, including the Organic Bytes email you are reading, is all due to the generous contributions of our supporters.  If you enjoy our work, please donate today!

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Sustainability Tip of the Week:
A Consumer's Guide to Sustainable Sushi
The sushi that we eat today is derived from traditional recipes that are hundreds of years old. Back then, the oceans seemed to have an endless supply of fish. The increasing popularity of sushi cuisine has created a massive and often unsustainable demand for multiple species of fish that most Americans didn't even know existed. So, how is the green-minded consumer supposed to know which of these exotic fish are sustainably harvested and safe to eat?  Scientists at Monterey Bay Aquarium recently analyzed the data and put together a handy and practical "Seafood Watch Sushi Pocket Guide" that helps you order seafood that's sustainable and healthy.
 
Download and print it
Organic Geek News of the Week:
Do You Twitter?
Organic Twitter

The OCA is now on Twitter! We will be posting from our news feed, as well as new campaigns, alerts, and anything else we think you'll like! Get OCA news anywhere and everywhere you go.
 
Sign up: http://twitter.com/organicconsumer
Headlines of the Week:
Headlines 1) The Obama Cancer Plan Should Prioritize Prevention
 
2) Lappe: The Key to Happiness That No One -- Not Even the Happiness Gurus -- Are Discussing
 
3) The World's Top 10 Pesticide Firms - Who Owns Nature?
 
4) Web Video: A Portrait of Rachel Carson - "A Sense of Wonder" - written and performed by Kaiulani Lee
 
5) Sweeten Valentine's Day with Fair Trade Chocolate

Let OCA sift through the media smog and bring you the top new and analysis of the day. The OCA website has 10 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

Message From OCA Sponsor:
Freedom Butter
Living Tree CommunityOur almond butter is created in Berkeley, a wellspring of the human spirit. It has a rich tradition of Americans who dared to speak their truth. That's why we call it Freedom Butter.

We invite you to open a jar and spread our almond butter on a slice of apple. Experience its texture and savor its aroma.

Taste the ethos of Berkeley, 20 Nobel Price winners have taught here.
We've been making almond butter from almonds grown by family farmers for over 25 years. Living Tree Community Foods

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ORGANIC BYTES is written and edited by Craig Minowa and Ronnie Cummins
and is a publication of:
ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION
6771 South Silver Hill Drive
Finland, Minnesota 55603
Phone: (218)- 226-4164
Fax: (218) 353-7652
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