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Organic Transitions in the Wake of Biotech Failures

#277, May 19, 2011

In this issue:

 
 
 

Quote of the Week

Organic Transitions

"As I travel, I meet young people in every part of this country who are taking up the challenge of building a post-petroleum future: a 25-year-old farmer in New Jersey who plows with horses and uses no chemicals; the operator of a biodiesel co-op in Northampton; a solar installer in Oakland, California. The energy transition will require new thinking in every field you can imagine, from fine arts to banking. Companies everywhere are hiring sustainability officers to help guide them through the challenges and opportunities. At the same time, many young people are joining energy and climate activist organizations like 350.org and Transition Initiatives. So here is my message to you in a nutshell. Fossil fuels made it possible to build the world you have inhabited during your childhood and throughout your years in the education system. Now it's up to you to imagine and build the world after fossil fuels."

- Richard Heinberg, "Building a World That Can Run Without Fossil Fuels Will Be the Challenge of Our Lifetimes"

Read More

 
 
 

Alert OF THE WEEK

Monsanto's New "Drought-Resistant" Corn: Tell USDA, "Don't Approve Failure"

Why deregulate and risk contamination of organic and non-GMO crops for an experiment that didn't work and has no foreseeable benefits?

Monsanto's years of investment into so-called "drought-resistant" biotech crops has been a nothing more than a risky and very expensive failure.  Based on company data submitted to the US Department of Agriculture for deregulation, it is clear that Monsanto's new genetically-modified corn variety does not perform any better than non-GMO varieties. The findings come from a US Department of Agriculture draft environmental impact assessment, produced as a step towards approval of the new GM crop, MON 87460.

This proves, as Dr Helen Wallace director of GeneWatch UK wrote this week:
"[Bio]technology has been spectacularly unsuccessful at delivering complex traits such as drought tolerance, which involve multiple genes and complex interactions with the plant's environment. Meanwhile, conventional breeding and new techniques such as marker-assisted selection - which uses knowledge of the plant's genome to inform breeding, without engineering the plant - have produced a long string of successes."

The danger is, if MON 87460 is deregulated, it will inevitably contaminate truly drought-tolerant varieties of organic and conventional corn, destroying the rich genetic diversity that the world's farmers have cultivated for millennia for the planet's infinitely varied micro-climates.

Take Action

 
 
 

PLEASE DONATE

Millions Against Monsanto Fundraising Appeal

Three hundred thousand have already signed up as participants and supporters in our Millions Against Monsanto Truth-in-Labeling Campaign. But we need money to print leaflets, to buy educational videos, to print up T-shirts and bumper stickers, and to pay our campaign staff. As you know, GMOs, Factory Farms, and deceptively labeled consumer products pose a mortal threat to public health, climate stability, and all living things. As we speak, organic crops are being contaminated with Monsanto's GMOs. We need your financial contributions to educate and mobilize consumers, to protect and maintain strict organic standards, and to pressure the entire food industry, including natural food stores and co-ops, to adopt Truth-in-Labeling practices.

Please Donate

 
 
 

Millions Against Monsanto

Whole Foods Calls in Police to Arrest OCA Protestors in Chicago

Although Whole Foods and the Chicago police tried to stop our Millions Against Monsanto demonstration and GMO Food Dump in Chicago on Tuesday by arresting OCA Political Director Alexis Baden-Mayer and Chicago OCA activist Mike Durschmid, we will not be deterred.

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Seattle, Boulder, New York & Your Town!

To gear up for the Millions Against Monsanto actions on World Food Day, October 16, 2011, we're hosting regional anti-GMO summits at each of the Green Festivals around the country. This weekend, we'll be in Seattle. Here are the details:

The Green Festival is Saturday and Sunday May 21-22 @ Qwest Event Center, 800 Occidental Ave., Seattle, WA.

Admission is $10-$25

We'll have a limited number of free passes to distribute to volunteers. If you've already volunteered, we'll leave your name on a list at the exhibitor check-in desk. If you'd like to volunteer and need a pass, please contact us here.

The Green Festival goes from 10-7 Saturday and 11-6 on Sunday. We'd love to have your help for a couple hours in the Millions Against Monsanto booth (# 1014)!

At 3:30 pm Alexis Baden-Meyer (Organic Consumers Association) & Bill Aal (AGRA-Watch) will present in the Community Action Pavilion. Their presentation will be called Taking on the Giants: Millions Against Monsanto and Watching the Gates Foundation. Learn more here.

In addition to the festival, we're organizing an action at the University Trader Joes in on Tuesday May 24:

On Friday, we'll be going to Trader Joes to buy the GMO food they sell to display at our booth at the Green Festival. On Tuesday, May 24, at 12:30, we'll be returning the GMO food in a theatrical "GMO Food Dump" action. If you're curious about what a "GMO Food Dump" is, check out this video.

 

GMO Food Dump! Get Monsanto Out of Trader Joe's

When: Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 12:30-3:30
Where: University Trader Joe's, 4555 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, Washington 98105

RSVP on Facebook

So, if you're available on Friday to go shopping for GMO foods at Trader Joe's, if you can help staff our booth at the Green Festival, or if you'd like to participate in the GMO Food Dump on Tuesday, please let us know. Another thing we really need help with is documenting everything in photos and video, so if you can help with that, please let us know. Looking forward to seeing you in Seattle!

Next stops...

Boulder, CA - GMO Food Dump June 27
New York, NY - Green Festival October 1-2
GMO Right2Know March October 2

Ready to make something happen in your town?

Join your local Millions Against Monsanto chapter to coordinate a GMO Food Dump or a GMO Right2Know Rally or March in your town.

The easiest way for OCA to keep track of Millions Against Monsanto events is if you invite us to them. We've created a Facebook alter ego called WorldFood Day. After you've decided on the details of the event, please create an event on Facebook (follow the instructions here) and then be sure to invite us, WorldFood Day, to your event.

 
 
 

Food for Thought

How to Bring Down Monsanto: The California GMO Labeling
Ballot Initiative

"We are taking a strong stand for labeling. We are ready to join the rest of the people in the world who have been actively protesting GMOs and demand what we want. An initiative movement does not replace what others have been doing, nor does it mean we don't continue with other efforts: voting with our dollars; getting signatures for the Organic Consumers' Association's "Truth in Labeling" campaign; educating people like the Institute for Responsible Technology's "tipping point" campaign to help open the eyes of consumers to their supreme power over what companies do; putting pressure on store and food producers to get Non-GMO Project certification for every state; actively putting pressure on legislators as individuals and by responding to petitions brought to us by groups like the Food and Water Watch and Credo ; supporting the Center for Food Safety fighting for us in court, etc. These efforts are, in fact, the very reasons we have enough support to run a successful campaign today, so we have to keep up the pressure and continue supporting the groups behind it. Every angle, every campaign moves us forward..."

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Via Organica

The Planet to Plate Tour

Join Planet2Plate with a small group on a private 8-day tour of the foods and agricultural origins of the sustainable movement in San Miguel de Allende. Meet the people working with the OCA's sister organization, Vía Orgánica.

On this tour you'll trace the region's agriculture from the pre-colonial milpa (considered the original perma-culture technique), to the colonial hacienda system, then get a brief look at agribusiness for exports compared to rural organic cooperatives working together to support the livelihoods of many families.

Celebrate the sustainable food movement, which is flourishing in the fertile,high-desert of Central Mexico by sampling the best organic food the region has to offer.

For more information, please visit Planet2Plate's website.

 
 
 

Little Bytes

Why Our Human-Centric Model Will Doom Us and the Rest of the Planet
READ MORE

Discovery of Bt Insecticide in Human Blood Proves GMO Toxin a Threat to Human Health, Study Finds
READ MORE

Array of Flame Retardants Found in Baby Car Seats, Changing Pads, Other
Items
READ MORE

What We Know - and Don't Know - About the Safety of Eating GMOs
READ MORE

 
 
 

OCA Affiliate Program

It's Easy to Help!

The Organic Consumers Association Online Affiliate Program benefits everyone! By taking part, you help grow an interdependent network of the best organic producers, the most conscientious consumers, and all of us at the OCA who tirelessly defend organic standards.

How does it work?
When you click on the special links to the websites we provide, our Affiliate Partners can then track your purchases and donate a percentage to the OCA.

Check Organic Bytes every week for new, 100% organic, GMO-free products we can all get excited about!

 
 
 

Book of the Week

Help Us Build a Sustainable Future!

 Our friends at Chelsea Green offer the latest books on sustainability, democracy, new science, and pathways to peace. Thanks to our new Affiliate Program, your online purchase supports the OCA!

This weeks featured book is: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener

Books on container gardening have been wildly popular with urban and suburban readers, but until now, there has been no comprehensive "how-to" guide for growing fresh food in the absence of open land. Fresh Food from Small Spaces fills the gap as a practical, comprehensive, and downright fun guide to growing food in small spaces. It provides readers with the knowledge and skills necessary to produce their own fresh vegetables, mushrooms, sprouts, and fermented foods as well as to raise bees and chickens―all without reliance on energy-intensive systems like indoor lighting and hydroponics.

Readers will learn how to transform their balconies and windowsills into productive vegetable gardens, their countertops and storage lockers into commercial-quality sprout and mushroom farms, and their outside nooks and crannies into whatever they can imagine, including sustainable nurseries for honeybees and chickens. Free space for the city gardener might be no more than a cramped patio, balcony, rooftop, windowsill, hanging rafter, dark cabinet, garage, or storage area, but no space is too small or too dark to raise food.

Learn More

 
 
 

Message From Our Sponsors

Mountain Rose Herbs for Life: Delicious, Medicinal, Organic, Sustainable!

Mountain Rose Herbs produces a full line of bulk and packaged herbs & spices, oils, teas, bath & body care, medicinals and more!

The OCA is proud to take part in the Mountain Rose Herbs Affiliate Program. Their farmers are given full negotiation rights in determining the price of their harvests under their Good Trade Program, far exceeding traditional fair trade standards. All herbs and spices are completely free from irradiation treatment and are certified organic by OTCO and Kosher certified by Earth Kosher. Good health for you, the farmers, and the Earth!

To support the Affiliate Program, click through the OCA link to the Mountain Rose Herbs website, where 15% of any purchase will help our work. An additional 2% of the proceeds from the Epicurean Spices line is donated to the OCA. 

Learn More

 
 
 

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