Fertilizers Are Destroying our Soil and Water. Is There a Better Way?
“We’re made in the image of our soil.” – Jerry Cunningham, Founder, Coyote Creek Mill, speaking at the Slow Money Conference on April 29, in Boulder, Colo.
If it’s true that we’re made in the image of our soil, we’re in trouble. Modern industrial farming is stripping our soil of nutrients, destroying critical soil microbes, turning huge swaths of land into deserts, and saturating our farmlands with toxic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers that - surprise! -end up in our rivers, lakes, oceans... and eventually in our kitchen faucets and foods...
The Earth's soil is now being depleted of nutrients at more than 13 percent the rate those nutrients can be replaced. We may also be facing looming shortages of two elements critical for soil health: phosphorous and potassium.According to Jeremy Grantham, cofounder and chief strategist for the Boston firm Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo:
These two elements cannot be made, cannot be substituted, are necessary to grow all life forms, and are mined and depleted. It’s a scary set of statements. . . .What happens when these fertilizers run out is a question I can’t get satisfactorily answered and, believe me, I have tried. There seems to be only one conclusion: their use must be drastically reduced in the next 20-40 years or we will begin to starve.
How do we drastically reduce the mining of phosphorous and potassium for chemical fertilizers, and at the same time preserve our soil and protect our drinking water? Two words: Organic farming.
Nope. You’re not fooling us, Safeway, with your O Organics™ brand products. We know you’d love to cash in on the growing market for organics, but you’ll have to do it without us. Why? Because you run with a bad crowd.
That’s right. Safeway is a dues-paying member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), that slimy trade group that donated $2 million last year to kill Proposition 37, the California initiative to label GMOs. The grocery chain also recently gave $472,500 to the campaign that wants to defeat a similar initiative, I-522 in Washington State. What’s more, Safeway won’t join the more than 4,000 supermarkets in the U.S. that have pledged to refuse to sell genetically engineered seafood if the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approves it.
It’s time to take to the phones, facebook pages and twitter accounts and tell Safeway: We won’t buy your O Organics products until you pull out of the GMA, make a donation to the I-522 GMO labeling campaign in Washington, and pledge not to sell genetically engineered seafood in your stores.
Monsanto and the rest of the Biotech Bullies have been pulling out all the stops lately. Orchestrating the winning of the bogus World Food Prize. Hiring a pack of new flacks to spin its lies. Organizing the Honey Bee Health summit in a transparent move to divert attention from the fact that the pesticide-maker’s poisons have a lot to do with why the bees are endangered in the first place.
If we’re going to keep the pressure on, we’re gonna need a bigger boat. And we can’t be afraid to rock it.
It isn’t just Monsanto we’re up against. Widespread fracking is destroying farms, soil and water in Ohio, Pennsylvania, California and many other states. Factory farms are churning out meat full of hormones and antibiotics, and animal waste full of toxins that leach into our groundwater supplies.
And don’t even get us started on the attacks on our democracy, making it increasingly difficult to protect ourselves and our communities from all of the above.
But there’s good news, too. Maine and Connecticut have passed GMO labeling laws, and all signs point to a win in Washington State in November. Communities are rising up against fracking, and demanding a say in where factory farms are – and aren’t – allowed to operate.
With each small victory comes a greater sense of urgency. We need to turn up the volume to keep the momentum going. We need a bigger boat, and we need you in it. Thank you!
Sometimes a project you think will be relatively simple turns into something much bigger. And that can be a good thing.
Last week, we announced the winners of the OCA’s Top Right to Know Grocers Contest, a project of our Organic Retail and Consumer Alliance Campaign. Because the number of nominations far exceeded our expectations, and because the nominees were so impressive, we expanded the number of winners to the Top 12 Overall – the “Diligent Dozen” – plus the top 10 by five regions: Northeast, Southeast, Central, Northwest and Southwest.
Phase one of the contest has ended, but the project is far from over. One of the purposes of our contest was to acknowledge and promote the industry-leading best practices of the winning grocers. But our overarching goal is to help the natural foods and organic industry take the essential next steps in working together as producers, distributors, grocers and consumers to drive GMO products out of our food system. So, let the conversation begin. We invite input from grocers, growers, manufacturers and consumers on how best to get GMOs out of our food supply, and how to provide more organic food to more people, in more communities, at fair prices.
Every good movie deserves a sequel. Gasland Part II, the follow-up to the popular Gasland, premieres Monday, July 8, on HBO. The film explores the myth of natural gas as a clean, safe alternative to oil. It argues that fracked wells inevitably leak, contaminating water and air, which hurts families, and endangers the earth’s climate with the potent greenhouse gas, methane. It also looks at how the powerful oil and gas industries are “contaminating our democracy.”
The original Gasland helped spark the anti-fracking movement. Three years after its debut, more than 350 U.S. counties and cities have successfully implemented moratoriums or outright bans on the controversial drilling method. To build on this momentum, activists are organizing thousands of house parties to watch Gasland Part II. Concerned about fracking in your community? Host a house party with Gasland Part II as the guest of honor.
Secrets Exposed? Join a Live Webinar on the Trade Deal You’re Not Supposed to Know about
The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) threatens food safety and the environment, and could allow Monsanto to force its genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on European countries that have enacted laws to restrict them.
You’re not supposed to know anything about this “secret” deal. But now’s your chance. On Tuesday, July 9, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Eastern time, the civil society symposium will host a live webcast on the TTIP and its dirty secrets. Alexis Baden-Mayer from the OCA will speak about the impact the TTIP could have on GMO labeling laws. This is your chance to learn more about a trade pact that is being written by corporations, with no input from the public, and no debate in Congress. Don’t miss it!
Discover the Fastest, Funnest, and Easiest Ways to
Grow Your Own Groceries
Hi, I am Marjory Wildcraft. About a decade ago I volunteered to help get fresh, local, organic produce into the kids school system. That project failed miserably, and changed my life forever. Why? Because there wasn't enough locally grown food in the entire county for even one small elementary school. I am willing to bet there isn't much food growing in your county either.
Once I stopped shaking, I devoted my life to finding the fastest, easiest, and funnest ways for an individual or family to grow thier own food. I discovered that growing your own is incredibly rewarding.
I've developed a video set that is used by permacuulture teachers, universities, missionary organizations, and regular folks. It gets you started producing very quickly. You know from reading these OCA newsletters that the era of quality food is way back in your rearview mirror. And the era of cheap food is the dead end right in front of you. Fortunately, if you've got a hose and a backyard, or even a sunny window sill, there is a tremenous amount you can do – and it is really fun!