ESSAY OF THE WEEK

How to Boycott Factory Farms

There are plenty of reasons to boycott factory farms, including the top two: your health and animal welfare. But the big-picture reason is this. The only way to feed the world and restore climate stability is to end factory farming.

Today’s food system, dominated by factory farms, is inherently inefficient. We take food and farmland that could be used to feed many people and use it to feed animals that feed fewer people.

It’s estimated that 99 percent of all meat, eggs and dairy products produced today in the U.S. come from factory farms.

That makes it tough—but not impossible—to avoid buying those products.

Buying direct from organic farmers is one option. But even if you shop at a conventional grocery store, you can find alternatives. It may take a little longer, you may have to read a few labels, and true, it may cost a little extra at the checkout counter. But wouldn’t you rather pay a little more for better food? And a lot less for medical care?

The more consumers demand alternatives to products produced on factory farms, where millions of animals are crammed into confined spaces, under unnatural, unhealthy and inhumane conditions, the more producers will respond with healthier alternatives. You can help push the market in the right direction.

Read the essay

 
 

ACTION ALERT

Fatter Turkeys, Fatter Profits, Sicker People

It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . . for Butterball, the largest producer of holiday turkeys in the U.S.  It’s also Butterball’s most profitable time of the year.

But this year, could it be that the largest purveyor of antibiotic-fed turkeys is sensing a threat? From the growing sales of organic, antibiotic-free turkeys?

This week, Butterball announced a shortage of turkeys. Food writer Tom Philpott suggests a number of possible explanations for the very public statement. Including the one also posited by Time Magazine’s Laura Stampler, that the “great big turkey shortfall of Thanksgiving '13 is a ‘marketing ploy to build turkey hype.’”

Hype or no hype, here’s what really matters. Butterball routinely feeds antibiotics to its turkeys. So the birds will grow bigger, faster. Right along with Butterball’s profits. Scientists say this indiscriminate use of antibiotics in turkey feed is producing antibiotic-resistant bugs. And those bugs are turning up in turkey meat. Worse yet, the over-use of antibiotics is making humans resistant to antibiotics. Which means they won’t work when we really need them.

You don’t buy Butterball turkeys. Because of the antibiotics. And because the birds are raised in deplorable conditions. But millions of people still do. So let’s tell CEO Rod Brenneman to get the antibiotics out of Butterball turkeys. Because, frankly, they’re making us sick.

More on antibiotic resistance

TAKE ACTION: Tell CEO Rod Brenneman to Get Antibiotics Out of Butterball Turkeys!

 
 

ACTION ALERT

Mirror, Mirror . . . Who’s the Worst of All?

As usual, competition for the worst corporation of 2013 is stiff. The list of criminals and their corporate crimes is as long as it is impressive.

It’s tough to single out the worst of the worst. But this year, we’re asking you to vote for Coca-Cola.

Coke poured $1.455 million into the campaign that ultimately defeated, by 51 percent - 49 percent, the Washington State ballot initiative to label GMOs. The junk food giant hoped you wouldn’t find out about that, which is why it tried—and failed—to secretly funnel the money through the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Then, of course, there’s the matter of trying to dupe consumers into believing that not only is aspartame, a key ingredient in Diet Coke, safe, but it’s actually good for you. Coke is taking out full-page ads to promote its lies—a fact we wrote about earlier this year.

For these reasons, and the fact that Coca-Cola intentionally formulates its products with dangerous, addictive chemicals, we ask you to please vote Coca-Cola into the Corporate Hall of Shame.

TAKE ACTION: Elect Coca-Cola to the Corporate Hall of Shame

TAKE ACTION: Tell Coke: Stop Running Ads Claiming that Diet Coke and Aspartame are Healthy

 
 

SUPPORT THE OCA & OCF

Gardens of Hope

“No matter where in the world you are, people are realizing food is important. They are realizing food begins with seed, and everyone wants to learn. When I see those processes get unleashed, when I see how rapidly gardening has become such an important way of healing violence—I just met a young man who’s working with ex-convicts to spread gardens. That’s his work! He’s created a firm, and they are the owners, and the board members—how can you not be charged with energy?” –Vandana Shiva

When the last vote was finally counted, we lost, by just two percentage points, the latest battle to label GMOs in Washington State. Another narrow, disheartening loss. Another temptation to give up.

But in a recent YES! Magazine interview, one of the movement’s most inspiring voices, Vandana Shiva, reminded us that we are making progress.

And we must not give up the fight.

As Shiva so eloquently puts it, every expression of monoculture is an expression of coercion.  Every farm that grows only Roundup Ready soy is a battlefield. And the concentration of power—in the hands of companies like Monsanto—is more than ever.

But thanks to you, the world’s awareness about the illegitimacy of this power is also more than ever before.

“If you take into account the number of movements, the number of protests taking place, and the number of people building alternatives, it’s huge,” says Shiva.

So rather than despair, it’s time to plan the next protest. Build the next alternative. Plant the next garden of hope.

Thank you for getting us this far. Together, we will reclaim the power that belongs rightfully to all of us.

Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)

Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in Washington, Vermont and other states)

 
 

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Singin’ the Family Farmer Blues

Factory farms are still pushing family farms out of business. Here’s a catchy tune that explains why that’s such a bad idea.

Watch the video

 
 

ORGANIC INDEX 11.21.13

For Your Health: Organic vs. Non-Organic

Consumer demand for healthy, sustainably grown food has grown the organic market from just $1 billion in 1990 to nearly $30 billion today. Increasingly, consumers are saying “No” to foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), “No” to highly processed junk foods, and “No” to foods that come from factory farms.

Health tops the list of concerns about GMOs, junk foods and food from factory farms. But consumers aren’t just rejecting these foods because of their potential to cause health problems. They’re consciously choosing organic for its nutritional superiority.

The health safety benefits of organic foods are well known. For the most part, organic farming prohibits the use of toxic pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, nanoparticles, climate-destabilizing chemical fertilizers like toxic sewage sludge or coal waste, and genetically engineered ingredients.

But recent studies reveal that organic foods, especially raw or non-processed, are also substantially more nutritious. They contain higher levels of beta carotene, vitamins C, D and E, health-promoting polyphenols, cancer-fighting antioxidants, flavonoids that help ward off heart disease, essential fatty acids, essential minerals, and significantly lower levels of saturated fats.

More facts on organic vs. non-organic

 
 

NEW REPORT

Monsanto, Kraft Spy on Nonprofits

In their continuing desperation to protect profits at all costs, corporations are escalating the use of spy tactics to sabotage the work of nonprofits and activists. According to “Spooky Business: A New Report on Corporate Espionage Against Non-profits,” released yesterday by Washington D.C.-based Essential Information, Monsanto and Kraft are among the many corporations using unethical and illegal tactics against nonprofit organizations.

The report accuses a long list of corporations of hiring shady investigative firms staffed with former employees of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), U.S. military, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Secret Service and local police departments to target nonprofit organizations.
 
Read the press release
 
Read the report

 
 

ACTION ALERT

Endangered Priorities

Congress is yet again wrestling over the terms of a new budget. With the December 13 deadline less than a month away, some groups, including the OCA, are asking Congress to rethink its priorities.

It’s clear what Congress’s priority is. The U.S. annual budget includes $1 trillion for military spending. That’s equivalent to the rest of the world’s military budgets combined.

We need new priorities. Beginning with investments in sustainable agriculture. And a real plan for averting a climate disaster.

It’s time to push Congress for a budget for the people. For Peace. For the Planet.

Read the letter

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress You Want a Budget for the People, Peace and the Planet

 
 

LITTLE BYTES

Essential Reading for the Week

Prozac, Arsenic and Beer in Your Turkey? 9 Creepy Things to Know About Your Holiday Meal

Vandana Shiva on Resisting GMOs: 'Saving Seeds Is a Political Act'

Countless Coconut Oil Uses and Health Benefits

UN Negotiators Ditch Climate-Friendly Agriculture Plan

Food Fight Heads to Oregon

Fresh Ideas for School Lunches

 
 

MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSORS

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!

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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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