ESSAY OF THE WEEK

A ‘Movement of Movements’

Along with campaigns against fracking and climate change, perhaps the largest and most dynamic grassroots movement in North America today is the anti-genetic engineering, Millions Against Monsanto food movement.

International in scope, the food movement has galvanized around the backlash against GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Yet there’s something much larger at work. It’s bigger than GMOs. And it’s bigger than food.

People are connecting the dots. Between industry’s corruption of our food and farming systems, and corporations’ attacks on our state and local rights. Between secretly negotiated international trade agreements, and corrupt federal government officials.

Between Democracy and Corporatocracy.

The growing strength of this “Movement of Movements” provides hope in desperate times that we can rise to the occasion and continue to win over the hearts and minds of the majority. So that we can address not only the crucial issues of food and farming and public health, but also related life-or-death issues such as climate change, economic justice and militarism.

Read Ronnie’s essay

 
 

ACTION ALERT

It’s Official

The news was already out there, in the form of small leaks. But yesterday, February 6, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) made it official. The multi-billion lobbying group, representing junk food manufacturers, pesticide companies and Big Pharma, will pursue a “voluntary” federal GMO labeling bill, one that would preempt states' rights to enact their own GMO labeling laws.

The GMA has formed a coalition – that's its logo to the right, with a burger front and center – of 28 other industry groups that will push Congress to pass a law requiring the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to “reaffirm” its “role as the nation’s foremost authority on the use and labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients [GMOs].”

What does that mean? Companies that pollute your environment and poison your food want the FDA to come up with a worthless, voluntary labeling standard. And oh by the way, they also want the FDA to rule that it’s perfectly fine to label GMO-contaminated food as “natural.”

Now all this new coalition, deceptively named the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food, needs are a few legislators to sponsor their new bill. We can’t wait to find out who those legislators will be—the ones who are willing to sponsor a bill that more than 90 percent of Americans will oppose.

In the meantime, let’s keep hammering the FDA.

More here and here

TAKE ACTION: Tell the FDA: No Watered-Down, Voluntary Federal GMO Labeling Rules!

Read the GMA’s GMO talking points

Read the OCA’s GMO talking points

 
 

ACTION ALERT

What Are You Doing on Valentine’s Day?

We hope you have a date. With your local Home Depot and/or Lowe’s store. To deliver their managers’ a “Give Bees Some Love” Valentine.

Why? Because Home Depot and Lowe’s sell plants that are coated in pesticides that kill bees. And we need your help to convince them that what consumers really want, are healthy, sustainable garden plants that attract bees, not kill them.

Next week, Feb. 10 through Feb. 16, the OCA will join 10 other national and international groups working together to convince the CEO of Home Depot, Frank Blake, and the CEO of Lowe’s, Robert Niblock, to stop selling plants that are coated in neonicotinoids—a class of pesticides linked to the die-off of honeybees, known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Our joint actions will include delivering hundreds of thousands of petition signatures, protesting at stores in at least five cities, and asking individual consumers, like you, to deliver a Valentine (provided by us) to your local Home Depot or Lowe’s store manager.

How do we know Home Depot and Lowe’s are selling bee-killing plants? A recent study co-authored by the Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Research Institute found that seven out of 13 samples of garden plants purchased at top retailers—including Home Depot and Lowe’s—in Washington D.C., the San Francisco Bay Area and Minneapolis contain neonicotinoids.

Colony Collapse Disorder is a Big Deal. That’s why, with the help of tens of thousands of consumers like you, belonging to organizations representing people from around the world, we’re going to keep up the pressure on Home Depot and Lowe’s until they stop selling plants that kill bees (and butterflies, too).

TAKE ACTION: Sign Up to Deliver a “Give Bees Some Love” Valentine to your Local Home Depot or Lowe’s Store (We’ll follow up with details)

TAKE ACTION: Tell Home Depot and Lowe’s to Stop Selling Bee-Killing Plants

Find an event in Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington D.C., Eugene, Ore. or San Francisco

Ask Home Depot and Lowe’s to stop selling bee-killing plants by posting on their Facebook pages

 
 

SUPPORT THE OCA & OCF

Well, Partly True

“When it becomes a revolutionary act to eat real food, we are in trouble.” - Mark Hyman, M.D., founder of The UltraWellness Center

Eating real food, or at least trying to get labels on food that isn’t real, or working to get growth hormones, antibiotics and toxic chemicals out of what passes for food, has turned us all into food revolutionaries.

Maybe that means we’re in trouble. Or maybe it means we’ve been in trouble for a long time—but now we’re on the path to reclaiming the right to real food, grown on real farms (and in real gardens) using real, time-tested, sustainable farming practices.

When Monsanto starts admitting it’s looking for alternatives to laboratory-manipulated seeds, and industry is so afraid of us that companies are willing to spend millions of dollars to defeat us, that actually sounds like progress.

And it’s progress only because you are sustaining the fight. Kudos to you, the food revolutionaries. Without you, there would be no progress. Thank you!

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 Oregon, Vermont and other states)

 
 

GMO LEGISLATION UPDATE

Will Vermont Get Caught in the Trigger Trap?

Vermont lawmakers have a choice. They can pull the trigger on H.112, and pass the state’s proposed GMO labeling law. Or they can fall victim to the pesticide and junk food industries’ “trigger trap.”

In 2013, Connecticut and Maine passed GMO labeling bills. Both those laws are in limbo, where they’ll stay until four neighboring states, with a combined population of 20 million inhabitants, pass similar labeling bills. That’s because Connecticut and Maine lawmakers added “triggers” to their bills. A trigger adds an additional condition to a bill, a condition that must be met before the law can be enacted.

Connecticut and Maine legislators justified adding the triggers in order to shield their states from the potential financial burden of  millions of dollars  in legal costs, if Monsanto and Big Food followed through on threats to sue.

Yesterday, at a Vermont public hearing, citizens demanded that their politicians stand up to industry, by passing a clean, trigger-free GMO labeling law. Will they? Or will they fall for industry’s trigger trap?

More on the Trigger Trap

 
 

FARM BILL UPDATE

Farm Bill Finally Passes, with a Failing Grade

The House and Senate passed it. President Obama is set to sign it today. But the 2014 Farm Bill, by most accounts, gets a failing grade.

There were small victories, including the fact that pressure from consumers and animal rights organizations, ensured that the King Amendment was knocked out of the final bill. And rightly so, as it would have eviscerated states’ rights on a whole range of agriculture and food safety-related issues.

That said, there’s not much to cheer about. As the Green Shadow Cabinet stated, the new Farm Bill continues to promote a food system that serves corporate agribusiness. Not farmers. Not the environment. And certainly not you.

“The farm bill will result in a very high level of hunger in the world's richest country. It continues to promote a diet of overly processed food (or food substitutes) high in fat, sugar and salt that leads to health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. It provides massive tax subsidies to corporate agribusiness and wealthy investors rather than supporting family farmers. It promotes promote unhealthy food, monoculture crops and genetic engineering rather than sustainable agriculture. It slashes funding for conservation measures needed to reduce the pollution of our waters from farm operations.”

And as Tom Philpott put it: “The unmitigated bad news is that on farm policy, Congress delivered a thinly veiled repackaging of agribusiness as usual.”

Read the Green Shadow Cabinet statement

Read Philpott’s article

 
 

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Growing Cities

Join filmmakers Dan Susman and Andrew Monbouquette as they take a road trip to meet up with the men and women who are challenging the way this country grows and distributes its food, one vacant city lot, one rooftop garden, one backyard chicken coop at a time. Want to attend, or host, a local screening? Everyone’s invited!

Watch the trailer

Find or host a local screening

 
 

FAIR WORLD PROJECT

Help Perk Up Sales for Fair Trade Coffee Farmers

OCA’s Fair World Project is making it easier this month for you to help out fair trade, small-scale coffee farmers. And enjoy great, sustainably grown coffee, at the same time.

For each 50 pounds of Deans Beans 100% organic and fair trade coffee purchased from FWP between January 28 – February 28, FWP will give away one pound of Deans Beans to a winner randomly selected from among all those who purchased coffee between those dates.

Why buy Deans Beans? In addition to being both 100% organic and 100% fair trade, Deans Beans is committed to sustainable development and supporting small-scale coffee farmers. And it doesn’t hurt any that the company still uses recyclable kraft bags for the majority of its orders, reusable buckets for all of its deliveries, and heats its Beanery’s roof with solar panels.

More about Deans Beans

Buy coffee now to guarantee a fair price for farmers and qualify to win an extra pound!

 
 

LITTLE BYTES

Essential Reading for the Week

New Research Fuels Glyphosate Toxicity Concerns

Rat Runs Around Monsanto

Wild About Dandelions

6 Bodily Tissues That Can Be Regenerated Through Nutrition

How Big Pharma Brainwashes Americans into Believing They're Sick

Organic Food Campaign Tackles Natural Claims, GMOs, Antibiotics

 
 

MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSORS

Have You Tested Your Vitamin D Level Lately?

Research shows that Vitamin D is critical for your health. But if you’re like most people, you probably don’t get enough. Want to know for sure? During the month of February, Mercola.com is offering a Vitamin D testing kit for $65. The Vitamin D home test kit is an easy-to-use prick test. You return it by regular mail, and your results are mailed back to you.

All proceeds from sales of the test kit will go to the GrassrootsHealth D Action Study. The D*Action project has been initiated by GrassrootsHealth, a public health promotion organization, along with 42 leading vitamin D researchers. The project aims to demonstrate how health can be achieved right now with what’s known about vitamin D, through a combination of vitamin D measurement and health outcome tracking.

Learn more about Vitamin D

Learn more about the study

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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