Monsanto: You can run. But you can't hide.
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"Regenerative food, farming and land use can provide a solution to the health crisis, the water crisis, environmental degradation, climate change, rural poverty, hunger and war." - Ronnie Cummins, Founding Meeting of Regeneration International, June 9, 2015, Finca Luna Nueva, Costa Rica
If you'd walked up to a farmer 100 years ago and told him farming would one day threaten life on Earth, he probably would have laughed in your face, saying such a thing simply isn't possible. Agriculture is necessary for food production, and therefore for life, the farmer would have said with firm conviction—and farming the land or raising cattle is not going to unduly harm anything or anyone.
Today, we face an entirely different scenario. Virtually every growing environmental and health problem can be traced back to modern food production, including:
• Food insecurity and malnutrition amid mounting food waste• Rising obesity and chronic disease rates despite growing health care outlays• Diminishing fresh water supplies• Toxic agricultural chemicals polluting air, soil and waterways, thereby threatening the entire food chain from top to bottom• Disruption of normal climate and rainfall patterns
The good news is there are viable answers to all of these problems—but those answers hinge on how quickly we can transition from today’s degenerative agriculture model to the widespread implementation of regenerative agriculture and decentralized food distribution.
Read ‘Modern Agriculture Drives Hunger, Obesity and Disease While Simultaneously Threatening Food Chain and Worsening Water Crisis’
With Monsanto looking to be acquired by Germany-based Bayer, is Dow Chemical taking over Monsanto’s role of chief influence-buyer in Washington, D.C.?
Dow wasted no time wooing Trump—the poison-peddler ponied up $1 million for the new president’s inauguration festivities. Trump swiftly rewarded Dow by naming CEO Andrew Liveris to head a new White House manufacturing working group.
In February, after Trump signed an executive order aimed at rolling back regulations (including those on pesticides and GMOs), he handed the pen to Liveris. Fitting, given that Trump’s new EPA chief, Scott Pruitt, was quick to overturn the Obama administration’s proposed ban on one of Dow’s moneymakers, chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate pesticide. (Pruitt’s move prompted a lawsuit by environmental groups).
Now, it seems, just banning organophosphates isn’t enough. A new report by the Associated Press (AP) says lawyers for Dow and two other manufacturers of organophosphates are asking Trump’s administration to throw out the EPA’s own studies on the dangerous effects of chlorpyrifos and other organophosphates, known to lower I.Q.s and cause neurological damage in children.
From the AP report:
Organophosphorus gas was originally developed as a chemical weapon by Nazi Germany. Dow has been selling Chlorpyrifos for spraying on citrus fruits, apples, cherries and other crops since the 1960s. It is among the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the United States, with Dow selling about 5 million pounds domestically each year.
As a result, traces of the chemical are commonly found in sources of drinking water. A 2012 study at the University of California at Berkeley found that 87 percent of umbilical-cord blood samples tested from newborn babies contained detectable levels of chlorpyrifos.
OCA’s Alexis Baden-Mayer appeared on RT America this week to talk about Dow’s latest dastardly deeds.
Watch the video
Read Dow’s letter
Read ‘AP Exclusive: Pesticide Maker Tries to Kill Risk Study’
We have a food industry that often acts as if health doesn’t matter, and a medical industry that acts as if food doesn’t matter.
The result? Diseases that were rare 100 years ago are now considered normal. Chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and food allergies have gone from infrequent to epidemic.
Tune into this year’s online (and free) Food Revolution Summit to hear what some of the world’s top scientists, researchers and food activists have to say about food and health. Food revolution leader John Robbins will personally interview Dean Ornish, MD; Michael Greger, MD; Mark Hyman, MD; David Perlmutter, MD; Christiane Northrup, MD; Joel Fuhrman, MD . . . and many more extraordinary speakers who will share their best tips on health, vitality, energy, disease prevention, and living well, longer.
The Food Revolution Summit costs nothing—just a bit of your time, well spent.
Sign up for the Food Revolution Summit (free!) and see the fabulous speaker line up here
Take the Food Revolution cancer quiz
Take the Food Revolution GMO quiz
On Saturday, April 29, Washington, D.C. will host yet another march—this time, it’s the People’s Climate March.
The timing of this year’s march couldn’t be better. We’ve just passed another climate milestone—and it’s not a good one. According to the latest report in Scientific American, the Mauna Loa Observatory recorded its first-ever carbon dioxide reading in excess of 410 parts per million. Carbon dioxide hasn’t reached that height in millions of years.
The good news is, we have the tools to reverse this trend. They’re not fancy or expensive. They’re not new. We just have to use them. As the authors of “Hope Below Our Feet: Soil as a Climate Solution,” write:
A major reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is clearly needed, but there is increasing scientific consensus that even if achieved, this will not be enough. In addition to a drastic reduction in carbon emissions, carbon must be removed from the atmosphere. An important solution is beneath our feet: the massive capacity of the earth’s soils to remove and store carbon from the atmosphere.
What’s standing in our way of putting regenerative agriculture to work in the battle to stop runaway global warming?
Corporate America’s influence over food and farming policy. This week, Trump charged his new agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue, with convening a task force euphemistically called “a task force on rural America.” Far from hoping to improve the lives of rural Americans and rural farmers, the task force aims to make big corporations more profitable. According to Politico:
The task force, which Perdue will chair, will bring together members from departments across the Trump administration. Its mission is to conduct a 180-day review of concerns in rural America and zero in on regulations that hinder growth in the U.S. agricultural and rural economies and develop policy changes that increase jobs, improve infrastructure and foster innovation in technology, said Ray Starling, special assistant to the president for agriculture, trade and food assistance.
That’s Trump-speak for rolling back any regulation that protects small farmers, clean water, or a healthy pesticide-free environment and food supply.
Meanwhile, Perdue’s predecessor, Tom Vilsack, may as well be working for Monsanto now. Vilsack, who helped kill GMO labeling, wrote an op-ed this week for The Hill, claiming that industrial agriculture (and Monsanto’s GMOs) are the answer to fighting global warming—despite all evidence pointing to the contrary.
With corporations running our food and farming system, we’ve got a steep hill to climb. Many food and farming activists will start that climb by marching this week in Washington. If you want to participate, here are a few events that start today (Friday, April 28) and run through the weekend:
Welcome Party for People's Climate March Food FolksFriday, April 28, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.East Capitol Urban Farm5901 East Capitol St. SE, Washington, DC 20019Food & Farm Justice Contingent at the People's Climate MarchSaturday, April 29, 11:00 a.m.At the intersection of Pennsylvania Ave. & 4th Street NWLook for the Resist & Regenerate banners and monarch butterflies!Biodiversity for a Livable Climate Conference - Scenario 300: Making Climate CoolSunday, April 30, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.At the offices of Steptoe & Johnson LLP1330 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036-1795Livestream the event
TAKE ACTION: Join the Food & Farm Justice Contingent at People’s Climate March
We know consumers are buying more grass-fed beef. According to the latest Nielsen data, retail sales of labeled fresh grass-fed beef grew from $17 million in 2012, to $272 million in 2016.
We know why there’s an uptick in consumer demand for grass-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is better for your health than beef produced by factory farms. It’s also better for the environment, better for animals and better for the climate.
But here’s something a lot of consumers aren’t clear on: what does “grass-fed” actually mean, in terms of how animals are raised, what they’re fed, and how meat is labeled? Is “grass-fed” the same as “grass-finished”? How do those terms (or labels) differ from “100% grass-fed”? And what’s better—“USDA organic,” “natural” or “organic grass-fed?”
“Back to Grass: The Market Potential for U.S. Grassfed Beef,” addresses the labeling question (it’s not straightforward, unfortunately), and also production, marketing and the future of the grass-fed beef market. The report was produced by the nonprofit Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, in collaboration with numerous for-profit investment and market analysis firms.
Beef gets a bad rap from a lot of well-meaning but misguided climate activists who, by not distinguishing between meat from cattle raised on grass using regenerative rotational grazing methods and meat produced by factory farms (or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), miss the real story: When properly grazed, “Cows Save the Planet.”
Read the full study
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