Conscious consumers won’t have to wait much longer for clear guidance on how to buy food and other products that are not only certified organic, but also certified regenerative.
The Rodale Institute on Wednesday, September 13, unveiled draft standards for a new Regenerative Organic Certification, developed by Rodale and a coalition of farmers, ranchers, nonprofits, scientists, and brands.
When finalized, the certification will go “beyond organic” by establishing higher standards for soil health and land management, animal welfare and farmer and worker fairness.
OCA and our Regeneration International project, fully embrace this new venture to make organic more climate friendly, humane, just and environmentally positive. As we’ve said before, when it comes to food and farming—and as we veer toward climate catastrophe—“sustainable” doesn’t cut it anymore.
And certified USDA organic, though far better than GMO, chemical and energy-intensive agriculture, doesn't go quite far enough.
It’s time to recognize that regeneration, not "sustainable," is the next stage of organic food and farming—and civilization. And that organic is good, but organic plus regenerative is better.
This new Organic Regenerative Certification will help consumers identify those products that not only nourish their bodies, but also the planet.
Read Ronnie's Blog: ‘Coming Soon: Better Food Labels for Conscious Consumers’
Photo: Alex Hanson CC via Wikimedia Commons
The job of Chief Scientist at the USDA is supposed to be reserved for “distinguished scientists with specialized or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.”
But if Trump has his way, this key USDA appointment will go to Trump’s former Iowa campaign manager, Sam Clovis—who isn’t even a scientist, much less a “distinguished” one.
It’s bad enough that Clovis has no background in agricultural science. But Clovis is also a self-described climate skeptic—not exactly what the USDA needs during a time when global warming and extreme weather events are damaging crops and farmers’ livelihoods, degenerative industrial agriculture is accelerating global warming, and real scientists understand that organic and regenerative agriculture hold the most promise for reversing climate change.
Clovis isn’t the only unqualified candidate for a USDA position. A Politico review of political appointees to USDA reveals that the department is “stocked with Trump campaign staff and volunteers who in many cases have little to no expressed experience with federal policy, let alone deep roots in agriculture.”
What do the USDA appointees have? Politico examined the resumes of 42 USDA political appointees (provided by the watchdog group American Oversight and obtained under the Freedom of Information Act) and found that 22 of them listed Trump campaign experience—and most of those “lack direct experience working in agriculture.”
Our food system is a mess. It’s poisoning our waterways. It’s ruining our health. And for all Monsanto crows about “feeding the world,” 48 million Americans, including 13 million children, go hungry at some point in any given year.
And Trump wants a campaign manager to run the USDA?
Tell Your Senators: Vote NO on Trump’s Pick for Top USDA ‘Scientist!’
Some of you have asked why we’re so focused on Ben & Jerry’s. Aren’t there worse companies we could be going after?
The answer to the second questions is, yes.
The answer to the first question more complex. Ben & Jerry’s has built its brand by convincing consumers like you that the company cares about the environment, cares about the climate, cares about the issues dear to progressives’ hearts. But if you look at Ben & Jerry's support of industrial dairy, that’s a myth. Ben & Jerry’s can’t hold onto its lead in ice cream sales if we destroy that myth.
If you agree that Monsanto’s GMO crops, with their toxic pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers, are destroying the soil, polluting our water and making us sick, then you can’t support Ben & Jerry’s. Nearly 90,000 acres of Vermont’s farmland is planted in GMO crops—to feed the dairy cows that supply milk and cream to Ben & Jerry’s. And it's not just Vermont that Ben & Jerry's is polluting—the company also sources cream from GMO-fed cows on the West Coast.
That’s reason enough for Ben & Jerry’s to go organic. But Ben & Jerry’s support of conventional and GMO dairy is also hurtling dairy farmers into bankruptcy, hurting migrant workers and perpetuating animal abuse.
We need to turn up the heat on Ben & Jerry’s. We’re grateful that other organizations think so, too.
About 140 organizations and businesses have signed on to a letter to Ben & Jerry’s CEO Jostein Solheim, asking the company to go organic. And between today and October 1, in a show of solidarity, six other organizations are sending Ben & Jerry’s petitions to their members.
Those groups are:
Beyond PesticidesDaily Kos FoodRevolution NetworkFriends of the EarthLabel GMOsPresente.org
To make this joint effort a success, we need you to sign this new version of the Ben & Jerry’s petition—even if you signed our original.
Read our organization/business sign-on letter (To sign your organization or business on to this letter, email email@example.com).
NEW PETITION! TAKE ACTION: Tell Ben & Jerry's CEO: Get pesticides out of your ice cream. Go Organic!
Support our ‘Ben & Jerry’s: Go Organic!’ campaign (donations to OCA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, are tax deductible)
“I can certainly see that people in the environmental movement are being disheartened… [but] we’ve all got to do our little bit… Actually doing something invigorates you.” – Dr. David Suzuki, academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist.
These have been difficult weeks, watching the death and destruction wrought by hurricanes in the U.S., and massive flooding in Mexico, Sierra Leone and Southeast Asia.
You want to help those in need. You worry where the next storm will hit. We all want to do something.
We can’t undo the wrath of storms past. But the good news is this: Every single one of us can do our part to help cool the planet. And scientists are clear: If we cool the planet, we won’t stop every hurricane, every flood—but we will reduce the amount of rain, flooding, damage and despair.
What can you do? Buy consciously. When it comes to food, that means supporting the farmers and brands that use regenerative farming and land-management practices—practices that restore the soil’s capacity to draw down and sequester carbon.
Next week, our Regeneration International project will bring together about 110 scientists, farmers, activists, educators, climate experts and environmentalists to collaborate on global strategies to scale up regenerative organic agriculture.
This meeting couldn’t be more timely. Or more urgent.
We know you’re being asked to donate to many worthwhile causes, including hurricane relief efforts. We are grateful for any support you can provide for our work around food and farming, and their relationship to climate, healthy economies and communities, and your own health.
We’ve “all got to do our little bit.” As we can attest, it’s invigorating.
Support OCA's Regeneration International project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Donations are are tax-deductible.
In their own words, these New Zealand farmers talk about farming in the past, and how—and why—they’re transitioning to regenerative agriculture.
“It’s science-based, but it’s farmer-driven,” says one.
No more “leaky” farming—leaking huge amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous because a farm became addicted to synthetic fertilizers, says another.
These eco-pioneers talk about restoring soils, protecting waterways and farming for the future.
“If we want to feed the world, this is the only way.”
Watch ‘The Regenerators: A Better Way to Farm’
If you drink tap water, you’re probably drinking plastic fibers.
According to 10-month investigation conducted by journalists and scientists at Orb Media:
Microscopic plastic fibers are flowing out of taps from New York to New Delhi, according to exclusive research by Orb and a researcher at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. From the halls of the U.S. Capitol to the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda, women, children, men, and babies are consuming plastic with every glass of water.
The authors of “Invisibles: The Plastics Inside Us,” report that 83 percent of water samples collected across six continents contained plastic fibers. That means billions of people are drinking plastic-contaminated water.
From the report:
If plastic fibers are in your water, experts say they’re surely in your food as well—baby formula, pasta, soups, and sauces, whether from the kitchen or the grocery. Plastic fibers may leaven your pizza crust, and a forthcoming study says it’s likely in the craft beer you’ll drink to chase the pepperoni down.
It gets worse. Plastic is all but indestructible, meaning plastic waste doesn’t biodegrade; rather, it only breaks down into smaller pieces of itself, even down to particles in nanometer scale—one-one thousandth of one-one thousandth of a millimeter.
Microplastics have been shown to absorb toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other illnesses, and then release them when consumed by fish and mammals (that means you), says the report.
Read ‘Invisibles: The Plastics Inside Us’
Climate change is insisting that we notice it. Yet our new administration in Washington, D.C. is populated with an unprecedented number of climate skeptics—including at the USDA, where we should be paying more attention than ever to the intersection of global warming and agriculture.
Moments of tremendous change, including change for the worse, offer opportunity, says Dana Geffner, director of OCA’s Fair World Project (FWP).
Our industrial food system and fast-fashion industry are taking us in the wrong direction and exploiting workers all along the supply chain. Small-scale farmers, the heart of our global food systems, are the ones most impacted by climate change and bad trade policies.
Can we reimagine our global systems? Can we change the balance of power away from the corporate, money-driven interests that got us here in the first place?
FWP’s latest issue of “For a Better World” explores these issues and more, with a focus on the positive: regeneration.
The issue couldn’t have hit the press at a better time, as our Regeneration International project prepares for next week’s General Assembly meeting in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
Download ‘For a Better World: Regeneration’
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