In December 1997, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) launched a nationwide grassroots campaign called Save Organic Standards (SOS). Over the course of the next six months, OCA and our allies in the organic community successfully mobilized hundreds of thousands of organic consumers, farmers and retailers to stop the Clinton administration, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness from degrading organic standards and allowing GMOs, irradiated food and sewage sludge to be used in organic farming.
Since the first SOS battle, despite pro-agribusiness, pro-GMO, pro-factory farm policies and appointments by corporate Democrats (Clinton and Obama) and reactionary Republicans alike (Bush Sr., Bush Jr. and Trump), the U.S. market for certified organic food has grown from a $3-billion niche market in 1997 to a $50-billion-plus powerhouse today.
Still, federal policies that consistently favor and subsidize Big Ag continue to hamper organic farmers. And the desire of Big Food companies to grab a slice of the $50-billion organic market pie threatens to erode organic standards.
We could give up. We could think small. We could fight one small battle at a time.
Or, as Ronnie suggests in this week’s essay, we—food and farming, climate, natural health, animal welfare, social and economic justice activists—can join forces to fight for a Green New Deal that takes on all of the issues we all care about.
Read ‘SOS: Don’t Mourn, Organize!’
SIGN THE PETITION: Green Consumers for a Green New Deal!
In the last two months, two presidential candidates—Sens. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)—have floated proposals to take on Big Agribusiness and start rallying support for America’s small family farmers.
You don’t have to support, or even like, Sens. Warren or Sanders. (As a nonprofit organization, we don’t endorse candidates—but we do support or oppose their positions on the issues we care about).
But if you care about a clean environment, pesticide-free food, and your local organic farmer, you’ve got to like what these two candidates are saying. And if we let these candidates know we support their plans to take on Big Ag, who knows how many more candidates will finally see the light?
Read Sanders’ plan to reform ag policy
Read Warren’s statement on ag policy
SIGN THE PETITION: Tell Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders “Thank you!” for standing up to Big Ag and looking out for small farmers!
A domestic policy adviser at the White House said, for instance: "We have Monsanto’s back on pesticides regulation. We are prepared to go toe-to-toe on any disputes they may have with, for example, the EU. Monsanto need not fear any additional regulation from this administration." – July 2018 email to Monsanto's Todd Rands from Hakluyt & Company, a British strategic intelligence and advisory firm
If you read the latest article by U.S. Right to Know’s Carey Gillam, any glimmer of hope that U.S. regulatory agencies are looking out for your health was likely extinguished.
Citing recently filed court documents, Gillam shines a light on a report by a UK-based corporate intelligence group on just how loyal the White House, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are to Bayer-owned Monsanto.
All the more reason why last month’s statement by the EPA that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, is “safe” should come as no surprise.
Read ‘White House Has Monsanto’s Back on Pesticides, Newly Revealed Document Says
TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Ban Monsanto-Bayer’s Cancer-Causing Roundup Weedkiller!
Help us support U.S. Right to Know with your tax-deductible donation
“We should preserve every scrap of biodiversity as priceless while we learn to use it and come to understand what it means to humanity.” – E. O. Wilson
We hear it over and over: Industrial agriculture–with its factory farms, pesticides and chemical fertilizers–is the only way to feed a burgeoning global population.
It’s not true. But that doesn’t stop Monsanto or Tyson or Cargill from repeating the lie.
This week, the United Nations Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) issued this warning: Unless we radically change our ways, one million species face extinction. The report was the result of a three-year study by 145 authors from 50 countries.
Clearly, we aren't treating "every scrap of biodiversity as priceless."
One of the biggest extinguishers of biodiversity on this planet is industrial agriculture. Its chemicals and monocultures destroy soil, plants, insects and wildlife. Not to mention what its toxic food does to humans.
Robert Watson, chair of the IPBES report, offered a sliver of hope: It’s not too late to repair and sustain nature, he said, if we act now in transformative ways.
We already know how to repair nature and feed the world—both at the same time. It’s called regenerative agriculture.
Regenerative agriculture works with nature. It incorporates beneficial insects, birds and other animals into growing food and livestock grazing practices.
Regenerative agriculture is the transformation we need. What will it take to make that happen? All of us. Working together. Working strategically. Working with urgency.
Make a tax-deductible donation to the Organic Consumers Association
Support Citizens Regeneration Lobby, OCA’s 501(c)(4) lobbying arm (not tax-deductible)
Click here for more ways to support our work
In North Carolina, people recall being sprayed with liquid manure when giant hog farms move in next door. In Arizona, residents struggle to breathe outside their homes because of fumes emitted from massive barns housing 4 million laying hens. In Wisconsin, where large dairy operations abound, wells are contaminated with rotovirus and salmonella. (Article in Civil Eats).
That’s what people who live near factory farms—or as the industry prefers to call them, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)—have to put up with. Because all 50 states have some form of “Right to Farm” law in place that make it nearly impossible for people who live near factory farms to hold agribusiness corporations responsible for fouling their neighbors’ air and water, and destroying their property values and quality of life.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates there are 15,500 CAFOs in the U.S. Just one of those can produce as much feces and urine as a small city—much of which ends up being spread directly onto farm fields and ultimately contaminating groundwater.
“Right to Harm” is a new documentary that details this “brutal reality” experienced by people who live near these wretched CAFOs.
Read ‘New Film Captures the Brutal Reality of Living Near Factory Farms’
Watch the trailer for ‘Right to Harm’
Nearly one million plant and animal species—more than at any other period in human history—are on the verge of extinction, according to a United Nation report released this week.
If humans think that level of biodiversity loss has nothing to do with them, they’re kidding themselves.
Robert Watson, chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, told the New York Times:
“For a long time, people just thought of biodiversity as saving nature for its own sake. But this report makes clear the links between biodiversity and nature and things like food security and clean water in both rich and poor countries.”
The Washington Post reported:
The [UN] report emphasizes the effects humans have on animals that are key to their own survival. Pesticides sprayed by farmers kill pollinators such as bees and other insects will likely to have a devastating effect on crops. Homeowners contribute to the problem by purchasing “bug zappers” that target mosquitoes but also eliminate key pollinators such as butterflies and moths, as well as common flies that some animals rely on for food.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that killing off the bees and other pollinators is a bad idea. And clearly, the looming extinction of pollinators isn’t the only problem that needs fixing—but it’s a good place to start.
TAKE ACTION: Ask your members of Congress to cosponsor the Save America’s Pollinators Act!
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