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EMA: Exposing Kids to Sewage Sludge and Not Coming Clean

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's California News page, Environment and Climate Resource page, and our Toxic Sludge and Organic Compost page.

For a non-actress surrounded by movie stars, Debbie Levin, President of the Environmental Media Association (EMA) - an organization founded by Norman Lear - is putting on quite a performance of her own. Too bad it's more likely to win her a fraud charge than an Oscar, based on her May 6, 2011 letter to her Board provided to the Food Rights Network by a source inside EMA. 

Jill Richardson :: And the Razzie goes to Norman Lear's EMA for Exposing Kids to Sewage Sludge and Not Coming Clean

Over the past month, Levin has been confronted with ample evidence that the group she runs exposed school children (not to mention the Hollywood celebrities that serve on the group's board) to toxic sewage sludge. In 2009, EMA began a partnership with several Los Angeles schools, securing the donation of thousands of dollars in compost and soil amendment products from Kellogg Garden Products for the schools' organic gardens soon thereafter. In a sworn affidavit, former L.A. Unified School District garden advisor Mud Baron said that he informed Levin early on and repeatedly that Kellogg uses sewage sludge in many of its products, and sewage sludge is illegal for use in organic gardens. Yet on Friday, May 6, she emailed the board a message that reads, in part:

 It's unfortunate in the midst of this great success, some can try to find controversy where none exists. The standards of the gardening program and our relationship with Kellogg Garden Products have been called into question.  A San Francisco-based blogger posted a story last week claiming that Kellogg's nonorganic materials were being used in school garden programs.  Following that, an environmental blog picked up the story and expanded upon it by questioning our relationship with Kellogg since the company sells products that aren't considered environmentally correct. Let me walk you through some of the facts:

 The stories claim that nonorganic materials were used at school sites.  This is not accurate.  Schools only have access to Kellogg organic materials. This misconception may come from the fact that shortly after our program started two years ago, one participating school reached out directly to Kellogg and obtained mulch that is not considered organic.  We regret that one school acted on its own in securing nonorganic materials...