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Organic Bytes #144: 9/10/2008

Health, Justice and Sustainability News Tidbits with an Edge!
Written and edited by Craig Minowa and Ronnie Cummins

OCA Plants Peace at the
Republican National Convention

Planting Peace at the RNCThe Organic Consumers Association's "Planting Peace" brigade actively participated in a series of rallies, street protests, and concert/teach-ins at the Republican National Convention last week, along with tens of thousands of other participants. OCA's Planting Peace contingent supplied organic food and literature to musicians, volunteers, and protesters at the "Ripple Effect" concert and march on September 2, which culminated in a massive and dramatic street march on the RNC.

Throughout the week, despite tear-gas, police dragnets, and intimidation (heavily-armed police at one point pointed their guns and threatened OCA's lawyer and Political Director, Alexis Baden-Meyer), OCA staff and volunteers spread the positive message that a local, energy-efficient, and Fair Trade system of organic food and farming represents a lifesaving cure for America's current "quadruple crisis" of food, health, climate, and energy.

As OCA Director Ronnie Cummins emphasized at a St. Paul educational event on September 1, called the Tumbleweed Cabaret, "We must make the nation's green and organic economy the dominant economy."

Please check out OCA's Planting Peace website and campaign, designed to bring about cooperation and synergy between the peace movement, the climate crisis movement, and the organic community.

Sowing SeedSixty Thousand Organic Consumers and Locavores Visit "Slow Food Nation"

In an amazing demonstration of mass public support and creativity, sixty thousand people attended the nation's first Slow Food Nation convention in San Francisco on Labor Day weekend, underlining America's need and desire for a new system of food and farming that is local, organic, and Fair Trade--not to mention delicious.

Among the major themes at the conference was a call to eliminate labor exploitation in the natural and organic food sector.

Learn more - Visit the website of Slow Food Nation

Lab ratLesson of the Week

School Lab Rats Freak Out on GE Food

Schools in Wisconsin are showing kids the dangers of genetically engineered (GE) junk food with some unique science class experiments. Sister Luigi Frigo repeats the experiment every year in her second grade class in Cudahy. Students feed one group of mice unprocessed whole foods. A second group of mice are given the same junk foods served at most schools.

Within a couple of days, the behavior of the second group of mice develop erratic sleeping schedules and become lazy, nervous and even violent. It takes the mice about three weeks on unprocessed foods to return to normal. According to Frigo, the second graders tried to do the experiment again a few months later with the same mice, but the animals have already learned their lesson and refuse to eat the GE food.

Battle in SeattleLearn more here

Movie of the Week

The Battle in Seattle

Battle in Seattle , showcases activists as heroes protecting people and the planet from destruction at the hands of callous corporations.

Get involved, inspired, and take action!

Brain IllustrationEssay of the Week

Good News in Catastrophic Times:
We Are Hard-Wired to Care and Connect

"Scientists who use advanced imaging technology to study brain function report that the human brain is wired to reward caring, cooperation, and service. According to this research, merely thinking about another person experiencing harm triggers the same reaction in our brain as when a mother sees distress in her baby's face.

Conversely, the act of helping another triggers the brain's pleasure center and benefits our health by boosting our immune system, reducing our heart rate, and preparing us to approach and soothe. Positive emotions like compassion produce similar benefits. By contrast, negative emotions suppress our immune system, increase heart rate, and prepare us to fight or flee."

Door KnockerLearn more

GNA Alert of the Week

Million Doors for Peace

Help the peace movement show its strength on September 20, 2008, by being one of 25,000 volunteers who visit 40 of their neighbors to collect a million signatures on a petition calling on every member of Congress to end the war.

Learn more and take action

Web Survey of the Week

How Much Do You Know About Synthetic Biology?

A team of undergraduate students, the Calgary iGEM Ethics Team, are competing for a prize at the November 2008 International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition.

synthetic biology deviceWhile most of the iGEM competitors experiment with genetic engineering, designing, building, and operating synthetic biological systems in living cells, the Calgary iGEM Ethics Team will be the first to submit research on the ethical, legal, and social issues related to synthetic biology.

Help them raise awareness of the ethical issues relating to genetic engineering: Participate in their survey

typingWeb Forum Post of the Week

Grinding Your Own Grains

In response to an article on Victory Gardens posted on the OCA website and highlighted in last week's issue of Organic Bytes, a member of the OCA web forum posted the following comment:

"You might add that in addition to growing our vegetables we might also grind our own grains for truly fresh, nutritious baked goods. Most Americans have no idea what fresh bread tastes or even looks like. Buy organic grains only, and look into the many different types of grain mills available. You'll be very happy with the results."

Go to OCA's web forum to join discussions on a wide variety of OCA related topics with thousands of other like-minded people.

dog with newspaperTop Headlines of the Week

  1. Organic Transitions: Building an Anti-Economy
  2. Federal Court Allows USDA to Suppress Testing for Mad Cow Disease
  3. US News & World Report Covers the Irradiation Controversy
  4. New Study: Escalating Oil Prices Mean Organic Food Will Soon Be Cheaper than Industrial Food
  5. Drug-Resistant 'Superbug' in Australia Fueling Fear of Epidemic

Let OCA sift through the media smog and bring you the top new and analysis of the day. The OCA website has 20 or more news articles posted each day, and a library of over 4,000 articles covering issues including health, justice, food and farming, politics, and the environment.

Mobilizing Organic Consumers In Your State

OCA logoThrough the Organic Consumers Fund's Grassroots Netroots Alliance project, voters are pressing the politicians to support strict organic standards, mandatory labels for genetically engineered food, and the conversion of U.S. farmland to organic.

Find out who's answering the call in your state by clicking here:
On the same page, you'll find a listing of state campaigns for health, justice and sustainability in all 50 states.

Listen To Podcast With Organic Bytes

According to, the #1 health/wellness podcast on the internet is Real Health with Dr. Steve. This podcast will now be highlighting each issue of Organic Bytes with in-depth interviews of OCA staff. Tune-in to the podcast today to hear OCA experts talk about the news stories we're covering in this issue of Organic Bytes. Listen Here

OCA Action CenterSign-Up For OCA's Action Alerts

Support Our Supporters

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