Organic Bytes
Health, Justice and Sustainability News Tidbits with an Edge!
November 6, 2008 -  Issue 150
In This Issue
Good News of the Week: Happy Regime Change
OCA Launches Organic Transitions" Campaign
Essay of the Week: Beyond the Gloom & Doom of Economic Depression, Climate Change
Victory of the Week:Starbucks Doubles Fair Trade Coffee Purchases
Organic Bytes Readers Talk Back
Web Forum Posting of the Week: Gardening Makes You Fit
Quote of the Week: Global Food Crisis
Web Video of the Week:Jared Diamond on Why Societies Collapse
Headlines of the Week
Alerts From Our Allies
Join Our Mailing List!
Organic Consumers Association
Welcome to another exciting issue of Organic Bytes from the Organic Consumers Association.
Good News of the Week:
Happy Regime Change
Washington Monument
The most important election in 100 years is finally over, with the overwhelming majority of organic consumers across the U.S. standing together and voting for candidates like Barack Obama and a range of other progressive candidates advocating peace, justice, health, and sustainability. As we relish and celebrate our hard fought and well-deserved victory, and rest up a bit, let's keep in mind that the battle for Organic Transitions has just begun. We need to press the new Obama administration, and all of our newly elected officials, in their first 100 days in office, to take decisive steps to address our interrelated climate, energy, food, health, war and economic crises. As we mentioned several weeks ago, OCA's agenda for a new food and farming system is brilliantly articulated in Michael Pollan's recent article in the New York Times, "Farmer in Chief." Please read or reread this inspiring essay and stay tuned to Organic Bytes and our website for important news, analysis, and Action Alerts in the upcoming weeks.
The Next House & Garden, Solar & Transit Revolution:
OCA's "Organic Transitions" Campaign
Organic Transitions
The Organic Consumers Association is proud to announce the launch of our new long-term North American campaign: "Organic Transitions". As the planet descends into a global economic crisis, battered by global warming, resource wars, and Peak Oil, we need to prepare ourselves and our communities for survival and revival in hard times. Organic Transitions is designed to mobilize organic consumers and local communities to plan and implement food, transportation, energy, and education strategies that will enable us to survive and thrive in the turbulent times ahead. Organic food and farming will provide the healthy cornerstone for a new, more localized, green economy. Check out our new "Organic Transitions" website and contact the OCA about organizing an Organic Transition committee in your local community here.
Essay of the Week: Ronnie Cummins -
Beyond the Gloom & Doom of Economic Depression, Climate Change, & Peak Oil
Heal the Planet"A critical mass of people are waking up to the fact that we must get organized and find holistic solutions, not mere band-aids, for our crisis. Millions of us are heartened by the indisputable fact that organic, green, commonsense solutions for all of our life-or-death problems are at hand, including appropriate technology and innovative public policy and legislation. We don't have to wait for Washington bureaucrats or corporate marketers to tell us what to do. We can join together with our fellow citizens and begin the absolutely essential process of organizing Organic Transitions committees and campaigns in our local areas, starting with local organic food buying clubs, house parties, and study and action circles."

Read the full essay here
Victory of the Week:
Starbucks Doubles Fair Trade Coffee Purchases
Coffee BeansFor the past eight years, the OCA has mobilized tens of thousands of people around the world to pressure Starbucks, the largest purveyor of coffee in the world, to get rid of rBGH-tainted milk and substantially increase its sales of organic and Fair Trade coffee. In early 2008, Starbucks announced it would no longer source milk from dairies injecting their cows with Monsanto's genetically engineered hormone, rBGH. Adding to this victory, last week, the company announced it would be doubling its purchases of certified Fair Trade coffee to 40 million pounds in 2009. This is a major victory for OCA and our allies, as well as coffee farmers and consumers around the world. "This commitment from Starbucks could not have come at a better time for coffee farmers as they face the threat of climate change, higher prices and brace themselves for a global slowdown," said Rob Cameron, CEO of the Fairtrade Labeling Organization International.

Learn more
OCA Needs Your Support:
Our Work Depends On You
donateWe know times are tough for everyone right now. That's why the OCA continues to work for consumers, family farmers, our environment, and our most precious assets, our children. We want to continue fighting the good fight, as well as bring you Organic Bytes, but we need your donations to survive these financially difficult times. If you enjoy Organic Bytes and believe the world is a better place with OCA's nonprofit work, please consider donating today. Any size of donation is helpful and appreciated.

Donate Now!
Organic Bytes Readers Talk Back:
CowsAn Organic Bytes Reader Writes: "I am confused. In Organic Bytes issue #149, you say you are opposed to bringing heifers from conventional farms to organic farms?  I choose organic milk because I don't want to cause suffering to milk cows.  Surely allowing young cows to escape the confinement, subjection to rBGH, etc., of conventional farming is in those cows best interest?"

OCA Responds: Yes, we do agree with you and would like to clarify. The USDA National Organic Standards include provisions that allow farmers to "transition" their herds from conventional to organic. Conventionally raised animals can be shifted to a pasture-based organic diet, and gradually transitioned into what would be considered "organic". These animals can be used for dairy production, but their meat cannot be marketed as "USDA Organic". Unfortunately, a number of larger scale producers, like Horizon and Aurora, have taken advantage of this loophole in the USDA Organic Standards by continually increasing or replacing milk cows on their farms with conventional calves or heifers from conventional farms. The OCA wants to close this loophole by stipulating that once a dairy is certified as organic all of its additional cows must then be raised organically from birth. For more information on the abuses of these factory farms click here.
Web Forum Posting of the Week:
Gardening and Fitness
thinAn OCA web forum participant posted this question:
"Does anyone know a proven way to reduce the weight?"

This is one of many hot topics in the OCA forum. Among the scores of suggestions from forum participants here's an interesting one:
"Become an avid organic gardener. You will burn so many calories doing what you love, that you will reduce your weight and improve fitness. Also your new diet will include the fruits of your labor - which will make you healthier. A disdain for junk food will naturally ensue."

Join in on this and hundreds of other discussions here
Quote of the Week
Food Crisis "We all blew it, including me as president... It is crazy for us to think we can develop countries around the world without increasing their ability to feed themselves."

Bill Clinton speaking to the United Nations last week about the global food crisis. Clinton acknowledged that subsidies for chemical-intensive crops such as corn, and the biofuels boondoogle (converting food crops into fuel crops) are a disaster, leading to spiraling grain and food prices and mass hunger.

Learn more and sign OCA's petition calling for a moratorium on agrofuels incentives
Web Video of the Week:
Jared Diamond on Why Societies Collapse
Jared DiamondJared Diamond, a man of multiple talents (evolutionary biologist, physiologist, biogeographer, professor of geography and physiology at UCLA, non-fiction author), gave an interesting talk recently about why societies collapse. Environmental factors play a big role in his checklist, and it should be a reminder to us that we must not only find solutions, but actually apply them ASAP.


Headlines of the Week:
Headlines 1) Studies Tie Bacteria in Beef to Ethanol Byproduct

2) The GM Genocide: Thousands of Indian Farmers are Committing Suicide After Using Genetically Modified Crops

3) Arctic is Melting Even in Winter

4) Cornucopia Institute: Urge the NOSB to Remove Soy Lecithin from the National List

5) Infant Formula Makers and Canned Food Producers Called On To Remove BPA

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. Bookmark
Get Involved With OCA In MN
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*Learn more about OCA related action alerts and other news in MN here.

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Alerts from Our Allies:
Take actionConsumers Union: A vote is scheduled in Washington in two weeks on what kind of fish can be labeled organic. Tell the National Organics Standards Board that organic fish must meet the same high standards as all other organic products and livestock. Take Action

Health Freedom Foundation: It's time to support wellness and healthcare reform. H.Con.Res.406 is an important resolution currently being debated in Washington D.C. It will sharpen the focus on the debate to reform U.S. healthcare.  Take Action

Message From OCA Sponsor:
Eden Foods Offers OCA Customers 15% Discount
Eden Foods Eden Foods is one of the few national organic food producers who goes beyond the USDA Organic Standards. Although Eden Foods is USDA certified, their products do not bear the USDA seal, because they say the USDA standard really represents a "minimum standard" that Eden Foods goes far beyond. As a subscriber to Organic Bytes, you can enjoy a discount rate on any Eden Foods products by clicking here.
Please forward this publication to family and friends, place it on web sites, print it, duplicate it and post it freely. Knowledge is power!

ORGANIC BYTES is written and edited by Craig Minowa and Ronnie Cummins
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