Organic Bytes
Health, Justice and Sustainability News 
January 28, 2009 -  Issue #159
In This Issue
Alert of the Week: Tell Sec. of Agriculture Vilsack: The Time for an Organic Future is Now
Quote of the Week: Secrets of a Lunatic Farmer
OCA Polar Bears Deliver Our Message at the Inauguration
Health News of the Week: Mercury Found In Nearly Half of All Corn Syrup
Web Forum Health Posting of the Week: Is Infant Formula Safe?
Web Video of the Week: Growing Organic Food on the White House Lawn
Headlines and Articles of the Week
OCA at Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference
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Alert Update of the Week:
Tell Congress and Sec. of Agriculture Vilsack: The Time for an Organic Future is NOW!
Obama Gothic We couldn't change the Agriculture Secretary, but we haven't given up the hope of changing agriculture policy. For a report on the impact of OCA's Stop Vilsack campaign, which generated over 100,000 emails to Barack Obama and the Senate, and an introduction to OCA's follow-up campaign, USDA Watch, please go here. Now is the time to build the foundation for an organic and sustainable future. You can share your vision for an organic future by urging our new leaders to make healthy, energy-efficient, and carbon-sequestering organic food and farming a priority. President Obama has called on all of us to take responsibility and get involved. Let's take him up on it. Take action today!
1) Contact Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack and tell him to support sustainable and organic food and farming policies.
2) Contact your Congresspersons and tell them that the time for an organic future is now!
3) Send a Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper. Raise your voice for organic food and farming.
Quote of the Week:
Secrets of a Lunatic Farmer

"I'm a lunatic farmer, that's my new catch phrase. I have a Ph.D. That stands for Post Hole Digger. Today we only need to buy toilet paper and Kleenex, everything else we make here. The only reason the framers of the Bill of Rights did not include freedom of food choice along with the right to bear arms, worship and speech was that they couldn't conceive of the day when food would have to have a USDA sticker on it."
Source: Joel Salatin - Owner and operator of the Polyface Farm in Staunton, Virginia
OCA Polar Bears Deliver Our Message at the Inauguration
InaugurationThe OCA's Washington DC office, led by Alexis Baden-Mayer, participated in the historic Inauguration of Barack Obama by organizing a roving band of dancing polar bears. OCA's Polar Bears Against War & Melting Ice, amplified by a mobile disco, handed out 6,000 free commemorative postcards and calendars and incited celebratory crowds to dance in the streets. (Video, Photos, Free Downloads & Lyrics)

While OCA is relieved and happy to ride the wave of hope that's sweeping the country, we're also doing our best to make sure that the "change" Obama is offering in terms of public policy is amplified and galvanized by a massive grassroots Movement that can generate the "major changes" we need in these hard and frightening times.

On Inauguration Day we took a break from dancing in the streets to create a series of action alerts that you can use to contact President Obama, the Congress, and each member of the newly confirmed Cabinet. At confirmation hearings before the Senate, the new cabinet members outlined platforms for agriculture, health care, the economy, energy & global warming, the constitution & rule of law, environmental protection, labor rights, immigration, war & peace, and other important issues facing the nation. The Obama Administration and Congress are moving fast on many fronts with a stimulus package, more bailout money, and big changes to Bush-era policies.
Act quickly to let the decision makers know what you think.

Health News of the Week:
Mercury Found In Nearly Half of All Corn Syrup
In a new study published Monday in the scientific journal Environmental Health, mercury was found in nearly 50 percent of tested samples of commercial high fructose corn syrup. The news is disturbing given that this ingredient is present in a large portion of processed American foods. According to David Wallinga, M.D., co-author of the study, "Given how much high fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the FDA to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply." A separate study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy detected mercury in nearly one-third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where high fructose corn syrup is the first or second highest labeled ingredient-including products by Quaker, Hershey's, Kraft and Smucker's.
Learn more

Web Forum Health Posting of the Week:
Is Infant Formula Safe?
An OCA Web Forum User Posted the Following Comment:
The reporting of the melamine contamination of infant formula in the US has not been accurate and neither has the FDA been very informative about the situation... If the problem is the processing of powdered milk (ultrafiltration) of various components in baby milks, then what brand you get is a moot point. The fact is that infant formula has always been a risk but now the risks are getting higher... The truly safest system of feeding infants is breastfeeding. Yet, our society continues to perceive the solution to infant feeding as creating a safe infant formula. The infant formula industry has been working on creating a safer infant formula, more like human milk (in fact now they are genetically engineering human milk components) for decades. Efforts would be better placed in encouraging, supporting and protecting breastfeeding.
Read more and join the conversation in OCA's Web Forum

Web Video of the Week:
Growing Organic Food on the White House Lawn
From 1800 up until the 1950s, U.S. Presidents utilized the yard surrounding the White House to produce a portion of their own food with vegetable gardens, fruit trees, livestock and greenhouses. For the past 50 years,a chemical and energy-intensive factory farm food system has displaced traditional organic practices, while the White House vegetable gardens have long since been buried beneath a chemically managed, perfectly manicured lawn. Enter 2009 and a new president who may consider bringing back the old tradition of the White House Victory Garden. Can the White House lawn become an organic symbol of America's new future?
Watch this short video of the history of White House gardens

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OCA at Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference
Washington, DC   February 4-6, 2009
Please join OCA at this national conference, sponsored by the Teamsters Union, on "Making a Down Payment on the Green Economy." OCA Political Director Alexis Baden-Mayer will be speaking in a workshop called, "Building Quality Employment Opportunities in a Greening Supply Chain." The focus of this workshop will be on efforts that link workers rights and Fair Trade with energy and environmental sustainability and the public good. The green economy, including a new system of energy-efficient and carbon-sequestering organic food and farming will undoubtedly require new types of transportation and logistics jobs. The question remains: how we can ensure that these will be good, quality, socially beneficial and responsible jobs?

Learn more
Headlines of the Week:
Headlines 1) rBGH/rBST Victory
With the last major dairy in the Northeast finally banning rBGH, the New England dairy industry will be free of Monsanto's controversial Bovine Growth Hormone by the end of summer 2009...
2) Drugs from Genetically Engineered Animals Poised to Debut in US Patented prescription drugs from genetically engineered animals could appear as early as next month if, as anticipated, the Food and Drug Administration approves ATryn, a blood thinner made from the milk of genetically engineered goats...

3) Scientific Study: Organic Farming Beats Genetically Engineered Crops as Climate Warms
4) NASA Scientist Says Obama Has Only Four Years To Save the World
"We cannot afford to put off change any longer. We have to get on a new path within this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead..."
5) The Healing Strength of 'Inner Ecology'
In times of crisis such as ours we seek sources of inspiration where ever they may be found. One is inner ecology...

Let OCA sift through the media smog and bring you the top new and analysis of the day. The OCA website has 10 or more news articles posted each day, and a library of over 40,000 articles covering issues including health, justice, food and farming, politics, and the environment. Bookmark

Message From OCA Sponsor:
Freedom Butter
Living Tree CommunityOur almond butter is created in Berkeley, a wellspring of the human spirit. It has a rich tradition of Americans who dared to speak their truth. That's why we call it Freedom Butter.

We invite you to open a jar and spread our almond butter on a slice of apple. Experience its texture and savor its aroma.

Taste the ethos of Berkeley, 20 Nobel Price winners have taught here.
We've been making almond butter from almonds grown by family farmers for over 25 years. Living Tree Community Foods


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