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September 11, 2009

Organic Bytes #190: Whole Foods Threatens OCA, Organics Healthier, Planting Peace

Health, Justice and Sustainability News
from the Organic Consumers Association

In This Issue

  • Quote of the Week: Progressives Deserve a Seat at the Table
  • Alert of the Week: Whole Foods Threatens to Sue OCA
  • Alert Update of the Week: The "Terminator" Vetoes Farm Workers' Rights
  • Organic News of the Week: Study Says Organic Is Healthier
  • Swine Flu Online Forum Discussion - And Free DVD!
  • Little Bytes: Economics of Local Food, No Impact Man, and News from the Grassroots Netroots Alliance

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"Progressives don't just 'believe' they deserve a seat at the table - we actually do deserve that seat, not just because we worked to elect this president, but because our stance on major issues like the public option, climate change, Wall Street reform and the war are the majoritarian positions in America. That's not speculation - polls show that's an empirical fact. But we won't get that seat at the table unless we demand it. That means the Washington-based progressive groups have to stop kissing the White House's ass and selling out their grassroots membership."

-David Sirota, author of bestselling book, "The Uprising," September 8, 2009



Whole Foods Threatens to Sue OCA - Please Sign Our Petition

Whole Foods sent a letter dated August 26, 2009, signed by one of its attorneys, threatening to sue the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), under the bizarre pretense that a petition we've been circulating violates Whole Foods' "intellectual property rights." Here's OCA's response to CEO John Mackey:

"Given all the bad publicity that you've gotten lately for admitting that Whole Foods Market (WFM) retail stores are purveyors of 'junk food;' that WFM needs to sell a lot more certified organic products (rather than conventional items greenwashed as 'natural'); that WFM's '365' private label products need to be thoroughly tested for GMO contamination; that you don't think all Americans deserve government subsidized access to health care; or need labor unions; perhaps you may want to reconsider suing the largest organic consumer watchdog organization in the United States..."

Read the full text of OCA Director Ronnie Cummins' letter to John Mackey

Please help put the pressure on Whole Foods and Whole Foods' main distributor, United Natural Foods Incorporated (UNFI), to:

  1. Stop prioritizing the sales of conventional foods and products (greenwashed as "natural") and instead double WFM and UNFI's sales of certified organics from 1/3 to 2/3 of their total sales. This would increase US organic sales by approximately $3 billion (15%) annually!
  2. Give smaller retailers and coops that seriously promote organics (more than 1/3 of sales organic) the same UNFI discount that Whole Foods receives.
  3. Apply Domestic Fair Trade principles to the UNFI and Whole Foods supply chains by guaranteeing workers' rights to freely organize themselves into unions for collective bargaining.
  4. Support health care reform to provide universal health care coverage while reducing costs, relieving employers of health care responsibilities, and encouraging wellness and prevention through nutrition and complementary natural medicine.


Help Defend and Support the OCA

Whether we're in federal court pressuring the USDA, litigating against companies mislabeling conventional products as "organic," or defending ourselves against legal threats from multi-billion dollar corporations such as Whole Foods Market, OCA needs your help to safeguard our organization and get our message out. If you can afford it, please send us a (tax-deductible) donation today.


Alert Update of the Week

The "Terminator" Vetoes Farm Workers' Rights

On September 2, 2009, California Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed SB789, the California Employee Free Choice Act for Farm Workers. Here's the United Farm Workers response:

"[T]he governor has no idea what it is like to work in the fields as a farm worker. His decision to veto SB789 emphasizes the deep disconnection between his words and the reality that hundreds of thousands of farm workers have to endure every day while harvesting the fruits and vegetables that feed America. The governor says that he knows that farm workers are subjected to sexual harassment, heat illness, abuses and intimidation at the workplace. He has acknowledged this problem and promised to change the situation. Yet, again and again, he has failed to protect farm workers."


Organic News of the Week

Study Says Organic Is Healthier, More Nutritious

A new report by the French Agency for Food Safety (AFSSA) has found that organic foods are better for you and contain less pesticides and nitrates, which have been linked to a range of health problems including diabetes and Alzheimer's.

  1. Organic plant products are more nutrient dense
  2. Have higher levels of minerals
  3. Contain more antioxidants
  4. Organic animal products contain more polyunsaturated fatty acids


OCA Forum Topic of the Week

Swine Flu Online Forum Discussion - And Free DVD!

News about the swine flu is coming at us faster than we can update you in this weekly newsletter. So, we've created an online discussion forum for the latest news on the swine flu, the swine flu vaccine, government action and alternative therapies, including an immune-boosting diet of healthy organic food and herbal supplements.



We're also proud to pass on a great offer from the Humane Society's Factory Farming Campaign! Thanks to the generosity of The Sheepdrove Trust, subscribers to this newsletter can get a free copy of the new DVD "Flu Factories: Tracing the Origins of the Swine Flu Pandemic" by mailing a self-addressed stamped envelope to the address below. The envelope should be at least 6 inches wide (15cm), stamped with at least $1.39 in postage for domestic mail ($2.28 international). Make it out to:

Michael Greger, MD., Director
Public Health and Animal Agriculture
Humane Society International
2100 L St., N.W.
Washington, DC 20037



1) The Economics of Local Food
Local food keeps money in local communities and helps create jobs, which in turn can help reduce crime. Wow. And you thought all you were getting was a really good peach.

2) Food Is Power and the Powerful Are Poisoning Us
Food shortages have been tinder for social upheaval throughout history. But this time around, because many of us have lost the skills to feed and clothe ourselves, it will be much harder to become self-sustaining.

3) Food Treasures of the Wild In Peril
Remote tribes in dense tropical forests or frozen polar wastes are keepers of a vast treasure house of healthful, nutritious foods - many with extraordinary properties - that more affluent societies can only envy.

4) Film: No Impact Man
A self-described guilty liberal "finally snaps, swears off plastic, goes organic, becomes a bicycle nut, turns off his power, composts his poop and, while living in New York City, generally turns into a tree- hugging lunatic."

5) Film: The Garden
"The Garden," tells the story of a 14-acre plot in Los Angeles that became a community garden in 1992, a community-building effort undertaken in the wake of the Rodney King riots.

News from our Planting Peace and Grassroots Netroots Alliance Campaigns

Since 2006, OCA and our Washington, DC sister organization, the Organic Consumers Fund, have been working under the Planting Peace and Grassroots Netroots Alliance banners to build a network of organic and socially responsible activists who wish to put an end to war and military madness and green and re-localize the global economy. While continuing to focus on making organics and green commerce the dominant pillars of the economy, we are addressing the inter-related issues of health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy through a multi-issue platform. There is absolutely no way we're going to have a healthy, organic future without fundamental cultural transformation and political change. With this goal in mind, we bring you the following news:


Rep. Weiner tackles the real inefficiency in the current health care system, namely, the dominance of profit-obsessed private insurance companies. READ MORE


Free Speech Radio News brings us a special Labor Day documentary, "Sixteen Rooms: The Campaign for a Hotel Workers Union." LISTEN


"French Fries to Go" documents Telluride, Colorado's quest to run city buses on recycled fryer oil. WATCH


Clinton State Department fires eight at US Embassy in Afghanistan involved in Animal House-style drunken hazing and sexual misconduct, but makes no move to cancel Wackenhut's $189 million contract for the 450 guards. READ MORE


Possibly the best, and certainly the most professionally produced 9/11 video documentary is the moving story 9/11: Press For Truth. WATCH


[[State]] - Get Involved Locally

  • Learn more about OCA related action alerts and other news in [[State]] here.
  • Join [[State]] discussion groups in our forum.
  • Post events in [[State]] on our community calendar.

Message from our Sponsors

Living Tree

At Living Tree Community we make tahini sesame butter from organically grown raw sesame seeds that have been mechanically hulled.We do not grind,rather we slice the sesame seeds,let them rest overnight and then slice again the next day.We invite you to compare the texture. Compare the taste! Tahini lends itself to so many creations:- Put a tablespoon in a blender, add water, a dash of honey and lemon juice and you have a delightful salad dressing. Mix with chopped vegetables, celery, onion, garlic, herbs and spices for a savory pate'. Mix tahini with honey and you have the makings of halvah, a Middle Eastern delight!

I just received my order of organic raw almond butter, organic raw tahini (THE BEST TAHINI EVER!! - so worth trying to "budget"!), organic raw black sesame tahini (cannot wait to try it!), and Coconut Carob Goji Berry Chocolate Ecstasy. Well, my boys (ages 8, 7, 5, and almost 3) and I tried the Ecstasy and YUM! We call it "Candy Bar in a Jar". What a blessing that it arrived after lunch! After 2 mini portobello mushroom "pizzas" there was only enough room for a spoonful (whew)! Thanks again for everything. I hope to place another order soon!

Jenna Kulcsar, Baltimore, MD

May we invite you to visit our website: Living Tree Community Foods
Or toll-free: 1-800-260-5534