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October 29, 2009

Organic Bytes #197: Obama, Which Side Are You On?

Health, Justice and Sustainability News
from the Organic Consumers Association

Edited by: Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins

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In This Issue

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Quote of the Week

Obama, Which Side Are You On?

"Organic agriculture can feed the world, turn back climate change and make food production more resilient to droughts and floods. Organic agriculture can do it with biodiversity instead of biotech, greenhouse gas sequestration instead of emissions, natural pest management instead of toxic pesticides, humus-rich compost instead of fossil fuel fertilizers and sewage sludge, more family farmers and better conditions for farm workers."

"The question of which agriculture model will dominate food production is a question we only have one opportunity to answer. Once a seed or animal variety is extinct or contaminated with foreign genes, we will never get it back. In an age when a billion people are stuffed while a billion people are starved, most people on the planet suffer from either poor nutrition, exposure to toxic ingredients, diet-related diseases, or all three. Agriculture is a life and death issue for all of us."

"So, which side is the Obama Administration on?"

-Alexis Baden-Mayer, "Obama Supports Food Inc.'s World Domination and All We Get Is the White House Garden?" October 23, 2009


Alert of the Week

Stop Siddiqui!


Islam Siddiqui has been nominated as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. If Congress confirms Siddiqui, he will no doubt continue to undermine public health, biodiversity, climate stability and food security as the "inside man" in the Obama Administration for his former clients at CropLife (a front group for genetic engineering and chemical-intensive agribusiness corporations including Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and Dow Chemical).

Croplife America's regional partner, Mid America CropLife Association, notoriously "shuddered" at Michelle Obama's organic garden and launched a letter writing campaign in protest, saying that Michelle's rejection of toxic pesticides and chemical fertilizers in the White House Garden was a slap in the face for Food Inc. and America's chemically-addicted farmers.

Another Washington wheeler-dealer using the revolving door between government and big business, Siddiqui formerly worked for Clinton's pro-biotech USDA. Siddiqui gained notoriety in 1997-98 as an insider pushing for the infamous proposed USDA regulations for national organic standards that would have allowed toxic sewage sludge, irradiated foods, and genetically modified organisms to be labeled "organic." After a nationwide SOS (Save Organic Standards) campaign, led by the OCA and our allies, which generated an unprecedented backlash, Siddiqui and his cohorts backed down and withdrew their proposals.

It's time to take down Siddiqui and his cohorts once again. We must tell the Senate to reject President Obama's nomination of Siddiqui as the Agricultural Trade Representative.


Organic Photo of the Week

From Karme Choling’s organic vegetable garden in Barnet, VT...

This photo was taken by Michelle at the Karme Choling organic farm in Barnett, Vermont!

Do you have gardening stories and photos you'd like to share?

Post them in the OCA Forum!


Organic News OF THE WEEK

Revolutionary Food Labeling Helps Swedes Cut Carbon

Last week, we reported on cutting-edge research by the Rodale Institute demonstrating that by transitioning all of the world's farmland to organic, we could sequester 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. As Rodale and more and more soil scientists are pointing out, if we could combine a mass transition to organic agriculture with restorative grazing and forestry, we could sequester 100% of global greenhouse gas emissions!

It's great to know we have a time-tested, low-tech, grassroots organic solution for global warming and climate chaos, but the burning question is how do we launch and supercharge this food, farming, and forestry revolution in time to save the planet? The Swedes have come up with a simple but revolutionary idea to actively mobilize consumers to do the right thing and strike a blow against global warming and chemical/GMO/energy-intensive agriculture, processing, and distribution: new food labels on grocery store and restaurant items listing the specific carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions embedded in each product.


OCA Needs Your Help to Spread the Organic Revolution


OCA and a growing corps of organic consumers understand that we have a positive healthy solution for the nation and the globe's food, health, economic, and climate crisis: organic food, farming, and ranching. But to get out our all-important message we need your support and your donations. For the next three weeks a California Foundation has agreed to match your donations dollar for dollar. So please send us a tax-deductible donation today.


Videos of the Week

Hungry in America

Growing numbers of people in the U.S. are going hungry each day. Not only are the ranks of the poor and hungry multiplying, but now even working class and middle class families and individuals are showing up at soup kitchens and food stamp offices.

"Hungry in America" is a feature-length documentary that reveals the depth of the food crisis and the courageous efforts of those fighting hunger on the front lines. The new film looks at the root causes of this growing problem, and asks the tough questions about how a rich nation that could feed all its people has failed to do so.


Everything You Have to Know About Dangerous Genetically Modified Foods

Jeffrey M. Smith, author of the Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette, lays out the shocking facts about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Smith links GMO to food toxicity, allergies, infertility, infant mortality, immune dysfunction, stunted growth, and death. As Smith documents, whistleblowers have been fired, threatened and gagged, and warnings by FDA scientists have been ignored. Protect yourself from GMOs by joining the Campaign for Healthier Eating in America - a plan that gives the consumer the power to end the genetic engineering of our food supply.


Update on the National Swine Flu Emergency

Obama's FDA Threatens Dr. Weil in Swine Flu Scam Warning

Days after President Obama declared the swine flu a national emergency, his Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a joint consumer warning on products claiming swine flu prevention or cures. A joint warning letter was also sent to websites and companies demanding they stop selling or stop making false claims about their products or they will face criminal and civil charges.

The dragnet of swine flu scams was so broad that it caught up Dr. Andrew Weil, one of the best-known and most trusted alternative medicine doctors in America. He was forced to remove information from his site about his Immune Support Formula, which contains astragalus, "traditionally used to ward off colds and flu and has demonstrated both antiviral and immune-boosting effects in scientific investigation."

The irony is that the declaration of a national swine flu emergency allows the FDA to authorize "the emergency use of certain unapproved and uncleared products." The FDA has already authorized the emergency use of the "investigational antiviral drug" peramivir and will likely rush other untested drugs to market.

The FDA admits there is limited safety data on peramivir, and has mandated that healthcare providers report all adverse events and all medication errors associated with peramivir to FDA's MedWatch program within seven days. In effect, all swine flu patients administered peramivir are participating in human trials of an experimental drug. So far, adverse events in patients given peramivir have included diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and neutropenia. (According to Wikipedia, neutropenia is a "disorder characterized by an abnormally low number of neutrophils, the most important type of white blood cell ... [P]atients with neutropenia are more susceptible to bacterial infections and, without prompt medical attention, the condition may become life-threatening).

Astragalus bad, peramivir good? It's hard to trust an FDA that "protects" the public from from time-tested natural herbal supplements while rushing untested pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines to market!



Stop the Corporate Power Grab! Vote No on Issue 2!

In an ambitious power grab, corporate agribusiness is trying to write itself into the Ohio constitution. Small farmers and other concerned citizens across the state are trying to prevent that threat from becoming a reality on Election Day on November 3rd.

While masquerading as an attempt to improve food safety and animal welfare, Issue 2 would give a board of political appointees unchecked power to decide any and all regulations related to animal agriculture. The board could make decisions that radically shift policy in any direction on issues like the use of antibiotics and growth hormones, genetically engineered animals, cloned animals, animal ID and traceability, and factory farm zoning reguations.

Please volunteer to contact voters and hang door hangers: info[at]


Help the OCA Win $50,000!

OCA’s Facebook cause, Protect and Expand Organic Agriculture, was just entered in America's Giving Challenge, which gives us a chance to win $50,000!

If you are on Facebook, please join our cause and donate today!

To win, between now and November 7th we have to get the most donations to our cause (every person can donate once per day and have it count as a unique donation). We can also win daily awards of $1,000 and $500 if we can get the most people to donate in any 24-hour period. The great thing about this Challenge is that it doesn't matter how much you give, but instead how much you do to encourage friends and family to get involved in our cause. We all need to come together and start promoting the cause if we want to win.

Each of us has tons of friends on Facebook who we can ask to donate to our cause. But let's think big too—can you put our cause in your email signature, can you throw a party and get people to donate through the cause when they enter, can you organize other people to go out and fundraise from all of their friends? As you reach out to your friends be sure to tell them why this cause matters to you. The possibilities are endless so let's talk about what we can do to win on the Wall of the cause or by replying to this bulletin.

We can do it! But it's going to take all of us. Check out the Giving Challenge then visit our cause to see how we're doing so far and get involved.


Let's win $50,000 for our cause and for the OCA!


1) TONIGHT! OCA Director, Ronnie Cummins, Live on Internet Radio
Ronnie will be on the NaturalNews Talk Hour at 6PM PST-9PM EST on Thursday October 29, discussing "Organic Labeling Fraud and What We Can Do About It".

2) The Botany of Desire: PBS Documentary Based on Michael Pollan's Book
Featuring Michael Pollan and based on his best-selling book, see how four familiar species - the apple, the tulip, marijuana and the potato - evolved to satisfy our yearnings for sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control.

3) Petition: Justice for Victims of Agent Orange
Victims of Monsanto's Agent Orange to the United States: "I find it ironic that on one hand you put Saddam Hussein on trial for using biological warfare, but in another country where you sprayed chemicals for warfare, you neglect your responsibility."

4) Climate and Agriculture Summit Presentations Available
The California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN) is a coalition that advances policy solutions on the life and death issue of climate change and sustainable agriculture. Presentations from their Climate & Ag Summit are now available.

5) Soil Carbon: Putting Carbon Back Where It Belongs
Greenhouse gases can be sequestered in the earth and soil carbon levels can be increased dramatically by adopting forms of carbon farming or organic agriculture, including time-controlled grazing management, pasture cropping and other biologically beneficial farming practices.

Planting Peace and Grassroots Netroots News

Rethink Afghanistan Film Part 1: Afghanistan + More Troops = Catastrophe Watch

Wisconsin Becomes First State to Convict Farmer Under NAIS

Family Farmer Speaks About Rural Crisis Caused by Big Banks and Mega-Farms

Zombies for Health Care Reform

Dispassion As the World Ends: The Absent Heart of the Great Climate Affair

Travel to Mexico on OCA's "Via Organica" Tour November 15-22

OCA invites you to join us on an enjoyable and inspirational organic food and farming eco-tour November 15-22, hosted by our Mexican sister organization Via Organica, based in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato.

We have several spaces left and are offering a discounted price of $850 for a week of bi-lingual workshops, tours to area organic farms, restaurants, stores, and green-building projects. At the Via Organica farm school and resort meet Mexican activists and savor gourmet organic meals and beverages, swim in our thermal pool, hike and bike and enjoy the cultural attractions of the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site of San Miguel de Allende. OCA Director Ronnie Cummins and other OCA staff will lead the tour. The theme of this tour will be "How Organic Food and Farming Can Stop Global Warming."

Check out our tours website and sign up now!


[[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

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