Frankenfish, Coming Clean, and Defending the Soil


#241, September 9, 2010

Health, Justice and Sustainability News
from the Organic Consumers Association

Edited by Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins


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Quote of the Week

"Defend the Soil With Your Life!"

"…the living world is complex, and beholding it should leave us all aching with awe. So start with topsoil, the beginning place. Remember, one million creatures per tablespoon. It's alive, and it will protect itself if we stop assaulting it. It protects itself with perennial polycultures, with lots and lots of plants intertwining their roots, adding carbonaceous leaves, and working together with mycelium, bacteria, protozoa, making a new organism between them, the mycorrhiza that talks and nourishes and directs.

"Defend the soil with your life, reader: there is no other organism that can touch the intelligence of what goes on beneath your feet.

"So here are the questions you should ask, a new form of grace to say over your food. Does this food build or destroy topsoil? Does it use only ambient sun and rainfall, or does it require fossil soil, fossil fuel, fossil water, and drained wetlands, damaged rivers? Could you walk to where it grows, or does it come to you on a path slick with petroleum?"

- The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice and Sustainability by Lierre Keith


Alert of the Week

Stop the Frankenfish!

Deadline: September 16, 2010

On the Friday before Labor Day, despite limited and inadequate safety-testing, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that industrially-raised salmon, genetically engineered to eat constantly and grow rapidly are safe for human consumption - even though the FDA found that these fish contained elevated levels of growth hormones, including insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a suspected carcinogen.  AquaBounty's genetically engineered fish will be the first genetically engineered animal commercially sold as food in the United States. Under current law, these Frankenfish will not be required to be labeled as genetically engineered, depriving consumers of their right to choose non-GE food.

FDA's approval of AquaBounty's IGF-1 tainted salmon mirrors its controversial approval of Monsanto's genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) in the 1990s. Although rBGH is banned in Canada, the EU, and on organic dairy farms, it is still injected into more than 10% of U.S. dairy cows. The milk from cows injected with rBGH, like genetically engineered salmon, contains higher levels of IGF-1.

Elevated levels of IGF-1 in humans is linked to colon, prostate and breast cancer.


Victory of the Week

Co-op Grocers to Stop Organic Cosmetics Fraud

Thank you to the thousands of Organic Consumers Association members who have been participating in our Coming Clean campaign to get organic retailers to clean up their health & beauty care aisles. We've been trying to clean the shelves of cosmetics and personal care products that claim to be organic but aren't certified to USDA standards. Many of these mislabeled body care products (including popular brands such as Avalon, Nature's Gate, Jason's, and Giovanni's) contain few (or in some cases no) organic ingredients and are routinely laced with petroleum-based and problematic chemical ingredients.

This week, after receiving 6,000 letters from OCA members, the National Cooperative Grocers Association alerted their 134 retail coops that, as of June 2011, they expect all "organic" claims on body care products to comply with USDA National Organic Program standards for products that are "USDA Organic" and "Made With Organic Ingredients," and NSF/ANSI 305 standards for products that "Contain Organic Ingredients."

NCGA's organic cosmetics integrity policy is essentially the same as the one announced by Whole Foods Market earlier this summer.


Please Donate

Support the OCA! OCA Needs Your Help to Fight Frankenfoods and Spread the Organic Revolution

Our summer fundraising drive is moving forward, but we still need your donations to fight Frankenfoods, police organic standards, and build a global climate justice movement based upon organic food and farming. Please send us a tax-deductible donation today and we'll send you a free "Millions Against Monsanto" bumper sticker so you can help spread the word in your community. Please be sure to put "sticker" in the comments field of your donation.

Any donation $100 and over will get a free Millions Against Monsanto t-shirt. Please specify your interest and size in the comments field. Help OCA and spread the word about the Millions Against Monsanto Campaign!

Please consider joining OCA staff on one or both of our 5-6-day delegations to the Global Climate Summit in Cancun, Mexico November 29-December 10. Details follow below.


Take Action on Climate Change

Please Join OCA and’s Global Work Parties on October 10 and Cancun Climate Summit Nov. 29-December 10

Global Days of Action on Climate Change 10-10-10 (October 10, 2010)

On 10/10/10, the planet is getting to work on climate change. is organizing a Global Work Party to involve people in efforts that could lower the amount of carbon in the atmosphere back down below the dangerous tipping point of 350 parts per million.

A worldwide shift of agriculture from chemical-intensive factory farms and industrial monocultures to organic production could sequester a critical mass of global greenhouse gases. That's why OCA and our climate justice ally,, are encouraging people to spend 10/10/10 working on a community garden or an organic farm in your local area.

To get back down to the safe level of 350 parts per million of atmospheric CO2, we'll need to rethink, not only our transportation, housing, and industrial consumption of fossil fuels, but also the way we produce food on the planet - moving away from industrial agriculture powered by fossil fuels, and towards small-scale, local, organic farming. Think about using your work party on October 10 as a day to model this new system - maybe you can break ground on a new community garden. Or simply help out harvesting at a local organic farm.

From Copenhagen to Cancun: Join the OCA & Via Organica at the Historic Global Climate Crisis Summit

Please join OCA Director Ronnie Cummins and other OCA staff on an escorted delegation to the historic teach-ins and rallies for climate justice and organic agriculture at Global Climate Crisis Summit in Cancun, Mexico.

The OCA delegation, limited to 100 people, will include international experts on organic agriculture and climate justice, including OCA Directors Ronnie Cummins and Alexis Baden-Mayer, organic farm leader and author, Will Allen, and noted blogger and food activist Jill Richardson.

OCA will be hosting two tours:

  • 6-Day Tour:  November 29th- December 5th, 2010 : Hostel $750, Ramada $950
  • 5-Day Tour: December 5th-11th, 2010: Hostel $700, Ramada $900

It is also possible to stay for the entire 11 day even from November 29th through December 11th, 2010

Global scientists and activists including Vandana Shiva, James Hansen, Bill McKibben, Pat Mooney, and Maude Barlow are expected to make presentations at the Grassroots Summit, which will take place simultaneously with the global negotiations of leaders from every nation in the world.


Videos of the Week

Genetic Engineering: A Worldwide Experiment on People, Agriculture and Nature

Genetic engineering is a threat to food security, especially in a changing climate. The introduction of genetically manipulated organisms by choice or by accident grossly undermines sustainable agriculture and in so doing, severely limits the choice of food we can eat.

Once GE plants are released into the environment, they are out of control. If anything goes wrong - they are impossible to recall.

GE contamination threatens biodiversity respected as the global heritage of humankind, and one of our world's fundamental keys to survival.

Square Lohkoh - French Hip Hop Against Monsanto

"The fear of the future is not a myth, some people fear it is apocalyptic. According to Einstein, if the bees disappear, human beings will have just a few years to live."


Organic House? Hemp Concrete Used for Carbon-Negative Construction

The building sector is responsible for a significant of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. annually, but carbon-negative construction is possible, using durable, super-insulating, carbon-rich materials like organically-grown industrial hemp.

CO2 from the atmosphere is trapped in the hemp plants and the soil as they grow, and remains there after the plants are harvested. Even when combined with lime binder to form concrete, the overall product takes more CO2 out of the atmosphere than it puts into it.


Little Bytes

A Call for Direct Action in the Climate Movement

Drought Tolerant Crops - Organic, Not Monsanto or Dupont's GMO's

Ecuador to Leave Fossil Fuels Underground

Study Links Thyroid Problems in Iowa Women with Farm Chemicals

Online Clicktivism is Ruining Leftist Activism



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  • Join [[State]] discussion groups in our forum.
  • Post events in [[State]] on our community calendar.

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