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Cultivating and Expanding Organic

#255, December 16, 2010

In this issue:


Quote of the Week

The Financial Times: Organic to Feed the World, Empower Poor, Mitigate Climate Change & Preserve Biodiversity

"So far, the world has always managed to meet the challenge of food productivity. In fact, today we have 25% oversupply measured in calories after losses. The challenge is to provide access to food for the poor. The strategy of ecological-intensification using organic principles and practices is a new paradigm to feed the world while empowering the poor and mitigating climate change and biodiversity loss."

-Anne English, The Financial Times' Food Security Briefing, October 14, 2010

Read More



Holiday Appeal: Please Support the OCA

Organic agriculture is our hope and security for the future, a wondrous gift from Mother Earth. OCA's mission is to promote and safeguard the organic way. We need your financial support now more than ever. Please help us raise $50,000 in our year-end fundraising drive to help fund our strategic 2011 campaigns.

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Strategic 2011 Campaigns

Millions Against Monsanto: Taking Down the World's Biotech Bully Through Truth-in-Labeling

In 2010, the Organic Consumers Association mobilized organic activists to fight back against Monsanto and the biotech industry. Thanks to your volunteer efforts and financial support, the OCA fought the "good fight" on GM trees, wheat, salmon, alfalfa, sugar beets and rice.

But now the time has come to go on the offensive. We can't wait for Congress, the USDA, EPA, or FDA to regulate GMOs, pesticides and Monsanto's growing seed monopoly. Over one-third of American farmland is now planted with GMOs. Eighty percent of all non-organic processed foods contain GM ingredients.

It's time to mobilize consumer power at the local level. It's time to hit Monsanto and Big Ag where it hurts: at the cash register.

We need to pressure city councils and state legislatures to label GM-tainted foods. If they won't do this, we need to organize ballot initiatives wherever possible. We need to pass local "Truth-in-Labeling" ordinances to inform 75% of the public - who are still in the dark about GMOs - what they're eating, and why it matters.

Grocery stores and restaurants must be forced to admit to their customers that their processed foods, factory farmed milk, eggs and meat, and other junk food ingredients are GM-tainted. Supermarkets and health food stores must come clean and admit that all the non-organic, so-called "natural" foods that contain corn, soy, cottonseed oil, or canola, are likely contaminated with GMOs.

As long as only a quarter of U.S. consumers understand that they're being force-fed GMOs, we'll never create the critical mass necessary to push organic over the tipping point. However, once a majority of consumers are educated about the risks and harms of GMOs, and once non-organic processed foods are truthfully labeled as "may contain GMOs," Monsanto's Biotech Bullying will come to an end.

Please donate to help OCA's Millions Against Monsanto: Truth-in-Labeling Campaign for 2011


Strategic 2011 Campaigns

Save Organic Standards: Help OCA Strengthen "USDA Organic" Standards on Beef and Poultry

In 2010, the USDA finally bowed to pressure from the Organic Consumers Association and our allies, banning dairy confinement feedlots and requiring organic dairies to graze their animals on pasture.

But the "USDA Organic" bar still needs to be raised significantly to guarantee stricter standards on animal welfare and environmental sustainability. Organic dairy cows may be on pasture more often now, but organic beef cattle still routinely spend the last months of their lives in feedlots, while most organic egg-laying hens go their whole lives without access to the outdoors. Not only is intensive confinement cruel to the animals, it's also bad for the environment. Confined animals produce mountains of waste that contaminate water, spread disease, and spew greenhouse gases. In contrast, animals that graze on pasture produce more nutritious food, are less likely to harbor diseases like E. coli, and stimulate the growth of healthy pastures that clean CO2 from the atmosphere.

There's no doubt that "USDA Organic" promotes animal welfare, sustainability, and climate-friendly practices, but the National Organic Program has yet to require that beef be grass-fed as well as grass-finished and that poultry be allowed to exhibit their natural behaviors and have access to the outdoors.

In 2011, OCA will step up the pressure on the NOP to require pasture and grass-finishing for beef cattle and outdoor access for poultry.

Please donate to OCA's Save Organic Standards campaign, and help us to press the USDA to raise organic standards for beef and poultry


Strategic 2011 Campaigns

Zero Waste/Maximum Compost: Urban Food Waste Transformed into Compost Can Fuel the Organic Revolution

What is it going to take to launch an organic revolution in a country where 125,000 industrial mega-farms account for three quarters of all agricultural production and only about 25,000 of our 2.2 million farms are organic?

First, we need more organic farmers. Peak oil theorist Richard Heinberg says we'll need tens of millions of backyard gardeners and small farmers.

Next, we need compost - billions of pounds, augmented by billions of gallons of compost tea. That's the amount of organic compost and compost tea we'll need to replace the 24 billion pounds of synthetic fertilizer that chemical and GMO farmers use each year to keep their crops on life support, even as they destroy the living soil.

That's a lot of compost! Where's it all going to come from? How about making compost from the 96 billion pounds of food we throw away each year in this country?

We need to reduce the amount of food we waste - our food waste alone would feed 20 million people - and use the rest to make organic compost.

Let's take San Francisco's lead and adopt mandatory food and yard waste composting laws in every city.

Please donate to help OCA's Zero Waste/Maximum Compost campaign as we move to phase out chemical fertilizers


Video of the Week

Dive! Living Off America's Trash

"The kind of society that would waste this much food is one that doesn't value the earth or the products it produces. It's in our own personal detriment to continue the process."

- Dr. Timothy Jones

Facts About Food Waste From Dive! A Film by Jeremy Seifert

  • Every year in America, we throw away 96 billion pounds of food.
  • Over half of all food prepared in the US and Europe never gets eaten.
  • The Department of Agriculture estimated in 1996 that recovering just 5 percent of the food that is wasted could feed 4 million people a day; recovering 25 percent would feed 20 million people. Today, we recover less than 2.5 percent.

Watch Now


Little Bytes

Book Review of Meat: A Benign Extravagance

Top Organic Food and Farming Trends in 2011

Debate Rages in China Over Production of GM Products

GE Mosquitoes Soon to Be Released in Malaysia

Whole Foods and Trader Joe's Throwing Out Millions of Pounds of Edible Food



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