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Consumer Power and Organic Food Deserts

#288, August 4, 2011

In this issue:


Essay of the Week

Organic Food Deserts, Whole Paycheck, and the Myth of "Natural": The Organic Movement's Challenge by Ronnie Cummins

"Before we pat ourselves on the back for reaching a point where $30 billion of the U.S.'s $750 billion in yearly grocery store sales are certified organic (consumers are also buying another $51 billion worth of so-called "natural" foods and products); before we congratulate ourselves on the fact that there are thousands of well-stocked health food stores and co-ops across the country, as well as 6,132 farmers markets (up 350% since 1994), and 13,000 local CSA (community supported agriculture) buying clubs with a total of 400,000 members, let's put our organic movement's accomplishments in perspective. The overwhelming majority of Americans are still eating non-organic, pesticide-laden, genetically engineered, overly processed, junk foods on a regular basis, spending half of their food dollars on super-sized industrial chow in restaurants, cafeterias, and fast-food outlets. Skyrocketing rates of obesity, cancer, heart disease, and other diet-related diseases, and a devastated rural landscape of factory farms, monoculture crops, lifeless soil, polluted waterways, and depleted aquifers are a testimony to the monumental challenge that still lies ahead..."

Read more



Nationwide, October 16, 2011: World Food Day Rallies for the Right to Know About Genetically Engineered Foods

In the United States, there are few causes that nine out of ten people support, but 90% of consumers agree that we deserve the right to know about genetically engineered foods.

If almost everyone wants them, why aren't there labels on genetically engineered foods? Because we haven't yet built up a large enough movement to force companies, grocery stores, and elected public officials to bend to the peoples' will. That's what OCA's Millions Against Monsanto campaign is all about.

We have an opportunity now to greatly increase involvement and action in the Millions Against Monsanto campaign for labels on genetically engineered foods.

Please join us in your area on World Food Day, October 16, 2011, for one of numerous local events in the Millions Against Monsanto Right to Know campaign.

Volunteer for the Millions Against Monsanto campaign

RSVP for World Food Day on Facebook

Find out what's happening where you live

Read more about World Food Day


Support the OCA

Help the Organic Revolution Move Forward

Our heartfelt thanks to the 3000 Organic Bytes readers who sent in donations over the past three weeks, enabling OCA to meet our July online fundraising goal of $75,000. Now we are soliciting matching funds from our major donors in the hope that we can double the funds that you sent us, and thereby secure adequate resources to finance our Fall Offensive. For 13 years, OCA has been "growing the revolution" - preserving strict organic standards, expanding the organic market, and spreading the good news that organic agriculture can sustainably feed the world while reversing global warming. The time is right to step up our efforts and move the Organic Revolution forward, but OCA needs to raise a substantial amount of money over the summer to do so.

Please donate


march with us

New York to DC, October 1-16, 2011: Right2Know March for GMO Labeling

Please join us as we march from New York City to the White House in Washington, DC, and gather for events along the way to demonstrate support for labels on genetically engineered food.

- Walkers can join for the entire two weeks, a weekend or just a few hours.
- We will be walking at a steady pace for about 8 hours per day, with multiple rest stops.
- Bikes, rollerblades, skateboards and wheelchairs are welcome. You can also join the support caravan in a vehicle.
- Food and drinks will be provided at a small cost, now estimated at $5 - $10 per meal.
- People with vegan/raw food/gluten free dietary restrictions will have options (we will be traveling from one health food store or farmers' market to another).
- Walkers will bring their own tents and sleeping bags, which will be carried by the support vehicles. Camping arrangements will be made ahead of time.
- All are welcome at the exciting events held along the way; stay tuned for announcements on presenters and musical acts.
- Campers will have a chance to bathe in the All-One Ark, the "Interblastive Foam Shower and Spa Experience!"

Sign up for the Right2Know March

RSVP for Right2Know events on Facebook

Find out what's happening where you live

More about the Right2Know March


Take Action

California: What Are You Willing to Do to Force Labels on Genetically Engineered Foods?

Monsanto is force-feeding us genetically engineered Frankenfoods with foreign genes from plant viruses and bacteria that have never before been consumed by human beings. Winning our right to know what's in our food is likely the only viable strategy to stop this madness. Once consumers see a label that says that a food has been genetically engineered they will seek out organic foods or foods without GMOs.

The Organic Consumers Association is launching a multi-state, multi-year campaign to win ballot initiatives and legislation for labels on genetically engineered foods. There's a movement in California that we think has real potential to be the first major initiative of the campaign, LabelGMOs.org, a 2012 ballot initiative campaign for our right to know about genetically engineered foods.

OCA is 100% in support of LabelGMOs.org, but as a national group with a limited budget in a state like California where an average of nearly $17 million is spent per initiative, we know we're in over our heads and need to enlist the support of major donors to be successful.

Of course, major donors won't chip in unless they know there's going to be a critical mass of grassroots support. It takes more than money to get on the ballot. In California, 504,742 valid signatures must be collected (which means we actually have to get about 800,000) - in 150 days. That's more than the Millions Against Monsanto campaign has collected in all 50 states in a year!

If you live in California, what would you do to force mandatory labels on genetically engineered foods? Would you be willing to help collect signatures? Organic Consumers Association has about 50,000 Bytes subscribers in California. If everyone collected just 16 signatures, we would have enough to get the Label GMOs initiative on the ballot.

Californians, please pledge today

Everyone, nationwide, please donate to LabelGMOs.org

Start a ballot initiative campaign in your state

Support state laws to label genetically engineered foods


Alert Update

Stop Monsanto's Failed "Drought Resistant" Corn

Comments Due August 11, 2011

Last week, we reported that Monsanto is seeking regulatory approval for the first genetically engineered crop that, according to them, could benefit farmers, a so-called "drought-resistant" corn variety.

According to a USDA review of Monsanto's data, it doesn't work; Monsanto's genetically engineered, so-called "drought-resistant" corn doesn't perform any better than varieties produced through conventional breeding techniques. And, as researchers around the world have pointed out, the real varieties of "drought-resistant" corn under cultivation are those that are cultivated organically, with yields 50-70% higher than chemical and GMO varieties under drought conditions.

We can't allow the USDA to approve failed "drought-resistant" genetically engineered crops, when it's inevitable that they will contaminate and ruin the proven ability of resilient organic crops to adapt to climate change.

Take action


Video of the Week

Help Make a Movie About Why Genetically Engineered Food Should Be Labeled

Making a feature-length documentary is a very expensive and challenging process - particularly getting it off the ground. Jeremy Seifert, the maker of the film Dive, a compelling story about how much food we waste, has a new project, a film about why genetically engineered food should be labeled, and he needs your help to make the movie.

Click here to learn more & donate

Click here to watch the sizzle reel


Little Bytes

Organic Farmers Can Sue Conventional, GMO Farmers whose Pesticides 'Trespass' and Contaminate Their Fields
Read more

Eight Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance
Read more

Warning: Santa Cruz Organic Supports GMOs
Read more

No Free Pass for New Genetically Engineered Crops!
Read more

The Plastics Industry Will Do Anything to Keep You Using Plastic Bags
Read more


Homeopathy Is Under Attack - The Organic Community Needs To Help!

Homeopathic medicine is perhaps the greenest, safest and most effective healthcare option for organic families. It is a 200 year old system of medicine used by over 250 million people worldwide. Homeopathy has a laudable and extensively documented clinical record and there are literally hundreds of high quality, peer-reviewed basic science, pre-clinical and clinical studies showing its effects. (Go here for more information on this system and the extensive research supporting efficacy.)

Sadly - the same business forces working to disrupt the organic community are escalating their attacks on homeopathy around the world - hoping to destroy it in the name of corporate profits. OCA wants to do something to help! The National Center for Homeopathy (NCH) is the non-profit organizing body for homeopathic medicine in the U.S. They educate consumers and practitioners about the system and how to use it - while protecting it from these attacks.

OCA is encouraging all our members to consider membership in the NCH. It is an organization that makes a real difference in this country. Members of OCA can join NCH for as little as $49 in the first year ($55 in following years) and 20% of your first year membership fee will be contributed back to the important work of OCA!

Read more and join NCH


Sponsored Message

Eden Foods Offers OCA Customers 15% Discount

Eden Foods is one of the few national organic food producers that go beyond the USDA Organic Standards. Although Eden Foods is USDA certified, their products do not bear the USDA seal, because they say the USDA standard really represents a "minimum standard" that Eden Foods goes far beyond.

As a subscriber to Organic Bytes, you can enjoy a 15% discount rate on any Eden Foods products by going here.


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Please contact us if you want more information!


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