BioDemocracy or Corporatocracy: The Food Fight of Our Lives
Big Food’s greatest fear is materializing. A critical mass of educated consumers, food and natural health activists are organizing a powerful Movement that could well overthrow North America’s trillion-dollar junk food Empire. Savvy and more determined than ever, activists are zeroing in on the Achilles heel of Food Inc.: labeling.
How is the biotech industry fighting back? By attacking democracy. Experts say the laws are on the side of consumers. But consumers will no doubt still have to defend democracy against an increasingly desperate, and aggressive, industry bent on protecting the highly profitable business of genetically engineered food. The battle lines have been drawn. Will BioDemocracy prevail? Or will we cede our food sovereignty rights to a profit-at-all costs Corporatocracy?
It’s no longer a mystery. We know what’s killing the bees. They’re being poisoned by neonicotinoid insecticides, manufactured by Bayer and Syngenta. Why do we care? Of the 100 crop species that provide 90 percent of the world's food, over 70 are pollinated by bees. No bees, no pollination. No food?
Over the past seven years, the honeybee die-off, known as "colony collapse disorder" (CCD), has claimed 5,650,000 hives, valued at $1.61 billion. Italy, France, Slovenia and Germany have taken action to limit the use of bee-killing pesticides. But here in the U.S.? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is getting ready to approve a deadly new neonicotinoid called Sulfoxaflor. Several environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the EPA, claiming the agency has failed in its obligation to protect one of the Earth's most vital pollinators from dangerous pesticides.
The EPA needs to hear from all of us. Please sign the petition below. If we get 100,000 signatures, we’ll swarm the EPA offices in Washington D.C. And you can join us!
Two days ago, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013, a measure that includes the outrageous “Farmers Assurance Provision,” better known as the “Monsanto Protection Act.” Under this new law, not even the federal courts will be able to stop Monsanto from introducing a slew of new, potentially poisonous GMO crops into our food supply, even if the USDA has determined that those crops may be hazardous to our health.
This recent and dangerous gift to the biotech industry makes it even more urgent that we pass GMO labeling laws sooner rather than later. And our next best opportunity to do that is in Washington State, where the campaign to pass I-522, a citizens initiative to label GMOs, is building steam.
Adding to a sense of urgency today is our fast-approaching deadline, April 1, to raise $250,000 for Washington State’s I-522 GMO labeling campaign. If we reach our goal by midnight April 1, a generous donor will match our funds. If not, we will lose this generous matching gift! As of today, we’ve raised just over $189,000. Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far!
As we saw in California, it takes money to win a campaign like Prop 37 or I-522. Money for staff, for materials, for advertising. But Washington is different than California. Our money will go much farther. And support for the initiative is coming in from not only consumers, but farmers and fishermen who are fiercely opposed to the genetic engineering of wheat and salmon.
We can’t let Monsanto think we’ve walked away after our narrow loss in California last year. Let’s show the biotech industry that we will continue to push GMO labeling laws until we pass them, and until labeling becomes the law of the land. Please consider a generous donation today to provide staff, materials and advertising so we can run a strong and winning campaign in Washington State – and take advantage of this $250,000 matching gift. Thank you! Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund(non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in Washington, Vermont and other states)
By now we all know which companies and brands spent millions last year in California to defeat our right to know about GMOs. We’ve outed them, criticized them and boycotted them. Now it’s time to support those companies, large and small, that support our right to know. And we need your help finding them!
Across the country and indeed all of North America, organic consumers are pressing co-ops and natural food stores to ban GMO-tainted "natural" products, or at least to label them, and to instead promote healthy, organic and local products. In response, many retailers are doing the right thing. But others are dragging their heels.
The OCA wants to acknowledge and promote the best practices of those retailers who are doing their best to promote organic and non-GMO products. Please talk to your local co-op or natural food store manager and email us about what your retailer is doing (or not doing) to support your right to know. After we read all your reports, and interview targeted grocers, we’ll announce the Top Ten Right to Know Grocers. To nominate your store, please email Patrick [AT] organicconsumers.org with the name and address of your store, the name of the owner or manager, and a brief explanation of what your store is doing right.
Out of the Kitchen and Into the Streets!
Want to learn more about how you can fight for local control over the land in your community? Keen to join like-minded activists in the fight against GMOs? There’s no shortage of opportunities next month to step away from your computer and mingle with the movement.
April 5-6, Nationwide: Learn the tools of BioDemocracy at the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund's (CELDF) Democracy School. The school is offering training for local activists and legislators next month in Orlando, Fla., Sangerville, Maine, Santa Fe, N.M., and Mt. Vernon, Wash. More here.
April 8, Washington D.C.: Join concerned citizens, farmers, families, students, food activists and food justice groups as they face down the FDA at the First FDA Eat-In to Label GMOs. You can catch a bus to the event from 15 cities in a dozen states, or sign-up to host a free bus or van from your town. More here.
April 20, 21 Earth Day Weekend, Nationwide: Give Kellogg’s a piece of your mind for filling its cereals with GMOs. Join one of 31 GMO Free USA Kellogg’s Boycott actions taking place in 22 states, or start your own event. More here.
Join the Call to Get Antibiotics Out of Organic Apples and Pears
There’s still time to join the growing chorus of consumers who believe antibiotics have no place in organics. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meets April 8 to decide whether or not to continue allowing organic apple and pear growers to spray streptomycin and tetracycline on their trees to prevent a bacterial disease called fireblight.
There are other, safer, ways to control fireblight. Please ask the NOSB to stick with the agreed schedule and get antibiotics out of organic apples and pears by October 2014.
Follow the journey of a kid through his “homicidal food reality” as he takes a walk to his local corner food store. The Food Fight team at SOS Juice, a solar-powered for-profit/non-profit hybrid, has combined music and film with a school curriculum to help teachers engage students in a conversation about our soil-depleting and oil-depleting factory farming and economic policies that are contributing to starvation abroad, and disease and obesity at home.
Eden Foods is one of the few national organic food producers who goes 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.