MIA from the Latest GMO Labeling Battle: The Organic and ‘Natural’ Elite

The Organic and Natural Elite are “missing in action” again.

With just 10 weeks to go before Washington State voters start casting their ballots to decide yes or no on Washington’s critical I-522 GMO labeling initiative, the wealthy corporate giants of the organic food, “natural” products and vitamin supplements industries are still sitting on their wallets.

Will we see a repeat of last year? When these companies talked the talk, but never walked the walk? When they let California’s Proposition 37 initiative to label GMOs fail by a sliver while they made excuses for not helping the campaign?

Or will these wealthy companies – Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Horizon, Silk, Hain and others – companies that spend millions promoting their images so you’ll spend your hard-earned dollars on their products - stand up and be counted this time?

Read the essay



Conscientious Supporter: Thank You Dr. Bronner’s!

We hear it from so many companies. How they really care about their customers. How their products are safe and healthy. How they espouse good, old-fashioned, feel-good values.

How they support consumers’ right to know about GMOs.

But when it comes to actually taking a stand on behalf of consumers, and especially when it comes to putting their money where their mouths are, what do we hear from most CEOs and their PR flacks?

Excuses. One after another.

But not Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps! Dr. Bronner’s, a fifth-generation family-owned business, believes consumers should have the right to know if their food, or other products, contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). So the Bronner Family has donated $1 million so far to YES on I-522, the campaign to pass a GMO labeling initiative in Washington State.

It’s great to know that there are still a few companies out there that have a conscience. They deserve our thanks!

TAKE ACTION: Tell the Bronner Family ‘Thank you!’ for supporting I-522 and our Right to Know!

Say ‘Thanks’ on Dr. Bronner’s Facebook page

Watch Dr. Bronner’s YES on I-522 video



This Land Is (Not?) Your Land

When is this land not your land or our land? When the President of the United States and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conspire to open 600 million acres of Federal and Native American land, including our national parks, for fracking.

Recent reports suggest fracking is contaminating our groundwater with heavy metals and arsenic. Is this the legacy we want to leave our kids?

On Aug. 21, you can join Americans Against Fracking for a national call-in day to President Obama. Call the President at 1-888-660-2594. You can tell him: “Fracking threatens the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the communities we love and the climate on which we all depend. We need to ban fracking now.”

Also, until Aug. 23, the BLM is seeking public comments on its proposal to weaken the rules for fracking on public lands. Please sign the petition below to let President Obama and the BLM know you want stronger, not weaker, rules for fracking on public lands!

TAKE ACTION: Tell the President and the BLM: Don't Frack America’s Public Lands!

Learn more about fracking and arsenic in groundwater



Let’s Be Reasonable. Or Not.

“Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.” – George Bernard Shaw

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a member of the Unreasonable People Club.

You know. One of those people who rails against the invisible-yet-ubiquitous forces that want us to believe all is well with the world. Even as our food system disintegrates, our farms are fracked, our soil is soaked in toxins.  And our democracy disappears.

One of those people who can’t just turn a blind eye, can’t carry on without a fuss. A tilter at windmills. Is that you?

We hope so. Because, without you, there would be no progress. And boy, do we need progress. On so many urgent fronts.

In just 10 short weeks, Washington State will start mailing ballots to voters. On that ballot will be one of today’s most urgent food rights issues: I-522, a citizens’ initiative to label GMOs. The outcome of the final Nov. 5 tally could determine the future of GMO labeling in the entire country.

So while it may seem unreasonable to try to beat the likes of Monsanto and Big Food, we know you’re up to the task. Please help us win in Washington, and support future GMO labeling laws, with your donation today. Thank you!

Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)

Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in Washington, Vermont and other states)



Top Grocer Spotlight: Good Earth Natural Foods

Mark Squire, co-owner and manager of Good Earth Natural Foods in Fairfax, Calif., has one of the most celebrated resumes in the retail organic food industry.

In the 1980s, Squire pioneered California’s organic certification standards and eventually served on the Board of Directors for the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). He was instrumental in creating the Non-GMO project and now serves on the organization’s board. From 1988-1993, Squire served on the board and then on staff of the Organic Crop Improvement Association, which was at the time the largest certifier of organic foods worldwide. He also helped write Measure B, the Marin County initiative that prohibits the outdoor cultivation of genetically modified organizms (GMOs). The measure passed by 61 percent of the popular vote in 2004. 

That’s a lot of extra work for a guy running a retail grocery store. But Squire wouldn’t have it any other way. And, he says, if not for his passion for organics and his commitment to providing the best possible selection of locally-sourced organic foods, Good Earth probably wouldn’t have such a loyal customer base.

But it does. So loyal that customers recommended Good Earth for a slot on OCA’s list of Top ‘Diligent Dozen” Right to Know Grocers. And we agreed.

More about Good Earth Natural Foods

More about the Right to Know Grocers Contest



ALEC at 40: Turning Back the Clock on Prosperity and Progress

Happy birthday to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the anti-consumer, anti-environment, anti-workers’ rights lobbying group responsible for introducing 466 bills in 2013.

According to a new report (.PDF) by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), “ALEC is going to new lengths to hide its lobbying of legislators from the public eye. It has taken to  stamping all its documents as exempt from state public records laws, dodging open records with a 'dropbox' website, and other tricks.”

The report says that this year ALEC introduced 77 bills to advance a polluter agenda, 17 of which became law. The “model” bills promote a fossil fuel and fracking agenda and undermine environmental regulations. The CMD also identified 71 ALEC bills to cap damages, limit corporate liability or “otherwise make it more difficult for citizens to hold corporations to account when their products or services result in injury or death.”

Learn more

Read the report (.PDF)



Fighting Climate Change. One Acre at a Time.

Like an old reliable Ford 9N hauling its way out of a mud bank, the idea that agriculture can be used as a tool to reverse climate change is starting to gain traction.

If we all agree that climate change is the result of too much carbon in the atmosphere, then we also agree that we need to reduce carbon emissions. But what if we could also pull carbon out of the air, and sequester it in the earth, just by changing how we manage farms?

We can, says Courtney White (pictured), founder and creative director of the Quivira Coalition. White explains that by combining the use of cover crops, organic no-till farming and planned rotational grazing, not only can we grow carbon-neutral food, but we can actually grow carbon-negative food.

We may not think of biological processes as tools or technologies. But tools like no-till farming and the holistic management of grass-fed beef are proving to be the most effective technologies to combat climate change.

Food activist Michael Pollan puts it this way:

“We have to think about what  technology means. Does it only mean hardware and intellectual property? If we limit it to those two definitions, we’re going to leave out a lot of the most interesting technologies out there, such as methods for managing the soil and growing food that vastly increase [agricultural] productivity and sequester carbon but don’t offer something you can put into a box.”

More on Carbon Ranching

More on Pollan, agriculture and climate change



Essential Reading for the Week

What You Need to Know About Farmed Shrimp

Monsanto's GMO Crops Already Planted in North Dakota

Israel Will End Fluoridation in 2014, Citing Health Concerns

Chipotle Is Keeping Its Meat Antibiotic-Free After All

The Downside of Texas Fracking: Ample Oil, No Water

Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine



Organic Groceries Delivered to Your Door

Ever thought about trying Green PolkaDot Box, the national door-to-door discount distribution service for organic and non-GMO foods, but just weren't ready to commit to a full membership? Now's your chance to take Green PolkaDot Box for a spin. For a limited time, Green PolkaDot Box is offering a $10 Trial Membership. To take advantage of this limited-time offer go to the website and begin shopping. Select the items you want and add them to your shopping cart. Then click on the checkout button and fill in your zip code. When you check out you'll be able to see the savings on your order calculated as if you were a member, so you can compare the difference with or without membership. You'll then have the option to purchase a membership and receive the difference in cost benefits. After you receive a Green PolkaDot Box and evaluate the convenience, quality and savings on your first "trial" order, you can decide to become a member. If you do, you can apply your $10 towards the $50 annual membership fee.

Green PolkaDot Box is one of the few, if not the only, online merchants that refuses to carry any genetically modified foods and ingredients.

Please forward this publication to family and friends, place it on web sites,
print it, duplicate it and post it freely. Knowledge is power!

Organic Bytes is a publication of Organic Consumers Association

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