World Food Day: Cook Organic, Not the Planet

Our house is on fire. Rather than argue about how fast it's burning, we need to start throwing buckets of water.” - Michael Brune, Director, Sierra Club, Sept. 27, 2013

Michael Brune is right. Our house is on fire. We’d better start throwing buckets of water. Fast.

Yesterday, World Food Day, OCA National Director, Ronnie Cummins, urged everyone who wants to help put out the fire to take a close look at the food you eat. Where did it come from? How was it grown or raised? What did it take to get it from the farm to your table? 

These questions are rarely part of the climate-change debate. Yet they should be. Because today’s global food system, with its intense dependence on biotechnology, chemicals, water and fossil fuels, is destroying the natural capacity of plants, trees and soils to sequester excess greenhouse gases.

We have a choice: Cook Organic. Or Cook the Planet. And time is not on our side.

Read the essay



Victory! Washington State Sues GMA for Money Laundering

The state of Washington filed a lawsuit yesterday, October 16, against the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). The suit alleges that the GMA is violating the state’s campaign disclosure laws by hiding the identities of food companies that have donated millions to defeat I-522, Washington State’s GMO labeling initiative.

It’s a sweet victory for Moms for Labeling, a grassroots group that filed a similar suit last month, only to have a judge dismiss it on a technicality.

It’s also a victory for the 18,107 of you who last week signed our petition to Washington State Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, asking him to investigate the GMA for money laundering.

Most of all, it’s a victory for consumers. And the truth.

Food companies don’t want us to know that they’re spending millions to keep GMO labels off their products. But we do know. And we know who they are – the same companies who spent millions last year to defeat GMO labeling in California. That’s why we’re boycotting them.

Learn more

Call Attorney General Ferguson and say thanks! (360) 753-6200



Closed Door, Open Mind?

Last week, the OCA, along with our allies at Occupy Monsanto, delivered Monsanto’s Minion Awards to seven congresspersons. Their achievements? Collaborating with Monsanto to take away states’ rights to regulate genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and showering the Biotech Bully with special favors like the Monsanto Protection Act.

Five out of seven of the Monsanto Minions let us deliver our awards. But the only two Democrats on the list, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) shut their office doors.

Sens. Warren and Udall made the list for advocating for voluntary, rather than mandatory GMO labels – a move almost certain to kill state and federal mandatory GMO labeling laws.

Can we change Sen. Warren’s mind? We have reason to believe that she might be more open-minded than we thought about mandatory GMO labeling laws, thanks to a statement her deputy press secretary, Matt Cournoyer, made to the Huffington Post. Still, we have a lot of questions, and so far, Mr. Cournoyer hasn’t answered our calls or emails. It’s time to light up the phone lines in Sen. Warren’s office. Are you in?

TAKE ACTION: Call Sen. Warren’s office. Ask her to rescind her request to the FDA for voluntary GMO labeling guidance, and support the Boxer Bill, S.809, for mandatory labeling of GMOs



Ballots Are in the Mail . . . Let’s Win This!

What are you doing this weekend? Can you help the I-522 campaign make 10,000 calls to voters? By Monday?

We don’t have much time. Ballots went out to voters in Washington State this week. Reports are that many voters are still on the fence about I-522, the initiative to require mandatory labeling of GMOs.

It’s no wonder, given the $17.1 million the opposition is spending on TV and radio ads.

The YES on I-522 campaign needs your help, no matter where you live, to deliver this message to voters: There is nothing confusing about I-522. And it won’t cost consumers a dime.

The calls are easy, and free, to make. And a critical strategy for winning this key battle.

Sign up to call Washington State voters

Join the I-522 Twitter Rally Tonight!

Join the Vote Yes on 522 Twitter rally on Thursday, October 17, from 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. PST (9 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. EST). There will be giveaways, special guests, informed panelists . . . and you! To join, login to Twitter and follow the rally under the hashtag #YesOn522.

Share this video with everyone you know in Washington State



Who’d Have Thought?

Did you ever imagine that one day you’d be a food activist?

That you’d be signing petitions. Writing letters to the editor of your newspaper. Calling politicians. Marching in the streets. To protect something as basic as food?

Not so many generations ago, no one worried about GMOs. Or factory farms. Or hormones and antibiotics in their meat. Or laboratories whose sole mission is to create junk-food addicts?

Yet here we are. Because a movement needed to be built, you built it. Because somebody has to do something, you’re doing it.

The theme set by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for yesterday’s World Food Day was this: Healthy people depend on healthy food systems.

But in an age of indentured politicians protecting corrupt corporations, who can you depend on to create those healthy food systems?

You. Us. We’re in this together.

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)



Turning Up the Heat on Monsanto

It was a good week for OCA’s anti-Monsanto activists. Their protests, in Washington D.C. and Chicago, drew crowds, generated media coverage and did what protests do: Drew attention to the destruction wrought by greedy corporations like Monsanto that have no regard for the people they make sick, and the earth, air and water they pollute.

Thursday, Oct. 10, on Capitol Hill

Someone shouted “Monsanto Money!” as thousands of dollars poured down from the balcony in the Hart Senate office building. Posing as biotech industry lobbyists, OCA and Occupy Monsanto activists dove for the cash, rolled in it. They even made “money angels.” Then police showed up and started making arrests, but not before the Twitterverse and Blogosphere erupted with eyewitness accounts. One wit quipped that a lobbyist must have exploded.

Monsanto lobbyists dragged away in handcuffs for throwing money around Congress? It was theatrical protest at its best, inspired by the one-and-only Abbie Hoffman. The message was clear: Monsanto, stop buying our politicians! If only.

Watch Monsanto Money Rain down on Congress

Occupy Monsanto Protest Tossed Real Piles of Money around Congress

Activists Are Arrested for Showering U.S. Senate Building with $2,000

Saturday, Oct. 12, Chicago

Nearly 500 people turned out in Chicago to mark World Food Day with a March against Monsanto, organized by OCA, Illinois Right to Know GMO and other local and national groups. Waving signs and chanting “Monsanto’s Gotta Go!” protestors swarmed Federal Plaza and delivered petitions to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Chicago offices.

Watch activists March against Monsanto in Chicago

Watch activists deliver their message to the FDA in Chicago

More on the October 12 Global March against Monsanto



Love Your Farmer’s Market? Thank Wendell Berry

“He understood what was happening on this planet a long time before everybody else,” said environmentalist Bill McKibben. “It was Berry’s foresight and activism that led local farmers to bring their produce directly to consumers in communities across the country.”

Watch the video



Will Farm Bill Wipe Out State GMO Labeling Laws?

A 2013 Farm Bill is one step closer to reality after last week’s decision by the House and Senate to go to conference to hammer out the differences be their two versions.    

The bad news is that the House version still contains the King amendment. Introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) (also known as the “Emperor of Morons”), the King Amendment would wipe out state laws on food and farming, including state laws requiring labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Our best bet for blocking King from eviscerating states’ rights? Phone calls to your Senators and Representatives.    

Call your Senators and Representatives at  (202) 224-3121 and ask them to drop the King Amendment from the Farm Bill. 

More details and direct phone lines



Changing the World. In a Big Way.

OCA was recently named a finalist, from among more than 2,000 nonprofit organizations, for our online advocacy work. Salsa Labs, the company that provides our online advocacy tools, named us a finalist for their “2013 Hell No, We Won’t Go Award.” The annual award recognizes organizations who worked to make their supporters’ voices heard in a “big or unique way.”

We’re grateful for the recognition, of course. But we’re most grateful for the people like you who speak up, sign petitions, make phone calls, march in the streets and shout from the rooftops. Thank you for taking action!

Read the press release



Essential Reading for the Week

Are the FDA and Canada Going to Ban Raw Milk Cheese?

Playing Chicken with Food Safety

Do These Chemicals Make Me Look Fat?

14 Reasons to Be Hopeful about the Future of Food

Critics of Genetically Modified Crops Protest World Food Prize, Monsanto

Developers Selling Fracking Rights Without Homeowners Knowing It



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