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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Organic Bytes 12/5/2013

The government is not on the people's side anymore in the USA.

TOP NEWS OF THE WEEK

Who Smells a Rat?

What do you do when your scientific journal publishes a study that Monsanto doesn’t like? And the industry bombards you with complaints?
You hire a new editor. And retract the study.
In September 2012, the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) published the findings of the first long-term study of rats fed genetically modified corn. The study’s authors, led by Gilles-Eric Séralini of the University of Caen, France, concluded that the GM corn caused cancerous tumors in the test rats.
The biotech industry wasted no time attacking the study, which was released about a month before Californians were set to vote “yes” or “no” on an initiative to require labels on foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The attacks were predictable. But who would have predicted what followed next?
Not long after the study came out, FCT created a new editorial position—Associate Editor for Biotechnology—and appointed none other than a former Monsanto employee, Richard E. Goodman, to the post.
Fast-forward to November 28, 2013, when the publisher of FCT announced it was retracting the study. Not because of fraud or misrepresentation of data. But because, upon further review, the journal’s editors had decided the study was “inconclusive.”
The biotech industry is puffing out its chest and throwing around a lot of “I told you so’s.” But the scientists who don’t have a vested interest in GMO technology are callingthe retraction “unscientific and unethical.”
If there was no evidence of fraud or misrepresentation, why did FCT retract the study? Because, the journal said, “there is legitimate reason for concern about both the number of animals tested in each group and the particular strain of rat selected.”
But as Séralini and his supporters point out, “the offending strain of rat (the Sprague-Dawley) is used routinely in the United States—including sometimes by Monsanto to study the carcinogenicity and chronic toxicity of chemicals.” What’s more, Séralini toldSustainable Pulse, the FCT in 2004 published a study by Monsanto finding the same strain of GMO corn (NK603) safe after measuring its effects on only ten Sprague-Dawley rats for three months only.
“Only studies pointing to adverse effects of GMOs are rigorously scrutinized on their experimental and statistical methods,” he said, “while those who say GMOs are safe are taken at face value.”
FCT and Séralini are battling it out in the media for now. But the battle could move to the courts, if Séralini follows through on threats to sue the journal.
More herehere and here
 
 

ACTION ALERT

Biotech’s Christmas Present—a GMO Apple

This time, the biotech industry isn’t even pretending that its technology will make life better for farmers, or feed the world, or reduce the use of pesticides, or any of the other lies it routinely feeds to consumers. This time, the industry is promising only one thing—that its latest darling, a genetically engineered apple, will look prettier after it’s been sliced. Because it won’t turn brown (like a normal, natural apple).
This latest biotech miracle food could be approved by Christmas.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is set to approve the Arctic Apple®, engineered for the purely cosmetic purpose of preventing browning after it’s been sliced, sometime this month. Scientists say that not only does the frankenapple offer no real benefit to consumers, but the technology used to create it is untested and inherently risky.
Dr. Hart Feur, a Senior Researcher at the University of Bonn, Germany, outlined for the USDA a host of reasons why, from an agricultural perspective, the agency should reject the Arctic Apple.
Unless the USDA heeds consumers, environmentalists and apple growers, all of whom are speaking out against deregulation of the Arctic Apple, the first GMO apple could soon turn up in fast-food restaurants, school cafeterias—even baby food. With no labels to warn consumers.
 
 

ACTION ALERT

Hook, Line and Sinker?

There’s nothing good to be said for fish raised on “farms.” Period. Many fish farmsfeed genetically engineered soy and canola, not to mention feathers, necks and intestines leftover from poultry processors. That can’t be healthy for the fish. Or the people who eat them.
But now the U.S. Food & Drug Administration is close to making matters worse, by approving the first genetically engineered salmon.
The list of reasons to reject genetically engineered salmon is long. Risk to our health. Risk to the wild salmon population. Risk to the environment. And most recently, complaints that the AquaAdvantage Salmon’s creator, AquaBounty, is mismanaging its experimental facility in Panama, where the company plans to grow and process its frankenfish creation.
At least 30 House members and 14 senators have lodged concerns with the FDA over its intent to approve AquaBounty’s GE salmon. Will the FDA heed them, and the 90 percent of consumers who say they don’t want frankenfish? Or will the agency charged with the safety of our food buy biotech’s story, instead . . . hook, line and sinker?
 
 

SUPPORT THE OCA & OCF

Shouting from the Rooftops

According to an article published last week on Politico.com, Monsanto is investing heavily in a campaign to improve (create a false and misleading) its image.
The biotech giant has “scaled up” its relationship with FleishmanHillard, one of the nation’s biggest public relations firms. It’s producing videos intended to promote the company’s “contributions to America’s farms, the job market and the wide array of food choices available.” And “play up” its “focus on sustainable agriculture.”
With 2013 profits of $2.5 billion on net sales of $14.9 billion, Monsanto has plenty of money to spend on lies and spin. But paying PR flacks to remake your public image is one thing. Buying scientists is another:
“Some scientists are shouting from the roof top” extolling the safety and benefits of GMO crops, “but they can’t afford a megaphone,” Conko said. “Biotech and food companies need to create a megaphone for scientists to shout through.”
Create? Or buy?
Following razor-thin wins against GMO labeling laws in California and Washington State, and facing battles in more than 20 other states, Monsanto is desperate to win friends and influence people. The biotech company will stop at nothing—including buying favorable research and planting former employees on the payroll of influential scientific journals—to force its toxic, unsustainable monocultures on the world.
The battle against GMOs will be won through education. Reasonable people, once they know the truth, will reject food that is harmful to their families.
Monsanto may be able to buy a bigger megaphone. But we’re counting on you to help us shout louder.
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)
 
 

NEW REPORT

USDA: ‘Not Enough Evidence’ to Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) spent god-knows-how-many of our tax dollars to study Colony Collapse Disorder, or more simply, why all the honeybees are dying.
Their conclusion? There are a lot of contributing factors—including pesticides—to the mass die-off of bees. But “not enough evidence” to ban the pesticides. The study called for more research before any meaningful action is taken.
Meanwhile, the European Union isn’t taking any chances. Researchers there will do more experiments to find out if pesticides are responsible for the bee die-off. But in the meantime, officials there have instituted a two-year ban on the use of neonicotinoids, the pesticides most frequently implicated in the bee die-off. Unlike here in the U.S. Where the pesticides will continue to flow. 
 
 

FAIR WORLD PROJECT

Walmart, Not the Fairest of them All

Behind every low price at Walmart is a story. Of underpaid employees. Of employees illegally fired for trying to unionize. Of dirt-cheap prices paid to farmers. Of sweatshop clothing factories.
Who benefits the most from Walmart’s low prices? Walmart shareholders. And the Sam Walton family, whose net worth is estimatedto be more than $100 billion. That’s billion, with a capital “B.”
Last week was International Food Workers Week. But it’s never too late to stand in solidarity with Walmart employees and the workers and farmers who supply them.
 
 

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

OMG! Front-Row Seat for Monsanto Employees at Anti-GMO Film?

Monsanto took to social media to attack “GMO OMG,” a film that exposes the corporate takeover of seeds, and the hijacking of our global food system by Monsanto and its corporate cronies.
But the film’s director, Jeremy Seifert, suspects that the Monsanto public relations machine launched its attack without ever even seeing the film. So Seifert sent a letter to Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant, inviting Monsanto’s St. Louis, Mo. employees to enjoy theSt. Louis premiere of the film on December 6, opening night. Free of charge.
Any bets on how many Monsanto employees take Seifert up on his offer?
 
 

ACTION ALERT

Whistleblowers as Criminals

Witnessing and reporting animal abuse isn’t a crime. Except when it is, according to the upside-down reasoning of Colorado lawmakers . . . or lawmakers in states that have passed ag-gag laws designed to turn whistleblowers into criminals.
Taylor Radig (pictured) went undercover at Quanah Cattle Company, where she filmedcalves being thrown and kicked around and dragged by their ears, tails, and legs. For her efforts, she was able to get three workers charged with animal cruelty on November 15. But a week later, the whistleblower herself was charged with animal cruelty.
Factory Farms are responsible for a whole host of crimes. Against the environment. Against human health. Against workers’ rights. And, of course, against animal rights. Turning the whistleblowers into the criminals is just plain wrong.
 
 

LITTLE BYTES

Essential Reading for the Week

 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Zombie Music -- story of the month


It might not be November yet, but Uke Jackson Story of the Month is making Zombie Music available a few days early, for all the obvious reasons. Here's a link:

http://ukejackson.com/Parcels/monthlystories.html

This month's story is 99 cents to download.

ALERT: iPad and iPhone users, the iTunes store is now selling a number of my e-book titles (but not Zombie Music -- yet. It takes a month of so to filter into their system, apparently.). Just search for Uke Jackson in the iTunes store.\


A special Thank You to everyone who has been buying my e-books, whoever you are.




Thank you!
Thank you!

Happy Halloween!
Uke Jackson

Monday, October 28, 2013

Organic Bytes -- 10/28


ESSAY OF THE WEEK

Quietly into the Night? Not Monsanto.

The average American eats more than 150 pounds of genetically engineered food every year. This despite the fact that scientists – the independent ones – agree that GE foods are ruining our health and our environment.
Fortunately, after 20 years of fighting for labels on foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), we’ve reached a turning point. We, as consumers and farmers, are demanding a say in what we eat and what we plant.
In an interview with Mercola.com, OCA’s Ronnie Cummins explains why we must marshal every last resource to win the GMO labeling battle in Washington State on Nov. 5. And once we win, how we’ll have to continue the fight against Monsanto. With every ballot we cast. With every food purchase we make.
Because Monsanto will not go quietly into the night. At least not yet.
Watch the video
 

 

ACTION ALERT

Big Rules Spell Bad News for Small Farms

Love your local farms, farmers markets, and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture)? They could be in trouble thanks to heavy-handed new rules proposed under the Food Safety & Modernization Act (FSMA).
Unless the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) agrees to some key changes in the FSMA, your local farmer could be forced to shell out up to $20,000 for a fancy “Hazard Analysis and Risk-based Preventive Control plan.” For a farmer on a small budget, all that extra cost and paperwork means raising prices. Higher prices could force even the most loyal consumer to reluctantly settle for inferior, industrial food, trucked in from out-of-state corporations.
And that could force your farmer out of business. While perpetuating the chemical-intensive, environmentally unfriendly corporate agribusiness model.

Under the guise of “food safety,” the FSMA would create new barriers for small and mid-scale farmers and processors who have for years been working to create local markets – restaurants, co-ops, groceries, schools – for their locally grown produce.
Who wins? The big guys, as usual. Who loses? Consumers. Farmers. Local markets. And Mother Earth.
TAKE ACTION BY NOVEMBER 15: Tell the FDA: The FSMA puts small and mid-scale farmers and processors at a competitive disadvantage against corporate farmers and producers who can more easily absorb costs, fees and fines. Please revise the FSMA to level the playing field for small growers
 

 

I-522 UPDATE

Too Close to Call?

With only nine weeks to go, Monsanto and Big Food are eating away at our lead in Washington State. We’re still ahead, but make no mistake. The opposition’s $17.1 million worth of misleading TV and radio ads, mailers and flyers, is hurting us.
The single most important thing we can all do right now is get on the phone. Call voters in Washington State. Urge them to get out and vote YES on I-522. And remind them that any company willing to spend $17.1 million to keep a simple label off of its products has something to hide. And that something can’t be good.

The editorial boards of two major newspapers in Washington State – the Seattle Times and the Olympian – have come out against I-522, thanks to the powerful lobbying efforts of Monsanto and Big Food.
These next two weeks are critical. Please volunteer an hour of your time to call voters. The campaign will tell you how to do it. It’s easy. And it won’t cost you anything but a little time.

Volunteer to make phone calls to Washington voters
Share this video
Share this statement
Donate to the OCF or the OCA to support GMO labeling in Washington and other states.
 

 

TRAITOR BOYCOTT

Outed! Big Food Spends Big Money to Keep You in the Dark

Big surprise. Big Food was hiding its big donations to the NO on I-522 campaign by funneling them through the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).
We knew it was true. Now we know who they are. The companies who make billions of dollars by selling you their products. But who don’t want you to know what they’re putting in those products.
Why were they so desperate to hide their donations that they were willing to break the law? Because you, consumers, boycotted them, and their natural and organic brands, after they publicly donated more than $26 million to defeat GMO labeling in California last year.

We’ll be updating our boycott list soon, based on this new list of donors. In the meantime...
  • Kudos to Ben & Jerry’s, who kept its parent company, Unilever, from donating to the NO on I-522 campaign. For this, and for making a huge in-kind contribution to the YES on I-522 campaign, we’ll take Ben & Jerry’s off the new boycott list, when we make it official.
  • Shame on Seth Goldman, CEO of Honest Tea, for telling the media that Honest Tea’s parent company, Coca-Cola, wasn’t “directly lobbying” to defeat I-522. As it turns out, Coke was the third highest food company donor, spending more than $1 million to kill I-522. If you haven’t already, please tell Mr. Goldman what you think.
  • Welcome! To two new organic and natural brands, who will be added to our new boycott list. Sweet Leaf Teas, an organic brand, and Gerber organic baby foods are both owned by international food conglomerate, Nestlé, which donated $1.1 million to the NO on I-522 campaign. Why not get a jump on the boycott by posting on their Facebook pages today? Sweet Leaf Tea and Gerber organic.
And, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the top food donor to the NO on I-522 campaign. PepsiCo plunked down a cool $1.6 million in Washington State. Please let the folks at Pepsi’s subsidiary, Naked Juice, know how you feel about that.
Learn more
Food companies that donated to NO on I-522
Read the Press Release
 

 

CAMPAIGN UPDATE

Dear Sen. Warren . . .

Please answer two questions:
  1. If, as you say, you support mandatory GMO labeling laws, why haven’t you signed on as a co-sponsor to Sen. Barbara Boxer’s bill, S.809, the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act for mandatory GMO labels?
  2. If you support mandatory labeling of GMOs, why did you ask the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to finalize its voluntary guidance? Knowing that Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers support voluntary guidance, precisely because they know it could nullify any state or federal mandatory labeling laws?
Many of you took us up on our plea last week to call Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office to urge her to support mandatory GMO labeling laws. And many of you reported back that you were confused. Because Sen. Warren’s office told you that she is backing Sen. Barbara Boxer’s bill, and that her letter to the FDA was actually about mandatory labeling. (Which it wasn’t. The letter specifically refers to the FDA’s 00D-1598 guidance for voluntary, not mandatory, labeling).
We want to believe that Sen. Warren is on our side. But we can’t. Until she answers our questions.
Meanwhile, please sign this petition to keep the pressure on.
Take Action: Tell Senators Warren and Udall: FDA’s Voluntary GMO Labels Are Good for Monsanto, Bad for Consumers!
 

 

NEW REPORT

93 Experts: ‘GMOs Are Not Safe’

To hear Monsanto and its hired guns and faux scientists tell it, everyone’s on the same page. Their page. Which is to say that genetically modified organisms (GMOs), along with all their pesticides and herbicides, are perfectly safe. Case closed.
But this week, a group of international scientists (the real kind, not the ones paid by the biotech industry), physicians and academics signed a statement to set the record straight. No, they wrote. Despite the many claims to the contrary, there is no consensus that GMOs are safe.

Said Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, chairwoman of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) and one of the signers:
“The statement draws attention to the diversity of opinion over GMOs in the scientific community and the often contradictory or inconclusive findings of studies on GMO safety. These include toxic effects on laboratory animals fed GM foods, increased pesticide use from GM crop cultivation and the unexpected impacts of Bt insecticidal crops on beneficial and non-target organisms.”
Learn more
Read the statement
Read the list of scientists, physicians and academics
 

 

ORGANIC TRANSITIONS

The Marin Carbon Project: Saving the Climate with Soil

“On a windswept ranch above the tiny West Marin town of Nicasio, a man in a worn Carhartt jacket holds up a blade of grass with a triumphant smile. This is rancher and philanthropist John Wick, and he’s explaining how he hopes to help save the world using an unexpected tool: dirt.” – from The Grass Really Is Greener, by Jacoba Charles
Industrial farming is responsible for up to 51 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. That’s more than the entire global transportation industry.
It didn’t used to be that way. Before we allowed corporations to take over our food supply, with their chemicals, factory farms and genetically engineered crops, the earth’s soil was able to sequester twice as much carbon dioxide (CO2) as it does now.
Recognizing that we’ll never reverse global warming just by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, John Wick and his partners at the Marin Carbon Project, in Marin County, Calif., are looking at how we can remove massive amounts of CO2 from our polluted atmosphere, and store it in the soil. Just by making a few changes to how ranchers manage their lands.

Learn more

More on the Marin Carbon Project
 

 

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

The Healing Power of Plants

From now until October 30, you can sign up to watch Numen: The Nature of Plants for free. Numen  is for herbalists, gardeners, medical practitioners, plant lovers and everyone concerned about human and environmental health. The feature-length documentary contains interviews with doctors, herbalists and writers, and documents the stories of people who have improved their health and well-being through the healing power of plants.
Watch the trailer
Watch the documentary
 

 

LITTLE BYTES

Essential Reading for the Week

Join the GMO Mini-Summit, Online, with Jeffrey Smith and John Robbins
Yes, Organic Can Cost More. Here Are 10 Reasons Why It's Worth It
A New Method Against Genetically Modified Salmon: Get Retailers to Refuse to Sell It
Wendell Berry on Hope, Direct Action, and the 'Resettling' of the American Countryside
Reduced Taxes for Urban Gardens: New Law Breaks Ground for Urban Ag
 

 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Boogerberries for Halloween

 

 

Boogerberries for Halloween

This month we're offering three tales from the award-winning audio and public radio series River Tales. These stories are in print for the first time ever with this e-book.

You can pay what you like to download this e-book from Smashwords by clicking this link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/363014

You can also purchase Boogerberry Tales for a fixed price of $2.99 in the Amazon Kindle store by clicking this link:
http://www.amazon.com/Boogerberry-Tales

Want to listen to the audio versions of the stories for free? Please click this link: http://ukejackson.com/Parcels/boogerberrymonthly.html

When these stories were released on CD and as a public radio series in the mid-1990s, Newsweek magazine did a feature article and the reviews were outstanding. Here are a few quotes:

“Entertaining, well-told tales . . . witty and delightful . . . entirely worthwhile”
Philadelphia Inquirer

[Uke Jackson] has achieved the sought-after but rare quality of creating original tales that sound ages old.”
BookList, American Library Journal

“Delightful – interesting characters who make us laugh and shudder. . . well-done and entertaining.”
SingOut

“Rivers of fun for kids . . . Mark Twain revisited”
Big Apple Parents Paper

[Uke Jackson] is a genius, a contemporary Washington Irving.”
Mendocino Outlook

“. . . the most engaging characters in literature since Mark Twain.”
New Hope Gazette

“. . . mesmerizes right from the start . . . a blend of spookiness and humor . . . timeless . . . a marvelous tapestry.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Bank on it – [these tales are] sure to entertain . . . fun and funny”
Orlando Sentinel

Thanks for your interest in my writing.
Uke Jackson

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Organic Bytes -- 9/26 -- Stop Monsanto


ESSAY OF THE WEEK

FDA’s Voluntary GMO Labeling Is Good for Monsanto, Bad for Consumers

While consumers battle on for laws mandating the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food products, some lawmakers are taking the GMO labeling debate in a different direction. And it’s a direction that’s anything but consumer friendly.
Last month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) asked the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to finalize its 2001 guidance on voluntary labeling of GMOs.
The senators advertised their request as a move intended to benefit you, the consumer. But in fact, a federal voluntary labeling plan plays right into the hands of the biotech and big food industries.
Sorry, Senators. But voluntary will never be the new mandatory.
If the FDA heeds the request of Senators Warren and Udall, we could see the end of states’ rights to label GMOs. And the end of non-GMO certification and labeling. Not exactly the consumer-friendly sort of advocating we’re looking for.
Read the essay
 

 

ACTION ALERT

Whose Side Are They on, Anyway?

It’s a pretty safe bet that if Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), two of the largest funders of campaigns to defeat GMO labeling, are in favor of something, that “something” won’t be good for you.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) have signaled support for FDA guidance on voluntary labeling of GMOs. A move to protect consumers? Hardly. After all, Monsanto and the GMA also want the FDA to finalize its voluntary guidance on GMO labeling. And that wouldn’t be true unless the biotech and food industries thought there was something in it for them.
What might that something be? Perhaps the path to preemption of states’ rights to label GMOs. Or the end of certified non-GMO labels. Or maybe both.
Sometimes it makes sense to contact senators outside your own state, especially when they’re advocating for a law that could hurt all consumers.

This is one of those times. Please sign our petition below, and forward it widely. Then pick up the phone and ask Senators Warren and Udall to side with you, not Monsanto and the GMA, by supporting state and federal mandatory GMO labeling laws.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Senators Warren and Udall: FDA’s Voluntary GMO Labeling is Good for Monsanto, Bad for Consumers
Call Sen. Warren (202) 224-4543 and Sen. Udall at  (202) 224-5941
 

 

I-522 UPDATE

Poisoning Minds

For more than two decades, Monsanto has been poisoning our water, our soil, our food.
But right now, the Biotech Bully is focused on one thing: Poisoning the minds of voters in Washington State - voters who are still on the fence about I-522, an initiative to label GMOs in food sold in grocery stores.

Last week, Monsanto and friends launched a statewide, anti-labeling, anti-I-522 ad blitz. It looks a lot like the $46-million worth of negative, deceitful ads they unleashed last year this time in California. Ads that helped defeat California’s GMO labeling initiative.
Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Bayer, BASF and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (representing the junk food gang) are footing the bill. With almost $12 million (so far) to spend, they’re running ads that are dishonest and misleading. But clever. And convincing.
If you’re a busy mom or college student, a distracted worker with too much on your everyday plate, you might be hearing “GMO” for the first time. From Monsanto. The lies Monsanto will feed you – that labeling will cost you money, that farmers and grocers will be hurt – just might resonate.
If you never see or hear the truth, from the YES on I-522 campaign, you could be one of the voters who checks the “NO” box.
That’s what we’re up against, today, in Washington State. And that’s why we need your help. Today. To reach all those fence sitters. And the voters who are hearing about GMOs for the first time. Your donation will help us dilute the poison. And win this seminal GMO labeling battle. Thank you!

Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in Washington, Vermont and other states)
Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)
 

 

CAMPAIGN UPDATE

Good Riddance. We Hope.

It’s not a done deal yet. But we’re close to scoring a huge victory: the end of the Monsanto Protection Act.
Yesterday (September 24), Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, proposed an alternative to the House version of the Continuing Resolution, a bill to fund the federal government beyond Sept. 30, 2013. Absent from the new-and-improved version is the Farmers Assurance Provision, that sneaky, Monsanto-friendly “policy rider” better known as the Monsanto Protection Act.
On Tuesday, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) told Poltico: “That provision will be gone.”
Gone from the Senate version. But will the House approve the Senate’s new Continuing Resolution? With more than 30 hours of debate to go, there’s no guarantee the Senate and House will come to terms on any new bill. Much less one without the Monsanto Protection Act.
In the meantime, we hope. And we keep up the pressure on our Senators
TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Vote No on the Continuing Resolution unless the Monsanto Protection Act is removed
 

 

ACTION ALERT

Let’s Up the Buzz to Protect the Bees!

The OCA, along with Friends of the Earth, SumofUs.org and other protectors of the environment have called on Home Depot and Lowe’s to stop selling plants coated in neonicotinoids. Neonics, as they’re not-so-affectionately called, are a class of pesticides considered largely responsible for killing off the honeybee.
So far, neither Home Depot nor Lowe’s has responded to our petitions. So we’ve designated this week as “Swarm Home Depot and Lowe’s Week.” How can you help? By tapping the power of social media, of course.
Here’s what to do. First, visit Home Depot and Lowe’s on facebook and ask them to stop selling bee-killing pesticides and pre-poisoned bee-friendly plants.
Next take to twitter. Here are a couple of tweets for inspiration, but you can create your own messages, too.
@homedepot @lowes: 1 out of3 bites of food need #bees! Stop selling bee-killing pesticides! #BeeAction @foe_us www.beeaction.org
Buzz kill: @Home Depot @Lowes: stop selling bee-killing pesticides #BeeAction @foe_us: www.beeaction.org
And of course, sign the petition if you haven’t already. And forward it to a friend.
TAKE ACTION: Home Depot and Lowe’s: Stop Selling Bee-Killing Garden Plants!
 

 

FARM BILL UPDATE

Farm Bill on Life Support. Again.

The 2013 Farm Bill still has a pulse, but not much of one.
On September 19, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the bill. It contains almost $40 billion over 10 years in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the main food assistance program that used to be called food stamps.
Now what? The current Farm Bill expires on September 30. With only a few days left it’s not likely the House and Senate will agree on, and pass, a new five-year bill. Dale Moore, the executive director of public policy for the American Farm Bureau Federation, told the New York Times this week, “Right now, we’re just hoping that something will get done before the end of the year.”
Cutting benefits for the poor to give subsidies to the rich agribusinesses doesn’t seem like something that should “get done.” Nor does passing a bill that contains an amendment that could overturn states’ rights to label GMOs.

The OCA has joined an 80+ coalition that is calling on lawmakers to oppose the King Amendment, Sec. 11312 of H.R. 2642, a provision to the House-approved version of the Farm Bill that could wipe out countless state laws and rules regulating agriculture and food labeling.
If you haven’t yet signed our petition asking Congress to reject the King Amendment, or any federal legislation that would stomp on states’ rights to label GMOs, now would be a good time.

Read the press release
TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Don’t Pass a Farm Bill that Lets Monsanto Wipe Out State GMO Labeling Laws!
 

 

 

Groups Plan Anti-Monsanto World Food Day Events

Can’t think of a better way to celebrate World Food Day than to stick it to Monsanto. En masse.
Two groups - March against Monsanto and and Moms Across America - are targeting the Biotech Bully during the week of October 12 – 18. No strangers to Monsanto protests, both groups have organized marches in the past. And generated global participation. And global publicity.
You know how it goes. The more the merrier. And the more powerful. How about finding an event near you? And corralling your friends and family, too?
Join a Moms Across America World Food Day Event
Join a March Against Monsanto World Food Day Event
 

 

One Down, One to Go

Thanks to tens of thousands of consumers like you, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) gave a thumbs down to extending the deadline for getting tetracycline out of organic pears and apples. The NOSB ruled earlier this year that growers will have to stop using tetracycline after Oct. 21, 2014.
Great news. But, oops. One more thing. The NOSB is still considering allowing growers to use streptomycin until 2016, instead of requiring them to adhere to the original 2014 deadline. So it looks like they need to hear from us again. By October 1.
Consuming fruits sprayed with streptomycin exposes our healthy gut flora to risk, increasing our chances of developing resistance to an antibiotic that’s critical for treating tuberculosis, tularemia, plague, bacterial endocarditis, brucellosis and other diseases. Growers use the antibiotic to fight fire blight, a bacterial disease that kills the shoots of apple and pear trees. But there are other, better ways to fight fire blight.
TAKE ACTION: Tell the NOSB to Get Streptomycin Out of Organic Apples and Pears!
 

 

LITTLE BYTES

Essential Reading for the Week

9 Nastiest Things in the Meat You Eat
U.S. Department of Agriculture Guts National Organic Law
Report Urges OB/GYNs to Ask Pregnant Women About Exposure to Risky Environmental Chemicals
How Factory Farms May Be Killing Us
A Toddler on 3 Different Psychiatric Meds? How Drugging Kids Became Big Business

General Mills, ConAgra Report, and Big Food Suffer Losses in Wake of GMO Controversy