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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Organic Bytes Feb 21, 2013


Fracking Our Farms: A Tale
of Five Farming Families

Their names are Carol, Steve & Jackie, Susan, Marilyn & Robert, and Christine. They share a bond. Two bonds, actually: They all own, or owned, farms. And those farms, along with their own health and the health of their farm animals, have all been ruined by fracking.

More than 600,000 fracking wells and waste injection sites have popped up all over the country, according to ProPublica. The oil and gas industry, along with federal regulators, would have you believe that injecting trillions of gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth is harmless. Tell that to Jacki Schilke of North Dakota, who lost two dogs, five cows, chickens – and her health – after 32 oil and gas wells sprouted up within three miles of her ranch. Or Christine Moore, a horse rescuer in Ohio who sold her farm after a well went up five miles from her farm, creating an oily film on her water and making her too sick to care for her horses.

You’ve heard it before. No farms, no food. As one farmer said, “If they frack all the farms, there isn’t going to be any organic.”

Read the essay
Get Involved: Stop the Frack Attack!

Have a fracking story to share? Want to become a better spokesperson for the anti-fracking movement? Like to learn more about clean energy alternatives, celebrate fracking victories, strengthen the national movement? Join others who share your concerns and motivation.

Join the OCA in Dallas, Texas, for the National Summit to Stop the Frack Attack, Mar. 2-4.
Learn more
Can’t make it? Help someone else attend!


No Brainer: Tell the EPA to Protect Our Water from Factory Farm Waste

TAKE ACTION: Tell the EPA: Protect our water! Keep up the pressure on CAFOs for another three years! (Deadline: Feb. 27)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to know if it should continue to place a high priority on forcing factory farms to comply with the Clean Water Act. Or should it focus on something else in 2014-2016? Let’s see . . .  animals raised on factory farms generate more than 100 times more waste than humans. Yet unlike human waste, raw animal waste isn’t treated in sewage systems. Even though it’s contaminated with antibiotics, growth hormones and disease-carrying pathogens and bacteria. Even though it causes dangerously high levels of nitrates in drinking water, a problem known to kill infants.

Animal waste from factory farms, or Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), is poisoning our drinking water and killing our lakes, rivers, streams – even the Gulf of Mexico. Yet thanks to the factory farm industry lobbyists, little is being done to stop them. The only tool in the toolbox is the loophole-riddled Clean Water Act. It ain’t great, but it’s all we’ve got. So . . . let’s let the EPA know we’re all for cracking down on factory farm pollution. High priority? Yes!
TAKE ACTION: Tell the EPA: Protect our water! Keep up the pressure on CAFOs for another three years! (Deadline: Feb. 27)


Not So Fast! FDA Delays ‘Frankenfish’ Decision

TAKE ACTION: Tell the FDA to reject Frankenfish!

The FDA did its best to sneak genetically engineered (GE) salmon by us in late December, when it quietly announced a 60-day public comment period. Folks there thought we were all too busy to notice, what with the holidays and all. Not so. An outraged public responded by inundating the agency with thousands of comments. Now, the FDA says, the public comment period will be extended an additional 60 days while officials pore over the comments that have already come in.

Meanwhile, Ronald Stotish, the CEO and President of AquaBounty Technology, the company that wants to unleash “Frankenfish” into the environment and onto our plates, says he’s “frustrated” and “not pleased” with the delay. And he’s stickin’ to his story: that GE salmon is “indistinguishable from other Atlantic salmon, safe to eat and doesn’t pose a threat to the environment.”  Of course, there’s no real science to back up Stotish’s claim, and plenty of science that says he’s wrong. But there’s more at stake here than just GE salmon. Other biotech companies are keeping an eye on the Frankenfish decision. If AquaBounty gets the green light, how many more GE animals will be on the menu?

Haven’t given the FDA a piece of your mind yet? You’ve got 60 more days to sign on.
TAKE ACTION: Tell the FDA to reject Frankenfish!


Look What You’ve Done!

You’ve lit a match. You’ve started a fire. And we’re all winning.

Last year, hundreds of thousands of you responded when we said we needed your help to pass the first GMO labeling law in the country, Prop 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. Technically, we lost that battle. But because so many of you, from all across the country, donated to the campaign, shared articles and videos, talked to your family and friends about GMOs, we were able to get more than six million California voters on our side, and put politicians on notice: Consumers want the right to know!
But here’s the real win. Since January of this year, 18 states have introduced GMO labeling bills.Alaska has proposed a bill that would require the labeling of genetically engineered salmon, if the FDA approves AquaBounty Technology's AquAdvantage salmon. Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington have all introduced bills that would require mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically engineered ingredients. Hawaii has introduced multiple GMO labeling bills. Maryland and New Mexico also proposed GMO labeling laws, although those laws are dead (for now).

You made this happen. Your support put GMO labeling on the map. And now the map is literally covered in proposed GMO labeling laws. What’s next? We have to get one or two of these passed, as soon as possible. And then the rest will fall in place. Your donation today will help us do that. 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)


Give Us Some Truth: Artists Against Fracking

“Democracy is messy, that’s the way it works. And we need to take the time for something that’s this huge, to really make sure we think it through.” Watch Susan Sarandon, Yoko Ono and other Artists against Fracking tour Pennsylvania where hundreds of families’ water supplies have been polluted by fracking.

Watch the video


Tackling Climate Change: ‘Our Lunch Counter Moment’

They came in buses and cars, on planes and trains. They stood in the cold, flags and banners waving, babes in arms. They listened as leaders of indigenous tribes, climate activists and a senator from Rhode Island spoke about the devastation oil and gas companies have already caused in Canada and the U.S. And the obligation President Obama has to protect future generations by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Feb. 17, “Forward on Climate” rally attracted between 40,000 – 50,000 people. It generated hundreds of articles and videos – not just in the alternative press, but in the mainstream media. It was, as the Rev. Lennox Yearwood, leader of the Hip Hop Caucus and the MC for event called it, the climate movement’s “lunch counter moment.” Yearwood was referring to that galvanizing moment in 1960 when black people said, “enough.” When they started sitting at “whites only” public lunch counters, enduring all manner of abuse, until they were finally heard, and the Civil Rights Act was born.

Have we all had enough? Did Obama hear us? We’re not sure yet about Obama, but clearly a few state politicians heard us – and they didn’t like what they heard. Lawmakers in Missouri, Mississippi, Michigan and Minnesota have proposed bills calling on Congress to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The bills are lifted directly from a "model" American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) bill and from TransCanada's own public relations talking points.

Will enough politicians come to their senses and vote for the future of life? Or will they vote with the natural gas and oil lobbyists? Time will tell. In the meantime, thanks to all of you who marched behind the OCA’s “Cook Organic, not the Planet” banner. Gives a whole new meaning to “lunch counter moment,” doesn’t it?

Read more about the rally Read more about the bills supporting Keystone XL


Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals: Disrupting Your Health and Environment

There are more than 800 chemicals capable of disrupting our endocrine systems and causing a host of health issues, including thyroid and adrenal disorders, hormone-related cancers, bone, metabolic and immune disorders, infertility, and attention deficit disorder in children. The chemicals are in our air and water, our food, our personal care products. They’re not only making us sick, they’re killing off wildlife. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, according to a landmark study just released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Unlike 10 years ago, we now know that humans and wildlife are exposed to far more endocrine-disrupting chemicals than just those found in organic pollutants (POPs), according to the study. We also know that levels of some newer POPs in humans and wildlife are still increasing. And we know now that we’re also being exposed to less persistent and less bio-accumulative chemicals – but they’re everywhere.

Read the study


Essential Reading for the Week

Reports: Shale Gas Bubble Looms, Aided by Wall Street

King Corn Mowed Down 2 Million Acres of Grassland in 5 Years Flat

Biotech Industry Ups Propaganda Efforts with Undercover Ambassadors?

Harvesting Justice: Transforming the Global Food Supply Chain - Food Sovereignty

Aspartame May Be More Toxic in Men than Women

Who Can Own Life? Farmer vs. Monsanto before US High Court

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Two-Time Pulitzer Nominee & Voice's Chief Theater Critic

Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway’s Highest Honor Salutes Outstanding Theatrical Accomplishment


New York, NYThe Village Voice, the nation’s first and largest alternative weekly newspaper, announced today that esteemed critic and longtime judge of the awards will resume his former position as Obie chairman for the 58th Annual Village Voice OBIE Awards, replacing former Chairman Brian Parks who has moved on from The Village Voice.
"We are thrilled to have Michael Feingold back as Obie Chariman for our 58th annual Obie Awards ceremony," said Josh Fromson, Publisher of the Village Voice.  “Michael brings his elevated skill and expertise as an icon of the New York theater community with a deep history and love for the Obies.”
Michael Feingold is the Voice’s chief theater critic, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, and.a produced playwright and translator.  He became OBIE Chairman in 2012 after chairing the OBIE awards from 2006 through 2011. He resumes his role of Chairman again this month.
Alexis Soloski will assist the committee handling some administrative duties and serve as an advisor for the awards ceremony. Alexis is a Post-Doctoral Lecturer in Literature Humanities at Columbia and a longtime drama critic at The Village Voice.
Joining Michael and Alexis as this years judge's are:
Erin Courtney. Erin is an OBIE Award–winning playwright for her work A Map of Virtue. Her other plays include Honey Drop, Black Cat Lost, Alice the Magnet, Quiver and Twitch, and Demon Baby. Her work has been produced and developed by Clubbed Thumb, the Flea, New York Stage and Film, Adhesive Theater, Soho Rep, the Vineyard, and the Public Theater. She is an affiliated artist with Clubbed Thumb, a member of 13P, and a member of New Dramatists. Courtney teaches in the MFA playwriting program at Brooklyn College and is a co-founder of Brooklyn Writers Space. MFA, Brooklyn College, 2003. BA, Brown University, 1990.
Mia Katigbak. Mia is an award-winning artistic producing director and co-founder of the New York City–based, 22-year-old NAATCO (National Asian American Theatre Company). She is a founding member of the newly formed Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists (CAATA), is the current president of its board, and chaired its Strategic Planning Subcommittee. Together with two other founding members, Jorge Ortoll of Ma-Yi Theater and Tisa Chang of Pan Asian Rep, she was one of the organizers of the 1st National Asian American Theater Festival in 2007, and along with Lloyd Suh of Second Generation, spearheaded the 2nd Festival held in October 2009. She is currently appearing at LaMaMa's Ellen Stewart Theater in the Foundry Theater's production of Brecht's [itals] Good Person of Szechuan.
Tom Sellar. Tom is the editor of Theater magazine, published by the Yale School of Drama, where he is also professor of dramaturgy and dramatic criticism. He has been a critic and journalist for The Village Voice since 2001.

Leigh Silverman. Leigh won a double directing OBIE Award in 2011 for her work on Lisa Kron's In the Wake (Public Theater) and David Greenspan's Go Back to Where You Are (Playwrights Horizons). She recently directed the West Coast premiere of Chinglish (Berkeley Rep/South Coast Rep) after directing it at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago (Jeff nomination) and on Broadway.
Founded in 1955 by Voice cultural editor Jerry Tallmer, The Village Voice OBIE Awards annually honor the best of Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway. Unlike most theater awards, the Obies do not publicize nominations or employ rigid categories. In the conviction that creativity is not competitive, the judges select outstanding artists and productions and may even invent new categories to reward artistic merit. Past winners have included such well-known stars as Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, William Hurt, Morgan Freeman, Mos Def, Felicity Huffman, Kevin Kline, Nathan Lane, Olympia Dukakis, Denzel Washington, Glenn Close, Kevin Bacon, Alec Baldwin, Kathy Bates, James Earl Jones, Viola Davis, and Harvey Fierstein, to name a few. 
Rosemary R. Jorda, event director for the Village Voice Obie Awards is managing the full OBIE Awards program. Longtime publicist for the Obies, since 1994, Gail Parenteau, is responsible for booking the co-hosts and presenters. 
Stella Artois is the presenting sponsor of the 2013 Village Voice Obie Awards. Further details about the 58th Annual OBIE Awards Ceremony, including the names of the co-hosts and presenters, along with information about how to purchase tickets, will be forthcoming. For further details visit 
About The Village Voice
Founded by Dan Wolf, Ed Fancher, and Norman Mailer in October 1955, The Village Voice introduced free-form, high-spirited, and passionate journalism into the public discourse. As the nation's original and largest alternative newsweekly, the Voice maintains the same tradition of no-holds-barred reporting and criticism it first embraced when it began publishing 57 years ago. The recipient of three Pulitzer prizes, the National Press Foundation Award, and the George Polk Award, among others, the Voice has earned a reputation for its groundbreaking investigations of New York City politics and for its expert coverage of New York's cultural scene. Writing and reporting on local and national politics, with opinionated culture, music, art, dance, film, and theater reviews, daily Web dispatches, comprehensive entertainment listings, and unrivaled classifieds, the Voice is the authoritative source on all that is New York.
The Village Voice has independently produced and created such celebrated events as the Choice Eats, Obies Awards, 4Knots Music Festival, Choice Streets, Web Awards, Brooklyn Pour, as well as the most anticipated issues and guides of the year including the annual Pazz and Jop music poll, Best of NYC, and its Spring, Summer, and Fall Preview guides. The Voice is New York's most influential must-read alternative newspaper in print and online. For more information on the Voice or its events, please visit us online at