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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Organic Bytes 4/11/2013


Why GMO Labels Won’t Cost Consumers a Dime

One of the biotech industry’s favorite arguments against GMO labeling is that it will be costly for small retailers and consumers. As if Monsanto actually cares about your economic well-being?
Playing to consumers’ fears of higher food costs makes good strategic sense, especially in tough economic times. But the argument doesn’t hold water. Trader Joe’s, a multi-billion dollar retailer of organic and natural foods, second in size only to Whole Foods Market, verifies that its private-label products are GMO-free. How? By using a system that involves chain-of-custody, legally binding affidavits. It’s the same system other manufacturers and retailers use for rBGH-free, trans fat-free, fair trade and country-of-origin. It works. And it doesn’t cost consumers a dime.
Read the Essay


Action Alert

A River Of Waste: The Hazardous, Heartbreaking Truth About Factory Farms

TAKE THE PLEDGE: I’m Boycotting All Products from Factory Farms!

There’s a good chance you’ve never personally seen a factory farm, or as the industry calls them, Confined Animal Feeding operations (CAFOs). With good reason. The poultry, pork, beef and dairy industries know you’d be so appalled, you’d never buy another chicken wing or gallon of milk produced using their reckless, poisonous and senselessly inhumane methods.
A River of Waste uncovers the ugly truth about factory farms in the U.S. Their flagrant disregard for human health and safety. Their reckless destruction of the environment. Their unconscionable treatment of animals.
The documentary also tells the heartbreaking story of how poultry farms in Prairie Grove, Ark., caused the deaths of at least four children in this small town of 2,500 people. By spreading chicken waste, containing arsenic, on the town’s lands. Not one of those farms, or the companies that own them, have yet been held accountable for those deaths.
The Worldwatch Institute calls factory farms “mini Chernobyls” because of the endless amounts of pollution they spew into the air, groundwater and soil. The American Public Health Association has called for a moratorium on new factory farm facilities. But the only way we’ll end factory farming? When consumers stop buying their products.
Learn more and watch the entire documentary
TAKE THE PLEDGE: I’m Boycotting All Products from Factory Farms!



Have you Nominated Your Favorite Grocer Yet?

“When the list came out of organic companies with parent companies that funded opposition to GMO labeling in California this wonderful store immediately took items made by those companies off their shelves.”
– Helen Jankoski, in her nomination of Natural Food Co-op in Wakefield, R.I.
You told us you were happy to boycott the stores that helped defeat Proposition 37, the California Right to Know GMO labeling bill. But you wanted to know more about the stores that supported your right to know. So, the search is on for the Top Ten ‘Right-to-Know’ Grocers. Have you nominated your favorite yet? There’s still time. Deadline for nominations is midnight, May 1.
From Rhode Island to Oregon and everywhere in between, nominations have been rolling in. Along with the nominations, we’ve received some great comments from organic consumers about why they love their co-op, natural food store, farmers market or their local branch of a national chain. We’ve compiled the list of nominations so far, along with some of the comments you’ve sent in. You can read the comments, and more details about the contest, below.
Enter Your Grocer in the Top Ten ‘Right to Know’ Contest




You Are Our Cape

He’s one of those who knows that life
Is just a leap of faith
Spread your arms and hold your breath
Always trust your cape.

- Guy Clark
We put a lot of thought and planning into the work we do at OCA. Yet in the end, sometimes it just comes down to a leap of faith.
Can millions of consumers overcome the wealth and ruthless power of corporations like Monsanto? Can we convince the politicians who have influence over food and agriculture policy to ignore the lobbyists and vote instead for consumers’ best interests?
Will we be able to mobilize enough volunteers? Garner enough votes? Raise enough money?
We believe we will. With your help. Year after year, month after month, week after week, you always come through. You trust us to do this important work, to take this leap of faith, on your behalf. And we trust you to keep us going. Please consider making a gift to the OCA this week. Thank you!

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



Let’s Swarm the EPA on Earth Day!

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Ban Neonicotinoid Pesticides before They Devastate the U. S. Bee Population
RSVP: Swarm the EPA on Earth Day
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.
Here’s a disturbing, but perhaps not surprising fact: The EPA does not do its own testing of these pesticides. Instead the EPA relies on the pesticide-maker’s own testing to determine whether or not these chemicals can be released into the environment.
Congress needs to hear from all of us. Please take action below, and please sign on to join us in D.C. on Earth Day, Monday April 22, at noon as we swarm the EPA.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Ban Neonicotinoid Pesticides before They Devastate the U. S. Bee Population
RSVP: Swarm the EPA on Earth Day



Win a Trip to Peru!

Want to walk in the Sacred Valley of the Incas? Explore Cusco and the majestic Machu Picchu?
This World Fair Trade Day, May 11, OCA’s Fair World Project has joined with Alaffia, Alter Eco, Divine Chocolate, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Equal Exchange, Farmer Direct Co-op and Maggie’s Organics, in partnership with Intrepid Travel, to offer you a chance to win a nine-day adventure for two to Peru this October.
By purchasing fair trade products you can help farmers and workers make a decent living wage. And send their children to schools, not factories. Support World Fair Trade Day!
Enter the World Fair Trade Day Sweepstakes
If you are a U.S. natural products retailer and would like to sign up for our World Fair Trade Day promotion, click here to learn more.



Essential Reading for the Week

Leafy Greens Essential for Immune Regulation and Tumor Resolution

Fracking Free Speech Rights

Monsanto’s Next Target: Democracy

Pimp the Pavement: A Brief History of Seedbombing

Ten Retailers Urged To Pull Potentially Toxic Products

The Future of Chocolate

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