Archive for the ‘Food Policy’ Category

Great article by Joel Salatin

Why are all the chickens so sick?

March 14, 2023

As the nation suffers through yet another High Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak, questioning the orthodox narrative is more important than ever. At a time when people are screaming about overpopulation and the world’s inability to feed itself, surely we humans need to figure out how to reduce these kinds of losses.

Numbers change each day, but at the last count about 60 million chickens (mainly laying hens) and turkeys died in the last year. A bit more than a decade ago it was 50 million. Are these cycles inevitable? Are the experts funneling information to the public more trustworthy than those who controlled press releases during 2020’s covid outbreak?

If thinking people learned only one thing from the covid pandemic, it was that official government narratives are politically slanted and often untrue. In this latest HPAI outbreak, perhaps the most egregious departure from truth is the notion that the birds have died as a result of the disease and that euthanasia for survivors is the best and only option.

First, of the nearly 60 million claimed deaths, perhaps no more than a couple million have actually died from HPAI. The rest have been killed in a draconian sterilization protocol. Using the word euthanized rather than the more proper word exterminated clouds the actual story. Euthanizing refers to putting an animal out of its misery. In other words, it’s going to die and is in pain or an incurable condition.

Very few of the birds killed are in pain or even symptomatically sick. If one chicken in a house of a million tests positive for HPAI, the government brings full law enforcement force to the farm to guarantee all live birds die. Quickly.

In not a single flock have all the birds died from HPAI. Every flock has survivors. To be sure, most are exterminated prior to survivors being identified. But in the cases of delayed extermination, a few birds appear immune to the disease. To be sure, HPAI is and can be deadly, but it never kills everything. 

The policy of mass extermination without regard to immunity, without even researching why some birds flourish while all around are dying, is insane. The most fundamental principles of animal husbandry and breeding demand that farmers select for healthy immune systems. We farmers have been doing that for millennia. We pick the most robust specimens as genetic material to propagate, whether it’s plants, animals, or microbes. 

But in its wisdom, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA—Usduh) has no interest in selecting, protecting, and then propagating the healthy survivors. The policy is clear and simple: kill everything that ever contacted the diseased birds. The second part of the policy is also simple: find a vaccine to stop HPAI.

If a farmer wanted to save the survivors and run a test on his own to try to breed birds with HPAI immunity, gun-toting government agents prohibit him from doing so. The scorched earth policy is the only option even though it doesn’t seem to be working. In fact, the cycles are coming faster and seem to be affecting more birds. Someone ought to question the efficacy.

Some do. When HPAI came through our area of Virginia about 15 years ago, federal veterinarians from around the nation descended to oversee the extermination. Two of them had heard about our pastured poultry operation and asked to come out for a visit on their own personal time. They were not together; they came a couple of weeks apart, independently. Both of them told me that they knew the reason for the outbreak: too many birds too densely packed in too many houses too geographically close together. But then both of them said that if they breathed that idea publicly, they would be fired the next day.

Talk about censorship. In its Feb. 24 edition, the Wall Street Journal headlined “America Is Losing Bird-Flu Battle.” Interestingly, while the article touts the official narrative about wild birds spreading the disease and farmers spreading it on their shoes, one farmer dares to say that “his largest facility houses about 4 million cage-free chickens, which are too many chickens in one locale. ‘We would never do that again,’ he said. New facilities will be smaller, housing about one million birds each, he said, and spaced farther apart to help thwart the threat of continued outbreak.” 

Yet a couple of paragraphs over, the article quotes Dr. John Clifford, former US chief veterinary officer, as saying “It’s everywhere.” If it’s everywhere, what difference does reducing flock sizes and putting more space between houses make? Clearly the farmer in this story has a hunch shared by my two visiting federal veterinarians many years ago: too many, too dense, too close.

To be sure, even backyard flocks are susceptible to HPAI, but many of these miniature flocks are on filthy dirt spots and suffer terrible hygienic conditions. Even so, keeping a million birds in a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) happy and hygienic is harder than a backyard flock, and the disease data supports this. The USDA and the industry desperately want to blame wild birds, backyard flocks, and dirty shoes rather than looking in the mirror and realizing this is nature’s way of screaming “Enough!”

“Enough abuse. Enough disrespect. Enough fecal particulate air creating abrasions in my tender mucous membranes.” When Joel Arthur Barker wrote Paradigms and brought that word into common usage, one of his axioms was that paradigms always eventually exceed their point of efficiency. The poultry industry assumed that if 100 birds in a house was good, 200 was better. With the advent of antibiotics and vaccines, houses increased in size and bird density. But nature bats last.

For the record, any agricultural system that views wildlife as a liability is an inherently anti-ecological model. The WSJ article notes that “workers have installed netting over lagoons and other spots where wild birds gather.” Lagoons are inherently anti-ecological. They are cesspools of disease and filth; nature never creates manure lagoons. In nature, animals spread manure out over the landscape where it can be a blessing, not a curse like a lagoon. Perhaps the real culprit is the industry making manure lagoons infecting wild ducks, not the other way around. It’s guilt by association, like saying since I see fire trucks at car wrecks, the fire trucks must be causing the car wrecks.

Notice the kind of bad guy slant on this WSJ sentence: “Buzzards, wild ducks or pests that sneak into barns also can spread the flu virus through mucus or saliva.” Doesn’t this read like a proverbial conspiracy, with wild things sneaking around? It’s all eerily similar to the covid virus sneaking around, needing to be contained with quarantines and masks. One feather contains enough HPAI to affect a million birds. You can’t lock down a chicken house from an errant feather or its microscopic molecules from wafting into a house. It’s absurd.

If our current ag policy is insane, what is a better alternative? My first suggestion is to save the survivors and begin breeding them. That’s a no-brainer. If a flock gets HPAI, let it run its course. It’ll kill the ones it’ll kill but in a few days the survivors will be obvious. Keep those and put them in a breeding program. The beautiful thing about chickens is that they mature and propagate fast enough so that in a year you can move forward two generations. That’s relatively fast. Let survival determine tomorrow’s genetic pool. 

Second, how about working on conditions that increase hygiene and happiness? Yes, I said happiness. All animals have optimal herd and flock sizes. For example, you never see more than a couple hundred wild turkeys together. Even when populations are high in an area, they break up into smaller groups rather than joining forces in flocks of 1,000. Other birds do join up in big flocks. Why the difference?

Nobody has made a definitive study of why, but we do know that optimal sizes do exist for stress-free living. For chickens, it’s about 1,000. An elderly poultry industry scientist visited our farm once and told me that if houses would break up chickens into 1,000-bird groups it would virtually eliminate diseases. He said it was okay to have 10,000 birds in a house as long as they were in 1,000-bird units. That way their social structure can function in a natural interaction. Animals have a hierarchy of bullies and timids. That social structure breaks down above optimal size.

With most herbivores, the size is huge, as noted by herd sizes on the Serengeti and Bison on the American plains. Honey bees divide when the hive reaches a certain size. Elk have optimal herd sizes. Mountain goats are in small flocks. Wild pigs too seek a group size seldom exceeding 100. The point is that the first line of defense is to figure out where the stress-free sweet spot is and respect it.

Finally, treat the chickens like chickens. In addition to proper flock size, give them fresh pasture in which to run and scratch. Not dirt yards. Not little aprons around a CAFO. With mobile shelter, on our farm we move the flocks every day or so to fresh pasture. That keeps them on new ground that’s been host free for an extended period of rest. They don’t sleep, eat, and live every moment of every day on their toilet. 

The American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA) is a trade organization promoting protocols for this kind of immune-boosting model. Thousands of practitioners adhere to mobile infrastructure that allows appropriate-sized flocks access to fresh air, sunlight, bugs, worms, and succulent green material. On our farm, we use the Millennium Feathernet and Eggmobile, welcoming wild ducks and red-winged blackbirds into the vicinity all as part of a symbiotic ecological nest.

While I don’t want to sound flippant or above HPAI susceptibility, incident rates definitely indicate less vulnerability in well-managed pastured flocks. Creating an immune-building protocol surely merits research as much as overriding the immune system with vaccines and trying to stay ahead of disease mutations and adaptations with human cleverness. How about humbly seeking nature for solutions rather than relying on hubris?

The parallels between HPAI expert orthodoxy and covid orthodoxy are too numerous to mention. Fear porn is rampant in our culture. The HPAI worry feeds food worry, which makes people clamor for government security. People will accept just about anything if they’re afraid. Does anyone really think human cleverness is going to beat migratory ducks? Really? Think it through and then embrace a more natural remedy: well-managed decentralized pastured poultry with appropriate flock sizes.

Joel Salatin

Joel F. Salatin is an American farmer, lecturer, and author. Salatin raises livestock on his Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley. Meat from the farm is sold by direct marketing to consumers and restaurants.

This article was first published by the Brownstone Institute.

The original article link:

Organic Food

Excellent article by Dr. Robert Malone. He has a great substack. Subscribe here: Mom

Well Being: Organic Food

The evidence is in.

Robert W Malone MD, MS

Aug 5, 2022

I used to be somewhat skeptical on the importance of eating organic foods. Then in 2018, an important paper in JAMA came out. That study showed that eating a higher proportion of organic food is inversely associated with the overall risk of cancer (P for trend = .001). Inversely associated in this case means that the more organic foods in the diet, the less cancer.

Since then, numerous other peer reviewed papers have been published documenting the benefits of eating organic food. Recently, some important studies have been done that show very strong correlations between pesticide and herbicide use and various diseases. There are many reasons to eat organic, but reducing the residues of Roundup (glyphosate) and other chemicals on foods is a big one.

Today, I am going to list the issues with commercially grown food and then simply present some of the peer reviewed papers that show the importance of eating organic foods. Some of these articles are scientifically complex. However, the bulleted points should be clear enough -for those that don’t feel like diving into the science.

If one can’t afford to eat organically, the other big message is to read food labels for “country of origin.” These days, that can be difficult to determine – due to the issuance of the USDA “Cool rules.” Under these guidelines, processed foods do not need to require a country of origin labelling, if they are assembled or combined in the USA. But even still, read those food labels – they matter!

Cool rules do not requires country of origin labelling for processed foods:

  • Processed food exclusion is based on two guidelines:
  • Products that are changed in character
  • Examples include: orange juice; bacon
  • Products that are combined with other products to make a new product

So what have studies shown about eating organically to avoid herbicides, such as Roundup and other pesticides:

  • A higher frequency of organic food consumption is associated with a reduced risk of cancer.
  • Roundup™ exposure has been associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease and death of neurons in the substantia nigra.
  • There is evidence implicating Roundup™ as a factor in the elevated risk of autism.
  • Other studies have shown the effects of Roundup™ on synaptic transmission in animal and cellular studies. The major mechanism of action appears to be oxidative stress, accompanied by mitochondrial dysfunction.
  • Some gut bacteria utilize the enzyme used by plants, and glyphosate and Roundup™ use has been shown to alter the gut microbiome. There is a large and growing body of evidence that the gut microbiome alters susceptibility to great number of human diseases, including nervous system function.
  • The weight of the evidence indicates that in addition to cancer and reproductive effects, glyphosate and Roundup™ have significant adverse effects on the brain and behavior and increase the risk of at least some serious neurological diseases
  • Increasing evidence shows that glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides exhibit cytotoxic and genotoxic effects, increase oxidative stress, disrupt the estrogen pathway, impair some cerebral functions, and allegedly correlate with some cancers.
  • Glyphosate effects on the immune system appear to alter the complement cascade, phagocytic function, and lymphocyte responses, and increase the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in fish.
  • In mammals, including humans, glyphosate mainly has cytotoxic and genotoxic effects, causes inflammation, and affects lymphocyte functions and the interactions between microorganisms and the immune system.
  • There is evidence in support of the hypothesis that residential pesticide exposure from agricultural applications is associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer.
  • A large subset of the population has been exposed to glyphosate and there studies showing the detrimental effects glyphosate exposure has on the brain and human health.
  • Using roundup as a desiccant for crops “is a thing.” Although farmers in the USA are somewhat sensitized to the issue, there are no controls on imported cereal grains and oil crops. In particular, corn, soy and oats harvesting often includes the use of a dessicant, such as Roundup.
  • Unacceptable levels of glyphosate (Roundup) are found in commercially grown cereal grains, particularly breakfast oats and other foods. Organically grown cereal grains have very little Roundup residues when tested.

The peer reviewed studies below confirm the bulleted points above.

The study below is one of the more important, because it opened up the door for more research into the link between organic foods and health.

Association of Frequency of Organic Food Consumption With Cancer Risk: Findings From the NutriNet-Santé Prospective Cohort Study

JAMA Intern Med 2018 Dec 1;178(12):1597-1606.

doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.4357.

This large population based study showed that a higher frequency of organic food consumption was associated with a reduced risk of cancer.


Importance: Although organic foods are less likely to contain pesticide residues than conventional foods, few studies have examined the association of organic food consumption with cancer risk.

Objective: To prospectively investigate the association between organic food consumption and the risk of cancer in a large cohort of French adults.

Design, setting, and participants: In this population-based prospective cohort study among French adult volunteers, data were included from participants with available information on organic food consumption frequency and dietary intake. For 16 products, participants reported their consumption frequency of labeled organic foods (never, occasionally, or most of the time). An organic food score was then computed (range, 0-32 points). The follow-up dates were May 10, 2009, to November 30, 2016.

Main outcomes and measures: This study estimated the risk of cancer in association with the organic food score (modeled as quartiles) using Cox proportional hazards regression models adjusted for potential cancer risk factors.

Results: Among 68 946 participants (78.0% female; mean [SD] age at baseline, 44.2 [14.5] years), 1340 first incident cancer cases were identified during follow-up, with the most prevalent being 459 breast cancers, 180 prostate cancers, 135 skin cancers, 99 colorectal cancers, 47 non-Hodgkin lymphomas, and 15 other lymphomas. High organic food scores were inversely associated with the overall risk of cancer (hazard ratio for quartile 4 vs quartile 1, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.63-0.88; P for trend = .001; absolute risk reduction, 0.6%; hazard ratio for a 5-point increase, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.88-0.96).

Conclusions and relevance: A higher frequency of organic food consumption was associated with a reduced risk of cancer. If these findings are confirmed, further research is necessary to determine the underlying factors involved in this association.

Effects of Glyphosate and Roundup™ on the mammalian nervous system: A review

Environ Res. 2022 Jul 19;113933. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.113933. Online ahead of print.


Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup™, the most widely used herbicide in the world. Glyphosate targets an essential enzyme in plants that is not found in animals. However, both glyphosate and Roundup™ are rated as Group 2 A, probably human carcinogens, and also have documented effects on reproduction, acting as endocrine disruptive chemicals. We have reviewed reports of the effects of glyphosate and Roundup™ on the mammalian nervous system function. As with several other herbicides, Roundup™ exposure has been associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease and death of neurons in the substantia nigra. There is also some evidence implicating Roundup™ in elevated risk of autism. Other studies have shown the effects of Roundup™ on synaptic transmission in animal and cellular studies. The major mechanism of action appears to be oxidative stress, accompanied by mitochondrial dysfunction. In addition, some gut bacteria utilize the enzyme used by plants, and glyphosate and Roundup™ use has been shown to alter the gut microbiome. There is a large and growing body of evidence that the gut microbiome alters susceptibility to great number of human diseases, including nervous system function. The weight of the evidence indicates that in addition to cancer and reproductive effects, glyphosate and Roundup™ have significant adverse effects on the brain and behavior and increase the risk of at least some serious neurological diseases.

The impact and toxicity of glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides on health and immunity

J Immunotoxicol 2020 Dec;17(1):163-174. doi: 10.1080/1547691X.2020.1804492


Glyphosate, or N-phosphomethyl(glycine), is an organophosphorus compound and a competitive inhibitor of the shikimate pathway that allows aromatic amino acid biosynthesis in plants and microorganisms. Its utilization in broad-spectrum herbicides, such as RoundUp®, has continued to increase since 1974; glyphosate, as well as its primary metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid, is measured in soils, water, plants, animals and food. In humans, glyphosate is detected in blood and urine, especially in exposed workers, and is excreted within a few days. It has long been regarded as harmless in animals, but growing literature has reported health risks associated with glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides. In 2017, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic” in humans. However, other national agencies did not tighten their glyphosate restrictions and even prolonged authorizations of its use. There are also discrepancies between countries’ authorized levels, demonstrating an absence of a clear consensus on glyphosate to date. This review details the effects of glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides on fish and mammal health, focusing on the immune system. Increasing evidence shows that glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides exhibit cytotoxic and genotoxic effects, increase oxidative stress, disrupt the estrogen pathway, impair some cerebral functions, and allegedly correlate with some cancers. Glyphosate effects on the immune system appear to alter the complement cascade, phagocytic function, and lymphocyte responses, and increase the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in fish. In mammals, including humans, glyphosate mainly has cytotoxic and genotoxic effects, causes inflammation, and affects lymphocyte functions and the interactions between microorganisms and the immune system. Importantly, even as many outcomes are still being debated, evidence points to a need for more studies to better decipher the risks from glyphosate and better regulation of its global utilization.

Thyroid Cancer and Pesticide Use in a Central California Agricultural Area: A Case Control Study

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2022 Jul 26;dgac413.

Objective: To examine environmental factors that influence risk of thyroid cancer.

Methods: We performed a case-control study utilizing thyroid cancer cases from the California Cancer Registry (1999-2012) and controls sampled in a population-based manner. Study participants were included if they were diagnosed with thyroid cancer, lived in the study area at their time of diagnosis, and were ≥35 years of age. Controls were recruited from the same area and eligible to participate if they were ≥35 years of age and had been living in California for at least 5 years prior to the interview. We examined residential exposure to 29 agricultural use pesticides, known to cause DNA damage in vitro or are known endocrine disruptors. We employed a validated geographic information system-based system to generate exposure estimates for each participant.

Results: Our sample included 2067 cases and 1003 controls. In single pollutant models and within a 20-year exposure period, 10 out of 29 selected pesticides were associated with thyroid cancer, including several of the most applied pesticides in the United States such as paraquat dichloride [odds ratio (OR): 1.46 (95% CI: 1.23, 1.73)], glyphosate [OR: 1.33 (95% CI: 1.12, 1.58)], and oxyfluorfen [OR: 1.21 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.43)]. Risk of thyroid cancer increased proportionately to the total number of pesticides subjects were exposed to 20 years before diagnosis or interview. In all models, paraquat dichloride was associated with thyroid cancer. (Paraquat (Gramoxone) is one of the most widely used herbicides in the United States).

Conclusions: Our study provides first evidence in support of the hypothesis that residential pesticide exposure from agricultural applications is associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer.

Glyphosate infiltrates the brain and increases pro-inflammatory cytokine TNFα: implications for neurodegenerative disorders

J Neuroinflammation . 2022 Jul 28;19(1):193. doi: 10.1186/s12974-022-02544-5.

This paper is complex – so bear with my analysis.


This work demonstrates that glyphosate (Roundup) is capable of infiltrating brain tissue in a mouse model, and that exposure results in increased levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNFα. Additionally, the study found that glyphosate dosages similar to those detected in the mouse brain in vivo are capable of increasing Aβ40-42 levels and reducing cell viability in vitro in primary cortical neurons.

Brain glyphosate correlates with increased TNFα levels, suggesting that exposure to this herbicide may trigger neuro-inflammation in the brain, which may induce changes that are seen in neurodegenerative disorders. This is further supported by RNA sequences findings showing dysregulation of important oligodendrocyte processes known to be affected by elevated levels of TNFα. Oligodendrocytes are a type of neuroglia whose main functions are to provide support and insulation to axons in the central nervous system of some vertebrates.

(Jill immediately speculated on the relationship between glyphosate and multiple sclerosis (MS). The role of oligodendrocytes in the regeneration of demyelinating disease is well documented, as myelin is regenerated by newly generated oligodendrocytes. Ergo – could there be a link between MS onset and prolonged or acute exposure to glyphosate?

Collectively, as a large subset of the population has been exposed to this chemical agent, these results raise the issues of detrimental effects glyphosate exposure may have on the brain and human health.

(To date, there are few clinical or epidemiological studies (with humans) conducted on this topic and those that have been conducted have not yet found a link between neurodegenerative diseases and glyphosate).

Pre-harvest crop desiccation refers to the application of an agent to a crop just before harvest to kill the leaves and/or plants so that the crop dries out from environmental conditions (“dry-down”) more quickly and evenly.

Roundup for Breakfast, Part 2: In New Tests, Weed Killer Found in All Kids’ Cereals Sampled

Findings Released as Major Scientific Study Shows Eating Organic Lowers Cancer Risk

WASHINGTON – A second round of tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group found the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer in every sample of popular oat-based cereal and other oat-based food marketed to children. These test results fly in the face of claims by two companies, Quaker and General Mills, which have said there is no reason for concern. This is because, they say, their products meet the legal standards.

Yet almost all of the samples tested by EWG had residues of glyphosate at levels higher than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety. The EWG findings of a chemical identified as probably carcinogenic by the World Health Organization come on the heels of a major study published in JAMA Internal Medicine that found a significant reduction in cancer risk for individuals who ate a lot of organic food.One of the most insidious uses of roundup, is as a desiccant for cereal and vegetable oil crops.

Yes, using roundup as a desiccant for crops “is a thing.” Although farmers in the USA are somewhat sensitized to the issue, there are no controls on imported cereal grains and oil crops. In particular, corn, soy and oats harvesting often includes the use of a dessicant, such as Roundup.

As an example of how roundup as a desiccant is used, this trade organization brochure lays out the procedures and reasons why it is encouraged.

Roundup Use Pre-harvest – Why desiccate with Roundup?

So, there you have it.

Should you try to buy organic food? Is it worth the investment?

My scientific opinion is that eating organic foods is worth the investment.

My advice: you are only given one life, one body – use it wisely.

Why you want to use only organic herbs and spices



Why you want to use only organic herbs and spices


I’ve been using organic herbs and spices since we primarily started eating organically. It’s been a huge health boon to our entire family.

Why is it so important to use organic herbs and spices?

Spicely Organics says,

“#1: No Pesticides

At the most basic level, spices and herbs come from plants. Spices, which are dried plant parts (bark, roots, fruits, etc.), and herbs, fresh or dried plant leaves, are highly concentrated and super-rich sources of healthy plant compounds. However, when potent toxic pesticides enter the mix, it becomes questionable as to whether your spices are more healthful or harmful.

#2: No Irradiation or Harmful Chemicals

All foodstuffs must undergo sanitation steps that eliminate deadly pathogens. Many conventional herbs and spices often undergo sterilization via irradiation, which preserves the food, but also creates carcinogenic by-products. An alternative technique commonly used requires the use of ethylene oxide, a toxic chemical that has been associated with central nervous system effects and cancer. Both processes are banned in several other countries.

Unlike the aforementioned methods, the third way to clean spices, via steam sterilization, is compliant with organic standards. Saturated steam, under high pressure, kills microorganisms without damaging the vital properties of the plant, like enzymes, polyphenols and antioxidants – and without the use of any harmful chemicals.

#3: No Fillers, GMOs or Chemical Additives

Finally, conventional spices often contain fillers, preservatives and artificial flavors to enhance flavor that may have been lost in the manufacturing process. You won’t have to worry about these questionable additives, nor genetic modification, with organic product.

Overall, I encourage you to understand as much about all of your food as possible, and, yes, that includes your turmeric and tarragon. Fill your cabinets with spices that promote health, rather than detract from it, and feel confident in everything you put in your body.”



The pesticides and irradiation are of particular concern to me.

I was recently introduced to Penzeys. They have some wonderful herb and spice blends and the company does a lot of community service. There are so many blends that I’d love to use but they’re not organic.

If you use organic herbs and spices and especially if you like Penzeys brand, take a minute and write to their owner, Bill and copy their help desk and ask them to please make their great blends in organic versions – if enough of us ask, hopefully they’ll listen and give us their wonderful blends in organic versions.

[email protected]

[email protected]


Here are some places I currently get my organic herbs and spices:







Unbroken Ground – short documentary

Great video about farmers who are doing it right. Revolutions start from the bottom!


Unbroken Ground from Patagonia Provisions on Vimeo.

Our food choices are deeply connected to climate change. Food will play a critical role in the next frontier of our efforts to solve the environmental crisis.
Join us to celebrate the release of Unbroken Ground, a compelling new film by Chris Malloy that explores four areas of agriculture that aim to change our relationship to the land and oceans. Following the 25 minute film, hear from a panel of speakers and taste Patagonia Provisions’ organic food sourced from our partners featured in the film.

You can see this film subtitled in Japanese, Korean or Spanish – simply click on the ‘CC’ button in the video player controls above.

Wendell Berry on His Hopes for Humanity

Wonderful interview with Wendell Berry. He’s talking about sustainable farming and what we can do in the world. Very inspiring!



March Against Monsanto

This is happening May 25th all over the world. Find a march near you and let’s all get out there and stand up for our food supply!

More info at:

This is from the site, also has the FB and other links to find a march near you.

How The March Against Monsanto Can (and will) Change The World

Note: I hosted a special radio show on  5/22/13, on The Anti-Media Radio where we went into more depth on all of these fundamental building blocks of the Food Revolution which included a panel of experts from each field I listed in this article. Please listen here here:
by Nick Bernabe
March Against Monsanto
How The March Against Can And Will Change The World
The March Against Monsanto was started by a handful of millenials with a passion for change, a passion that we all have within us. Many people make the mistake of looking for someone to make change for them when the real change in this world comes from within. The top-down approach for making the world a better place, i.e. electing politicians to do our bidding has come and gone, with little success. There’s a revolution happening right before our eyes, and before I had the opportunity to help with the world-wide March Against Monsanto, I was largely oblivious to this sea change that is coming. The rules of change, of activism, of consciousness, and of helping people are being rewritten by you and me, one connection at a time. The new revolution of good is coming from the grass-roots and making its way upward; this bottom-up effect is exactly what those who would like to see us silent are afraid of.
This new way of media and activism cannot be controlled by the likes of corporations or governments; these are ideas and they cannot be stopped. This new paradigm shift starts with you, your friends and family, and the way you can connect with people around you; the way information is disseminated makes all the difference in this new paradigm. The mainstream media controls 95% of the information  that we see, from television to newspapers, to magazines. This is the top-down technique, where you have no choice but to consume what’s being served, making for a fickle population that was manipulated by commercials and where money made the major difference between a bill passing or failing, and a politician being elected or losing. The new media  is a media of choice, where people can choose to get information on a topic that they choose. What does this mean? This means that a person that participates in the new media is more passionate, better informed, in turn a much more valuable asset to a social movement. These people are well versed in the information, founded in fact, and immune to the manipulation of a mainstream media establishment that is 90% owned by 6 monopolistic corporations. These new activists are warriors for truth and justice, and for those currently controlling the agenda, this can be a scary situation.
You see, the government and corporations are ingrained into the establishment; they’re comfortable in their positions. This will be their downfall. History and science have shown that the comfortable devolve and the oppressed evolve; struggle is the essence of innovation and of change. This is why good always prevails over bad. The March Against Monsanto has grown beyond my wildest dreams; a few months ago it was just an idea. It has grown into a full blown movement and the people that started it wouldn’t be able to stop if they wanted. You see, the people have taken over the March, the decentralization has come in a natural way, an intuitive way. Movements can no longer be over-centralized, as over-centralization is detrimental to any organization, institution, business and government. The new paradigm which is forming will be driven by people who care, not people who care for power. The old idea of inorganic manipulation, which used to be the norm, has fallen to the side in favor of this new movement of information: this new Revolution. Information is spreading in grass-roots, open source fashion, all the old rules are being thrown out.
How the March AgainstMonsanto can and will change the world. The beginning of the Food Revolution.
The March does not and cannot end on May 25, 2013. For many of the participants in the March Against Monsanto, this is their first protest or march that they have ever taken part of. This movement has awakened a very large group of people that care about their food supply and care about other people’s food supply. These courageous marchers have put aside all of their political and ideological differences to stand in solidarity for what is right.How do we carry on this March Against Monsanto, this new food revolution passed the 25th?

Capture the momentum of this movement and harness it at the local level. Keep your local march network alive and growing.
All of the connections that you are making in your local areas, all of the people you are meeting through the organizing, planning, and marching process must be kept active for this march to have a lasting effect. If we just march on the 25th and nothing more, then the movement ends right then and there. Each event page for each local city is full of great contacts, activists, and people that care. Compile these lists, make email lists, start a newsletter, make a local Facebook page and keep the pressure on to continue this fight. Pass around signup sheets at your local marches to collect emails. Even if you don’t have a plan of action for what to do with the emails you compile, put them into a spread sheet and save them until you figure it out. I recommend that once your march is over on Saturday evening that you change the Date of your local Facebook event to 5/24/14; this will keep the event page up and will make it easier to access your local food revolutionaries. Use open source organizing techniques to lower the burden and to keep your local movement decentralized. Using an open platform will make it easier for your local community and activists to add information into your spread sheets, email lists, and other data rich documents. Monsanto is not going away without a fight: They’ve been around for over 100 years and deeply entrenched in the political establishment of both parties.
After the March, take real steps to improve your food fate locally. Remember that people on a low or fixed income don’t have a choice to eat organic with their given incomes.
It’s not enough to simply tell people to eat organic, or vote for initiatives that will label GMOs. The very first thing you can do is plant your own garden. If you have the space, plant a garden larger than what you need to feed your family and help someone that is less fortunate with some fresh homegrown food from your garden. What if you don’t have a yard to plant in? One option is growing indoors. There is a growing industry of indoor gardeners that are starting to change the way we think about gardening through the use of

hydroponics . You should be able to find a local hydroponics store near you and get it all set up and growing food for a couple hundred dollars. There are also plenty of online retailers of indoor growing equipment; try Craigslist if you’re on a tight budget. What if you don’t have a yard and growing indoors in not an option for you? At this point we need to look to our fellow local activists from the March Against Monsanto.

Community gardens are a great way to bring in a fresh and organic food source into an urban area. Find a plot of land that is vacant or belongs to the local city, find out who is on charge of it and get the ball rolling on starting a community garden. Enlist some people that you have met though the march to help you physically, technically, and financially. Look to the local community to crowd source labor and resources. If none of these are an option for you, there’s still hope for you within the food revolution. Share cropping is a way of getting some space to grow a garden that you can secure for free or a very low cost. Many urban sharecroppers will offer free food from the garden to the land owner in exchange for offering them some space to grow a garden. Share cropping is just like a community garden on a smaller scale. If you live in an area where there are many small yards with space available, think about setting up a sharecropping co-op where food can be traded and shared for little or no money. Always remember that the low income community is at the highest risk of GMO and chemical exposure from their food. Look into new technologies and techniques when setting up your new gardens. Vertical gardeningis great way to maximize limited space a make your garden virtually maintenance free. There’s an ancient technique of hydroponics that is just being rediscovered and developed: aquaponics.


Aquaponics is arguably the most efficient way to grow organic vegetables…and edible fish at the same time. This technique has been around for hundreds if not thousands of years, but new attention is being brought to aquaponics because of its efficiency and ability to grow both edible fish and vegetation. A Wisconsin man was able to grow over one million pounds of food in one year by utilizing these new and innovative growing techniques.
There are many forms of activism that we can use to improve our food fate and continue the food revolution. The March Against Monsanto is a perfect example of a mass movement that disseminates information to millions of people, awakening the masses to the injustices of the world. Activism can be done on a much smaller scale and many different ways. As I detailed earlier, the networks are being rebuilt in a new, more just way. Utilize your new local network of activists to keep pressure on local politicians and hold them to their promises. Organize mass emailing and mass calling to their offices when a critical vote is about to be made. Let them hear your voice amplified by your entire network. Build relationships with other activists from other causes, reach out to other interests and help support them, and they will support you. Spreading awareness is key to the food revolution; many people don’t know what GMOs are, let alone know the negative effects on their health and environment that they cause.
Mobilize your local activist network often and keep them engaged in the community; you are the leaders of this movement! It’s up to you to let your neighbors know what’s in their food and how they can make real world progress to take their food back. These techniques can also be replicated on the national and global level, which is why it’s important for you to stay connected to the national MAM campaign. We can find and spot things like the Monsanto Protection Act before they are passed into law and put out a call to action to all the local networks to help us get them stopped.
Support alternative media
Remember seeing the warnings about the dangers of the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ on MSNBC and FOX News before it became a law? Me neither. That’s because there was no warning from the mainstream media; in fact very few have even covered it to this day. We did find out about this bill when it was only a proposal from multiple reports by independent journalists, including SpreadLibertyNews on 12/17/12. The pattern that we see from the mainstream is a dangerous one. As I noted earlier, over 90% of the media is owned by 6 companies, and just like Monsanto, these companies have also slipped into bed with the government.
Comedians have become the only mainstream media sources that are willing to challenge the establishment’s political and economic might. Yet pundits like Jon Stewart who have been shown in polls to be more trusted for news than some major news outlets, only bring light to these harmful pieces of legislation after they are already passed into law. This is why supporting and finding alternative news sources is so important: Do you want to find out about harmful legislation before it’s passed while we still have time to mobilize and try to stop them, or do you want to find out about it on TV when it’s too late? Find and support independent journalists on sites like that aggregate news from many diverse sources, find the ones you like and subscribe to their posts.
The mainstream media has major interests in other industries, including military adventurism and yes you guessed it, GMOs. In a court ruling in 2003, it was determined that news companies can legally lie to their viewers and readers. The case was brought about when two FOX News journalists tried to publish a report about the negative health effects of Monsanto’s bovine growth hormone (BGH) and were subsequently fired when they refused to censor their story to fit FOX’s agenda. Supporting alternative media is key in decentralizing our supply of unbiased information and getting news from sources that do not have billion-dollar agendas, finding like-minded activists, and keeping the pressure on politicians who seek to only enrich themselves and their corporate lackeys.

Note: I hosted a special radio show on  5/22/13, on The Anti-Media Radio where we went into more depth on all of these fundamental building blocks of the Food Revolution which included a panel of experts from each field I listed in this article. Please listen here here:

Real Food Summit!

Click the image for more info – Mom

GMO Labeling in the News

GMO Labeling in the News




Some great articles this week and a wonderful YouTube video too.  Mom



How California’s GM food referendum may change what America eats

The vast majority of Americans want genetically modified food labelled. If California passes November’s ballot, they could get it


In the US, an estimated 70% of items on supermarket shelves contain GM ingredients, commonly corn, soy and canola oil products. Photograph: David Sillitoe/Guardian

Last month, nearly 1m signatures were delivered to county registrars throughout California calling for a referendum on the labeling of genetically engineered foods. If the measure, “The Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act”, which will be on the ballot in November, passes, California will become the first state in the nation to require that GM foods be labeled as such on the package.

This is not the first time that the issue has come up in California. Several labeling laws have been drafted there, but none has made it out of legislative committee. Lawmakers in states like Vermont and Connecticut have also proposed labeling legislation, which has gone nowhere in the face of stiff industry opposition. And the US Congress has likewise seen sporadic, unsuccessful attempts to mandate GM food labeling since 1999.

What makes the referendum in California different is that, for the first time, voters and not politicians will be the ones to decide. And this has the food industry worried. Understandably so, since only one in four Americans is convinced that GMOs are “basically safe”, according to a survey conducted by the Mellman Group, and a big majority wants food containing GMOs to be labeled.

This is one of the few issues in America today that enjoys broad bipartisan support: 89% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats want genetically altered foods to be labeled, as they already are in 40 nations in Europe, in Brazil, and even in China. In 2007, then candidate Obama latched onto this popular issue saying that he would push for labeling – a promise the president has yet to keep.

In Europe, only 5% of food sold contains GMOs, a figure that continues to shrink. In the US, by contrast, an estimated 70% of the products on supermarket shelves include at least traces of genetically engineered crops – mostly, corn and soy byproducts and canola oil, which are ingredients in many of America’s processed foods.

Given their unpopularity with consumers, labeling “Frankenfoods” would undoubtedly hurt sales, possibly even forcing supermarkets to take them off their shelves. In one survey, just over half of those polled said they would not buy food that they knew to be genetically modified.

Read more here:


This Hidden Food Poisons Your Family – Ignore These Cooked Up Lies

June 14 2012
By Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins

What do a former mouthpiece for tobacco and big oil, a corporate-interest PR flack, and the regional director of a Monsanto-funded tort reform group have in common?

They’re all part of the anti-labeling PR team that will soon unleash a massive advertising and PR campaign in California, designed to scare voters into rejecting the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Acti.

In November, California voters will vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a law to require mandatory labeling of all genetically engineered ingredients in processed foods, and ban the routine industry practice of mislabeling foods containing genetically engineered ingredients as ‘natural.’ Polls show that nearly 90 percent of the state’s voters plan to vote ‘yes.’ But when November rolls around, will voter support still be strong? Not if the biotech, agribusiness, and food manufacturers industries can help it.

It’s estimated that the opposition will spend $60 – $100 million to convince voters that genetically engineered foods are perfectly safeii. They’ll try to scare voters into believing that labeling will make food more expensive, that it will spark hundreds of lawsuits against small farmers and small businesses, and that it will contribute to world hunger.

None of this is true. On the contrary, studies suggest just the opposite.

Here’s what is true: The opposition has lined up some heavy-hitters and industry-funded front groups — masquerading as “grassroots” organizations — to help spin their anti-labeling propaganda machine. You have the right to know what’s in your food. You also have the right to know who is working tirelessly to prevent you from ever having that right – and who is signing their paychecks. Here’s a partial lineup of hired guns and organizations behind the anti-labeling advertising blitz soon to hit the California airwaves:

Tom Hiltachk: Monsanto’s Man in California

Tom Hiltachk is the PR gunslinger behind the Coalition Against the Costly Food Labeling Proposition (CACFLP), an anti-labeling front group. A partner at the Sacramento-based lobbying firm Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, Hiltachk is no stranger to front groups. With a little help from his friends at Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds, he helped organize the Californians for Smokers’ Rights group to fight anti-smoking initiatives in the 1980s and 1990siii.

He also helped form the Californians for Fair Business Policyiv – a so-called “grassroots” organization, but actually a front group to mobilize business opposition to anti-smoking initiatives. That organization was funded by an “academic” front groupv – the Claremont Institute – which was in turn funded by tobacco companies.

Hitachk also has ties to Big Oil, including a colorful history with California’s Proposition 23, a conservative-backed ballot initiative launched – and defeated – in 2010.

The initiative, supported by Big Oil, would have repealed California’s clean energy and climate laws. Hiltachk was initially an ally of Ted Costa, a veteran right-wing activist behind many conservative initiatives, including Prop 23, and head of the group People’s Advocatevi. But that relationship soured, according to ThinkProgress.orgvii, when Costa realized that Hiltachk’s main motivation was to funnel the $50 million that he hoped would be raised from oil companies and the Chamber of Commerce to himself and his friends.

Coalition Against Costly Food Labeling Proposition

The Coalition Against Costly Food Labeling Proposition (CACFLP)viii runs a website called, giving the impression that this is a group concerned about protecting consumers’ wallets. But the website lists only one consumer group in its coalition – Consumers Coalition of California. A search of the site turns up nothing on this group.

According to the coalitions’ 2009 990-Form published on, this Torrance, California-based coalition describes itself as: “Research and oriented community education studies and info for residential and small businesses advocating on issues affecting major legislation.” The group has no website.

No other national or California-based consumer groups are listed on the CACFLP site.

CACFLP’s website does list some powerhouse coalition members, however, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), whose members also include Monsanto, BASF, Bayer, Dow and Syngenta, as well as many large food processors and supermarket chains, and the Council for Biotechnology Information (CBI) , whose members include Monsanto, BASF, Bayer, Dow and Syngenta. Both groups are based in Washington DC. As of March, the GMA and the CBI had contributed a combined $625,000 to the CACFLPix – presumably to “protect” consumers from GMO labeling. Both groups have publicly opposed this initiativex.

Monsanto recently made the following statement in support of CACFLPxi:

“Monsanto is part of a growing coalition of California farmers, food producers, grocers, retailers, and others which has been formed to oppose the California measure. As a member of both GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Association) and BIO (Biotechnology Industry Organization), we support the organizations’ involvement in the California campaign to oppose the costly and extreme measure.”

Read more here:


And Oregon is starting up a ballot initiative too!

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Real Food and GMOs in the News

GMOs and Real Food in the News

Lot of great things going on in the news this week. Enjoy!  Mom


Goodbye, Factory Farm: ‘Food, Inc.’ Chicken Farmer Goes Rogue

Fed up with the horrific conditions, former Perdue contractor Carole Morison has started a humane, free-range farm.

By Megan Bedard

May 7, 2012

“Know where your food comes from and how it got to your table. Know your farmer!” says Carole Morison, a proud new free-range farm owner. (Photo: Carole Morison)

When Food, Inc.—a documentary exposing the highly mechanized food industry—hit theaters in 2008, it left many Americans feeling queasy about the unsavory methods that bring food to their plates. Carole Morison, a Maryland chicken farmer under contract with Perdue Farms, was featured prominently in the film. “I’ve just made up my mind I’m gonna say what I have to say,” she says in the film, before opening the door to her henhouse to expose the filthy, overcrowded conditions of her factory-style farm.

Five years after filming, she’s a long way from that moment. When her contract with Perdue Farm was terminated (the company ended the relationship when Carole and her husband refused an “upgrade” that would have closed the chickens off from sunlight and fresh air) Carole and her husband left the factory farming system in the dust and started a humane, free range farm.

So what’s different? Pretty much everything.

Why Hasn’t the FDA Banned Arsenic in Chicken Feed?

TakePart: Five years ago, when Food, Inc. was being filmed, you were already visibly disgusted by the conditions on your farm and the pressures put on you by Perdue. What finally pushed you over the edge and inspired your change?

Carole Morison: Becoming disgusted with the conditions on the farm and the pressures from Perdue was a gradual buildup of things until the final questioning of myself: “How did I get like this?”

I wasn’t born a farmer; I married a farmer. In the beginning I thought that the way we were raising chickens was the only way it was done. About five years into contract farming, I started questioning the conditions that farmers were forced into through the contracts. I learned early that you weren’t supposed to talk about it—at least not publicly. A well-meaning friend of my husband said at that time that I needed to put a lid on it or we would lose our contract. Having not grown up in the system, it was impossible for me to understand that we weren’t allowed to speak or that we had no say over how we operated our farm and the raising of the chickens. Looking back, I can remember us sitting at the kitchen table talking about the system and actually lowering our voices as if someone might hear.  It’s humorous now, but at the time the fear was real.

Picking up dead chickens and having to kill many that weren’t thrifty or uniform in the size that the company wanted was a daily chore. It was disheartening. There was never any choice in the matter or the option to give the animal a chance. The culling [killing] of chickens was something that I could never bring myself to do; I always left it for my husband. I do believe in euthanizing animals that are suffering or don’t stand a chance of survival; however, I don’t believe in killing animals just because they don’t measure up to the cookie cutter demands by industry.

TakePart: What other kinds of demands does the industry put on you? Can you describe how they affected your farm?

Carole Morison: Industry mixing and matching of breeds and genetics produces chickens that meet consumer demands, such as large breasts. Chickens which grow at such a rapid weight that they reach slaughter within six to seven weeks enable the companies to produce pounds of meat quickly. Watching these chickens grow to the point that they couldn’t take more than a few steps and then plop down in exhaustion or had bad legs because their bones couldn’t support the weight was normal. Many would flip over and die from heart attacks.

The control over our farm and constant demands for upgrades to housing and equipment infuriated me. It was as if we had turned our bank account over to the company and they had a blank check. If we didn’t allow the company to spend our money for us, the threat of contract termination was used as the enforcer. Many times I had to bite my tongue to not tell the company men to put the contract where the sun doesn’t shine. When both of us had to get off-farm jobs in order to support the farm and put food on the table, it made absolutely no sense to me. It was like we were supporting a very expensive habit that we could do without.

TakePart: How did you cope with something you knew was wrong?

Carole Morison: I became numb to these things in order to cope on a daily basis. If I blocked it from my mind, then I didn’t have to feel bad about the things we were forced to do in order to survive. Pride and stubbornness are farmer traits, and losing the family farm is not on the “to-do list.”

TakePart: So industry demands were obviously upsetting you. What else did you see as problematic about the poultry industry?

Carole Morison: Industry handling of environmental issues over runoff from manure and overloading of nutrients boggled my mind and still does to this day. Absolute denial by industry was followed by passing all of the blame to farmers. I have never understood how the companies can claim ownership of the flock of chickens on the farm (a written clause in the contract) and then take no responsibility of the manure that their chickens produce. The only time that the chickens belong to the farmer is when they are dead. I’ve always said that when the time comes that chicken manure is worth money, the companies will assume ownership.

When antibiotic-resistant bacteria and other public-health issues emerged, I knew in my mind that the culprit was the industry. Finding out that arsenic was in the feed that the company sends (which the farmer has to use—another contract item) infuriated me. It had been going on for years. Unknowingly we were spreading manure containing arsenic on our land as well as being exposed to it on a daily basis from the dust and feed in the chicken house. I went ballistic wondering how our right to know didn’t figure into the equation.

Read the rest here:


Creating Sustainable Agriculture Without Government Subsidies

An interview with “Christian-conservative-libertarian-environmentalist-lunatic” Joel Salatin

Baylen Linnekin | May 5, 2012

I first met farmer, author, entrepreneur, thinker, and self-described “Christian-conservative-libertarian-environmentalist-lunatic” Joel Salatin at his rural Virginia farm, Polyface, in 2009. We sat in rocking chairs in his home office and talked about everything from food and agriculture to law, regulations, and the Bill of Rights.

I’ve seen Salatin several times since—in Washington, DC, and Little Rock, Arkansas and, most recently, back at his farm—and have even invoked his unsubsidized farming practices to argue that he and farmers like him should serve as the model for supporters of sustainable agriculture—meaning farming that eschews government subsidies while both minimizing environmental impacts and also turning a profit.

Salatin’s books include Everything I Want to Do is Illegal, probably the best book on the crushing regulatory burden faced by small- and medium-sized farmers in America. In his most recent work, Folks, This Ain’t Normal, Salatin takes a broader look at what once was normal and how a modern society like ours can still embrace elements of traditional normalcy without resigning ourselves to a Luddite future.

What follows below, the result of an interview I conducted with Salatin by email in late April and early May, are Salatin’s thoughts on everything from farm subsidies to intern labor, and from the War on Drugs to which fast food joints he’s eaten at over the years. Oh, and Salatin reveals which home-cooked meal makes him say “yum.”

Full Disclosure: Salatin is a member and supporter of my nonprofit, Keep Food Legal.

Reason: You recently posted your response to a column by James McWilliams, a professor and vegan and the author of the anti-locavorism book Just Food. McWilliams claimed only a vegan diet can save the planet. You responded in part that the farming practices you employ are often better for the environment than those touted by McWilliams. The thing about the conversation that interests me most is not whether either of you is objectively correct. Rather, it’s your competing visions of how to build a better food system. Should the government take sides in this debate by implementing particular policies that favor your views? Or should the government just allow this debate to flourish in the marketplace of ideas?

Joel Salatin: I think the government should allow this debate to flourish in the marketplace of ideas. The government entered this debate in the early 1970s by publishing the first food pyramid, a guide for what Americans should eat. The obesity and diabetes epidemic in this country are a direct result of that intrusion, sponsored and massaged along by the grain cartel and big ag, from chemical companies to equipment dealers. Grain requires more machinery, more energy, and more risk (hence justification for manipulation) than pasture based livestock, and especially forage-based herbivores.

In the last 50 years, Americans have doubled their consumption of wheat. Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are direct results of American agriculture policy and specifically the government’s wading into the food arena. Eliminating government involvement stimulates people to inform themselves and actively participate in the discussion. As soon as the credentialed officials enter the fray, the average person withdraws to let the experts figure it out, which always leads to ubiquitous ignorance.

Reason: How do you make money without federal government subsidies?

Salatin: In general, we run the farm like a business instead of a welfare recipient and we adhere to historically-validated patterns. For example, instead of buying petroleum fertilizer, we self-generate fertilizer with our own carbon and manures through large scale composting, which we turn with pigs (pigaerators) rather than machinery. Letting the animals do the work takes the capital-intensive depreciable infrastructure out of the equation and creates profitability that is size-neutral.

Read the rest here:



Something Historical is About to Happen – But Your Participation is Critical

May 01 2012 | 189,991 views | 183 comments |


Visit the Mercola Video Library

Story at-a-glance

  • Between May 1 and May 26, a broad coalition of food, farming, health groups, and organic food manufacturers, will attempt to raise one million dollars to defeat Monsanto propaganda and get the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act on the ballot for November 6, and passed into law.
  • Money raised in this Million Dollar Money Bomb on Monsanto campaign will support the California Ballot Initiative and other state GE-labeling campaigns.
  • If donations totaling $1 million is reached by May 26, a coalition of benefactors will MATCH it, bringing the Money Bomb to $2 million!

Related Links:


By Dr. Mercola

Mayday! Mayday!

I’m pleased to announce that the Money Bomb Against Monsanto has been officially launched!

Yes, it is official.

Volunteers and staff from the California Right to Know Campaign are submitting nearly 1 million signed petitions from registered voters across the state of California to county officials, to place Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act on the Ballot for November 6.

Starting May 1, and extending through May 26, a broad coalition of farmers, health groups, and organic food manufacturers, will attempt to raise one million dollars (i.e. “The Money Bomb”). Donations can be made online, via regular snail mail, and over the phone. All donations will support state GMO-labeling campaigns and their defense from biotech bully lawsuits.

The Right to Know Gentically Engineered Food Act

This Act will require food manufacturers to identify genetically engineered ingredients on the labels of foods sold in California.

When California voters pass this ballot initiative, the Label Genetically Engineered Food Act will also not allow the common practice of mislabeling genetically engineered foods as “natural” or “all natural.” It’s imperative to understand why this initiative is so important and how it can affect all Americans, regardless of where you live.

California has the eighth largest economy in the world, so passing a labeling law for genetically engineered foods in California can have the same impact as passing a federal law.

Large food companies are unlikely to accept having dual labeling; one for California and another for the rest of the country. It would be an expensive logistical nightmare, not to mention a massive PR problem.

To avoid the dual labeling, many would likely opt to not include using any genetically engineered ingredients in their product, especially if the new label would be the equivalent of a skull and crossbones. Those who opt not to replace GE ingredients from the get-go will likely find themselves unable to sell their products, as a majority of consumers reportedly will not buy foods once they know they’re genetically engineered. Unable to sell their products, such companies will eventually be forced to stop contaminating our food with genetically engineered ingredients, or risk going out of business.

This is what happened in Europe and over 40 countries around the world. It can happen in the U.S. This is why we can’t leave California to battle the biotech giants on their own. They need your help! Donating funds to this campaign may be the best money you’ll spend all year to safeguard your health, and the health of your children.

Do you know which foods are genetically engineered when you go grocery shopping for your family? Wouldn’t you want to know? Genetically engineered foods have been on the market since 1996. It’s time they tell us what’s in the food we’re eating on a daily basis. Making a generous donation to this campaign is the best chance every American has at this point to make that happen!

The Proverbial David versus Goliath

Naturally, the biotech industry is not about to let this pass without a fight. Monsanto, the Farm Bureau, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, along with corporate agribusiness, are all raising millions of dollars to spread their propaganda in an effort to defeat the California Ballot Initiative, just like they did a decade ago in Oregon. At that time, a cabal of corporate giants, including Monsanto and DuPont, calling themselves The Coalition Against the Costly Labeling Law, outspent the pro-labeling group 30-1, and successfully defeated the labeling initiative by scaring voters into believing that labeling genetically engineered foods was unnecessary and would raise food prices.

They did it again in Washington state last month, where campaign contributions to three of the eight politicians on the Senate Agriculture Committee—Democrat Brian Hatfield, and Republicans Jim Honeyford and Mark Schoesler—guaranteed the bill’s demise in committee. Right now, the biotech industry is also working to defeat similar GE labeling bills in Vermont, Hawaii, Connecticut, and other states. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, Monsanto spent $8 million on their lobbying efforts in 2010 alone, and gave more than $400,000 in political contributions. Monsanto also spent $120 million on advertising, to convince consumers that genetically engineered foods are safe – despite the overwhelming scientific evidence showing otherwise.

Let’s send them a message, loud and clear: We have the right to know what they put into our food!

You can do so by making a donation right now. The money will be used to counter the industry propaganda so that we can win this ballot.

We’re Dropping the Money Bomb!

About twenty years ago, the FDA decided to deny consumers the right to know whether their food was genetically altered or not. This shameful regulation was spearheaded by Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto lawyer who transferred into the offices of the FDA. Taylor is not the only ex-Monsanto employee that ended up in a position of power within the US federal government and its regulatory agencies, and this is precisely why previous efforts to get genetically engineered foods labeled have been blocked.

Not so this time!

Ballot Initiatives like the one in California is one way for citizens to take back control from compromised politicians and government officials and bypass them entirely. To sweeten the deal further, a group of “Right to Know” public interest organizations and organic companies have pledged to match the first million dollars raised in this nationwide “Drop the Money Bomb on Monsanto Campaign.”

So click here, and help us raise 1 million dollars to win this historic campaign! These “Right to Know” groups include:

  • The Organic Consumers Association
  • Food Democracy Now
  • Nature’s Path
  • Lundberg Family Farms
  • Eden Foods, and
  • The Organic Consumers Fund
  • Institute For Responsible Technology

Can We Win?

Yes, I believe we can! But we need to get the word out, which requires a strong campaign to educate the citizens of California to vote for the initiative on November 6. According to Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association, we stand a good chance of winning in California because:

  • This time, we have far more scientific information and greater public awareness on our side. GE contamination is now a mainstream media issue. Monsanto has become the most hated corporation in the world.
  • This time, we have overwhelming public support. Polls show that more than 8 out of 10 voters in California want mandatory GE labeling.
  • This time, we have built the strongest coalition of concerned food consumers in history, for the exclusive purpose of passing this law.

Read the rest and donate here:

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GMOs in the News

It’s Our Right to Know

If you live in California (and forward this to those you know who do!)

There is a GMO Labeling 2012 Ballot Initiative in the works.

Go to the site, and sign up to help and/or give a donation.


Can GMOs Help End World Hunger?

By John Robbins

Can genetically engineered foods help feed the hungry? Are anti-GMO activists and over-zealous environmentalists standing in the way of the hungry being fed?

The hope that GMO foods might bring solutions to malnutrition and world hunger was never more dramatically illustrated than when Time magazine ran a cover story titled “Grains of Hope.” The article joyfully announced the development of a genetically engineered “golden rice.” This new strain of GM rice has genes from viruses and daffodils spliced into its genetic instructions. The result is a form of rice that is a golden-yellow color (much like daffodil flowers), and that produces beta-carotene, which the human body normally converts into Vitamin A.

Nearly a million children die every year because they are weakened by Vitamin A deficiencies and an additional 350,000 go blind. Golden rice, said Time, will be a godsend for the half of humanity that depends on rice for its major staple. Merely eating this rice could prevent blindness and death.

The development of golden rice was, it seemed, compelling and inspiring evidence that GM crops are the answer to malnutrition and hunger. Time quoted former U.S. President Jimmy Carter: “Responsible biotechnology is not the enemy, starvation is.”

Shortly after the Time cover story, Monsanto and other biotechnology companies launched a $50 million marketing campaign, including $32 million in TV and print advertising. The ads, complete with soft focus fields and smiling children, said that “biotech foods could help end world hunger.”

Other ad campaigns have followed. One Monsanto ad tells the public: “Biotechnology is one of tomorrow’s tools in our hands today. Slowing its acceptance is a luxury our hungry world cannot afford.”

Within a few months, the biotech industry had spent far more on these ads than it had on developing golden rice. Their purpose? “Unless I’m missing something,” wrote Michael Pollan in The New York Times Magazine, “the aim of this audacious new advertising campaign is to impale people like me — well-off first-worlders dubious about genetically engineered food — on the horns of a moral dilemma … If we don’t get over our queasiness about eating genetically modified food, kids in the third world will go blind.”

The implication of the ads is that lifesaving food is being held hostage by anti-science activists.

In the years since Time proclaimed the promises of golden rice, however, we’ve learned a few things.

For one thing, we’ve learned that golden rice will not grow in the kinds of soil that it must to be of value to the world’s hungry. To grow properly, it requires heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides — expensive inputs unaffordable to the very people that the variety is supposed to help. And we’ve also learned that golden rice requires large amounts of water — water that might not be available in precisely those areas where Vitamin A deficiency is a problem, and where farmers cannot afford costly irrigation projects.

And one more thing — it turns out that golden rice doesn’t work, even in theory. Malnourished people are not able to absorb Vitamin A in this form. And even if they could, they’d have to eat an awful lot of the stuff. An 11-year-old boy would have to eat 27 bowls of golden rice a day in order to satisfy his minimum requirement for the vitamin.

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Voluntary non-GMO verification aids consumer choice in Boulder County

To label or not to label

By Cindy Sutter Camera Food Editor

Silk Soymilk and some of its other beverages recently completed the verification process of the Non-GMO Project.

Why the careful wording? Given the ubiquity of genetically modified organisms in some U.S. commodity crops — 93 percent of soybeans grown in the United State are genetically modified according to Craig Shiesley of Silk — no product is able to call itself completely free of GMOs. However, Silk and some other companies, such as Whole Foods with its 365 products, have sought to do is to get as close as possible, using a certification process from the non-profit Non-GMO Project, which holds products to a standard of 99.1 percent GMO free.

Shiesley, general manager of the Silk business, says the verification process for the company’s soymilk, coconut milk and almond milk took 12 to 14 months, a surprise for the company, which had always sourced non-GMO ingredients.

“The reason (the verification process) elevates this to another level if that it goes from verifying the ingredient to verifying the entire process,” Shiesley says. “For example, (it verifies) that there’s no cross contamination in the dehullers.”

GMO in the food supply

Currently labeling for GMOs is not required in the United States, as it is in European Union countries and Japan. The percentage of U.S. processed foods that include at least one genetically engineered food is estimated at about 60 to 70 percent, according to a 2010 fact sheet from Colorado State University. Even foods labeled as natural, a term that has no legal meaning, may contain genetically engineered crops; however, USDA certified organic foods forbid GMOs.

Do GMOs matter?

The answer depends on whom you talk to. Companies such as Monsanto, DuPont and Bayer that supply genetically engineered seed, say the crops, often engineered to be resistant to herbicides such as Monsanto’s Roundup, are nutritionally identical to non-modified crops. The U.S Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration agree with this position. They say the engineering allows them to grow crops more efficiently and with fewer, less toxic pesticides.

Opponents say the effects on human health and the environment have not been fully tested. They fear genetic modification may be involved in an increase in food allergies and other problems, and they say weeds may become resistant to herbicides, requiring more toxic herbicides to kill them.


In addition, they argue that a U.S. decision not to require products with GMOs to be labeled has kept consumers in the dark about how deeply genetically-engineered crops reach into the food chain. Surveys have shown that many consumers don’t know that they regularly consume genetically engineered foods. For retailers with a consciousness about food and how it’s produced, the lack of labeling means they have no way to verify GMOs in products unless the items are certified organic.

Mark Retzloff, president and chairman of Alfalfa’s, says the grocery has worked hard to verify that the canola and other oils in its bulk dispensers are not from made from genetically modified seed crops. The store has verified that the dairy products it stocks are from cows not dosed with hormones. However, unless the product is certified organic or has the new Non-GMO label, the store can’t verify if cows have been fed genetically-modifed grain. He is particularly concerned about genetically modified alfalfa, which the U.S. approved for use earlier this year. While certified organic milk producers won’t use it, the possibility of contamination through the cross-pollination of organic and GMO crops, as has happened with corn and soy is concerning, he says. In addition, as the genetically engineered seed becomes available, farmers may have a hard time buying non-GMO seed.

“From my own experience at Aurora Dairy, we buy about 40,000 to 50,000 tons of alfalfa hay. It’s all organic. If we start having trouble doing that, it restricts our ability to produce organic milk,” he says, adding that milk is a gateway product into organics for many consumers.

Whole Foods is currently putting its 365 brand products through Non-GMO verification. The products don’t currently carry the label. However, customers can go to Whole Food website and click to find Non-GMO certified products.

“It’s a significant focus of the company right now to work on verification,” says Ben Friedland, regional marketing coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Region.

Asked about the company’s position on GMOs, Friedland says: “We believe in farmers’ right to farm non-GMO crops and our customers’ right to choose whether they want GMOs. We work to provide opportunities for both our stakeholders,” Friedland says.

Shiesley of Silk says the Non-GMO verification is extremely valuable to his company. For the Silk products that are not organic — the company switched some of its Silk line from organic to natural in 2009, Shiesley says because the company wanted to source soybeans domestically — the non-GMO verification offers assurances.

Shiesley says he also believes the label will raise awareness.

“I hope we’re at a tipping point with consumer understanding toward Non-GMO,” he says. “Unlike organic labeling which went through legislation and took eight-plus years, the industry can self-regulate … I don’t think we can wait five years plus with this.”

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