Archive for the ‘Food Policy’ Category

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:

https://www.starwest-botanicals.com/

https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/

http://amzn.to/2x3COq1

 

Mom

 

 

 

 

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:

http://www.march-against-monsanto.com/

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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjxS7QJbmCY&feature=youtu.be
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.
Activism
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 TheAnti-Media.org 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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjxS7QJbmCY&feature=youtu.be

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:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/13/california-gm-referendum-change-america-food

 

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 stopcostlyfoodlabeling.com, 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 IRS.gov site turns up nothing on this group.

According to the coalitions’ 2009 990-Form published on Guidestar.org, 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: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/06/14/organizations-on-anti-gmo-labeling.aspx?e_cid=20120614_DNL_art_1

 

And Oregon is starting up a ballot initiative too!

http://www.oregonrighttoknow.org/

Read more, great Monday Mania posts here: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/monday-mania-6182012/

Read more, great Fat Tuesday posts here: http://realfoodforager.com/fat-tuesday-june-19-2012/

Read more, great Real Food Wednesday posts here: http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2012/06/real-food-wednesday-6132012.html

Read more, great Simple Lives Thursday posts here: http://gnowfglins.com/2012/06/21/simple-lives-thursday-101/#

 

 

Save

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: http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/05/06/goodbye-factory-farm-food-incs-chicken-farmer-Carole-Morison-goes-rogue

 

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: http://reason.com/archives/2012/05/05/the-joel-salatin-interview/singlepage

 

 

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
  • Mercola.com
  • 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:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/05/01/monsanto-vs-gmo-labeling.aspx

Read more, great Monday Mania posts here: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/monday-mania-572012/

Read more great Fat Tuesday posts here: http://realfoodforager.com/fat-tuesday-may-7-2012/

Read more great, Real Food Wednesday posts here: http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2012/05/real-food-wednesday-522012.html

 

 

 

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.

http://labelgmos.org/

 

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.

Read the rest here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-robbins/gmo-food_b_914968.html

 

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.

Labeling

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.”

Read the rest here:

http://www.dailycamera.com/portlet/article/html/fragments/print_article.jsp?articleId=18546106&siteId=21

Read more, great Monday Mania posts here: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/2011/08/monday-mania-882011/

Read more, great Real Food Wednesday posts here: http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2011/08/real-food-wednesday-8102011.html

Read more, great Simple Lives Thursday posts here: http://gnowfglins.com/2011/08/11/simple-lives-thursday-56/

Read more, great Pennywise Platter Thursday posts here: http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2011/08/pennywise-platter-thursday-811.html

Read more, great Fight Back Friday posts here: http://www.foodrenegade.com/fight-back-friday-august-12/

It’s Our Right to Know

 

Since the early 1990’s there have been genetically modified organisms in our food. GMOs – short for genetically modified organisms – are man-made organism created in a laboratory and patented by a corporation or the USDA. GMOs are created by a process called genetic engineering.  Many people have been asking for required labeling of GMO food, as already exists in thirty other countries. And there are a growing number of countries, like Ireland, Japan and Egypt that have completely banned the cultivation of GMO crops.

GMOs are not created the same way as traditional cross-breeding. Traditional cross-breeding is creating natural hybrids, such as crossing two varieties of roses, different types of squashes, or different breeds of dogs or cats. GMOs are made by actually splicing a gene from a virus or another species into the GMO seed.  Some examples are, fish genes being spliced into tomatoes, human genes in corn, mouse genes in potatoes.

Since the 1990’s, people have been asking for GMO food to be labeled.  We’ve been asking the USDA, the FDA, our legislators and the courts. They are not listening, and it’s time for us to speak for ourselves.

If you live in California, there is a Ballot Initiative in the works for the 2012 election. This proposition would require labeling on all GMO foods in the state of California. The website is http://www.LabelGMOs.org and there’s a Facebook page as well, Label GMOs.

Why avoid GMO foods and why do we want them labeled? Scientists warn that GMO foods may set off allergies, increase cancer risks, produce antibiotic-resistant pathogens, damage our food quality and produce dangerous toxins in our environment. GMO fed animals had higher death rates and organ damage in scientific studies.

GMOs will increase the risk of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria due to the use of antibiotic resistant genes in GM food. The British Medical Association cited this as one reason why they called for a global moratorium or ban on GM foods.

GMO crops cross-pollinate: Canadian organic farmers can no longer grow canola and soybean crops organically. The seed stocks of those two crops are now totally contaminated by GMOs, which cross-pollinate into other market garden crops from the brassica family, such as kale, cabbage and broccoli.   The recent deregulation of GMO alfalfa is particularly concerning as Alfalfa is a high cross pollinator, which means it can cross pollinate – and contaminate – many other plants.

It will be a few months before we can volunteer to gather signatures but there are many ways to get involved now.  If you would like to be part of the Label GMO campaign you can visit the website, spread the word, volunteer to gather signature in the fall and/or donate.  You will be coming together with other parents, farmers, doctors, scientists and food activists who are demanding our right to know what’s in our food.

This is an exciting time.

It’s time to for us to join together and legislate labeling of all GMO food.

We have a right to know!

Read more, great Monday Mania posts here: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/2011/07/monday-mania-7252011/

Read more great, Real Food Wednesday posts here: http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2011/07/real-food-wednesday-7272011.html

Read more, great Simple Lives Thursday posts here: http://gnowfglins.com/2011/07/28/simple-lives-thursday-54/

Read more, great Pennywise Platter Thursday posts here: http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2011/07/pennywise-platter-thursday-728.html

Read more, great Fight Back Friday posts here: http://www.foodrenegade.com/fight-back-friday-july-29th/

Farmageddon Movie Review

Farmageddon – A MUST See Movie

We saw Farmageddon – The Unseen War on American Family Farms last week.  It’s produced and directed by Kristin Canty, a mom of four, who couldn’t understand why the healthy food she wanted to buy for her family, was so hard to find.

Kristin said, about why she made this film, “I decided I needed to tell this story. My goal was to let these honest farmers using centuries old farming practices tell their side of the stories. So, I set out to make a film. Farmageddon is in no way meant to convince anyone to drink raw milk, or eat grass fed beef, but rather an argument to allow those that want to make those choices to do so. It is simply about freedom of food choice. The government needs to stop harassing small farmers, private food buying clubs and co- ops without food freedom…. we are not free.”

From the movie’s website, “Americans’ right to access fresh, healthy foods of their choice is under attack. Farmageddon tells the story of small, family farms that were providing safe, healthy foods to their communities and were forced to stop, sometimes through violent action, by agents of misguided government bureaucracies, and seeks to figure out why.”

 

“Farmageddon highlights the urgency of food freedom, encouraging farmers and consumers alike to take action to preserve individuals’ rights to access food of their choice and farmers’ rights to produce these foods safely and free from unreasonably burdensome regulations. The film serves to put policymakers and regulators on notice that there is a growing movement of people aware that their freedom to choose the foods they want is in danger, a movement that is taking action with its dollars and its voting power to protect and preserve the dwindling number of family farms that are struggling to survive.”

I knew the basic premise of the movie before we went to see it as I had seen the trailer and have been impatiently waiting for it to come to a theater near me. It’s such a travesty of justice that our small farmers are under fire, most times with no just cause. There are cases of food and animals being seized, hundreds of thousands of dollars of livestock, and equipment seized, for no reason.  No complaints had been filed, no one had gotten sick. There have been raids of private food clubs, guns drawn on young children. It’s not just isolated instanced. Google “farmers raided” and you will see too many examples. There are more examples on my post of last year, http://momsforsafefood.net/2010/10/25/what-is-the-matter-with-the-fda/

This is not the American Way!

I thought Farmageddon was brilliantly directed. Where it could have just been a very depressing story, there’s hope here too.  It’s about the growing real food movement and how more and more people are looking to buy their food directly from their local farmers.

It’s time for all of us to stand up for food freedom. For the freedom to choose real food for our families and for the choice to not have our food contaminated by GMOs. I am starting to wonder if it’s going to take acts of civil disobedience – nonviolent resistance – and becoming vocal to the point where the FDA, USDA and our government understand that we are not going to put up with our small farmers being harassed and raided for good no reason.  It’s time to stand up for ourselved and our farmers!

This is a film that everyone should see. It’s only in a few theaters now, but if you are near anywhere there is a showing, it’s an incredible film.  Below is the link to the website. There you can watch the trailer and see or arrange a screening.  Highly recommended!

http://farmageddonmovie.com/

Read more, great Fight Back Friday posts here: http://www.foodrenegade.com/fight-back-friday-july-8th/

Read more, great Pennywise Platter Thursday posts here: http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2011/07/pennywise-platter-thursday-77.html

Read more, great Simple Lives Thursday posts here: http://gnowfglins.com/2011/07/07/simple-lives-thursday-51/

Read more, great Real Food Wednesday posts here: http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2011/07/real-food-wednesday-762011.html

Read more, great Monday Mania posts here: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/2011/07/monday-mania-742011/

Archives