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Essay of the Week Industrial Agriculture and Human Survival: The Road Beyond 10/10/10 by Ronnie Cummins

"Despite decades of deception and mystification, a critical mass at the grassroots is waking up. A new generation of food and climate activists understands that greenhouse gas-belching fossil fuels, industrial food and farming, and our entire global economy, pose a mortal threat, not just to our present health and well being, but also to human survival…"

Action of the Week Organic Consumers Fund (OCF) Action of the Week: Press the Politicians on GMO Labeling

OCF Launches 2010 GMO Labeling Survey of Federal & State Candidates

This November, voters will choose our representatives to the US Congress and state legislatures.

Can organic consumer voters make informed choices? Do we know where the nation’s politicians stand on important issues related to health, sustainability, justice, peace and democracy?

What about controversial foods derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), increasingly perceived as posing a major threat to human health, climate stability, and the environment? Which candidates running for office this November support mandatory labels for GMO foods?

OCF, the lobbying arm of the organic consumers movement, is trying to get every state and federal legislative candidate to tell voters where they stand and we need your help.

Please send the Organic Consumers Fund’s GMO survey to the candidates who will be on your ballot. OCF has an action alert system that will automatically generate a letter to your local candidates. All you have to do is enter your address and click send.

Why We Need Labels

  • Only 26% of the U.S. public understands that most junk foods and animal products contain GMO ingredients.
  • The FDA is moving fast to approve a brave new world of GMO foods, including genetically engineered animals like Frankenfish, the eel-like-ocean-pout-chinook-Atlantic-salmon mix.
  • Genetically modified foods are less nutritious, more likely to trigger an allergy, and contain higher levels of growth hormones and pesticides. Yet GM foods aren’t required to be rigorously tested for food safety before they end up in grocery stores and restaurants.
  • Common genetically modified food ingredients include corn syrup from GM corn, sugar from GM sugar beets, vegetable oils from GM soy, cotton and canola, and cheese, eggs, milk and meat from animals given GM feed or shot up with GM growth hormones and vaccines.
  • The same foods that are making people fat, sick, and undernourished are the ones that Monsanto has genetically engineered. High fructose corn syrup, trans-fats, fryer grease, chicken nuggets, and bacon cheese burgers all contain GMOs.
  • The industrial-scale mono-crop farms, factory farms and slaughterhouses that are abusing workers and animals, destroying the soil, poisoning the water, polluting the atmosphere with climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases, and creating a breeding ground for mad cow disease, E. coli, salmonella, and swine flu, are the best customers for Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready and Bt-spliced crops. Agribusiness thrives off feeding taxpayer subsidized GMO crops, especially corn, soy and cotton seeds, to the chickens, pigs and cows they keep confined in cesspools of their own waste.
  • Companies like Monsanto and AquaBounty (the Frankenfish inventor), claim that GMOs are "sustainable" because they’re going to feed the world as the global climate crisis accelerates. But genetic engineering companies’ business model – mass-marketing techno-fixes for the industrialized food system – only perpetuates the waste and pollution that have already made agriculture the source of at least one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • GMOs can’t beat the capacity of organics for restoration, resilience, and abundance. Organic agriculture is the best way to remove billions of tons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and safely sequester them for centuries in the living soil of organic farms, pastures, and rangelands. If all the world’s cropland were transitioned to organic, it would sequester 40% of current greenhouse gas emissions. Organic systems also produce higher yields than GMOs and are more resistant to droughts, floods, diseases and pests.
  • The organic solution to the climate crisis is threatened by contamination from GMOs. Organic agriculture relies on the diversity and resilience of the thousands of varieties of crops and food animals that humans have cultivated for every soil and climate on Earth. GMOs, also known as "recombinant DNA", are bizarre combinations of foreign genes forcefully inserted into "host organisms" from different species. Once you insert foreign genes into a food crop or animal, these mutant varieties breed and reproduce. These GE mutations are likely permanent, meaning that it is only a matter of time before natural and organic varieties are contaminated with GMO traits.
  • GMO contamination could lead to the collapse of the industrialized food system. GMOs have the capacity to break the species barrier. Weeds that plague row crops have adopted the RoundUp Ready trait, creating super-weeds that are forcing farmers to turn to greater amounts of super-toxic herbicides and pesticides. The overuse of RoundUp, the most widely-used pesticide in the history of agriculture, enhances the virulence of pathogens such as Fusarium and may have dire consequences for agriculture such as rendering soils infertile, crops non-productive, and plants less nutritious.

Why You Should Join the Organic Consumers Fund

The Organic Consumers Fund (OCF) is the 501(c)4 sister organization of the Organic Consumers Association. OCF’s resources are focused on lobbying and bringing citizens and leaders together to create and strengthen legislation related to organics, genetic engineering, sustainable agriculture and other related issues.

The non-profit Organic Consumers Association, is prohibited by federal law from telling you where the candidates stand on GMOs or who to vote for, but, if you join the OCF, they can let you know which candidates support mandatory GMO labels and how to help them get elected in 2010.

Only OCF members can donate to the Organic Consumers Fund PAC and vote on which candidates should receive the PAC’s support. Before the election the OCF PAC will be letting our donors pick ten pro-organic, anti-GMO candidates to give $10,000 to. Please become a member of the OCF today to help make a difference in the 2010 election.

Victory of the Week Court Rules GMO-Free Milk and Dairy Products Can Be Labeled as Such

In IDFA et al v. Boggs, decided September 30, 2010, a Federal Appeals Court overturned an Ohio state ban on label statements such as "rbGH free," "rbST free," and "artificial hormone free" on milk from cows that have not been treated with recombinant (GMO) bovine growth hormone (rBGH), a.k.a. bovine somatotropin (rbST).

The court found that GMO milk is different from normal milk. The decision states:

  • A compositional difference does exist between milk from untreated cows and conventional milk.
  • The use of rBGH (rbST) in milk production has been shown to elevate the levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a naturally-occurring hormone that in high levels is linked to several types of cancers, among other things.
  • rBGH (rbST) use induces an unnatural period of milk production during a cow’s "negative energy phase." Milk produced during this stage is considered to be low quality due to its increased fat content and its decreased level of proteins.
  • Milk from rBGH-injected cows contains higher somatic cell counts, which makes the milk turn sour more quickly and is another indicator of poor milk quality.

Please Donate Support the OCA! Support Organics and Save Our Fragile Climate!

We depend on your donations to fight against Monsanto and GMOs, to preserve strict organic standards, and to build a global climate justice movement based upon organic food and farming. Please send us a tax-deductible donation today and we’ll send you a free "Millions Against Monsanto" bumper sticker so you can help spread the word in your community. Please be sure to put "sticker" in the comments field of your donation.

Please consider joining OCA staff on one or both of our 5-6-day delegations to the Global Climate Summit in Cancun, Mexico November 29-December 10. Details follow below.

Climate Change From Copenhagen to Cancun: Join the OCA & Via Organica at the Historic Global Climate Crisis Summit


Please join OCA Director Ronnie Cummins and other OCA staff on one or both of our escorted delegations to the historic teach-ins and rallies for climate justice and organic agriculture at Global Climate Crisis Summit in Cancun, Mexico Nov. 29-Dec. 10.

The OCA delegation, limited to 100 people, will include international experts on organic agriculture and climate justice, including OCA Directors Ronnie Cummins, Alexis Baden-Mayer, and Ryan Zinn; organic farm leader and author, Will Allen; noted blogger and food activist Jill Richardson, and renowned GMO specialist and critic Dr. Michael Hansen.

OCA will be hosting two tours:

  • 6-Day Tour:  November 29th- December 5th, 2010 : Early Registration Price $750-$950
  • 5-Day Tour: December 5th-11th, 2010: Early Registration Price $700-$900 It is also possible to stay for the entire 11 day event from November 29-Dec. 10.

Several other global grassroots organizations are leading delegations of small farmers and climate activists and planning workshops including Via Campesina, Klimaforum, and Greenpeace. Additionally, El Diálogo Climático is a large coalition of environmental groups which will hold its own summit alongside that of the UN’s.

Over 200,000 people have applied to the Mexican government for visas to attend the climate summit so it promises to be an historical and exciting event.  Reserve your place today!

10/10/10 Victory White House Goes Solar!

Our friends at have great news:

A few weeks ago, activists delivered a request to the White House to put up solar panels (along with a gift of one of the White House solar panels from the Carter Administration!).

On October 5, 2010, the Obama Administration announced it would put up solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the White House by spring 2011!

Help keep the momentum going! Join with and all of us this weekend for the Global Work Party on 10/10/10. It will be an historic global day of action to stop climate change and get to work on building the clean energy economy of the future.

This Sunday, we will join in sending politicians around the world a clear message: "We’re getting to work – what about you?"  So far, over 6200 events in 185 countries are planned for 10/10/10 – truly a remarkable movement.

So, we urge you to look up to see what’s going on in your area, make a difference and join in the fun.

Learn More

Video of the Week Sumo Wrestlers Biking to Practice

Ellen Page is not only a great actress (you may have seen her in "Inception" or "Juno"), she’s also a devoted student of permaculture and sustainability. She wrote to the other day to say that Los Angeles had just set a new all-time temperature record, 113 degrees. From Los Angeles to Laos, it seems that we’re all in this together. She’s made a video endorsing’s 10/10/10 Global Work Party. "In Japan, sumo wrestlers are going to bike to practice," she says. "I’d love to see that."


1) Organic Gardening Tip of the Week:
Vermicomposting Is More Than Wiggle to a Worm

Jane Tunks, a novice gardener, is using her office’s rooftop garden as her classroom, with Fred Bové and Kevin Bayuk from the San Francisco Permaculture Guild as her teachers. Here is another of her lessons.

2) Forum Topic of the Week:
How Does Your Garden Grow?

Share stories and post pictures in the Organic Consumers Association’s online discussion forum.

3) Organic Consumer News of the Week:
Aurora, Supplier of So-Called “Organic Milk” to Wal-Mart, Continues Violating Organic Standards

The Cornucopia Institute, filed a formal legal complaint with the USDA in Washington alleging that one of the five industrial-scale dairies operated by Aurora, its High Plains dairy near Kersey, Colorado, is failing to graze their dairy cattle as required by the federal organic standards. OCA has called for a boycott of Aurora’s cheap feedlot milk, marketed under private labels as “organic” by Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, Safeway, and others.

4) GMO News of the Week:
ArborGen to Plant 260,000 Frankentrees Across the U.S.

International Paper’s ArborGen joint venture with MeadWestvaco Corp. and New Zealand’s Rubicon Ltd. is seeking permission from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to sell the first genetically engineered forest trees outside China.

5) Health News of the Week:
Pollution Causing Cancer in Animals, New Report Warns

Dumping of toxic wastes is contributing to cancer among wildlife, a new report says. Scientists say that tumors on beluga whales, sea lions and other animals are a warning signal.