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Indigenous Perspectives on Thanksgiving

Quote of the Week

"Giving daily thanks for nature’s gifts has always been an important way of living for traditional Native peoples. The six nations of the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora), who live in New York State and parts of southeastern Canada, express their thanks in a recitation known as The Thanksgiving Address. Sometimes referred to as “the words that come before all else,” this address is spoken at community gatherings, ceremonies, and even at some schools to start the day. The words express thanks for fellow human beings, Mother Earth, the moon, stars, sun, water, air, winds, animals, and more.

"Here is an excerpt that offers thanks for the food plants:

With one mind, we turn to honor and thank all the Food Plants we harvest from the garden. Since the beginning of time, the grains, vegetables, beans, and berries have helped the people survive. Many other living things draw strength from them, too. We gather all the Plant Foods together as one and send them a greeting of thanks.

-Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address

"American Indian peoples’ connection to the natural world has been maintained through generations of observation, in which people developed environmental knowledge and philosophies. People took actions to ensure the long-term sustainability of their communities and the environment, with which they shared a reciprocal relationship. Today, Native knowledge can be a key to understanding and solving some of our world’s most pressing problems."

-From American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving (PDF), an educational resource created by the National Museum of the American Indian

Stop Big Ag’s Food Safety Bill

Alerts of the Week

in the Senate

For over a year, the Farm Bureau and large agribusiness trade organizations have pretended to support a version of Senate Bill S.510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, which included essential amendments exempting small organic and sustainable farmers from Federal regulation. Now in the last week, Republican members of Congress and Food Inc. have announced they want to pass a one-size-fits-all S.510 without essential protections and exemptions for small organic and sustainable farmers. From Big Ag’s perspective this deceptive maneuver is a win-win: Factory Farms and GMO plantations can easily absorb the bureaucratic costs and paperwork of Federal regulations because of their size; they’ll gain good PR for supposedly supporting stronger food safety practices; while their increasingly popular competition, organic and sustainable farmers and ranchers, will be wiped out by regulatory burdens. The bottom line is that factory farms and Food Inc. would like to keep poisoning 80 million Americans every year in ever-larger food safety epidemics, while organic farmers, who have an outstanding food safety record, will be driven out of business.

A letter from the Farm Bureau, Big Ag processors and retailers states: “…by incorporating the Tester amendment [exempting small farmers from expensive onerous Federal regulations] in the bill, consumers will be left vulnerable to the gaping holes and uneven application of the law created by these exemptions. In addition, it sets an unfortunate precedent for future action on food safety policy by Congress that science and risk based standards can be ignored.”

What science and risk? Do your own Google search and you will not find any data or evidence of widespread problems caused by organic or local small farm producers. All of the major foodborne illness outbreaks, 78 million a year according to the Centers for Disease Control, have been caused by products that went through the long supply chains of factory farms, Food Inc. processing giants, and corporate agribusiness.

Agribusiness’s real concern about the Tester-Hagan amendment isn’t food safety, but the precedent set by having Congress recognize that small, direct-marketing producers are different and should be regulated differently from large operations.

Big Ag is demanding that Senators pull the Tester-Hagan amendment. While the amendment is currently part of the “Managers’ Package” – the amended version of the bill agreed to by six bipartisan sponsors – nothing is certain until the actual vote.

Take Action Before Monday November 29

Featured Action of the Week Vermonters Protest S.510

Concerned consumers in Vermont have organized an event to protest Senate Bill 510

The event will take place at the Park & Ride in Middlesex on Sunday, November 28, 2010 from 2 pm to 4pm. If you are in Vermont, please consider attending this event to help spread the message that this food safety bill is problematic, and that you want safe, healthy, local, organic food!

Click here for more information about this event or contact Jessica Bernier at 802-279-1261 or

Alerts of the Week Stop GM Sugar Beets! Take Action Before Dec. 6

In August, the Center for Food Safety won a significant victory in its legal strategy to stop dangerous new GMOs when a federal court ruled that the USDA’s approval of Monsanto’s genetically engineered “Roundup Ready” sugar beets was unlawful, concluding that the USDA had failed to conduct an adequate analysis of the impacts of this crop on farmers and the environment. The court was particularly concerned that Monsanto’s GM sugar beets could contaminate organic, and other non-GM varieties of beets and related species. The ruling made Monsanto’s GM beets illegal to plant or sell until the USDA completes a rigorous review of the potential impacts of the beets to farmers, the environment and the public and makes a new decision whether to allow commercialization, a process the USDA anticipates will take until 2012.

Now, under pressure from Monsanto and the sugar industry, the USDA has proposed to allow the planting of GM beets again beginning next spring, even though this clearly violates environmental law and the rulings of U.S. courts – not to mention the right of farmers and consumers to choose organic, and other non-GM, sugar beets without having to fear contamination. Tell the USDA its illegal proposal must not be approved!

The USDA’s comment period is open only through December 6, 2010, so please send your comment today!

Take Action

Please Donate Support the OCA! Stop Big Ag and Frankenfoods

We depend on your donations to preserve strict organic standards, to fight against Big Ag, Monsanto and GMOs, 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 Donate

Video of the Week Trailer: Farmageddon, the Movie

Farmageddon is a documentary about the escalating fight for food rights in America.

Farmageddon is truly the documentary movie that we’ve all been waiting for. It’s about raw milk, farm families harmed by the overreach of government, food safety legislation, and consumer food rights.

Farmageddon is anticipated to awaken consumers much as did Food Inc., which was released in 2009.


LOCAL [[State]] NEWS OF THE WEEK [[State]] – Get Involved Locally

  • Learn more about OCA related action alerts and other news in [[State]] here.

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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.