Organic Bytes
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Essay of the Week “Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto” by Ronnie Cummins

"The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well. True coexistence is a must." – Whole Foods Market, Jan. 21, 2011

In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation’s 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America’s organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it’s time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto’s controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for "coexistence" with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack.

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Poll of the Week…

The powerful antidote to corporate crime and villainy is mass grassroots awareness and grassroots action. GMOs, Factory Farms, and deceptively labeled consumer products pose a mortal threat to public health, the environment, climate stability, farm animals, and all living things. GMOs and organic crops, GMOs and biodiversity, cannot “coexist.” As we speak, organic crops are being contaminated with Monsanto’s GMOs. We need your financial support to educate and mobilize consumers, to protect and maintain strict organic and Fair Trade standards, and to pressure the entire food industry to adopt Truth-in-Labeling practices.

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Alerts of the Week Mark Your Calendars! World Food Day 2011 is October 16!

Let’s Deliver a 1,000,000-Person Petition to Monsanto!

Please join the Organic Consumers Association’s Millions Against Monsanto campaign to truthfully label foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and/or come from factory farms (Confined Animal Feeding Operations, CAFOs) on World Food Day, October 16, 2011, when we will deliver 1,000,000 petition signatures from consumers who want mandatory "GMO" and "CAFO" food labels to Monsanto, the top food retailers and our elected officials.


How will we get 1,000,000 signatures?

2,300 Signatures X 435 Congressional Districts = 1,000,000

OCA needs a volunteer in every congressional district to coordinate the gathering of 2300 petition signatures between now and October 16, 2011. There are already signers in every district, but if we were starting from scratch, we would need to collect about 300 signatures in each district, each month between February and September.

Volunteer to coordinate signature gathering! Please use this form.


Start gathering signatures!

You can gather signatures online by distributing the online petition via e-mail and through social networking sites to friends, colleagues and like-minded groups.

You can gather signatures in person at grocery stores, farmers markets and sustainable agriculture events by printing this petition form.


What? We’re going to spend the next 8 months just collecting petition signatures?

No! We’re planning 8 months of Millions Against Monsanto actions and adventures that will only get more fun and more effective the more supporters we draw into the campaign through the petition.

Learn more about our plans for Monsanto in 2011

Alert Update 50,000 Against Monsanto’s GMO Alfalfa

On Jan 24, 2011, the Organic Consumers Association filed over 50,000 comments from our members with the USDA, asking the agency to block Monsanto’s new genetically-modified, herbicide-loving alfalfa and opposing Sec. Vilsack’s idea that organic and GMOs can "coexist."

Thanks everyone, we’ll keep you posted!

Internship Opportunities with the OCA!

Office Internship

We are offering an internship working in our national office in Finland MN, beginning in Late February, 2011 for 4 months, with the option to stay on longer. This is an unpaid internship but you will be provided with a place to stay and a small stipend for food and living expenses. The internship will consist of basic office tasks such as answering phones, interacting with members, data entry, work on our website, as well as specific projects that we will work with you to develop. Opportunities will also be provided for local community involvement, including visits to a local CSA, dairy farm, and other sustainable agriculture and community venues in the region.

Online Research Internships to help OCA’s Fair World Project

FWP seeks online interns to conduct internet research to support our Fair Trade Procurement Campaign and our Database Research Project. Interns will locate and post news stories, campaigns, and events, and reach out to like-minded organizations and green businesses or collect contact information on natural food stores, CSAs, etc. Although these are unpaid internships, FWP is willing to work with students to arrange college credit for your work.

These are excellent opportunities to help the OCA while gaining experience in the workings of a international nonprofit campaigning for health, justice and sustainability.

For more information, to apply, and to see OCA’s other internship offerings, please visit our internship page.

Video of the Week Hundreds of Yankton, South Dakota Birds Poisoned By USDA

It’s happened in places like Louisiana, Arkansas and Kentucky. Hundreds of birds mysteriously found dead.

Folks in Yankton, South Dakota, thought they were being added to the list after hundreds of dead birds were found there on Monday. Turns out the unpleasant feathered discovery has a solid explanation. They were poisoned.


Campaign of the Week Fearless Food Policy

"We cannot continue to let the consolidation of corporate food production create a food system that values quantity over quality and refuses to take into account the true cost of production. We must consider the environmental and health problems that creating food in unsafe and inhumane ways causes, leading to outbreaks of foodborne illness, antibiotic resistant bacteria, and polluted drinking water. Big Ag is very effective in playing the insider game, constantly lobbying Congress and federal agencies.

"As Congress prepares for consideration of the farm bill next year, it is imperative that we have Fearless Leaders to speak up for the people when lawmakers hear from corporate interests prioritizing profits over health. The farm bill defines the federal government’s role in the agricultural market, and we must fight to see that it supports family farms and sustainable farms that promote healthy foods. We need to take back food production; after all, we are what we eat."

– The Fearless Campaign

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Book of the Week All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons

"Growing numbers of citizens-including many who never before questioned the status quo-now seem willing to explore new ideas that once would have seemed radical. Millions of Americans are now making shifts in their personal lives such as buying organic foods, using alternative medicine, collaborating online, and searching for something beyond consumerism that offers a sense of meaning in their lives. They may not yet be sprinkling their conversations with the word commons, but they are looking for changes in their lives.

"Now is the time to introduce a decisive shift in worldview. People everywhere are yearning for a world that is safer, saner, more sustainable and satisfying. There’s a rising sense of possibility that even with our daunting economic and environmental problems, there are opportunities to make some fundamental improvements. Everyone deserves decent health care. The health of the planet should take precedence over the profits of a few. Clean water, adequate food, education, access to information, and economic opportunity ought to be available to all people. In other words, a commons-based society. Let’s transform that hope into constructive action."

– Jay Walljasper, editor and chief author of All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons

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

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