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Join Michael Pollan and Organic Leaders to Urge Congress to Fix Farm Bill

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In frustration over the 2012 Farm Bill, Organic Consumers Association director Ronnie Cummins has joined more than 70 of the nation’s food and health leaders to send an open letter to Members of Congress this week, criticizing the bill’s plan to give billions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies to corporate mega-farms while slashing food stamps and neglecting healthy food programs. The authors of the letter urged lawmakers to redirect crop insurance subsidy dollars into programs that feed the hungry, protect the environment and promote the consumption of local, organic and healthy food.

The signers support the efforts of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to amend the bill to cut these outrageous crop insurance subsidies, restore cuts to nutrition programs and redirect $500 million to healthy food programs.

‘€œLet’s hope that the draft farm bill voted out of the agriculture committee can be improved on the floor,’€ said signer Michael Pollan, author of Food Rules: An Eater’€™s Manual. ‘€œThough it contains some important provisions in support of local and healthy food programs, it gives billions in unlimited crop insurance subsidies to commodity growers while doing little to support precisely the kind of diversified, sustainable farms we need. This is not – yet – the healthy food bill the American public has made clear it wants and deserves.’€

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Stop Agent Orange Corn & Soy

2,4-D was half the formula of Agent Orange, the infamous defoliant used in the Vietnam War that killed thousands of Vietnamese civilians and American soldiers, and remains a source of birth defects and cancer these many years later.

2,4-D remains in use on U.S. farms today. In April, the Environmental Protection Agency rejected a petition filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council to ban the herbicide. The group cited various studies showing that exposure to 2,4-D could cause cancer, hormone disruption, genetic mutations and neurotoxicity. It also argued that the EPA underestimated how much people, especially children, might be exposed to the chemical. 2-4,D is one of the most widely used weed killers in the world and an ingredient of numerous home lawn-care products.

In rejecting NRDC’s petition, the agency relied on a study conducted by Dow Chemical, the major manufacturer of 2,4-D, to rebut other studies which had shown 2,4-D disrupted hormone activity. The EPA dismissed studies that have shown a higher risk of non-Hodgkin’€™s lymphoma among farmers who use the chemical, claiming the farmers might have been exposed to many things, making it difficult to state that 2,4-D was the cause.

Dow plans to increase sales of the herbicide by selling seeds of corn and soy genetically engineered to be resistant to 2,4-D. Currently, 2,4-D is not used much on corn, the nation’€™s most widely grown crop.

Dow is currently seeking permission from the EPA to use 2,4-D on its new genetically engineered corn and soy. Please take action to stop EPA from expanding the use of 2,4-D.

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Help Create a Healthier World for Kids Like These

Young Activists/Musicians Donate CD Proceeds to GMO Labeling Campaign

To anyone who suggests that kids today don’€™t care about the world, we say: Check out Joe Green’€™s horticulture class at Pope High School in Marietta, Georgia. Mr. Green’€™s class donated the proceeds from their recent CD, Hembree Road, to our ‘€œDrop the Money Bomb on Monsanto’€ fundraising campaign.

In a letter accompanying the donation, Mr. Green wrote: ‘€œWe have spent the past month focusing on food, labeling, sustainable agriculture, and your right as a citizen to know what you are buying and/or consuming.’€

How great is it that students in Georgia raised money for the California Genetically Engineered Right to Know GMO labeling campaign? That’€™s solidarity! From all of us at the OCA, a big ‘€˜Thank you’€ to Mr. Green and his students!

Our ‘€œDrop the Money Bomb’€™ matching gift campaign raised more than $2 million for the California GMO labeling campaign. The vast majority of those donations came from individuals like the students in Georgia. Although the formal campaign has ended, we need to continue raising money to support the GMO labeling campaign in California, and to keep the OCA strong and sustainable.

Your donation, no matter how large or small, will make a difference. Thank you!

Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)

Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in California and other states)

Stonyfield Farm & Organic Valley

Two Different Responses to Organic Consumers Concerned About Carrageenan

Stonyfield Farm and Organic Valley have responded with two very different perspectives to the thousands of letters from consumers asking them to stop using carrageenan, a synthetic emulsifier linked to digestive problems and cancer, in their products.

Stonyfield, owned by the multinational food giant Danone, insists they "feel that carrageenan continues to be a safe ingredient to use" in their YoKids Squeezers and caramel organic Oikos Greek yogurt.

On the other hand, Organic Valley, owned by a farmer cooperative, has claimed that they’ve "been actively seeking to reformulate our ultra-pasteurized heavy whipping cream, chocolate milk, eggnog and soy milks in order to eliminate the need for carrageenan."

Read Stonyfield Farm & Organic Valley’s Complete Responses and Our Reaction

Occupy Monsanto Action in Boston

The biotechnology industry is having a convention June 18-21 in Boston, Massachusetts. In order to attend the sessions you must register for the conference, which costs thousands of dollars. Since we don’t want to give a dime to the biotech industry, Occupy Monsanto, Millions Against Monsanto, and other food democracy groups will be staging our own "Sidewalk Session" on the first day of the convention outside of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. We hope you can join us.

WHO: Occupy Monsanto, Millions Against Monsanto, & food democracy activists
WHAT: A Sidewalk Session – An open mic for activists to share & expose the dangers of the biotechnology industry
WHERE: Sidewalk in front of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, 415 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210
WHEN: Monday, June 18th, at 8am until 10am
WHY: The biotechnology industry is conspiring to unleash more GMOs into the environment along with more toxic pesticides.

RSVP on Facebook

Or via e-mail:

Celebrate Hemp History Week

Tell Congress to Let Farmers Grow Industrial Hemp

This week is the 3rd annual Hemp History Week. The theme of the 2012 campaign is Hemp for a Healthy Future: Healthy Lifestyles, Healthy Economy, Healthy Planet.

"As more Americans recognize the health and environmental benefits of hemp products, hemp farming promises job creation and economic opportunity for farmers and manufacturers and ensures that nutritious foods and sustainable goods are more accessible and affordable for consumers," says Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. "In turn, this means healthier lifestyles, a stronger economy and a more sustainable world. Through Hemp History Week 2012, we’re spreading the message that we need to change federal policy on industrial hemp to reflect today’s realities and ensure a better tomorrow for America’s families and farmers, the economy and our planet."

Take action and get tasty hemp deals! Tell your U.S. Senator: Let U.S. farmers grow hemp.

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As a subscriber to Organic Bytes, you can enjoy a 15% discount rate on any Eden Foods products by going here.

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