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Two kids standing in profile

Kids on the Frontline

If you’re a parent—even if you don’t live in a rural area—you’ll want to read this report from Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA).

According to the report, each year, more than 680 million pounds of pesticides are applied to agricultural fields across the country. This 2007 figure—the most recent government estimates available—climbs to more than a billion when common non-agricultural pesticide uses are included. 

That’s a lot of poison. And in rural agricultural communities, kids are right on the frontline of exposure. Which means that these kids are bombarded not only with all the pesticides kids normally are exposed to—from residue on foods, and pesticides sprayed in parks, and on school playgrounds, but they’re getting more than their fair share. All because our industrial agriculture system insists on supporting companies like Monsanto, Bayer, Dow and Dupont.

From the report: 

Scientists have understood for decades that children are particularly vulnerable to the harms of pesticide exposure. Quickly growing bodies take in more of everything; they eat, breathe and drink more, pound for pound, than adults. As physiological systems undergo rapid changes from the womb through adolescence, interference from pesticides and industrial chemicals—even at very low levels—can derail the process in ways that lead to significant health harms. For children, the timing of these exposures is often particularly important. At critical moments of development, even very low levels of pesticide exposure can derail biological processes in ways that have harmful, potentially lifelong effects.

Download the report 

Fair Trade Story

Help Tip the Balance!

We don’t have to tell you that our food system is broken. That it’s tilted in favor of the corporate bad actors—not farmers, and not consumers.

Nearly 70 percent of the world’s food is grown by small-scale farmers, many of whom grow food using organic regenerative practices that build soil health, produce nutrient-dense food and combat global warming.

And yet, these farmers are forced to compete with an industrial agribusiness system whose money and clout tips the scales in their favor.

Fortunately, small-scale farmers are organizing to share information and services, negotiate prices, access credit and advocate for small-scale-farm-friendly policies. We need to support them, and the entire Fair Trade Movement.

To mark World Fair Trade Day, the Fair World Project (FWP) created video on the challenges facing small-scale, fair trade farmers.  FWP is also calling on consumers to help tip the balance in favor of fair trade farmers by choosing fair trade products. And to help give these farmers a boost, FWP has also launched a contest to promote the brands that support the farmers.

You can enter to win a year’s supply of authentic fair trade products from Alaffia, Alter Eco, Dr. Bronner’s, Equal Exchange, Farmer Direct Co-op, Guayaki Yerba Mate, Maggie’s Organics, or Theo Chocolate. 

Watch the video

Enter the contest 

Contest rules 

American Gothic version with chicken and pig

Strange ‘Farmfellows’

When the owners of a farm in South Africa’s Bela Bela found their farm was too small and their land was too degraded to raise cattle, they turned to a new model: raising pigs and chickens, together.

Turns out, pigs and chickens are quite happy together. And, when raised using holistic, regenerative practices, they not only provide a good economic model for farmers, they also regenerate the soil and restore biodiversity.

Precious Phiri, our Regeneration International Africa coordinator, based in Zimbabwe, visited the farm in Bela Bela and reported back on how the project has been a success for the farmers, but also for the entire community and beyond.

And check out this video from the Rodale Institute on pastured pork projects.

Read the blog post 

Watch the video

Support OCA’s Regeneration International Project

Line of light bulbs


If John Lennon were alive today to write a sequel to his famous song, “Imagine,” he might call it “Re-Imagine.”

Because that’s what we need right now. A lot of re-imagination. 

As we pour our hearts and souls, our money and energy, into trying to force big corporations to tell the truth about what they’re feeding us, we also have to step back and get some perspective.

The bigger battle isn’t about Monsanto. It isn’t about labels on GMO foods. It isn’t about the bees.

Don’t get us wrong. All of those battles are important, and we’re committed to seeing them through.

But we’re equally committed to the bigger picture. To looking at all of the crises we face—crises of hunger and poverty, global warming and loss of biodiversity, declining health and polluted water, animal abuse, worker abuse and corporate abuse of power, war, refugees, broken democracies—and seeing them as one giant crisis, requiring a holistic approach to problem solving.

Fortunately, there is no limit to imagination. If we can just re-imagine a world where humans acknowledge that we’re just one part of an ecosystem, and that our survival depends on the health of that ecosystem, we can fix things. Before it’s too late.

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 GMO labeling legislative efforts)

Support OCA’s Regeneration International Project (tax-deductible, helps support our work on organic regenerative agriculture and climate change)

Statue of Lady Justice holding scales and sword

So. Many. Crimes.

When it comes to outlining Monsanto’s assault on the Earth and all its inhabitants, where do you start?

We are starting in The Hague, Netherlands—the International City of Peace and Justice.

OCA is part of a committee organizing a Citizens’ Tribunal. The tribunal will take place October 15 and 16 (World Food Day), in The Hague, Netherlands. A People’s Assembly, featuring speakers, films, workshops and more, will run concurrently. 

The power of this tribunal will depend a lot on how much global attention we can draw to it. That’s why we’re coordinating with March against Monsanto to publicize the tribunal during May 21 global marches, and to promote the largest yet global March against Monsanto for October 16, 2016—the day the tribunal wraps up in The Hague.

Citizens’ Tribunals have a long history of drawing global attention to corporate crimes. While the opinions handed down by the judges aren’t enforceable, they often—and in this case, will—lay the foundation for future legal cases where judgments will be enforceable.

We’ll have much more to report on the tribunal, as judges are named, legal memos are published and witnesses are chosen. But for now, we need your help to kick off a massive publicity effort, beginning May 21. 

Find a May 21 march near you  

Monsanto Tribunal on Facebook 

Download a Monsanto Tribunal poster

Download a Monsanto Tribunal leaflet 

Download other Millions Against Monsanto campaign materials

Support the Monsanto Tribunal with a donation 

Storm cloud approaching

Calm before the Chaos?

Politico reports that Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) is working on “new language” for a federal GMO labeling bill to keep Vermont’s law from taking effect July 1. And that Sen Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), architect of the Senate version of the DARK Act, a voluntary federal labeling bill intended to preempt Vermont, is waiting to see that language, before the two engage in another round of negotiations.

Stabenow and Roberts both have dug in their heels. Under relentless pressure from constituents, Stabenow is calling for a compromise of some sort that would include mandatory QR codes or toll-free numbers or some such technological fix.

Roberts wants nothing short of a voluntary scheme.

Both Senators are determined to preempt Vermont, no doubt thanks to the lavish spending by biotech and food industry lobbyists. One of those lobbyists, Randy Russell, president and CEO of The Russell Group, told Bloomberg: “As we get closer to July 1, the reality and chaos in the marketplace looms, and I think it’s going to drive people to the table to get a deal.”

“Reality and chaos” in the market? If Russell and his fellow lobbyists succeed in knocking down Vermont’s law, consumers will unleash our own brand of “chaos” in the market—and it won’t be pretty.

We’ve all had our sights set on July 1, thinking if that date comes and goes, we’ve won. But let’s not forget that while the law takes effect July 1, Vermont’s attorney general has given food companies until January 1, 2017, before the law will actually be enforced.

That could mean another six months of battling the preemptors in Washington D.C.

It is absolutely critical that we all continue to call, email and visit our Representatives and Senators. The minute we slow down, the minute things get quiet on our end, the more opportunity for Roberts, Stabenow and others to ram a bill through Congress during the lull.

TAKE ACTION: Stop the DARK Act Comeback! Tell your Senators: Protect Vermont’s GMO labeling law.

Dial 888-897-0174 to tell your Senators to vote against any compromise that would block or delay Vermont’s bill from taking effect

If you live in Michigan, call Debbie Stabenow today! 202-224-4822 

Help us protect Vermont’s GMO labeling law!

Businessman brandishing a banana

Downright Dangerous

Humans have been “processing” food through traditional methods for thousands of years. But there’s a vast difference between the processing of old—for instance, the ancient Egyptian practice of using salt to extend the shelf life of food—and the twentieth-century version of “ultra processing.”

Close to 5,000 additives are now allowed to be used in food products. Factor in the additives found in the packaging (which can also leach into your food), and the number rises to 10,000.

Most of these food additives have not undergone any safety testing. Few have been tested according to the way that they are ingested–meaning in combination with other additives.

Many are downright dangerous, including, for starters, Diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione (PD), both of which are added to microwave popcorn to give it a buttery aroma, and both of which are linked to brain health, Alzheimer’s disease and respiratory toxicity.

Processed and “ultra-processed” foods have been marketed to consumers as “convenience” foods. But there’s nothing convenient about the hazards they pose to your health.

Read the essay