Organic Bytes
SUBSCRIBE | DONATE Share on Facebook Follow OCA on Twitter OCA on Pinterest Follow OCA on YouTube Instagram LinkedIn RSS Feed

Close-up of angry-looking rooster
NEW REPORT

‘Farms into Factories’

Tyson Foods wins the award for dumping the most toxic pollution into U.S. waterways, says a new report by Environment America Research & Policy Center.

From a statement issued by Environment America:

“When most people think of water pollution, they think of industrial pipes spewing toxic chemicals,” said John Rumpler, senior attorney with Environment America and author of the report. “But this report shows how, increasingly, corporations like Tyson are turning farms into factories and ruining our rivers and bays in the process.”

The Environment America study documented pollution from Tyson and four other major agriculture conglomerates, responsible for an estimated 44 percent of the pork, chicken, and beef produced in the U.S. According to the report, Tyson’s subsidiaries and company-owned slaughtering plants discharged more than 20 million pounds of toxic pollutants into U.S. waters in 2014—more by volume than even Exxon Mobil or Dupont—according to data the company reported to the federal Toxics Release Inventory.

Right behind Tyson were these four top meat conglomerates operating in the U.S.:

Brazilian meat giant JBS, with over 45.8 million tons of manure and over 37 million pounds of toxic pollutants over a five-year period

Minnesota-based private company Cargill, a major cattle producer, with 39 million tons of manure annually and over 50 million pounds of toxic pollutants over a five-year period

Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods, based in Virginia, which claims to be the world’s largest hog producer, with over 18.9 million tons of manure and 27 million pounds of toxic pollutants over five years

Chicken-producer Perdue Farms, based in Maryland with over 3.7 million tons of manure and 27 million pounds of toxic pollutants over five years.

Read the full report 


Child holding a baby goat on a farm field
VIDEO OF THE WEEK

‘100,000 Beating Hearts’

Will Harris is regenerating soil, restoring biodiversity and regenerating his local economy, all from his family farm in Bluffton, Georgia.

How? By practicing a “kinder, gentler” type of agriculture. 

Unlike the “farmers” following today’s industrial agriculture and factory farm model, which require planting acres and acres of only corn or only soy, or raising hundreds of thousands of imprisoned chickens or hogs, Harris raises goats and chickens and cattle and hogs, together, under natural and symbiotic conditions.

Because, Harris says, nature abhors a monoculture.

In these two videos, filmed by Dr. Mercola, Harris explains how his regenerative poultry operation has helped rebuild the local economy. He talks about how the farm went from zero bald eagles to 78, just by leaving prey animals on the ground, where predators can get to them (and thin his flocks of weak or injured birds).

Harris also explains his theory for why his goats and hogs, allowed to forage together in the forest, are so healthy. And why, even though it takes a while to transition from conventional or industrial farming to regenerative farming, it’s worth it—both economically and personally, for those “100,000 beating hearts” living on his farm.

“A cow in a factory farm does not have a great life. A hog in a factory farm has a worse life. And I don’t think there’s a factory farm animal that has as bad a life as a chicken in a factory farm.”

Watch the video on Will Harris’ poultry operation 

Watch video on Will Harris’ hog operation 

Learn more 


Sad cartoon of sick planet Earth
REGENERATION INTERNATIONAL

Chicken Soup for the Planet

Could chickens help save the planet? Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin thinks they can certainly help.

Haslett-Marroquin grew up in the rainforests of Guatemala, surrounded by poverty and malnutrition, during his country’s brutal 36-year civil war. But he never went hungry, thanks to his father’s deep understanding of forest food systems. 

Today, Haslett-Marroquin is chief strategy office of the Main Street Project, where he’s developing a poultry-centered regenerative agriculture system that grew out of his own experience growing up, and his father’s wise approach to feeding his family.

“The [regenerative poultry] system that I am working on came as a result of trying to adapt to the current challenges that we are facing with climate change, with poverty, especially this almost unbelievable point we have gotten to with food security, even though almost every community in the world has the capacity to be food secure. Why have we not done like what we did growing up? We were poor, yes. But we were never food insecure.” 

Our Regeneration International team recently interviewed “Regi” in San Miguel de Allende, where we are working with him on a joint regenerative poultry project.

Read the interview 

Watch the interview 

Support OCA’ Regeneration International Project 


Boy hiding his face in his hands
SUPPORT THE OCA & OCF

Horrifying. And Wasteful.

“It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.” -Ansel Adams, 1983

Today Congress is expected to pass a bill that fails consumers on so many levels. 

This bill, the DARK Act, is the culmination of years of backroom wheeling and dealing between corporate lobbyists and the lawmakers whose salaries you pay, in the hope they will represent your best interests.

In a country where we face big issues with potentially devastating consequences—hunger, poverty, crumbling roads and bridges, failed education and healthcare systems—the people we elected to “serve” this country devoted countless hours doing everything in their power to keep four little words—“produced with genetic engineering” off of food packages.

All because Monsanto and Big Food don’t want you to have that information. Even though they provide it to consumers in 64 other countries.

Horrifying. Shameful. Wasteful. Unconscionable.

However you describe it, it’s a symptom of corporate corruption and a failed democracy.

Whatever the final outcome, we are grateful for your unwavering support. We will continue to build and grow this movement until our politicians can no longer ignore us, and corporations are no longer allowed to poison us.

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)


Set of judicial scales in front of a sunset by a forest
MILLIONS AGAINST MONSANTO

Judgment Day

As we prepare for the possibility that the DARK Act will become the law of the land, it’s important to put the GMO labeling fight into a greater context.

The context is this: Labeled or unlabeled, GMO foods are just one cog in a giant wheel of destruction. And behind that wheel sits Monsanto, the poster child for everything that’s wrong with our degenerative food and farming system.

On this DARK day, we’re pleased to announce that plans for the citizens of the world to present their case against Monsanto are progressing. This week we announced that the Monsanto Tribunal has appointed three prestigious judges to co-chair the international citizens’ tribunal on Oct. 15-16 in The Hague, Netherlands. Two lawyers also were named.

The citizens’ tribunal will bring together witnesses and legal experts from all over the world to hold Monsanto accountable in the court of public opinion.

For this citizens’ tribunal to have any impact, we, the citizens of the world will have to participate. Please sign on as a supporter (no donation required). If you can, please make a donation.  And please spread the word!

Read the press release 

More on the Monsanto Tribunal here and here.

Download the MonsantoTribunal leaflet

Download the Monsanto Tribunal poster

Like Monsanto Tribunal on Facebook

Follow Monsanto Tribunal on twitter

Sign on as a supporter of the Monsanto Tribunal (no donation required)

Make a donation to the Monsanto Tribunal  


Person shrugging and scratching their head next to a question mark
TOP NEWS OF THE WEEK

No Good Reason

Today, Congress is expected to ram through a bill that is anti-consumer and anti-states’ rights.

And President Obama is expected to sign it very soon.

Please help us flood the White House with calls today (202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414) asking Obama to veto S. 764. If you’re in the D.C. area, please join our rally at the White House, Friday, July 15, at 1 p.m. in Lafayette Park.

It’s also not too late to sign these two petitions asking Obama to veto the DARK Act. Please sign here and here. We will deliver the petitions tomorrow, Friday July 15.

Why would President Obama sign the DARK Act, a bill that will preempt Vermont’s GMO labeling law and is clearly intended to hide information from consumers?

We can’t think of a single good reason.

This is the President who on the campaign trail promised to label GMOs.

This is the President who soon after he was sworn in, issued an executive order advising Congress not to preempt state laws. The DARK Act would unnecessarily preempt more than 100 state laws, some of which have been in place for decades.

And yet, according to news reports, Obama plans to sign this bill that denies the 90 percent of Americans the right to know what’s in their food by hiding that information behind confusing QR codes that require expensive smartphones, reliable internet service—and a whole lot of extra time on their hands.

Here’s what Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) has to say about the DARK Act:

One-in-five Americans in the U.S. does not have smartphones. That includes 50 percent of Americans who are low-income and living in rural areas, and over 65 percent of elderly Americans. If we end up going down the route of a QR code, all of these people will be prevented from accessing the information that this bill is supposed to make available to all consumers. And even if someone has a smartphone, they will have to scan every single item they purchase in order to obtain the desired information, and this is assuming they will have access to the internet in the grocery store. That’s anything but a quick response.
 
It is a bad idea. It is a bad idea. It is an intentional measure to deny consumers information. 

Even House Ag Committee Chair Mike Conaway said in a statement the bill is “riddled with ambiguity.” And then he voted for it anyway. Because Conaway answers to Monsanto and Big Food, not his constituents.

TAKE ACTION: Tell President Obama to veto the DARK Act! Sign here and here.

Tweet Obama: @POTUS. 90% of Americans want GMO labels. Veto the DARK Act which allows confusing QR codes instead of labels.

Call the White House 202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414 to leave your comment! The comment line is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

Join the anti-DARK Act rally at the White House, Friday, July 15, 1 p.m., 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. (Lafayette Park)