Organic Bytes
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steaming cup of coffee surrounded by roasted coffee beans

Battle Brewing

Mexico, a top producer of organic and fair trade coffee, is dominated by small-scale coffee farmers whose families tend small diverse plots of land in the mountains.

That could change soon, if the largest food corporation in the world gets its way.

Nestlé wants to build a massive $154-million-dollar coffee processing plant in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The plant would process Robusta coffee. And that coffee would likely be grown as a monoculture, on sun plantations, and with chemical fertilizers—a surefire way to degrade soil and contribute to global warming.

Nestlé’s plan could drive land grabs to build the massive plantations needed, fueling deforestation and squeezing out small-scale diverse farmers.

Read ‘Small-Scale Farmers Stand Up to Nestle Coffee Processing Plant’

TAKE ACTION: Support coffee farmers. Reject Nestle!

Want to support small-scale coffee farmers? Find them here.

smiling woman in a garden harvesting carrots

Girl Power

For millennia, women have played a central role in farming and ranching communities. Today, a new generation of women are taking on new roles of carbon farmers and ranchers managers.

In the U.S., there are more than 900,000 women farmers, according to data collected in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That means women constitute 31 percent of the agricultural sector, and contribute upwards of $12 billion to America’s economy.

Read ‘A New Generation of Carbon Farmers: Organic, Grass-fed Ranch Connects Young Women to Agriculture’

Watch ‘Learning from the Land’

water faucet running into a glass in a kitchen sink

Trouble on Tap

We know that neonicotinoid pesticides are killing the bees. But what are they doing to us?

A new study, conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and University of Iowa scientists, suggests that when neonics find their way into our drinking water and undergo common water treatments, they are transformed in ways that are potentially harmful to humans.

In her latest blog post, Dr. Jennifer Sass, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, says the potential harms outlined by this new study could be “a big deal risk-wise because neonics are the most widely used insecticides on the market.”

Read ‘Neonic Pesticide May Become More Toxic in Tap Water’

TAKE ACTION: Ask your members of Congress to co-sponsor the Save America’s Pollinators Act!

Print this downloadable petition and share with friends

woman in a forest next to a tree holding binoculars up to her eyes

Superior Sleuthing

Thanks to the superior sleuthing of U.S. Right to Know and others, two Congresswomen are calling for an investigation into efforts by Coca-Cola to influence the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—and the CDC’s apparent willingness to be influenced.

It’s the same old story. Federal agencies (funded by your taxes) that are supposed to protect you and your family, get cozy with corrupt corporations. And when they do, you lose.

In this case, a long string of emails between Coke and the CDC reveal a “common theme” of Coke trying to shift the blame for the global obesity epidemic away from diet, to lack of physical activity, despite evidence to the contrary.

U.S. Right to Know, partially funded by OCA, obtained 295 pages of text from 86 emails via the Freedom of Information Act. Milbank Quarterly, a health policy journal, published the emails.

Read ‘Two Congresswomen Want an Investigation Into CDC’s Crooked Relationship With Coca-Cola’

Help us support U.S. Right to Know with your tax-deductible donation

close up look of a roosters beak

Pilgrim’s Problems

OCA and Food & Water Watch are suing Pilgrim’s for deceptive marketing and advertising of Pilgrim’s Pride chicken products. The suit was brought in D.C. Superior Court, under the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act.

The gist of our lawsuit is this: Pilgrim’s falsely claims that the birds used in its products are fed “only natural ingredients,” “treated humanely” and produced in an environmentally responsible way. But the fact is, Pilgrim’s systematically raises, transports and slaughters chickens in inhumane factory-farm conditions that include the routine use of antibiotics, synthetic chemical disinfectants, genetically modified crops, growth-promoting drugs and other unnatural substances.

We think Pilgrim’s practices are inhumane and contribute to a host of problems, including the growing crisis of antibiotic-resistance.

We think it’s even more wrong that Pilgrim’s deceives consumers about how the brand’s products are actually produced.

It’s not the only complaint against Pilgrim’s. Bloomberg reports:

In December, the company was the subject of a complaint filed by the Humane Society of the United States with the Federal Trade Commission, which said Pilgrim’s Pride was “scalding fully conscious chickens” as a result of its methods for slaughter, yet stating on its website at the time that its birds were being produced “as humanely as possible.”

And in news unrelated to OCA and FWW’s lawsuit, Pilgrim’s Pride is recalling 58,000 pounds of popcorn-style chicken sold at Publix Super Markets after consumer complaints of rubber in the product. Yuck.

Read our press release  

Read the complaint  

Read Bloomberg’s coverage of our lawsuit

More on the Myth of Natural

several business people with their hands held together in a huddle

Let’s Make a Deal!

Today, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the official Green New Deal (GND) Resolution, in the U.S. House and Senate.

It’s everything we hoped for.

Ever since the GND started making headlines, we’ve been urging everyone who cares about food and farming, health, a clean environment and global warming to get involved. 

Now that it’s official, we’re asking you to step up your involvement. Please use the tools below to call, tweet, email and visit your members of Congress. Ask them to get behind this now-or-never plan to address so many of the crises we face—crises directly tied to policies that have for far too long served corporations, not people.

The activists at the Sunrise Movement said it best:

If resolutions get enough cosponsors, they can become a major driver of the policy debate! If not, they can get lost in the political shuffle and fade into oblivion.

We can’t afford for the GND Resolution to fade into oblivion. That means we can’t afford to not get involved.
Read ‘The Green New Deal Is Here. And It’s Great for Food & Farming!

Read the GND Resolution

TAKE ACTION: Ask your members of Congress to support the official Green New Deal Resolution!

Use this tool to call and tweet your members of Congress  

Join the GND Blitz!