Organic Bytes
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Little Bytes

Essential Reading

Trump: Importing Dangerous Medicines and Food and Keeping Consumers in the Dark

Trial in Monsanto’s Hometown Set for August after $2 Billion Roundup Cancer Verdict

Critics Question Ethics Behind Impossible Burger’s Rapid Fast-Food Expansion

Neil Young, Grimes & Rufus Wainwright Push Green New Deal in Canada

Exposing the Dirty Business Behind the Designer Label

Meet the Sioux Chef: Revitalizing Native Foodways

You Can’t ‘Starve’ Cancer, but You Might Help Treat It With Food

dew drops of water hanging on a tomato fruit and plant

Back to Basics

Who knows better than someone who’s been an organic farmer for 50 years, what “organic farming” means?

Probably no one, especially if that organic farmer is Eliot Coleman.

It’s easy to forget that before there was a National Organic Program, before there was organic certification, before there were genetically engineered crops and industrial factory farms, there were farmers—farmers who grew nutritious food and raised healthy meat, using farming and ranching practices that worked with, and enhanced, Earth’s natural systems and cycles.

These farmers are the original “definers” of organic.

Read ‘Organic Farming Explained’

still from the trailer for the movie KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE

‘It Belongs to Us’

In 2018, record numbers of women, people of color and political outsiders set out to transform Congress. Some of them won, some of them lost.

But they ran. They got involved. They challenged the status quo.

Whether you identify as Republican or Democrat, Libertarian, Independent or Green, the film “Knock Down the House” has lessons for all of us. 

This is a film about fearless people with passion. A film about having the courage to stand up for regular working people, to speak out against corporate interests, to challenge institutional power.

As one person in the film says:

“We don’t care about party. We just want to get stuff done. If we elect working people, working people can have representation in government, we can change the way we see politics, the way we see government in this country.”

You might not agree with everyone in this film. You might not like their viewpoints on the issues.

But you’ve got to give them credit for reminding us that this government belongs to us. All of us. Not just the powerful and wealthy. And it’s time to take our government back.

Watch the trailer for “Knock Down the House”

Read ‘Knock Down the House and the Quiet Insurgency of Tears’

smiling farmer standing in a lime garden in a plaid shirt with her arms crossed

You’ve Got This!

Filmmaker Damon Gameau wants us to imagine what the world could look like in 2040 if we focused on solutions—solutions that improve health, income inequality, security and communities with the bonus of drastically reducing emissions and regenerating ecosystems.

Gameau is no Pollyanna, he writes in a recent op-ed in the Guardian. He gets just how much trouble our planet is in.

But rather than be paralyzed by the relentless barrage of bad news, Gameau suggests that after we acknowledge how dire the situation is, we move on to focus on the solutions—solutions that already exist.

That’s the theme of the film he’s been working on for the past three years, called “2040.” Gameau describes the film as:

. . .  a visual letter to my daughter showing her what the world could look like that year if we put into practice some of the best solutions that exist today.

Those solutions, Gameau says, “include regenerative agriculture practices which takes carbon from the atmosphere and returns it to the soil with the cascading benefits of water retention and nutrient-dense food.”

In our newsletter this week, you’ll find the usual dose of bad news—burgers made with GMO soy, grown with a known carcinogen . . . the failure to ban a poison known to cause brain damage in children.

But you’ll also read about solutions, about the growing momentum behind the movement to regenerate everything from our soils and water, to our health, the economic and social revitalization of our communities and to the restabilization of our climate.

Regenerative agriculture solution isn’t the only solution to all of our problems. But it’s an essential piece of the solution puzzle. And it’s here. Now.

We’ve got this. All we have to do is scale it up. And with your help, we will.

Make a tax-deductible donation to the Organic Consumers Association

Support Citizens Regeneration Lobby, OCA’s 501(c)(4) lobbying arm (not tax-deductible)

Click here for more ways to support our work

plastic toy cheeseburgers on a green background

Impossible Claims

The Impossible Burger—deceptively marketed as “natural”—already contains a genetically engineered ingredient, a yeast referred to as “heme.”

Now, Impossible Foods, maker of the fake meat patty, is adding another GMO ingredient: genetically engineered soy.

Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown wants you to think the switch to GMO soy was motivated by the company’s “commitment to consumers and our planet.”

Let’s call this announcement what it really is: a move to generate massive profits for Brown and Impossible Burger’s shareholders by using the cheapest—and least healthy and environmentally responsible—ingredients as possible.

Read ‘6 Reason’s Impossible Burger’s CEO Is Wrong about GMO Soy’

TAKE ACTION: Tell Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown: GMO Soy Is Bad for Consumers, Bad for the Planet

persons hands holding a small globe of the earth in a meadow with grass and tiny flowers

A Beautiful Thing

Progress is a beautiful thing. Progress toward restoring the Earth’s natural cycles as the best way to avert a full-blown climate crisis—and solve a multitude of other looming crises in the process—is beautiful beyond words.

It was five years ago that a small but determined band of food, farm, natural health and climate activists gathered in New York at the massive People’s Climate March to launch a new global network: Regeneration International.

Regeneration International, and the global Regeneration Movement, have come a long way since then.

In this week’s essay, Ronnie outlines some of the progress this growing movement has made. Progress in the science of regenerative agriculture and carbon sequestration. Progress toward creating national and international policy initiatives to advance regenerative agriculture and land restoration as a climate solution. And progress in generating public awareness of the climate crisis and the Regeneration Movement.

And then he asks, “So, what do we do next?”

Read Ronnie’s essay: ‘Regeneration 2019: State of the Movement’

FARMERS & RANCHERS ONLY: Sign this letter to Congress

CONSUMERS: Sign this petition

Support Regeneration International with a tax-deductible donation

Sign up for Regeneration International’s newsletter

Safeguard Organic Standards

Whatever It Takes

When the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meets at the end of this month (October 28 – 30, 2014), the board is expected to review a long list of non-organic and synthetic ingredients that have been allowed in organic, but should be removed.

It’s always been an uphill battle to keep non-organic and synthetic materials out of organic. But last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) made it even more difficult, when NOP Director Miles McEvoy changed something called the “sunset process.”

"Sunset" refers to a requirement of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), that the use of an approved non-organic or synthetic material expire after five years, unless the NOSB votes to "re-list" (keep the material on the National List of Approved and Prohibited Substances) it.

Under the sunset process in place since the first NOSB convened in 1992, it took a decisive vote of 10 out of the NOSB's board’s 15 members to keep a non-organic or synthetic material in organic.

Under the changes made by McEvoy, it now takes only six out of 15 NOSB members to keep a non-organic or synthetic material in organic. This violates OFPA's requirement for a two-thirds vote on all motions

So how do we hope to make any progress at this year’s meeting, toward getting non-organic and synthetic materials that don’t belong in organic, out of organic?

The NOSB could still make an end run around McEvoy’s power grab. By refusing to vote. NOSB review is required under the OPFA, if the NOSB won’t review or vote on a “sunset material” that material can’t get back on the National List.

TAKE ACTION! Tell the NOSB: Do Whatever It Takes to Get these Non-Organic and Synthetic Materials Out of Organic!