Organic Bytes
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Little Bytes

Essential Reading

Today’s Special: Grilled Salmon Laced With Plastic

Don’t Go Vegan to Save the Planet. You Can Help by Being a Better Meat-Eater.

Genetically Engineered Animals: From Lab to Factory Farm

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Yield Unintended Consequences, Yale Study Finds

Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin: If We Want a Future, Green New Deal Is Key

A Big New Study Finds Bee-Killing Pesticides Aren’t Even Worth It for Soybean Farmers

The Link Between Fast Food and Teenage Depression

fresh greens and produce at a cafeteria salad bar

What’s for Lunch?

Schoolchildren deserve access to fresh, locally grown food. Yet the foods served up by most school cafeterias are bad for kids, bad for local farm businesses and bad for the environment.

Who gains when the school menu is full of chicken nuggets, “cheese” pizza, french fries and tater tots? Giant food corporations that support factory farms and chemical companies, like Monsanto.

Feeding kids processed food filled with cheap ingredients can have profound and long-lasting health effects. Eating ultra-processed food is linked to heart attack, stroke and early death. It also promotes obesity and diabetes, two life-threatening conditions that are on the rise among kids in the U.S.

The “Kids Eat Local Act” (HR 3220), Introduced by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), would help public schools source more local food, which would in turn give kids access to healthy, nutritious lunches.

The “Kids Eat Local Act” would also help support local farms by creating more market opportunities. What’s not to love?

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Support the “Kids Eat Local Act”

Beth Hoffman of Whippoorwill Creek Farm

Straight Talk

Less than a week after the launch of the national coalition of U.S. Farmers & Ranchers for a Green New Deal, Beth Hoffman, a coalition member, sent us a video, with a little straight talk straight from a farmer.

Hoffman’s message?

“I think America has to make some decisions about farmers and farming, and making them viable . . . How we’re going to support people on the land is a critical question right now.”

Hoffman and her partner, John Hogeland, are taking over her family’s Iowa farm, Whippoorwill Creek Farm.

As Hoffman has written before, it’s not easy for beginning farmers, especially those who want to transition to organic regenerative practices, to make a living:

But farming – even in a place like Iowa – is a profession that doesn’t pay.  Not “doesn’t pay” like teachers should be paid more or cooks make so much less than waiters.  No, farming at small scale like we are talking about doing on the farm literally does not make any money.  In fact, farmers often pay to farm. 

A Green New Deal, with transformational ag policy reforms, could change things for farmers like Hoffman.

Watch ‘A Young Farmer’s Plea for a Green New Deal’

SIGN UP for the Regeneration International newsletter

TAKE ACTION:  Support the national coalition of U.S. Farmers and Ranchers for a Green New Deal!

gray Landes goose


According to the company website, D’Artagnan’s foie gras “is considered a great delicacy around the world.”

But if you’re eating D’Artagnan’s foie gras, what you’re actually eating is the diseased liver of a tortured duck or goose.

Samples of D’Artagnan’s foie gras, submitted by Organic Consumers Association for independent lab testing, confirm that the product is made from the livers of ducks that suffer from “severe hepatic lipidosis,” or what’s commonly known as fatty liver disease.

Setting aside the “yuck” factor for a minute, what do these test results mean?

They mean that the birds used to produce this “great delicacy” for consumers lived painful, tortured lives.

Read ‘Tests Confirm: If You’re Eating this ‘Delicacy,’ You’re Eating a Diseased Liver’

TAKE ACTION: California Banned Foie Gras. Ask Your State to Do the Same.

colorful jester hat with bells on top of a blue and white bottle of Monsantos glyphosate Roundup herbicide

‘What Fools’

The nearly 18,000 cancer victims suing Monsanto in the U.S. aren’t alone. Farmers worldwide are taking to the courts to hold Monsanto and its parent company, Bayer, accountable for concealing the truth about the potential dangers associated with its flagship weedkiller, Roundup.

The Australian version of the popular news program, “60 Minutes,” earlier this month ran a segment about Michael Ogolirolo, an Australian landscaper who says exposure to Roundup caused his leukemia.

The reporter interviewed Brent Wisner, the attorney who represented Dewayne Johnson, in the first Roundup trial in the U.S. Wisner said that with Roundup, we are right now at the “exact same moment” we were decades ago with cigarettes:

“Forty years from now we’re going to look back at this time and say, ‘what fools we were, of course it [Roundup] causes cancer.’”

Wisner also told “60 Minutes” that Bayer is “just lying” when the company continues to claim that Roundup is “completely safe.”

“We have their own studies that they themselves conducted that show when you expose animals or humans to this, you see genetic damage, you see lymphoma.”

Meanwhile, back in the good old U.S. of A., Bayer is desperately trying to block the next Roundup lawsuit, originally set to take place in the Biotech Bully’s backyard, St. Louis, Mo. 

Watch the ‘60 Minutes’ segment on Roundup in Australia

Read ‘Monsanto Makes New Bid to Block St. Louis Trial’

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Ban Monsanto’s Roundup Weedkiller! 


many hands coming together in a circle in teamwork

‘Linking Arms’

“Today, tens of thousands of young people with the Sunrise Movement are linking arms with the tens of thousands of farmers and ranchers in this historic coalition to demand a Green New Deal that reinvests in our family farms and empowers them to be the heroes we need them to be to stop the climate crisis.” – Garrett Blad, Sunrise Movement, September 18, 2019

Last week, Organic Consumers Association (OCA) joined Regeneration International (an organization we helped co-found and continue to support) and the Sunrise Movement to officially launch the national coalition of U.S. Farmers & Ranchers for a Green New Deal. 

Five members of Congress joined us in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., to call for a Green New Deal for farmers and ranchers. Earlier in the day, we delivered a letter to every member of Congress, signed by more than 500 individual farms, and 50 organizations representing more than 10,000 farmers and ranchers, asking Congress to support the Green New Deal Resolution.

Representatives of the Women, Food & Agriculture Network, Indiana Farmers Union and American Sustainable Business Council joined in the press conference.

Why is a consumer and environmental advocacy group like OCA so invested in this new coalition?

Because we’re facing a food crisis. A soil crisis. A water crisis. And a climate crisis. And there’s just no way we solve these interconnected issues without “linking arms” and working together.

Read ‘Linking Arms: Farmers, Consumers and Climate Activists Launch National Coalition for a Green New Deal’

Read the press release

More about the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers for a Green New Deal

SIGN UP for the Regeneration International newsletter

TAKE ACTION: Sign the Green Consumers for a Green New Deal petition

TAKE ACTION: Make a tax-deductible donation to the national coalition of U.S. Farmers and Ranchers for a Green New Deal!


Diversity Rules

It’s the premise of our newest project, Regeneration International: If we’re going to save the ecosystem that supports human, and every other form of life, we’re going to have to ditch the degenerative agribusiness model and start scaling up organic, regenerative farming and land use practices.

And that’s pretty much the conclusion arrived at recently by a group of 20 leading agronomists, health, nutrition and social scientists who authored the report, “From Uniformity to Diversity: A Paradigm Shift from Industrial Agriculture to Diversified Agroecological Systems.”

From the Guardian

Rather than the giant feedlots used to rear animals or the uniform crop monocultures that now dominate farming worldwide, the solution is to diversify agriculture and re-orient it around ecological practices, says the report by the International panel of experts on sustainable food systems (IPES-Food).

The IPES report is long. It’s also as complex as the issues it addresses—pesticides and fertilizer use, global warming, soil erosion and degradation, biodiversity, obesity, hunger, poverty—the list goes on. The bottom line? These issues are interconnected. And through them runs a common thread—agriculture.

IPES-Food is a new group co-chaired by Olivier De Schutter, former UN special rapporteur on food. Members include winners of the World Food Prize and the heads of bio-science research groups.

Read the full report 

Learn more