Saturday, May 24, 2014

Listen Up, Monsanto!

Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall in Monsanto’s boardroom this week?
Two Oregon counties—Jackson and Josephine—soundly defeated the Gene Giants on Tuesday, May 20. Voters there, led in Jackson County by a grassroots group called Our Family Farms Coalition, passed countywide bans on growing GMOs.

The wins send a clear signal to the biotech industry that their GMO crops are not wanted. And an equally clear signal to politicians that communities will take a stand to protect their democratic right to local home rule.
This time, Monsanto’s money and lies didn’t work. (Monsanto and the rest of the Gene Giants spent a cool $1 million—a new record for a county ballot measure in Oregon—in Jackson County alone).
This time, ordinary citizens and community rights prevailed over corporate and political corruption.
This time, we’re celebrating.
This week’s victories are all the more sweet, coming just weeks after Vermont signed into law this country’s first stand-alone bill requiring mandatory labeling of GMOs.
The grassroots anti-GMO movement, always a force to be reckoned with, is now a bigger-than-ever threat to corporations that have poisoned and polluted with impunity, for decades.
Thanks to you.

What’s next? A lot.

Through your donations to our 501(c) 4 allied lobbying arm, the Organic Consumers Fund, we contributed $50,000 to win in Jackson and Josephine Counties. And another $250,000 to win in Vermont.
Now, we have to win Oregon’s Ballot Initiative #44, in November, to require statewide mandatory labeling of GMO foods. We’ve pledged $500,000 to that campaign. We have to help other counties, like Lane and Benton Counties in Oregon, and Humboldt County, in California, pass the GMO bans they’re working on.
We also need to defend Josephine County’s initiative, at risk because of a controversial law passed last year in Oregon preempting county GMO bans. (Jackson County got on the ballot before Oregon SB 863 passed). And we have to defend Vermont’s new labeling law, because the Grocery Manufacturers Association has promised to sue in federal court to overturn it.
It’s a lot. But listen up, Monsanto. We’re just getting started.
These recent victories mark the turning point in a decades-long battle to expose the health and environmental hazards of GMO food and farming. As we pause today to celebrate the energy, creativity and dogged determination of our fellow activists everywhere, we are proud to be a part of this unstoppable movement. And grateful for all of you who really are this movement. Thank you! And onward to the next victory.
Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (501(c) 4) or the Organic Consumers Association (501(c) 3) to support ongoing GMO education campaigns, GMO bans in Lane and Benton Counties (Oregon), and Humboldt County (California), and Oregon’s state Ballot Initiative #44 for mandatory labeling of GMOs.

News Flash For Russian P.M. Medvedev

News flash Mr. Medvedev, us Americans do NOT like to eat GMO produce/products....that is why we're fighting the BIG corporations tooth & nail to stop it! But you see, it seems fascism has taken hold of our government (not much unlike your country's history) and it seems to think that We the People have no say. And though it may be true that a lot of Americans have been either ignorant or asleep (or both) for quite awhile, make no doubt that there is now an awaken giant that is taking our government and these corporation culprits to task. 

So please take note, our government, as it is now, does not represent us Americans and what we think or feel about many things, to include GMO products. So be patient, you will see soon enough how We the American People deal with rogue governments (it seems our own government has forgotten 1776!) and fascism.

Friday, May 23, 2014

7 Ways Organic Farms Outperform Conventional Farms

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's All About Organics Page.

Just a few generations ago, in the 1930’s, approximately 45% of Americans lived on farms. This demographic gradually but steadily declined as people migrated to urban centers, and over time, to suburbs. Today, only about 960,000 people claim farming as their principal occupation, which represents less than 1% of the US population.
During the same period of time the US population has more than doubled, and demand for agricultural products has increased accordingly.
It is a testament to human ingenuity that the mechanics of farming has managed to keep pace with an ever-expanding demand even as the number of farms has declined. Farm machinery has become larger, more efficient and more productive. New crop varieties have been developed which resist common pests and diseases while producing larger yields. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides have become increasingly effective, allowing farmers to produce larger crops without the need for additional human labor.
Farmlands have become increasingly dependent on chemical fertilizers which have short-term benefits but contribute to soil depletion over time.
But while today’s large scale food producers continue to profit and consumers see supermarket shelves overflowing with farm products, the unseen costs of our dependence on agribusiness exert a mounting toll. Farmlands have become increasingly dependent on chemical fertilizers which have short-term benefits but contribute to soil depletion over time. Water retention is diminished in non-organic farmland, resulting in erosion of topsoil with chemical residues entering watersheds. We consumers have quietly accepted these changes in farming practices as the cost of feeding a growing nation, and because there seem to be no practical alternatives.
Recent experiments in small organic farming practices, and the release of a 30-year side-by-side farming study by the Rodale Institute, have shown this reasoning to be fundamentally flawed. Organic farming, both large and small scale, is more productive than ‘conventional’ chemical-dependent farming. Organic farming is not only the best way to feed the world – it is the only way to feed the world in a sustainable way.
Organic farms, contrary to conventional wisdom, outperform conventional farms in these ways:

1. Organic farms are more profitable than conventional farms

The bottom line for farmers, regardless of the practices used, is income. The 30-year side-by-side Rodale study showed that organic systems were almost three times as profitable as conventional systems. The average net return for the organic systems was $558/acre/ year versus just $190/acre/year for the conventional systems. This figure is skewed because of the higher price organic farmers receive for their produce and meat, but the higher food costs alone cannot account for the difference in profitability. Lower input costs for organic farm systems are credited with significant cost savings for the farmer.
The relatively poor showing of GM crops in the Rodale study echoed a study from the University of Minnesota that found farmers who cultivated GM varieties earned less money over a 14-year period than those who continued to grow non-GM crops.

2. Organic yields equal or surpass conventional and GM yields

The Rodale 30-year study found that after a three-year transition period, organic yields equalled conventional yields. Contrary to fears that there are insufficient quantities of organically acceptable fertilizers, the data suggest that leguminous cover crops could fix enough nitrogen to replace the amount of synthetic fertilizer currently in use.
In a review of 286 projects in 57 countries, farmers were found to have increased agricultural productivity by an average of 79%, by adopting “resource-conserving” or ecological agriculture (Pretty et al., 2006).

3. Organic crops are more resilient than conventionally grown and GM crops

Organic corn yields were 31 per cent higher than conventional yields in years of drought. These drought yields are remarkable when compared to genetically modified (GM) “drought tolerant” varieties, which showed increases of only 6.7 per cent to 13.3 per cent over conventional (non-drought resistant) varieties.
The effects of climate change bring more uncertainty to farming, with increased drought predicted for some parts of the country. It has become obvious that weather patterns are changing, and looking to the future, food crops will need the resilience to adapt.

4. Organic farming is more efficient than conventional farming

Conventional agriculture requires large amounts of oil to produce, transport and apply fertilizers and pesticides. Nitrogen fertilizer is the single biggest energy cost for conventional farming, representing 41% of overall energy costs. Organic systems used 45% less energy overall than conventional systems. Production efficiency was 28% higher in the organic systems, with the conventional no-till system being the least efficient in terms of energy usage.
The extra energy required for fertilizer production and farm fuel use in conventional systems also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Conventional systems emit almost 40% more GHG per pound of crop production in comparison to the organic systems.

5. Organic farming builds healthier soil

While short-term benefits are realized with the use of chemical fertilizers and mechanized production methods, every gardener knows that soil health cannot be compromised in the long term. Eventually, soil-depleting practices take their toll as soil structure weakens, microbial life declines and erosion removes valuable topsoil from farmland.
The Rodale study found that overall soil health is maintained with conventional systems, but soil health is improved when using organic farming practices. Organic farming practices improve moisture retention which creates water ‘stores’ which plants can draw on during times of stress due to drought and high winds.
According to the Environmental Working Group and soil scientists at Iowa State University, America’s “Corn Belt” is losing precious topsoil up to 12 times faster than government estimates.

6. Organic farming keeps toxic chemicals out of the environment

Conventional systems rely heavily on pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides) many of which are toxic to humans and animals. With more than 17,000 pesticide products (agricultural and non-agricultural) on the market today, the EPA is unable to keep up with adequate safety testing. In fact, the EPA has required testing of less than 1% of chemicals in commerce today.
Many studies link low level exposure of pesticides to human health problems, and chemical residue from pesticides used in farming can be commonly found in air and water samples as well as in the food we eat.
Inactive ingredients in pesticide and herbicide formulations have been found to be as toxic as active ingredients, but are not tested for human health impacts.

7. Organic farming creates more jobs

Industrial agriculture has replaced human hands with machines and chemical inputs. According to the EPA, in the last century agricultural labor efficiency increased from 27.5 acres/worker to 740 acres/worker. Joel Salatin, organic farmer and author of best-selling books on sustainable farming, views these statistics as another reason for us to return to our farming roots. “People say our system can’t feed the world, but they’re absolutely wrong,” he says, “Yes, it will take more hands, but we’ve got plenty of them around.”
One important aspect to consumer support of conventional farming practices is the cost of food. Organic produce and meat is higher priced than non-organic counterparts. But, according to Joel Salatin, we get what we pay for. “We spend around 10% of our income on food and some 16% on health care, and it used to be the reverse.”
Our current food production system is in need of repair. We need to promote organic systems which respect the integrity of soil health and sustainable systems. Until recently it was thought that our national and global food needs were too big to be met with natural, organic food production systems. Recent studies confirm, however, that organic farming is the way of the future. We need, both collectively and as individuals, to support the organic food movement to enable the process to move forward with the research, seed development and farming practices needed to feed a hungry world.

The Big Monsanto Stock Dump

Are you invested in Monsanto? Before you say “of course not!,” take note: Fidelity ($3.2 billion), Vanguard ($3.5 billion) and State Street ($2.9 billion) are the three largest public owners of Monsanto stock. If you own mutual funds or retirement funds managed by either of these financial institutions, you may be a Monsanto investor.
Last week, activists in seven cities participated in a national action asking Fidelity, Vanguard and State Street to dump Monsanto—or be dumped themselves. Here’s the video from Chicago.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Climate Change Is Turning Your Produce Into Junk Food

By Tom Philpott 
Mother Jones, May 14, 2014 

Straight to the Source 
Climate skeptics like to point out that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stimulates plant growth—suggesting that ever-growing fossil fuel consumption will lead to an era of bin-busting crop yields. But as I noted last week, the best science suggests that other effects of an over-heated planet—heat stress, drought, and floods—will likely overwhelm any bonus from CO2-rich air. Overall, it seems, crop yields will decline.
And here's more bad news: In a paper published in Nature this month, a global team has found that heightened levels of atmospheric carbon make key staple crops wheat, rice, peas, and soybeans less nutritious.
Higher CO2 levels caused a "significant decrease in the concentrations of zinc, iron, and protein" for wheat and rice.
The team, led by Samuel Myers, a research scientist at Harvard's Department of Environmental Health, grew a variety of grains and legumes in plots in the US, Japan, and Australia. They subjected one set to air enriched with COat concentrations ranging from 546 and 586 parts per million—levels expected to be reached in around four decades; the other set got ambient air at today's CO2 level, which recently crossed the 400 parts per million threshold.
The results: a "significant decrease in the concentrations of zinc, iron, and protein" for wheat and rice, a Harvard press release on the study reports. For legumes like soybeans and peas, protein didn’t change much, but zinc and iron levels dropped. For wheat, the treated crops saw zinc, iron, and protein fall by 9.3 percent, 5.1 percent, and 6.3 percent, respectively.
These are potentially grave findings, because a large swath of humanity relies on rice, wheat, and legumes for these very nutrients, the authors note. They report that two billion people already suffer from zinc and iron deficiencies, "causing a loss of 63 million life-years annually." According to the Harvard press release, the "reduction in these nutrients represents the most significant health threat ever shown to be associated with climate change." Symptoms of zinc deficiency include stunted growth, appetite loss, impaired immune function, hair loss, diarrhea, delayed sexual maturation, impotence, hypogonadism (for males), and eye and skin lesions; while iron deficiency brings on fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, and headache.
Wheat, rice, soybeans, and peas are all what scientists call C3 crops, characterized by the way they use photosynthesis to trap carbon from the atmosphere. C4 crops, which use a different pathway, include staples like corn and sorghum. Fortunately, C4 crops showed much less sensitivity to higher COlevels, the study found.
Roundup "loses its efficacy on weeds grown at CO2 levels projected to occur in the coming decades."
Meanwhile, in my post last week about the big National Climate Assessment and its finding on agriculture, I left out a key point on weeds. The report's agriculture section notes that "several weed species benefit more than crops from higher temperatures and CO2 levels," meaning that climate change will likely intensify weed pressure on farmers. And then it adds a bombshell: glyphosate, the widely used herbicide marketed by Monsanto as Roundup, "loses its efficacy on weeds grown at CO2 levels projected to occur in the coming decades." And that means "higher concentrations of the chemical and more frequent sprayings thus will be needed, increasing economic and environmental costs associated with chemical use."
In short, the era of climate change will hardly be the paradise of carbon-enriched bounty envisioned by fossil fuel enthusiasts. For a look at how farmers probably should adapt to these unhappy developments, see my 2013 profile of Ohio farmer David Brandt.

The Clean Food Movement explained

Huge victory for consumers vs. corporate collusion and secrecy

(NaturalNews) While Natural News is one of the best-known voices of the Clean Food Movement, there are actually many millions of voices across the movement. But what is the Clean Food Movement exactly? In this article, I explain what it means and where it came from.

The Clean Food Movement is decentralized, grassroots movement that calls for total transparency about:

* What's in the food (including honest labeling)
* How it was grown or raised
* Where it came from (geographically)
* Whether it's genetically engineered
* What chemicals it contains (such as MSG and aspartame)

These days, food consumers are more sophisticated than ever, and they want to know what they're eating. They want to know what farming methods were used to produce the food, too, and in the case of meat production, they even want to know how those meat animals were raised and treated.

Advocates of the Clean Food Movement believe in honest labeling of GMOs in foods, and they believe in "food democracy" in the sense that consumers should have full access to accurate information about foods on the shelf so they can make informed decisions about what to buy or what to avoid.

Show us the heavy metals!

Clean Food Movement advocates also seek to avoid toxic heavy metals in their foods, superfoods and dietary supplements. They want to know what levels are found in their foods, and they seek out foods with the lowest concentrations possible.

At the same time, they also want to know where their food is grown and whether any of it comes from China, a highly-polluted agricultural producer where 20 percent of the nation's farms are heavily contaminated with toxic heavy metals.

Who opposes the Clean Food Movement? Dirty food producers!

Opposition to the Clean Food Movement comes from producers of dirty, contaminated, genetically modified foods.

The larger the food corporation, it seems, the less they want you to know about what's in their food products. That's why most of the largest food corporations conspired with the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) to violate campaign laws in Washington state with a secret money laundering scheme to defeat GMO labeling laws there.

It's also why the GMA is reportedly planning to sue Vermont, the first U.S. state to pass mandatory GMO labeling laws. Evil industry front groups like the GMA believe you shouldn't know what you're buying and eating, so they want to keep consumers completely in the dark about what's in their food.

But the GMA is fighting against the most sweeping trend in the history of food: the Clean Food Movement. Everybody wants to know what they're eating, and as the scrutiny of foods increases across the board, consumers are going to demand more and more details such as country of origin, heavy metals concentrations, and manufacturing techniques.

Even inside the organic product industry, companies that Natural News revealed as selling contaminated rice protein products are rapidly reformulating and scrambling to introduce newer, cleaner products. I just received word from Healthforce, for example, that all the rice protein they are manufacturing right now is substantially lower in heavy metals than the products they previously sold. (I'm not sure how long it will take for this new batch to replace the old batches on store shelves, but it's on the way!)

Clean Food Movement is about food transparency

Generations ago, most people used to grow a significant portion of their own diets. People maintained backyard gardens, and a much larger percentage of the population was involved in agricultural production than are today.

Today, as the number of farmers is less than 2% of the total population, food production has become centralized and shrouded in secrecy. From the horrendous truths about CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) to the dirty little secrets of contaminated "organic" food imported from China, food production today is conducted behind closed doors, using techniques that food producers would often be horrified to see made public.

Even when it comes to food labels, food corporations hide the truths about their food using deceptive labeling code words. For example, MSG is hidden on labels using the ingredient "yeast extract." A food coloring pigment made from crushed female beetles is listed as "carmine," and toxic chemical preservatives are described on food labels as "added to retain freshness."

There are a lot of manufactured foods people wouldn't buy, you see, if the truth was shown on labels, so the food corporations engage in routine deception and obfuscation to keep consumers in the dark.

Huge victories already achieved for food transparency

The Clean Food Movement is winning in all fronts in this war for honest food, by the way. In addition to the Vermont GMO labeling law, Coke and Pepsi recently removed the flame retardant chemical "BVO" from their products due to a popular petition launched by a teenager!

Subway restaurants announced they would remove a "yoga mat chemical" from their breads after a sustained petition drive by the Food Babe.

And companies everywhere are now reformulating superfoods and supplements thanks to the heavy metals research I've conducted at the Natural News Forensic Food Lab.

Likewise, Ronnie Cummins at the Organic Consumers Association is fighting hard to preserve the very definition of "organic" in the face of extreme pressure by corporations to water down the standard. At the same time, the OCA has announced a massive boycott of all food corporations that belong to the GMA.

This includes a full-on boycott against all products made by Nestle, PepsiCo, Kraft, General Mills, Kellogg, Campbells, Smuckers and more. It even includes many natural-sounding brands owned by these corporate giants: Sweet Leaf Tea, Boca Burgers, Larabar, Alexia, Cascadian Farm, Bear Naked, Kashi, Morningstar Farms, Wolfgang Puck and many more.

There's even a "buycott" app for your mobile phone that will allow you to scan products at the grocery store before you buy them, then it tells you whether the product is part of the boycott.

Through grassroots efforts like these, consumers are increasingly empowered to vote with their dollars and stop financially supporting companies that sell dirty, contaminated, genetically modified foods.

The rules have changed: Grassroots power to defeat corporate collusion

The bottom line in all this is that the rules have changed: grassroots power now trumps corporate collusion.

The power of tens of millions of motivated members of the Clean Food Movement to force changes upon billion-dollar corporations is undeniable. Through the freedom of the internet and sites like Natural News which reaches millions of readers each month, corporations no longer control the narrative. The truth about their foods can no longer be suppressed or hidden, and the real power now belongs to consumers and activists.

That's why I'm excited to be one of the many voices of the Clean Food Movement -- a movement made up of scientists, hippies, journalists and even concerned parents of autistic children.

Each of us is different in our own way -- we each have eccentricities, personalities and some differences in opinion -- but together we are a powerful force for positive global change. Together, we are literally changing the landscape of the food industry and forcing billion-dollar corporations to remove toxic chemicals from their products.

And together, we have much more to achieve in terms of heavy metals limits, country of origin labeling, improved conditions for animals and the nationwide mandatory labeling of GMOs.

Keep up the fight! This is a fight against secrecy and collusion. It is a fight for the "Right to Know." It is a fight for the fundamental human right to make an informed decision of what we choose to buy and consume.

The age of food secrecy is fast drawing to a close. With your help, we can vastly expand the reach of the Clean Food Movement and achieve many more important victories for us all!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Toxic Brew in Our Yards

By Diane Lewis 
The New York Times, May 10, 2014 
Straight to the Source 

IN much of the country, it’s time to go outside, clean up the ravages of winter and start planting. Many of us will be using chemicals like glyphosate, carbaryl, malathion and 2,4-D. But they can end up in drinking water, and in some cases these compounds or their breakdown products are linked to an increased risk for cancer and hormonal disruption.

Some of those chemicals are also used by farmworkers, and there is a growing recognition that they can be hazardous. The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing regulations that will limit farmworkers’ exposure to dangerous pesticides and is accepting comments on these changes through June 17. These new rules are meant to reduce the incidence of diseases associated with pesticide exposure, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate cancer, Parkinson’s disease and lung cancer.

Homeowners who use these toxins on their yards and gardens are exposing themselves to the same risks. They aren’t necessary. We don’t need them to have pleasant environments. Together we can make a substantial improvement in our water quality simply by refraining from using synthetic pesticides, weedkillers and fertilizers on a routine basis. Occasional localized use to deal with an otherwise uncontainable infestation, or to deal mindfully with an invasive species, is not the problem, but routine, frequent and widespread use is.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service says homeowners use up to 10 times more chemicals per acre than farmers do. Some of these chemicals rub off on children or pets, but most are washed with rainwater into our streams, lakes and rivers or are absorbed into our groundwater. These are the sources of our drinking water, and tests show these chemicals are indeed contaminating our water supply.

A study by the United States Geological Survey released in 1999 found at least one pesticide, and often more than one, in almost every stream and fish sample tested, and in about half of the samples drawn from wells throughout the country. These pesticides are going from our lawns and gardens into our drinking water and into our bodies.

The amounts of these chemicals are small and often considered “acceptable,” but scientists now know that they have a cumulative effect. Many chemicals that we use very casually on our lawns cause long-term health problems in ways that have only recently been understood. They “disrupt,” or throw out of whack, the endocrine system, made up of glands and hormones that control almost every aspect of our bodies’ functions.

In 2009 the Endocrine Society, a group of doctors, researchers and educators who specialize in diseases related to the hormonal system, published a scientific statement based on 485 citations from research papers showing growing evidence that there are significant health threats caused by endocrine-disrupting substances in our environment. In terms of scientific research, 2009 is relatively recent. Epidemiologic studies take decades, and developing a battery of reliable laboratory tests also takes many years. This means that there are more studies implicating older chemicals, many of which are no longer sold because of known toxicities.

But many scientists expect similar chemicals now in widespread use to cause the same problems. Endocrine disrupters are linked to an increased risk for breast and prostate cancer, thyroid abnormalities and infertility. The Endocrine Society paper and others also present evidence that links exposure to chemical contaminants to diabetes and obesity.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story

These chemicals are not safe just because they are available in stores. Regulations governing the sale of chemicals do not reflect this new scientific information, because scientists are only now working on standardized tests both in laboratory animals and cell cultures to evaluate whether a chemical disrupts the hormonal system, and if so, at what level.

What we put on our lawns and down our drains winds up in our drinking water, and it is not removed by water treatment. Bottled water is not a solution because it comes from the same sources and is susceptible to the same contaminants. But if we don’t put these chemicals in our yards, they won’t be in our drinking water.

In the last decade or so, plenty of homeowners have been rejecting the emerald green lawn and planting with species that do not demand chemicals and constant watering. But not nearly enough of us have taken that step. We need to see a perfect lawn not as enviable, but a sign of harm.

Natural care of our yards and gardens is surprisingly easy. Increasing diversity in a lawn by adding clover helps supply nutrition naturally because clover fixes nitrogen from the air and makes it available to other plants. Leaving grass clippings not only returns nitrogen to the lawn, but also prevents it from drying out. Letting grass grow to four inches allows the roots to grow long so the grass can absorb more water and excess nutrients during a storm, and withstand a drought. Plants that are native to your region require less water and care and support animals and wildlife, so you will see more birds and butterflies.

In my yard in New York, native Annabelle hydrangeas, echinacea and bee balm take almost no care, are beautiful and provide nectar for bees and butterflies. American elderberry, Carolina rose and bayberry are resilient attractive shrubs that also support our local wildlife. Bats can live under the loose bark of our shagbark hickory, and oaks support woodpeckers, deer, mice and birds. We have learned to appreciate clover and dandelions because they supply sustenance to endangered monarch butterflies until milkweed blooms later in the season.

This is a surprisingly easy way to leave cleaner water and a healthier population.

Diane Lewis is a physician and the founder of the Great Healthy Yard Project.

Dumping the Dumps


In 2012, the U.S. generated 250.9 million tons of trash, nearly three times as much waste as in 1960, says the EPA.
All that waste has to go somewhere. For years, it’s gone into dumps, or in today’s more politically correct lingo, landfills. But as landfills fill up, communities looking for new ways to tackle municipal solid waste are turning to “zero-waste.”
Two of those communities, St. Louis Park, Minn., and Minneapolis, are on track to clean up their acts sooner, rather than later.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bigger Battle, Bigger Boycott

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food.
It’s time we did the same.
The GMA plans to sue in federal court to overturn Vermont’s new GMO labeling law, H.112. And it’s pushing a bill in Congress that would not only overturn every state’s right to enact a GMO labeling law, but also legalize the practice of labeling GMO foods “natural.”
Monsanto, Dow, Dupont, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Coca-Cola. These are just a few of the 300-plus members of the GMA. Combined, they own more than 6,000 brand name products, including foods, beverages, seeds, home and garden supplies, pet food, herbicides and pesticides.
You probably don’t buy most of those products. But you may not be aware that many of your favorite organic and natural brands, like Honest Tea, Muir Glen, Odwalla, Kashi, Earthgrains, Santa Cruz and others, are owned by corporations that do belong to the GMA. Those corporations spent about $68 million just to defeat GMO ballot initiatives in California (Prop 37) and Washington State (I-522). And they continue to fight against your right to know by supporting the GMA’s latest efforts to overturn states’ rights to pass GMO labeling laws.
Who are the Traitor Brands? Take the pledge, and find out!
Download the Buycott app for your smartphone and join OCA's new campaign, "Buy Organic Brands that Support Your Right to Know" so you can scan products before you buy them.

Photo Credit: Mista Yuck via Compfight cc

Fifteen Easy and Affordable All Natural Weed Killer Recipes

Holistic Health Talk

As we discussed last week, using an all natural weed killer recipe to replace the harmful chemicals that are found in products like Roundup, glyphosate, and other synthetic herbicides is essential not only for doing what’s good for the environment, but for protecting your mental, physical and spiritual health as well.

Fortunately, there are many natural options to choose from when trying to eradicate weeds that are not only highly effective, but they are much more affordable than their toxic counterparts. Here are fifteen of them that you can try out.


Mix vinegar with concentrated lemon juice.

Use a (1 to 1 ratio.)
Put it in a spray bottle and apply to weeds.

Bottle of white or cider vinegar.

Pour it directly on the weeds or the ground around them.
Alternatively, you can put it in a spray bottle and spray the weeds.
Use higher acetic concentrations if possible.
When using any of the weed killer recipes that contain vinegar, you’ll need to re-apply it every seven to ten days for awhile. Vinegar doesn’t kill the root, so repeated applications will be needed to drain the weed’s resources and eventually the root will give out and perish as well.


Mix baking soda with water.

Pour it over weeds.
*Weeds won’t come back.

I discovered this worked very well by accident. I washed something in the yard with baking soda and water and a few days later the entire area was barren.


Boil salt water and pour it over the weeds while still hot.


1 quart of boiling water

5 TBSPS vinegar
2 TBSPS salt
Pour on weeds while still hot.
Can double or triple recipe.
*Supposed to work exceptionally well.


1 cup vinegar

1/2 cup dish soap
Mix together and apply to weeds.

1/4 tsp of salt

Sprinkle it around the base of the weeds.
This option has less impact on plants and grass around the weed that you don’t want to kill.

To use on a driveway, then pour more liberal amounts. But, do be aware that if you get rain there could be significant run-off, that may kill grass, etc.


Can’t get a more affordable, easy, or natural weed killer than good old plain water.

Just boil the water and pour it on the weeds. But, do be careful not to get it on your plants or grass.


Place the plastic bags over the weeds and then anchor them down with big rocks, bricks, or logs.

Remove them in about two weeks and the earth beneath them will be bare, because they have been deprived of air and light.
Also a good away to re-use your plastic bags.


Newspapers can be used in the same manner as the plastic bags we discussed above. Just place the newspaper over the weeded area and weigh them down with rocks, bricks or logs. This too denies them of light and air. What’s even better about this option is that newspaper is biodegradable.


3 TBSP of Vodka

2 cups of Water
Mix the two together in a spray bottle.
Spray it on the weeds and the alcohol will dry it out.


5 tsps of borax

1 quart of water
Mix them together and put it in a spray bottle.
Spray on weeds.


1 quart of vinegar

1/4 tsp of clove and/or cinnamon oil
Mix the two together in a spray bottle.

(Will need to re-apply several times every week or so until it completely dies.)

You can also use a sharp saw to cut the stem in half. The plant will die from the cut upward.

When dealing with poison ivy, be sure to suit up appropriately (covering your hands, eyes, mouth, and nose before removal) and wash your clothes thoroughly afterwards.

The only thing you must watch out for is that most of the natural weed killer recipes presented aboe will kill everything in the area including your grass, so you want to be sure to apply them only to the weed.


Get out there and pull the weeds with your hands, a rake, a hula ho, shovel, etc. One of the greatest aspects of using manual labor as your natural weed killer is that you can get them at the root, which makes it very effective. Not only that, you get to commune with nature, which is very beneficial for stimulating neurotransmitters in the brain that will boost your mood. You’ll also get some sunshine to help with vitamin D production and it’s a great form of exercise.


Last but not least, another alternative to killing your weeds is to accept them. Like every other living thing on the planet they have a purpose and fulfill some biological role. Nature does not consider them to be weeds. In many cases, you can simply allow them to exist and live in harmony with them.

Take a close look at them and appreciate what unique qualities and characteristics they contain and admire their ability to thrive. For example, the common dandelion is an exceptionally beautiful flower and adds character to your yard. I read a bumper sticker once that said, “When Did the Dandelion Become Our Enemy,?” and I thought that was profound.

Be sure you don’t put your weeds in your compost pile or they will make their way back into your yard

As you can see, there is really no need to use hazardous chemicals to eradicate weeds. Any of these all natural weed killer recipes will work equally as well, if not better, than synthetic products like Roundup without any of the associated health risks.

Monday, May 19, 2014


Backed into a Corner

For years, pesticide and junk food companies have conspired to poison everything in their path—including your food.
For years, they’ve bought off the politicians and courts, so they could poison with impunity.
Together, we have fought long and hard, persistently and passionately, to require Monsanto and Big Food to, if not clean up their acts, at least be honest about their products.
As in, label them. Truthfully.
Now that the law is beginning to turn in our favor, we have Monsanto and Big Food backed into a corner. But instead of backing down, they’re coming out swinging.
The GMO labeling law signed last week in Vermont was scrutinized every which way to Sunday, by some of the best legal experts in the country. It’s solid. Yet Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association have vowed to sue in federal court to overturn it. And just in case that doesn’t work, they’re working behind the scenes (as in paying off the politicians) in Washington D.C., to pass a federal law to preempt every single state from passing a GMO labeling law.
We will not let corporate bullies undo the progress you, and millions of others like you, have made toward an honest labeling system. Thank you for helping us get this far. Let’s show Monsanto and the GMA that no amount of desperate maneuvering is going to stop this movement.

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 legislative efforts in Oregon, Vermont and other states)

First-ever study reveals food dyes in brand-name foods

Sunday, May 11, 2014 by: Michael Bedar

(NaturalNews) Acknowledgment that food dyes (and other ingredients) cause behavioral problems in some children has spurred certain companies to remove dyes from some of their foods. However, until a new study by Purdue University scientists, the amounts of dyes in packaged foods has been a secret.

Published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, the research reports on the dye content of scores of breakfast cereals, candies, baked goods and other foods. According to the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, the findings are disturbing, since the amounts of dyes found in even single servings of numerous foods -- or combinations of several dyed foods -- are higher than the levels demonstrated in some clinical trials to impair some children's behavior.

Unprecedented test results now published

Clinical trials have shown that modest percentages of children are affected by doses up to 35 mg of mixtures of synthetic coloring, with larger percentages generally being affected by doses of 100 mg or more. It is unknown what amount of dye triggers reactions in the most sensitive children.

General Mills' Trix cereal lists Yellow 6, Blue 1 and Red 40 on its ingredients list. It is now known that Trix has 36.4 milligrams of those chemicals. Fruity Cheerios had 31 mg of food dyes. Of all the cereals tested, the one with the most artificial dyes was Cap'n Crunch's Oops! All Berries, with 41 mg.

Target Mini Green Cupcakes, which have Yellow 5, Blue 1, Yellow 6, and Red 40, had 55.3 mg of artificial dyes per serving, the highest level found in any food. Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 are the three most widely used dyes in the United States.

Mars, Inc's Skittles and M&M's, which are dyed with Blue 1, Blue 2, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Red 40, had the highest levels found in candies. Skittles Original had 33.3 mg per serving; M&M's Milk Chocolate had 29.5 mg per serving.

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese was found to have 17.6 mg of artificial dyes per serving. Keebler Cheese & Peanut Butter Crackers had 14.4 mg of artificial dyes, and Kraft's Creamy French salad dressing had 5 mg.

In beverages, the researchers found high levels of dyes in 8-ounce servings of some, including 18.8 mg in Full Throttle Red Berry energy drink, 22.1 mg in Powerade Orange Sports Drink, 33.6 mg in Crush Orange, 41.5 mg in Sunny D Orange Strawberry, and 52.3 mg per serving in Kool-Aid Burst Cherry. The beverage data were published in Clinical Pediatrics last September.

Scientists urge the prompt removal of dyes

According to the Purdue researchers, the amount of artificial food dye certified for use by the Food and Drug Administration has increased five-fold, per capita, between 1950 and 2012 -- meaning a child could easily consume 100 mg of dyes in a day and that some children could consume more than 200 mg per day.

"In the 1970s and 1980s, many studies were conducted giving children 26 mg of a mixture of dyes," said Laura Stevens, research associate in the Nutrition Science Department at Purdue and lead author of the study. "Only a few children seemed to react to the dyes, so many doctors concluded that a dye-free diet was pointless. Later studies using larger doses showed that a much larger percentage of children reacted. But some researchers considered those doses unrealistically high. It is now clear that even the larger amounts may not have been high enough. The time is long past due for the FDA to get dyes out of the food supply or for companies to do so voluntarily and promptly."

Though the FDA has neither banned dyes nor required front-of-package disclosures of dyed foods, the European Union requires warning labels on most dyed foods, which has almost eliminated the use of food dyes in Europe.

Sources for this article include:


About the author:
Michael Bedar MA, BS, is a researcher, writer, holistic wellness counselor, certified Live-Food Nutrition Counselor, certified yoga teacher and reiki practitioner. He is the associate producer with a founding role in the documentary, "Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days" and is the writer-director of "EcoParque," distributing top film, ebook, and audio titles through He helps manage the holistic health practice of Dr. Aum's Conceive Naturally Now program, facilitates local and online natural wellness and spiritual growth programs, and juices regularly. He helps people live in healthier homes through his Wellness Homes initiative, and holds space for people's optimal nutrition and full potential. He is the Co-Director of Tree of Life - Bay Area, and he has an MA in Live-Food and Spiritual Nutrition from the Cousens School of Holistic Wellness. Bedar's BS from UCSD is an interdisciplinary concentration of Environmental Chemistry, Law and Society, and Design Anthropology.