Environment

Tell Burt’s Bees: Stop Consorting with the Bee Killers!

Organic consumers - Fri, 2015-08-28 17:05
Belong to campaign: Save the BeesCategory: Environment & Climate, Health IssuesArea: USA

It’s been less than two months since Burt Shavitz, nature-lover, beekeeper and co-founder of Burt’s Bees died, at the age of 80. And even though Burt sold the company years ago to Roxanne Quimby, who in turn sold it to the Clorox Co. for a cool $925 million, Burt is probably rolling over in his grave to see his beloved company supporting an expensive, glossy, public relations campaign, paid for by Bayer CropScience, and aimed at obfuscating the fact that Bayer is one of the world’s most prolific killer of bees.

How could that “bee,” you ask?

Burt’s Bees is one of the companies signed on to the Pollinator Partnership, an organization that on the surface appears very concerned about the plight of honeybees. In fact, the Pollinator Partnership is a corporate creation whose primary purpose it is to shift the blame for Colony Collapse Disorder away from the real cause: Bayer’s (and other companies’) neonicotinoid pesticides. And right there on the Pollinator Partnership’s board of directors is Craig Stevenson, vice president and general manager of the Clorox Company, who is also responsible for the Burt’s Bees product line.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Burt’s Bees: Stop Consorting with the Bee Killers!Read more

Tell Bayer: Stop Selling Bee-Killing Pesticides!

Organic consumers - Fri, 2015-08-28 13:26
Belong to campaign: Save the BeesCategory: Environment & ClimateArea: USA

In January, you helped us induct the world’s leading bee-killer, Bayer CropScience, into the Corporate Accountability International Hall of Shame. Bayer is the leading manufacturer of neonicotinoid pesticides,identified by scientists as the primary culprit in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Since January, the plight of U.S. honeybees has grown even worse. Forty-two percent of the nation’s honeybee colonies died off between April 2014 and April 2015.

What is Bayer’s reaction to these alarming statistics? A litany of excuses and a host of tobacco industry-style public relations campaigns, including establishing its own “Bee Care” Center.
 
It’s time for Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers to wake up and smell the poison.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Bayer: Stop Selling Bee-Killing Pesticides! Read more

Tell these 12 Senate Democrats: Don’t Cosponsor the DARK Act!

Organic consumers - Thu, 2015-08-20 21:04
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoCategory: Genetic Engineering, Politics & GlobalizationArea: USA

Now that the House has passed H.R. 1599, the so-called “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” we’re waiting to see who introduces a Senate version of the bill, and what that bill will look like.
 
But before anything can happen in the Senate, Monsanto and Big Food need to find a Democrat and a Republican willing to introduce the Senate version of H.R. 1599, or as we prefer to call it, the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act.

On the Republican side, word on the street is that Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) may step up to the plate as soon as Congress returns from its August recess. Whether it’s Hoeven who does the deed, or another Republican, Monsanto and Big Food will still need a Senate Democrat to also cosponsor the bill. Anything less than a bipartisan effort will fail.
 
So who are the likely suspects on the Dem side of the aisle? We’ve identified 12 Democratic Senators who we think might be willing to carry the water for Monsanto. We need your help to convince them that going against the will of nine out of 10 voters could spell political suicide.

TAKE ACTION: Please sign the petition asking these 12 Senate Democrats to promise they won’t cosponsor a Senate version of the DARK Act!Read more

Avian Flu: A Chicken and Egg Story?

Organic consumers - Thu, 2015-08-20 13:20
All About Organics, Save Organic Standards (SOS), Environment & Climate, CAFOs vs. Free Range, Farm IssuesKatherine Paul and Tagwongo ObomsawinOrganic Consumers AssociationAugust 19, 2015 baby-chick-grass-green_420x280.jpg

According to a recent report, this year’s Avian Flu outbreak has cost the state of Iowa, the country’s largest egg producer, $1.2 billion in sales, lost wages and losses for farmers. Minnesota and Nebraska also suffered heavy losses.

In all, about 200 farms in 15 states were affected by this year’s outbreak, costing U.S. egg and poultry exporters more than $380 million, said the Poultry & Egg Export Council, as reported by Associated Press.

The outbreak was no picnic for the birds, either. In Iowa, 30 million hens and 1.5 million turkeys were euthanized because of the H5N2 virus. As the Guardian reported:

When avian flu infects a single bird on a chicken farm, the whole population has to be destroyed in order to stop the spread. In Iowa, for example, where an egg farm holds anywhere from 70,000 to 5 million birds, infection means slaughtering an unimaginable number of animals.

Minnesota and Nebraska also suffered heavy losses this year. Nationwide, the flu killed about 50 million birds.

Avian Flu brings with it a measure of human suffering, too, as poultry workers find themselves jobless. It also creates a hardship for consumers, who pay skyrocketing prices for eggs. According to one report, egg prices in the Midwest are breaking all-time highs, thanks to this year’s outbreak.

To hear the media and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) tell it, the solution to Avian Flu is to stockpile vaccines. That notion rattles broiler meat exporters, who say other countries won’t buy their vaccinated meat. (This year’s flu outbreak affected egg-producers; broiler producers were largely spared).

Talk of vaccines isn’t exactly music to the ears of consumers, either. They want fewer, not more, vaccines used on factory farms.

Is there another way to deal with Avian Flu? Yes, says Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, COO of the Main Street Project, a large-scale organic regenerative poultry project under way in Minnesota, Mexico and Guatamala. Haslett-Marroquin argues that we should focus more on prevention, and less on a cure. That means replacing today’s poultry factory farms with an alternative organic, regenerative model.

It turns out that we haven’t been asking the right question, which is: Which came first? The diseased chicken? Or the chicken disease?

Identifying the culprit, or culprits

Typically, wild migrating birds are blamed for infecting poultry flocks with H5N2. Human “biosecurity errors” are suspects, too, as are wind and ventilation systems, according to a report in Fortune magazine. Still, the USDA admits that the problem is likely more complex than that. Truth be told, the agency can’t pinpoint, at least with any reasonable certainty, “one factor or group of factors in a statistically significant way at this time” responsible for the latest outbreak.

Industrial poultry farms engage in elaborate biosecurity measures to prevent contamination of their flocks. According to the Center for Disease Research and Policy:

The egg industry’s huge “layer operations”—the sort that house millions of birds in one place—are designed to protect birds from contamination, says Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota at the University of Minnesota. The animals’ environment is tightly controlled, and workers who enter the henhouse follow special hygiene protocols; often, they must shower in and out, change clothes and wear special boots. But when a virus pierces such defenses, or when defenses lapse, having all of one’s eggs in one basket (so to speak) can make the impact more devastating.

Yet all those special clothes, extra showers and “special hygiene protocols” didn’t protect farmers and their flocks this year. Some argue that it was because of lapses in the industry’s biosecurity audit program—only 43 percent of farms were actually audited.

Whether it’s a failure of the protocols themselves, or the failure of poultry farm operators and workers to adhere to the protocols, it’s hard to reconcile descriptions of near-sterile cleanliness standards with the reality of factory farms—where millions of birds are crammed into filthy, unnatural and highly stressful conditions, deprived of the ability to nest, roost, flap their wings or even see the light of day.

As demand grows, so grow the factory farms

According to the United Egg Producers, there are about 181 egg-producing companies in the U.S., with flocks of 75,000 hens or more. These companies represent about 99 percent of all the layers in the U.S.

Egg-producing factory farms are inhumane. They are also big polluters of the environment. And they’re not a healthy place for people to work, either.

And as it turns out, industrial poultry farms aren’t a healthy place for birds, no matter how many times workers shower and change their clothes, or engage in other  “biosecurity protocols.”

And that, says Haslett-Marroquin, is why the birds on industrial poultry farms, who live in misery, under stress, deprived of a normal diet, in a controlled, rather than natural environment, are more vulnerable to disease.

All viruses or bacteria that make animals sick need an entry point. Confinement animal production is based on the complete manipulation of the animal's life cycle outside of its natural environment.  No natural environment = no naturally developed defenses which result from exposure to such natural conditions and a lifetime of interactions with these conditions. These characteristics define the intricate environmental control systems that must be installed in confinement operations in order to keep ALL bacteria, viruses, dust particles, temperature, humidity, and especially natural behaviors that the bird wants to manifest, under control. The result, is an animal that is VERY vulnerable to a natural environment and a quick entry point for such aggressive viruses such as the bird flu.

According to Haslett-Marroquin, it’s impossible to achieve completely sterile conditions outside of a laboratory. Viruses eventually will find their way into CAFO (Confined Animal Feeding Operations, the industry name for “Factory Farms). Without a doubt, he says, animals raised in factory farm conditions will never develop resistance that can be converted into a natural disease control strategy going forward.

Dr Michael Greger, director of public health and animal agriculture for the Humane Society of the United States, told the Guardian that commercial poultry farms “are designed like a disease incubator,” thanks to dark, moist and crowded conditions. Sunshine and warm temperatures, on the other hand, are effective at killing the virus.

The Guardian also cited genetics as another contributor to the weakened immune systems of birds raised on factory farms.

On top of that, the genetic makeup of birds found in factory farms is often less diverse than those raised in backyard flocks. Due to the industry’s reliance on homogenous breeding techniques, commercially raised broilers are all pretty much genetically identical. Broilers and turkeys are artificially selected and bred to produce birds that grow quickly – at a rate 300% faster than those birds raised in 1960, according to the ASPCA–and produce as much breast protein as possible, to the point where the birds have a hard time standing upright.

Avian Flu isn’t going away anytime soon, says the USDA. But Haslett-Marroquin is probably less concerned about a potential outbreak than his factory farm neighbors in Minnesota. His regenerative design system presents a greater challenge for viruses to find an entry point. But if they do, he says, he’ll use that as an opportunity to continue research and development of avian flu-resistant strains of birds that have already been produced in Mexico and throughout Latin America.

As regenerative systems improve, we have seen significant improvements in the quality of plants and their resistance to diseases and pests that normally affect them, and we have seen healthy egg layers and meat birds (with the exception of industrial cornish broiler breeds) for over 6 years. We have no hesitation in concluding that these overall environmental conditions enhance the birds’ ability to fight diseases—a phenomenon that has proven true for humans and other species as well.

While the operators of poultry factory farms finish cleaning up the carnage and wring their hands in anticipation of another Avian Flu outbreak, and while the USDA stockpiles vaccines they’re not even sure will work, maybe it’s time to ask: What’s the real problem? Avian Flu? Or factory farms?

Katherine Paul is associate director for the Organic Consumers Association.

Tagwongo Obomsawin is a writer and researcher for the Organic Consumers Association.

President Obama: Pledge to Veto the DARK Act!

Organic consumers - Wed, 2015-08-12 21:25
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoCategory: Genetic Engineering, Politics & GlobalizationArea: USA

On July 23, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill which is intended to permanently prevent passage of any state or federal law mandating the labeling of GMOs in your food. 

H.R. 1599 is now before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. A Senate version of the bill is expected to be introduced soon. 

H.R. 1599, funded by Monsanto and Big Food, is disingenuously called the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act.” But we call it the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, because that’s what it would do.
There are two excellent reasons President Obama should veto this bill, or any bill like it that preempts mandatory labeling at the state or federal level.

First, President Obama promised labels on GMO foods, in a campaign speech he gave in 2007, in Iowa.  Second, on May 20, 2009, President Obama issued an Executive Order to heads of executive departments and agencies stating that “preemption of State law by executive departments and agencies should be undertaken only with full consideration of the legitimate prerogatives of the States and with a sufficient legal basis for preemption.” 

TAKE Action: Ask President Obama to veto the DARK Act! Read more

Regeneration: Global Transformation in Catastrophic Times

Organic consumers - Wed, 2015-08-05 23:44
All About Organics, Environment & Climate, Farm IssuesRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationAugust 4, 2015 farm-landscape-rainbow-fence-clouds-420x280.jpg

Where profits alone count, there can be no thinking about the rhythms of nature, its phases of decay and regeneration, or the complexity of ecosystems which may be gravely upset by human intervention…. It is not enough to balance, in the medium term, the protection of nature with financial gain, or the preservation of the environment with progress. Halfway measures simply delay the inevitable disaster.  - Pope Francis, Papal Encyclical “Laudato Si,” June 18, 2015

Regenerate—to give fresh life or vigor to; to reorganize; to recreate the moral nature; to cause to be born again.” (New Webster’s Dictionary, 1997)

A growing number of climate, food, environment, health and justice advocates are embracing and promoting a world-changing concept: regeneration.  

What is regeneration? And why are a so many public figures, including Pope Francis, calling for regeneration or revolution, rather than “halfway measures” such as sustainability or mitigation? 

The inconvenient truth of course is that our degenerate “profit-at-any-cost” global economy is killing us. The living Earth—our soils, forests and oceans—and the “rhythms of nature” are unraveling. Greed and selfishness have displaced sharing and cooperation. Land grabs, Empire-building, resource wars, and out-of-control consumerism have become the norm.
 
Catastrophic times demand radical solutions. It’s time for change, big change.

Our heat-trapping, climate-disrupting, fossil fuel-intensive, industrial agriculture-and deforestation-induced CO2 monster in the sky, now approaching 400 parts per million (ppm), is the most serious threat humans have ever faced. Either we take down King Coal and Big Oil and switch to renewable energy, and simultaneously move, literally suck down, several hundred billion tons of excess carbon from the atmosphere and naturally sequester this CO2 in the soil and forests—through regenerative farming, grazing and land use practices—or we are doomed. 

According to activist and author Vandana Shiva, “Regenerative agriculture provides answers to the soil crisis, the food crisis, the health crisis, the climate crisis and the crisis of democracy." 

But just what do we mean by Regenerative Agriculture? 

Solving the Soil, Food and Health Crisis

The international community has set itself three important goals: to stop the loss of biodiversity, keep global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, and ensure everyone has the right to adequate food. Without fertile soil, none of these objectives will be achieved. - Soil Atlas: Facts and figures about earth, land and fields, Heinrich Boll Foundation, 2015

The loss of the world’s fertile soil and biodiversity, along with the loss of indigenous seeds and knowledge, pose a mortal threat to our future survival. According to soil scientists, at current rates of soil destruction, (i.e. decarbonization, erosion, desertification, chemical pollution), within 50 years we will not only suffer serious damage to public health due to a qualitatively degraded food supply characterized by diminished nutrition and loss of important trace minerals, but we will literally no longer have enough arable topsoil to feed ourselves. Without protecting and regenerating the soil on our four billion acres of cultivated farmland, 14 billion acres of pasture and rangeland, and 10 billion acres of forest land, it will be impossible to feed the world, keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, or halt the loss of biodiversity.

Healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy animals, healthy forests, healthy oceans, rivers and lakes, healthy people, a healthy climate . . . our physical and economic health, our very survival as a species, depends upon whether or not, and how quickly, we can carry out a global campaign of Regeneration. 

According to a recent policy proposal by the French government, we need to increase plant photosynthesis and carbon sequestration in global soils by at least 0.4 percent each year if we are to head off runaway global warming. 

Tom Newmark of the Carbon Underground explains the basic concept of Regeneration: 

There is a technology that exists today that will suck excess CO2 out of the atmosphere. That technology is called photosynthesis. When I look outside my office window I see plants. Through photosynthesis, plants convert sunlight, CO2 and water to carbohydrates and oxygen. Plants are sucking tens of billions of tons of CO2 and creating plant sugars/carbohydrates. Some plant sugars we eat and some pass through the plant and get converted into humus, soil organic matter. This isn’t rocket science. This is a biological fact.

The soil itself is the largest available sink for CO2. There is more carbon currently sequestered in the living soils of the planet (2,700 billion tons), than there is in the entire atmosphere and biotic community combined (plants, and trees).The bad news is that by ripping up the soil through industrial agriculture abuse, we’ve put excess CO2 into the atmosphere.

The good news is that if we farm and ranch in harmony with carbon cycles, we can put carbon back in the soil—quickly. Scientists say that we can get back to 350 ppm in 10 years. All we have to do is increase soil organic matter in all grasslands on the planet by one percent. That is all we need to do to bring it back to 350 ppm. Nature can fix this problem that humans have created.

Along with educating ourselves and our community, we must utilize marketplace pressure to change our degenerate food and farming systems. We must boycott the fossil fuel-emitting, soil-destroying, climate-destructive products of industrial agriculture and the junk food industry. We must support those farmers and businesses whose products regenerate our health, our soils and our forests. Marketplace pressure, public education, and public policy change must go hand-in-hand.

A recent article in the Guardian summarizes Regenerative Agriculture this way:

Regenerative agriculture comprises an array of techniques that rebuild soil and, in the process, sequester carbon. Typically, it uses cover crops and perennials so that bare soil is never exposed, and grazes animals in ways that mimic animals in nature. It also offers ecological benefits far beyond carbon storage: it stops soil erosion, remineralises soil, protects the purity of groundwater and reduces damaging pesticide and fertiliser runoff.

The benefits of raising and grazing beef cattle, sheep, goats, dairy cows, poultry and pigs “in ways that mimic nature” are many. These practices are more humane, they rebuild soil fertility and they sequester carbon in the soil. 

But there’s another important benefit to these techniques, one that is driving consumers away from factory farm foods. These practices produce animal products that are qualitatively healthier than CAFO products, because they are higher in Omega 3 and “good” fats, and lower in animal drug residues and harmful fats that clog arteries, destroy gut health and cause cancer.

Our agricultural soils have lost 25-75 percent of the soil carbon they once held in storage before the onslaught of industrial agricultural and destructive land use practices. The most important task of our generation is Regeneration: to put this dislodged, heat-trapping atmospheric carbon back into the soil and forests, where it belongs.

The Climate Crisis: Halfway Solutions Are Not Enough

Unfortunately, the current climate change movement up until now has focused almost exclusively on reducing fossil fuel emissions. There has been little or no mention of the critical role soil and forests play as carbon sinks or repositories for excess CO2 in the atmosphere. 

Reducing fossil fuel emissions to zero over the next few decades, as called for by climate activist leaders such as Naomi Klein and 350.org, will solve half the problem, but only half. By the time we reach zero emissions under this “50-percent solution” scenario, sometime around 2050, even the most optimistic projections are that already have passed the "danger zone" of 450 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere, a level that will likely detonate runaway global warming, and catastrophic climate change. 

So widespread is this fixation on fossil fuel emissions that even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the upcoming Paris Climate Summit have yet to recognize soil and soil regeneration practices as important carbon sinks. Yet there is a growing body of scientific evidence to support the idea that Regenerative Organic Agriculture, grazing, reforestation and land use practices, scaled up globally, could not only mitigate, but actually, over several decades, reverse global warming. 

We need to embrace the regenerative “100-percent solution” if we want to get back down to the safe level of 350 ppm or lower, as soon as possible. And we need to pressure the IPCC and national governments to acknowledge the importance of carbon sequestration through regenerative land use practices.

A number of critics have told me and others that we should not talk about natural sequestration of CO2 in the soil, nor the enormous regenerative potential of organic food, farming and forestry, because this “positive talk” will distract people from the main task at hand, drastically reducing fossil fuel emissions and taking down King Coal and Big Oil. Of course we need to move rapidly away from fossil fuels, extractivism and over-consumption into conservation, sustainable living and renewable energy. We must all become climate activists and radical conservationists. 

But we must also become advocates of Regenerative Organic Agriculture and forest/land use.

Unite the Food, Forest and Climate Movements

The large and growing anti-GMO, organic food and natural health movement must begin to think of itself as a movement that can fix not only the world’s health and hunger crisis, but the climate as well.  Given that the degenerate GMO, factory farm and industrial food and farming system as a whole (production, chemical crop inputs, processing, transportation, waste, emissions, deforestation, biofuel/ethanol production) is the number one cause of greenhouse gas emissions, surpassing even the transportation, utilities, housing and industry sectors, climate activists need to start thinking of themselves as food, farming and natural health activists as well.

There will be no organic food, nor food whatsoever, on a burnt planet. Nor will there ever be a 90-percent reduction in greenhouse gas pollution without a transformation of our food and farming and land use practices, both in North America and globally.

We must begin to connect the dots between fossil fuels, global warming and related issues, including world hunger, poverty, unemployment, toxic food and farming, extractivism, land grabbing, biodiversity, ocean destruction, deforestation, resource wars, and deteriorating public health. As we regenerate the soil and forests, and make organic and grass-fed food and fiber the norm, rather than just the alternative, we will simultaneously develop our collective capacity to address all of the globe’s interrelated problems.

The extraordinary thing about de-industrializing food and farming, restoring grasslands and reversing deforestation—moving several hundred billion tons of carbon back from the atmosphere into our soils, plants and forests—is that this regeneration process will not only reverse global warming and re-stabilize the climate, but will also stimulate hundreds of millions of rural (and urban) jobs, while qualitatively increasing soil fertility, water retention, farm yields and food quality.

Regeneration holds the potential not only to restore forests and grasslands, recharge aquifers, restore and normalize rainfall, but also to address and eliminate rural malnutrition, poverty, unemployment and hunger. 

So who will carry out this global Regeneration Revolution? 

Of course we must continue, and in fact vastly increase, our pressure on governments and corporations to change public policies and marketplace practices. But in order to overturn “business-as-usual” we must inspire and mobilize a vastly larger climate change coalition than the one we have now. Food, climate, and economic justice advocates must unite our forces so we can educate and mobilize a massive grassroots army of Earth Regenerators: three billion small farmers and rural villagers, ranchers, pastoralists, forest dwellers, urban agriculturalists, and indigenous communities—aided and abetted by several billion conscious consumers and urban activists. 

The time is late. Circumstances are dire. But we still have time to regenerate the Earth and the body politic.

Ronnie Cummins is international director of the Organic Consumers Association and its Mexico affiliate, Via Organica. He is also a member of the steering committee for the newly formed Regeneration International. 

Senator Sanders: Protect Our Right to Know. Stop the DARK Act!

Organic consumers - Thu, 2015-07-30 17:41
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoCategory: Genetic Engineering, Politics & GlobalizationArea: USAVT - Vermont

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is in a better position than anyone to stop H.R. 1599, Monsanto's bill to prevent states and the FDA from requiring food manufacturers to label the GMOs in their products.

We know Sen. Sanders supports labeling. But now that the House has passed H.R. 1599, we need Bernie to speak out loudly and often, in public, about this pro-industry, anti-consumer bill. We need him to tell the mass media, and his fellow Senators, that legislation to preempt mandatory labeling of GMOs is unconstitutional, and must be stopped.

Right now, the media is following Bernie's every move, and hanging on his every word. Will he help us get this issue the attention it deserves? Will he rally his fellow Senators against this bill? Will he filibuster this bill, if necessary?

We hope so. That's why we're trying to get 100,000 signatures on this petition, by midnight, Thursday, August. 3. 

TAKE ACTION: Tell Bernie Sanders: Protect Our Right to Know. Stop the DARK Act!Read more

Open Letter to Bernie Sanders: Please Lead the Effort to Protect Consumers’ Right to Know

Organic consumers - Wed, 2015-07-29 21:22
Genetic Engineering, Politics & GlobalizationJuly 28, 2015 bernie1.jpg

Photo: AP

Dear Senator Sanders,

On behalf of the Organic Consumers Association, which represents more than one million Americans, I ask that you take the lead in protecting the right of consumers to know if their food contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by issuing a public statement opposing H.R. 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, and by urging your fellow Senators to oppose a Senate version of this bill.

On July 23 (2015),  the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1599, a bill written by the biotech and processed food industries that preempts states’ rights to pass laws requiring the mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and would prevent passage of a federal mandatory GMO labeling law.

In other words, if this bill becomes law, U.S. consumers will be permanently deprived of this basic information.

H.R. 1599 is a prime example of how corporate money corrupts the political process in order to create laws that protect corporate profits at the expense of American citizens. According to a report from Open Secrets, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics, the 275 members of the U.S. House who voted in favor of H.R. 1599 received $29.9 million in contributions from the agribusiness and food industries in the 2014 cycle.

H.R. 1599 legally sanctions corporate deceit by guaranteeing the legal right of food manufacturers to withhold the fact that their products contain GMOs.  In place of requiring food manufacturers to disclose this information—information that these same companies are required to disclose under labeling laws enacted in 64 other countries—H.R. 1599 creates a government-run, voluntary non-GMO labeling program that places the burden of labeling on producers of non-GMO products. Contrary to  what the bill’s proponents claim, it does nothing to ensure that the 90 percent of consumers who want GMO foods labeled will ever actually have this information.

H.R. 1599 gives the producers of GMO foods an unfair advantage in the marketplace by allowing companies to continue to deceive consumers. If GMOs are as safe as the industry claims, why not label them, and let consumers make an informed choice? Isn’t that how the free market is supposed to work?

H.R. 1599 is also a direct attack on the Tenth Amendment and states’ rights. In fact, it is being rushed through Congress specifically to head off enactment of Vermont’s Act 120, the country’s first GMO labeling law, slated to take effect July 1, 2016.

As a Senator from Vermont, an outspoken critic of corporate influence in politics, and a sponsor of the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore)  to establish a uniform federal standard for mandatory labeling of GMOs (this bill would be preempted by H.R. 1599), you are in the ideal position to draw mass media attention to this issue, and to convince your fellow Senators that it should not progress any further.

H.R. 1599 was sold to Congress on the basis of unfounded claims that mandatory labeling will raise food costs, that state GMO labeling laws will create a “messy patchwork” of regulations creating a financial burden for food manufacturers, and that there is scientific consensus that GMOs are safe. All of these claims have been proven false, over and over, by legitimate economists, scientists and journalists.

Please issue a public statement opposing H.R. 1599, and please lead a movement in the U.S. Senate to defeat this bill, or any version of a bill that would preempt state or federal mandatory labeling of GMOs.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Ronnie Cummins
International  Director
The Organic Consumers Association

Tell Your Senators: Defend States' Rights to Label GMOs!

Organic consumers - Wed, 2015-07-29 21:17
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoCategory: Genetic Engineering, Politics & GlobalizationArea: USA

On July 23 (2015),  the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1599, a bill written by the biotech and processed food industries that preempts states’ rights to pass laws requiring the mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and would prevent passage of a federal mandatory GMO labeling law.
 
The House vote was 275 -150. The “yay” voters received $29.9 million in contributions from the agribusiness and food industries during the 2014 cycle, according to a report by Open Secrets, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics.
 
We need your help to keep this bill from becoming law, by stopping it in the Senate.
 
The sole purpose of H.R. 1599 is to deceive consumers by guaranteeing food manufacturers the legal right to hide the fact that their products contain GMOs. That’s why we call this bill the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act.
 
TAKE ACTION: Tell Your Senator: Support Consumer and States' Rights. Reject Rep. Pompeo's DARK Act—H.R. 1599—and any other federal legislation that would preempt states’ rights to label GMOs!Read more

BREAKING: You Don’t Matter. House Votes for Monsanto’s Right to Deceive Consumers

Organic consumers - Thu, 2015-07-23 17:23
Genetic Engineering, Politics & GlobalizationKatherine PaulOrganic Consumers AssociationJuly 22, 2015 2015 donate button

Dear Organic Consumer,

Today, 275 members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of H.R. 1599, the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act. By voting for the DARK Act, these politicians voted against truth and transparency, against science, against the more than century-old right of states to legislate on matters relating to food safety and labeling.

They voted against the 90-percent of Americans who are in favor of mandatory labeling of GMOs. They voted against the producers of non-GMO foods.

They voted against you.

Please help us raise $100,000 to prevent this bill from moving forward. Your donation today will go directly to fund additional lobbyists and grassroots organizers so this bill never becomes law. You can donate online now, or by mail or phone. Details here.

Now that the DARK Act has been approved by the House, we’ll have to stop it in the Senate. We have to move fast—because Monsanto is desperate to pass a bill that preempts mandatory GMO labeling laws at the state and federal levels, before Vermont’s GMO labeling law takes effect next year.

H.R. 1599 was sold to Congress via multi-million dollar public relations and lobbying campaigns built on lies and deception. The bill’s sole purpose is to support an industry—Monsanto’s poison-peddling industry—that was founded on lies and deception from the get-go.

Were the Congress members who voted against you fooled by Monsanto’s slick, deceitful packaging of this so-called “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act”? Or did they simply vote with their wallets, stuffed full of biotech and junk food industry cash?

We don’t know. But we know this: We can’t let this bill get through the U.S. Senate.

Please help us raise $100,000 to prevent this bill from moving forward. Your donation today will go directly to fund additional lobbyists and grassroots organizers so this bill never becomes law. You can donate online now, or by mail or phone. Details here.

Less than 24 hours before the House vote, the industry-funded front group behind H.R. 1599 was still pushing out the lies. The “Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food,” feigning concern for consumers, emailed members urging them to support the DARK Act because if we require mandatory labeling, it will increase the cost of your food by $500/year. That lie has been debunked over and over, by legitimate independent studies. It’s a lie based on a study funded by, and which remains the intellectual property of, the Council for Biotech Information—of which Monsanto is a member.

Less than 24 hours before the House vote, a staffer in the office of the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mike Pompeo, told a caller that the DARK Act gives consumers what they want: the means to know whether or not their food contains GMOs. “Consumers can choose to presume that all foods have GMO contents unless they are labeled or otherwise presented as non-GMO.  Meaning that it is knowable and it is known by the public which products have GMO and which don't,” claimed a Pompeo minion.

More lies. The DARK Act creates a voluntary, government-run non-GMO certification program. Unless every producer of non-GMO products pays to have those products certified non-GMO, consumers will still have no way of knowing which products contain GMOs, and which don’t. And why should the burden of labeling fall on the producers of non-GMO foods, when the risk factor is associated with those foods that do contain GMOs?

H.R. 1599 would repeal existing state GMO labeling laws, such as Vermont’s Act 120, and would preempt any future state or federal laws requiring mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods or foods containing GMOs. That’s unconstitutional, according to the Campaign for Liberty, which said this in a statement yesterday:

Whatever your views on GMOs, there is no Constitutional justification for the federal government to preempt state laws in this area. There certainly is no justification for Congress to preempt private sector efforts to meet consumer demands for non-GMO foods, while allowing those who support the use of GMOs to do so.

Yet 275 members of the U.S. House today voted against the U.S. Constitution. And if we don’t stop them, a majority of U.S. Senators could do the same.

You are part of a growing movement, informed by science and motivated by concern for your health and the health of the planet. Ours is a powerful movement. But we are up against powerful industries with bottomless pockets.

If we are going to stop the federal government from taking away our right to demand truth and transparency in labeling, we will have to double or triple our size and our impact. And we have to do it now.

Please help us raise $100,000 to prevent this bill from moving forward. Your donation today will go directly to fund additional lobbyists and grassroots organizers so this bill never becomes law. You can donate online now, or by mail or phone. Details here.

 

Ronnie Cummins
National Director, Organic Consumers Association and Organic Consumers Fund

Thank you!

P.S. Don't let the U.S. Senate kill the GMO labeling movement! Donations made to the Organic Consumers Fund, our 501(c) 4 lobbying arm, are not tax-deductible. If you want to support our grassroots advocacy and education campaigns to defeat the DARK Act, you can make a tax-deductible donation to our 501(c)3 here.

Tell Ace Hardware and True Value to Stop Selling Bee-Killing Pesticides!

Organic consumers - Thu, 2015-07-23 16:04
Belong to campaign: Save the BeesCategory: All About Organics, Farm Issues, Honey BeesArea: USA

It’s time to talk about the birds and the bees, while we still have them.
 
For years we’ve fought to stop the use of neonicotinoid  poisons that chemical companies put in our food and gardens. And we’re winning. This April, Lowe’s joined a growing list of companies that promise to phase out and limit neonic products  from their store shelves. 
 
That’s good news. But our work is far from done. Ace Hardware and True Value continue to sell these proven bee killers.
 
TAKE ACTION! Tell Ace Hardware and True Value to Stop Selling Bee-Killing Pesticides!Read more

Consumers, Health Advocates and Farmers Mobilize Massive Movement in Opposition to Congressional “DARK Act” Aimed at Preempting Labeling and Safety Testing of Genetically Engineered Foods

Organic consumers - Wed, 2015-07-22 17:30
Genetic Engineering, Politics & GlobalizationOrganic Consumers AssociationJuly 22, 2015 stopmonsanto.png

Passage of HR 1599 by the House Sparks Outrage, Triggers National Grassroots Lobbying Campaign to Stop the Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 23, 2015
    
CONTACT: Organic Consumers Association: Katherine Paul, 207-653-3090, katherine@organicconsumers.org

FINLAND, Minn. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1599, commonly known as the “DARK Act” (Deny Americans the Right to Know), a bill falsely represented by its sponsors as providing “certainty” and “clarity” for controversial genetically engineered foods, In fact, the legislation’s intent is to permanently preserve the right of food manufacturers to deceive consumers.

“We can only presume that the majority of Representatives who voted in favor of this legislation were duped by the multi-million dollar public relations and lobbying campaigns, funded by Monsanto and Big Ag, that falsely frame H.R. 1599 as pro-consumer, and perpetuate the myth that GMOs (genetically modified organisms) have been thoroughly safety tested and proven safe,” said Ronnie Cummins, international director of the Organic Consumers Association. “How else to explain why Congress would vote against science, against the more than century-old right of states to legislate on matters relating to food safety and labeling, and against the 90-percent of Americans who are in favor of mandatory labeling of GMOs?

“We are committed to stopping this outrageous, anti-consumer, anti-democracy legislation from succeeding,” Cummins said. “We will do so by mobilizing a massive opposition movement that transcends political party affiliations, and that unites consumers of all ages with organic farmers and retailers whose livelihoods are threatened by this legislation, and with the medical and scientific experts who are outspoken about the potential health and environmental risks associated with GMO crops and foods.”

H.R. 1599, deceptively titled the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” is sponsored by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), on behalf of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, of which Monsanto, Dow, Dupont and other chemical companies are members.

The bill would repeal existing state GMO labeling laws, such as Vermont’s Act 120, and would preempt any future state or federal laws requiring mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods or foods containing GMOs.

H.R. 1599 would also codify the Food and Drug Administration’s position that genetically modified foods and ingredients don’t require labeling because they are as safe as those produced through conventional agriculture, thus ensuring that there will never be independent pre-market safety testing of GMO foods. The American Medical Association has recommended mandatory pre-market safety testing of these controversial gene-spliced foods, rather than the current system that relies on an FDA “voluntary consultation” process based on the industry’s own testing.

H.R. 1599 would also establish a voluntary “GMO-Free” labeling program, overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and it would allow foods containing GMOs to be labeled “natural.”

H.R. 1599 has been sold to lawmakers on the basis of false claims. Contrary to what proponents of H.R. 1599 say:

1. There is no scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs, according to hundreds of scientists. Moreover, more than 80 percent of GMO crops are genetically engineered to be heavily sprayed with the toxic herbicide, Roundup. Roundup was recently declared a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organization.

2. Labeling foods will incur little or no cost to food manufacturers or consumers. Food industry lobbyists have repeatedly used the “increased cost” argument to oppose mandatory nutrition or GMO labeling, basing their argument on a study funded by the Council for Biotech Information. But food manufacturers routinely update labels and numerous independent studies support the fact that labeling GMOs will not increase costs. In fact, many food corporations are preparing to implement a QR bar code system for labeling food ingredients, including GMOs—a system that would incur greater costs than merely adding the words “produced with genetic engineering” to their labels.

3. H.R. 1599 will create, not eliminate confusion for consumers, by allowing foods that contain GMOs, which are artificially created in a laboratory, to be labeled “natural.”

4. State GMO labeling laws will not create a “patchwork” of laws that would be cumbersome or costly for food manufacturers. State GMO labeling bills have been written using a single model, all of which would require the same wording: “produced with genetic engineering.”

“H.R. 1599 allows big corporations, such as Monsanto and Coca-Cola, to continue to deceive consumers,” Cummins said. “This bill not only takes away states’ rights to require labeling of GMOs, but also creates a government-run GMO-Free labeling system that places the expense and burden of labeling on organic and non-GMO food producers who do not expose consumers to risk, rather than requiring the perpetrators of the risks associated with cancer-causing chemicals and inadequately tested technologies to truthfully disclose the ingredients in their products. It’s no wonder that more than 90 perecent of Americans have lost faith in Congress. It’s time to hold every member of Congress accountable. Either they stand with Monsanto and Big Food in support of the DARK Act, or they stand with the overwhelming majority of their constituents for truthful labeling and consumer choice.”

In an op-ed July 13, 2015, in the New York Times, Mark Spitznagel, founder and chief investment officer of Universa Investments, and Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of “The Black Swan” and professor of risk engineering at New York University School of Engineering, wrote:

The G.M.O. experiment, carried out in real time and with our entire food and ecological system as its laboratory, is perhaps the greatest case of human hubris ever. It creates yet another systemic, “too big too fail” enterprise — but one for which no bailouts will be possible when it fails.

“To carry out a vast genetic experiment on the American public is outrageous,” Cummins said. “To continue to do it covertly, without full disclosure, is criminal. If necessary, we will mount the largest-ever food and food safety campaign in U.S. history to prevent Congress from turning the DARK Act bill into law.”

 

House Ag Committee Says ‘No’ to GMO Labeling, What’s Next?

Organic consumers - Tue, 2015-07-14 15:03
July 13, 2015Organic Consumers AssociationKatherine PaulGenetic Engineering stopmonsanto.png

With no debate and only a voice vote, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture today (July 14, 2015) passed out of committee H.R. 1599, a bill to preempt states’ rights to label GMOs. Within hours, it was announced that the bill will go straight to the House floor, as early as next week, with no vote in the Energy and Commerce Committee.

If we don’t stop it in the House next week, the fight to stop this “Mother of All Monsanto Protection Acts” will take place next in the U.S. Senate, by early fall. In his opening statement this morning, Committee Chairman Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Texas) (who shortly after today’s vote said he will co-sponsor H.R. 1599) couldn’t have sounded more like a Monsanto employee if he’d tried. Conaway nailed the biotech industry’s favorite talking points and mistruths, beginning with this one:

In testimony before this Committee, multiple representatives of the food and agricultural sectors commented on the cost burden that would be placed on our food system if we were to allow the 50 States, more than 3000 counties and nearly 20,000 towns and cities in the United States to establish their own laws regulating interstate commerce.

Time and again, independent experts have stated that the cost of labeling GMO foods and ingredients, to manufacturers, retailers and consumers, would be negligible here in the U.S., just as it has been in the more than 60 countries that already require labeling. GMO labels are costless, as pointed out in this Washington Post article. Companies regularly update their food packaging as they come up with new designs or marketing strategies.

And then there was the ultimate lie about GMOs, that they have been “proven safe:”

We all recognize that the overwhelming consensus within the science community is that these biotech products are safe.  We likewise understand that each and every biotech product in the marketplace today has been reviewed thorough a voluntary food safety consultation process at the Food and Drug Administration.

Wrong. Ever since GMOs were introduced into the food system in the 1990s, without adequate, independent, pre-market safety testing, there have been scientists and an increasing volume of of research indicating that these genetically engineered foods and the toxic chemicals that accompany them are hazardous to human health and the environment. The American Medical Association believes GMO foods should be subjected to pre-market safety testing. And there is surely no consensus, as hundreds of scientists worldwide have confirmed, on the safety of GMOs that have already been approved. That is a flat-out lie.

Conaway spoke instead about the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s “voluntary food safety consultation process” as if that were a valid means of proving safety.

Glaringly absent from Conaway’s statement was any mention of the toxic chemicals used to grow GMO crops, and allowed to remain as residue on GMO foods. Not one word was spoken about the World Health Organization’s recent determination that glyphosate, the chemical used on more than 80 percent of GMO crops, is a probably human carcinogen.

None of these statements, coming from a lawmaker with ties to Big Ag, were particularly surprising. But what should concern any consumer ,voter, citizen or just plain common-sense thinking human being, is that Conaway’s statement clearly focused on how to promote the profits of corporations, rather than on how to protect people from foods that have not been proven safe, and the arsenal of toxic chemicals used to grow them. It was all about “marketing,” and how we need a government program for food producers who want to voluntarily label their products as GMO-free, or containing GMOs.

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has long been in the business of assisting producers to develop programs and tools to take advantage of market opportunities. The Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research Subcommittee recently examined the programs of the Agricultural Marketing Service.  The Subcommittee concluded that the agency has the resources and expertise to develop and administer a robust marketing program for those wishing to notify consumers of the presence or absence of genetically engineered ingredients in their food products.  What the agency doesn’t have is the law to make it work uniformly across the country like we did 25 years ago when we passed the Organic Foods Production Act.

Not one word on the devastation to the environment. Not on word on how chemical-intensive, fossil-fuel-intensive industrial agriculture is one of the largest contributors, if not the largest contributor, to global warming—and how if we don’t fix this system, we can’t be serious about averting a climate disaster.

As Pope Francis said recently, on the topic of genetic engineering and its use of toxic pesticides:

It creates a vicious circle in which the intervention of the human being to solve a problem often worsens the situation further. For example, many birds and insects die out as a result of toxic pesticides created by technology, they are useful to agriculture itself, and their disappearance will be compensated with another technological intervention that probably will bring new harmful effects… looking at the world we see that this level of human intervention, often in the service of finance and consumerism, actually causes the earth we live in to become less rich and beautiful, more and more limited and gray, while at the same time the development of technology and consumerism continues to advance without limits.

H.R. 1599 is an assault on consumer rights, an assault on democracy and states’ rights. And if passed, it will only escalate the assault on our health, and the health of Planet Earth.

Please help us continue to fight this disastrous and undemocratic piece of legislation.

Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.

 

Hillary: Where Do You Stand on GMO Labeling?

Organic consumers - Wed, 2015-07-08 21:35
July 7, 2015Organic Consumers AssociationKatherine Paul and Ronnie CumminsGenetic Engineering, Politics & Globalization Hillary Clinton

About a year ago, we (the Organic Consumers Association) launched a petition asking Hillary Clinton to support consumers, not Monsanto—or at the very least, support mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

We created the petition after learning about remarks Hillary made in her June 25 (2014) keynote address to the BIO International Convention in San Diego, Calif. In those remarks, Hillary expressed her enthusiastic support for GMO agriculture. She also perpetrated a lot of the same misinformation about genetic engineering that Monsanto and the rest of the industry regularly spout off about, including the lines about how there’s no difference between hybridization and genetic engineering, and how drought-resistant seeds and crops are a big part of the biotech industry’s game plan.

Her appearance at the convention served as a reminder of Hillary’s deep ties to Monsanto, ties that have earned her the title of “Bride of Frankenfood.”

At the time we launched our petition, Hillary had not yet officially tossed her hat into the ring for the 2016 Democratic nomination. Now it’s official. What isn’t yet official, is where Hillary stands on consumers’ right to know and states’ rights to pass mandatory GMO labeling laws.

Does her support for Monsanto and the biotech industry mean she opposes labeling? Or will Hillary come out as pro-biotech but also pro-consumers’ right to know?

The 2016 presidential election is about 16 months away, but the horserace has begun. And while Hillary was once thought to be the clear leader for the Democratic nomination, it appears now that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is running as a Democrat, poses a realistic threat. The cast of characters on the Republican side continues to grow, but realistically, Jeb Bush, at least at this stage of the race, seems the likeliest of candidates.  Bush hasn’t publicly stated his position on GMO labeling.

So far, only Sanders has been clear about his stance on mandatory labeling of GMO foods and ingredients. In 2013, he introduced an amendment to the Farm Bill that would have guaranteed states the right to pass mandatory GMO labeling laws. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 71 to 27. (Sen. Murkowski of Alaska, which in 2014 passed a law requiring mandatory labeling of GMO salmon should the FDA approve it, was the only Republican who voted for the amendment).

Monsanto and Big Food have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure they don’t have to label GMO ingredients. And the spending continues, as high-profile lobbyists descend on Washington D.C. in an attempt to pass a federal law (H.R. 1599) that would guarantee, among other things, a total lack of transparency about GMO ingredients.

As we’ve learned over these past few years of ballot initiatives and legislative battles on the GMO labeling front, issues of food and health, corporate greed and political corruption, transcend political party affiliations. Polling numbers continue to confirm that more than 90 percent of Americans want food manufacturers to be required to disclose GMO ingredients on their packaging.

With those numbers, and the H.R. 1599 threat looming in Congress, it’s time any serious presidential candidate show his or her hand on the GMO labeling issue. Which candidates will support mandatory labeling? Which candidates would instead support a bill like H.R. 1599, the “Mother of All Monsanto Protection Acts”?

We, the consumer movement for healthy food, a clean environment and corporate transparency, will have to demand answers if candidates like Hillary won’t voluntarily disclose their position on labeling.
On July 3, Gary Hirshberg, chairman of the board of JustLabelIt.org, former CEO of Stonyfield Farms and a public supporter of GMO labeling, hosted a $2700-per-person fundraiser for Hillary at his home in New Hampshire.  According to the Boston Globe, Hirshberg said the fundraiser didn’t necessarily mean he was supporting Hillary for president.

We were curious as to why someone so outspoken in the GMO labeling movement would host a fundraiser for a candidate so obviously pro-GMO, much less for a candidate he wouldn’t, at least yet, publicly support. So we reached out to Hirshberg through Scott Faber, executive director of JustLabelIt.org. Faber responded that he had passed our email inquiry on to Hirshberg. 

We haven’t yet heard back from Hirshberg. Did he force Hillary to disclose her position on labeling? Before, during or after the fundraiser? Will she take a stand on this issue before the primaries?
Inquiring minds want to know.

Meanwhile, let’s continue to post on Hillary’s facebook page and sign the petition, until we get an answer.

Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.

Ronnie Cummins is international director of the Organic Consumers Association and its Mexico affiliate, Via Organica.

 

 

We’ve Never Done This Before, but . . .

Organic consumers - Thu, 2015-07-02 14:27
Genetic Engineering, Politics & GlobalizationJuly 1, 2015 $180k

Dear Supporter,

A federal bill that no one took seriously last year is fast gaining traction in the U.S. House of Representatives.

It’s a bill written by Monsanto, for Monsanto. A shameful example of regulations written to protect corporations from people—from you—instead of the other way around.

Four times a year we run online fundraising campaigns. Until now, we’ve never extended a deadline.

But this time is different. This time, the stakes are exceptionally high.

We’ve extended our deadline to midnight Tuesday, July 7, so we can take advantage of two matching fund offers, from Mercola.com and Dr. Bronner’s. Can you help us raise about $20,000 to meet our goal and step up our efforts to defeat the Mother of All Monsanto Protection Acts? You can donate online, by phone or by mail, details here.

Hearings on H.R. 1599 have already been held in subcommittees of both the House Energy & Commerce and House Agriculture Committees. The hearings were dominated by false and deceptive testimony, delivered by Monsanto’s hired guns.

Based on what we know about those hearings, things aren’t looking great for consumers.

We used to call H.R. 1599 the DARK Act—because its intent is to Deny Americans the Right to Know. But the bill gets worse with every draft. It’s so bad now, we’ve renamed it the “Mother of All Monsanto Protection Acts.”

If we don’t stop this bill, Vermont’s GMO labeling law will be killed, and no other state will ever be allowed to pass a GMO labeling law.

If we don’t stop this bill, county bans on GMO crops will be killed, and no other county will ever be allowed to pass a GMO crop ban.

If we don’t stop this bill, there will never be any pre-market safety testing of GMO foods.

If we don’t stop this bill, food producers won’t be allowed to tell you their products are GMO-free—until and unless the USDA finalizes its own GMO-free labeling standard. Then, and only then, will food manufacturers be allowed to tell you their products don’t contain GMOs—based on a standard that will likely allow a much higher percentage of GMO ingredients than any existing independent certification, such as Non-GMO Project certification.

If we don’t stop this bill, you will lose any right you ever had to the truth about genetically modified food. And corporations will win the right to eviscerate the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

With the holiday weekend coming up, we know people are busy and distracted. That’s why we’ve extended our deadline, to give everyone a chance to contribute. And to give Mercola.com and Dr. Bronner’s a chance to triple the value of your donation.

In the meantime, we continue to organize meetings across the country, between concerned citizens and key members of Congress. We continue to reach out to state legislators with a request to sign a joint letter to Congress members, asking them to reject this attack on states’ rights and consumers’ right to know.

We are organizing letter-writing campaigns, making thousands of phone calls and planning a massive demonstration in Washington D.C.

If we don’t stop this bill, the GMO labeling movement will come to a screeching halt.

Can you help us raise about $20,000 by midnight July 7, to meet our goal and step up our efforts to defeat the Mother of All Monsanto Protection Acts? You can donate online, by phone or by mail, details here.

Thank you!

 

Ronnie Cummins
National Director, Organic Consumers Association and Organic Consumers Fund

P.S. Donations made to the Organic Consumers Fund, our 501(c) 4 lobbying arm, are not tax-deductible. If you want to support our grassroots advocacy and education campaigns, you can make a tax-deductible donation to our 501(c)3 here.

No Labels, No Safety Testing, No GMO-Free Zones

Organic consumers - Tue, 2015-06-23 13:03
Genetic EngineeringOrganic Consumers AssociationJune 22, 2015 125k_summer_2015_oca.png

Dear Supporter,

Thanks to millions of dollars in political donations, Monsanto is on the verge of closing two critical deals in Congress.

One of these deals would block every conceivable path to label or regulate GMOs foods. The other would clear the way to force unlabeled GMO foods and crops on countries that have well established GMO labeling laws and bans in place.

As if that weren’t bad enough, Monsanto is looking to buy chemical giant Syngenta, and relocate the newly-merged company to London—a move that would give the Biotech Bully unprecedented power to sue the entire U.S. government over any laws Monsanto believes will interfere with its profits.

Please donate today to help fight Monsanto’s unprecedented power grab. Your donation by midnight June 30, will be tripled, thanks to matching donations by Mercola.com and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. You can donate online, by phone or by mail, details here.

On Thursday, the Biotech Subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee will hold the House’s second hearing on H.R. 1599, a bill that gets worse with each draft. H.R. 1599, once dubbed the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act has recently evolved into the “Mother of All Monsanto Protection Acts.”

If passed, H.R. 1599 will not only preempt all state (including Vermont’s) GMO labeling laws, but it will also wipe out county bans on GMO crops—a direct attack not only on Democracy, but on organic and non-GMO growers who increasingly face the risk of contamination.

But that’s not all. H.R. 1599 intends to make it impossible for food manufacturers to voluntarily tell consumers their products are GMO-free, using reliable, independent labels and standards. And it would guarantee no pre-market safety testing of GMO foods—ever.

Please donate today to help fight Monsanto’s unprecedented power grab. Your donation by midnight June 30, will be tripled, thanks to matching donations by Mercola.com and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. You can donate online, by phone or by mail, details here.

Monsanto isn’t pinning all of its hopes on H.R. 1599. The Gene Giant has been closely involved in negotiating, in secret, global trade deals intended to force other countries to open their doors to a flood of GMO foods and crops.

Today, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on whether or not to give President Obama “Trade Promotion Authority,” which is a fancy way of saying the President will be allowed to ram through Congress a trade deal that, among other things, declares GMO labeling an “unjustified trade restriction.”

And just to guarantee its right to sue the entire U.S. government over any and all GMO-related laws, Monsanto’s potential move to London would give it the rights of an-out-of-country investor to challenge the U.S. in “international tribunals.”

Monsanto’s “cover all your bases” power grab sounds too diabolical to be true. Unfortunately, the threats are not only real, they’re imminent.

We are fighting on all fronts to prevent these attacks on Democracy. But we’re realistic—we know what money can buy in Washington D.C.  And we know how deep Monsanto’s pockets are.

That’s why, even as our staff is traveling all over the country to set up meetings with key members of Congress, in their home districts, we’re also setting up the infrastructure to test foods, and humans, for GMOs and all of the toxic chemicals used to grow them.

We will use that testing to apply relentless pressure on food manufacturers to clean up their acts.

We need your support to do this work. By donating today, you’ll triple your impact, thanks to generous matching funders.

Monsanto can run. But it can’t hide. Unless we let it.

Please donate today to help fight Monsanto’s unprecedented power grab. Your donation by midnight June 30, will be tripled, thanks to matching donations by Mercola.com and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. You can donate online, by phone or by mail, details here.

Thank you!

Ronnie Cummins
National Director, Organic Consumers Association and Organic Consumers Fund

P.S. Donations made to the Organic Consumers Fund, our 501(c) 4 lobbying arm, are not tax-deductible. If you want to support our grassroots advocacy and education campaigns, you can make a tax-deductible donation to our 501(c)3 here.

Monsanto: You Can Run But You Can't Hide!

Organic consumers - Fri, 2015-06-19 21:32
Genetic EngineeringOrganic Consumers AssociationJune 19, 2015 oca monsanto cant hide

Dear Organic Consumer,

You’ve heard the news by now. 

Monsanto is trying to buy up fellow poison-maker Syngenta, in a scheme that involves relocating to London, and giving the merged company a brand new name.

Sorry, Monsanto. You can run. But you can’t hide!

Monsanto can't hide the fact that its flagship product, Roundup, causes cancer. Or the fact that the world doesn’t want Monsant's toxic chemical-drenched, soil-depleting crops—or Syngenta’s atrazine, Agent Orange crops, or bee-killing neonics.

Please donate today to keep Monsanto on the run—until it runs out of steam. Your donation by midnight June 30, will be tripled, thanks to matching donations by Mercola.com and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. You can donate online, by phone or by mail, details here.

It’s taken us years. But the momentum against Monsanto and the rest of the Gene and Junk Food Giants is at an all-time high.

Thanks to the World Health Organization, we now have irrefutable scientific proof of what many scientists have been saying for decades—glyphosate, the key active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, causes cancer.

And thanks to you, and millions of conscious consumers, Big Food lost $4 billion in market share last year, while sales of local, organic, healthful, nutritious food soared.

You’ve got Monsanto on the run. But forcing Monsanto to set up camp in London, under a new name, isn’t enough. We need to run Monsanto out of business. And that’s going to take a long, strong, sustained campaign. 

We’re up for it. But we need your help.

Please donate today to keep Monsanto on the run—until it runs out of steam. Your donation by midnight June 30, will be tripled, thanks to matching donations by Mercola.com and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. You can donate online, by phone or by mail, details here

Over the next few months, OCA will continue to:

• Test for glyphosate, neonicotinoids, atrazine, metachlor and other toxic chemical residues in humans, drinking water and foods, and will widely publicize the results of our testing, which we’ll use to pressure the EPA, FDA and USDA;

• Mobilize a massive grassroots campaign against Rep. Mike Pompeo’s bill (H.R. 1599) to overturn and preempt state GMO labeling laws and state and local bans on GMO crops, prevent companies from voluntary labeling, further weaken GMO crop regulations and guarantee GMO foods are never subjected to long-term safety testing; 

• Pressure food manufacturers and retailers on the issue of truth and transparency in labeling, including calling for boycotts of companies like Starbucks that support toxic factory farms by refusing to switch to organic; and

• Research and fund organic, regenerative, scalable agriculture projects that have the potential to replaced our toxic, inhumane industrial factory farms.

• Organize a mass rally and March Against Monsanto in Washington, DC on October 17, with Vandana Shiva as keynote speaker, preceded the day before (World Food Day) with a major press conference at the National Press Club.

It's an ambitious agenda. But it's also a life-or-death agenda.

It’s your agenda. And we’ll need your help.

Please donate today to keep Monsanto on the run—until it runs out of steam. Your donation by midnight June 30, will be tripled, thanks to matching donations by Mercola.com and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. You can donate online, by phone or by mail, details here

Thank you!

Ronnie Cummins
National Director, Organic Consumers Association and Organic Consumers Fund

P.S. Donations made to the Organic Consumers Fund, our 501(c) 4 lobbying arm, are not tax-deductible. If you want to support our grassroots advocacy and education campaigns, you can make a tax-deductible donation to our 501(c)3 here.

Tell Vermont Gov. Shumlin: Thank You for Standing up to Monsanto and Big Food!

Organic consumers - Thu, 2015-06-18 16:12
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoCategory: Genetic EngineeringArea: USA

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) recently sent a letter to Vermont Gov. Pete Shumlin, complaining about Vermont’s GMO labeling law, exaggerating the implications of the law and implying that some (junk) food companies may stop selling their products in Vermont if the law is enacted.
 
So far, Vermont is the only state that has passed a strong, stand-alone GMO labeling law. Maine and Connecticut have passed laws, but they are ineffective, as they require four or five additional (and in the case of Maine, contiguous) New England states to pass similar laws in order for theirs to take effect.
 
Polls show that more than 90 percent of America’s consumers want labels on GMO foods—yet Vermont lawmakers, and their Governor, are the only ones who have had the courage to take on Monsanto and Big Food, who followed through on their threats to sue the state.
 
TAKE ACTION: Tell Vermont Gov. Shumlin: Thank You for Standing up to Monsanto and Big Food! After you sign our letter to Gov. Shumlin, please post a "thank you" on his Facebook page.
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The Crisis: Regeneration or Degeneration?

Organic consumers - Thu, 2015-06-18 12:16
Environment & ClimateRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationJune 17, 2015 bean seedling

‘If governments won’t solve the climate, hunger, health, and democracy crises, then the people will.‘ - Dr.Vandana Shiva, speaking at the founding meeting of Regeneration International, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica, June 8, 2015

When literally billions of people, the 99 percent, are hungry or struggling to survive with justice and dignity; when the majority of the global body politic are threatened and assaulted by a toxic environment and food system; when hundreds of millions are overwhelmed with chronic health problems; battered by floods, droughts, and weather extremes; when endless wars and land grabs for water, land and strategic resources spiral out of control; When indentured politicians, corporations and the mass media conspire to stamp out the last vestiges of democracy in order to force a “Business-as-Usual” paradigm down our throats, it’s time for a change, Big Change.

It’s time to move beyond degenerate ethics, farming land use, energy policies, politics and economics. It’s time to move beyond “too little, too late” mitigation and sustainability strategies.

It’s time to inspire and mobilize a mighty global army of Regenerators, before it’s too late.

Connecting the dots

Melting polar ice caps, dying oceans, global warming? The corporate take-over of governments, commerce and the world food supply? The loss of the world’s fertile, life-sustaining soil and biodiversity, along with the loss of indigenous seeds and knowledge?

Dis-empowed, exploited people, overwhelmed by the challenges of everyday survival, don’t have the luxury of connecting the dots between all the issues and focusing on the Big Picture. It’s the job of Regenerators to globalize the struggle, to globalize hope and connect the dots between issues, communities and constituencies. Our guiding principle must be that everyone, everywhere can potentially be energized and mobilized, i.e. regenerated, by a “Do-it-Yourself Movement” that “tells it like it is,” that moves beyond mere mitigation, and instead offers a global roadmap and a holistic menu of regenerative solutions to our most pressing food, farming, health, climate, political and economic problems.

Healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy animals, healthy people, healthy climate . . . our physical and economic health, our very survival as a species, is directly connected to the soil, biodiversity, and the health and fertility of our food and farming systems.  

Regenerative organic farming and land use can move us back into balance, back to a stable climate.

The regenerative bottom line for survival and well-being is that we must not only move away from oil, coal, gas and nuclear energy toward renewable sources of energy. We must also move several hundred billion tons of excess, climate- destabilizing carbon from the atmosphere back into the soil, where it belongs.

How do we do this?

Spreading the word

Although we don’t have the time or the space to go into great detail now, I, and others have begun to describe in detail how regenerative food, farming and land use practices, scaled up to the global level, can fix the climate and supercharge soil fertility and food nutrition over the next two decades.

In order to survive we must all become evangelists of Regeneration. We must explain the basic principles and practices of soil regeneration and natural carbon sequestration to everyone who will listen.

As Michael Pollan, North America’s most prominent food author, explains:

Consider what happens when the sun shines on a grass plant rooted in the earth. Using that light as a catalyst, the plant takes atmospheric CO2, splits off and releases the oxygen, and synthesizes liquid carbon–sugars, basically. Some of these sugars go to feed and build the aerial portions of the plant we can see, but a large percentage of this liquid carbon—somewhere between 20 and 40 percent—travels underground, leaking out of the roots and into the soil. The roots are feeding these sugars to the soil microbes—the bacteria and fungi that inhabit the rhizosphere—in exchange for which those microbes provide various services to the plant: defense, trace minerals, access to nutrients the roots can’t reach on their own. That liquid carbon has now entered the microbial ecosystem, becoming the bodies of bacteria and fungi that will in turn be eaten by other microbes in the soil food web. Now, what had been atmospheric carbon (a problem) has become soil carbon, a solution—and not just to a single problem, but to a great many problems.

Besides taking large amounts of carbon out of the air—tons of it per acre when grasslands are properly managed… that process at the same time adds to the land’s fertility and its capacity to hold water. Which means more and better food for us...

This process of returning atmospheric carbon to the soil works even better when ruminants are added to the mix. Every time a calf or lamb shears a blade of grass, that plant, seeking to rebalance its “root-shoot ratio,” sheds some of its roots. These are then eaten by the worms, nematodes, and microbes—digested by the soil, in effect, and so added to its bank of carbon. This is how soil is created: from the bottom up.
 

By all accounts, our planet is in deep trouble, and headed for worse. Sustaining a dying planet or mitigating catastrophic climate change is not an option. We must change the conversation about the climate crisis from “mitigation” to “reversing” global warming, by organically regenerating the soil, grasslands and forests. Even if the world moves to zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and “sustains” or stabilizes atmospheric CO2 at 480-500 ppm, we will still desperately need to remove 100 ppm or more of CO2 from the atmosphere in order to avert runaway global warming, mass starvation, and chaos.

A Movement is launched

In the first week of June, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) and our global allies organized the founding meeting of Regeneration International, a global alliance designed to supercharge the global grassroots, the network of networks trying to feed the world and reverse climate change through regenerative organic food and farming.

The meeting took place in the spectacular rainforest area near the still-active Arenal Volcano on a tropical Biodynamic organic farm in Costa Rica, attended by scientists, activists, farmers, environmentalists and business leaders, representing non-profits, universities and corporations from 21 nations.

Sixty global leaders participated in an intensive three days of workshops, presentations and late-into-the-night conversations. We shared ideas, (organic) food, and the common belief that so far, our governments, healthcare systems and global non-profits are failing us when it comes to real solutions to climate change, hunger, health and economic security.

We shared a sense of urgency, and a spirit of hope.

Urgency because, behind the scenes, many climate-change ”experts”  admit that if we achieved zero carbon emissions tomorrow, we’d still go over the climate-disaster cliff. As evidence, one presenter quoted NOAA Senior Scientist, Susan Solomon:

The severity of damaging human-induced climate change depends not only on the magnitude of the change but also on the potential for irreversibility. This paper shows that the climate change that takes place due to increases in carbon dioxide concentration is largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop.

A spirit of hope, because, as the farmers, activists and scientists among us confirmed, we actually do have the capacity to reverse climate change, and eliminate global poverty, hunger, health, economic injustice and environmental devastation.  The answer lies in the soil—in promoting organic, regenerative agriculture and land use that sequesters carbon, produces higher yields of more nutritious foods, and strengthens local economies.

Regeneration International—next steps

With a formal steering committee composed of Vandana Shiva (India writer and activist) Hans Herren (Millenium Institute), Andre Leu (IFOAM/Organics International), Steve Rye (Mercola.com), Ronnie Cummins (Organic Consumers Association), and Tom Newmark (The Carbon Underground), Regeneration International has embarked on a wide range of activities, including the global mapping of regenerative activists and campaigns, best practices, alternative and mass media contacts, a translations bureau, a global media and communications team, and a science peer review committee.

Activities over the next six months will include a mass March Against Monsanto protest and rally in Washington, D.C. on the day after World Food Day, October 17; participation in the alternative climate summit in Paris December 1-10; and the drawing up of national Regeneration Charters in every country following the Paris Summit.

We left the first Regeneration International conference energized, and ready to start regenerating.

We agreed on a plan to expand on the existing science around carbon sequestration through organic regenerative agriculture, and to reach out far and wide to the global scientific community, to connect scientists all over the world.

We agreed on a plan to mobilize farmers and activists globally, to advance regenerative organic farming and grazing practices and techniques, and to share best practices for adapting techniques to different climates and cultures.

We are developing a global media and communications plan, to counter the corporate-funded messages that focus almost exclusively on industrial, GMO agriculture as a solution to world hunger, and emissions reduction as the solution to global warming. Our plan will promote the science around the relationship between nutritionally sound food and health, and around carbon sequestration through organic, regenerative agriculture.

Plans are being developed, test projects are under way, commitments have been made, energy is high, and urgency is on all of our minds.

Because we are running out of time.

In his book, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, David Montgomery writes that the history of dirt suggests that how people treat their soil can impose a life span on civilizations, that Rome didn’t so much as fall, but crumble:

A common lesson of the ancient empires of the Old and New Worlds is that even innovative adaptations cannot make up for a lack of fertile soil to sustain increased productivity. As long as people take care of their land, the land can sustain them.”

Ancient civilizations never came face-to-face with global warming. Today, global warming is in our face. And according to a growing number of scientists, we are running out of time.

Will we regenerate our soils, our food, our health, our economies, and our spirits? Or will we continue to degenerate, to stumble down the path toward destruction?

Ronnie Cummins is international director of the Organic Consumers Association and a member of the Regeneration International steering committee.

ACT NOW: States' Rights to Label GMOs in Danger!

Organic consumers - Wed, 2015-06-17 19:14
Organic Consumers AssociationJune 15, 2015 stopmonsanto.png URGENT CALL TO ACTION!

Congress will soon begin voting on the DARK Act (H.R. 1599), a bill that could bring the GMO labeling movement to a screeching halt.

If passed, the DARK Act will overturn Vermont's GMO labeling law and prevent other states from passing GMO labeling laws. The same will hold true for local GMO crop bans. H.R.1599 will also prevent food manufacturers from labeling their products GMO-free using independent certification, such as the certification offered by the Non-GMO Project—the only non-GMO label allowed will be a USDA-approved label under standards that have yet to be developed, and will likely be inferior to independently developed standards. 

The bill, which we’re now calling the Mother of All Monsanto Protection Acts, would also guarantee the FDA never conducts independent, pre-market safety testing on GMO foods.

How do we stop this outrageous piece of legislation? By letting every member of Congress, beginning with those who serve on key committees, know that we oppose it. We’ve prioritized U.S. Representatives who are members of the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, or the Biotech Subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee. These subcommittees held hearings on the DARK Act on June 18 and June 25, respectively. The first vote on the DARK Act hasn’t been scheduled yet, but is expected to take place in one of these committees.

So far, with help from volunteers in key districts, we've met with 17 members of the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, and spoken or emailed with others. We've also been able to determine where some of the members of the Biotech Subcommittee stand on the bill. But we still have a long road ahead if we're going to reach out to all of the members of both subcommittees before the bill is voted on.

That's where you come in. Below, we've listed the names of committee members we've either already met with (no asterisk) or still need to meet with (asterisk in front of the name). We also indicate whether the committee member intends to vote YES or NO on H.R. 1599, or whether he or she is still UNDECIDED.

If your Representative is listed below, with an asterisk, and he or she is UNDECIDED or planning to vote YES on H.R. 1599, can you attend a meeting/rally at your Representative's district office? We can help organize the meeting, but we need constituents to attend. If you'd like to participate, please contact alexis@organicconsumers.org or call (218) 226-4164. If your Representative is planning to vote NO, please call or email him or her to say Thank you!

Time is running out to reach all of these key Representatives. Please review the list below and let us know if you can help. If you're not a resident in the district of one of these U.S. Representatives, we still need your help. All members of Congress need to hear from their constituents—you—that you want them to oppose H.R. 1599. Please call Congress at 202-224-3121 (Tips for calling). and ask for your Congress member's office. Then ask your member of Congress to vote NO on H.R. 1599.

Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research Subcommittee

UNDECIDED
*Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.): 202-225-6311
*Marcia Fudge (D- Ohio): 202-225-7032
*Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.): 202-225-5614
*Gwen Graham (D-Fla.): 202-225-5235

YES
*Rodney Davis (R-Ill.): 202-225-2371
*Jeff Denham (R-Calif.): 202-225-4540
*John Moolenaar (R-Mich.):202-225-3561
*Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.): 202-225-5816
*Austin Scott (R-Ga.): 202-225-6531
*Glenn Thompson (R-Penn.): 202-225-5121
*Ted Yoho (R-Fla.): 202-225-5744

NO
Ann Kuster (D-N.H.): 202-225-5206
Jim McGovern (D-Mass.): 202-225-5759

Health Subcommittee

UNDECIDED
*Joe Barton (R-Texas): 202-225-2002
Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.): 202-225-5755
*Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-Texas): 202-225-7772
*Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.): 202-225-6131
Kathy Castor (D-Fla.): 202-225-3376
Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.): 202-225-2464
*Gene Greene (D-Texas): 202-225-1688
Morgan Griffith (R-Va.): 202-225-3861
Joseph P. Kennedy, III (D-Mass.): 202-225-5931
Leonard Lance (R-N.J.): 202-225-5361
Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.): 202-225-6190
Tim Murphy (R-Pa.): 202-225-2301
Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.): 202-225-4671
*Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.): 202-225-2006
John Sarbanes (D-Md.): 202-225-4016

YES
*Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.): 202-225-2811
*Susan Brooks (R-Ind.): 202-225-2276
*Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.): 202-225-4636
*G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.): 202-225-3101
*Chris Collins (R-N.Y.): 202-225-5265
Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.): 202-225-4531
*Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.): 202-225-3501
Billy Long (R-Mo.): 202-225-6536
Joseph R. Pitts (R-Pa.): 202-225-2411
*Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.): 202-225-5711
John Shimkus (R-Ill.): 202-225-5271
*Fred Upton (R-Mich.): 202-225-3761
*Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.): 202-225-3115

NO
Lois Capps (D-Calif.): 202-225-3601
Doris O. Matsui (D-Calif.): 202-225-7163
Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.): 202-225-2111

Calendar: 2015 Stop the DARK Act Congressional Meetings and Rallies

So far we've held 17 meetings with members of key subcommittees. We're just now organizing the next round of meetings, and as we confirm them, we will list them here.

Friday, July 17
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.)
: 1 p.m., 1575 Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 180, Kalamazoo, Mich. To participate, contact alexis@organicconsumers.org

Want to help us organize a Congressional district office meeting and rally? Here's what you need to do to get started! (Or just email alexis@organicconsumers.org and/or call (218) 226-4164).

1. Contact one of the district offices for your U.S. Representative and ask for a meeting with their staff in the next few weeks. If you can't get a meeting, you can still hold a rally outside the district office and invite the media.

2. Email us at campaigns@organicconsumers.org to let us know about the meeting and we'll get the word out to our supporters in your district.

3. Print an 11x17 poster for your Congressperson and take it to the meeting or rally. Download 11x17 posters here. If you're Congressperson doesn't have a poster on this page, email us and we'll make one.

4. Contact us at 218-226-4164 if you need coaching on discussing the DARK Act, states' rights to label GMOs, and why we need mandatory, not voluntary, GMO labeling laws with your Representative's staff. DARK Act fact sheet here.

5. We'll also send out a media advisory out to local press about your meeting or rally to help generate media coverage.

Not sure? You can use these links to identify your member of Congress, and find out if he/she is on the House Agriculture or Energy & Commerce committees, where the next votes will take place.

Find your representative

Find out if your Congress member serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee

Find out if your Congress member serves on the House Committee of Agriculture

Find out of your Congress member is already a sponsor of the DARK Act (H.R. 1599)

Download a poster to bring to the rally