Environment

A Local Minnesota Dairy Farm Is Locked in a Costly Legal Battle With the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Over Its Right to Sell Raw Milk

Organic consumers - Wed, 2017-01-11 18:17
January 11, 2017Organic Consumers AssociationMelinda SuelflowFood Safety Lake View Dairy Cow

Lake View Natural Dairy, Grand Marais, MN

A local Minnesota dairy farm is locked in a costly legal battle with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) over its right to sell raw milk and other dairy products directly to consumers. 

Lake View Natural Dairy in Grand Marais, Minn., is just an hour north of OCA’s home office. The farm, which was settled in the 1880s by owner David Berglund’s ancestors, sells unpasteurized dairy products to friends, family and neighbors.

Since 2013, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has been threatening to shut down Lake View Natural Dairy farm, unless Berglund agrees to let the state inspect his farm. 

But Berglund says that under the state constitution, the farm can sell its products directly to consumers who come to the farm, without the threat of state inspection and regulation. The Minnesota Constitution guarantees that, “Any person may sell or peddle the products of the farm or garden occupied and cultivated by him without obtaining a license thereof."

And Berglund is saavy enough to understand that inspection is simply a vehicle to enforce regulation. In Minnesota, there are no regulations on the books for raw milk other than a brief statute that says raw milk can be “occasionally secured or purchased for personal use by any consumer at the place or farm where the milk is produced.”

To be clear, Lake View Natural Dairy runs a very sanitary and clean operation. And because consumers have to come to the farm to purchase products directly, the farm’s customers know this.

Berglund’s very real concern is that allowing the MDA to inspect his farm will lead to an unlawful attempt by the MDA to impost statutes meant for pasteurized milk production on the dairy’s production of raw milk. This would require Lake View Natural Dairy to pasteurize its milk, something neither the farmers, nor customers, want. Plus the costs of pasteurization equipment and a bottling plant would quickly put this small family farm out of business.

On November 16, Lake View’s case was heard by the Minnesota Court of Appeals in St. Paul. Earlier this year, the local district court upheld the state’s inspection order, and Berglund appealed it. If the Court of Appeals affirms the district court’s decision, Berglund and Lake View Dairy will appeal that decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Because there is a patchwork of state laws regarding the sale of raw milk and raw milk products across the country, Lake View’s case could set a national precedent. Minnesota is the only state that guarantees a farmer the right to “peddle” his or her products on the farm. 

Implicit in this constitutional right of farmers to directly “peddle” their products to consumers is our right as consumers to purchase foods directly from farmers, without government interference.

Recent studies have debunked the myth that raw milk is a high-risk food. In fact, the numerous health benefits of raw over pasteurized dairy products are becoming more widely recognized, and consumer demand for these products is increasing.

Why is the MDA so intent on shutting down Lake View Dairy? It likely has something to do with the fact that the Big Dairy lobby sees small dairy farms, especially those selling raw milk, as a threat to their business. 

Personally, as a consumer who purchases raw milk from Lake View Natural Dairy, I am appalled at the aggressive nature of the MDA’s threats against David Berglund. In its attempt to force Berglund to submit to a farm inspection, MDA threatened Berglund with jail time and exorbitant daily fines and inspection costs.  As a tax-paying citizen, I am also appalled at the thousands of tax payer dollars being spent by the MDA to deny my right to purchase healthy foods directly from a local farmer.

Luckily for me and all of the rest of Lake View’s customers, David Berglund and his family are  willing to stand up to the MDA and defend their rights and our rights. Let’s stand with them.

As a small family farm, Lake View Natural Dairy needs our help to fund its legal battle. You can make a tax-deductible donation to help support the farm and cover the family’s legal costs here. 

More information on Lake View’s case here. 

Monsanto and Its Minions Are Poisoning Us: How Can We Defend Ourselves?

Organic consumers - Wed, 2017-01-11 18:15
Genetic Engineering, Health IssuesRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationJanuary 11, 2017http://ronnie.organicconsumers.org/monsanto-and-their-minions-are-poisoning-us-how-can-we-defend-ourselves/ dinner restaurant people eating cc 1000x667.jpg

Monsanto (soon to be Bayer) and their minions are poisoning us. Yet another independent peer-reviewed scientific study (article linked below) has confirmed that Monsanto’s notorious weedkiller, Roundup, sprayed on most major agricultural crops and animal feed, including corn, soy, canola, sugar beets, cotton, wheat, alfalfa, and beans–contaminating the majority of the non-organic foods in U.S. grocery stores, restaurants, and school lunch cafeterias–is toxic, even at the routine parts per billion or trillion level ingested by most Americans everyday.

Roundup is everywhere, in our food, in our cotton clothing, in our urine, in our breast milk, in the rain, in our drinking water, rivers, fish, and wildlife. Following up on the declaration of a respected scientific panel of the World Health Organization in 2016 that Roundup (active ingredient glyphosate) likely causes cancer, compounded by numerous studies linking Monsanto’s top-selling herbicide to hormone disruption, birth defects, kidney damage, and other diseases, the question we should be asking today is not whether we need more proof that the Biotech Bully of St. Louis is deliberately poisoning us for profit, aided and abetted by indentured scientists, media hacks, and politicians; but rather how do we drive Monsanto’s Roundup and Roundup-tainted foods off the market?

Hint number one: don’t hold your breath for the Trump administration, Congress, or the regulatory agencies to ban or even restrict the use of Roundup and the thousands of other pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and chemical fertilizers contaminating our food and water and destroying our soils’ ability to sequester carbon and re-stabilize our dangerously out of control climate. Trump’s new regime is filled with “business as usual” Monsanto cheerleaders, Wall Street bankers, and corporate cronies who love industrial agriculture and America’s fossil fuel suicide economy.

Hint number two: don’t expect Big Food companies, fast food giants, retail supermarket chains, school cafeterias and institutional food providers to voluntarily remove Roundup and other agri-toxics from their product lines and menus.

Hint number three: don’t rely on the fraudulently labeled “natural,” “all natural,” or “non-GMO” brands of companies such as Ben and Jerry’s, Dannon, General Mills, Kellogg’s, or Whole Foods’ 365 brand, to keep Roundup and other poisons out of your food.

The only way to protect yourself and your family from toxic pesticides such as Roundup, as well as the other poisons laced into your food, is to buy certified organic and 100% grass-fed foods today and everyday, or else buy organic and transition to organic (certified or not) products from farmers and ranchers in your local area that you know and trust. Or better yet, grow your own, or at least some of your own food.

It’s important in terms of consumer self-defense to understand that most GMOs and toxic herbicides such as Roundup end up, not only in non-organic fruits and vegetables, but also, in fact predominately, as ingredients in processed food, cooking oils, and animal feed. Ninety percent of U.S. corn and soybeans for example, most of which is Monsanto’s “GMO Roundup Ready,” is used to produce high fructose corn syrup (a common junk food ingredient), low grade cooking oil, animal feed, and ethanol.

Most U.S. consumers don’t yet fully understand that the poisons such as Roundup, atrazine, dicamba, neonicotinoids, and “Agent Orange” 2,4 D, coated on seeds or sprayed on crops for animal feed end up in your milk, your ice cream, your hamburger, your eggs, or your fried chicken. Don’t believe “natural” or “non-GMO” claims unless the product is organic or 100% grass-fed, We are what we eat. But we are also what our farm animals (and fish) eat. Boycott factory farmed foods, not only in the grocery store, but in restaurants as well.

If we can’t trust the government or the large corporations, we need to take matters into our own hands, today and everyday. Take control of your health and your diet. Protect our common home, the Earth’s environment and the climate. We need a #ConsumerRevolution and we need it now. Join up with the Organic Consumers Association and Millions Against Monsanto to drive Roundup and other poisons off the market. Together we can begin to organize a food and political revolution in 2017-2020 that will move us toward a food, farming, and land use system that is not only healthy and just, but Regenerative and climate-friendly as well.

 

 

Source: Britain’s most used pesticide is linked to a serious liver disease which can be fatal, shocking new study claims.

Tell Ben & Jerry’s: Stop Defrauding Consumers—It’s Time to Go Organic!

Organic consumers - Thu, 2017-01-05 16:21
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoThe Myth of NaturalCategory: Food Safety, Genetic EngineeringArea: USA

If there were an award for “greenwashing,” it would likely go to Ben & Jerry’s, the iconic Vermont-based ice cream brand, now owned by Unilever.

Ben & Jerry’s has done a brilliant job of selling consumers on the idea that the company cares about social justice, the environment, the climate, and its customers—the company even brags about its "Caring Dairy" program and its commitment to using non-GMO ingredients.

But behind that greenwashed façade lies the tale of a company that relies on a #dirtydairy industry that has poisoned Vermont’s waterways, that abuses animals, that is bankrupting farmers and is contributing to global warming by stripping the soil of its ability to draw down and sequester carbon.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Ben & Jerry’s: Stop Defrauding Consumers—It’s Time to Go Organic! Read more

Sign by Jan. 10! Support Healthy Soils!

Organic consumers - Tue, 2017-01-03 20:03
Belong to campaign: Organic TransitionsCook Organic Not the PlanetCategory: Environment & ClimateArea: USA

The federal government has finally recognized that increasing soil carbon is an essential part of the solution to climate change!

TAKE ACTION by midnight, January 10: Sign our petition in support of the Framework for a Federal Strategic Plan for Soil Science. 

 Read more

Invite Your Congresspersons to the 'Soil Is the Solution' Briefing

Organic consumers - Tue, 2017-01-03 19:57
Belong to campaign: Cook Organic Not the PlanetCategory: Environment & Climate, Politics & GlobalizationArea: USA

On January 11, our Regeneration International project is bringing a team of experts to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. to brief Congress on the fact that our ability to feed the world and cool the planet depends on how we care for the soil.

TAKE ACTION: Send an email invitation to your members of Congress.Read more

Act by Jan. 10! Support Strategies to Help Feed the World and Cool the Planet!

Organic consumers - Tue, 2017-01-03 19:51
Environment & ClimateAlexis Baden-MayerOrganic Consumers AssociationJanuary 3, 2017 Soil Hands 1000x667

You know that switching to organic and pasture-based agriculture is what we need to do to feed the world and cool the planet—because healthy soil can both provide abundant food, and also draw down and sequester carbon.

But do our federal policymakers know this? And if so, are they doing anything about it?

As it turns out, at least some of them have heard the message. Our job is to push them to act. Here are two ways you can help:

Action #1: Deadline Jan. 10: Support the 'Federal Strategic Plan for Soil Science' 

Action #2: Invite Your Congresspersons to the 'Soil Is the Solution' Briefing 

The National Science and Technology Council’s Soil Science Interagency Working Group just released “The State and Future of U.S. Soils: A Framework for a Federal Strategic Plan for Soil Science.” This breakthrough document that officially recognizes that:

Soil is essential to human life. Not only is it vital for providing most of the world’s food, it plays a critical role in ensuring water quality and availability; supports a vast array of non-food products and benefits, including mitigation of climate change; and affects biodiversity important for ecological resilience. These roles make soil essential to modern life.

Thus, it is imperative that everyone—city dwellers, farmers and ranchers, land owners, and rural citizens alike—take responsibility for caring for and investing in our soils.

TAKE ACTION by Jan. 10: State your support for the 'Federal Strategic Plan for Soil Science'

In addition to organizing public comments in support of the “Federal Strategic Plan for Soil Science,” we’re also organizing a briefing on Capitol Hill to educate Senators and Members of Congress about regenerative agriculture’s capacity to address some of our most pressing problems:

1) Skyrocketing rates of diet-related diseases, 
2) Rapidly vanishing natural resources, especially water, and 
3) Dangerous concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

These problems have one thing in common: They can't be solved without soil. We might take dirt for granted, but we can't do much without it. As an anonymous wit observed:

Humankind, despite its artistic abilities, sophistication and accomplishments, owes its existence to a six-inch layer of farmable soil—and the fact that it rains!

TAKE ACTION: Click here to invite your Senators and Members of Congress to attend our January 11 briefing on how caring for the soil can help feed the world and cool the planet.

If you’re in the D.C. area, you’re welcome to attend, as well.

And here’s a third way you can support regenerative agriculture this month. Join us at the Regenerative Agriculture Track at the Future Harvest-Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture Conference on January 13, in Hyattsville, Md. Click here to register.

Let’s start the new year right—by working on a plan to transition to a 100-percent regenerative food and farming system.

I Personally Invite You.

Organic consumers - Sat, 2016-12-31 16:10
All About Organics, Environment & Climate, Genetic EngineeringRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationDecember 31, 2016https://secure.organicconsumers.org/o/50865/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=12139 OCA 2016 Dec 220 420

“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.” – Wendell Berry, farmer, author, environmentalist

For decades, we’ve watched as corporations like Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta, Exxon, Coca-Cola, Cargill and others have committed crimes against our health and our environment.

While fraudulently claiming to offer consumers “modern solutions” these companies have brought us only pesticide-coated GMO foods, poisoned rivers and streams, and an epidemic of cancer and other chronic illnesses.

Together, they’ve pushed us to the brink of an environmental, public health and climate disaster.

We're still about $30,000 short of our year-end fundraising goal. Can you help us reach $250,000 by midnight December 31? You can donate online, by mail or by phone, details here.

Like you, I’m still discouraged that earlier this year we lost an intensive four-year battle to get GMO foods labeled.

Still, hope springs eternal. If the GMO labeling loss taught us anything, it taught us that we have to build a bigger movement, a movement of movements.

No one of us alone can solve the crises we face. No politician, no scientists, no organization, no technology company, no environmental or social justice movement leader (no matter how charismatic) will deliver us a top-down solution.

We will foster renewal, we will regenerate our soils, our economies, our health, our communities—our hope—by finding common ground. By connecting the dots between our many good causes. By working together.

From the ground up.

I personally invite you to join me in making this our highest priority in the coming year.

If we can do this, we will have hope.

We're still about $30,000 short of our year-end fundraising goal. Can you help us reach $250,000 by midnight December 31? You can donate online, by mail or by phone, details here.

From all of us at OCA, thank you. Here’s to a healthy, regenerative 2017.

Ronnie Cummins
International Director

 


P.S. Martin Luther King once said: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." In 2017, we will need to build a #ConsumerRevolution and #PoliticalRevolution on a scale meaningful enough to counter what is shaping up to be one of the most financially and politically corrupt administrations in our lifetimes.But we will need your help. Click here to donate to our year-end campaign.

I'm Going to Break the Rules Today

Organic consumers - Fri, 2016-12-30 20:15
All About Organics, Environment & Climate, Genetic EngineeringRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationDecember 30, 2016http://secure.organicconsumers.org/o/50865/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=12139 oca-2016-dec-180-420.png

Under the rules of online fundraising, it’s a given—don’t include links to anything other than the donation landing page. 

You don't want readers to get distracted. They won’t come back and donate.

I’m going to break that rule today. 

I want you to read what one reporter referred to as a “chilling preview” of the coming attacks on your health, and the health of our common environment.

I want you to read this legislative agenda, published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). It’s a document that outlines the incoming administration’s plans to gut food, health and environmental regulations.

I want you to scroll down to the section titled “Food, Drugs and ‘Consumer Freedom’” where you’ll see that Myron Ebell, CEI’s director and Trump’s EPA transition guy, plans to aggressively promote Monsanto’s GMOs. 

You’ll see that Ebell and his corporate cronies intend to attack efforts to restrict toxic chemicals, including the cancer-causing phthalates in kids’ products.

Go back up to no. 4, “Energy and Environment,” and you’ll see that the first order of business under the new administration will be to “repudiate the Paris Climate Agreement.”

And then there’s this: CEI’s plans to eliminate funding for what it calls “activist research.” That means the end of the work by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences on BPA, a known endocrine disruptor. And the end of “Safer Choice,” an EPA program that helps companies eliminate toxic chemicals from their products.

It’s all there. In a document called “Freedom to Prosper.”

It’s a nefarious plan to make sure that the only ones who will prosper in the next four years will be corrupt corporations and the fat-cat CEOs who run them.

If only a fraction of this plan is succeeds, your health will decline. Your environment will disintegrate to the point where it may no longer be possible, at least in our lifetimes, to clean it up.

I want you to read this plan. Then please return to this page and make a donation to our year-end fundraising campaign. If you donate by midnight December 31, Mercola.com and Dr. Bronner's will match donations up to $250,000. You can donate online, by mail or by phone, details here.

If Hillary Clinton were moving into the White House next month, we’d be gearing up for a fight over her love affair with Monsanto.

Instead, we’re facing an unprecedented onslaught of outright attacks on our health, our environment and our food and farming system—the likes of which, in my 40-plus years working on these issues, I’ve never seen.

With your help, we will fight back against these attacks. In communities large and small. In the streets. In the halls of Congress.

You have my word.

We're still $70,000 short of our year-end fundraising goal. Can you help us reach $250,000 by midnight December 31? You can donate online, by mail or by phone, details here.

In solidarity,

  Ronnie Cummins
  International Director

 



P.S. Martin Luther King once said: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." In 2017, we will need to build a #ConsumerRevolution and #PoliticalRevolution on a scale meaningful enough to counter what is shaping up to be one of the most financially and politically corrupt administrations in our lifetimes.But we will need your help. Click here to donate to our year-end campaign. 

Tell New Scientist Magazine: Stop Spreading Lies About Organic Food and Climate Change!

Organic consumers - Thu, 2016-12-22 20:03
Belong to campaign: Organic TransitionsCook Organic Not the PlanetCategory: All About Organics, Environment & ClimateArea: USA

A popular science and technology magazine recently published an article and video aimed at convincing consumers that buying local and organic food is bad for the climate. 

Given what we know—that industrial agriculture is the biggest contributor to global warming, and that organic and regenerative agriculture practices not only reduce emissions, but also draw down carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in the soil  —it’s hard to fathom how this article got the OK from the editors at New Scientist.

That is, until you find out that Syngenta and Merck are big advertisers.

The editors at New Scientist are taking their direction from the “hands that feed them”—rich corporations whose profits depend on a model of agriculture that has totally failed to live up to its promises, while simultaneously fouling our waters, destroying our soils and heating up the planet.

TAKE ACTION: Tell New Scientist Magazine: Stop Spreading Lies About Organic Food and Climate ChangeRead more

A Personal Message From OCA Director Ronnie Cummins

Organic consumers - Tue, 2016-12-20 20:08
All About Organics, Environment & Climate, Genetic EngineeringRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationDecember 20, 2016https://secure.organicconsumers.org/o/50865/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=12139 Fundraiser meter 85k 420x280

This seems like as good a time as any to review a little bit of our common history.

You and I, the OCA staff, and our entire volunteer network have been speaking truth to power for almost two decades now, fighting to safeguard organic standards, campaigning against GMOs and pesticides, advocating for Fair Trade, natural health, and environmental, animal and climate-friendly regenerative agriculture.

We’ve connected the dots in our newsletter, website and social media between health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy.

OCA now has over two million organic consumers in our online network, reading and sharing information, pressuring companies and politicians–and putting our consumer dollars where our values lie.

In the late 1990s, we and our allies kept GMOs, sewage sludge and irradiation out of organic. Since then we’ve fought against synthetic ingredients in organic, against fraudulent “natural” and organic label claims (including six lawsuits this year), and against factory farm-style confinement of “organic” dairy and poultry.

We've fought for labels on GMO-tainted foods. We’ve pressured leading retail chains such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to sell more organic and local organic products.

Most recently we’ve called on organic brands to move beyond mere organic to become fully regenerative.

Monsanto’s minions and the factory farm lobby often claim that OCA is “too radical.” We’ve been admonished to tone down our rhetoric. We’ve been told by some that we’re too harsh on the Clinton administration, the Bush administration, the Obama administration and now the Trump administration.

We’ve been advised to play nice, to not criticize the “Organic Traitors” in our own industry.

But OCA is not your typical nonprofit organization. Taking on the Monsantos of the world, and their accomplices in Washington, standing up for what’s right—this is what we do, and will continue to do.

We believe that transforming our food and farming system is a matter of life or death. Our health and the health of the planet literally hang in the balance.

As we prepare our campaigns for 2017, our rights to healthy food, to poison-free water and air, to choose natural health practices and practitioners, our right to a non-toxic environment and a healthy climate are threatened on all fronts.

Business-as-usual in the marketplace and in the political arena is a recipe for disaster. We need to organize for big change, and we need to begin now.

The OCA staff and I are prepared to go all out. But we’re going to need your help.

Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring, warned us 50 years ago to move beyond “little tranquilizing pills of half-truth.” With Monsanto and Big Ag moving to monopolize our seeds and food, with one third of our children suffering from diet-related and environmental-driven chronic disease, with Wall Street and corporate cronies tightening their stranglehold on the economy, with global warming and violent weather spiraling out of control, we need the whole truth.

And we need radical action.

With the US EPA poised to re-approve Monsanto’s glyphosate, the DDT of our generation, with an incoming administration chomping at the bit to wipe out every bit of reform we’ve made in the past few decades, OCA will not sit back and administer “little tranquilizing pills of half-truth.”

In the coming months, I’m going to call on you to help us take on Monsanto and Big Food in a very big way. Because our lives depend on it.

We are still a long way from making our year-end fundraising goal. Could you help us raise $250,000 by midnight December 31? You can donate online, by mail or by phone, details here. Thank you!

In solidarity,

Ronnie Cummins
International Director

 

 

P.S. Martin Luther King once said: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." In 2017, we will need to build a #ConsumerRevolution and #PoliticalRevolution on a scale meaningful enough to counter what is shaping up to be one of the most financially and politically corrupt administrations in our lifetimes. But we will need your help. Click here to donate to our year-end campaign. 

Dow Chemical CEO: 'I tingle with pride.'

Organic consumers - Thu, 2016-12-15 16:31
Environment & ClimateDecember 15, 2016 2016 Dec 15 420

The list of corporate cronies who will soon run the new sad reality show in Washington DC gets uglier by the day.

Here’s one appointment that may have escaped your notice. Under the incoming Trump Administration, the CEO of the company that brought us Napalm, Agent Orange, Chlorpyrifos, 2,4-D and, along with Monsanto, GMO crops, will head up the “American Manufacturing Council.”

It’s a safe bet that Andrew Liveris, CEO of Dow Chemical, won’t care one whit about how much poison his company unleashes on you and your food.

Your donation to OCA’s year-end campaign will help us organize an online and get-out-in-the-streets #ConsumerRevolution. Can you help us reach our goal of $250,000 by midnight December 31? You can donate online, by mail or by phone, details here.

On December 10, President-Elect Donald Trump pulled Dow’s Liveris up on stage at the Deltaplex Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich., to announce that the head of the chemical giant will lead Trump’s “American Manufacturing Council.”

As the two men “showered each other with praise,” said a Wall Street Journal report, Liveris reportedly told the crowd, “I tingle with pride listening to you.”

Does Liveris “tingle with pride” over the fact that Dow’s Agent Orange killed more than 400,000 people during the Vietnam War? Or that more than a million people still suffer disabilities and chronic illness from exposure to Agent Orange?

Is Liveris proud that Dow continues to market chlorpyrifos, a chemical known to cause brain damage in kids, despite being ordered to pay a $2-million fine to the state of New York for illegally marketing this dangerous chemical as “safe?”

We know for a fact that Liveris is proud of Dow’s latest soy and corn crops, genetically engineered to withstand massive amounts of Enlist Duo, a toxic concoction made from Dow's 2,4-D and Monsanto’s glyphosate. Yep, Liveris is "tingling with pride” over Dow’s latest poison, even though the EPA estimates that once these crops are unleashed, kids ages 1 to 12 could consume levels of 2,4-D that the World Health Organization, Russia, Australia, South Korea, Canada, Brazil and China consider unsafe.

Can you help fund a #ConsumerRevolution that will target the Big Food companies and the factory farms that keep companies like Dow and Monsanto flush? Please help  us reach our goal of $250,000 by midnight December 31? You can donate online, by mail or by phone, details here.

In a list of talking points drafted by Trump’s National Advisory Committee for Agriculture and Rural Issues, this was talking point #10:

The Trump-Pence administration will use the best available science to determine appropriate regulations for the food and agriculture sector; agriculture will NOT be regulated based upon the latest trend on social media.

With Dow’s CEO in charge of the “American Manufacturing Council,” there’s no doubt that the so-called “best available science” will be as pro-poison and pro-GMO as it gets. 

“We’ve got ideas and we’ve got plans,” Liveris told the cheering crowd in Grand Rapids.

Well, so do we. Now more than ever we need your support to help execute those plans.

Can you help fund the #ConsumerRevolution by helping us reach our goal of $250,000 by midnight December 31? You can donate online, by mail or by phone, details here. Thank you!

In solidarity,

 

Ronnie Cummins
International Director

 

 

P.S. Martin Luther King once said: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." In 2017, we will need to build a #ConsumerRevolution and #PoliticalRevolution on a scale meaningful enough to counter what is shaping up to be one of the most financially and politically corrupt administrations in our lifetimes. But we will need your help. Click here to donate to our year-end campaign. 

EPA Poised to Sign Off on Monsanto’s Glyphosate, Despite Warnings by Independent Scientists

Organic consumers - Thu, 2016-12-15 15:53
December 15, 2016Organic Consumers AssociationAlexis Baden-MayerHealth Issues, Politics & Globalization Scientist 1000x667

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advisory panel is meeting this week (December 13-16) to determine the fate of glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. Will the panel heed the warnings of independent scientists? Or will it give more credence to the testimony (propaganda) delivered by Monsanto, the company that annually sells nearly $5 billion worth of its flagship herbicide, Roundup, grossing nearly $2 billion in profits.

You can listen to the EPA meeting on glyphosate and cancer December 13-16. Call in number: 866-299-3188. Passcode: 202 555 6831. Instructions to access the webcast are here. So far, all signs point to EPA caving to Monsanto, as the panel reviews the science that links the main ingredient in the world’s No. 1 herbicide with cancer. Sadly, it doesn’t appear that the Obama Administration plans to save U.S. farmers and agricultural workers from the ravages of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.  

The EPA has a long history of protecting Monsanto’s profits. That’s what happened in 1991, when the EPA received enough pushback from Monsanto to reverse its 1985 decision that classified glyphosate as a possible human carcinogen, based on the presence of kidney tumors in male mice.

In 2009, there was new hope that this injustice could be corrected when the EPA announced that once every 15 years glyphosate would have to be reviewed before it could be re-registered, setting up a formal review that should have taken place in 2015—but has been delayed numerous times. 

Meanwhile, in March 2015, a major breakthrough occurred when 17 scientists at the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released the results of their assessment of the carcinogenicity of glyphosate, concluding unanimously that the chemical is a probable human carcinogen. The EPA said it would consider the IARC finding in its own review of glyphosate. 

But in May 2016, when the EPA “mistakenly” released its assessment of glyphosate, the agency’s findings contradicted those of the IARC. The leak appeared intended to give Monsanto ammunition in its fight to keep its profitable Roundup on the market. (In 2015, Monsanto made nearly $4.76 billion in sales and $1.9 billion in gross profits from herbicide products, mostly Roundup.) 

After the leak, the EPA tried to restore legitimacy to the process by insisting that it hadn’t yet made a decision on glyphosate’s carcinogenicity and convening a Scientific Advisory Panel to review the matter. Then in September, the EPA released “Glyphosate Issue Paper: Evaluation of Carcinogenic Potential,” a paper prepared specifically for the agency’s Scientific Advisory Panel. 

An analysis of the paper, conducted by Food & Water Watch researcher Amanda Starbuck, exposed several deficiencies in the science the EPA used to reach its conclusion that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans:

1.    More than half of the studies were submitted by the industry. The EPA looked at 131 studies to decide if Roundup causes cancer, but 71 were unpublished industry studies.
2.    Independent studies were 30 times more likely to find glyphosate's toxicity than those from the industry—but the EPA ultimately concluded that there was “no convincing evidence” of glyphosate’s toxicity.
3.    The EPA used a “weight of evidence” approach, which means that heavy industry slant overwhelmed the independent published findings—including an independent study that linked glyphosate with the growth of breast cancer cells.

Jennifer Sass, Senior Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Health Program says the EPA’s science is so poor that:

EPA violated its own Cancer Guidelines by dismissing evidence of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) in people. Even a meta-analysis of many epidemiologic studies that was sponsored by the agrochemical industry reported a statistically significant risk of NHL cancers when glyphosate-exposed individuals were compared with individuals never exposed to glyphosate. IARC’s analysis reported similar results. EPA’s Cancer Guidelines are consistent with calling this “suggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential” for “evidence of a positive response in studies whose power, design, or conduct limits the ability to draw a confident conclusion”.

Knowing that the EPA’s weak science wasn’t up to a serious review, CropLife, the trade association that lobbies on behalf of Monsanto and the rest of the pesticide industry, launched a campaign to discredit scientists chosen for the EPA’s Scientific Review Panel. CropLife succeeded in getting EPA to cancel the panel’s October meeting, remove an esteemed epidemiologist from the panel, and reschedule the meeting for December 13-16.

The EPA has received 254,392 comments from the public in advance of the meeting. Nearly all of the people who submitted comments support a finding that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen, including the 119,857 members of the Organic Consumers Association who signed a petition asking the EPA to follow the World Health Organization’s finding. Organizations that organized their members to submit public comments include Beyond Pesticides, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Consumers Union, Food Democracy Now, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, GMO Free USA, Moms Across America, Natural Resources Defense Council, Pesticide Action Network North America, and U.S. Public Interest Research Group. 

Alexis Baden-Mayer is political director for the Organic Consumers Association. 

 

No Place Like Home

Organic consumers - Fri, 2016-12-09 14:15
Belong to campaign: Appetite for a ChangeSave the BeesCategory: Environment & Climate, Health IssuesArea: USA

Want to rid the world of toxic chemicals? There’s no better place to start than in your own community. But how does an “ordinary” citizen with no political experience get the ball rolling?

With our friends at Beyond Pesticides, we’ve created an online tool that lets you see which communities in the U.S. have already banned or restricted the use of toxic pesticides and herbicides. You’ll even find the full text for each law—so instead of starting from scratch, you can just replicate or adapt existing laws for your own community.

More than 115 communities in 21 states have passed ordinances to protect their citizens from exposure to toxic chemicals—and in almost all those cases, it was a citizen-led group, not a city lawmaker, who led the charge.

Check out the newly launched Map of Local Pesticide Reform Policies, then sign up to learn how you can get started in your community. The map will be updated regularly. If your city, county or state has passed legislation but you’re not on the map, contact info@beyondpesticides.org.

TAKE ACTION: Put your city on the map! Learn how you can make your community pesticide-freeRead more

Standing Rock: Can We Bring the Buffalo Home?

Organic consumers - Fri, 2016-12-09 12:44
Environment & ClimateKatherine PaulOrganic Consumers AssociationDecember 9, 2016 buffalo bison herd cold park wyoming cc 420x280.jpg

We, living now, in the time before, have choices. We can remember what it is to be animals on this planet and remember and understand what it is to live and die such that our lives and deaths help make the world stronger. We can live and die such that we make possible a time after where life flourishes, where buffalo can come home, and the same for salmon and prairie dogs and prairies and forests and carbon and rivers and mountains. – Derrick Jensen, 2016, environmental activist and writer, April 6, 2016

It was late December 4, when news came down that the Dakota Access pipeline had been denied, at least temporarily. December 4 also happened to be the eve of World Soil Day. The symbolism, though coincidental, wasn’t lost on those of us who believe that protecting and regenerating the Earth’s soils, combined with reducing fossil fuel emissions, represent our only hope for restoring climate stability. 

If we don’t reverse global warming, it won’t matter how many pipelines the energy companies bury. Likewise, as history has proven, the civilization that fails to prevent the degradation of its soil will ultimately fail, itself. Either way, unless we turn things around through renewable energy and regenerative food, farming and land use, we’re doomed.

Reporters and activists are, rightfully so, holding up the Standing Rock victory as a shining example of how, by breaking out of our single-issue and limited-constituency silos, and by standing our common ground against corporations and politicians, we create a powerful synergy capable of protecting our common home. We should follow this example more often, as Naomi Klein recently suggested: 

The line between resistance and results is bright and undeniable. That kind of victory is rare precisely because it’s contagious, because it shows people everywhere that organizing and resistance is not futile. And as Donald Trump moves closer and closer to the White House, that message is important indeed.

Couldn’t agree more. Let’s replicate this model of solidarity and resistance over and over as we face what could well turn out to be the greatest threats in modern history to our health, our environment and our basic rights.

But let’s not stop there.

What if instead of declaring victory and moving on to the next battle, we could leave the Standing Rock community with the inspiration and tools and resources to restore their land to the fertile, biodiverse, productive resource that it once was? What if, instead of limiting ourselves to staving off the next attack, we applied ourselves, with equal passion, to the task of collaborating with the water protectors to build the foundation for a cleaner, healthier environment, a healthier and stronger community, and improved economic and climate stability?

What if we altered the course of the future for our brothers and sisters at Standing Rock, and made possible “a time after where life flourishes, where buffalo can come home, and the same for salmon and prairie dogs and prairies and forests and carbon and rivers and mountains?”

From badlands to productive grasslands

According to the Nature Conservancy (TNC), “vast expanses of grass and sky once covered about 110 million acres in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota,” providing habitat for “some of our most iconic animals from the majestic bison to the black-footed ferret and the greater prairie chicken.” 

Today? Not so much says TNC:

Today grasslands are the most imperiled habitat on Earth, with a rate of destruction exceeding that of tropical rainforests. Temperate grasslands alone, like those in the Midwest and Great Plains, are being lost at a rate eight times faster than they are being protected. 

A big part of TNC’s job is to protect U.S. grasslands. But the environmental group isn’t just “protecting” or “conserving” grasslands, at least not in the sense that it’s roping them off like a room full of rare art objects, to be admired but not trespassed upon. Instead, TNC is testing the Savory Institute holistic grazing model. Savory and TNC, under the banner of regenerative agriculture, are working with ranchers to not only restore and protect grasslands, but to also restore the land’s productivity as well as the soil’s capacity to draw down and sequester carbon—all while generating a healthy profit for ranchers.

You can find more on TNC’s work on restoring grasslands through proper grazing techniques here. But in a nutshell, the essence of regenerative grazing is this. When we think of restoring once-thriving ecosystems, it’s important to remember that in addition to pulling pollutants from the atmosphere and water, helping to prevent flooding and soil erosion, and capturing and storing carbon dioxide in the soil, perennial deep-rooted grasslands once supported tens of millions of grazing herbivores like bison, elk and cattle—which in turn fed the humans who lived in harmony with their surroundings.

The Wall Street Journal reports that sales of grass-fed beef rose nearly 40 percent in 2015, compared with 2014 sales. Sales of grass-fed bison are also on the rise. 

Could the Savory Institute and TNC’s work restoring grasslands through proper grazing techniques serve as a model for regenerating land, local economies—and hope—for communities like Standing Rock? And by extension, for the planet as a whole?

Moving beyond single issues

One of our favorite themes at OCA is the need for all of us to move away from single-issue organizing to galvanizing our many movements—peace, social justice, food and farming, campaign finance reform, faith, environment and climate —around a shared determination to stand up to corruption and to defend our basic rights and our common home. 

If we can break out of our single-issue silos, we will create a movement, indeed a revolution, so powerful that we will succeed in redirecting our financial and human resources toward the regeneration of our soils, our food, our economies, our health. And in so doing, restore climate stability. 

That’s why the Standing Rock protest was so inspirational. Because it united us.

Five hundred clergy members from 20 different religious groups gathered at the Standing Rock camp. 

Musicians Bonnie Rait, Jackson Browne and Jason Mraz held a benefit concert.

Bill McKibben, 350.org and other climate groups got involved.

The Code Pink peace and human rights activists participated, as did actress and 60s anti-war activist Jane Fonda. 

And then there were the thousands of veterans who descended on the Standing Rock camp, vowing to defend the water protectors from any attempt by “law enforcement” to remove them. 

At OCA, what started out as a fundraising drive to provide an organic Thanksgiving dinner for the water protectors, turned into something bigger. We knew that our message—that we are all connected, that we are all fighting the same battle, that we are all one movement—resonated when in just two days our members donated $40,000, ten times more than the $4,000 we asked for, to provide food and other supplies for the camp.

The overwhelming response to our donation plea inspired us to look for ways to make a difference beyond Thanksgiving dinner. We’re now working with Dream of Wild Health, an indigenous food program that operates a 10-acre farm north of St. Paul, Minn. The farm teaches children how to cook and sell organically grown native foods, some of which OCA will purchase with the donations we collected, and send to the water protectors who have vowed to remain at the camp until they are assured that the pipeline decision won’t be overturned. 

We’re also buying grass-fed buffalo meat from South Dakota-based Brownotter Buffalo Ranch to send to the Standing Rock camp. 

We’re grateful for the response from our networks to support the water protectors, and for the radical and inspirational example of united resistance inspired by the standoff at Standing Rock. The next challenge to our networks, to consumers, to the many movements working independently on so many important issues is this: Let’s grow this #consumerrevolution and #politicalrevolution so we can turn every campaign into an opportunity to not only head off disaster, but to build a better world.

Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association. 

Six Reasons We’ll Need to Ramp Up the #ConsumerRevolution under Trumpism

Organic consumers - Thu, 2016-12-01 13:19
December 1, 2016Organic Consumers AssociationKatherine PaulGenetic Engineering, Politics & Globalization revolution rally protest rebellion silhouette cc 420x280.png

If ever conditions were ripe for revolution, that time is now—especially for anyone who cares about their health, and the health of planet earth. 

President-Elect Donald Trump’s short lists for his environment and agriculture cabinet appointments are dominated by entrenched D.C. insiders, career politicians and industry lobbyists. Not one of these proposed “leaders” supports policies that would lead to healthier food, a cleaner environment or a cooler planet.  

So much for “draining the swamp.” And so much for an easy road to forward progress on food, ag and climate policy under our future fast-food leader. 

On November 15, POLITICO said it had obtained a list of talking points that “offer a roadmap on how President-Elect Donald Trump's agriculture secretary could shape agricultural policies, including the sweeping promise to ‘defend American agriculture against its critics,’”. . (emphasis ours).

This “promise” directly contradicts what a Trump campaign manager told me in a phone conversation, just days before the election. In an attempt to capitalize on a negative story about Hillary Clinton’s Monsanto ties, the Trump operative tried talk us into circulating a press release claiming that Trump was anti-GMO and anti-Monsanto. Predictably, those claims proved untrue, as we explain below. 

But there’s something even more troubling about the “sweeping promise” talking point. It’s this: the use of the term “American agriculture.” The authors of this memo are referring to the industrial, chemical- and pesticide-intensive GMO monoculture-crop agriculture that dominates the U.S. landscape. By intentionally branding this system “American” agriculture, the authors (politicians) can make the case for painting those of us who oppose pesticides and degenerative agriculture as anti-American.

Not cool.

Before we get to the list of reasons we’ll need a bigger and better #ConsumerRevolution in the coming months and years, a word to our regular readers and others who consider themselves to be aligned with OCA’s mission, but who also voted for Trump. The bullet points below, based on announcements by the Trump team, signal clearly that this administration will oppose (with a few exceptions, such as the TPP deal) almost every issue OCA advocates for on behalf of consumers. It’s our job to highlight Trump’s positions on these issues, even at the risk of offending some of our supporters.

You should also know, if you haven’t already realized it, that OCA has never held back when it comes to criticizing candidates and politicians who are on the wrong side of the issues we fight for, regardless of their party affiliation. If you search our website, you’ll find plenty of instances where we have called out Hillary Clinton for being on the wrong side of public and environmental health, including her cozy relationship with Monsanto. We’ve done the same with President Obama— for pushing the corporate-friendly TPP trade agreement, and for failing to make good on his promise to label GMOs. (Instead of using his veto power, Obama signed into law the DARK Act, forever depriving consumers of the right to know what’s in their food).

It’s our job to speak truth to power—regardless of who holds that power. And speaking of power . . . with the coming influx of pro-Monsanto, pro-pesticide, pro-factory farm, anti-environment, anti-health, climate deniers in Congress, we predict our complaints to federal policymakers will largely fall on deaf ears. More than ever, we will need to use our buying power to hit the corporations that pollute and poison where it hurts—their bottom line.

Here are six reasons we need to ramp up the #ConsumerRevolution.

Reason #1: GMOs/Health. No use looking to the Trump administration to support policies that promote healthful, nutrient-dense, GMO-free food. As the New York Times reported in August, Trump—a “junk food aficionado”—is  happiest feasting on Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald’s burgers and fries. 

It’s no surprise then that Trump’s Agriculture Advisory Committee includes none other than Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) who, along with Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) in July 2016, rammed through the DARK Act, the bill that nullified Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law, and permanently stripped U.S. consumers of the right to know if our foods contain pesticide-drenched genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Kiss goodbye any hope of repealing the DARK Act in 2017—it’s here to stay, under Trump. (Trump reportedly offered the position of CIA chief to Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), author of the House version of the DARK Act. Pompeo may have little influence over food and ag policy from his new digs at the CIA, but it’s said he was offered the job because of his “loyalty” to Trump).

Reason #2: Pesticides. Any hope that the incoming U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will start protecting public health instead of Monsanto and the rest of the pesticide peddlers faded the minute Trump tapped Myron Ebell to lead his EPA transition team. Mother Jones reports that Ebell, a self-proclaimed climate denier,  directs the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a front group that runs SafeChemicalPolicy.org, a website devoted to downplaying the health and ecological impacts of chemicals. 

According to Mother Jones, the Center for Energy and Environment “dismisses the well-established existence of endocrine-disrupting chemicals as a myth conjured by ‘anti-chemical activists.’" That’s bad news, given the latest research on endocrine disruptors. And it likely means we can expect little or no action from the EPA, which is currently weighing the pros and cons of renewing licenses for dangerous chemicals such as atrazine and glyphosate. 

Reason #3: Factory farms. Factory farming is a trillion-dollar industry that has a devastating impact on food quality, human health, animal welfare, farmworkers, rural communities, water quality, air pollution, biodiversity, and greenhouse gas emissions. According to Meatonomics, Americans pay $414 billion in hidden costs, including for healthcare, subsidies and environmental damage and clean-up related to factory farm production of meat, dairy and other animal products.

If we want factory farms to be replaced by ranchers who use regenerative grazing practices, or dairy farmers who produce organic milk from pasture-raised cows, we’ll have to boycott the factory farmers—because we surely won’t get any help from the Trump administration when it comes to regulating factory farms or holding them accountable.

How do we know? Just look at who Trump has surrounded himself with. Charles Herbster, owner of both a Nebraska cattle-breeding company and a company that sells chemicals and fertilizers, is heading up Trump’s Agricultural Advisory Committee. According to the latest report from POLITICO, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is a leading contender for U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. In 2009, Perdue signed a bill into law that blocked local communities in Georgia from regulating factory farms to address animal cruelty, pollution or any other hazards. After meeting with Trump on November 30, Perdue told POLITICO: “ [Trump] knew what it takes to make America great again by doing the things we do well, which is agriculture, for one, and to free up farmers from the regulations that we see. He was spot on those issues." The Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a front group for the GMO industry, named Perdue their 2009 Governor of the Year.

Reason #4: Global warming. Trump, who famously tweeted that climate change “was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive” wasted no time in announcing his intent to de-fund the U.S. NASA climate research program. International climate scientists denounced the plan, stating that loss of the program will “devastate” global climate research.

Trump has also vowed to withdraw the U.S. from the global Paris Climate Treaty, in a move guaranteed to leave the U.S. in the dust when it comes to advances in renewable energy and soil carbon sequestration programs aimed at reducing emissions and drawing down excess carbon from the atmosphere. It’s difficult to imagine that the “leader of the free world” would betray future generations by ignoring what is generally recognized as the greatest threat to civilization today, including to U.S. national security and to the global economy. But there you have it.

Reason #5: Water pollution. It’s been 42 years since Congress passed the Clean Water Act. But loopholes in the Act, along with attempts by big polluters (including agribusiness) to weaken the law, have left millions of acres of wetlands, and approximately 60 percent of America’s rivers and streams unprotected. The EPA has been trying to restore protection to those wetlands and waters—the source of drinking water for 117 million Americans. But factory farm lobbyists have fiercely opposed tighter regulations. So, it seems, will the Trump administration.

Under the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule, the EPA set out to un-muddy the waters around which types of waters are, and are not, covered under the original Clean Water Act. According to his campaign’s official transition website, the Trump administration wants to roll back the Obama Administration’s effort to clarify the rules around water pollution. That means we can forget about forcing companies like Tyson Foods, which dumps more toxic pollution into the nation’s waters than any other agribusiness, to clean up after themselves.

Another bad sign for the Waters of the U.S. rule? Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general, is on Trump’s short list for EPA administrator. Pruitt is an outspoken opponent of the EPA's efforts to address factory farms that pollute drinking water. He was one of the first state attorneys general to file suit against the EPA over the rule. His position against protecting drinking water from factory farm waste has no doubt been shaped by his campaign contributors, who include the Oklahoma Farm Bureau (OFB) and Monsanto.

Reason #6: Animal welfare. It goes without saying that anyone who supports factory farming doesn’t lose any sleep over the physical, much less emotional suffering of animals. Trump is no exception, as the Humane Society Legislative Fund pointed out in an article titled, “Trump's ag A-team a royal flush of animal protection haters.” 

The article calls Trump’s Agricultural Advisory Committee “a veritable rogues gallery of anti-animal crusaders.” From the article:

The group boasts a wealthy funder of an anti-animal super PAC, politicians who sponsored state “ag-gag” measures and opposed the most modest animal welfare bills, and leaders of the factory farming industry. It’s an unmistakable signal from the Trump campaign that he will be an opponent of animal welfare—a show of overt hostility toward the cause of animal protection that raises serious concerns for the humane movement about a potential Trump administration.

The Humane Society of the U.S. named Pruitt (Oklahoma attorney general and potential EPA administrator under Trump) the nation's least animal friendly attorney general for teaming up with the Oklahoma Farm Bureau to oppose “efforts to crack down on puppy mills, horse slaughter, the exotic pet trade, factory farming, and just about every other animal welfare issue you can think of.”

We could go on, but a person can take only so much bad news at once. For now, suffice it to say that at the federal policy level, consumers will have little or no say over matters that have a dramatic—sometimes devastating—impact on our health and the environment. That means we’ll need to take our battle to the marketplace.

Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association. 

Tell the Senate: Don't Let Monsanto Run the USDA and EPA!

Organic consumers - Thu, 2016-12-01 13:13
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoUSDA WatchCategory: Genetic Engineering, Politics & GlobalizationArea: USA

Are you a fan of pesticide-free food and clean water? Think your tax dollars should subsidize organic regenerative agriculture, not Monsanto’s toxic degenerative agriculture? Then you won't like the direction things are headed under the Trump administration.

Here’s what we know so far about President-Elect Donald Trump’s picks for leadership posts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Based on their track records, Trump’s appointees will likely let companies like Monsanto dictate food, agriculture and environmental policy.

The only thing standing between Monsanto and near-total control of the USDA and EPA? The U.S. Senate, whose job it is to approve about 1,100 presidential nominees before Trump’s cast of characters can step into their new posts. Discouraged or not, it's our job to pressure the Senate to reject any appointee who won't commit to doing his or her job—which is to protect public health, not Monsanto.

TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senators, Don’t Let Monsanto Run the USDA and EPA!

 Read more

Consumers Score Two Wins—Right in Monsanto’s Backyard

Organic consumers - Tue, 2016-11-29 20:21
November 29, 2016Organic Consumers AssociationPatrick KerriganAll About Organics usda organic seal on tomato cc 420x280.jpg

New GMO technologies such as cloning, nanotechnology, synthetic biology—technologies sometimes referred to as GMO 2.0—won’t be allowed in organics, thanks to a recent decision by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). 

The NOSB, which held its fall (November 16 – 18) meeting in St. Louis, Mo., home to Monsanto headquarters, also voted to get the controversial food additive carrageenan out of organics.

Keeping GMOs out of organic and dropping carrageenan from the list of allowed substances in organic were two of the hot-button issues at the latest NOSB meeting. Both votes were big wins for consumers. The third and arguably hottest topic—whether hydroponic “container” production methods violate USDA organic standards—was kicked back to a subcommittee for further evaluation.

Just say ‘no’ to GMOs in organic

As we reported a few weeks ago, Melody Meyer, a member of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), wrote in a recent blog post that she wanted gene editing, a dangerous new form of genetic engineering, to be allowed in organic. In response, OCA and other groups pressured the NOSB to pass its Excluded Methods Terminology Proposal to update and further define the criteria for evaluating all methods of genetic engineering—including CRISPR,  cell fusion, RNA interference and recombinant DNA technologies, along with gene editing technologies.

Up until passing the proposal, the NOSB had been working from outdated excluded methods definitions that could have resulted in GMO 2.0 technologies being allowed under organic standards. Excluded methods were defined only as: "A variety of methods used to genetically modify organisms or influence their growth and development by means that are not possible under natural conditions or processes and are not considered compatible with organic production."

Following the recent vote, the NOSB will now submit a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and the incoming secretary of agriculture under the new administration to provide them more information on the NOSB’s work to eliminate threats from GMO incursion into organic agriculture. The letter calls for compensation to organic farmers from the biotech industry for GMO incursions and contamination on organic farms, and for clear leadership from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on this issue.

No more carrageenan? We’ll see . . . 

Ever since carrageenan was added to the National Organics Program’s (NOP) list of approved synthetic substances in 1995, OCA and other groups committed to upholding organic standards have argued  that it should be delisted. Yet every five years, when carrageenan came up for review under the NOSB’s sunset provision, the NOSB re-approved it.

Until now. After lengthy deliberation, and after agreeing that alternative additives are available, NOSB board members voted 10-3 to recommend that carrageenan be removed from the NOP’s National List of substances approved for organic. Unfortunately, the battle isn’t won yet. Industry representatives immediately declared that they will take their case to the USDA to allow the continued use of carrageenan.

OCA will continue to oppose carrageenan, which is added to foods like infant formula, dairy products, deli meats, salad dressings, toothpaste, pet food, and vegan products as an emulsifier or thickener, because it does not meet all three of the following OFPA criteria: 1) essential to organic products; 2) safe to humans and the environment; and, 3) compatible with organic practices. 

More here on what carrageenan is, and the health issues it has been linked to.

Hydroponic controversy—can soil-less produce be ‘organic’?

NOSB board members were supposed to vote at the fall meeting on whether or not hydroponically grown produce can be certified organic, but they delayed the decision pending further research.

Hydroponic produce, says the Cornucopia Institute, is generally grown under artificial lighting, indoors, and on an industrial scale. The enormous growth in hydroponic agriculture has resulted in this type of production taking much of the winter market share for crops such as peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes. 

Hydroponically grown produce is sold without labels that tell consumers the products were grown using hydroponic methods, instead of in soil. Its proponents prefer to call it “container” production, in order to get around the USDA’s official postion on hydroponics:

Observing the framework of organic farming based on its foundation of sound management of soil biology and ecology, it becomes clear that systems of crop production that eliminate soil from the system, such as hydroponics or aeroponics, can not be considered as examples of acceptable organic farming practices. Hydroponics, the production of plants in nutrient rich solutions or moist inert material, or aeroponics, a variation in which plant roots are suspended in air and continually misted with nutrient solution, have their place in production agriculture, but certainly cannot be classified as certified organic growing methods due to their exclusion of the soil-plant ecology intrinsic to organic farming systems and USDA/NOP regulations governing them.

Our allies at Cornucopia Institute (who oppose organic certification for hydroponics), summed up the controversy and current situation like this:

The decision to delay the vote was a big win for the hydroponics lobby that wants to maintain the status quo. Currently some certifiers are allowing hydroponic operations to be labeled organic, while others do not because of a lack of guidance from the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP).

Language in the Organic Foods Production Act and the current federal regulations clearly indicate that good soil stewardship is a prerequisite to qualify for organic certification. In 2010 the NOSB reinforced the soil prerequisite by passing recommendations that reiterated the prohibition of hydroponic certification. The National Organic Program never acted on these recommendations.

Since then, an industry-friendly USDA has allowed some of the largest certifiers, including California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and Quality Assurance International (QAI), to certify hydroponically produced tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, and berries at an alarming rate.

A proposal to allow hydroponics at last week’s NOSB meeting would have overturned the board’s 2010 recommendation and would have required two-thirds of the 14 NOSB members present at the meeting to vote in its favor.

Consumers will have to wait until the next NOSB meeting, in spring 2017, for a decision on hydroponics in organic.

Patrick Kerrigan is retail coordinator and NOSB liaison for the Organic Consumers Association. 

 

Message from Marrakesh: Don’t Mourn, Regenerate!

Organic consumers - Tue, 2016-11-22 17:13
Environment & Climate, Politics & GlobalizationRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationNovember 22, 2016 ronnie speaking in marakech 420x280

The bad news is that we are fast approaching (likely within 25 years) “the point of no return” for retaining enough climate stability, soil fertility, water and biodiversity to support human life on this planet. The toxic synergy of our out-of-control political, energy, food, farming and land-use systems threaten our very survival. The good news is that tried-and-tested, shovel-ready, regenerative food, farming, grazing and land use practices, scaled up on billions of acres of farmland, pasture and forests, combined with zero emissions and a renewable energy economy, can draw down and sequester enough excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into our soils, forests and wetlands to reverse global warming. Besides re-stabilizing the climate, this great carbon ‘drawdown’ and regeneration will qualitatively enhance soil fertility and yields, increase rainwater infiltration and storage in soils, supercharge food quality and nutrition, rejuvenate forests and oceans, and preserve and stimulate biodiversity—thereby addressing the underlying causes of rural poverty, hunger, deteriorating public health, political malaise and global conflict. - Social media post by the Organic Consumers Association and Regeneration International from the “Green Zone” of the COP22 Global Climate Summit in Marrakesh, Morocco November 18, 2016 

The Donald Effect

Thousands of us attending the COP22 Global Climate Summit in Marrakesh, Morocco—delegates and rank-and-file activists from every nation in the world—woke up on November 9, 2016, to the alarming news that rabid climate deniers and zealots for hyper-industrial agriculture and fossil fuels had seized control of the White House and the U.S. Congress. 

Just days after a panel of eminent international scientists warned that we are approaching the point of no return in terms of runaway global warming, Donald (“the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing uncompetitive…”) Trump made it clear where he and his cabal of wealthy, misogynist, racist, cronies stand.

The day after the election, Trump announced that he intended to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Treaty, supercharge the coal, fracking and fossil fuel industries, and eliminate federal regulations designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As part of his “Making America Great Again” agenda, Trump named Myron Ebell to oversee the transition at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Ebell, head of both the climate-denying think tank the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Cooler Heads Coalition, was reviled last year at the Paris Climate Summit for being one of the world’s top “climate criminals.”

Intercept newsletter outlined Ebell’s credentials as a point man for the new Climate Denier-in-Chief: “A non-scientist whose funders have included ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute, and coal giant Murray Energy Corporation, Ebell has been a consistent taunter of both scientists and environmentalists. As a talking head on TV news, he has for years offered false balance on climate change in the form of views so far outside of the mainstream as to be downright bizarre. For Ebell, Al Gore is “an extremist” who “lives in a fantasy world.” And the Pope’s encyclical on climate change is a ‘diatribe against modern industrial civilization.’ Current climate patterns, say Ebell, indicate an imminent ice age rather than a warming planet. 

Trump’s Fossil Fuel über alles could not come at a worst moment. Just when the world needs all hands on deck to fight the war against runaway global warming, Trump and his men (and women) are going AWOL. Compounding the threat of Trump and his minions on climate policy, the frightening bottom line for the global grassroots is that politicians, corporations, climate negotiators, scientists, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have seriously underestimated the current and near-future (25 years) impacts of saturating the atmosphere with more greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution than the Earth has endured for hundreds of thousands of years.  

The climate chaos unleashed by current GHG levels in the atmosphere (400 ppm of CO2 and rising 2 ppm every year and a one-degree C rise in average global temperatures so far) and oceans is already alarming. But what makes our predicament truly frightening is that the noxious chemical GHG blanket already enveloping the Earth is increasingly magnified by powerful feedback mechanisms including: the melting of the polar icecaps; a sharp increase in water vapor (a powerful global warming gas) in the atmosphere; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; disruption of cloud formations; and the “methane bomb” (the runaway thawing and release into the atmosphere of billions of tons of methane gas now frozen and sequestered in the vast tundra and the shallow sea beds of the Arctic). These planetary global warming feedback mechanisms, unless reversed, will detonate over the next few decades triggering rapidly rising temperatures; rising sea levels and catastrophic coastal flooding; extremely violent storms, droughts, and wildfires; deadly outbreaks of disease and pestilence; and massive crop failures and starvation, culminating in wholesale ecosystem destruction and species extinction. 

The call-to-action from Marrakesh is that U.S. and global “business-as-usual” is rapidly moving the planet toward runaway global warming—not just two degrees C of global warming, which will be extremely dangerous, but 5-7 degrees C, which will be catastrophic. 

Industrial agriculture, factory farming and deforestation are driving global warming

The energy- and chemical-intensive US and global food and factory farming system, now controlled by a multinational cartel of agribusiness, junk food, chemical and genetic engineering corporations, is literally cooking the planet. By spewing out 15-20 billion tons of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere every year (according to United Nations report, 44-57% of all emissions), by degenerating, with GMOs, pesticides, chemical fertilizers and deforestation, the miraculous ability of soils, forests and wetlands to naturally absorb (through photosynthesis) these greenhouse gases and safely store them in the soils and biota, this system is pushing us toward the final cliff, the “point of no return.” (More on the climate impact of our degenerative food, farming, and land use here. And here). 

With demonstrably degenerate Climate Deniers in control of the White House and the U.S. Congress for the next four years, we have no choice but to step up our organizing and our actions, from Main Street to Morocco. Every concerned citizen in the world needs to become an active communicator, starting with family and friends, reaching out to all those willing to listen and make change. Circles of concerned friends and acquaintances must evolve into Circles of Resistance and Regeneration.

Every food, justice, health, peace and democracy activist needs to “connect the dots” between the burning issues and become a climate activist. At the same time, every climate activist needs to move beyond tunnel-vision single-issue organizing to a holistic “Movement of Movements” approach. The first step in global resistance, the first step in regenerating our toxic political, energy, food, farming and land-use system is to broaden our awareness and our consciousness, to break down the walls and the single-issue silos that have held us back from building a truly local-to-global Movement of Movements. Our new Internationale, our new Regeneration Movement, must be powerful and inspirational enough to enable us not only to survive, but to thrive.

Regenerative circles of renewal and resistance

Taking the time to grieve and commiserate over our current political and climate emergency, taking the time to regenerate ourselves and our circles of friends and acquaintances, we must begin to strategically weave together our common concerns, our constituencies, our resistance, our positive actions and solutions.  Once we establish synergy and cooperation among the different currents in the Movement, we will generate ever more powerful waves, circles of renewal and resistance, with the capacity to spread outward from our local communities into entire regions, nations and continents, until a regenerative wave spans the globe. This is la lucha grande, the great struggle, that will last for the rest of our lives. Don’t just mourn, organize. Our lives and the lives of our children hang in the balance.

The good news

The good news is that planetary awareness, along with renewable energy and conservation, is growing by leaps and bounds. Leaving remaining fossil fuels in the ground and converting to solar, expanding wind and other renewable forms of energy, retrofitting our transportation and housing systems, and re-carbonizing and restoring soil fertility, forests and wetlands—these initiatives are not just good for the climate, they’re also good for the growth of ethical businesses, for public health and for the body politic. 

We must come to grips with the fact that we will be forced to endure four more dangerous years here in the U.S. in terms of reducing fossil fuel emissions, and phasing out coal and fracking. But as the global grassroots, scientists, farmers and climate negotiators here in Marrakesh have acknowledged, we are all in this together. Spokespersons for China, the world’s largest emitter of fossil fuels, as well as 197 other nations here in Marrakesh, reacting to Trump’s proclamation that the U.S. will abandon the Paris Climate Treaty, have made it clear that they will move forward toward zero emissions by 2050, no matter what the Trump administration does.

We can’t all do everything, but we certainly all can do something. We all eat, and many of us on the Earth (three billion in fact) are still making our living off the land—farming, grazing, fishing, gardening, hunting and gathering. In the consumer economies of the global North hundreds of millions of organic and health-minded consumers are starting to understand that “we are what we eat,” and that what we purchase and consume has a tremendous impact, not only on our health and the health of our families, but on the environment and the climate as well. To regenerate and save the living Earth and human civilization we will need to build an active transnational alliance and solidarity between several billion conscious consumers and farmers. This is the only force with the power to put an end to business as usual.

Our most popular slogans or campaigns here in Marrakesh—emblazoned on our banners, leaflets and t-shirts, broadcast in our newsletters and social media, repeated over and over again in our media interviews and workshops, and translated into multiple languages including English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Portuguese are: Cook Organic Not the Planet, Boycott Factory-Farmed Food, and Regeneration International: Cool the Planet, Feed the World.

Moving forward from Marrakesh, we are committed to re-localizing and regenerating local foods, local economies and communities. But while building out and scaling up local solutions, we must also join with our consumer and farmer allies across the globe to literally force multinational GMO, chemical-intensive and factory-farmed food brands and corporations to go organic and grass-fed. And we must pressure organic brands and producers to move beyond organic to fully regenerative practices. Our collective campaigns must ultimately transform the eating and purchasing habits of millions of consumers, raise the living standards of several billion farmers and rural villagers, and free billions of farm animals from cruel and climate-destructive Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)—putting these animals back on the land where their grazing and natural behaviors will help sequester billions of tons of carbon in pastures and agro-forestry landscapes. 

You can learn more about our Cook Organic Not The Planet campaign here. Please sign up for OCA’s newsletter, Organic Bytes:  Please join our Facebook page here:  To find out more about our Regeneration International: Cool the Planet, Feed the World campaign, visit www.regenerationinternational.org. Follow RI on Facebook 
You can sign up for our RI newsletter and enroll yourself and your organization as a supporter or partner. 

To acquaint yourself with the basic science that underlies regenerative food and farming, please read this document and share it widely. It’s available in ten different languages on the RI website.

More good news: France’s 4 per 1000 Soils for Food Security and Climate

On November 17, in Marrakesh, following up on the Paris Climate Treaty last year, over two dozen countries and several hundred civil society organizations reaffirmed their commitment to the “4 for 1000 Initiative” originally put forth by the French government. Countries that sign the “4 per 1000 Initiative” pledge, as part of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to mitigate and reverse global warming, to draw down or sequester as much excess atmospheric carbon in their soils as they are currently emitting, utilizing organic, agro-ecological, and regenerative farming, grazing and land use practices, and to continue this process for the next 25 years, until atmospheric levels of GHG return to the safe levels that existed prior to the industrial revolution. 

Our Regeneration International project, as well as OCA, are among the civil society organizations that have signed the pledge. We are also now officially part of the 4 per 1000 global consortium, and as such will continue to play an active role in supporting and promoting the initiative.

Regeneration Thursdays

On January 12, 2017, organic, climate, natural health, environmental, peace, justice and regeneration activists across the U.S. and beyond will launch Regeneration Thursdays. The plan is to organize, on the second Thursday of each month, community self-organized meet-ups at designated locations, such as brew pubs and community restaurants. These social gatherings, part celebratory, part serious discussion, are intended to break down walls, make new friends and allies, generate camaraderie, explore potential cooperation, and eventually build up greater grassroots marketplace and political power. 

Our hope is that regeneration meet-ups will catalyze and inspire a new dynamic, with activists or would-be activists from all of our Movements—food, climate, peace, justice, natural health, democracy—coming together on a regular basis to celebrate, commiserate and cooperate, to share organic and local food and drink, and to discuss how we can build a stronger synergy between our various efforts and campaigns. Regeneration Thursdays is envisioned as an ongoing campaign, starting small but over time taking root and spreading virally into hundreds, and eventually thousands of communities.

The Organic Consumers Association and Regeneration International, along with some of our closest allies, have pledged to provide resources (including organic food) in strategic communities to get the Regeneration Thursdays meet-ups going. Part of the preparation for Regeneration Thursdays will be to work with local regenerators to strategically identify and invite key people, especially youth, who share a broad vision for moving beyond single-issue organizing and campaigning to a more holistic and powerful Movement. If you and your circle of friends or organization are willing to help organize a Regeneration Thursday in your local community, please send an email to: campaigns@organicconsumers.org

The crisis is dire. The hour is late. But we still have time to turn things around. Don’t just mourn. Please join us as we organize, educate, mobilize and regenerate.

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

To support OCA’s work, click here. 

To support OCA’s Regeneration International project, click here.

The Biotech Bullies Will Rule the New FDA and EPA

Organic consumers - Wed, 2016-11-16 19:31
November 16, 2016Organic Consumers AssociationRonnie CumminsGenetic Engineering farm fog industrial agriculture cc 420x280.jpg

In the tumultuous week following the 2016 elections, Monsanto and its minions are moving fast to tighten their control over our food and farming system. Emboldened by the prospect of another pro-industrial-agriculture administration, they’re plowing ahead—with total disregard for public health, and blanket dismissal of the warnings pouring in from independent scientists.

Politico, which obtained a list of Trump’s talking points on agriculture, said it includes a “sweeping promise” to "defend American agriculture against its critics, particularly those who have never grown or produced anything beyond a backyard tomato plant." From Politico:

The document . . . offers a host of policy pledges—from suggesting a shift back to conventional agriculture, to promises for the Trump White House to be an "active participant" in writing the next Farm Bill, to fighting the so-called good food movement and undoing Obama-era agricultural and environmental policies.

Pair that news with Trump’s EPA transition team pick, climate-denier Myron Ebell who says “pesticides aren’t bad for you,” and the future for organic regenerative agriculture—and your health—looks bleak.

One day after the election, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the highly controversial, dangerously toxic herbicide dicamba, allowing it to be sprayed directly on cotton and soybean crops. The Obama Administration had delayed commercialization of both 2, 4-D-resistant and dicamba-resistant crops for several years due to public concern over their extreme toxicity. Beyond Pesticides reports that Dicamba, which is linked to kidney and liver damage, neurotoxicity, and developmental impacts, has a “strong propensity to volatilize small particles of the herbicide into the air and drift far off-site. Sensitive crop species can be damaged by dicamba at levels in the parts per million.”  

According to Sustainable Pulse, the EPA’s November 9 decision opens the door “for dicamba use to jump from less than 1 million pounds to more than 25 million annually on these two crops,” and follows “on the heels of the agency’s recent decision to expand approval for a new pesticide called Enlist Duo, made for use on GM corn, cotton and soybeans.”

A few days after the EPA issued the disastrous dicamba decision, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) declared it will stop testing foods for glyphosate residue. Never mind that a panel of 17 World Health Organization scientists unanimously agreed that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” Or that this “probable carcinogen” has already contaminated an alarmingly wide range of best-selling foods in the U.S.

The EPA’s decision to stop testing foods for glyphosate came less than three weeks after OCA and Beyond Pesticides sued the Sioux Bee corporation for fraudulently labeling its glyphosate-tainted Sue Bee and Aunt Sue’s honey brands as “100% Natural.” How did we know the honey contained glyphosate? Because the EPA tested it, and US Right to Know used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain the results.

We don’t need to guess or wonder. The incoming Trump administration will not be a friend to those of us committed to a healthy, pollution-free, climate-friendly future. 

Where does that leave us? Working at the state and local level to elect candidates and to pass public health and climate policies in line with the obvious truth, which is that we can’t go on poisoning ourselves and our ecosystem—and still go on.

It also will require that we expand food testing, and expose the long list of the dangerous chemicals in our food so we can put our consumer power to good use. Once a critical mass of consumers knows exactly what kinds of—and how much—poison we’re being fed, we will force Big Food to clean up its act, or go broke. At which point, it won’t much matter what Monsanto’s minions are up to in Congress. Because the market for their products will shrivel up faster than a glyphosate-drenched weed.

Support OCA’s work to get pesticides out of our food (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education) 

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

Regeneration International and Open Team Announce Micro-Grant Competition in Conjunction with Launch of Online Platform  to Connect Regeneration Movement Stakeholders

Organic consumers - Tue, 2016-11-15 16:19
Environment & Climate, Organic TransitionsOrganic Consumers AssociationNovember 15, 2016 regeneration, 420x280

Regeneration International Will Award Five Micro-Grants to Innovative Regeneration Projects

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2016

Contact:
U.S.: Katherine Paul, katherine@organicconsumers.org, 207-653-3090
Mexico, Latin America: Ercilia Sahores, ercilia@regenerationinternational.org, (55) 6257 7901 

MARRAKESH--Regeneration International (RI) and Open Team, in partnership with 17 organizations, today launched The Regeneration Hub (RHub) at the COP22 Climate Summit. RHub is an interactive online platform that connects project holders, individuals, funders and communities focused on regenerative agriculture and land-use projects and other related concepts that address multiple global challenges, including climate change and food security.

In conjunction with the RHub launch, RI and Open Team announced a competition for five micro-grants of US$1000 each to be awarded to five innovative regeneration projects. RI, a project of the US-based Organic Consumers Association, will fund the micro-grants.  The RI Steering Committee will evaluate the projects and announce the winners in January 2017. 

“There are regenerative solutions all around us,” said Ronnie Cummins, OCA’s international director and member of the RI steering committee. “But people are working in silos. We need to map out and connect the global regeneration movement in order to accelerate the exchange of best practices and the sharing of knowledge and resources on a global scale.”

The RHub aims to accelerate adoption and development of scalable and replicable regenerative projects across the globe by inspiring and facilitating collaboration between project holders, individuals, funders and communities from the regenerative movement.

“This platform will scale the adoption of local regenerative solutions worldwide by facilitating the work of farmers and environmental entrepreneurs, in collaboration with experts, scientists, businesses, activists, educators, journalists, impact investors, policymakers and consumers, while inspiring an increasing number of individuals to join the global regenerative movement!” said Joanne Schante, co-founder of Open Team. 

The RHub was conceived at the Paris Climate Summit in December 2015, where RI brought together 60 foodies, farmers, entrepreneurs, scientists and NGOs from around the world working on regeneration. 

Watch this video to learn more:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyIIDYoA0jo 
Sign up today: www.regenerationhub.co 

Regeneration International, a project of the Organic Consumers Association, is building a global network of farmers, scientists, businesses, activists, educators, journalists, governments and consumers who will promote and put into practice regenerative agriculture and land-use practices that: provide abundant, nutritious food; revive local economies; rebuild soil fertility and biodiversity; and restore climate stability by returning carbon to the soil, through the natural process of photosynthesis. 

OpenTeam manages O, a global platform that catalyzes concrete collaboration on a world scale, engaging change makers with all levels of expertise and projects to mutualize their efforts and experiences in order to develop local projects (global initiatives implemented by local stakeholders). This ScaleCamp is the first pilot of a series of forthcoming other such events which aim to continuously fuel global collaboration using O’s open source platform and ultimately shift the climate change paradigm through borderless collaboration.