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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Organic Food vs. Conventional: What the Slate Article Missed | Inspired Bites

esterday’s article out of Slate telling parents not to worry about pesticides caused quite a stir.
It runs completely counter to the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the President’s Cancer Panel which urges parents to avoid exposing their children to these chemicals when and wherever they can.
How pervasive have these chemicals become?  Seeds are now produced using methyl bromide. Corn seed is still coated in neonicotinoids and still uses atrazine. Soy still uses diflubenzuron  and methomyl.  Do we have the studies to show that these chemical in combination are safe for children?  What is the compound toxicity of this on the developing digestive tract and immune system of a child?
A study published in Pediatrics found that the risk of having ADHD increases in children who have higher concentrations of dialkyl phosphate metabolites. The metabolites indicate exposure to organophosphates, pesticides that affect the nervous system, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
This is a controversy to serious to ignore.  On top of the concerns shared in the journal,Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control now reports that cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in American kids under the age of 15.  1 in 2 men are expected to get it in their lifetime, along with 1 in 3 women.  Correlation is not causation, but in light of the combination of chemicals being used on and in our food supply, it merits investigation.
The author of the Slate piece, while feeding her own young children organic produce, free from synthetic pesticides, argued that organic foods may not be much healthier or more nutritious than their conventional counterparts.  The title of the piece is”Organic Schmorganic”, and it caused quite a stir.
A deeper investigation into pesticides reveals a few things that were not highlighted in the coverage.
While scientists out of Stanford recently analyzed vitamins and minerals, suggesting little variation between foods produced organically and those produced conventionally using a chemically-intensive agricultural system, food isn’t simply a delivery device for vitamins and minerals alone.
We are quickly learning in this industrialized food era that our food can be full of a lot of other things.  It has become a delivery device for artificial colors, additives, preservatives, added growth hormomes, antibiotics, pesticides, insecticides and so much more.
The term “organic” actually refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed and legally details the permitted use (or not) of certain ingredients in these foods.
The details are that the U.S. Congress adopted the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) in 1990 as part of the 1990 Farm Bill which was then followed with the National Organic Program final rule published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The standards include a national list of approved synthetic and prohibited non-synthetic substances for organic production which means that organically produced foods also must be produced without the use of:
  • antibiotics
  • artificial growth hormones
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • artificial dyes (made from coal tar and petrochemicals)
  • artificial sweeteners
  • synthetically created chemical pesticide and fertilizers
  • genetically engineered proteins and ingredients
  • sewage sludge
  • irradiation
Read entire article here:
Organic Food vs. Conventional: What the Slate Article Missed | Inspired Bites



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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hawaii's GMO War Headed to Honolulu and Federal Court

The debate over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Hawaii is reaching a fever pitch. The battleground has shifted from packed local meetings to a federal court and the Legislature as powerful agrichemical interests push back against a grassroots movement that has succeeded in passing laws through two county councils. The question facing the island state that has become a cradle of GMO development: Do county governments - and the local communities they represent - have the power to regulate global chemical companies and the pesticide-laden process of developing genetically engineered seeds?
After months of massive marches and packed local meetings, two county governments in Hawaii took on Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and the other agrichemical firms that take advantage of Hawaii's three growing seasons to develop GMO seed varieties sold across the world. In November, the county of Kauai passed a law regulating pesticide use at GMO test plots near residential communities. (Truthout reported from Kauai in November, check out our in-depth coveragehere and here.) In December, the island of Hawaii banned biotech companies from operating on the island and asked farmers not to plant any newly developed GMO seeds besides papaya. 
On January 23, state lawmakers introduced legislation that would block county governments from restricting legal agricultural practices, a move that critics say is a clear effort to pre-empt the counties of Hawaii and Kauai and render their new GMO rules null and void. Anti-GMO activists have dubbed the bill the "Hawaii Monsanto Protection Act." 
During the 2012 election cycle, Monsanto and two lobbyists that represent the company were among the top 15 donors to Sen. Clarence Nishihara, the bill's main sponsor in the state Senate, according to state records. During the same election year, Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, another sponsor in the Senate, received a combined $3,650 of donations from Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and Dow Chemical and an additional $5,450 from Monsanto lobbyists and industry representatives. 
In January 2014, DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta and a subsidiary of Dow Chemical filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging Kauai's new law, originally called Bill 2491 and now known as Ordinance 960. The law aims at protecting environmental and public health by requiring the three companies, along with the biotech firm BASF, to publically disclose information about pesticide sprays and establishing buffer zones near schools and hospitals. 
Read entire article here:
Hawaii's GMO War Headed to Honolulu and Federal Court





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U.N. warns us to eat less meat and lay off biofuels, or we’re in for it | Grist

We’re overconsuming ourselves into environmental oblivion.
Farming will eliminate forests, plains, and other wild areas nearly the size of Brazil by 2050 around the world if we can’t mend our agricultural, dietary, and biofuel-burning ways. This unsustainable drive for more growing land will result in rising hunger and more frequent riots as food prices increase.
That’s the salty prognosis in a new report by scientists working for the U.N.’s International Resource Panel.
The amount of farmland has increased 11 percent since the 1960s, as growers struggle to meet growing populations’ ballooning demands for food and biofuel, according to the report. About 1.5 billion hectares, or 3.7 billion acres, is now being used globally to produce crops, and that figure continues to grow. Making matters worse, about a quarter of the world’s soils are degraded, which reduces the amount of crops that can be grown in them.
“Growing demand for food and non-food biomass will lead to an expansion of global cropland; yield growth will not be able to compensate for the expected surge in global demand,” the report states. “Cropland expansion at the cost of tropical forests and savannahs induces severe changes in the living environment with uncertain repercussions.”
What may be hardest for some of the world’s poorest and hungriest residents to stomach is the vast amount of farmland that’s being dedicated to growing crops for biofuels and for animal feed.
“One of our key challenges is overusing agricultural land for growing meat,” said report lead author Robert Howarth of Cornell University. “We don’t need to become complete vegetarians, but to put this into context and to help sustain feeding a burgeoning global population, we need to reduce our meat consumption by 60 percent — which is about 1940s era levels.”
Read entire article here:
U.N. warns us to eat less meat and lay off biofuels, or we’re in for it | Grist





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Beyond the Bio: Coach Mark Smallwood | Beyond the Bio | witf.org

They call him Coach.
Mark Smallwood leads the team at the Rodale Institute, which advocates for organic farming from its headquarters in Kutztown, Berks County.
coachmarksmallwoodpost.jpg

Photo by Courtesy

They do more than farming though - they raise cows and chickens, and a whole cavalcade of other animals.
I talked with Coach Smallwood about why he made the move to Rodale, some of the most surprising misconceptions he's heard about organic, and how his life as a basketball coach translates in his current career.
On the job at Rodale:
"It was to be more impactful...I don't know how much higher you can go.
"This was the birthplace of the organic movement, and I'm the leader here now, making good impact."
On misconceptions:
"One is that organic can't feed the world. We hear that all that time. We've totally disproved that. Our farming systems trial started in 1981, the longest trial of its time in North America, growing conventional crops right next to organic. After now 32 years, this is what we know: in terms of feeding the world, the yields are the same. No scientist in the world would ever dispute the numbers.
Entire article is here:
Beyond the Bio: Coach Mark Smallwood | Beyond the Bio | witf.org



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Farmed and Dangerous Official Trailer

Want to Avoid GMOs? Look for This Label | Maria's Farm Country Kitchen

What do Cheerios and apples have in common? They are the latest and very public battlegrounds for the GMO debate. But these two mainstays of American childhood nutrition are headed in opposite directions: While the Arctic apple, genetically modified to not brown when it’s cut, is all but set to be approved for production; original Cheerios is now GMO free. And while the general public is wholeheartedly in support of knowing what is in its food, shoppers are still confused as to what all the labels really mean.
Now some of the very groups who dumped millions into defeating state GMO labeling laws across the country have changed tack and are pushing for a national GMO labeling law; one that requires labels only on GMOs “proved” to cause health problems. The problem? Patents and “intellectual property” laws not only severely restrict how GMOs can be researched, but also have provided an easy way for the companies to discredit study results they don’t like.
While food and seed giants figure out how to take the teeth out of GMO labeling laws before they even happen, there is good news for the more than 90 percent of American consumers who want to know whether or not something contains GMOs: We already have a label.
Certified-organic farmers and food producers can’t use GMOs. Ever. And there are strict regulations in place for certified-organic producers to avoid GMO contamination, including testing. As Melody Meyer, vice president of policy and industry relations at United Natural Foods, Inc., and a Rodale Institute business member, explained recently, “In November 2012, the NOP clarified through formal rule making that testing for prohibited residues in organic products, including GMOs, MUST occur periodically (on an annual basis), and that certifiers must investigate and issue noncompliance notices accordingly to organic operations that fail to meet the requirement.”
Entire article is here:
Want to Avoid GMOs? Look for This Label | Maria's Farm Country Kitchen







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Monday, January 27, 2014

New Hawai’i Bills Seek to Undermine Kauai and Big Island GMO laws.

Big Ag and their big money is out to take away home rule and let the continued poisoning of paradise. Once again we must fight to protect the land from biotech hooligans that test their newest chemicals without oversight. We had to sue and pass legislation just to get the giant chemical companies to tell us WHAT they were spraying next to schools! Now all that could be undone by preemptive laws from the state. We will not bow to our corporate masters! The new "plantation" owners will not win this one, we will fight to protect what we love.



New Hawai’i Bills Seek to Undermine Kauai and Big Island’s GMO Regulatory Laws | Latest News | Earth Island Journal | Earth Island Institute

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Is Organic Really Better?

being.com: Is Organic Really Better?: By Robyn O’Brien

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently weighed in for the first time on organic food, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, suggesting that feeding kids organic fruits and veggies and organic meat just might reduce the risks of certain conditions and diseases and have some health benefits.
The President’s Cancer Panel also sounded alarm bells about chemicals and cancer, encouraging us to eat organic when we can, to reduce our exposure to pesticides and other additives being applied to our foods.
This is something I certainly didn’t do when my kids were younger, reflecting on all of the tubes of blue yogurt and packages of processed foods I’d served up.
When I first heard the term “organic” several years ago, I dismissed it. It connoted a “status” and conjured up two different images: lifestyles of the rich and famous or perhaps some alternative, hippie thing.
I was wrong.
The term “organic” actually refers to the way agricultural products are grown and produced. It legally details the permitted use (or not) of certain ingredients in these foods.  When I first learned about it, I thought it was a marketing tool.
The legal details are that the U.S. Congress adopted the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) in 1990 as part of the 1990 Farm Bill which was then followed with the National Organic Program final rule published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The standards include a national list of approved synthetic and prohibited non-synthetic substances for organic production which means that organically produced foods also must be produced without the use of:
  • • antibiotics
  • • artificial growth hormones
  • • high fructose corn syrup
  • • artificial dyes (made from coal tar and petrochemicals)
  • • artificial sweeteners derived from chemicals
  • • synthetically created chemical pesticide and fertilizers
  • • genetically engineered proteins and ingredients
  • • sewage sludge
  • • irradiation
Wow, who knew that conventional, non-organic food could contain these ingredients?  Not many of us, since sewage sludge and artificial growth hormones aren’t on the label.
Read the entire article here:

“Wake Up Before It’s Too Late:” New UN Report Calls for Dramatic Shift Toward Natural Agriculture

Even as the United States government continues to push for the use of more chemically-intensive and corporate-dominated farming methods such as GMOs and monoculture-based crops, the United Nations is once against sounding the alarm about the urgent need to return to (and develop) a more sustainable, natural and organic system.
That was the key point of a new publication from the UN Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) titled“Trade and Environment Review 2013: Wake Up Before It’s Too Late,” which included contributions from more than 60 experts around the world.
The cover of the report looks like that of a blockbuster documentary or Hollywood movie, and the dramatic nature of the title cannot be understated: The time is now to switch back to our natural farming roots.
The New UN Farming Report "Wake Up Before It's Too Late."
The New UN Farming Report “Wake Up Before It’s Too Late.” Click here to read it. 
The findings on the report seem to echo those of a December 2010 UN Report in many ways, one that essentially said organic and small-scale farming is the answer for “feeding the world,” not GMOs and monocultures.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

being.com: Keauhou Kona Farmers Market

Go to a farmers market this weekend, spending time and money with local farmers makes great community
Keauhou Kona Farmers Market

Friday, January 3, 2014

How You Made a Difference for Farm Animals in 2013

Chicken More Popular Than Beef In U.S. For First Time In 100 Years

Thanks to chicken nuggets.....

America might think of itself as a nation of beef eaters, but for the first time in over a century, Americans are eating more chicken than beef, Priceonomics reports.
meat consumption
Source: Earth Policy Institute. Credit: Angela Wong / NPR
Beef consumption has been declining for the past decade, as consumers become more health conscious and choose leaner meats and vegetarian options. Red meat has beenlinked to heart disease and diabetes, and people perceive chicken, a white meat, to be a healthier option. The shift toward healthier dietary habits is only one piece of the puzzle, however.
Beef prices have also been rising, convincing consumers to buy less. In 2012, theaverage price per pound of beef was $5.02, up from $3.32 per pound in 2002. In 2013, beef prices reached an average of $5.36 per pound, while broiler chickens were only $2.03 per pound, according to BEEF Magazine.
retail beef prices
BEEF Magazine
One cause of the price hike is that supply has decreased as a result of higher corn costs. While chicken feed consists of a variety of grains, corn and soybean meal, corn has become the dominant feed for cattle. According to the USDA, January 1, 2013 marked the "lowest Jan. 1 inventory of all cattle and calves since the 88.1 million on hand in 1952.” In the last two years, prices for cattle have risen by as much as 25 percent.
While American's are actually eating less meat overall -- from chicken to beef to pork -- the scale has finally tipped from greater consumption of beef to greater consumption of chicken. In 2012, Americans were eating almost 60 pounds of chicken per person each year. Chicken has become such a staple of the American diet that it's hard to imagine a time when we weren't eating much of it at all. The change has been dramatic, however. In the 1950s, Americans ate an average of 16 pounds of chicken per person every year. By 2000, that number grew to 53 pounds per year.
Go straight to the source:
Chicken More Popular Than Beef In U.S. For First Time In 100 Years

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Institute for Responsible Technology - 65 Health Risks of GM Foods

5.1 In spite of industry claims, transgenes survive the digestive system and can wander
1. Industry advocates claimed that genes were destroyed during the digestion of food and therefore gene transfer to gut bacteria or organs was extremely unlikely.
2. Studies now verify that genes can survive digestion, both in humans and animals.
3. Animal studies on non-GM DNA also verify that it can pass through the placenta into the fetus, from the digestive channels into the blood and organs, and even penetrate the blood brain barrier.
5.2 Transgene design facilitates transfer into gut bacteria
1. Genes can naturally transfer between species and even kingdoms, but it is uncommon.
2. GM crops may be especially suited to overcome the natural barriers of this transfer.
3. Short bacterial sequences and higher herbicide residues, for example, may significantly increase the transfer rate.
4. Transgenes may therefore readily travel from GM food into the DNA of gut bacteria.
5.3 Transgenes may proliferate in gut bacteria over the long-term1. Once transferred into gut bacteria, transgenes may confer survival advantages, allowing them to endure and spread.
2. These advantages may be due to antibiotic or herbicide resistance, promoters that function in bacteria and genetic mechanisms that promote uncontrolled replication.
3. Having "infected" our gut bacteria, the foreign genes and the proteins they create may be harmful.
Read entire article here:
Institute for Responsible Technology - 65 Health Risks of GM Foods

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Argentine Protesters vs Monsanto: “The Monster is ...

being.com: Argentine Protesters vs Monsanto: “The Monster is ...: MALVINAS ARGENTINAS, Córdoba, Argentina , Dec 2 2013 (IPS)  - The people of this working-class suburb of Córdoba in Argentina’s central fa...

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GMO Contamination


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