New Hosted Site and Design Launched

If for some reason you have arrived at this page, please go to Agriculture Society. We are very excited to announce the launch of our brand-new site design under a paid WordPress account and new hosting environment. We may experience some technical difficulties and unavailability during the next 24 hours or so, but we’ll be back as soon as possible.

Happy 2010 and blessings to everyone!

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First Case of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis in the United States

This startling story hit the wires on Sunday, December 27th of this week. Oswaldo Juarez, 19, of Peru came to the United States to study English. He became ill with a cough that wouldn’t go away, and then began to experience “rattling” lungs. The strain, XXDR, has never before been seen in the United States. It is so rare that less than a dozen people were thought to have contracted it.

The cause is none other than overuse of antibiotics in our medical communities and in the food system. If this is not proof of our industrial food system killing us, I don’t know what is.

This information is not new to the media or health communities. Doctors and health officials have been releasing information for years about drug-resistant diseases all over the globe from Malaria to MRSA, and from step to staph. We are literally inundated with bacteria that are predicted to become stronger and more resistant as time goes on. This particular case of TB was discovered back in June of this year, but until now was apparently kept “quiet” due to its insidious nature.

Approximately 75 percent of antibiotics used are found in the meat or dairy products of animals we consume. The majority of the meat and dairy eaten in the United States originates from CAFOs – concentrated animal feeding operations where many animals are crammed together in the most unnatural and unhealthy conditions.

Just yesterday, MSNBC also released this story about drug-resistant bacteria found in meat from factory farms yesterday.Animals and birds are administered antibiotics (among other toxic substances) to combat pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. E. coli and salmonella are common in the digestive tracts and on the hides and feathers of animals due to unsanitary conditions and the types of feed the animals consume. When livestock and poultry consume soy, corn, grains, silage, and other industrial feeds, virulent strains of bacteria are much more likely to develop as the digestive tracts of these animals is not intended to process these substances.

Arguments from pharmaceutical companies and farm groups say that antibiotic use keeps food costs down and animals healthy. But at what cost to the health industry, the environment, and the consumer?  Lobbyists from these groups and companies are well-known for repeatedly defeating proposed limits on antibiotic use in Congress. Drug-resistant infections have been responsible for killing approximately 65,000 people in 2009.

This problem is now coming to a head, but there is something we can do about it. Don’t buy meat and dairy products from conventional and industrial sources – buy your meat and dairy, and all your food local and from growers and producers who use sustainable methods! Talk to your farmers and food growers, and get to know their practices. Support your local economy and your environment and health will truly flourish!

Want more information about industrial meat and sustainable meat? Read the following articles:

Whole and healthy meat – does it really exist?

What do farms and antibiotic drugs have in common?

How well do you know your food? Find out!

Probiotics – the friendly bacteria that we need in our gut to keep bad bacteria away

My adventures in making yogurt – yogurt from sustainable milk contains friendly bacteria essential to health!

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How to Interpret the Glycemic Index (GI)

Have you ever been to the store and noticed the phrase “glycemic index” on packages or signs? Glycemic Index (GI) refers to the ability of the food to raise glycemic levels in your blood. When you digest food, your liver and pancreas have a big job.  And that job is to properly break down the food you are eating so your body can use it to function and grow.

How does the glycemic index relate to nutrition? The higher the glycemic index, the harder those organs have to work to process the food. If your pancreas has to produce larger amounts of insulin to process the food you are eating, it can cause a spike in your blood sugar that is unhealthy. When it comes back down, you will start to feel the effects. Effects can include fatigue, inability to focus, hunger, irritability, headaches, heart palpitations, and many others. Over time, eating these types of foods contribute to weight gain, health problems, and degenerative disease.

Those who rely on the glycemic index to decide about healthy food choices might say that although white bread would cause a spike in blood sugar, eating a protein with it would balance it out. The biggest problem with this thought is that using the glycemic index may cause people to believe that as long as they eat some protein with their processed white bread, it is okay to eat it. The truth is, the white bread is still unhealthy to consume on many levels.

One example of a processed, high glycemic food might be a loaf of bread. If you have ever looked at the nutritional information on the wrapper of an average loaf of bread, you can easily see that grams of carbohydrates can range anywhere from 25 to 40 grams per serving.

The nutrition label to the left shows information for a loaf of Filone bread – a type of white Italian bread. This bread contains a whopping 33 grams per serving. It is also made with processed, white flour that has not been sprouted, soaked, or fermented.

By contrast, (see label shown on the  lower right) a loaf of sprouted grain bread such as Ezekiel (or another type of sprouted grain bread such as the kind you would make at home), contains less carbohydrates – approximately 15 to 20 grams per serving.

Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars by the body, transported in the blood, and then moved into the cells with the help of insulin. Carbohydrates give us energy to do the things we do every day. But if we have an unnaturally balanced amount of excess carbohydrates (such as those contained in processed breads), they can cause problems such as being stored in the body as fat which causes weight gain.

Natural, whole foods contain the right balance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Processed, refined foods do not. If you are eating real, whole foods, there is no need to count calories, fat grams, or worry about the glycemic load in your food.

The glycemic index was created to provide people with yet one more way to justify eating unhealthy foods. If you rely on this scale for eating foods,  it is likely you will end up eating more processed foods – although you may be under the mistaken impression that you are making healthy choices. The only way to make healthy choices and keep blood sugars level is to eat foods that are the least processed and refined. Remember that even though a food may show a low glycemic index ranking, it may still be processed and unnatural.

Foods ranking low on the glycemic index take a longer period of time to digest. This gives the body a slow, steady stream of energy and provides a feeling of fullness and satisfaction for an extended period of time.  It prevents overeating, and promotes healthy cholesterol levels which lowers your risk of degenerative disease.

Many foods higher in glycemic load contain enough carbohydrates to spike your blood sugar unnaturally high. It takes much less time for your body to digest these foods, so it causes a rapid rise and fall in blood sugar and insulin levels.  This leads to frequent hunger, a a feeling of dissatisfaction, and the release of more stress hormones in the body. It’s those frequent irregularities in blood sugar that contribute to weight gain, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and so much more.

So when you see labels on food or signs in the store referring to “glycemic index”, remember that many foods with a higher glycemic index are more often than not produced unnaturally – in other words, they are processed or refined – and can create the unnatural high spike in your blood sugar that can cause health problems later on down the road.

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My Adventures in Making Yogurt

I have made yogurt about four times since my first attempt earlier this year. It’s definitely been a learning experience, and I’m happy to say I’m progressing each time I make it. Each successive batch has come a little closer in texture to what I consider to be the perfect yogurt. I just made another batch on Friday of last week and I think I’m almost there.

These are notes from my adventures of all the yogurt I’ve made thus far, and the results from each batch. All yogurt batches I have made were using certified organic raw milk from pasture-raised Jersey and Guernsey cows. My starter has been plain, organic, whole-milk yogurt from grass-fed cows (whatever store brand I was buying at the time – the first three batches were Nancy’s Yogurt, the last batch was Stonyfield Farm).

First batch

The first time I attempted to make yogurt, I found some random recipes on the Internet and sort of pieced the techniques together. I put my raw milk in a pan on the stove and added the yogurt before heating – don’t ask me why I did this. Most instructions I’ve seen for yogurt making instruct the preparer to add the starter after heating and achieve a certain temperature (which varies according to recipe).

Even though many recipes advised me to do so, I was never willing to heat my milk up to 180 degrees because doing so would destroy good bacteria. And in that defeats the purpose of making homemade yogurt in the first place. So I only allowed the milk to reach just above 100 degrees before adding the yogurt starter before turning it down and placing it in the jars to sit overnight.

The pouring process was difficult and I made a mess. I poured the milk from the pan into a funnel sitting on top of my jar. I disliked this part of  yogurt-making the most because I had a great deal of milk to clean up afterward.

This batch was left in a glass jar on the counter overnight. The results were adequate, and my son really like the taste (which is most important to my efforts), and my husband thought it was pretty good. But I had a hard time eating it because it seemed a little too watery to me. Unfortunately, even I am influenced to some extent by commercial yogurts and their perfectly uniform texture. The taste was just a bit too sour for me as well.

Second batch

I have definitely had some valuable learning experiences from yogurt-making, and one of them was learning how best to pour the milk from the pan into the jar. I made a big mess again, just like the first time because I tried pouring the milk from the pan into a funnel sitting on top of the jar. And even though it was in the sink, a lot of milk spilled anyway.

This time I decided to place the jars in a cooler and wrap it in a heating pad. I didn’t have much experience with the proper heat levels in making yogurt, but I knew it shouldn’t get too warm or it would destroy the bacteria. Well, that effort was a complete flop. When I checked it later, the yogurt had become hard and rubbery. So I had to throw it out and start again.

Third batch

The third time I used a yogurt-maker we had recently purchased (it was only about $50), because a friend had told me she used one and achieved perfect results. Of course, I didn’t take into account that there are many types of yogurt makers and I think that makes a difference in the way the yogurt turns out. My friend’s yogurt maker is one that makes the batch all at once in one big container.

The type I bought, a brand called Donvier, seemed very easy to use and comes with 8 little cups. But I found that when it came time to pour the milk into the cups, it was really difficult to keep the milk from spilling everywhere – even though I was using a soup ladle to pour it into the cups. And the amount of milk I had heated on the stove was more than I could fit in the cups, and I had to use additional jars anyway, which I placed in my oven this time and let sit with the oven light on for about 15 hours.

My results with the third batch were as follows:

The yogurt in jars in my oven turned out pretty good, better than my first two batches.  It was fairly thick and it definitely passed the family test. But the yogurt in the jars that were in the yogurt-maker, surprisingly enough, turned out very watery and was much too sour. Although my family thought it was okay, I really didn’t care for it and ended up throwing out half of it later. I should have saved the whey for something else like lacto-fermented vegetables or homemade condiments, but I was sort of running out of patience at that point and just wanted to start over again.

Here are my other thoughts about the yogurt maker: I didn’t like how little the amount of yogurt there was in each jar serving. I’d always have to get more from another jar to make it enough for one person. Also, the jar lids were exceedingly difficult to remove, and cleaning the jars and lids was not very easy. I had to thoroughly rinse out each individual jar and lid as the yogurt sticks to the containers quite stubbornly. My theory is that since the jars are plastic, this somehow affects the yogurt’s ability to stick to it even more than it would to glass.

Which leads me to yet another dislike of the jars – that they are plastic and are subjected to heat during the yogurt-making process. Although the heat is not high, it’s still heat, and plastic is not supposed to heated in the first place  due to leeching – especially when it contains food. I’m not sure if these cups are made with BPA or not, but it still concerns me. I’ve made a concerted effort to remove a lot of plastic from my home, so I was definitely not pleased when the yogurt maker arrived and I discovered the entire unit is made of plastic. So, overall, I’m giving this particular yogurt maker a grade of ‘F’.

Fourth batch

In our area, most cows are not producing a lot of milk this time of year until early spring because the weather is usually cold and most grass-fed cows are now either on alfalfa exclusively, or only graze on grass weather permitting. So we made arrangements with  Saint John’s Organic Farm in Emmett, Idaho where we get our milk to pick up a larger amount of milk to freeze for over the winter.

We had just received one of our pouches of raw milk (the third week of December). The first pouch we froze, and then thawed out. It tasted really sweet and my son didn’t like it. My husband and I weren’t crazy about the globules in the milk from the cream which froze, but still wanted to use the milk anyway. We talked to the farm about it, and the only thing Susan (the owner) could come up with was that since the cows were now eating alfalfa exclusively due to poor weather conditions, perhaps this had some effect on the taste.

I also believe the freezing process had some effect as well. But I’m still perplexed because before we started buying milk from Saint John’s Organic Farm, we were getting Organic Pastures milk shipped to us about every six weeks for over a year. We always froze it because we’d buy about 6 half gallons at a time.  Although we never had any taste issues from freezing their milk, there were the globules present from the cream.

At any rate, I figured it was time to make yogurt again, so we used most of our thawed out  2.5 gallon pouch for yogurt.

This time, we filled our big stockpot with milk to make yogurt and a smaller sauce pan with milk for kefir. I used the basic recipe for kefir-making from The Nourished Life’s kefir recipe. Besides the fact that I had a lot of milk sitting around that my son wouldn’t drink due to its over-sweetness, it was this post that motivated me to make kefir for the first time and make yogurt once again.

Here are the steps I used for my yogurt:

  1. I heated the milk up to approximately 100 degrees – I just tested it with my finger and it felt warm but not too hot. As Elizabeth from The Nourished Life says, some people may not think it’s sanitary, but I agree that it seemed to work.
  2. After the milk was warm enough, I added about 3 tablespoons of the Stonyfield plain, organic, whole milk yogurt to the milk and stirred it gently until mixed in.
  3. Then I ladled the milk-yogurt mixture into three different sized jars from my cupboard for the yogurt, and the milk-kefir grain mixture into one quart-sized container from Traderspoint Creamery yogurt (I just LOVE their jars, and their yogurt is out-of-this world!). Two of my jars were wide-mouthed, and this helped a great deal with keeping the mess to a minimum. One of the jars is small-mouthed, and that made a bit of a spill on the counter, but overall, I am much happier with the results of using a ladle for this process rather than a funnel.
  4. I placed the jars in my oven with no heat and just the oven light turned on. It’s quite amazing how much heat you can get just from the oven light, and it’s not hot, but it’s just enough for the yogurt to receive what it needs to culture.

Kefir

  1. I used kefir grains from Donna Gates’ Body Ecology web site. The directions say to stir it in, but my jar has a really narrow neck so, I gently shook the jar until it appeared to be mixed in.
  2. Next, I placed the kefir jar on top of my refrigerator to sit overnight. The longer you leave kefir or yogurt, the more cultures it produces. It depends on whether you want less casein and lactose, which is broken down by friendly bacteria during the culturing process. Then I placed all three of my yogurt jars in my oven and just turned the light on.
  3. I checked all jars periodically, but left the yogurt jars in the oven for at least 10 hours before opening it up to see how things were going. The yogurt needed to be in the oven longer, as it appeared to be still too liquidy for good yogurt texture. I took care not to jostle the jars, but very carefully examined the quality of the liquid by turning it very slowly around to look for liquid movement inside.

At the time I checked the yogurt, it was about just before midnight and I had placed the jars in the oven around nine a.m. that same day. I was unsure about leaving it in the oven overnight, but didn’t really want to have to get up just to check it again, especially if it still wasn’t ready. But I was too tired to worry too much, so I just figured the next time I woke up I’d see how things were progressing.

Final results

I woke up around 5:20 a.m. and went into the kitchen to peer at the yogurt. I gently turned one of the jars, and it seemed like it was doing well and solidifying nicely. So I removed all three jars from the oven and placed them in the refrigerator. About 7 hours later I checked one of the jars by opening it and tasting the yogurt. It was delicious!

I gave some to my son with some sliced bananas, and he absolutely loved it. The type of yogurt starter I used made a definite difference in the taste from the previous times. This time I used the Stonyfield Farms yogurt (which is delectable), and my yogurt turned out very similar in taste and texture to this brand.

My kefir turned out great too. I just opened it today and made fruit smoothies out of it for myself and my son, and it was tasty and tangy. I also used Bio Chem Greens and Whey protein powder – it has certified organic greens like chlorella, barley grass, alfalfa juice leaf powder, spirulina, broccoli sprout, kamut, coconut oil, and whey protein (99% undenatured).

www.mypicshares.com

Want more information about probiotics and friendly bacteria? Here’s a detailed article about those topics.

What are your experiences making yogurt and kefir? I’d love to hear from everyone about their experiences, both good and bad, and what worked and what didn’t.

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Raw Milk Trial in Wisconsin Could Set a Precedent for the Future

Are we going to continue to allow our government to dictate what we can and cannot put into our own bodies? Say it ain’t so!

Raw milk is once again come under the radar, this time in America’s Dairyland – The state of Wisconsin.  On Monday, December 21 2009, Max Kane will face prosecution in Viroqua, WI. His crime? Failure to release the source of his raw milk as well as the names of people on his delivery route. Kane, a farmer, promoter of raw milk and founder of the private buyer’s club Belle’s Lunchbox.Join us in our quest for freedom, justice, and the right to healthy food.

If you are in the Viroqua area, please come and invest your day to show support as citizens fight for our rights to obtain healthy food!

Watch this video about the trial and surrounding events:

According to Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, he is “under investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). DATCP is seeking to obtain from Max business records for Belle’s Lunchbox including a membership list of those who belong to the buyer’s club”.

The court hearing scheduled for Monday, December 21 at the Viroqua, Wisconsin Court House is in response to DATCP’s request for these records as well as its request to obtain testimony from Max about the operations of Belle’s Lunchbox. Max has refused to surrender any information requested by DATCP and submits that the entity has no jurisdiction over Belle’s and that the agency is attempting to violate his constitutional rights.

Schedule of events:

12:30 to 6:30 p.m. a free lecture/workshop at the Landmark Center – 500 E. Jefferson Stree, Viroqua, WI, second floor auditorium).

and raw milk rally, featuring as guest speakers:

- and more to speak about raw milk, health, freedom, and food sovereignty.

Max has been consuming raw milk to restore his health – he’s battled various challenges like Crohn’s Disease and found improvement from changes in lifestyle choices, including drinking raw milk. Max saw an opportunity to help others due to his own health-changing experience, and has become an advocate and activist for real food and real milk.

If you are unable to attend the rally and court case, do all you can to support the raw milk industry and your health by drinking raw milk and supporting local farmers in your area selling  clean, raw milk!

For more information, visit the Rally4Raw Milk web site and

The Raw Milk Battle: Shouldn’t Consumers Have a Choice? at the Chelsea Green web site.

Suggested reading:

The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights – David E. Gumpert

Why the Consumption of Milk is Harmful to Your Health

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ACTION NOW! Bring Down Monsanto, Genetic Engineering Giants and Corporate Terrorism!

Help Organic Consumer’s Association to obtain the support of one million people against Monsanto to put a stop to corporate global terrorism! Watch this video – The World According to Monsanto – Part 1.

I received this urgent message from The Organic Consumers Association in my e-mail this morning, and I want to encourage everyone to read through all action items listed and help in the fight against GMO foods. Monsanto is one of the most powerful corporate entities in existence, and we need your help in making accountable the biotech giant whose genetic engineering efforts are placing our food supply in terrible danger. Thanks for your support!

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Stop Monsanto!

Take Action Now!

After years of complaints from the OCA and our allies, the Department of Justice is investigating how big biotech and food corporations, including Monsanto, are monopolizing and controlling our seeds, food and farming – and they want to hear from YOU. The Obama Administration is specifically seeking comments and information about how corporate control of the food system affects average Americans. If you’re concerned that Monsanto and Big Food corporations have inordinate and dangerous power over where your food comes from and how it’s produced, tell the Justice Department! Your comments could help rein in Monsanto and other corporate criminals.

Take action

Stop Obama’s Monsanto Men

Rajiv Shah

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of Monsanto’s key non-profit partners, forcing hazardous Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on farmers and consumers worldwide. The multi-billion dollar Gates Foundation is helping Monsanto infiltrate markets in poor African countries by fraudulently claiming that GMOs can feed the world and reduce rural poverty with high-priced GM seed varieties that supposedly, but in fact do not, increase yields, resist drought, or improve nutrition.

President Obama has appointed biotech cheerleader Rajiv Shah, who worked as the Gates Foundation’s agriculture programs director, to be the USDA’s Under Secretary for Research, and has put Roger Beachy, Director of the Monsanto-funded Danforth Plant Science Center, directly under Shah in charge of the new National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Now Shah, with only six months of government experience, has been appointed by Obama to lead the US Agency for International Development (USAID), handing over in effect billions of dollars in taxpayer money to Food Inc., Monsanto, and the biotech bullies.

Tell the Senate to vote NO on Shah

Islam Siddiqui

The notorious lobbying group CropLife, which represents pesticide and genetic engineering companies, including Monsanto, is the PR front group that infamously chided the First Lady for planting a pesticide-free organic garden at the White House. Islam Siddiqui, nominated by President Obama to be the US Trade Representative’s Chief Agriculture Negotiator, is CropLife’s Vice-President. Before CropLife, Siddiqui was a chemical farming and biotech booster in Clinton’s USDA. It was his bright idea in 1997-98–rejected by the organic community– to allow GMOs, sewage sludge and irradiation in organic production. (The Organic Consumers Association spearheaded this successful campaign to save organic standards.) And oh yes, we should also mention that Siddiqui was an Obama campaign donor and fundraiser.

Tell the Senate to vote NO on Siddiqui

Protest Monsanto Propaganda on National Public Radio

If you listen to National Public Radio, you’ve probably heard Monsanto’s “Produce More, Conserve More” greenwashing commercials. Monsanto’s propaganda team claim their Frankencrops and seeds are a form of “sustainable agriculture” that will help farmers “squeeze more out of a drop of water.” American Public Media, the producer of the public radio program Marketplace, gets companies like Monsanto to support their programming by offering to let them “leverage their reputation.” Unfortunately Monsanto’s green claims are a dangerous lie. GMO crops do not produce more. GMO crops contain dangerous pesticide residues, and use massive amounts of toxic and climate-0destabilizing chemical fertilizers. GMO are not drought-resistant. Organic crops out-produce chemical and GMO crops by 70% under drought (or heavy rain) conditions. Non-organic chemical, water, energy-intensive, and GMO crops are a recipe for disaster in this era of unpredictable weather.

Tell American Public Media to stop airing Monsanto’s lies!

Action Update

Monsanto Wins the Angry Mermaid Award

Climate activists have hung Copenhagen’s “Angry Mermaid Award” around Monsanto’s neck for being a “corporate climate criminal.” Monsanto, perhaps the world’s most hated corporation, is a major driving force in polluting the atmosphere with billions of pounds of climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases (Co2, methane, and nitrous oxide), while at the same time offering false high-tech solutions– profiting off biotech bullying, environmental destruction, a highly subsidized and unhealthy food chain, and rural poverty.

Even though food security experts agree that mitigating and adapting to climate change is going to require a return to non-GMO organic agriculture, Monsanto has been successful in promoting itself in the US and among world leaders as a so-called no-till “sustainable agriculture” company helping farmers survive climate change by selling them genetically engineered seeds that resist drought and flood.

In fact, Monsanto has never commercialized a single drought or flood-resistant crop. Monsanto’s seeds are resistant to one thing: Monsanto’s toxic (and increasingly expensive) herbicide RoundUp, which farmers are forced to buy, (and consumers are forced to consume) in ever-larger quantities.

Monsanto’s goal is to patent living organisms, monopolize seeds, outlaw seed saving, and economically and legally enslave farmers, thereby destroying the “competition,” the seed and crop biodiversity that farmers have painstakingly cultivated over the last 10,000 years. Life on Earth will become Life in Hell if Monsanto is allowed to tighten its stranglehold over our seeds and food. To mitigate climate change, we need to shift from chemical and energy-intensive industrial agriculture to organic farming practices on the world’s 12 billion acres of farm, pasture, and rangeland (thereby cleaning up 40-100% of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere) and at the same time drastically reduce the 44-52% of greenhouse gases directly or indirectly caused by industrial agriculture: carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning fossil fuels, cutting down rainforests and destroying soil fertility; methane (CH4) from animal factory farms and rotting non-composted waste in garbage dumps; and nitrous oxide from billions of pounds of nitrate-based fertilizer. To save the climate and ourselves, we need to break Monsanto’s stranglehold over food and farming, and instead protect and support the world’s remaining 1.5 billion traditional and organic small farmers – the peasants and family farmers who produce 75% of the world’s food and fiber and steward what’s left of the world’s crop and animal biodiversity.

Read more

PLEASE DONATE!

OCA Needs Your Help to Spread the Organic Revolution

OCA and our national, now international, network of organic consumers and farmers understand that we have a positive life-affirming solution for the global food, health, and climate crisis: organic food, farming, and ranching. But to get out our all-important message we need your support and your donations. So please send us a tax-deductible donation today.

The OCA’s yearly fundraiding drive kicked off at the beginning of December, so please help us reach our goal of raising $75,000 by January 1st, 2010!

PLEASE DONATE

New Study Reveals Health Hazards of Monsanto’s Frankenfoods

Three Major GMOs Approved for Food and Feed Found Unsafe

In the most comprehensive study yet of the health effects of three of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn varieties, researchers from CRIIGEN and the French universities of Caen and Rouen have highlighted a number of new side effects linked with their consumption. Their study of Monsanto’s 90-day feeding trials clearly underlines adverse impacts on kidneys and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, as well as damage to the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system.

Their research was made possible when the European government obtained Monsanto’s raw data and made it publicly available for scrutiny and counter-evaluation for the first time.

The researchers have concluded that all three GMOs that they have studied contain novel pesticide residues that will be present in food and feed and may pose grave health risks to those consuming them. They have, therefore, called for immediate prohibition on the import and cultivation of these GMOs and have strongly recommended additional long-term (up to two years) and multi-generational animal feeding studies on at least three species to provide true scientifically valid data on the acute and chronic toxic effects of GM crops, feed and foods.

Read more

Spoof Monsanto Site: ILoveMeatTube

We don’t know who is behind this satirical website, but it’s always a good time to poke a little fun at Monsanto, GMOs and industrial farming. Let’s fight them together AND laugh at them together!

Check out the website here, and if you’re on Twitter, you can follow them here!

LITTLE BYTES

1) Climate Crisis: Copenhagen – Putting agriculture front and center in the discussions over climate change

2) Food System Change Not Climate Change – New paper series from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy tackles climate challenges for agriculture

3) Getting at the Roots of Unsustainable U.S. Ag Policy – Point-by-point debunking of the USDA’s new report on agriculture and climate change

4) Obama to Receive Prize Based on Promise He Has Failed to Keep – Friends of the Earth members statements prior to U.S. President Barack Obama’s December 10 acceptance of his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway

5) Video of the Week: Vandana Shiva Speaks at Copenhagen Climate Protest – Indian physicist, author, and activist Vandana Shiva spoke to the crowd before the protests in Copenhagen on Saturday as anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 people (depending on who you talk to) marched to the UN Climate Change Summit

Please do your part to help this movement, stop corporate terrorism assaults on our food supply and our health, and secure a better future for our planet. Thank you!

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High-Traffic “Resource” for Moms is Actually a Source for Big Advertising Campaigns

Here’s something that has me really infuriated! I just discovered a resource site for mothers I belong to that supports campaigns for two things I definitely don’t support - chocolate milk and the Swine Flu vaccine!

For the last nine months or so I’ve been a member of an online resource for mothers called Mamasource. I didn’t initially join on my own accord; someone from my Facebook friend’s list requested that I check out this community and join.

I admit I wasn’t very careful about doing my research on this group (so unlike me). I just figured it might be a way to help other moms in the community with advice about nutrition through whole, real foods and natural cures and remedies, since that is right up my alley. So I created a profile and went on my merry way.

During the next few months I received a few messages from Mamasource here and there, containing nothing too terribly pertinent to my life. Mostly, I’d briefly read the message and delete it. Occasionally Mamasource would highlight a message from a mother needing help to which I would respond. The last response I gave was to a mother experiencing fibrocystic breast problems, and so I referred her to my article about mammograms. I got no response from her and really didn’t expect anything in return. I just wanted to give some advice to try to help.

I noticed that all of the other women responding gave the usual advice about not worrying until there was something to be concerned about and making sure she got her mammogram and to follow her doctor’s advice. None of them gave advice about a traditional diet or lifestyle changes, which wasn’t surprising.

But in the last few days, I started noticing something else: Mamasource appears to be a place where moms come together for support and advice, and to gather information for their families and lives. However, it has become clear what it really is – it’s a web site that gathers mothers together from everywhere in order to funnel information from big name advertisers and business conglomerates to sell products and services to their subscribers. And not only are those products and services things I would not normally buy, they are products I believe are flat-out harmful to use.

When I realized this, boy was I angry!

Here are two examples: yesterday (December 16th) I was sitting here going through my Inbox, and found a message from Mamasource. The headlining information in the mail read the following:

Recall: Swine Flu Vaccine

800,000 doses of swine flu vaccine have been recalled by the vaccine’s manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis. As reported in The New York Times, the “vaccine has lost potency since it was shipped from the factory.” “This is non-safety-related, but is part of a routine quality assurance program,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. There are now 94.6 million doses of vaccine available, “so this is not as big a deal as it might have been earlier.” She emphasized that “there are no safety concerns.”

Read more on the Centers for Disease Control website

(this link provides information on how the recall is a non-safety related, voluntary recall of the vaccine)

The next message I received from Mamasource, dated December 17th, was this:

Get the facts on chocolate milk

Did you know studies show kids who drink chocolate milk do not consume more added sugar than non-flavored milk drinkers? In addition, they are more likely to be at a healthy body weight and meet more of their nutrient needs than kids who don’t drink milk.

Learn the facts on chocolate milk and raise your hand in support!

Editor’s note: this message was sponsored by America’s dairy farmers and milk processors to share the facts and science on chocolate milk.

So it’s become crystal clear just what is going on here – Mamasource does the work of getting all these mothers to sign up and create a profile on its site, and creates a “safe” forum where mothers feel able to talk about their problems and challenges – whether it be health, personal, financial, child-rearing, or any other life-related topic. Mamasource then sends “digests” in e-mails to its members to generate interest in thread topics and discussions.

And just lately, it seems, the digests have contained information from specific entities that represent viewpoints I’m not on board with – marketing information about chocolate milk and the swine flu vaccine? Come on! How stupid do they think I am? But what’s worse is that millions of moms are going to receive these e-mail messages and just believe it because the CDC or chocolate milk campaign tells them it’s true! It’s ghastly!

And of course, all the data and “scientific” sources used on Mamasource are either directly from the companies selling the products or from other entities who receive funding from those companies to promote their products. Now, if that’s not biased, I don’t know what is!

Now I don’t need to lecture on why I don’t buy chocolate milk, or how unethical I think the chocolate milk campaign is, the health problems associated with drinking it or conventional milk, for that matter. We all know how unhealthy it is. Nor should I even have to discuss the problems with the Swine Flu vaccine.

This is a good lesson for me, as I’m always one to tell everyone else to follow the money in anything. Just the other day on Facebook I had posted information about the Swine Flu vaccine being recalled – this was days before Mamasource sent out their information. Someone I know responded and said that the vaccine had been tested and provided this link to the CDC. I responded saying that I didn’t trust the CDC and that they have ties to drug companies. He disagreed and said that “they do a great job of providing evidence-based, unbiased information”. My final response was to provide a link with information about lawsuits as a result of the conflict-of-interest between drug companies having ties to the U.S. government. I also said that in order to trust something, you had to research where the money trail was coming from.

I also think it’s interesting when people defend a vaccine by saying that it’s been “tested”, so therefore it’s perfectly fine. And yet, if it’s perfectly fine, why is it being recalled? Shouldn’t the testing have included whether or not the vaccine was acceptable, on all levels, for dispersal? Even if the reason for its recall is not supposedly “safety” related and only potency related, wouldn’t that make people feel a bit cheated by the organizations and companies they trusted with their health?

Basically, the headlines are detailing how the vaccines aren’t worth much since their potency was found to be inconsistent or inferior somehow due to the manner in which they were manufactured. And still, here’s an example of someone still defending the vaccine. Unbelievable!

At any rate…this is just one small thing I wanted to blow the whistle on, and inform people about – as I feel very strongly about supporting food growers, manufacturers, and campaigns that are ethical and moral. It’s my way of boycotting this group and any others like it, as well as manufacturers and companies who sell products that are unhealthy to consume – on so many levels.

I was never really that involved on the Mamasource web site anyway – but now I am officially withdrawing my membership. And I sent a note of disapproval to the Raise Your Hand for Chocolate Milk Campaign web site – which I very much encourage everyone reading this to do as well.

Does anyone have a story to share about something like this that has happened to them? I’d love to hear your about your experiences and what you have done to combat a situation that entailed initially supporting something you ultimately didn’t believe in and how you mended your ways.

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