News from Rick North

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Organic Bytes and gardening

Not all  the news is bad…  The EU seems to be, mostly, in the forefront of reasonable thinking about GMO’s and Monsanto poisons. Hopefully this trend will continue through the grace period and Monsanto will be finally and permanently called out as dangerous to our health.



I have more faith in the EUers…Europe has seen times we may never see, if we’re lucky. Environments have been decimated through war and the necessities inherent in rebuilding. But I think, for the most part, they have not lost their intelligence about what is ultimately important in these small countries.

Lately, through a long bout of the flu, I have been indulging in the delightfully positive and quirky guidance of English gardeners. …on YouTube, of all places.  Okay, don’t stop reading.  If you can get Netflix streaming, you have access to YouTube on your TV, as well as on your computer.  My daughter alerted me to “Gardener’s World”,  an amazing 50 years of hour long gardening advice programs with  die-hard English gardeners who defend the standard in the only way avid English gardeners can. And it is so worth it, for information as well as entertainment.

Of course, most of this information is about growing flowers, trees, cacti, etc. and nothing so far that I’ve seen about growing crops. But the gist is this…the same principles apply to all plant life..  I recommend it for their enthusiasm and unshakeable belief that gardening is the most important endeavor of mankind.  It puts our hearts immediately in the environment, grounds us there, and focuses our thinking on how things work naturally, and how those processes should be honored, not just for the beauty and health of the garden, but for the ripples that extend into our global environment.

And there are other gardening programs accessible there. I plan to spend some quiet recovery time looking around.


Organics Under Assault

The next issue gives those of us who buy organic the prod to not let our guard down, and to ramp up our efforts to grow our own food.  Shouldn’t we all be as concerned about growing our own food and saving seeds, as we were during the war?  This ‘war’ on our agriculture, is equally alarming today.  Monsanto and Bayer are buying up seed companies and making it difficult to find diversity in plant choices.  I believe they are turning our farmers into corporate robots who sing the company song and plant GMO’s to their and our detriment, in both health and environment. Unable to save seeds as they did traditionally, they now have to buy patented seed from Monsanto and use the unregulated poisons necessary to keep the crops weed free (and probably butterfly, bird and microbe free),. I am reading that GMO yields have shown to be less than in sustainable agriculture. And Glyphosates, if you have been paying attention, are said to be hormone disrupters that turn frog genders into transgenders.  With glyphosate being sprayed abundantly on most crops, especially wheat, you wonder how it is affecting our children.

So now, folks are understandably trying such things as hydroponic growing mediums for their vegetables.  In a world where we will continue to let our soils become infertile through the uses of heavy chemicals and the death of the necessary microbes in the soil, we seem to be acquiescing by finding these ‘alternatives’ rather than fighting for saving our farms.  This statement is obviously a product of my belief that healthy soil is an absolute necessity for our own health and the health of the environment.  Healthy soils contribute to the strength and nutritional value of our food.  I think feeding plants chemicals is like feeding babies Gerber formulas.  They may live, but without thriving at their very peak of potential.

In spite of the admonition  that all the required nutrients are in these formulas, for me it has become clearer that what is required for optimum health are all the nutrients that work in concert in nature, in the soils, to produce their own powerful alchemy.  I find the prospect of living in a warehouse with my plant food hooked up to IVs a sort of prequel to the mechanized robotic life scientists are so avidly working on.  But you may have another opinion.


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Organic Bytes

I can’t help myself.  Organic Comsumers Association is so on top of events that affect our health and well-being, around the world, I have to copy their latest newsletter into this blog.  I have their permission to do so with attribution. There has been important news about Monsanto and the fact that permission for their glyphosate may not be renewed in the EU.  Then, the dangers of chlorpyrifos.

It begins with Ben and Jerry’s refusal to use milk products that don’t have glyphosate in them. And on to the bi-annual National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)  meeting in Florida next week to determine whether hydroponically grown produce should be labeled organic.  Hmmmm. We are getting increasingly separated from the soil, me thinks, and relying on chemically induced life.  And what does our soil have to do with climate change?  If we abandon the soil as important, we abandon a way to sequester carbon, which, with forestation, is a major part of reducing our chances of overwarming the planet.  Soil, trees, responsible agriculture…these are all important, common sense tools for helping to decrease warming.  Many have lost their common sense.  The rest of us have to be more alert.  So read on:

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Rick North, the superman who worked hard to get our dairies to drop BGHt from their milk, has been working on the fluoride issue for some time.  The following is his latest report on the damage that fluoride can do to not only your health, but to the IQ of your child.

We tried, at one point, in our town to have fluoride removed from the water after an extensive period of gathering research and information.  Just having one dentist in the audience when we made our presentation was enough to turn the council against us, even though he had nothing to support his claims.  So it’s a tough hill to climb, but hopefully information like this, when disseminated, will help to open people ‘s eyes.


IQ Losses Continue to Haunt Fluoride

On September 19, Environmental Health Perspectives, a highly-respected journal, published a study linking higher fluoride levels in pregnant women to lower IQ’s in their children.

The decrease was significant. Each 0.5 part per million (ppm) increase in a pregnant woman’s urine fluoride levels reduced her child’s IQ by 2.5 – 3 points. A child of a mother drinking 1 ppm of fluoridated water, close to the U.S standard of 0.7 ppm, would be expected to have a drop of 5 to 6 IQ points compared to a child of a mother drinking water with close to no fluoride in it.

This prospective study was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and led by researchers at the University of Toronto School of Public Health.

It was very strong, following pregnant women in Mexico and their children for 12 years, and measuring individual urine levels, a more precise method to determine fluoride exposure than drinking water concentrations. The results were undiminished even after adjusting for a wide array of confounding factors, including lead, smoking, alcohol, socio-economic status and birth weight.

The pro-fluoridation lobby, led by the American Dental Association, quickly denied the significance of the study, arguing “the findings are not applicable to the U.S.”

Mexico, like most nations, doesn’t fluoridate its water. The ADA’s stance stems from the fact that the women were mainly getting their fluoride from consuming fluoridated salt or varying natural levels of fluoride in the water. (The ADA ignores the fact that fluoride’s effects are the same once it’s inside the body, no matter the source.)

Most others felt differently. Lead author Dr. Howard Hu asserted “This is a very rigorous epidemiology study. You just can’t deny it. It’s directly related to whether fluoride is a risk for the neurodevelopment of children. So, to say it has no relevance to the folks in the U.S. seems disingenuous.”

Dr. Leonardo Trasande, a pediatrician unaffiliated with the study at New York University, agreed, saying that “This is a very well-conducted study, and it raises serious concerns about fluoride supplementation in water.”

And according to CNN, Dr. Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, “pointed out that it raised significant questions.”

Although this study is new, it has long been recognized that fluoride causes brain damage. The extent of harm is based on the dose, when and how often the exposure occurs, and which individuals are at greater risk.

In 2006, the National Academy of Science’s National Research Committee (NRC) published Fluoride in Drinking Water, a review of over 1,000 studies. It’s considered the most well-balanced, comprehensive, authoritative study ever done on fluoride’s toxicity. The 12-member scientific committee leading the effort, including three who favored fluoridation, stated unequivocally that “It is apparent that fluorides have the ability to interfere with the functions of the brain and the body by direct and indirect means.” (p. 222)

In 2012, a Harvard-funded meta-analysis found that children in China exposed to higher levels of fluoride tested lower for IQ in 26 out of 27 studies. The average difference was significant – 7 IQ points lower. The quality of the studies varied and dealt with higher exposures of fluoride than in the U.S. However, several were methodologically strong, controlling for potential confounders such as lead and arsenic, and had doses close to those typically found here.

In 2014, in the British medical journal The Lancet, two world-renowned scientists, Philippe Grandjean, MD and Philip Landrigan, MD, added fluoride to the list of 11 chemicals identified as developmental neurotoxins – harming the brains of children. Grandjean, a co-author of the 2012 Harvard study, commented at the time that “Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury and other poisons . . .

Last year, the Fluoride Action Network, American Academy of Environmental Medicine, International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, Food and Water Watch, Organic Consumers Association and several others, including individual mothers, petitioned the EPA to ban fluoridation chemicals based on their neurotoxicity.

The petition cited 196 peer-reviewed studies – human, animal, cellular and reviews – published over the last ten years. Virtually all the studies – 189 – found harm, such as lowering IQ or increasing behavioral problems, several at levels consumed by Americans, and more at minimally higher levels.

The studies with slightly higher levels are quite relevant to common exposures in the U.S. Genetics, environmental and socio-economic factors cause significant variability among humans in their resistance to disease. It’s standard toxicological practice to divide the lowest level of harm detected by at least 10. Many studies show there is typically at least a 10-fold variation in sensitivity to any toxin among humans.

The NRC 2006 review determined that water fluoride levels of 4.0 ppm are definitely harmful to human health, so dividing by 10 wouldn’t allow more than 0.4 ppm. Yet the CDC recommends 0.7 ppm, nearly double the level, ignoring this established scientific practice.

In February, the EPA denied the petition, saying there wasn’t conclusive data that fluoride was neurotoxic, in spite of the massive evidence to the contrary. The organizations have sued the agency and the case is now in federal court.

Hu and his fellow authors don’t say, nor do I, that this one study provides conclusive proof that fluoridating water lowers IQ’s in children. But there’s no denying 30 years of hundreds of studies pointing squarely in that direction and the U. of Toronto results add even more credibility.

Moreover, there are very few studies finding that fluoride doesn’t lower IQ. The New Zealand study most often cited used an unsuitable study group with little contrast in total fluoride exposure. Many kids with unfluoridated water were ingesting fluoride tablets, making their total consumption of fluoride nearly as high as the kids drinking fluoridated water.

Fluoridation proponents believe the burden of proof is to show conclusively that a substance is harmful before it’s disallowed.

We’ve seen this misguided thinking before. In 1954, responding to numerous studies showing correlations between smoking and lung cancer, the tobacco industry asserted “there is no proof that cigarette smoking is one of the causes.” As late as 1994, industry executives

again declared at a Congressional hearing that correlation wasn’t enough and smoking hadn’t been proven to be a cause of cancer.

The opposite point of view – “First do no harm” or “Better safe than sorry” – reasons that a substance should be demonstrated safe before it’s allowed. Obviously, this hasn’t happened with water fluoridation. The NRC, identified numerous other links to fluoride, including thyroid disease (p. 8), kidney disease (p. 303) and diabetes (p. 260), calling for further research.

Fluoride is now a known neurotoxin. If you put it in water, how do you control the amount people consume, the age at which they consume it and the harm to those at highest risk – born or unborn? You can’t.

The amount of this poison you ingest is determined, incredibly, by how thirsty you are. If you’ve concluded this practice is exceedingly unwise, you’re not alone. The vast majority of nations, cities and health organizations worldwide don’t support fluoridation and ethical concerns loom large as to why so many European nations oppose it. In effect, everyone drinking fluoridated water is participating, without their consent, in a continuing medical experiment.

The CDC and EPA have many qualified, well-meaning people who’ve done a lot of good work. But history is rife with examples of the U.S. government assuring us that substances like leaded paint and gas, asbestos, DDT, DES, cigarettes, etc. were safe.

It took decades of science finding harm before the government belatedly banned or restricted them. The amount of impairment, suffering, disease and death occurring in that lag time is incalculable – and unnecessary.

It’s time to be on the right side of history.

It’s time to end water fluoridation.

Rick North is the former executive vice president of the Oregon American Cancer Society and former project director for Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility’s Campaign for Safe Food. Now retired, he’s a volunteer advocate for safe water, safe food and the preservation of democracy. He can be reached at

News source:



This is a good article. Thank you. The neurologic effects of ingested fluoride were earlier investigated by Phyllis Mullenix in mammals and by Varner and coworkers as well. A student asked me, why then are not people being seriously poisoned by drinking fluoridated water? Very few if any fluoridation promoters understand that fluoride at any level in the blood exerts toxic effects to varying degree in man and animals. At 3-4 ppm, as happened with citizens in Hooper Bay, AK during an accidental overfeed, this level is lethal (one victim perished from fluoride-induced heart block). At 1 ppm in the blood, as occurred in kidney dialysis wards where blood levels matched the level in the feed water, patient morbidity escalated (perishing from heart failure by a different mechanism over months of time). These events led to an FDA warning that fluoridated water cannot be used in kidney dialysis. At lower levels, around 0.1 ppm as occurs in people consuming fluoridated water, the chronic toxic effects are incorporation of fluoride into bone permanently, causing formation of bone of poor quality, and in some people hypothyroidism, and effects on the brain with IQ lowering and possible ADHD increases. Of course adverse effects on teeth enamel, hypoplasia or dental fluorosis, continues to skyrocket in incidence in U.S. teens where blood fluoride blocks normal enamelization during teeth development in children. The FDA never approved of any fluoride intended for ingestion, and banned the sale of fluoride compounds intended for ingestion by pregnant women in the U.S. An FDA petition to totally ban water fluoridation remains under review. The CDC has been asked to halt recommending and requesting fluoridation. Eating/drinking fluoride does not decrease dental decay, as learned from the most detailed studies from Ziegelbecker and from Teotia and Teotia and from Yiamouyiannis. Indeed, teeth enamel hydroxyapatite is far too hard to incorporate fluoride, but bone hydroxyapatite readily does so. The fluoride level in saliva bathing teeth from drinking fluoride water is only 0.016 ppm, 94,000 times lower than the level in toothpaste. For more details please see: Journal of Environmental and Public Health 439490 at

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Organic Consumer’s Association Feed


With permission from Organic Consumer’s Association, I am including their newsletter for the latest on glyphosate, Monsanto, and their effects on farming and our food:


‘Just Deserts’

Next week, on October 11, members of the European Parliament will hear from scientists, campaigners, regulators and others about allegations that Monsanto ”unduly influenced regulatory studies” about the safety of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup weedkiller.

The EU Parliament won’t hear from Monsanto. Why? Monsanto lobbyists are now banned from entering the EU Parliament because the company refused to send its CEO to the October 11 Parliament meeting.

Monsanto officials were asked to attend and respond to questions related to incriminating documents that came to light as a result of lawsuits filed against the company by people who say Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer—and Monsanto knew of the risk, but hid the evidence

The Guardian called the Parliament’s decision a “bitter blow” to Monsanto, which will now “be unable to meet MEPs, attend committee meetings or use digital resources on parliament premises in Brussels or Strasbourg.”

Bitter blow? Or maybe just deserts?

The EU is supposed to decide by December 15 whether to continue to allow the use of glyphosate. (The U.S. EPA, which was supposed to make a similar ruling in 2015, is still stalling).

France and Italy say they want glyphosate off the market. Germany’s position remains unclear.

Stay tuned for details on next week’s hearing.

Read ‘Monsanto Banned from European Parliament’



A Better Idea

October 16 is World Food Day. It’s also the day that Monsanto and its agrochemical cronies will be in Iowa, celebrating the bounties of industrial agriculture (in other words, their massive profits) at the corporation-run “World Food Prize” events.

We think there are better ways to celebrate World Food Day. Here they are:

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Subsidize Healthy Foods, Not Junk Foods.

Join the “4 per 1000: Soils for Food Security and Climate Initiative,” the global initiative to increase carbon sequestration in soils as a means of increasing global food security and reversing global warming.

Donate to Regeneration International, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit partially funded by OCA. This international coalition shares best practices in regenerative agriculture and land restoration, several of which are being piloted at OCA’s Mexico-based Vía Orgánica Ranch, which recently hosted the 2017 RI General Assembly.

• Attend the 2017 Food Sovereignty Prize Live Ceremony (online) honoring the Zimbabwe Small Holder Organic Farmers’ Forum and the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance.

• Join the World Food Day Thunderclap for a global ban on Monsanto’s Roundup.

Finally, if you’re not doing this already, grow organic food in your own community, or buy it from local farmers!

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Subsidize Healthy Foods, Not Junk Foods. 


Soul of Organic?

Or are you OK with putting the “USDA Organic” seal on food grown indoors, under artificial light, with a manmade cocktail of liquid nutrients feeding exposed roots?

Or do you think the term “certified organic” should be reserved for food grown in living earth, nourished by sunlight, fresh air and the complex interactions between plant roots and soil microbiology?

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which will meet Oct. 31- Nov. 2, is set to rule on whether vegetables grown hydroponically, without soil, can be certified organic.

Who’s In favor? Mostly Big Ag companies, such as Wholesum Harvest and Driscoll’s, that want to replace organic farms with organic factories.

And Scotts Miracle-Gro, one of the biggest suppliers of the nutrients, growth mediums, containers, irrigation systems and lighting required for hydroponics, or soilless crop production. Scotts is also the exclusive distributor of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.

TAKE ACTION BY MIDNIGHT OCT. 11: Keep the Soil in Organic! Please click here to sign our petition. Or text SOIL to 97779 to sign.

If you can, join the Keep the Soil in Organic events happening across the country this month, culminating in a rally outside the NOSB meeting in Jacksonville, Fla., on October 31. 


No Peace!

Unilever-owned Ben & Jerry’s likes to use the phrase “Peace, Love & Ice Cream.” But if anti-factory farm consumers have anything to say about it, there will be no peace for the ice cream maker until the company goes organic.

So far, over 100 OCA network members have signed up to distribute leaflets in front of Ben & Jerry Scoop Shops or natural food stores such as Whole Foods that sell Ben and Jerry’s.

Want to help keep the pressure on Ben & Jerry’s? New to leafleting and not sure how to get started? Our team is ready to help. Sign up here. We’ll send you everything you need. 

Nearly 90,000 acres of Vermont’s farmland is planted in GMO crops—crops that feed the dairy cows that supply milk and cream to Ben & Jerry’s. Those crops are heavily sprayed with Roundup, atrazine, metolachlor and other poisons.

That makes Ben & Jerry’s one of the largest polluters of Vermont’s waterways.The company also sources cream from factory farm dairies in western states.

It’s time for Ben & Jerry’s to live up to its marketing claims by promising to transition to 100% organic. An organic Ben & Jerry’s supply chain would be better for the environment, better for human and dairy cow health, better for farmers and better for farmworkers.

Consumers are key to getting Ben & Jerry’s to go organic. Sign up here for more information on how to become part of the Consumer Revolution! 

TAKE ACTION: Distribute leaflets in front of stores that sell Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Read our organization/business sign-on letter (To sign your organization or business on to this letter, email

TAKE ACTION: Tell Ben & Jerry’s CEO: Get pesticides out of your ice cream. Go Organic!

Support our ‘Ben & Jerry’s: Go Organic!’ campaign (Donations to OCA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, are tax deductible).


Folta’s Falsehoods

Photo: Karl Withakay CC, via Wikimedia Commons

Monsanto cheerleader Kevin Folta is no stranger to OCA. Folta dogged us relentlessly in 2012, 2013 and 2014, when we were part of a coalition working to pass laws that would require labels on GMO foods.

Most recently, Folta attacked us for revealing that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is contaminated with glyphosate—news that was reported by the New York Times.

Now Folta, chairman of the Horticulture Sciences Department at University of Florida, is suing the Times and Pulitzer Prize winner Eric Lipton, for allegedly misrepresenting him as a “covertly paid operative of one of the largest and most controversial companies in America, Monsanto.”

Folta claims the Times, and Lipton, misrepresented him in order to “to further their own anti GMO’ agenda.” That’s quite an accusation, coming from someone who’s made a career out of, well, lying.

In a new well-documented and detailed fact sheet, US Right to Know, an independent nonprofit partially funded by OCA, spells out just how deceitful Folta, who has referred to the food movement as a “terrorist faction,” has been about his relationship with Monsanto.

Read Ronnie’s Blog 

Support U.S. Right to Know, an independent nonprofit that investigates Monsanto and Big Food


Gracias a Todos

As we reported last week, the families and neighbors of some of our Mexico City-based staff were directly affected by the most recent, and devastating, earthquake in Mexico’s largest city.

And as promised, we’ve dedicated 15 percent of your donations (to our third-quarter fundraising campaign) to helping as many survivors of Mexico’s two back-to-back earthquakes as possible—including rural farmers.

Thanks to your generosity, our Mexico City staff (some of whom are pictured here) we were able to purchase and deliver much-needed tools, food, clothes, tents and sleeping bags to people in the city, and in rural communities. Many of these people lost everything, including their homes.

Over the past week or so, our hard-working Mexico team members have witnessed some horrific scenes. But they’ve remained strong—and above all determined to get supplies you bought to those who most need them.

Thank you to all who helped make our fundraising campaign a success—and even more important, helped us help others.

Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (Tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education).

Donate to Organic Consumers Fund (Non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our GMO labeling legislative efforts).


‘Farmers for America’

There’s no escaping it. Food—real food, the kind that actually provides nutrients—comes from farms.

But with the average age of today’s farmer being 60, and young people unable to afford farmland and equipment, who will grow our food?

“Farmers for America,” is a documentary that explores the changing American farm scene and changing consumer trends. The film takes a close look at today’s farmers, and those standing in line to replace them. Can their spirit and energy bring urban and rural America together over our common need for food?

Watch the ‘Farmers for America’ trailer 

Sign up to host a screening


Dying to Eat

For all Monsanto’s bluster about “feeding the world,” the truth is this: Globally, 3.9 billion people are either hungry or malnuourished, according to ETC Group.

Now, a new global study (billed as the most comprehensive of its kind) says poor diet, which often leads to obesity, kills one in five people.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which coordinated the study, said:

One of the most alarming risks in the GBD is excess body weight. The rate of illness related to people being too heavy is rising quickly, and the disease burden can be found in all sociodemographic levels. High body mass index (BMI) is the fourth largest contributor to the loss of healthy life, after high blood pressure, smoking, and high blood sugar.

Who’s to blame for the foods that are killing us? Big Food, mostly.

The New York Times recently reported on the rise of obesity in Ghana, which not coincidentally corresponded to the rising presence in U.S. companies like Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC):

But KFC’s expansion here comes as obesity and related health have been surging. Public health officials see fried chicken, French fries and pizza as spurring and intensifying a global obesity epidemic that has hit hard in Ghana – one of 73 countries where obesity has at least doubled since 1980. Obesity rates have surged more than 650% since 1980 from less than 2% of population to 13.6 percent.

According to the Times, KFC, owned by Louisville, Ky.-owned YUM!, has about 850 outlets throughout sub-Saharan Africa: to Angola, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana and beyond.

Read ‘Poor Diet Kills One in Five of Us

Read ‘The Global Burden of Disease’


Essential Reading for the Week

How Natural Textile Dyes May Protect Health and Promote Environmental Sustainability

How Organic Farming Could Save the World from Global Warming

Is This Why You Crave Pumpkin Spice Every Fall?

Memento Mori: A Requiem for Puerto Rico

USDA Closes Investigation into a Massive Organic Farm in Colorado — but What Did It Check?

The Organic Movement Calls for the Regulation of New Genetic Engineering Techniques as GMOs

Monsanto’s Roundup Faces European Politics and U.S. Lawsuits

Posted in commentary, GMO FOOD, Health Issues, Monsanto, News, Organic Bytes, Organic Consumers Association | Leave a comment

We’ve Been Eclipsed

August 24th

Yes! we’ve been eclipsed. In the direct path of totality our state had a sun fest like no other. People came for miles, reserving hotels, motels and campgrounds months in advance. And most were not disappointed. Cheers, everyone.

The sun’s big show put an exclamation point on summer, and now we head into Fall. We’ve been gloriously warm and downpour free.  It seemed a miracle. As in every  summer in our state, we balance between the comfort of sun and the virtual drought we have for our summer months. Although we have not been watering as furiously as in past summers. If our new overnight spritzes continue, I would have to guess they are harbingers of the coming rains. Time to store up tea and good books.

I’ve harvested my peas and have begun to harvest cabbages. I’ve had a scourge of cabbage flies and loopers this summer.  If you have large pinholes all over your leaves, this is your problem. My kale and cabbages have been decimated (although the cabbages are hearty enough to harvest and eat)…too late for me to do anything substantial about them.  If you’re having the same problem, the following  website  will tell you what to look for, how to prevent it, and how to deal with deterence humanely and organically. Be prepared for next season.

Be sure to rotate your crops and turn the soil up in the fall to expose larvae that don’t like cold weather.

Lettuce is still holding, and carrots are on their way.  And oh! 43 tomatoes and counting…still green.  I cover them when I can to keep the heat in, here  at 1300 feet elevation, and I hold out hope for more really hot days. This year I’ve added a fig tree and a columnar apple which I hope will encourage those I’ve already planted. (If anyone knows the best care of columnar apples, please advise.  I have four in the soil that are ten years old and not producing.)

Farmer’s Market For Local Growers 2018

Our Committee for a Community Farmer’s Market by 2018 is working hard.  We envision creating a website soon that will provide inspiration and information for communities who are joining the movement to encourage local sustainable farming, and the outlets for their produce.  We hope to connect restaurants with local growers and create an atmosphere of success and possibility. Anyone interested in joining this effort, please comment here.

The News

So on to some news.  I have permission to feature Organic Bytes from the Organic Consumers Association on this site. I am passing along some of their latest information, and their link if you are interested in reposting to Facebook?

Here’s wishing you all bountiful harvests.




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To Continue

July 18, 2017

It has been six weeks since checking in and I have no apologies.  Considering the horrendous news that our country is slowly turning toward a tyrannous autocracy, there have been many letters to write, petitions to sign, emails to answer, and the important task of getting our own lives in order.

We have all heard the bad news ad infinitum, and many of us, by now, have probably found a nice sand hole in which to put our heads…which is very nearly what I’ve done Understanding what is happening and keeping one’s balance is a challenge, so I find myself rigorously building  my own parallel universe where the inhabitants  remind me every day that there is light at the end of this tunnel.  Good people… plants …. soil, and a meditation on who we are….who I am…

And I am seeing that perhaps those that would like us to share the hole they are digging are, in the end, being bent by their own misanthropy and are forced to think about cooperation.  After all, cooperation is how this current civilization manifested, in spite of the times we have tried so hard to prove otherwise. Co-operation got us up and running and it is the only thing that will allow us to thrive.

I won’t go on…this is supposed to be about food.  But indirectly it is. Every political decision affects our quality of life and health.  Food is a big word. It encompasses the compassion and support we give each other,  and the answers to our questions about life as well as our material needs.  So let’s talk about what feeds us well as evolving human beings in this present civilization. And do inhabit your parallel universe, but pay attention and let your voice be heard.



The Positive Things in Life

First, summer is really here.

Second, I can’t recommend gardening enough.  When the world is too much,  a pleasant ride in the hammock to clear my head before I walk to the meadow to admire the lush golden growth of thigh high grasses, and I fantasize a chair that will almost disappear in the waving seed heads, while the sun beats down on my thirsty body.

And this year my experiment with crop covers is paying off.  I have three beds with peas, carrots, cabbages, lettuces, kale, chard, tomatoes, eggplant and basil. I began early and left the covers on until the plants were up and established.  By the time the rain had stopped entirely I could judge whether it was going to be a cold night or a too hot day and adjust everything.  A bit like dressing children for school.  My ‘bush’ peas are three feet tall…cabbages heading, tomatoes blossoming out, lettuces happy to not bolt. And I am SO grateful, not just for the food, but for the respite from a crazy world.

I have been Jonesing for easily accessible fruit and now I have two columnar apple trees which are bearing, one fig, two Persian mulberries, blueberries, raspberries taking time off, and tea plants which I am slowly reclaiming from the gophers. The columnar apples are a bit tricky.  They produce copious blossoms on a short stem, and then proceed to drop most of the little apples they have formed, until about four or five get enough headway to stay on the stem.  ‘June drop’, apparently is typical.  I’ve also experienced May and July drop. I think in the future I might try a dwarf fruit tree. I’ve heard that Asian Pears are a good bet for the Pacific NW.  If you don’t like their taste, particularly, just peel them. It makes a big difference in their sweetness.

The Hidden Life of Life….

Speaking of communication with plants and Earth, I’ve just read a wonderful book given to me by a friend called The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben.  Wohlleben is a German forester who has studied his particular patch of responsibility for forty years.  Europe, having decimated most of their forests, has had to rethink many ways of understanding and living with nature.  This is an excellent book which is a convincing description of the interactions of living things.  Of course, it is descriptive of trees and climate and related biological systems.  But it is a great metaphor for the web that we live in and how everything we do affects that web.  It’s a great read, and an important one if you know any foresters.

Another book, Martin Marten, by Brian Doyle.   This will give wings to any broken heart or soul, bending under the weight of human folly and greed.  Doyle, our famous Northwest writer, in residence in many of our souls, is also known for Mink River and The Plover.  If you’ve read them, you’ll know what kind of magic and love of humanity to expect.  But there is a bitter sweet twist to this, I believe, his final story.  He has recently died at a very young age. His book seems to be a final paean to the strength of the human heart, and I found myself wanting a copy by my bedside, like the Gideon Bible.  Except that Gideon is not as good at reminding me that life is good if you make it so, and that human beings at their best, love and cooperate with each other producing the magic in our lives that makes us want to go forward, whatever the circumstances.

Third, once again our little town is moving toward a larger , more permanent Farmer’s Market with more vendors.  Our committee is, well yes, committed.  And we have the blessings of the City and the aid and comfort of interested and interesting people, as well as the enthusiasm of our future farmers. So by 2018 we hope to have bridged the obstructions that we have met in the past.  The people on this team are exceptional, and I believe we’re going to get there.

So Now To The News

Here’s some good news for women who are concerned about osteoporosis.  You may have heard that drinking coffee in quantity leaches calcium from your bones.  Now Vivian Goldstein, who has had a website addressing natural alternatives to AMA type solutions, tells us that drinking tea strengthens bones. I’m going to reprint her article here.  She has a free newsletter which is rich in scientific detail about the dangers of taking osteoporosis drugs and the efficacy of a good PH balanced diet.  She has been on the web for years and has helped a lot of women, from what I can see.  But see for yourself:

Here is a copy of her newsletter article:

“Discovered in 2737 BC by Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, this 5,000-year-old beverage is steeped in history. As legend has it, the skilled ruler was boiling water as was customarily done to render it safe to drink. While boiling the water, a dead leaf fell into the pot. The emperor drank the beverage and thoroughly enjoyed it, and thus, tea was born.

You might be surprised to learn that tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and for good reason. In addition to its numerous health benefits, tea plants are rich in flavonoids that have been scientifically proven to strengthen bones.

Further confirming the important role tea plays in bone health, a recently published Australian study shows that drinking tea can reduce the risk of bone fractures by 30 to 40 percent.

So, grab a cup of tea, find a comfy seat, and click the link below to learn about how and why tea reduces the risk of fractures, the best teas for bone health, and much more:

Warmest regards, Vivian”


Here, in its entirety, is another example of her work:

By Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

Scientifically Proven: Cyanidin In These Fruits Inhibits Osteoclasts, Increases Osteoblasts And Much More!

Today you’ll discover that some of the most powerful bone builders are natural substances found in healthful foods. Discovering and learning which nutrients are most effective at building and renewing bone, and then enjoying the foods that contain them, delivers targeted nutrition that is the basis for the Save Our Bones Program’s drug-free approach.

This post is about such a key nutrient. It’s a powerful, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant polyphenol called cyanidin, and research reveals that it has the remarkable ability to inhibit the differentiation of osteoclasts (the cells that tear down bone) while increasing the differentiation of osteoblasts (bone-building cells), and much more.

I’d like to begin by taking a closer look at cyanidin itself, and the scientific studies about this powerful nutrient.

Cyanidin Defined

Cyanidin is a water-soluble pigment that belongs to a class of antioxidants known as anthocyanins. Interestingly, cyanidin’s color varies depending on the acid content of its environment. For example, in a very acidic solution, cyanidin appears red. In more alkaline solutions, it appears blue.

Not surprisingly, the highest concentrations of cyanidin are found in the skins and peels of certain colorful fruits, where it’s joined with sugar molecules to form cyanidin 3-O-beta-Glucoside. We’ll take a look at those fruits soon, because first, I’d like to review…

Why Antioxidants Are Vital For Building Bone

Polyphenols are completely overlooked by the Medical Establishment, yet without them, your bones can’t rejuvenate. Referred to as “undercover bone-builders” in the Save Our Bones Program, antioxidants like cyanidin protect your bones from the very real damage caused by free radicals (aka reactive oxygen species).

Oxidation is a process not unlike rust, with normal cellular metabolism resulting in the damage of approximately one to two percent of cells. These cells have an unpaired electron, making them free radicals that steal an electron from other cells, rendering them damaged as well.

Antioxidants stop this chain reaction and free up the bones to undergo the remodeling process, which is the key to reversing osteoporosis. Supported by current research, antioxidants cannot be overlooked in the fight against osteoporosis.

When considered alongside additional research, it’s evident that cyanidin’s ability to protect bone mineral density is due in large part to cyanidin’s role in cellular differentiation, which we’re going to take a look at more closely in the following study.

Cyanidin And Bone Remodeling: How It Regulates The Process On A Cellular Level

The body manufacturers osteoclasts (to remove old bone) and osteoblasts (to build new bone) from cells called haematopoietic progenitor cells, or stem cells. Various factors are involved in determining what type of cell the stem cells develop into. For osteoblasts and osteoclasts, factors called macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF) and RANK Ligand (RANKL) “decide” what each cell will become by activating various intracellular signaling pathways.

By activating these pathways, M-CSF and RANKL regulate the expression of osteoclast- and osteoblast-specific genes. Cyanidin plays a key role in this process, as a brand-new study reveals.

Researchers investigated the role of cyanidin “in the differentiation of bone-association cells and its underlying mechanism.”1 They found that in various applications, cyanidin (C3G) reduced and/or inhibited the differentiation and activation of osteoclasts. In addition, an activator effect was observed with regard to osteoblast differentiation. Considering the body of research, scientists concluded that,

“…these results strongly suggest that C3G has a dual role in bone metabolism, as an effective inhibitor of osteoclast differentiation but also as an activator of osteoblast differentiation. Therefore, C3G may be used as a potent preventive or therapeutic agent for bone-related diseases, such as osteoporosis…” 1

The mechanism by which cyanidin does this is by inhibiting a “receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANKL)-mediated osteoclast differentiation and formation…and downregulated the expression of osteoclast differentiation marker genes.”1 In other words, cyanidin plays a role in the natural regulation of osteoclasts in the process of bone remodeling, inhibiting a key RANKL receptor at the appropriate time.

The body has to regulate osteoclast activity, or else too much bone would be shed. Amazingly, cyanidin is part of that natural process. But when the pharmaceutical industry produces synthetic drugs that artificially manipulate osteoclast activity – drugs like the popular bisphosphonate alternative, Prolia – then the trouble starts (more on this later.)

Foods Rich In Cyanidin

Here are the foods with the highest concentrations of cyanidin, many of which are Foundation Foods on the Save Our Bones Program.

Black elderberry

Red raspberries*

Black currants


American cranberries*

Black grapes*


Raw black olives



Hawthorn berries

Sweet cherries*

Dark chocolate*

*Foundation Food

A colorful fruit salad would be a fantastic way to enjoy these cyanidin-rich foods, or as a delicious topping for plain yogurt. And while it’s not a fruit, dark chocolate is a good source of cyanidin; try grating it over fruit or yogurt and discover a delicious way to add to the antioxidant content of the dish.

If you’re following the Program, then you’re familiar with various scrumptious ways to pack antioxidants into your diet, because antioxidants are absolutely crucial for rejuvenating bones.

Prolia: A Dangerous RANKL Manipulator

The Medical Establishment touts Prolia as a “safer” alternative to bisphosphonates. But Prolia is far from safe. It works by mimicking a cytokine called osteoprotegerin, which binds to RANKL and prevents its interaction with RANK receptors on the surface of osteoblast cells. Essentially, it renders osteoclasts inactive.

There, of course, is the problem. For healthy bone remodeling, osteoclasts must be active. The body naturally regulates their activity in the presence of good nutrition, as shown earlier.

That’s not the only problem with Prolia. Its list of side effects is disturbing, including osteonecrosis of the jaw, serious infections of the ears, bladder, or lower abdomen, and an unsettling warning from the manufacturer: it is “unknown” whether the long-term use of Prolia causes slow healing of broken bones or “unusual fractures.”

The Save Our Bones Program Takes A 100% Drug-Free Approach

Instead of relying on the artificial manipulation of prescription drugs, the Save Our Bones Program makes use of targeted nutrition, among other things, as this post illustrates. It simply means that diet and easy lifestyle changes are all it takes to enjoy youthful, strong bones without risking debilitating side effects.

Stop Worrying About Your Bone Loss


1Park, K.H., et al. “Dual Role of Cyanidin-3-glucoside on the Differentiatio of Bone Cells.” Journal of Dental Research. September 8, 2015. Pii: 0022034515604620. Web.

Confirmed By Science: Flavonoids In Tea Lower The Risk Of Fractures

9 Reasons You Should Stop Eating Processed, Ready-Made Meals [Plus Free Gift]

Confirmed By Science: Sulforaphane Is More Powerful Than Osteoporosis Drugs, And Is 100% Safe


So that’s “all she wrote” for now.  I hope to keep better tabs on the world of food, and the parallel universe in which evolution takes a turn for the better. And I am happy to receive your news and suggestions to share with others.~admin


Back From a Long Vacation

June 2,2017

Real Food Coop News morphed into Real Food News when our co-op, regrettably, closed. Good intentions pave the road to…well you know where…as the saying goes.  And it was my intention to continue this blog.  Without the vitality of the co-op behind me, my time was taken up with other issues, and mea culpa, I dropped the ball.  Things have taken another turn toward the vital, as we all know.  And here I am, not wanting to report the bad news, but willing to take on the state of our food economy as I’m finding it, for the sake of getting out the facts …those pesky things. I will share anything that  encourages us to find the beauty, comfort and importance of gardening and farming. We are part of nature and this is a wonderful way to renew that connection on a daily basis…. But I will post those other, more prickly, items that make us aware of our limitations and our successes as gardeners and farmers.

For my own part, whether anyone believes in climate change, or not, I find my  life increasingly affected by patterns of change which made identifiable gardening difficult last summer. The permutations of spring, summer and fall had me confused. And winter! Would the rain never stop!

I said to a friend a few years ago that in this now present future, we would need green houses to grow food successfully, even in our temperate climate. He disagreed…climate change was going to warm things up.  But apparently, climate change doesn’t just mean a warming climate.  It also means changes in the jet stream which make our weather patterns unpredictable. So this spring I have been building mini green houses over my garden beds to keep the cold nights and the long rainy days off my plants. We get an occasional day of sun and longer daylight hours to make us think we are headed for summer. But ‘impermanence’ once again raises our awareness, and many of us no longer count on a regular planting season.

So this is going to be a different world, I think.  And knowing whether we can get the foods we count on in season will be important for us. Creating Farmer’s Markets to support local farms is important.  Raising your own food, on whatever small or large scale, beats back the health issues inherent  in eating processed food.  Knowing how to save your seeds instead of using sterile GMO seed.  Knowing who caches seeds which are being taken out of circulation by corporate monopolies….. We can fortify our food needs by paying attention to these issues and supporting each others effort.

I hope you’ll bear with me again and perhaps find some information relevant to your lives, in these continuing pages. And I hope you will share your good news and good ideas with me. Good gardening!




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The Hague Rules Against Monsanto

On Tuesday April 18th the five international judges of the Monsanto Tribunal presented their legal opinion. They have come to important conclusions, both on the conduct of Monsanto and on necessary developments in international law.

The judges conclude that Monsanto has engaged in practices which have negatively impacted the right to a healthy environment, the right to food and the right to health. On top of that Monsanto’s conduct is negatively affecting the right to freedom indispensable for scientific research. These are very important and well-funded legal conclusions that can be of great help to the victims of Monsanto worldwide.

The judges also conclude that despite the development of many instruments to protect the environment, a gap remains between commitments and the reality of environmental protection. International law should be improved for better protection of the environment and include the crime of ecocide. The Tribunal concludes that if such a crime of ecocide were recognized in international criminal law, the activities of Monsanto could possibly constitute a crime of ecocide.

Finally, in the third and last part of the advisory opinion, the Tribunal focusses on the widening gap between international human rights law and corporate accountability. It strongly advises the United Nations to take action to make sure that human and environmental rights are protected by (international) laws and are not overruled by trade agreements. It should be made possible to prosecute multinational corporations in the International Criminal Court.

Find here on the “Results” page of our website the full text and the summary of the advisory legal opinion delivered by the Monsanto Tribunal judges in The Hague.

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Today’s mail: the Organic Consumer’s Association is starting a “resist and regenerate movement” called that will link groups all over the country for support in making political changes which concern our food and our health. Scroll down for information and how to form a group in your area.

Wall Street, Big Ag, Big Pharma, and multinationals like Monsanto, Dow, Exxon and Wal-Mart have always been able to buy industry-friendly regulations that put you and your family, and indeed our future survival, at risk.

But as we’ve seen recently—with the White House and Congressional attack on climate, food safety, factory farm, school lunches and environmental regulations, the escalation of the never-ending wars in the Middle East, the announcement that the USDA will not test foods for Monsanto’s poisonous pesticide Roundup, and the EPA’s plan to roll back a ban on Dow’s brain damage-causing pesticide (chlorpyrifos)—the corporate takeover of our political system has created what can only be described as a national emergency.

Out-of-control corporations and politicians, aided and abetted by the mass media and indentured scientists, are degenerating our food, health, environment, climate and democracy. This national and international crisis will only get worse—unless we act fast, act smart, and act together.

Please help us build a massive #resist and #regenerate movement to stop the corporate takeover of our democracy, and to bring about solutions that will regenerate everything from our food, farming, and health, to our economy and our democracy.

Get started today by setting up a local group on Sign up here, then read the instructions below to get started organizing.

We learned a lot when we took on Monsanto and Big Food in the fight for GMO labeling. But perhaps the most important lesson was this: We have not yet built a movement big enough, or powerful enough, to beat giant corporations with deep pockets.

We must, and we can, do better. But to succeed, we’ll have to step away from our laptops and phones, meet in person with our friends and neighbors, and start exercising our collective consumer power, and our collective political power—in numbers too big to be ignored.

It’s time to build a new on-the-ground movement—one that empowers consumers and citizens to both resist the corporate takeover of our government, and regenerate our health, environment and democracy.

We call it the #resist and #regenerate movement. Today I’m personally inviting you to help lead and grow this new on-the-ground movement.

There are over 500,000 elected and appointed officials in this country. Too many of them are on the wrong side of the issues you care about—food, GMOs, health, the environment, social and economic justice.

Unless we elect new leaders—not just Congress members, but also city, county, school board, park board, and state officials—nothing will change. Politicians will continue to serve the corporations that fund their campaigns. Corporations will continue to write the laws that allow them to poison and pollute.

We have the power to change this—we just need to exercise it. And that means moving beyond our single-issue organizing, in favor of building a united and massive movement, both online and on the ground.

Today, I’m asking you to help lead this movement. Sign up here to start a chapter in your community, then read the instructions below.

Through meetups and networking in our local communities, by connecting the dots between our single issues, we can resist the Degenerators and strengthen the organic and regeneration movements.

By reaching out to and communicating with other activists working on food, farming, natural health, justice, climate, peace, and environmental issues we can bring about a revolution, not only in the marketplace, but in the political arena as well.

Please join us today as we #resist and #regenerate.

In Solidarity,

Ronnie Cummins
International Director

How to get started

Millions of people, in cities and counties across the country, are connecting via By creating your own local “#resist and #regenerate” group on Meetup, you’ll be able to instantly connect with people who care about food, GMO, climate change, natural health, social and economic justice, animal welfare and other issues.

The Meetup platform makes it easy for you to invite local activists to a meeting to discuss how to make more progress on all of these issues, by working more closely together. We already have 50 of these Resist and Regenerate meetup groups going across the country, but we need thousands.

Here’s what to do (if you run into any problems, email and someone will help):

1.    Sign up here. We’ll set up your Meetup group and email you the link to join (your page will look like this, #resist and #regenerate map is here).

2.    Go to Follow the instructions for setting up an account (it’s free). Then, using the link we emailed, join your new Meetup group.

3.    After you join your group, we’ll introduce you to your regional OCA coordinator, and make you a co-organizer for your group. Your regional coordinator will be on hand to answer questions.

4.    Once you are a co-organizer for your group, you can start to communicate with the people who have joined your group and schedule your first community meetup (Click on “Home,” then click on “Schedule a meetup.”)

5.    After you schedule a meetup, email and your regional coordinator, to let them know. We’ll send you a packet of leaflets, bumper stickers and other materials. You’ll also find resources on your group homepage—click on “Pages” then “Resources.”

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Nanotechnology and Your Food

While nanotechnology and nanomaterials may be tiny, they have huge human and environmental health ramifications. A growing body of scientific research demonstrates that engineered nanoparticles pose threats to human health, raising concerns about their use in food and many other consumer products. 

Despite these concerns, nanomaterials can be found in everything from baby formulas to candy to fertilizers, and are largely unapproved and unregulated by the government. These novel products create novel risks: for example, nanomaterials can penetrate human skin and when ingested, reach sensitive places like bone marrow, lymph nodes, the heart, and the brain. But consumers have almost no information about these potential impacts, or even about where nanomaterials may be present

For more information  go to theeCenter for Food Safety, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and Friends of the Earth.

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