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.
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?
TOP NEWS OF THE WEEK
So many documents.
So much deception, collusion, corruption.
Try as they might (and they’ve tried mightily), Monsanto lawyers haven’t (yet) been able to hide the treasure trove of documents made public during the ongoing lawsuits (200 of them) filed against the Biotech Giant by people who say exposure to Roundup herbicide caused them or their loved ones to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and that Monsanto covered up the risks.
Fortunately, journalists like Carey Gillam are digging deep into those documents, reporting on Monsanto’s history of deceiving the public about Roundup herbicide, and how EPA officials have been complicit in that deception.
In her latest article, Gillam exposes a collaborative effort by Monsanto and the EPA to scuttle a critical safety review of Roundup. The safety review was supposed to be conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a federal public health agency. ATSDR, along with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), is charged with evaluating the potential adverse human health effects from exposures to hazardous substances in the environment.
The ATSDR announced in February 2015, that it planned to publish a toxicological profile of glyphosate (the key active ingredient in Roundup) by October of that year. That review has never been published.
The documents reveal this was no accident, no bureaucratic delay, but rather was the result of a collaborative effort between Monsanto and a group of high-ranking EPA officials.
Another corporate coverup. Another example of taxpayer-funded federal agencies serving Corporate America, not you, the public.
Read ‘Collusion or Coincidence? Records Show EPA Efforts to Slow Herbicide Review Came in Coordination with Monsanto’
Support investigative journalism (OCA is a major funder of US Right to Know. Please help us support this project).
Yearning for Organic
Many of you alerted to an email you received this week from Our Revolution. The email promised to enter you in a contest to receive a free pint of Ben & Jerry’s “Bernie’s Yearning” ice cream. (It was a fundraising email, but you could enter to win the ice cream even if you didn’t donate).
As you know, OCA is a big fan of Our Revolution—so much so, that we’ve urged you to join, or start a chapter of your own.
And when it comes to Bernie, OCA supports a political revolution based on policies that align closely with those of Bernie’s.
So, for the most part, we’re on the same page as Our Revolution and Bernie. Except when it comes to Ben & Jerry’s.
The marketing gurus at Ben & Jerry’s know exactly what they’re doing. By aligning their brand with Our Revolution (it’s called greenwashing), Ben & Jerry’s hopes you won’t notice that the company’s policies aren’t aligned with yours.
By supporting industrial factory farm dairies, Ben & Jerry’s is one of Vermont’s largest polluters. Ben & Jerry’s is one of the reasons that nearly 90,000 acres of Vermont farmland are planted in GMO crops—crops heavily sprayed with poisons like Monsanto’s Roundup, atrazine, metolachlor and others—grown to feed dairy cows confined in barns for most of their lives.
So, here’s the deal. If you got one of these emails or texts from Our Revolution, let them know that you support their work. But send them a note, or make a note in your donation form, stating that you don’t support Ben & Jerry’s. Tell Our Revolution that you also support the #ConsumerRevolution, which holds corporations accountable—so you’ll pass on the free pint of ice cream. Unless it’s organic!
Meanwhile, if you haven’t already, please sign our petition asking Ben & Jerry’s to go organic!
Call Ben & Jerry’s (802-846-1500). Tell them you don’t want free ice cream—unless it’s organic!
Post on Ben & Jerry’s Facebook page
Vermont’s GMO labeling law, which took effect July 1, 2016, only to be preempted a few weeks later, set the standard for what real GMO labels look like.
Under Vermont’s law, foods that were “produced with genetic engineering” were labeled as such. The only exemptions were restaurant foods, alcohol and foods from animals fed genetically engineered feed. These exemptions were necessary to comply with pre-existing federal labeling laws.
Congress and the USDA have the power to require even stricter labels than Vermont. But instead, Congress passed the DARK Act, a law clearly intended to severely limit the number of GMO foods that have to be labeled.
Instead of actual words on the package, the DARK Act lets food companies hide information about GMOs on websites. Under this scheme, consumers would have to download a so-called “SmartLabel” app to their smart phones, then—while they’re shopping—scan QR barcodes which send them to the brand’s website where they have to search for information on GMO ingredients.
The DARK Act directed the USDA to come up with a federal “bioengineered food disclosure” scheme. The Trump Administration is beginning to write the regulations which will define that scheme, and is seeking public comments on those regulations until August 25.
Tell the USDA we need GMO labels—not QR codes or other technology schemes that make it difficult for many (and impossible for some) consumers to know whether they’re buying GMO foods, or foods that contain GMO ingredients.
Not So ‘Wonderful’
The Wonderful Company claims to sell “healthy” foods, under brand names like POM, Fiji Water, Wonderful Almonds, and others.
Grimmway Farms, which markets brandslike Bunny Luv carrots, claims to “give you the best, most innovative carrot products on the market!”
What do these two companies have in common? They use toxic oil-drilling wastewater to grow their products.
How can that be? Because California, where so much of our food is grown, allows water districts to buy contaminated oil wastewater and resell it to growers.
As reported by EcoWatch, in the last three years, farmers in parts of California’s Central Valley irrigated nearly 100,000 acres of food crops with billions of gallons of oilfield wastewater. Much of this water is believed to contain toxic chemicals, including chemicals that can cause cancer and reproductive harm, according to an Environmental Working Group (EWG) analysis of state data.
Just how much food sold in the U.S. comes from California? According to Food & Water Watch, the numbers are high: Almonds, 98 percent; celery, 95 percent; broccoli, 96 percent; olives, 99 percent; and lemons, 91 percent
The Wonderful Company and Grimmway Farms need to back up their marketing claims of “healthy” and “best.” They can start by refusing to use oil wastewater for irrigation purposes, and by leaning on California’s Gov. Jerry Brown to ban the use of chemical-tainted wastewater on food crops.
SUPPORT THE OCA & OCF
Those of us who work under the OCA banner don’t see our work as a job. We view it as a mission—a mission that we couldn’t pursue without you, our partners.
The work we do requires a big team. We consider those of you who make donations, sign petitions, make phone calls and show up for events not just a part of our team, but an essential part of our team.
We probably don’t say that enough. And we probably don’t say “thank you” enough, either.
Last week a generous donor stepped up with a surprise matching gift offer. We put the offer out to you, our team. And once again, you came through. Thank you.
In spite of the negative news raining down on us every day, we are making positive progress—thanks to you.
Thank you for making our short fundraising campaign a resounding success. Thank you for being a part of our team.
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)
Support our ‘Ben & Jerry’s: Go Organic!’ campaign (donations to OCA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, are tax deductible)
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
There are so many reasons to end factory farming and other forms of industrial agriculture. So many reasons to transition to organic, regenerative farming and land use.
In this short video, Philip Lymbery, author of “Dead Zone: Where the Wild Things Were” and CEO of Compassion in World Farming, walks us through one of those reasons: We’re killing off sea life.
According to this video, the Gulf of Mexico dead zone covers about 6,000 square miles. A recent article puts that number at 8,800 square miles—the size of New Jersey.
It’s not just the Gulf of Mexico that’s in trouble. Since the 1960s, the number of dead zones worldwide has doubled every decade. It’s a high price to pay for “cheap meat.”
Epidemic of Fraud
Collusion between Big Pharma and the federal government is to blame for the current opioid epidemic in the U.S., says a team of Harvard researchers.
The authors of “The Opioid Epidemic: Fixing a Broken Pharmaceutical Market” cite estimates from the American Society of Addiction of Medicine that over 2.5 million Americans now have an opioid use disorder.
The study outlines how Big Pharma’s fraudulent marketing practices combined with the federal government’s enabling of patent schemes have fueled an epidemic that costs society $80 billion/year.
Not surprisingly, the perpetrators of this medical, social and economic disaster are never held accountable:
But no one ever goes to jail; no one in top management is ever held to account. The persons in “personhood” conveniently disappear when corporations get in trouble. And the fines? Mere pocket change compared to the revenues already made from the drugs involved
Essential Reading for the Week