At its recent policy conference in Washington, D.C., the Organic Trade Association (OTA) heard from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack about the future of organic farming.
Too Soon to Tell: The Case for Hope, Continued
At the end of a week that reminds us to be ever vigilant about the dangers of government overreaching its authority, whether by the long arm of the IRS or the Justice Department, we should pause to think about another threat - from too much private power obnoxiously intruding into public life.
AUGUSTA - Despite concerns any law forcing food producers to label products containing genetically modified organisms could lead to a challenge in the courts, the Legislatures's Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee approved a labeling measure on an 8-3 vote Tuesday.
In late April, world renowned Indian 'seed activist' Vandana Shiva travelled to the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca to join a gathering of Mexican farmers, indigenous leaders and environmentalists, fighting to protect Mexico's native corn crops against the imposition of genetically modified alternatives.
Elders and chiefs of at least 10 sovereign nations walked out of a meeting with U.S. State Department officials in Rapid City, South Dakota, on Thursday May 16 in which the government was attempting to engage in tribal consultation over the Keystone XL pipeline.
The decades-old fight over genetically modified food has reached a fever pitch in Washington.
The Massachusetts senator is now championing legislation that would cut the student loan rate to the near zero that the big banks enjoy when borrowing money.
The Organic Consumer Association's Fair World Project opposes Fair Trade USA's draft policy for multi-ingredient products, which it says panders to big business and represents a step backward even from the group's previously contested standards. Dr Bronner's Magic Soaps is preparing to file a new complaint with the National Advertising Division.
Optimal health is one of my passions and nutrition is one of the best tools I know of on how to achieve it. But the key to getting healthy organic vegetables, of course, is the health of the soil in which it's grown.
WASHINGTON - The organic food industry is gaining influence on Capitol Hill, prompted by its entry into traditional farm states and by increasing consumer demand.
Organic farming has been hijacked by big business. Local food can have a larger carbon footprint than products shipped in from overseas. Fair trade doesn't address the real concerns of farmers in the global South.
When shopping for natural or organic skin care products, better to ignore the marketing and examine the ingredients
Deciding how America will nourish itself and sustain its farms would seem a top policy priority- yet as the US Farm Bill demonstrates, sustainably grown, healthy food and livable incomes for farmers and workers remain an afterthought in a process controlled almost entirely by agribusiness and a handful of farm-state legislators.
The so-called Monsanto Protection Act signed into law earlier this year caused such an outrage that people around the world are planning to protest the biotech company later this month. Now a United States senator is expected to try and repeal that law.
Wheat arrivals in India begin to dwindle. Raises questions about the credibility of production estimates.
Wheat arrivals in the mandis have slowed down. Compared to 2012 marketing season, wheat arrivals this year have come down to a trickle. Although food procurement agencies believe it is because farmers are anticipating a higher return in the months to come and so are holding up the harvest, the question that cannot be ignored is whether the estimates of mandi arrivals were exaggerated?
According to a news report in Dainik Jagran (May 17, 2013) the daily arrivals in different mandis of the wheat belt have shrunk to 1.71 lakh tonnes as against the average of 4 lakh tonnes in the same period last year. The total arrivals in the mandis till May 15 (the procurement season begins from April 1 and lasts till June) was 27.3 million tonnes compared to 31.6 million tonnes last year. This is a clear drop of 4.3 million tonnes till now.
In Punjab, the wheat bowl, as against 81,000 tonnes arrival in 2012, the arrivals this year have slowed down to 25,000 tonnes. In neighbouring Haryana it is much worse. The arrivals, 28,000 tonnes in 2012, have now been reduced to a trickle. The average daily arrival now is 4,000 tonnes. In Madhya Pradesh too, wheat arrivals have slowed down, from 12.1 million tonnes in 2012 to 73,000 tonnes in 2013. Uttar Pradesh too is faced with the same dilemma. Against 14.1 million tonnes in 2012, the arrivals have come down to 36,000 tonnes now.
It is expected that by the time the marketing season ends in June, and with such low arrivals, the procurement will be down by about 10 million tonnes. This shortfall is against the record estimate of 44 million tonne of wheat procurement that has been announced with much fanfare. I am aware that the Ministry of Food & Consumer Affairs is worried at the slackening procurement figures in the light of the ambitious targets set under the proposed National Food Security bill, but what needs to be ascertained is whether the procurement estimates were deliberately inflated and blown out of proportion to provide a feel good factor for the slowing economy? Were the production and procurement estimates magnified to make a case for wheat exports?
In the past fiscal, India has exported 10 million tonnes of wheat at a time when the international prices were not favourable, and the argument was that the country will get a bountiful harvest in 2013 thereby creating more problem for food stocking. Against 82.3 million tonnes stocks (wheat and rice) on June 1, 2012, the Ministry of Food & Consumer Affairs was anticipating stocks to touch an all-time high of 90 million tonnes by June 1, 2013.
When you go shopping it’s not easy to keep track on which products or brands you shouldn’t buy to avoid supporting the destruction of rainforests or animal abuse. How can you know which products follows proper environmental standards, which corporations who fuels climate denialism, which brand of rice that are GMO-free or which corporations who are openly supporting LGBT rights? It just seems as an impossible feat to exert your power as an individual consumer and make informed decisions! But a new smartphone app could help you avoid the Koch Brothers, Monsanto or any other corporation with a terrible environmental or social track record the next time you go shopping.
The Buycott app – which is available for free on your Iphone and on Android devices soon – makes it possible for you to scan the barcode on any product and trace its ownership from various corporate subsidiaries all the way up to the main parent company. The Forbes write:
“Once you’ve scanned an item, Buycott will show you its corporate family tree on your phone’s screen. Scan a box of Splenda sweetener, for instance, and you’ll see its parent, McNeil Nutritionals, is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
Even more impressively, you can join user-created campaigns to boycott business practices that violate your principles rather than single companies. One of these campaigns, Demand GMO Labeling, will scan your box of cereal and tell you if it was made by one of the 36 corporations that donated more than $150,000 to oppose the mandatory labeling of genetically modified food.”
This all sounds very promising! So check out the app and maybe next time you go shopping it’ll be easier to choose products that reflects your principles. Have you already tried the app? Let us know what you think about it in the comments below!
"This is about something much deeper. It's about identity, about values, it's about emotions."
Whether the food industry likes it or not, when it comes to GMO labeling, the "train appears to have left the station", according to former FDA associate comissioner of foods Dr David Acheson.