Help Bring Integrity Back to the Agricultural Industry

October 29, 2009
It appears that the USDA is appointing key executives with questionable backgrounds, and an apparent bias towards
Perfect tomato.

Agribusiness in question

the use of Genetically Modified crops and pesticides.  I am reprinting below a call for action from Food Democracy Now! which outlines the current concerns and offers an easy action step for you to take to help bring integrity back to the US agricultural industry.  Please let your voice be heard and also please join me in donating money to Food Democracy Now! so they can continue with the good work they are doing on our behalf.
President Obama has found himself with some strange bedfellows lately.

While on the campaign trail in Iowa, Barack Obama boasted, “We’ll tell ConAgra that it’s not the Department of Agribusiness. We’re going to put the people’s interests ahead of the special interests.”1 Despite that promise, it seems that ConAgra’s friends at Monsanto and CropLife are still finding their way into the USDA.

Last month, President Obama nominated two “Big Ag” power brokers–Roger Beachy and Islam Siddiqui–to key agency positions, putting agribusiness executives in charge of our country’s agricultural research and trade policy. Please join us in telling the President that this isn’t the change we voted for. We don’t want Big Ag running the show any more.  

Siddiqui’s confirmation hearing is set for next week. Please help us reach our goal of 50,000 signatures to make a real impact.

http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/65?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1

Obama’s first agribusiness selection is Roger Beachy, to be head of the USDA’s newly created National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Beachy is the founding president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, MO. It may sound innocuous, but the Danforth Center is essentially the non-profit arm of GMO seed giant Monsanto; Monsanto’s CEO sits on its board, and the company provides considerable funding for the Center’s operations.2

As the head of the USDA’s new research arm, formerly known as the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CREES), Beachy is responsible for deciding how U.S. research dollars will be spent in agriculture.3 Translation: more research on biotech, less research on how to scale sustainable and organic agriculture.

Unfortunately, Beachy has already started work at the USDA, but the next nominee—Islam Siddiqui—still must be confirmed by the U.S.Senate. Siddiqui, the Vice President of Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America, was recently nominated to be the Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the US Trade Representative.4 Amazingly, when Michele Obama planted her “organic” garden on the White House lawn, Siddiqui’s CropLife MidAmerica sent the First Lady a letter saying that it made them “shudder”.5

During his career, Siddiqui spent over 3 years as a pesticide lobbyist, an Undersecretary at the USDA and a VP at CropLife. In defending Siddiqui, the White House has stated that he played a key role in helping establish the country’s first organic standards.6 What they neglect to mention, though, is that those original organic standards would have allowed irradiation, sewage sludge and GMOs to undermine organic integrity! The standards were so watered down that 230,000 people signed a petition for them to be changed, which they eventually were.7

Fortunately, the organic community stopped Siddiqui and his cronies then, and we need your help now to do it again. If Siddiqui’s nomination is allowed to go through, then agribusiness will continue to control the seeds, the science, and the distribution of global food and agriculture.

Please join Food Democracy Now! and a broad coalition of other groups, in calling on President Obama to keep his campaign promise of closing the revolving door between agribusiness and his administration.  

Please click here to add your voice.  

http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/65?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1

Thanks for standing with us and our coalition partners from across the country, including: The Pesticide Action Network (PAN), National Family Farm Coalition, Food & Water Watch, Farmworker’s Association of Florida, Institute of Agriculture & Trade Policy, Greenpeace and the Center for Food Safety in calling for President Obama to live up to his promises to put people’s interests ahead of special interests

Sustainably Yours,

Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! Team.

If you’d like to see Food Democracy Now!’s grassroots work continue, please consider donating. Your donation of $5 or more will help us continue our work. We appreciate your support! http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/25?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1

Sources:

1. Obama slams corporate agriculture, two Illinois firms, The Chicago Tribune, November 10, 2007

http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/58?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1

2. Another Monsanto man in a key USDA post?, Grist, September 24, 2009

http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/59?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1

3. A New Direction on Research at the USDA? The Experts Weigh In, The Huffington Post, October 15, 2009

http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/60?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1

4. Obama’s attempt to tap an agrichemical-industry flack runs into trouble, Grist, October 10, 2009

http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/61?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1

5. Michelle’s green garden upsets pesticide makers, The First Post, April 23, 2009

http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/62?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1

6. Agriculture nomination steams greens, Politico, October 10, 2009

http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/63?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1

7. USDA Enters Debate on Organic Label Law, The New York Times, February 23, 2003 http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/72?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1


Organic Produce Under Attack

August 20, 2009

Seattle Farmers MarketA recent review by the UK Foods Standards Agency came out claiming that organic foods are no better than the less expensive conventionally grown foods.   A closer look at that review reveals some truths underlying the growing media attention and debate over whether or not organic foods are worth the extra buck. I am re-printing an excellent post on this topic  by Tom Philpott who farms and cooks at Maverick Farms, a sustainable-agriculture nonprofit and small farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

One of the key messages I received while researching this topic is that organic foods consistently contain a higher level of tertiary, phytochemicals then conventionally grown foods. These phytochemicals (e.g. resveratrol, chlorophyll, glucosinolates) hold as much, if not more promise for preventing and treating disease then the basic nutritional compounds that are used to test the benefit of one food over another.

In health,

Dr. Gina

A bit of nitrogen with those veggies?

Tom Philpott

A recent literature review by the U.K. Food Standards Agency concluded that organic foods offer no nutritional advantages to ones grown with conventional chemical agriculture.   The report quickly bounced around the media and the internet and has congealed into received wisdom. For example, in a recent chat with readers, Washington Post food politics columnist (and general policy writer) Ezra Klein engaged in the following exchange:

Santa Fe, N.M.: I saw a report today on a study finding that organic food isn’t any healthier than conventional food. Is buying organic a waste of money, in your opinion? Read the rest of this entry »


Defend your Right to Know if Synthetic Hormones are in your Milk

July 22, 2009

Food Democracy Now and Organic Valley Family of Farms just released a call for help to rescind an anti-labeling law and prevent further regulations in Ohio that will restrict organic dairy farmers from labeling their products as free from the synthetic hormone rGBH.Tomatoe with nutriton facts

According to Food Democracy Now, there was a small group of corporations that pushed a law through last year making it illegal for organic farmers, such as Organic Valley Family of Farms, to label their products as free from artificial hormones.  On July 23rd the International Dairy Foods Association and Organic Trade Association will have a joint mediation with the Ohio Department of Agriculture to decide whether this rule go into effect.

To take action, call Ohio Governor Strickland and ask him to rescind Executive Order 2008-03S. Phone calls make the most impact so call today if it is important to you to know what is in the food you consume. His office # is: 614-466-3555.

I just saw the movie Food Inc. which is a revealing look into the reality behind how the food you consume and feed your loved ones is produced.  It is worth the time and energy, and offers hope and action steps you can take to improve the quality of our food supply.

This post is timely, as discussions are in full gear regarding healthcare reform in California and in the country.  Let’s focus on the cause of most chronic illness (which incidentally costs our government the most amount of money to manage), rather then masking the symptom by ensuring that all citizens receive the same level of healthcare which has failed miserably at treating chronic illness.  The foods we eat play the largest role in preventing and treating chronic illnesses such as heart disease and obesity.  Removing hydrogenated oils, refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, genetically modified foods, and plant and animal proteins laden with synthetic hormones, antibiotics and pesticides from our food supply is an intelligible place to start. And by all means support companies such as Organic Valley Family of Farms that are willing to take the high road and produce quality products free from these disease-causing ingredients.

In health,

Dr. Gina


Dying from Cancer in the Workplace

February 6, 2008

There have been countless reports of the link between toxins in the work place and cancer. This article talks about the tens of thousands of people in New Zealand that are dying from cancer due to toxin exposure in their workplace. Part of my initial medical intake with every patient involves evaluating any potential health hazards that they are exposed to in the home or at work. Here is a free Toxicity Questionnaire that I designed and use with every patient. Originally the Toxicity Questionnaire was published in my book Clinical Purification: A Complete Treatment and Reference Manual on detoxification which is a little on the technical side but is full of hundreds of pages of information based research on detoxification.

One of the main sources of toxins is the herbicides and pesticides in our food supply, workers who are exposed to these toxins having one of the highest risks of toxin-related cancers.

While most people don’t always have access to organically grown produce at an affordable price- here are the eleven most important foods to buy organic:child_picking_strawberries.jpg

  1. Peaches
  2. Apples
  3. Sweet Bell Peppers
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarines
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Lettuce
  9. Grapes
  10. Pears
  11. Spinach

For a complete list of the percentage of pesticides found in our produce, as analyzed by the Environmental Working Group, check out this article that lists the top 45 most harmful non-organic produce items.


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