Thursday, May 31, 2012

The “Organic Watergate” Scandal

According to The Cornucopia Institute, the nation’s leading organic farming watchdog, the USDA and corporate agribusiness executives are involved in a “conspiracy” that includes “numerous federal violations, regulatory abuse and corporate exploitation.” The organization recently published a seventy five page report that explores the approval of questionable artificial additives and chemicals in certified organic foods and misappropriation of appointees to the National Organic Standards Board.

I’ve reviewed the report personally and was alarmed by several of the accusations, but two particular issues really stood out to me as having the ability to completely undermine the USDA’s organic standards.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Devil with a Milk Mustache?

Remember the song Devil with a Blue Dress? Forget the blue dress. Maybe we need to look for the Devil with the white mustache instead.
We already know that conventional milk has major issues, but beware of A1 beta casein in conventional and organic. It’s everywhere in the U.S. milk supply. Thomas Cowan, M.D., a noted authority on this topic, says we have the “wrong kind of cows” for health. Cowan points out that most cows are A1 cows and give milk that has a small, yet significant, amount of something called A1 beta casein.

What’s so bad about A1 beta casein? Epidemiological studies implicate A1 beta casein as a direct or indirect cause of cardiovascular, blood sugar and mental health problems.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Super-sized Portions Are the New Normal

The Center for Disease Control's (CDC) new infographic (shown below) is a shocking illustration of how portion sizes over the past 50 years have correlated with America's ever-expanding waistline. The illustration reveals that the average American is 26 pounds heavier than in 1950. According to research by The Lancet published in August of last year, about one-third of Americans are overweight or obese, and that number is projected to hit nearly 50% by 2030. Not coincidentally, since the 1950s the size of an average restaurant hamburger has tripled, a basket of fries more than doubled, and the average soda has grown from a modest 7 ounces to a jumbo 42 ounces. I urge you to examine the graphic, and we've also included a cool little quiz put out by the CDC.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

$175 Million Turns Pizza into a Vegetable

$175 million! That’s what 50 of the largest U.S. food companies have spent lobbying Congress since 2009, nearly double the amount spent in the previous 3 years.

So what does $175 million buy you in Washington?  Well according to this article, it’s enough to turn school lunch pizza into a vegetable, while at the same time killing a plan by four federal agencies to reduce sugar, salt and fat in food marketed to children. Now don’t get me wrong, generally speaking, I’m not in favor of more regulation, and I’ve already shared my thoughts about the “soda tax” mentioned in this article, but the amount of money spent by Big Food to grease the political wheels in Washington is sickening, especially when it grants you the ability to pass off school lunch pizza as a vegetable.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

You’ve Heard of the Dirty Dozen. Now Meet the Dirty Half Dozen, the “Big Six.” (Part 2)

In part 1 of this article, we shared how the Big Six seed companies have a stranglehold on global agriculture and are poised to take over the entire food chain. Now, let's meet the Big Six...

The Big Six at a Glance

Monsanto: As the world’s largest seed company that is connected to the other five of the Big Six, Monsanto has gained its #1 ranking by research and development and acquisitions of biotech and seed companies, including gaining 50 seed companies during a 13-year period.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

You’ve Heard of the Dirty Dozen. Now Meet the Dirty Half Dozen, the “Big Six.” (Part 1)

You know there’s a huge problem when the major player of the “Big Six” seed companies, Monsanto, has an executive quoted in Farm Journal as saying, “What you’re seeing is not just a consolidation of seed companies; it’s really a consolidation of the entire food chain.”

I’ve known for some time that Monsanto and the rest of the major Big Six seed companies have a stranglehold on global agriculture. In fact, the last 40 years have changed the course of agriculture—and not for the better. In that time, the seed industry has gone from a competitive agri-business involving primarily small, family-owned farms to an industry dominated by only a few pharmaceutical/chemical corporations, namely Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow and BASF—the Big Six.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pharmaceutical Companies Put A Muzzle On Animal Scientists

You may have heard that in recent years, due to public outcry, a growing number of medical schools around the U.S. have introduced rules that will aid in the policing of their faculty’s ties to pharmaceutical companies, but unfortunately, agriculture schools are not following suit.  As this article points out…

“Agriculture schools increasingly depend on the (pharmaceutical) industry for research grants, a sizable portion of which cover overhead and administrative costs. And many professors now add to their personal bank accounts by working for the companies as consultants and speakers. More than two-thirds of animal scientists reported in a 2005 survey that they had received money from industry in the previous five years.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

When Food Becomes a Crime (Guest Blog)

Minnesota moms fight back
Here’s a news headline you never would have seen 50 or 60 years ago:

Farmer Charged Criminally for Providing Fresh Food to Mothers

Back in the days when farmers were our friends or when we (gasp!) grew some of our own food, this sort of news headline would have seemed absurd or even outrageous. That’s why we were shaking our heads when this news release from the Farm Food Freedom Coalition landed in our inbox. According to their report, a civil disobedience action and rally will be held this month to protest the upcoming trial of Alvin Schlangen, a farm club buying manager in Minneapolis. His crime? Selling local farm foods to mothers who wanted fresh fruits and vegetables for their children.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Former Factory Farm Insider and Her Chickens Now Taking a Stand

Carol's humane, free range farm
A friend of mine recently posted this fascinating interview with Carole Morison, a Maryland chicken farmer formerly under contract with Perdue Farms. Carole and her husband lost their contract with Perdue shortly after opening up their farm to the camera crew of Food, Inc., stating on camera, “I’ve just made up my mind I’m gonna say what I have to say,”

Take the time to read the interview and learn from this former industry insider as she talks about the filthy, overcrowded conditions and outrageous practices of her factory-style farm that ultimately led her and her husband to start a humane, free range farm.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Understanding GMO

I came across an interesting article about GenXers’ cooking and shopping habits that I thought warranted some discussion.

The good news?

The article, which defines Generation X as people born between 1961 and 1981, asserts that GenX men are preparing meals more frequently than their fathers did ─ bucking the stereotype about men not knowing how to cook.  The study polling 3,000 young adults found that on average, GenX men are shopping for groceries more than once a week and are cooking about 8 meals per week, while GenX women were preparing approximately 12 meals per week.
The study also found that “about half of GenXers said they preferred to buy organic foods at least some of the time, and one in 10 said they are committed to buying organic when it's available.”

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Is Organic Overpriced?

As I travel the country educating people about the short-comings of our modern food system and urging people to choose organically grown, sustainably produced foods, I am constantly questioned about what I believe to be the number one reason why many people choose not to eat organic ─ price.

In this short, three-minute video, Joel Salatin does a great job of outlining some of the big reasons why organically grown foods cost more than conventional products.  Check it out!

I agree with Joel on these, as well as other key reasons for the cost difference.  But for the sake of this blog, let’s focus on the ones pointed out in the video...