Are New Genetically Modified Techniques the Future of Food and Farming?

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I first met Jim Thomas, Co-Director of the ETC Group, at a Sustainable Ag and Food Systems Funders conference.  Jim had been tracking emerging technologies and their intersection with food and agriculture for some time. When I first heard him speak, in his lilting almost playful cadence, about something called “synthetic biology,” my ears perked up.

He was talking about a new form of genetic engineering that can alter genetics on a worldwide scale – one with little or no government oversight.  Continue reading

Dear Human, Glyphosate by Any Other Name is Now a Reality

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As a follow up to my interview with Chuck Benbrook, I was astounded to see the verdict come through on the case of Alva and Alberta Pilliod. The jury awarded them an astonishing $2 billion in damages for their exposure to the herbicide glyphosate and their subsequent fight with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Chuck testified in the case on April 17th, and he focused on Monsanto’s “stewardship” and lack thereof for its Roundup-brand herbicides.

Chuck comment that “This verdict will surely get Bayer’s attention. Talk about chickens coming home to roost.” His May 13thblog post, Has Bayer’s Day of Roundup Reckoning Arrived?, elaborates more on the verdict.

What does all this have to do with organic products? Herbicides like glyphosate are explicitly forbidden in organic production. Continue reading

A Tribute to CCOF’s Cathy Calfo: Her Guiding Light Advances Organic Agriculture

2018 Cathy Calfo 2018I have witnessed Cathy Calfo’s vivacious drive since 2011 when she became the Executive Director of CCOF.  Since that time, she has been a friend, mentor, confidant and co-conspirator in advancing all things organic.

During her eight-year tenure, she achieved many policy and advocacy successes for organic agriculture in California and the Nation.

Cathy will leave the organization in March, in the good hands of Kelly Damewood.

I recently had the privilege of speaking with Cathy about her work at CCOF, commitment to organic and vision for the future. Continue reading

Groundbreaking Study Reveals Immediate Benefits of Eating Organic

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Conventional wisdom would tell us that eating food sprayed with toxic chemicals can’t be good for us. Avoiding flesh or fruit grown without poisons seems like a much healthier alternative.

Now a groundbreaking study led by researchers at UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and Friends of the Earth (FOE) reveals the benefits of an all-organic diet. The study, “Organic Diet Intervention Significantly Reduces Urinary Pesticide Levels in U.S. Children and Adults” found that eating organic significantly reduces the amount of measurable pesticides present in our body. Continue reading

Happy New Year: Congress Lays a Golden Egg While USDA Doles out a Lump of Coal

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The end of the year has come and gone – a new year is upon us. I spent the holidays as a serial hostess, whipping up fine organic fare for friends and family. Yet the feasting and frolicking did not distract me from the news that affects the things I hold dear – Food and Agriculture.

While we were all preparing for the holidays, we at once received great tidings from Congress alongside a grimy gift from our dear Administration.

This then is the story of The Golden Egg and Lump of Coal that ended 2018. Continue reading