Ethical shopping is a somewhat new phenomenon. We're far more familiar with the "tried and tested" methods of doing good, like donating our money or time. But while Americans generously donated $390 billion to charities in 2017, that number pales in comparison to the $130 trillion we spent on buying stuff in the same year. How much of that went to huge companies that don't support your values-or worse, use their revenue to actively work against them? Conscious consumers prefer to spend money with transparent companies that support the same causes they do.
There is no shame in farming, there is only shame in biting the hand that feeds you. Farmers for a long time have been looked down upon and yet they are an essential group. Constantly working hard to provide food to sustain life on earth. Women farmers especially in my community have been ignored and their concerns dismissed. I did not like this attitude and wanted to change it. It was not until I ventured more into organic farming that I became more respectful of nature, but also myself and those around me.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico — Like so many other children of Mexican farm families, Azucena Cabrera’s father moved to the city to earn a living, becoming an electrician and a plumber to support his family, as farming had become a money-losing enterprise. Like millions of subsistence farmers throughout Mexico and Central America, the Cabreras could no longer eke out a living from the degraded soils and harsh arid climate of the region. Added to the general decline of productivity of the country’s degraded soils, Mexico’s rural agricultural economies have been decimated since the North American Free Trade Agreement by tons of cheap subsidized corn imported from the United States, making traditional agriculture more of a ceremonial ritual than a means of subsistence.
Europe could be farmed entirely through agroecological approaches such as organic and still feed a growing population, a new scientific paper released yesterday shows. Published a week after research revealed a steep decline in global insect populations linked to pesticide use, the ‘Ten Years for Agroecology’ study from European think tank IDDRi shows that pesticides can be phased out and greenhouse gas emissions radically reduced in Europe through agroecological farming, which would still produce enough healthy food for a growing population.
According to a groundbreaking study published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine, an American Medical Association journal, eating organic foods that are free from pesticides is strongly correlated with a dramatic reduction in the risk of cancer. For the study, a team of French scientists, led by epidemiologist Julia Baudry, tracked the diets of 68,946 French adults, more than three-quarters of which were women. The participants, all volunteers, were then categorized into four groups depending on how often they reported eating 16 organic products, including fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, ready-to-eat meals, vegetable oils and condiments, dietary supplements and other products.
By Staff of Co-operative News - Organic Valley is creating a solar partnership that is set to increase overall usage in Wisconsin by 15%, and will incorporate insect-friendly habitat. Organic Valley, America’s largest co-operative of organic farmers, is set to become one of the largest food companies in the world to source 100% of its electricity from renewable sources. The co-op is collaborating with the Upper Midwest Municipal Energy Group (UMMEG) and OneEnergy Renewables to create the solar community partnership. Together, the partners will initiate over 12 megawatts (MW) of solar installations in Wisconsin. The electricity created by this partnership will not only enable Organic Valley to cover 100% of its electric energy needs from renewable sources by 2019 but also increase overall solar energy use in Wisconsin by 15%. Beyond the 12 MW project portfolio, an additional 17-plus MW expected to be constructed as well, resulting in nearly 30 MW of new solar in the region. Organic Valley will purchase renewable energy credits from the solar projects near their headquarters and distribution centre enabling the co-operative to be fully renewable-powered. It is hoped the partnership will deliver lower and more stable electric costs for all participants, alongside the environmental benefits of renewable power. Additionally, the solar community partnership will adopt pollinator-friendly solar standards, which Organic Valley says reflects its commitment to “animals, people and the planet”.
By Shaun Chavis for How Stuff Works - Agriculture is one of the more significant contributors to global warming. Nitrogen-based fertilizers and farm animals generate greenhouse gases, including methane and nitrous oxide. Conventional farming depletes soilof carbon, while planting and managing forests can help offset carbon emissions. But a new study shows that organic farming fights climate change by trapping temperature-raising carbon in soil, keeping it from contributing to the greenhouse effect. Organic farming can also help offset carbon by storing it in soil. The study is published in the Oct. 1 issue of the journal Advances in Agronomy. The research was conducted by scientists at Northeastern University's National Soil Project, in partnership with The Organic Center. They gathered more than 650 topsoil samples from organic farmers in 39 U.S. states and compared those samples with more than 725 conventional soil samples from the continental U.S. The results showed soil from organic farms is 26 percent better at retaining carbon — and retaining it for longer periods of time — than soil that's farmed with conventional methods and synthetic fertilizers. Here's why: The matter that organic farmers use, such as compost, green manure, animal matter and others — as well as the living things in healthy soil, such as microorganisms, earthworms and other components — gives soil humic acids.
By Lela Nargi for Civil Eats - When it comes to mitigating the worst impacts of climate change, keeping excess carbon out of the atmosphere is the prime target for improving the health of our planet. One of the best ways to do that is thought to be locking more of that carbon into the soil that grows our food. The scientific community has been actively debating whether organic farming methods can provide a promising solution. A 2010 paper published in the journal Ambio found that research about increased carbon sequestration due to organic farming methods was inconclusive, while a 2012 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found increased carbon sequestration in organic farm soils—though a 2013 letter in the PNAS disputed those findings, arguing that there were no carbon sequestration benefits related to organic farming. A new study from Northeastern University and nonprofit research organization The Organic Center(TOC), though, has reached a different conclusion: Soils from organic farms had 26 percent more potential for long-term carbon storage than soils from conventional farms, along with 13 percent more soil organic matter (SOM). For the study, which Civil Eats got early access to review, chemists Elham Ghabbour and Geoffrey Davies began by analyzing soil samples from over 700 conventional farms in 48 states.
By Ronnie Cummins for Organic Consumers Association - The Vermont brand has been built on a bucolic image of cows grazing on endless pastures . . . Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and other Vermont companies have used this idyllic imagery to sell their products. Gone are the days, however, when most of Vermont’s cows were grazing in spectacularly scenic landscapes. Now a majority of Vermont’s cows are locked up in . . . ‘confined animal feeding operations’ or CAFOs . . . grazing on concrete with a diet rich in GMO corn and pesticides. - “Vermont’s GMO Addiction: Pesticides, Polluted Water and Climate Destruction,” Regeneration Vermont The most important thing we can do today as conscious consumers, farmers and food workers is to regenerate public health, the environment and climate stability. We can do this most readily by moving away from industrial, GMO and factory-farm food toward an organic, pasture-based, soil-regenerative, humane, carbon-sequestering and climate-friendly agriculture system. What’s standing in the way of this life-or-death transformation? Rampant greenwashing. The proliferation of $90 billion worth of fraudulently labeled or advertised “natural” and “socially responsible” food products in the U.S. confuses even the most well-intentioned of consumers and lures them away from purchasing genuine organic or grass-fed products.
By Staff of Center for Food Safety - SAN FRANCISCO— Synthetic pesticides are once again prohibited in compost used for organic production, thanks to a federal court in the Northern District of California. The court issued a decision in litigation brought by several nonprofits challenging the United States Department of Agriculture’s allowance of pesticide contamination in compost used in organic food production. Center for Food Safety, Center for Environmental Health and Beyond Pesticides filed the case in April 2015, arguing that USDA had unlawfully changed organic regulations to create a new pesticide loophole ...
By Staff of Center For Food Safety - Hawai‘i lawmakers hope to strengthen and expand the state’s organic farming sector after passing unprecedented legislation that would allocate $2 million in state-funded tax credit for certified organic food production (House Bill 1689 CD 1). The state-funded tax credit is the first of its kind in the United States, and is designed to complement existing federal programs that help organic farmers overcome the financial barriers of certification.
By Mike Barrett for Global Research News - For Monsanto’s 2nd quarter, total sales for Monsanto dropped 13%; with one of Monsanto’s top-sellers, corn seeds, falling 11%. The biotech giant cites an “unfavorable agricultural market” for its losses. While the company is admittedly still seeing profits in the billions, the continuous decline paints a bleak picture for the agricultural giant. It means that the massive grassroots movement against Big Biotech giants such as Monsanto is working, and that our collective voice is being more than heard.
By Lindsay Oberst for Food Revolution - Imagine a organic country. Does this seem possible or realistic? In the United States, where only 1 percent of U.S. farmland is certified organic, this may seem like a far-away dream. But in Denmark, this vision is much closer to reality. First of all, people in Denmark have a great appreciation for organic food. Their country’s national organic brand has been in business for 25 years, making it one of the oldest organic brands in the world. Plus, the Danish government is working in multiple ways to convert the entire country’s agriculture into organic and sustainable farming.
By Unicorn Riot. Minneapolis, MN - The project itself began as conversations over a backyard fire pit where people came up with the idea to teach people to grow food, and through that process give food away for free. The project gives families classes with a master gardener and the resources to make a raised garden and help with installation. The agreement between the twenty participating families and the project was to give 3 small harvests a season to the free farmers market. The harvests are moved by a food cart created as part of volunteers dreamed up to make it all sustainable. That cart now pulled up to the various gardens driven by volunteers who gathered the food to give away for free at the market.
By Tom Polansek in Reuters - Sales from organic U.S. farms reached $5.5 billion last year, a 72 percent increase from 2008, the U.S. Agriculture Department said in a report on Thursday that highlighted the consumer trend toward such products. The USDA data, compiled through farmer surveys, showed that milk was the top organic commodity in 2014 with sales of about $1.1 billion. Sales of organic eggs, which are laid by hens raised without cages, totaled $420 million. Demand for organic foods, from fruits and vegetables to meat and grains, has risen steadily in the past decade as shoppers have become more concerned about genetically modified products, as well as chemicals used in the food chain. "We need a higher rate of growth in order to get close to meeting the demand," Laura Batcha, chief of the Organic Trade Association, said after reviewing the sales data.