Media/News Archive

New Evidence About the Dangers of Monsanto’s Roundup

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

The Intercept
by Sharon Lerner

Source: Mike Mozart

John Sanders worked in the orange and grapefruit groves in Redlands, California, for more than 30 years. First as a ranch hand, then as a farm worker, he was responsible for keeping the weeds around the citrus trees in check. Roundup, the Monsanto weed killer, was his weapon of choice, and he sprayed it on the plants from a hand-held atomizer year-round.

Frank Tanner, who owned a landscaping business, is also a Californian and former Roundup user. Tanner relied on the herbicide starting in 1974, and between 2000 and 2006 sprayed between 50 and 70 gallons of it a year, sometimes from a backpack, other times from a 200-gallon drum that he rolled on a cart next to him.

The two men have other things in common, too: After being regularly exposed to Roundup, both developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer that starts in the lymph cells. And, as of April, both are plaintiffs in a suit filed against Monsanto that marks a turning point in the pitched battle over the most widely used agricultural chemical in history. Read Full Article »

Is Quinoa California Farmers’ New Kale?

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Los Angeles Times
by Geoffrey Mohan

Source: LID, by Jonas Ingold

Bryce Lundberg is elated, which is saying a lot for a California farmer these days.

“Hop on in,” he says, wading into eight acres of ragged stalks, their seed tassels turning russet in the desert sun.

Lundberg, 54, soon is chest-high in quinoa, a crop that is thriving in an unexpected place: on a patch of mediocre soil that lies below sea level in the scorching-hot Imperial Valley, more than 4,500 miles removed and some 10,000 feet down in elevation from its native range in South America’s Andes Mountains.

If the harvest proves profitable here, California could dominate yet another niche crop, as the grain-like seed graduates from health-craze fad to a popular ingredient in energy bars, cereals and even drinks. Acreage dedicated to quinoa may reach into the thousands in the next two years in California, a state that already is a hub for quinoa imported from South America. That’s about where kale was in 2007 before it took off. Read Full Article »

How Americans Gardened 260 Years Ago

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Rodale’s Organic Life
by Therese Ciesinski

Source: Sarah Elliott

Colonial Williamsburg shows us that when it comes to technique, not much has changed.

The wooden yoke around my neck doesn’t hurt at first. I winch up two brimming wooden buckets from the well and attach them to the yoke. Now carrying 40 extra pounds of water weight, my shoulders visit my knees as I lurch away from the well and stagger across the garden to pour the water into the cistern, where it must warm to air temperature before it is scooped out again to water the vegetables.

I’m in the Colonial Garden and Nursery at Colonial Williamsburg, the 84-year-old living history museum in Virginia. It’s sunny and quite warm; T-shirt weather. Because rain’s been scarce, I have volunteered to water the vegetable garden, in the way a housewife of the “middling class” would.

Never has a drop in the bucket seemed so futile: If it were 1750, it would take 49 more trips just to keep this garden alive another day. With men off doing the hard labor, this Sisyphean task fell to women or children. Or, for those who could afford them, slaves. In truth, most people gardened at the mercy of the weather. Read Full Article »

Under the Influence: The National Research Council and GMOs

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Food & Water Watch

The National Research Council’s ties to the biotech industry and other corporations create conflicts of interest and raise questions about the independence of their work.
Download the issue brief here.

Source: Flickr, vaxzine

The National Research Council (NRC) — the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences — enjoys a reputation as one of the elite scientific bodies in the United States, an independent institution that Congress calls on for impartial scientific advice about topics like genetically engineered crops (commonly called GMOs). However, the NRC’s far-reaching ties to biotechnology companies and other agricultural corporations have created conflicts of interest at every level of the organization, which greatly diminish the independence and integrity of the NRC’s scientific work. Read Full Article »

Egg Comes First in Fight Over What It Means to Be Organic

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Bloomberg
by Deena Shanker

An aerial photo from August 2014 shows
six hen houses, several with two floors,
and a seventh under construction at the
Green Meadow site in Saranac

Big Agriculture may see a broader threat in new government regulations. Congress comes to the rescue.

A decade-plus effort by organic farmers, animal welfare advocates, and consumer groups to guarantee humane treatment of farm animals in the burgeoning organic food industry could be derailed this week by a one-page rider slipped into a congressional appropriations bill.

The law would eliminate all funding for a stricter new regulation proposed by the Obama administration intended to guarantee that the organic-in-every-respect egg is, in fact, as advertised.

Even though it still makes up just a tiny fraction of the overall egg market, the growth in organic egg sales has been nothing short of explosive. From 2014 to 2015, when total egg sales in the U.S. were down 1.1 percent, organic egg sales increased an astonishing 119.8 percent, according to data from Euromonitor, proving that consumers will indeed pay a premium for what they think is a better product. Read Full Article »