Posts Tagged ‘Organic’

Equal Exchange shares our shock and disappointment over yesterday’s USDA decision to deregulate Genetically Engineered Alfalfa. As a member of the National Organic Coalition, we will continue to fight to uphold the integrity of organic agriculture. For more information about the issue please read the following press release.

January 27, 2011

National Organic Coalition ‘Gravely Disappointed’ With USDA Decision To Allow Unrestricted Planting Of Genetically Engineered Alfalfa

Resolute in Continuing to fight for Organic Integrity

The National Organic Coalition (NOC) today is shocked and disappointed over the decision by USDA Secretary Vilsack to de-regulate Genetically Engineered (GE) Alfalfa.

“We appreciate the measures that the Secretary has announced to explore ways to develop the science to protect organic and other non-GE alfalfa farmers from contamination. However, to institute these measures after the GE alfalfa is deregulated defies commonsense,” said Michael Sligh, founding member of NOC. “Logically, efforts to develop the science of prevent GMO contamination should precede, not follow, any decision to deregulate GE crops.”

De-regulation with no oversight, enforcement or penalties by USDA is a green light for business as usual. Potential contamination from yet another genetically modified crop without independent health and environmental testing, or plans for liability, compensation, and labeling is of grave concern to organic farmers and consumers alike, according to NOC spokespersons.

“Organic and others are now left, once again having to take all the precautions while biotech takes little responsibility,” said Liana Hoodes, NOC Director. (more…)

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Tell USDA “No” to GE Alfalfa:

USDA extends commenting period until March 3


IOWA CITY, Iowa – Feb. 16, 2010 – The new USDA pasture rule has been widely embraced by the organic community and greatly strengthens the integrity of the USDA Organic Seal. This is an important change that should be celebrated by the organizations and consumers across the country who commented on the issue and made it clear that consumers expect that organic livestock have access to pasture. Your voice does count!

And, we can do more. The new ruling also heightens the need to stop the USDA’s proposed deregulation of genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa. Such deregulation may result in the permanent contamination of organic grazing fields.

National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), a business services co-operative for 112 natural food co-ops nationwide, opposes the deregulation of GE alfalfa and encourages consumers nationwide to tell the USDA they oppose the allowance of GE alfalfa into the nation’s food supply. A public commenting period, originally set to expire Feb. 16, has been extended to March 3.


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Coffee grows best under a canopy of shade. By keeping their coffee farms well-forested, as well as by practicing sustainable farming methods, our producer partners are doing their part for the environment: reducing soil erosion, increasing soil fertility, maintaining habitat for wildlife and migratory songbirds, protecting water sources, and much, much more…

Unfortunately, when visiting our co-operative partners, regardless of which country we’re in, landscapes like the one below are becoming all too common. Here’s a familiar scene from our trip last week to Nicaragua:


But, there’s also a lot being done in farming communities to protect and restore the environment that keeps us hopeful.

Here’s a photo of Marvin Tonico’s farm in the community of Filas Verdes. He is a member of Fuente de Oro (Fountain of Gold), one of eight organic coffee co-operatives that are affiliated through the Tierra Nueva (New Land) Union of Cooperatives located in Boaco and Matagalpa.



You can see the row of coffee in the background, the different species of shade trees above. In the foreground are the “live barriers”, rows of plants used to prevent soil erosion.


Here’s another photo of young coffee bushes planted under the shade canopy:

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Suddenly everyone’s talking about local: “Local is the new organic,” we’re told.

Farmers’ markets are springing up in food co-operative and church parking lots and on Main Streets throughout the country. More people are joining CSAs (community supported agriculture) and choosing locally grown products in their grocery stores. And as this trend continues, more and more consumers are starting to ask hard questions about where their food comes from and how its grown, who is growing it and under what conditions, and equally important of course, who’s making the decisions that control our food choices and who’s making the profits from those purchases?

The “buy local” movement implies that people are acknowledging all the hard work that goes into producing high quality, healthy, flavorful products and they want to support their local farmers. They want to know the farmers, how the food was grown and be assured that it’s both healthy for them and safe for the planet. To me, it says that we as consumers are choosing to re-personalize the food system; that we want to be a part of a movement that supports community and the planet and that we are ever more ready to resist the trend for corporate control of our food system and our values. (more…)

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