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Sunday, October 23, 2011

GMO-Free Florida: The Momentum is Rolling!

Posted on 7:13 pm October 19, 2011
by Trish Sheldon

With co-leaders Mel and Atiya, I facilitate the Action Group for ‘GMO Free Florida’ and the ‘Millions Against Monsanto, Florida Chapter’.

We are working on multiple fronts:

- looking into several Florida (local and state) labeling initiatives and networking with our newly active Non-GMO groups across Florida;
- doing Outreach, Leafleting, Speaking, Film Screenings, Petition Signing, Letters to our Constituents and Direct Action.
- I also take clients shopping to show them how to ‘really’ read labels, advise on what to buy or avoid, and I speak at Mommy & Me groups.

Coming from California, I have been an advocate for the organic movement since the mid 80s. I knew that industrial farming was one of the largest polluters of our planet, I knew that organics were great because of the pesticide issues, however at that time I really didn’t know much about the “Gene Revolution”. My activism journey started about 3 years ago, when I read an article on GM crops. I couldn’t believe more people were not interested in what was happening to our food supply. I started talking with my friends and family about the issue. Some were very receptive, others thought I was crazy. Then I began blogging and sharing information with my friends on Facebook. That is when I first learned about Jeffrey Smith and IRT, and many other great organizations on the GMO battlefront.

Two years ago, I read a petition from Greenpeace on GM rice. I was so mad. I started talking with grocery chains and restaurant managers about the issue, and meanwhile my core of foodie activists was growing, until last year when we organized our first rally. We joined efforts with people in Tampa, and we had two rallies in Florida. We were determined to do something! It was the OCA’s ‘Rally for the Right to know’ and 35 people showed up. From organizing that rally, I met my “partners in crime” Atiya, Mel and Dr. Lynn, all instrumental in bringing momentum to this local movement. (Dr. Mercola just happened by and he took some footage of the rally!).

This year, it seemed out of our hands–it went big! We posted on walls, emailed, blasted out our event to all our favorite Facebook pages –within a week, The Robert Scott Bell Show contacted me. Eventually we connected with one of the best organic markets in South Florida, BM Organics, where we held our meetings. Some great bands performed, including mine. Sponsors and speakers poured in; we even tried to fly in Jeffrey Smith but he was already booked somewhere else – however, we were able to patch him in via the Robert Scott Bell Show.

On World Food Day, I’ve seen more participation than ever: nine separate rallies across Florida! And 100 rallies nationwide, making this the biggest single day of action for labeling GE foods in U.S. History! And the culmination was the Right2Know March from NY to DC. Environmental groups are talking about GMO’s and the media are now more receptive to interviewing and reporting such rallies, as we saw with the Broward and Palm Beach New Times, Sun Sentinel, and WLRN!

Our next action is to bring together multiple groups on Saturday, October 22nd at 1:30pm in Miami, where we will “crash” the SEJ, a meeting of over 700 journalists who cover environmental news. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we are working very quickly to get as many people together as possible to support this rally. Also, Occupy Ft. Lauderdale and Miami will meet us in peaceful protest.

For more info, see
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=241569719225607
Just say NO to GMOs!
Tricia (Trish) Sheldon can be reached at tristessa88@gmail.com
and at 
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=197496120313661

GMO Free Idaho: World Food Day and How We are Moving Forward

Posted on 7:10 pm October 19, 2011
by Jenny Easley

We had a great event on World Food Day, with 50 to 60 people attending notwithstanding pouring rain. Two news channels showed up as a result of our press release, and the event was featured the following evening. We suspect the station managers are not aware of the hornet’s nest they kicked by doing so – Monsanto, Forage, American Crystal Sugar and Syngenta are strong forces here in Idaho.

Our first guest speaker was Phil Geertson, a local alfalfa seed farmer who is currently the lead plaintiff in a suit against USDA and Monsanto. His case has been taken up by the Center for Food Safety. Phil spoke about the cross contamination of alfalfa and how it has severely impacted our seed exports. He also spoke about a study he paid for, during the first deregulation, to test feral alfalfa seed from three different counties in Oregon and Idaho: 9 out of 10 samples of feral alfalfa were positive for the GMO gene.

The second guest speaker, Dr. Peter Cohen, works in internal medicine at St. Luke’s Regional Hospital in Boise, Idaho. He talked about the health consequences of consuming GMOs. He cited the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and Dr. Pusztai, referring to what animal studies tell us in reference to human health. He recommends a GMO-free diet to his patients to whom he gives the “pay now or pay later” talk.

 Local farmers offered samples of their meat and crops. We held a silent auction with local food producers and restaurants specializing in local and organic foods which yielded significant donations. The support from this community has been amazing!

 We formed a strategic committee to move forward.

Our goals are:
1. Continue to increase awareness. Our activities include: free presentations on GMOs including to our local democratic party (We want our candidates to be aware of this issue!); promoting local eating and “get to know your farmer” events;
2. Raise funds so that we can test the feral alfalfa again within the next month, in time for Phil’s next Supreme Court appearance in December.
3. We want to fund testing on milk contaminated by with glyphosate, the chemical ingredient of the Roundup herbicide sprayed on GM Roundup Ready crops. The time between spraying alfalfa with Roundup and harvesting the alfalfa can be as short as five days. Glyphosate does not degrade in that time and this hay is being fed to cattle. We suspect the milk from these dairy cattle will contain glyphosate.
4. We want to pursue the option of a ballot measure for Idaho to obtain mandatory labeling on GMOs following California’s lead.

Friends, any support you can lend us to help us move ahead would be greatly appreciated. We have a very motivated core group of individuals who are ready to join. I want to lead them in the most effective way possible.

Note: Jenny Easley can be contacted at ureachus@msn.com

Widely Used Herbicide Commonly Found in Rain and Streams in the Mississippi River Basin

Technical Announcement:

Released: 8/29/2011 8:19:35 AM

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communications and Publishing
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119
Reston, VA 20192

Paul Capel
Phone: (612) 625-3082

Kara Capelli
Phone: (571) 420-9408

Glyphosate, also known by its tradename Roundup, is commonly found in rain and rivers in agricultural areas in the Mississippi River watershed, according to two new USGS studies released this month.

Glyphosate is used in almost all agricultural and urban areas of the United States. The greatest glyphosate use is in the Mississippi River basin, where most applications are for weed control on genetically-modified corn, soybeans and cotton. Overall, agricultural use of glyphosate has increased from less than 11,000 tons in 1992 to more than 88,000 tons in 2007.

"Though glyphosate is the mostly widely used herbicide in the world, we know very little about its long term effects to the environment," says Paul Capel, USGS chemist and an author on this study. "This study is one of the first to document the consistent occurrence of this chemical in streams, rain and air throughout the growing season. This is crucial information for understanding where management efforts for this chemical would best be focused."

In these studies, Glyphosate was frequently detected in surface waters, rain and air in areas where it is heavily used in the basin. The consistent occurrence of glyphosate in streams and air indicates its transport from its point of use into the broader environment.

Additionally, glyphosate persists in streams throughout the growing season in Iowa and Mississippi, but is generally not observed during other times of the year. The degradation product of glyphosate, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), which has a longer environmental lifetime, was also frequently detected in streams and rain.

Detailed results of this glyphosate research are available in "Occurrence and fate of the herbicide glyphosate and its degradate aminomethylphosphonic acid in the atmosphere," published in volume 30 of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and in "Fate and transport of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid in surface waters of agricultural basins," published online in Pest Management Science. Copies of the reports are available from the journals or from Paul Capel (capel@usgs.gov).

Research on the transport of glyphosate was conducted as part of the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program. The NAWQA program provides an understanding of water-quality conditions, whether conditions are getting better or worse over time, and how natural features and human activities affect those conditions. Additional information on the NAWQA program can be found online.

Monsanto Biotech Corn Not Killing Pests, Research Finds

Monsanto is sued over fatal cornfield accident

Scientists sounded the alarm years ago, but now their predictions appear to be an encroaching reality: Monsanto's biotech corn is showing signs, they say, that it no longer repels the pests it is engineered to kill.

Last month, researchers from Iowa State University published a study showing that the western corn rootworm — a major crop pest and yield-reducer — is surviving after ingesting an insecticidal toxin produced by the corn plants. A University of Illinois professor says he believes the same thing could be happening in fields in northwestern Illinois.

The problem, if it spreads, could mean that farmers will lose a critical tool in managing pests — and the Creve Coeur-based biotech and seed giant could lose ground on a profitable technology.

The corn, which Monsanto launched in 2003, is engineered to produce a protein, known as Cry3Bb1, derived from a bacterium known as Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt. The rootworms ingest the roots of this "Bt corn," as it's referred to in the industry, and the protein is fatal.

But the Iowa team determined that in some fields with heavy populations of rootworm the Bt corn was not killing the rootworm. The study, the scientists said, is the first report of resistance to the toxin in the field, but more are probably on the way, some scientists believe.

"I think there is the potential for more problems to surface," said Mike Gray, an entomologist with the University of Illinois who is studying rootworm damage in northwestern Illinois fields. "These Bt hybrids are grown very widely."

However, Monsanto said that the problem did not amount to "resistance" and added that it was confined to as little as 10,000 acres in certain "hot spots."

"Our Cry3Bb1 protein is effective, and we don't have any demonstrated field resistance," said Dusty Post, who heads Monsanto's corn technology efforts. "We do have some performance inquiries in those counties where there's a high level of insect pressure, but it's no greater now than it's been."

Still, Post said, "We do take this very seriously. The durability of the technology is not only important to the company, it's important to farmers."

Monsanto first launched a Bt corn in the 1990s that was engineered to kill the European corn borer. Its corn rootworm variety hit the market in 2003 and was widely embraced by corn growers who were spending $1 billion a year on rootworm pesticides.

Like its predecessors, the variety was approved by regulators, including the Environmental Protection Agency. The agency gave the green light to the corn only if farmers agreed to certain growing conditions, among them the requirement to plant non-Bt "refuge" corn on 20 percent of their Bt corn acres.

This, the agency maintained, would limit potential resistance to the protein by, in effect, ensuring that the insects can multiply and dilute the resistance genes in their offspring.

But scientists sitting on a scientific review board before the approval later complained that the agency ignored their recommendations and caved to the company's demands for a 20 percent refuge.

They said farmers should instead have been required to plant 50 percent non-Bt corn.

The failure to listen to the review board, critics say, is largely responsible for the evidence of growing resistance.

'Everybody was fudging'

Critics also point out that monitoring farms for compliance with the refuge requirements has been lax and even nonexistent.

"Everybody was fudging, and no one was looking," said Brett Lorenzen, of the Environmental Working Group, another group that monitors agriculture. "It's been a major concern."

Making things worse, critics say, was the boom in demand for corn-based ethanol and high corn prices, which have lured farmers into growing practices that encourage resistance. Before Bt-corn, farmers would rotate crops to discourage the rootworm from reproducing. But the new variety meant they didn't have to.

"Continual corn planting favors buildup of bigger, more damaging rootworm populations over years," explained Bill Freese, of the Center for Food Safety, a Washington-based advocacy group that has been highly critical of genetically engineered crops. "Monsanto's Bt corn helped make more corn-on-corn possible, by freeing farmers from the need to rotate to combat this pest. But as we now see, that 'solution' was short-lived."

Corn rootworm has proved, historically, to be adept at evolving, and scientists have said it was only a matter of time before it evolved to resist the protein in Bt corn.

"When you ratchet up the selection pressure, using the same practice over and over again, eventually the western corn rootworm has a way of evolving," Gray said. "It's not surprising."

Monsanto, however, released its SmartStax corn last year, which contains two proteins to combat rootworm. The EPA ruled that farmers who plant that variety need to create only a 5-percent refuge because the two proteins mean the rootworm will be less prone to resistance.

That has some entomologists worried, given the speedy evolution of resistance over the past several years to the Cry3Bb1 protein.

"The EPA is going to have to think this over very carefully," Gray said.

Copyright 2011 STLtoday.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/article_48721bc6-38cb-5cf0-aae1-2b1a7e85cea5.html#ixzz1bdBHlc2w

Monsanto Corn Falls to Illinois Bugs as Investigation Widens

By Jack Kaskey - Sep 2, 2011 5:07 PM ET .

Monsanto Co .’s insect-killing corn is falling over in northwestern Illinois fields, a sign that rootworms outside of Iowa may have developed resistance to the genetically modified crop, according to one scientist. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Monsanto Co. (MON)’s insect-killing corn is toppling over in northwestern Illinois fields, a sign that rootworms outside of Iowa may have developed resistance to the genetically modified crop, according to one scientist.

Michael Gray, an agricultural entomologist at the University of Illinois in Urbana, said he’s studying whether western corn rootworms collected last month in Henry and Whiteside counties are resistant to an insect-killing protein derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, a natural insecticide engineered into Monsanto corn.

The insects were collected in two fields where corn had toppled after roots were eaten by rootworms, Gray said today. Planting Bt corn year after year increases the odds that the bugs will develop resistance to the insecticide, he said. While the symptoms parallel bug resistance that’s been confirmed in Iowa, analysis of the Illinois insects won’t be complete until next year, he said.

“Whatever is the cause, it is generating a lot of concern.” Gray said in a telephone interview. “I wouldn’t say at this point it’s just an isolated field here or there.”

Monsanto takes reports like Gray’s “seriously” and follows up on all accounts of unexpected damage and other performance questions, said Lee Quarles, a spokesman for the St. Louis-based company. Monsanto’s monitoring hasn’t found rootworm resistance to its Bt corn and the product is performing well on more than 99 percent of acres planted, he said.

Preliminary Findings

Monsanto dropped $3.13, or 4.5 percent, to $65.80 as of 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have fallen 5.5 percent this year.

Gray detailed his preliminary findings last week in the university’s Pest Management and Crop Development Bulletin. He said he’s since been contacted by more farmers whose Bt corn is succumbing to corn rootworms.

“It’s very, very significant damage,” Gray said. “Producers buy these Bt hybrids to protect their root systems, so it understandably makes them not very happy.”

In July, Iowa State University entomologist Aaron Gassmann reported the first rootworms confirmed as being Bt-resistant, which he found in four of the state’s cornfields.

Gray advised growers with performance problems to rotate corn crops with soybeans and to plant corn with a different type of Bt technology.

Monsanto’s SmartStax corn introduced last year is engineered to produce a second Bt insecticide that, when used with crop rotation and a refuge of non-Bt corn, will extend the usefulness of the insect-fighting technology, Quarles said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jack Kaskey in Houston at jkaskey@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net.

Hundreds Rally in Washington to Demand GMO Labeling

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of people from around the United States rallied in front of the White House on Sunday, urging the government to require compulsory labeling of food made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

"Most Americans agree they have a right to know what is in the food they put in their own and their children's bodies, but current federal policy favors the pesticide industry and hides the facts," said Katherine DiMatteo of the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements.

"It's time to reset U.S. policy on GMOs," added DiMatteo, who serves as a coordinator of the event.

GMOs have caused a lot of issues, but "the government is not doing everything that they should be doing to contain these issues," Kim Mendoza, a demonstrator from Washington D.C., told Xinhua.

The rally marked the end of a 16-day, 504-km march from the United Nations in New York City to the White House in Washington D.C., which DiMatteo said was "an unprecedented effort to win genuine transparency on genetically engineered foods."

The United States is the world's largest commercial grower of GMO crops, and more than 70 percent of its processed food contain genetically engineered or biotech ingredients.

Labeling of genetically modified food, whose safety remains controversial, is voluntary in the United States. In most cases, food producers use the labels to declare that the product is not genetically-modified.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

World Food Day - Oct. 16, 2011

From: Organic Consumers Association [mailto:ronniecummins@organicconsumers.org]
Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2011 7:48 PM

World Food Day is Here!

World Food Day has finally arrived! This Sunday, October 16 is slated to be the biggest day of action for labels on Genetically Engineered Foods in US history! Our loyal members and intrepid food activists have planned over 100 events nationwide. Our goal is that after October 16th, 2011 everyone in the nation will know and understand the health risks and environmental hazards of GMOs.

But in order to get the media, our legislators, and the Biotech industry to heed our call for labeling, we need numbers! We need everyone out in the street supporting your local events. Can you lend your voice to protect our food supply? Will you be there on October 16th?

Here is the list of events we currently have in your area. We realize that some event information is missing. If you have questions or would like to help with specific events, please contact the event organizers listed for each event.

LOS ANGELES, CA - Oct 16th, 12-4pm
Westwood Federal Building 11000 Wilshire Boulevard, organized by Stacey Hall, cahealthyliving@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=156793347733610

LOS ANGELES/WESTCHESTER, CA - Oct 16th, 2-4:30pm
The Future of Food screening and potluck at the Community Hall of Holy Nativity 6700 West 83rd Street, Westchester, organized by Margaret Whalen, gigglesloud@yahoo.com
www.EnviroChangeMakers.org

PLEASANTON, CA - Oct 16th, 12pm
Rally location changed to the Federal Building in San Francisco, organized by Ashley Ramirez
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=282025305144609

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Oct 16th, 12-4pm
Rally with music at the San Francisco Federal Building 90 7th Street on the corner of Mission St. and 7th, organized by Laura Babbitt, RightToKnowSFRally@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=242522782452892

SAN FRANCISCO to SACRAMENTO, CA - Oct 14th, 9am
Critical mass bike ride from San Francisco to Sacramento to deliver "The Global Citizens Report on the State of GMOs to Gov. Brown, departing from the corner of 24th at Mission at the BART Station at 9am, organized by Miguel Robles, miguel@biosafetyalliance.org
http://www.biosafetyalliance.org

SACRAMENTO, CA - Oct 16th, 10-3pm
Rally at the Capitol Mall in Sacramento
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=221215157915562

SAN DIEGO, CA - Oct 16th, 11am-3pm
Rally at the Horton Plaza Shopping Center, 324 Horton Plaza, meet at the corner of 4th and Broadway, organized by Sheri Fogerty, mom@momsforsafefood.org
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=144580705634452

SANTA CRUZ, CA - Oct 16th,1-3pm
Rally: Meet at the Clocktower - bring signs & friends!, organized by GMO free Santa Cruz
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=250900624939617

SANTA ROSA, CA - Oct 16th, 3-5pm
Informational Festivities and a March demonstration downtown, Julliard Park, 227 Santa Rosa Avenue, (across from Luther Burbank Garden), organized by Renee Mitchell, NoGMOSonomaCounty@ymail.com
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=247031288676395

More events are being organized every day, so if you don't see an event in your area, please check the overall list of events posted here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_23862.cfm

Thanks again to everyone who worked so hard to make this day come together. And thanks in advance to everyone who will take to the street this Saturday and Sunday (and after)!

**Remember to take pictures and videos of your event that you can later upload to our Virtual Rally for the Right to Know (http://www.flickr.com/groups/right2knowaboutgmos/pool/) Flickr photo album.***

Thanks Again,
The Millions Against Monsanto Campaign Staff, OCA

Monday, October 3, 2011

Death Blow to GMOs?

California Ballot Initiative Calls for Mandatory Labeling of All Genetically Engineered Foods

(NaturalNews) In what is perhaps the most significant breaking news we've heard on the GMO front in a long time, an effort has just been announced in California that seeks to gather enough signatures to put an historical initiative on the ballot which would require the labeling of GMOs in foods.

I interviewed Ronnie Cummins from the Organic Consumers Association (www.OrganicConsumers.org), who is a key leader in advocating mandatory GMO labeling. His organization is playing a significant role in helping to get this initiative on the ballot in California.

This is the pathway to victory against GMOs! With this initiative on the ballot, we have a very achievable strategy to deal a death blow to GMOs and restore sanity and integrity to our seeds and food crops.

Listen to the full interview with Ronnie Cummins on SoundCloud:
http://snd.sc/qPBFJk

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033763_GMOs_California_ballot_initiative.html#ixzz1ZjS20SpU