Tag Archives: farmer’s markets

Activism Healthy Living Real Food Toxin Alert!

Right to Know Rally & Rebuttal to ID Senator Mike Crapo re: Labeling GMO Foods

www.mypicshares.com
On Wednesday, July 18th in downtown Boise, ID, in front of Senator Mike Crapo’s office, citizens gathered for a rally organized by GMO-Free Idaho to protest the fact that our senators are not hearing our concerns about  mandatory labeling for GMO foods in our state. The photos in this post are all from the rally. I was part of this group and I felt like we made an impact on the awareness of people in our area.

Currently, 14 European countries have banned GMO foods, and did so over a decade ago without any government assistance.  It makes you think that with enough consumer education and grass-roots efforts, we could create enough resistance that food companies would have to discontinue their toxic practices.

Read why the majority of Americans want labeling for GM foods.

There is growing doubt in world communities about the safety and usage of GMO seeds and pesticides as is evidenced by various examples of communities rejecting GMO seeds such as Haiti who burned them, French, Spanish, and Indian citizens destroyed GMO fields and burned Bt cotton, Uganda and other locations which have rejected seed altogether.  There are also increasing numbers of allies in the real food community who question it.

www.mypicshares.com

In addition to various countries who have banned the usage of GMO substances in the food supply, other countries are requiring labeling, as India has recently done.

Jeffery Smith of The Institute for Responsible Technology has spent a great deal of time and effort educating and spreading the word. There is a Seeds of Doubt Conference happening on October 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA, where he and other notable and respected speakers and professionals in attendance.

Here is Senator Mike Crapo’s response to our protest in downtown Boise yesterday:

“I understand the concerns expressed by many who oppose genetically engineering food products and seek mandatory labeling for foods containing GE ingredients. However, I am also aware of the many benefits provided by GE crops, including increased yields and nutrition and reduced pesticides and herbicides used in the environment. The only vote in the United States Senate to date requiring mandatory labeling for these food products, an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill, was defeated by a vote of 73-26.

The United States has one of the safest and most abundant food supplies in the world.  Consumer safety and a robust agricultural sector need not be mutually exclusive.  GE food products are a relatively new development in commercial food production, and I agree that it is important that we continue to study and monitor this new technology that has already demonstrated positive benefits.”

The truth is, I’ve sent letters to both of these senators and others in the past, and the answers given here are no different than anything I’ve heard them say to me in “personal” reply. Clearly they don’t have anything intelligent to respond back, because the same responses continually get recycled over and over again.

Here is my rebuttal to Senator Mike Crapo’s statement:

Increased yields

Increased yields are not happening with GMO foods. From the Natural News site, Eco-farming outperforms GMOs at increasing crop yields and growing more food, based on a new report showing that sustainable farming can double food production in 10 years.

From the article, eco-farming  ”allows the People to freely grow and harvest their own food, and take advantage of what nature freely offers them in order to do so. Within the GMO paradigm, however, farmers are controlled by companies like Monsanto that sell them self-destructing “Frankenseeds.” These seeds require heavy pesticide applications in order to grow, and represent an unsustainable system that has devastated the livelihoods of thousands of farmers while failing to deliver on its promises.”

The Institute for Responsible Technology has also published referenced information on this fallacy. From the report:

“Field tests of Bt corn showed that they took longer to reach maturity and produced up to 12% lower yields than non-GM counterparts. In spite of these and other studies, the biotech industry continues to claim that GMOs are the answer to higher yields. Two reports have conclusively contradicted these claims.”

Read the Rodale Institute’s document on why GMO farming is simply a band-aid approach to fix long-term issues with short term solutions. There is also an in-depth discussion to the importance of a food system that can regenerate itself, and how the key to successful farming is healthy soil – which GMO farming destroys.

Better nutrition

Mr. Crapo claims there are increased nutritional benefits. The “benefits” of GM foods have also not been proven. In fact, quite the opposite has occurred.  Nutrition is supposed to fortify and support health. There are many connections to disease and health issues from eating GM foods: allergies, liver disease, infertility, digestive issues and cancer just to name a few. To my knowledge, there has never been any valid studies done to show that GM foods contain increased nutrition.

Superweeds

www.mypicshares.com

Mr. Crapo claims there are reduced pesticides and herbicides with GMOs.  There has been a widespread emergence of superweeds previously not in existence which are heavily resistant to most herbicides. This becomes a widespread problem for farmers and other citizens. These are invasive and difficult to remove. Then, stronger and more toxic herbicides must be used to do the same job that less toxic products were once able to control.

The cycle continues as more and more virulent superweeds are created. This is similar to the overuse of antibiotics in farming environments which cause resistant bacteria.  These plants are replacing non-resistant weeds as well as are spreading resistant genes to other plants through cross-pollination.

The safety of our food system and food recalls

To say that the U.S. food supply is one of the safest in the world is to completely turn a blind eye to all the issues that are continually coming forth in media and health outlet reports. Food recalls are a normal occurrence now, and if you look on any given day you will find a large recall that has recently occurred. There are very few publicly-traded companies who have not had a product appear on recall lists.  Despite the many regulations and laws in place to “protect” consumers, our food supply continues to be riddled with pathogenic bacteria & undesirable substances which are making people sick and killing them.

You would think consumers, politicians, health officials, food producers, and others would make connections between industrial farming practices and the filth found in factory and commercial farming environments. Instead, the logic is that more regulations, fees, and laws need to be imposed. This gives license to big agriculture players who are more than able to get around the confines of the law and afford fines associated with breaking the law, but the government doesn’t shut them down. Instead, they simply continue with unsafe production and “farming” practices. Many of these products have GM ingredients.

If you look at food recall lists, you won’t find truly sustainable, small-scale farmers’ and food growers’ products on them, nor even hear reports about them in the news. Although smaller and sustainable farmers tend to use use healthier practices and safe farming methods that work in harmony with nature, these individuals have been the target of government raids and shut downs, and are being rendered unable to continue producing the safe, healthy food that U.S. citizens are now demanding due to the visibility of insidious problems in the commercial food sector.

The health dangers of glyphosate and pathogenic bacteria found in GMO seeds

Glyphosate, the active ingredient used in Monsato’s flagship product RoundUp, has been found in human urine samples of city dwellers. Doesn’t this say something about just how widespread this substance has become?

The toxicity of glyphosate has been widely documented.

Here are just a few more of those documentations:

Dr. Donald Huber, professor emeritus at Purdue University, has written and spoken out about the introduction of pathogenic bacteria into our soil from foreign DNA  inserted into seeds in the laboratory, and why it adversely affects not only the soil, but those consuming it, and describes how it takes up residency in our digestive tracts.

Watch Dr. Huber’s interview with Dr. Mercola:

I could give many more examples of issues with GMOs,  but it is particularly noteworthy to mention that recently, genetic engineers discovered and spoke up about the health hazards of consuming these substances.

One of the report’s authors, Dr. Michael Antoniou of King’s College London School of Medicine in the UK, uses genetic engineering for medical applications but strongly cautions against its use in the development of crops for human food and animal feed:

“GM crops are promoted on the basis of ambitious claims – that they are safe to eat, environmentally beneficial, increase yields, reduce reliance on pesticides, and can help solve world hunger.”

“I felt what was needed was a collation of the evidence that addresses the technology from a scientific point of view.

“Research studies show that genetically modified crops have harmful effects on laboratory animals in feeding trials and on the environment during cultivation. They have increased the use of pesticides and have failed to increase yields. Our report concludes that there are safer and more effective alternatives to meeting the world’s food needs.”

Testing and the “safety” of GMOs

Mr. Crapo indicated that it is “important that we continue to study and monitor this new technology that has already demonstrated positive benefits.” Sure, let’s study it and prove the “positive benefits”, as long as Monsanto is paying to have those studies done (which is all that has ever been done to date), we’ll always receive the result that GMOs are safe to use.

Too bad that outcome has a strong industry bias.

He says, “we should continue to study and monitor this new technology”.  The FDA has not made requirements for mandatory safety testing of GM crops, and does not even assess the safety of GM crops but only “deregulates” them, based only on assurances from biotech companies like Monsanto that they are “substantially equivalent” to their non-GM counterparts.

There is no amount of “un-biased” or third-party scientific testing or research that will ever prove to me that GMOs are a safe and effective way to produce food.  Not now. Not after all the  overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Here is Senator Risch’s statement (another Idaho senator):

“There are federal laws already in place to make certain our food is safe. There was no need to add this amendment, and in fact, it was rejected in bipartisan fashion with 73 “no” votes when it came up for consideration.”

Here is my rebuttal to Senator Risch’s statement:

Yes, the measure failed 26-73 votes. Here’s how the voting record came out.

Too bad many of those senators receive payments from Monsanto and other seed companies. Here is a list of those receiving financial support from Monsanto.

After looking at this data, it should be pretty clear that these politicians have reasons for their voting record.

The bottom line is: there is clear evidence that GMOs are a threat to our health, environment, and future.

Big companies and government do not have our health or best interests in mind, and are motivated by profits.

This is  a citizen’s call to action!

  • Learn all you can about how GMOs affect us. At least 80 percent of processed foods contain them, and even some foods on the shelves that appear to be “whole foods”.
  • Tell everyone you know by making this post go viral. Let your congressmen and women and local communities know you won’t stand for not knowing what’s in your food supply!

More information: 

GMO-Free Idaho

Organic Consumers’ Association – Millions Against Monsanto

Busting myths about GMOs (genetically-modified foods)

4 ways to avoid GMOs in the foods you buy

Mom-turned activist launches national movement to boycott GMO foods

The Institute for Responsible Technology

1 in 4 meat packages tainted with pathogenic bacteria

Industrial meat & pink slime = more recalls, drug resistance

Photo credit, GMO-Free Idaho

 

Activism Kids & Family Real Food Saving money

On Vacation: Looking for Sustainable Food in Nevada and California

www.mypicshares.com

Over the last week, my family and I have been traveling on vacation to Las Vegas, NV and Los Angeles, CA to see my husband’s parents and sister’s family. We’re still here and I’d like to share my adventures in finding and buying healthy food on our trip.

The picture at the left is of Ann Marie Michaels and I at the Santa Monica farmer’s market in California- I’ll tell you all about that a little later in the story.

I was planning to take some of our own food with us since we’d be driving and we always take a cooler.

Here’s what we brought: meat, milk, ghee, cheese, fruit, coconut oil, and sprouted nuts. Ghee is fantastic for traveling because it keeps well and is healthy and delicious.

In the past when we’ve traveled to Las Vegas, I’ve done some shopping at Whole Foods Market because it was conveniently located near my in-law’s house and had at least some of the things we normally eat at home. Now I’m wanting to avoid WFM because of their refusal to keep raw milk on the shelves and their Health Starts Here Campaign. Read more about that here.

This time, I wanted to rely less on stores and more on my own food brought from home and also to take advantage of local food and farmer’s markets. I checked the Real Milk web site several weeks ago to find some good, local raw milk. Last year I got in touch with a woman who would travel to California and buy Organic Pastures raw milk and store it in her freezer. But by the time we got here and tried to connect with her, our schedules were too different and we were only going to be here less than a week, so we just decided not to pursue it.

This time, her contact information was no longer on the Real Milk page, and the only entry left for Las Vegas is a person named Nicole Lyn who is a contact for a co-op selling raw milk and other products from various farms. I tried contacting her and received a couple of unclear e-mails in return. After several attempts, I finally received a detailed message. As it turned out, the co-op delivers twice monthly and we were going to be in L.A. visiting my husband’s sister’s family during the delivery time. Apparently the co-op provides a variety in natural foods from sustainable farms – raw milk, cream, cheeses, sour cream, yogurt, and other items like coconut oil and raw honey.

What I have started to discover about Vegas is that there is not much local food available. Vegas is in the desert, and much of the “local” food doesn’t come from the desert, obviously. Much of it comes from surrounding states like Arizona, Utah, and some from Northern Nevada. Since Nevada is a pretty barren state, availability is limited.

I was able to visit a local farmer’s market that is relatively new and is actually located just across the street in a park from the condo complex where my in-laws live. It happens on Wednesdays in the seasonal farmer’s market months, and has a nice variety of foods from places like California, Utah, and Arizona. However, they don’t have any meat or meat products because the weather is much too hot. It’s mostly produce, jams, kettle corn, lemonade, and some arts and crafts.

The people I spoke with there said most of the meat and milk availability goes through co-ops and buying groups, but didn’t have any information other than to call the name of  a local butcher/meat store in Vegas where my in-laws sometimes buy meat. So, I called the business – Larry’s Great Western Meats – and sure enough, it’s all basically conventional. The woman I spoke with said it was “grass-fed” until it goes to the feedlot and then is grain fed. Sorry, not interested.

After calling several other places, I did find one business, The Butcher Block, which does regularly feature various cuts of meat from organic sources that are 100 percent grass-fed. They don’t have a web site, but the person I talked to was helpful and nice, and said he makes an effort to keep this type of meat available all the time.

Los Angeles

During our trip to Vegas, we planned a spontaneous trip to drive over to the west Los Angeles area for a few days to visit my husband’s sister so our son could see his cousins. I knew when we made it to California we’d have the chance to buy some great meat at one of the farmer’s markets and also probably be able to locate Organic Pastures milk at one of the health food stores.

On the road, I called their main business line to ask whether they sold any products in or around the Reseda area where we would be staying. I found out that they did, at a store called Follow Your Heart, only 4.5 miles from my sister-in-law’s house. Follow Your Heart, located in Canoga Park, CA, is a quaint little store with food and gifts, and caters to locals and the surrounding neighborhood. The store also hosts special events like health-education classes, music and other performance events. I love places like this!

For years I had known about (and back in the day used to purchase from my local health food store) a product called Veganaise, a home-made egg-less “mayonnaise” substitute made by this company. It wasn’t until I walked into the store that I connected this product with the store. Of course now I know how unhealthy vegetable oils and soy are to consume – the ingredients that make up the bulk of these products. This kind of store is what I would call a traditional foodist’s nightmare, except for a few choice items.

The minus side: Offers no meat or meat products. The store is replete with many foods containing soy and vegetable oils, and processed, packaged foods containing grains, fruits, and vegetables (and chemicals).

The plus side: They do sell grass-fed butter, cheese, and Organic Pastures raw milk and cream. I was so excited to find a clean source for raw milk only five minutes from my sister-in-law’s house! They also have a variety of beautiful gifts and novelties – cards, incense and candles, children’s toys and games, clothing, scarves, pictures, and household items. They also have a good stock of various dietary supplements and herbal products.

The best part of our trip to California for finding good food was our drive over to Santa Monica to meet up with Ann Marie, also known online as Cheeseslave, and her daughter to have brunch and visit the local farmer’s market. I wasn’t sure if we’d have time to do this with really only two days in California, but when my sister-in-law remembered she had scheduled an event to attend for her and her boys on Saturday, it was the perfect opportunity to drive down and check out the coast and the food offerings there.

Ann Marie is only the second fellow foodie from online I have met in real life, and it was a special treat indeed! She took us to the French restaurant, Le Pain Quotidien, which is actually a chain, but features mostly organic and local foods (and home-made, long fermented sourdough bread!). The food was wonderful. I had a chicken cobb salad that had amazing bleu cheese, bacon, and a nice variety of chopped vegetables. My husband had a ham and gruyere omelet with a spring salad, and my son had a home-made Belgian waffle with some ham and greens.

After brunch, we walked over to the farmer’s market. There you can find just about everything you need – grass-fed meats, pork, lamb, pasture-raised poultry and eggs, fruits, vegetables, heirloom garden plants, fresh flowers, raw milk, cheese and butter, honey, dried fruit and nuts, seafood, olive oil, herbs, and personal care products.

We bought some cuts of grass-fed meat (ground beef and a roast), bacon, ham, eggs, strawberries, and hand-made organic lotions made only from essential oils and shea butter from Roots Brothers Grows – the proprietor is a very nice man with awesome dreadlocks!  :)

This market definitely had more variety than our own market in Boise, but I was surprised that the size of our two markets was pretty comparable, which gives me hope for our own market. If you’ve ever been to the Capital City Public Market in Boise, Idaho, you will find that it really is quite a splendid market and does offer a good variety of products and food. But I still think the Santa Monica market is a bit better in its offering of grass-fed meats.

Here are two observations I made on this trip:

  1. I am always astonished at the enormous array of non-healthy foods sold in health food stores. I have noticed this to be true in all health food stores whether it is small, independent, locally-owned businesses like this one or the one in my own community, The Boise Co-op or a big corporate chain like Whole Foods Markets. Now, I know these kinds of faux-health food products are a big business, and they sell like hotcakes at stores. Some of the foods and other products I’m referring to are as follows: soy products, dairy products, cereals, pastas, crackers, chips, rice cakes, tortillas, canned foods, frozen foods, juice and other beverages, personal care products like shampoos, conditioners, skin creams, sunscreens, and other similar products.
  2. Las Vegas seems to have a distinct lack of resources and places where consumers have options for sustainable, farm fresh food. Unless I am mistaken, if you are traveling and don’t have a lot of time or a way to get places, your best bets are the farmer’s market located at the corner of Vegas and Rampart on Wednesday’s, The Butcher Block, and other stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Food’s Market. If you have any idea of the lack of ethics displayed by Whole Foods Markets, you’ll want to avoid supporting this business.

Want more information on healthy eating while traveling?

Eating Healthy While On the Go! Helpful Hints

What are your experiences traveling and finding food? Please share! I’d be very interested to know about anyone’s experiences in the Las Vegas area as we usually come to visit my husband’s parents at least once or twice a year.