News - Go Organic Campaign
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NEWS: About organic, pesticides, health, and our world

Everyday, new information about negative health, climate, and economic impacts of chemical-intensive agriculture abound, while new reports emerge showing the benefits of organic agriculture and lifestyle. Read about them here.

Organic & Regenerative Agriculture

MD Sues Trump EPA

Five states sue EPA over rule limiting pesticide safety enforcement

The Hill

Thank you, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh!

Maryland’s AG joined with four other states to sue Trump’s EPA for weakening farmworker protections from pesticides.

Old guard, old problems – will Biden administration challenge corporate grip on ag?

The Daily Yonder

President-elect Joe Biden’s rural platform calls for strengthening anti-monopoly enforcement in agriculture. Some advocates question whether Tom Vilsack is the right Secretary of Agriculture for the job.

Implementing these market reforms would fall largely on the shoulders of Biden’s pick for Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.  Many reformers say because of his track record, Vilsack’s selection does not bode well for prioritizing fair markets and agribusiness accountability.

Farmworkers left behind by broken labor and disaster aid systems

Southerly Mag

Unfair labor laws just got worse

In the 1930s, agriculture was excluded from federal labor laws in a process now known as agricultural exceptionalism. In 2020, the Trump administration pushed for more H-2A farmworker visas during the pandemic claiming it was necessary to ensure ample food supply. But the administration also proposed a decrease in already low farmworker wages.

Maryland delegation members urge governor Hogan to implement Coronavirus workplace protections for Marylanders

The Southern Maryland Chronicle

Thank you for demanding Gov. Hogan protect workers during this pandemic

Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) joined Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Jamie Raskin, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Anthony G. Brown, and David Trone in urging Governor Hogan to implement coronavirus workplace protections for Marylanders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The case for edible public spaces in cities

The Modern Farmer

Australian landscape architect, Joshua Zeunert, says the time is now.

Urban food production shouldn’t be limited to what’s being grown privately within four walls. Could community gardens or orchards be filling our public parks, rooftops and town squares?

Abuses in Maryland’s crab picking industry continue to threaten workers during the Covid-19 pandemic

Centro De Los Derechos Del Migrante

How Maryland’s migrant crab pickers continue to be picked apart.

Current shocking conditions are faced by migrant women crab pickers on the Eastern Shore.

Virus’s unseen hot zone: the American farm

The Washington Post

Across the country, fruit growers blocked testing of seasonal farmworkers and told those who caught the coronavirus to keep it quiet. County and state officials were largely unable to stop them.

At the height of harvest season, growers supplying some of America’s biggest agricultural companies and grocery store chains flouted public health guidelines to limit testing and obscure coronavirus outbreaks, according to thousands of pages of state and local records reviewed by The Washington Post.

Eleven states have introduced mandatory protections for farmworkers.

The New Food Economy

Maryland’s governor refuses to do so.

California, Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin have introduced mandatory protections for farmworkers during the pandemic, while Maryland hasn’t. Let Maryland’s governor know you want him to follow the lead of these states. View the video: watch here and sign the petition: Sign here. 

Regenerative agriculture could save soil, water, and the climate

The New Food Economy

Here’s how the U.S. government actively discourages it

Cover crops and other regenerative agriculture practices are still pigeonholed as conservation practices, not as good farming practices. But if farmers want crop insurance, they have to play by the rules.

Buy organic food to help curb global insect collapse, say scientists

The Guardian

Urging political action on pesticide use is another way to help stem ‘collapse of nature’

Buying organic food is among the actions people can take to curb the global decline in insects, according to leading scientists. Urging political action to slash pesticide use on conventional farms is another, say environmentalists.

Intensive agriculture and heavy pesticide use are a major cause of plummeting insect populations, according to the first global review, revealed by the Guardian on Monday. The vanishing of insects threatens a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, the review concluded, because of their fundamental importance in the food chain, pollination and soil health.

Three crises, one solution: change the way we produce food

Organic Consumers Association

World hunger is on the rise. Scientists just moved up the deadline for addressing the looming climate crisis. Small independent farms are failing at an alarming rate. According to three recent studies, one big change could go a long way toward addressing all three of these crises.

By transitioning, on a global scale, to organic regenerative agriculture, we could feed more people, sequester more carbon and improve the economic prospects for farmers.

Three crises, one solution—a solution that will require a massive overhaul of food and farming policy, and a paradigm change in consumer behavior.

Can we act in time?

New groundbreaking study shows organic farms store more carbon

Sustainable Pulse

A new groundbreaking study proves soils on organic farms store away appreciably larger amounts of carbons – and for longer periods — than typical agricultural soils.

The important study, directed by The National Soil Project at Northeastern University in collaboration with the Organic Center, provides a new significant proof point that organic agricultural practices build healthy soils and can be part of the solution in the fight on global warming.

Salisbury-based Perdue aims to break organic price barrier with new chicken brand

The Baltimore Sun

Growth in demand for organic food in more traditional channels has only helped the sales of small grocers that focus on organic products.

Consumers want to buy organic food, but often they can’t because it’s too expensive. Perdue Foods, the Salisbury-based chicken giant, aims to break that price barrier with a new organic brand it’s launching at a time when organic food is growing nearly six times as fast as the overall food market.

How organic can be a solution to soil pollution

Organic Without Boundaries

Soil pollution is a worldwide problem which degrades our soils, poisons the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. Every minute of every day the equivalent of 30 football fields of fertile soil is lost, partly due to irresponsible farming practices.

This is having a huge impact on food security, public health, and well-being, as well as our planet. The good news is sustainable farming practices can heal the soil, build soil fertility, and also increase carbon capture in the soil.

Farming down

Patagonia | The Cleanest Line

The promise of regenerative organic agriculture

The good news is that this is one very significant component of climate change that appears to be well within our grasp.

Should “Regenerative” agriculture get its own label?

Civil Eats

Some groups want to compete with the organic label and raise the standards for eco-conscious consumers. But others worry that another label could end up sowing market confusion.

Eating Organic

U.S. organic sales soar to new high of nearly $62 billion in 2020

FoodPrint

The Organic Trade Association has released a survey which that the pandemic and home cooking has driven a boom in the industry.

Roadmap points Europe toward safer, sustainable chemicals

Environmental Health News

Bravo! European Union for releasing its ambitious strategy for getting hormone-disrupting chemicals–including pesticides–out of food, products & packaging

Gene-silencing pesticides pose massive environmental risks – new report

Sustainable Pulse

Mega-corporations like Bayer have a stranglehold on our food system. They are poisoning our planet with toxic pesticides. Now these corporations are developing “gene-silencing pesticides” that pose unique risks to surrounding ecosystems and pollinators.

FDA must do more to regulate thousands of chemicals added to your food, petitioners say

FoodPrint

Some 10,000 chemicals–including pesticides and endocrine disruptors–are allowed to be added to our foods. American Academy of Pediatrics warns that chemical exposures can lower a baby’s IQ.

Steps to fight climate change with the foods you eat

FoodPrint

Humans are to blame for the current pace of climate change, so, it falls to us to do something about it. Thankfully, there’s something very simple you can do every day to make a difference:

By making small changes to your diet, you can significantly decrease your impact on our climate.

Reminder: the word “natural” means absolutely nothing on food labels

Modern Farmer

Of all the meaningless terms in the food labeling world—and there are a lot—”natural” might be one of the worst. The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) recently sued Hormel, the company behind brands like Applegate and Dinty Moore, for misleading customers with its “natural” label.

Organic farming curbs the spread of foodborne pathogens

Sustainable Pulse

Organic farming promotes natural resistance to common food-borne human pathogens, according to a study that evaluates the benefit of soil organisms. By protecting valuable species of dung beetles and soil bacteria, organic farming systems naturally act to clean up and decompose potentially pathogen-bearing animal feces.

Bad news: the Impossible burger ushering new era of genetically engineered foods

Natural Health 365

The Impossible Burger, a new “plant-based burger” marketed by Impossible Foods, is now appearing on diners’ plates in selected California restaurants. The appearance of these GMO burgers signals a new wave of genetically engineered foods created by gene editing – a technique that natural health experts say is insufficiently tested.  Now, many consumers – blissfully unaware of the “burger’s” GMO origins – are already chowing down on the Impossible Burger.

Organic beef is more nutritional than conventional beef

The Organic Center

Choosing organic when you’re shopping for beef at the supermarket may be a good way to boost the nutrition in your meals, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Good news if you buy organic food — it’s getting cheaper

Associated Press

U.S. shoppers are still paying more for organic food, but the price premium is falling as organic options multiply.

Last year, organic food and beverages cost an average of 24 cents more per unit than conventional food, or about 7.5 percent more, according to Nielsen. That was down from a 27 cent, or 9 percent, premium in 2014.

Health News

Biden to emphasize chemicals concerns of ‘frontline’ communities

Bloomberg Law

His EPA likely to examine how people and wildlife are exposed to chemicals and how they are harmed by them. The more scenarios the EPA examines, the greater chance more uses of chemicals could be restricted or banned.

Common fungicide causes a decrease in antioxidant responsible for defense against diseases like COVID-19

Beyond Pesticides

Common fungicide causes decreases in human body’s ability to defend itself against illnesses such as COVID, and promoted disease permanency.

Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ found in pesticide used on millions of Mass. acres when spraying for mosquitoes

MSN News

Toxic ‘forever chemical’ PFAS found in Sumethrin, used on millions of acres when spraying for mosquitoes. Sumethrin is in the same class of pesticides as the pesticide permethrin, applied by Dept. of Agriculture in communities signed up for its mosquito control program and used by private companies here in Maryland. To be determined: whether permethrin also contains PFAS.

Pesticide poisoning booms globally with 385 million cases a year

Sustainable Pulse

Scientists report that pesticide poisonings on farms around the world have risen dramatically in 30 years. Based on an evaluation of poisoning data from countries all over the world, the researchers conclude that there are about 385 million cases of acute poisonings each year.

Philly parks are going organic with ban on synthetic weed-killers

The WHYY (PBS, NPR)

Maryland cites and counties take heed: Philly parks are going organic with a ban on synthetic weedkillers.

EPA reapproves dozens of ultra-toxic pesticides

Center for Biological Diversity

Some of World’s Most Dangerous Pesticides OK’d Despite Incomplete Assessments, Evidence of Far-ranging Harms to People, Protected Wildlife

The U.S. still uses many pesticides banned in other countries

Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

Some 150 agricultural pesticides the UN World Health Organization considers hazardous to human health are used in the USA.

EPA forced to study glyphosate, finds pesticide could injure or kill 93% of endangered species

Natural Blaze

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft biological evaluation last week finding that glyphosate is likely to injure or kill 93% of the plants and animals protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Glyphosate exposure could disrupt human gut microbiome

Forbes

Exposure to glyphosate, the main ingredient in the weedkiller Roundup, could adversely affect the microbes in our gut, which could lead to poor health.

Toxic PFAS chemicals discovered in hundreds of products

The Intercept

Climbing ropes, guitar strings, and hand sanitizer are among the newly reported uses for the toxic “forever” chemicals.

EPA: widely used pesticide atrazine likely harms more than 1,000 endangered speciess

The Center for Biological Diversity

Finding Comes Two Months After Agency Reapproved Herbicide for 15 Year

The U.S. still uses many pesticides banned in other countries

Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

Some 150 agricultural pesticides the UN World Health Organization considers hazardous to human health are used in the USA.

EPA questions science linking widely used pesticide to brain damage in children

The Hill

The move could enable years of continued use of the poison pesticide.

Firms making billions from ‘highly hazardous’ pesticides, analysis finds

The Guardian

Use of harmful chemicals is higher in poorer nations, according to data analysed by Unearthed

Fraud in German laboratory casts doubt on 2017 EU re-approval of glyphosate

The Guardian

A new study has found that a German toxicology lab committed fraud in a series of regulatory tests that led to the European Union’s controversial re-approval of this cancer-causing pesticide for use in Europe.

The Playbook for Poisoning the Earth

The Intercept

Details the pesticide industry’s vast strategy to influence academics, beekeepers and regulators – and to divert attention away from harm caused by pesticides.

New York bans brain-damaging pesticide chlorpyrifos

Earthjustice

Victory: Chlorpyrifos, linked to intellectual disabilities in children, will be phased out in 2021

Are organic tampons the best choice for women’s health?

Longevity

In addition to fragrances and chemicals used in the bleaching process, the risk of pesticide exposure may be the biggest reason to switch to organic tampons.

Opt out of industrial meat

Center for Food Safety

Consuming meat raised in intensive factory farms impacts on our health and the environment. This website gives you the how, what, and why.

New guide: Securing a non-toxic work environment

Center for Progressive Reform

Workers should be able to earn a paycheck without putting their lives or their health and well-being on the line. Yet every day, an estimated 137 U.S. workers succumb to diseases caused by on-the-job exposure to toxic chemicals and other hazardous substances, and hundreds of thousands more suffer from nonfatal illnesses. In fact, more people die annually from toxic exposures at work than from car crashes, firearms, or opioids.

Chemicals on our food: When “safe” may not really be safe

Environmental Health News

Toxicologist Linda Birnbaum, who directs the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), has called for “an overall reduction in the use of agricultural pesticides” due to multiple concerns for human health, stating that “existing US regulations have not kept pace with scientific advances showing that widely used chemicals cause serious health problems at levels previously assumed to be safe.

You can cut your cancer risk by eating organic, a new study says

CNN

Those who frequently eat organic foods lowered their overall risk of developing cancer, a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine finds. Specifically, those who primarily eat organic foods were more likely to ward off non-Hodgkin lymphoma and postmenopausal breast cancer compared to those who rarely or never ate organic foods.