Monday, March 14, 2011

Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farm Speaking on Stopping Monsanto and Biotech

Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield Farm
On January 30, 2011, the USDA announced a policy that supports the interests of Monsanto and big biotech over the interests of the health of the entire human population. This unconscionable policy will undoubtedly cause uncompensated repercussions to human health and organic farming, unless the people of the U.S. lift their voices against this policy.

Gary Hirshberg, Chairman, President and CE-Yo, Stonyfield Farm, speaking on stopping Monsanto and Biotech: "The problem with deregulating GE crops without restrictions is that the dangers of contamination are permanent and irreversible. Whereas Congress has enacted other legislation to correct and reverse past transgressions, for instance the Clean Air Act and clean water legislation, a hypothetical 'clean crop act' would never be able to undo the damage and losses caused by GE crops. Therefore the time to fight for these restrictions is now."

Re-read the above quote to realize the full impact of it. Then read the full article on the efforts conducted by the organic community against the unbelievable decision by the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) to totally deregulate GE (genetically engineered) alfalfa. This decision is one of the most important changes ever to be made in our agricultural systems and will undoubtedly have massive, negative repercussions for the health of everyone in the U.S.

To stand with us in opposition of GE alfalfa, here's how you can help: Read this letter from Maria Rodale, Michael Pollan and other organic advocates. Here's an excerpt from this letter written February 1, 2011:
"In the coming months, we will be seeing USDA proposals to allow unrestricted plantings of GE sugar beets, and GE corn and soy crops designed to resist toxic pesticides, such as 2-4D and Dicamba, highly toxic pesticides that pose a serious threat to our health and the environment."

Let the White House know that you do not support the deregulation of GE alfalfa.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Quiz time! Can You Name Any of the 4 Main Requirements for Certified Organic Wool?

Our Organic Wool Adult Comforters, Organic Wool Mattress Pads, Organic Wool Pillows, and Organic Wool Crib Comforters are amazing! We receive fantastic feedback on them for super comfortable sleeping, warmth, and obviously how healthy they are for your whole family. By the way, anytime we use the word "Organic" on our web site, it always means "Certified Organic." That's morally ethical as well as the law, and we follow it for your confidence and trust.

Now to the quiz. In order for wool to be certified as "Organic," it must be produced in accordance with federal standards for organic livestock production. Can you name any of the 4 main requirements necessary for wool to be considered Organic?

Federal requirements for organic livestock production include:
1) Livestock feed and forage must be certified Organic,
2) Use of synthetic hormones and genetic engineering is prohibited,
3) Use of synthetic pesticides (internal, external, and on pastures) is prohibited and
4) Producers must encourage livestock health through good cultural and management practices.

Organic livestock management is different from non-organic management in at least two major ways:
1) Sheep cannot be dipped in parasiticides (insecticides) to control external parasites such as ticks and lice. This means that the wool isn't loaded with toxic chemicals as may be the situation with non-organic wool. Natural means, including a healthy resistance by the sheep, are used for control measures.

2) Organic livestock producers are required to ensure that they do not exceed the natural carrying capacity of the land on which their animals graze.

Third-party certification organizations verify that organic producers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production.

Why does organic wool cost more than conventional wool?
The cost of organic wool is more than that of conventional for several reasons:

1) Organic wool producers receive a higher price at the farm gate as their costs of production are higher, primarily associated with higher labor, management, and certification costs;

2) The organic wool industry is very small relative to the overall wool industry and does not have the economies of scale and resulting efficiencies of its conventional counterpart, and

3) Federal organic standards for livestock production prohibit overgrazing.  If the price of wool is low, the difference cannot be made up by simply increasing production per unit of land, as is commonly practiced by many non-organic livestock producers.

Source: Organic Trade Association

Monday, January 31, 2011

Formaldehyde in Wrinkle-Free Clothes and Bedding May Pose Skin and Health Risks

At Yes It's Organic, we frequently receive calls from individuals who are chemically sensitive or have what is commonly called Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS). There are a wide range of chemicals to which different individuals are sensitive. They range from the pesticides and other toxins used in growing crops to the chemicals used in clothing and bedding manufacturing.

These chemicals to which they are sensitive are used in non-Organic crops and production processes. We haven't had anyone sensitive to the Certified Organic crops or Certified Organic or certified eco friendly production processes used in our clothing and bedding.

An article in the New York Times, titled "When Wrinkle-Free Clothing Also Means Formaldehyde Fumes" discussed “wrinkle-free finish [clothing and bedding]...that are great right out of the dryer.” It stated:
"Though it is not obvious from the label, the antiwrinkle finish comes from a resin that releases formaldehyde, the chemical that is usually associated with embalming fluids or dissected frogs in biology class.

And clothing is not the only thing treated with the chemical. Formaldehyde is commonly found in a broad range of consumer products and can show up in practically every room of the house. The sheets and pillow cases on the bed. The drapes hanging in the living room. The upholstery on the couch. In the bathroom, it can be found in personal care products like shampoos, lotions and eye shadow. It may even be in the baseball cap hanging by the back door.

'From a consumer perspective, you are very much in the dark in terms of what clothing is treated with,' said David Andrews, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization."  (See the full article: Formaldehyde in Wrinkle-Free Clothes May Pose Skin Risks - NYTimes.com)

Formaldehyde, of course, is just one of many chemicals that may be involved in clothing and bedding manufacturing.

Individuals with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) may be the warning to the rest of us of just how polluted our lives have become. No one thinks they will become chemically sensitive. It's always the "other person"...until it actually happens to them.

Our society and governments have operated on the principle of "let's use it until it is proven harmful." There's a principle that is increasing in popularity called The Precautionary Principle that states that we should prove something is not harmful before it is used.