Labor Abuses on Organic Farms, Part 2

8/3/2006

From the Organic Consumers Association

Hello Alicia Bay,

Thanks to millions of conscious and ethical consumers like yourself, we are transforming the marketplace—voting with our dollars, Euros, and pesos for health, justice, and sustainability. A growing army of health and eco-minded global citizens have the unprecedented potential to change the world. The sixty-year reign of chemical and energy-intensive industrial agriculture in North America and Europe appears to be drawing to a close:

  • Seventy-five percent of consumers say they have begun shopping for healthier foods.
  • Twelve cents of every grocery store dollar are currently being spent on products labeled as natural or organic.
  • The relentless drive by transnational corporations to monopolize seeds, crops, food, drugs, and intellectual property is faltering.
  • Millions of health-minded consumers are turning away from Big Pharma and patented drugs, toward traditional remedies, herbs, and ecological/preventive medicine.

The bad news is that we are all locked down passengers on a runaway train, curtains drawn, headed straight for a cliff. Those at the controls tell us not to worry about global warming, climate chaos, out-of-control technology, massive poverty, permanent war, the End of Oil, or stolen elections. It’s time to wake up and stop this train—before it’s too late. The Organic Consumers Association will not go quietly into the night . We are moving in New Directions to help build a Movement that can make a difference. But we need your volunteer participation and support more than ever.

Here are several New Directions the OCA has begun to take:

GETTING POLITICAL- WHO ARE THE “ORGANIC CANDIDATES” IN THE UPCOMING 2006 ELECTIONS?
The first step for organic consumers to make long-term positive changes, is to know where our elected public officials and their challengers stand on the key issues of health, justice, and sustainability. After we know where they stand, we’ll know who deserves our support and who needs to be removed from office. Next week, in conjunction with our lobbying ally, the Organic Consumers Fund (OCF), we will email you the Organic Consumers 2006 Political Candidate Survey. This Survey will help you identify candidates seeking office in 2006 who are willing to shift government resources from our current self-destructive path toward a healthy, greener and re-localized economy, a stabilized climate, a more democratic media and electoral process, and peace and justice—with organic agriculture and Fair Trade leading the way.

The Organic Consumers Candidate Survey will tell us who supports the following New Directions:

  • Adequate funds for American farmers to make the transition to organic
  • Universal health care with a focus on prevention, complementary medicine, and good nutrition
  • 80% greenhouse gas reductions
  • Increased access for low-income communities to organic information and food
  • Internet freedom
  • Publicly funded elections, and a guaranteed paper trail for electronic voting
  • A thorough re-localization and greening of the economy, transferring funds from the current annual $500 billion military budget

For a sneak preview of the 2006 Candidate Survey, click here:  If you are willing to help us circulate this Candidate Survey via email to the campaign organizations of politicians in your area and state (including Congressional candidates) please email us here: volunteer@organicconsumers.org

08/03/06

Dear Political Organizers at Organic Consumers Association,

Please include labor laws in your platform. (Link to Grist article about labor abuses on organic farms.)

The big market share of organic food doesn’t mean it’s being grown by lefties and greens. It just means “organic” has become a profit center of which big agri-business is now getting a hefty slice.

If we’re going to raise our voices collectively behind the banner of chemical and GMO-free food (which is worthy), let’s not forget the folks who are tending the fields. They are our brothers and sisters, too. Let’s include them in our vision and earn their votes.

Alicia Bay Laurel