Our Food and Politics: Chellie Pingree: US Rep from Maine


At some point we have to talk politics. I have included several sites in recent posts that have petitions ready to be sent to our lawmakers.  At the TEDX Manhattan talks I


listened to the speech of  Representative Chellie Pingree from Maine. She’s a farmer, an innkeeper, has a CSA and a politician serving her state for over 20 years. I found her talk to be inspiring on this critical subject that’s even broader than just policy. Look what the other species on this planet are showing us. Bees are dying mysteriously and pollinate a tremendous number of crops. The Monarch Butterfly’s population has drastically decreased. Where’s the food they need to sustain their long migration pattern? Milkweed sources in particular have declined as our wildlife habitat areas have declined and that decline is related to the use of introduced genetically modified seed into our food supply and pesticides on our crops.

What is the hottest trend in food today? People want sustainably grown food farms, organic, and want to know where our food is grown. Restaurants are showcasing these points on menus.The best tip though is that we can make a difference.  Watch this video for facts, figures, and a bit on the farm bill ( I liked her honesty, it’s not perfect).

Lastly, she reminds me : “Are you standing up” for better quality food, better growing practices, truthful labels, the elimination of pesticides in our crops and on our crops? Contact your representative or senator today. What aspect of our food system are you concerned about? Start there.

Watch this video, become an informed consumer who casts a vote with every food dollar we spend.

Inspiring, concise, truthful facts and it’s political.

Enjoy your day. We can make a difference.


Andrew Gunther: “What’s broken in our Food…”


Andrew Gunther is another passionate speaker about the problems in our food system and what can we do to fix it.

To summarize:

1. Our current agricultural system is broken. It truly did not start out that way but he reminds me how drastic these changes are and that they have occurred in a frighteningly short period of time.

2. We made and make systems that are livestock are not designed to live in.

3. The volume of manure from these animals is killing our land. Poo piles from intense livestock crowded areas creates a huge increase in nitrogen and phosphorous which leads to dead land. This is happening at an alarming rate all over the world.

In particular, North Carolina is running out of land due to huge poo piles from farmed raised pigs. They are running our of room to collect and spread the manure from intense pig farming occurring in that state.

“The nearly 812,000 hogs on factory farms in Bladen County, North Carolina produce as much untreated manure as the sewage from the Chicago and Atlanta metro areas combined.” ( http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/blogs/hog-waste-is-dragging-north-carolina-through-the-manure/)

4. We create and use 7.7 million pounds of antibiotics for humans. Did you know we create and use another 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics on our livestock? Is it any wonder we are resistant to antibiotics and have seriously limited their effectiveness especially obvious when treating serious diseases? Couple this with the use of roundup ready seeds with antibiotic attached and then roundup spread on our fields that contain antibiotics. Millions of pounds are being applied to our fields, ingested in our food, given to our livestock contaminating food, water and air.

I went  to TEDxManhattan talks, at a local viewing site recently. It was fantastic. Andrew Gunther  is one of several outstanding, passionate speakers I heard.

Sobering, insightful and inspirational. Tell me what you think. Thanks.



GMO’s The Science and The Myths: 10 Great Resources

GMO: Non GMO’s: 10 online resources to keep up to date on legislation and what is happening to our food system.



In doing the research for these past several blogs on GMO’s: the Science and the Myths I came across several organizations that are dedicated to the cause of changing the way we think about our connection to food, how is it grown, what chemicals are used and the amount that seeps into our food, animal and farm safety and  the health consequences for all species. I chose 10 for today’s blog but there are many more grass roots efforts. Many courageous folks are in our school systems whether parents, school board members or teachers who are growing gardens, changing menus and contributing to educating our children about what good wholesome food really is. In one of Jamie Oliver’s webcasts he demonstrated that some of our children who depend on fast food have no idea what fresh vegetables taste or look like.

We are making a difference but it is up to us to make that difference. Again I urge you to sign petitions, let our lawmakers know we have the right to know what is in our food, really.

    1. The Non-GMO project: www.nongmoproject.org: gmo news, enter in a product and see if it is non GMO
    2.  The Center for Food Safety: www.centerforfoodsafety.org: good resource for current information on food safety; petitions to sign; informative and relevant newsletters, fact sheets etc.
    3. Cornucopia Institute: Cornucopia.org: advocate for ecologically produced, small family farms and  agriculture;
    4. GMO Inside: htt://gmoinside.org: We have the right to know what’s in our food; helpful information; action petitions; news
    5. Check out your state’s mission on these topics. I currently reside in New York and have included some of the legislature up for vote. GMO Free New York: gmofreeny.net: their mission is to inspire and empower New Yorkers to help us get Assembly bill A. 3525 ( Rosenthal) and Senate Bill S.3835 (LaValle) which mandates the labeling of genetically engineered foods offered for retail sale in New York – passed by 2014.
    6. Vindana Shiva: navdanya.org: activist in the fight to grow food from farmer owned seeds not corporate owned seeds and making a huge difference in India.
    7. Ocean Robbins: the Food Revolution network: foodrevolution.org
    8. Organic Consumers Association: organicconsumers.org: great articles
    9. Simple Bites: http://www.simplebites.net/10-tips-for-sustainable-eating/ practical helpful knowledge that reinforces the fact that we vote with our food dollars.
    10. The Institute for Responsible Technology: responsibilitytechnology.org founded by Jeffrey Smith, one of the anchors for the GMO Summit along with John Robbins and Ocean Robbins.

The momentum is building.  We are making a difference. I hope you will sign petitions and lend a hand to promote the changes we seek.

Enjoy. Judith

Natural vs Organic on Our Food Labels: What’s the Difference?



This video is a spoof on what natural on our food labels really means. While sadly funny it gets the message across: natural doesn’t mean anything anymore on our food labels.

My students are usually uninformed consumers about labeling facts and are often surprised to know what organic vs natural really means. Besides building soil and reducing pesticide residues in waterways “organic” is the only label designation we have that ensures the food:

1. does not contain hormones

2. not irradiated

3. not grown with pesticides

4. does not contain genetically modified organisms

When grocery shopping, look for this symbol on the labels.