Saturday, February 5, 2011


Food, Egypt and Wall Street

by Robert Alvarez
The dramatic rise in food prices is fueling a great deal of discontent in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere. It is a deep under current propelling many of the poor, facing prospects of starvation to resort to the streets and to violence.   According to the United Nation's Food Agency (Food and Agriculture Organization -- FAO) world food prices are up for the 7th month in a row and are likely to remain close to the record high reached in December 2010. There's no end in sight to this destabilizing battle with food price inflation in places like Egypt, where more than half of an average income goes for food.  According to the U.S. State Department, more than 60 food riots occurred worldwide over the past two years.
In March 2008, a dramatic spike in food prices led thousands of people on the brink of starvation in Egypt to violently riot -- sending a seismic shock wave through the Mubarak regime. After the Egyptian military was able to distribute enough wheat to dispel the rioting, efforts to stockpile wheat by the Mubarak government have failed, as food prices continue to hover at record highs.
Many reasons are given in the media for this problem ranging from soaring demand, cuts in food subsidies, droughts, and government mandates to use more grain-based bio-fuel.  But, another significant factor is at play: unfettered speculation by investment banks.  As noted in USA today, in 2008, "the bulls may not be running on Wall Street, but they're charging in the commodities pits."
At issue are the still deregulated commodity markets ushered in by the Clinton Administration and the U.S. Congress with the passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. Before this law, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) served as a cop on the beat, enforcing rules that prevent distortion of manipulation of prices beyond normal supply and demand.  But Wall Street Banks and companies such as ENRON, and British Petroleum were determined to make a lot more money from speculation by exempting energy-derivative contracts and related swaps from government oversight.  And so, the 2000 law allows entities that have no stake in whether adequate amounts of food and fuel are available for ordinary people and commodity-dependent businesses, to make huge sums of money by gambling with other people's money.
Soon after passage of the 2000 law "dark" unregulated futures trading markets emerged, most notably the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in London -- created by Wall Street and European investment banks and several oil companies. A key practice involves "over the counter index trading" in which hundreds of billions of dollars of pension, sovereign wealth other institutional funds are used to flood "dark" commodity markets to buy and hold futures contracts without an expiration date or oversight. When it's time to make money on a losing bet, these funds are withdrawn causing commodity price crashes and economic instability.  These transactions do not involve customary "bona fide" commodity traders, such as an airline company hedging on the price of jet fuel by purchasing futures contracts. As noted by Michael McMasters, a prominent hedge trader before a U.S. Senate panel in 2008, this amounts to "a form of electronic hoarding and greatly increases the inflationary effect of the market.  It literally means starvation for millions of the world's poor."
Some world leaders are willing to speak out against the pernicious role of "dark" commodity markets. Recently, French President Sarkozy warned of further unrest and even war at the Davos forum, unless commodity speculation is reined in -- something that is being fought bitterly by Wall Street and Congressional Republicans.  The Dodd/Frank Financial Reform Law places some restrictions on this practice by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). In particular, the CFTC is beginning the process of weeding out "non bona fide" investment bank speculators.   True to form, House Republicans are demanding that the CFTC slam on the brakes and are planning hearings and legislation to hamstring these efforts.
The spontaneous mass uprising of ordinary people in the Middle East against their authoritarian regimes has many root causes. One that should receive much greater attention is the unfettered speculation over food supplies by powerful private financial institutions that could care less about world-wide starvation and its impacts.
Robert Alvarez is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and served as a senior policy advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy from 1993 to 1999.


It's Time to Ban Frankenfish for Good!
Ask Your Senators to Co-sponsor the Bill to Ban GE Salmon.

Dear Clean Food,

We've stopped GE salmon so far. Let's keep it up!

Tell your senator to co-sponsor a bill to ban
GE salmon! 

Thanks to concerned people like you, the FDA has not yet approved genetically engineered salmon. Although we thought a decision could be reached by the end of 2010, the FDA has not yet approved GE salmon and we aren't waiting for them to make up their minds! With a new Congress this year, now's the time to move forward.

This week, Senator Mark Begich of Alaska introduced a bill to ban GE salmon. 
Can you ask your senators to take a stand and co-sponsor the bill?
With your help, Food & Water Watchdelivered over 90,000 comments against the approval of GE salmon last year. GE salmon poses serious risks to human health, wild fish populations, and the environment. A number of senators have already publicly opposed GE salmon by writing letters to the FDA and President Obama, and now we need them to co-sponsor the bill to ban GE salmon.
Will you ask your senators to support you and your family by co-sponsoring a ban on Frankenfish?

Approving the first genetically engineered animal slated for human consumption without proper rigorous scientific review is a serious threat that cannot be ignored. Help us build momentum - ask your senators to support consumers and the environment by co-sponsoring the bill:

Thanks for taking action,

Natalie Nava
Outreach Organizer
Food & Water Watch
Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Monsanto Nation: Exposing Monsanto's Minions

My expose last week, "The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto: What Now?"  has ignited a long-overdue debate on how to stop Monsanto's earth killing, market-monopolizing, climate-destabilizing rampage. Should we basically resign ourselves to the fact that the Biotech Bully of St. Louis controls the dynamics of the marketplace and public policy? Should we seek some kind of practical compromise or "coexistence" between organics and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)? Should we focus our efforts on crop pollution compensation and "controlled deregulation" of genetically engineered (GE) crops, rather than campaign for an outright ban, or mandatory labeling and safety-testing? Should we prepare ourselves for a future farm landscape where the U.S.'s 23 million acres of alfalfa, the nation's fourth largest crop, (93% of which are currently not sprayed with toxic herbicides), including organic alfalfa, are sprayed with Roundup and/or genetically polluted with Monsanto's mutant genes? 

Or should we stand up and say Hell No to Monsanto and the Obama Administration? Should we stop all the talk about coexistence between organics and GMOs; unite Millions Against Monsanto,  mobilize like never before at the grassroots; put enormous pressure on the nation's grocers to truthfully label the thousands of so-called conventional or "natural" foods containing or produced with GMOs; and then slowly but surely drive GMOs from the market?

Of course "coexistence" and "controlled deregulation" are now irrelevant in regard to Monsanto's herbicide-resistant alfalfa.  Just after my essay was posted last week, the White House gave marching orders to the USDA to allow Monsanto and its Minions to plant GE Roundup-resistance alfalfa on millions of acres, from sea to shining sea, with no restrictions whatsoever. 

"Bill Tomson and Scott Kilman of the Wall Street Journal reported that Vilsack's rejection of a compromise proposal - partial deregulation, which was vehemently opposed by biotech companies and only tepidly accepted by non-GE interests - was the result of an Obama administration review of "burdensome" regulations." 

"Sources familiar with the negotiations at USDA, who preferred to remain anonymous, told 
Food Safety News they believe the White House asked Vilsack to drop proposed regulations so the administration would appear more friendly to big business."   - Helena Bottemiller, Food Safety News 

This post-holiday gift to Monsanto from the White House is ominous. After the deliberate contamination of 20 million acres of U.S. alfalfa, we can then expect Monsanto and corporate agribusiness to call for GMOs to be allowed under the National Organic Standards. But of course let us hope we get another temporary reprieve from the same federal judge in California who halted the planting of GE alfalfa previously, since the USDA has still failed to demonstrate in their current Environmental Impact Statement that Monsanto's alfalfa is safe for the environment.

Organic Infighting

Whole Foods and others spent a lot of time this week on their blogs and on the Internet attacking me and the Organic Consumers Association for supposedly mischaracterizing their position on "coexistence" with Monsanto. In an internal company memorandum, marked "For Internal Use Only - Do Not Distribute" January 30, 2011, Whole Foods execs basically told their employees that the OCA is spreading lies to "uniformed consumers" in exchange for money and publicity. Quoting directly from the WFM company memo: 

"Why is the OCA spreading misinformation? That's a hard question for us to answer. Perhaps because we don't share their narrow view of what it means to support organics, or perhaps because we do not support them with donations. Either way, it's a shame that an organization that claims to "campaign for health, justice and sustainability" can't simply tell the truth. This just confuses consumers. Despite all their noise, no industry leaders listen to the OCA - but uninformed consumers might. Their fear-mongering tactics, combined with the OCA's lack of transparency about its funding sources, underscore the fact that it is neither credible nor trustworthy. We can only assume their activities are intended for further fund-raising. " 

After bashing the OCA, Whole Foods then goes on to admit that WFM stores are filled with conventional and "natural" products that are contaminated with GMOs (they neglect to mention to their staff that these conventional and "natural" products make up approximately 2/3 of WFM's total sales). Again quoting directly:

"The reality is that no grocery store in the United States, no matter what size or type of business, can claim they are GE-free. While we have been and will continue to be staunch supporters of non-GE foods, we are not going to mislead our customers with an inaccurate claim (and you should question anyone who does). Here's why: the pervasive planting of GE crops in the U.S. and their subsequent use in our national food supply.  93% of soy, 86% of corn, 93% of cotton, and 93% of canola seed planted in the U.S. in 2010 were genetically engineered. Since these crops are commonly present in a wide variety of foods, a GE-free store is currently not possible in the U.S. (unless the store sells only organic foods.)"

But of course we are not asking WFM to lie to or "mislead" their customers, to claim that all their products are GMO-free, or to sell only organically certified foods. On the contrary, we are simply asking them to abandon the "business as usual" industry practice of remaining silent on the scope and degree of contamination in the billions of dollars of non-organic food they are selling to unwitting consumers every year. What we are asking is that WFM ethically lead the way - in what is now a very unethical marketplace - by admitting publicly (not just in an internal memo) that a major portion of the non-organic foods they are selling (especially processed foods and animal products) are contaminated with GMOs. Then we want them to take the next step and announce that they will start labeling these GMO and/or CAFO foods truthfully, meanwhile pressuring their non-organic food suppliers to either reformulate products with non-GMO ingredients or start making the transition to organic. 
Let us hope that WFM eventually does the right thing. It's unlikely WFM will adopt Truth-in-Labeling unless they get a massive amount of pressure from their customers, workers, and natural food competitors. But if we can build a grassroots Movement strong enough to convince WFM and other natural food stores to adopt Truth-in-Labeling practices, there will be enormous pressure in the marketplace for other larger supermarket chains to follow suit. However, if WFM and other grocery stores refuse to voluntarily label GMO and CAFO products, OCA is prepared to mobilize nationwide to press for mandatory labeling ordinances at the city, county, and state level. 

To sign up as a grassroots coordinator for OCA's Millions Against Monsanto and Factory Farms Truth-in-Labeling Campaign go to:

Beyond Organic Infighting

The good news this week is that WFM, Organic Valley, Stonyfield, the National Coop Grocers Association and the Organic Trade Association have been making strong statements about fighting against GMOs. In a lengthy telephone conversation two days ago with Organic Valley CEO George Sieman, George told me how angry he was at me and the OCA, but he also said that Organic Valley was going to step up the fight against Monsanto. I said I was glad to hear this. I told him that OCA was going to do the same. I told him that our Millions Against Monsanto Truth-in-Labeling campaignis already attracting thousands of volunteers all across the USA and that we weren't going to give up until grocery stores, natural food stores, and coops start labeling conventional and "natural" products containing GMOs or coming from CAFOs. 

We'll certainly see Organic Valley and the rest of the organic industry's pledge to fight GMOs put to the test in the near future, when the USDA unleashes genetically engineered sugar beets for nationwide planting. But given the need for a United Front, OCA would like to stress that Whole Foods Market is not the enemy. Wal-Mart and Monsanto are the enemy. Stonyfield Farm is not the enemy. The Biotechnology Industry Association, Archer Daniels Midland, and Cargill are the enemy. Organic Valley is not the enemy. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, Kraft and Dean Foods are the enemy. OCA wants the organic community to unite our forces, cut the bullshit about "coexistence," and move forward with an aggressive campaign to drive GMOs and CAFOs off the market.

Monsanto's Minions: The White House, Congress, and the Mass Media

The United States is rapidly devolving into what can only be described as a Monsanto Nation. Despite Barack Obama (and Hillary Clinton's) campaign operatives in 2008 publicly stating that Obama supported mandatory labels for GMOs, we haven't heard a word from the White House on this topic since Inauguration Day. Michele Obama broke ground for an organic garden at the White House in early 2009, but after protests from the pesticide and biotech industry, the forbidden "O" (Organic) word was dropped from White House PR.  Since day one, the Obama Administration has mouthed biotech propaganda, claiming, with no scientific justification whatsoever, that biotech crops can feed the world and enable farmers to increase production in the new era of climate change and extreme weather.

Like Obama's campaign promises to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; like his promises to bring out-of-control banksters and oil companies under control; like his promises to drastically reduce greenhouse gas pollution and create millions of green jobs; Obama has not come though on his 2008 campaign promise to label GMOs. His unilateral approval of Monsanto's genetically engineered alfalfa, overruling the federal courts, scientists, and the organic community, offers the final proof: don't hold your breath for this man to do anything that might offend Monsanto or Corporate America.

Obama's Administration, like the Bush and Clinton Administrations before him, has become a literal "revolving door" for Monsanto operatives. President Obama stated on the campaign trail in 2007-2008 that agribusiness cannot be trusted with the regulatory powers of government. 

But, starting with his choice for USDA Secretary, the pro-biotech former governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack, President Obama has let Monsanto and the biotech industry know they'll have plenty of friends and supporters within his administration. President Obama has taken his team of food and farming leaders directly from the biotech companies and their lobbying, research, and philanthropic arms:

Michael Taylor, former Monsanto Vice President, is now the FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods. Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto-funded Danforth Plant Science Center, is now the director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Islam Siddiqui, Vice President of the Monsanto and Dupont-funded pesticide-promoting lobbying group, CropLife, is now the Agriculture Negotiator for the US Trade Representative. Rajiv Shah former agricultural-development director for the pro-biotech Gates Foundation (a frequent Monsanto partner), served as Obama's USDA Under-Secretary for Research Education and Economics and Chief Scientist and is now head of USAID. Elena Kagan, who, as President Obama's Solicitor General, took Monsanto's side against organic farmers in the Roundup Ready alfalfa case, is now on the Supreme Court. Ramona Romero, corporate counsel to DuPont, has been nominated by President Obama to serve as General Counsel for the USDA. 
Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice, is a former General Counsel for Monsanto.
Of course, America's indentured Congress is no better than the White House when it comes to promoting sane and sustainable public policy. According to Food and Water Watch, Monsanto and the biotech industry have spent more than half a billion dollars ($547 million) lobbying Congress since 1999. Big Biotech's lobby expenditures have accelerated since Obama's election in 2008. In 2009 alone Monsanto and the biotech lobby spent $71 million. Last year Monsanto's Minions included over a dozen lobbying firms, as well as their own in-house lobbyists. 

America's bought-and-sold mass media have likewise joined the ranks of Monsanto's Minions. Do a Google search on a topic like citizens' rights to know whether our food has been genetically engineered or not, or on the hazards of GMOs and their companion pesticide Roundup, and you'll find very little in the mass media. However, do a Google search on the supposed benefits of Monsanto's GMOs, and you'll find more articles in the daily press than you would ever want to read. 

Although Congressman Dennis Kucinich (Democrat, Ohio) recently introduced a bill in Congress calling for mandatory labeling and safety testing for GMOs, don't hold your breath for Congress to take a stand for truth-in-labeling and consumers' right to know what's in their food. In a decade of Congressional lobbying, the OCA has never seen more than 24 out of 435 Congressional Representatives co-sponsor one of Kucinich's GMO labeling bills. Especially since the 2010 Supreme Court decision in the outrageous "Citizens United" case gave big corporations like Monsanto the right to spend unlimited amounts of money (and remain anonymous, as they do so) to buy elections, our chances of passing federal GMO labeling laws against the wishes of Monsanto and Food Inc. are all but non-existent. Keep in mind that one of the decisive Supreme Court swing votes in the "Citizen's United' case was cast by the infamous Justice Clarence Thomas, former General Counsel for Monsanto. 
To maneuver around Monsanto's Minions in Washington we need to shift our focus and go local. We've got to concentrate our forces where our leverage and power lie, in the marketplace, at the retail level; pressuring retail food stores to voluntarily label their products; while on the legislative front we must organize a broad coalition to pass mandatory GMO (and CAFO) labeling laws, at the city, county, and state levels. And while we're doing this we need to join forces with the growing national movement to get corporate money out of politics and the media and to take away the fictitious "corporate personhood" (i.e. the legal right of corporations to have all the rights of human citizens, without the responsibility, obligations, and liability of real persons) of Monsanto and the corporate elite.

Monsanto's Minions: Frankenfarmers in the Fields

The unfortunate bottom line is that most of the North American farmers who have planted Monsanto's Roundup-resistant or Bt-spliced crops (soybeans, corn, cotton, canola, sugar beets, or alfalfa) are either brain-washed, intimidated (Monsanto has often contaminated non-GMO farmers crops and then threatened to sue them for "intellectual property violations" if they didn't sign a contract to buy GMO seeds and sign a confidentiality contract to never talk to the media), or ethically challenged. These "commodity farmers," who receive billions of dollars a year in taxpayer subsidies to plant their Frankencrops and spray their toxic chemicals and fertilizers, don't seem to give a damn about the human health hazards of chemical, energy, and GMO-intensive agriculture; the cruelty, disease and filth of Factory Farms or CAFOs; or the damage they are causing to the soil, water, and climate. Likewise they have expressed little or no concern over the fact that they are polluting the land and the crops of organic and non-GMO farmers. 
Unfortunately, these Frankenfarmers, Monsanto's Minions, have now been allowed to plant GMO crops on 150 million acres, approximately one-third of all USA cropland. With GE alfalfa they'll be planting millions of acres more.

The time has come to move beyond polite debate with America's Frankenfarmers, and their powerful front groups such as the American Farm Bureau, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. "Coexistence" is a joke when you are dealing with indentured Minions whose only ethical guideline is making money. When I asked a French organic farmer a few years ago what he thought about the idea of coexistence with GE crops and farmers, he laughed. "If my neighbor dared to plant Monsanto's GM crops, I'd hop on my tractor and plow them up." Thousands of European farmers and organic activists have indeed uprooted test plots of GMOs over the past decade. Unfortunately if you get caught destroying Frankencrops in the USA, you'll likely be branded a terrorist and sent to prison.

Apart from direct action, it's time to start suing, not just Monsanto and the other biotech bullies, but the Frankenfarmers themselves. Attorneys have pointed out to me that the legal precedent of "Toxic Trespass" is firmly established in American case law. If a farmer carelessly or deliberately sprays pesticides or herbicides on his or her property, and this toxic chemical strays or "trespasses" and causes damage to a neighbor's property, the injured party can sue the "toxic trespasser" and collect significant damages. It's time for America's organic and non-GMO farmers to get off their knees and fight, both in the courts and in the court of public opinion. The Biotech Empire of Monsanto, Dow, Dupont, Bayer, BASF, and Syngenta will collapse if its Frankenfarmers are threatened with billions of dollars in toxic trespass damages. 

Monsanto's Minions: Retail Grocery Stores, Factory Farms, Restaurants, and Garden Supply Stores

It's important to understand where GMOs are sold or consumed, and who's selling them. Twenty-five percent of GMOs end up in non-labeled, non-organic processed food, the so-called conventional or "natural" foods sold in grocery stores or restaurants; while the remaining 75% are forced-fed to animals on non-organic farms, factory farms, or CAFOs (Confined Animal Feedlot Operations); or else sold internationally, often without the informed consent of overseas consumers. This means we need to identify and boycott, not only so-called conventional or "natural" foods containing soy, soy lecithin, corn, corn sweetener, canola, cottonseed oil, and sugar beet sweetener, but all non-organic meat, dairy, and eggs that come from factory farms or CAFOs. Once Truth-in-Labeling practices are implemented it will be relatively easy for consumers to identify and avoid products that are labeled "May Contain GMOs" or "CAFO."

Although most of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide sales are directly to farmers, a considerable amount of Roundup is sold in garden supply stores, supplying backyard gardeners, landscapers, and golf courses. Municipal and state governments also spray Roundup in parks and along roadways, while the DEA sprays large amounts of Roundup in rural villages in Colombia and the Andes, part of the insane and murderous War on Drugs. 

Monsanto's Minions: Consumers

Millions of health, climate, and environmental-minded consumers are starting to realize that we must vote with our consumer food dollars if we want health, justice, and sustainability. Unfortunately, millions of others are still mindlessly consuming and over consuming processed foods, junk foods, and cheap, contaminated meat and animal products. The only guaranteed way to avoid GMOs completely is to buy organic foods or to grow your own, and stay away from restaurants (unless they are organic) and fast food outlets. Otherwise, if you are contemplating the purchase of a conventional or "natural" food check the ingredients panel carefully. Avoid all non-organic products that contain soy, soy lecithin, corn, corn sweetener, canola, cottonseed oil, and sugar beet sweetener.

Millions Against Monsanto

We must draw hope from the fact that Monsanto is not invincible. After 16 years of non-stop biotech bullying and force-feeding Genetically Engineered or Modified (GE or GM) crops to farm animals and "Frankenfoods" to unwitting consumers, Monsanto has a big problem, or rather several big problems. A growing number of published scientific studies indicate that GE foods pose serious human health threats.  Federal judges are finally starting to acknowledge what organic farmers and consumers have said all along: uncontrollable and unpredictable GMO crops such as alfalfa and sugar beets spread their mutant genes onto organic farms and into non-GMO varieties and plant relatives, and should be halted.  
Monsanto's Roundup, the agro-toxic companion herbicide for millions of acres of GM soybeans, corn, cotton, alfalfa, canola, and sugar beets, is losing market share. Its overuse has spawned a new generation of superweeds that can only be killed with super-toxic herbicides such as 2,4, D and paraquat. Moreover, patented "Roundup Ready" crops require massive amounts of climate destabilizing nitrate fertilizer. Compounding Monsanto's damage to the environment and climate,rampant Roundup use is literally killing the soil, destroying essential soil microorganisms, degrading the living soil's ability to capture and sequester CO2, and spreading deadly plant diseases.

In just one year, Monsanto has moved from being Forbes' "Company of the Year" to the Worst Stock of the Year
. The Biotech Bully of St. Louis has become one of the most hated corporations on Earth

The biotech bullies and the Farm Bureau have joined hands with the Obama Administration to force controversial Fankencrops like alfalfa onto the market. But as African-American revolutionary Huey Newton pointed out in the late 1960's, "The Power of the People is greater than the Man's technology." Join us as we take on Monsanto and their Minions. Our life and our children's "right to a future" depend upon the outcome of this monumental battle.

Please sign up now as a volunteer grassroots coordinator for OCA's Millions Against Monsanto and Factory Farms Truth-in-Labeling Campaign:

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Last week’s the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will once again allow unlimited, nation-wide commercial planting of Monsanto’s genetically-engineered (GE) Roundup Ready alfalfa.  This is a profoundly disappointing and disturbing decision. It was hoped by many in the organic farming community that the Obama USDA would recognize the major threat that GMO alfalfa represents to the survival of the thriving organic dairy industry.  But instead the agency decided to appease Monsanto and a handful of other companies that will profit from the additional sales of herbicide that are used on these gene altered plants.
The good news is that we’ve stopped GMO alfalfa and beaten Monsanto and the USDA before. And we need your help to do it again.
In 2007 we won a reversal of the approval of GE alfalfa.  The court ordered a halt to all sales and planting until the agency could ensure that the environmental and economic impacts could be adequately addressed.  Now after four years of this ban, the USDA has finalized an environmental impact statement that utterly fails to take a hard look at the dangers these plants represent to conventional alfalfa farmers, the organic dairy industry and consumer choice.  These plants will also increase the crisis in “super weeds” resistant to herbicides that are now infesting millions of acres of American farmland.
So CFS is going back to court in the coming weeks with the hope of once again stopping GE alfalfa and prevailing against the government, Monsanto and other biotech companies. And it’s not just alfalfa -- we anticipate we’ll have to also litigate in the coming weeks to stop the planting of GE sugar beets and other GE crop approvals as well.
CFS is the first line of defense against the invasion of these crops.  However, we have a small legal team to fight these difficult and drawn out court battles, compared to the USDA and numerous corporate law firms at Monsanto’s disposal. While we are confident that we will continue to succeed in these legal battles, your support is needed now more than ever to help us continue our fight to defend the rights of farmers and consumers and protect the integrity of organic dairy products.
This is a crucial time in the fight to preserve the integrity of organic crops and foods, protect consumers’ right to know, stand up for organic and conventional farmers, and protect our environment from the hazards of GE crops. In the coming months, we will be seeing USDA proposals to allow unrestricted plantings of GE corn and soy crops designed to resist highly toxic pesticides such as 2-4D and Dicamba, pesticides that pose a serious threat to our health and the environment. CFS will also challenge all these approvals.

So join us as a united front against the USDA and Monsanto. Help stop GE alfalfa NOW.

Please support CFS today by making a donation to CFS’s Legal Fund!
Thank you for your support  
P.S. – Don’t forget to choose a thank you gift when you donate! Get a copy of CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories, the film about Rachel Carson “A Sense of Wonder,” and more! All donations over $35 will get you a NEW True Food Shoppers Guide!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


What kind of chocolate will you be buying for your Valentine?
Let’s Eat! Films on Food Co-Presented by Cinema Arts Centre & Slow Food Huntington
Sunday, February 13 at 7:30pm
In Person: Filmmaker U Roberto Romano
Chocolate Tasting by Roxanne Browning 
THE DARK SIDE OF CHOCOLATE, a shocking documentary that investigates how thousands of children are being purchased from their parents in poverty stricken West Africa for a pittance, or in some cases outright stolen and then enslaved on cocoa farms, will be screened at Cinema Arts Centre’s popular Let’s Eat! Films on Food series, co-presented by Slow Food Huntington on Sunday, February 13 at 7:30pm. Following the film, there will be a discussion with Filmmaker U Roberto Romano and Roxanne Browning, NY’s chocolate sommelier, will lead a mini-chocolate tasting of an Ecuadorian chocolate from a Direct Trade chocolate producer, The Kallari Association.
$9 Members / $13 Public (Includes Reception & Chocolate Tasting) Tickets can be purchased online, at the box office during theatre hours or by calling Brown Paper Tickets toll free at 1-800-838-3006. CAC 423 Park Ave, Huntington 631-423-7611

Is the chocolate we eat produced with the use of child labor and trafficked children? Award-winning Danish journalist Miki Mistrati decided to investigate. His hunt for answers brought him and U Roberto Romano to Mali in West Africa, where hidden footage reveals illegal trafficking of small children to the cocoa fields in the neighboring Ivory Coast . Kids as young as seven years old work illegally in the plantations where they face a dangerous job cutting down the cocoa and carrying heavy loads. Some are victims of trafficking and most of the kids are never paid. Denmark, 2010, 45 min. Click HERE for official website

Slow Food  USA offers educational events and activities to promote sustainability and biodiversity and connect farmers, cooks, educators, students and everyone else who cares about their food and the environment. Visit Slow Food Huntington on Facebook
Thanks & regards,
Contact for photos, interviews & info:
Susan Finkelstein
Director Publicity & Promotion
Cinema Arts Centre
423 Park Ave.
Huntington, NY 11743
M-Th 11:30am-6pm
631-423-7611 x14
Fax: 631-423-5411
Since 1973, presenting the best U.S., International, Independent & Repertory films on 3 screens 365 days of the year, in a comfortable ambience including the sculpture garden & The Sky Room Café, the Cinema Arts Centre is located at 423 Park Ave (just south of 25a), Huntington, NY 11743 (25 miles east of New York City). Admission for regular programs: $10.00. Discounts for members, seniors, students & children. CAC is a not-for-profit 501 (c)3 organization. For further information call 631-423-7611. To sign up for weekly email schedule:  Membership and Schedule:
The mission of the Cinema Arts Centre is to bring the best in cinematic artistry to Long Island , and use the power of film to expand the awareness and consciousness of our community.
Contact: Slow Food Huntington
Chapter Leader Anne Rathkopf (631) 697-8228