Monday, January 31, 2011

We Will Not Go Quietly!

Last Thursday Tom Vilsack, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary announced he would allow unrestricted cultivation of genetically-modified Roundup-ready alfalfa.

We already know GMO corn and canola have escaped their areas of cultivation, invading organic fields, and particularly in the case of GMO canola, roadsides and native landscapes.

The decision to allow unrestricted GMO alfalfa is a threat to the environment, and to the food supply of organic consumers, especially those of us who choose pasture-raised organic meat, eggs, poultry, and dairy.

Last fall in my quest to improve our diet and hopefully as a result heal or greatly increase the health of my poor digestive tract, (which was ravaged about ten years ago as a result of food poisoning from factory-raised pork eaten at a forth-of-July cookout, and the IV antibiotics used to 'cure' me,) I searched EatWild, and found our local farmer. Our eggs, beef, poultry, and pork are now all USDA inspected, locally, sustainably, humanely, organically, pasture-raised about an hour south of us, and processed by a Central Illinois Amish farmer using traditional methods and without nitrates or MSG.

I found a source for certified organic, pastured dairy products, provided by a (semi-local) dairy cooperative in Iowa. Most of Kalona's farmers are Amish and Mennonite, with herds averaging 35 cows grazing on land that has never been treated with chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

I learned how to ferment foods using the traditional methods of ancient cultures - kefir made from traditional Caucasian kefir grains with our organic, pasture-raised milk, home-brewed kombucha, and cultured vegetables. I discovered organic miso, a Japanese soybean ferment, raw cider vinegar, and traditionally-fermented organic soy sauce. (Organic soy is a must for me, since most conventionally-grown soy is now genetically-modified.) The probiotics in these foods have helped bring peace to my digestive tract beyond any probiotic pill I've ever tried.

I've gotten toxins out of my personal-care products like deodorant, shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, and laundry detergent, and use simple things like vinegar and baking soda for everyday household cleaning.

While our government has been wrangling over health care reform, I've taken personal responsibility for my own health. And gradually over the past few months, my health has continued to improve. Besides the hoped-for improvement in a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, there have been unexpected benefits like the recent disappearance of pain from chronic tendinitis in my left shoulder, elbow and wrist. It's hard to express how amazing it feels being so much healthier, and even how other family members have been inspired to take better care of themselves too.

I believe it's my God-given right and responsibility to take charge of my own health.

Recently in a Motion to Dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, et al., our government argued otherwise when it said There is No Right to Consume or Feed Children Any Particular Food (pg25) and There is No Generalized Right to Bodily and Physical Health. (pg26.) The potential implications of these claims, are, at least to me, astounding. Are they not to you too? For starters, it seems they've reinforced that view in the decision to release GMO alfalfa in the environment and into our food supply.

I strongly disagree, and am doing what I can to stand up for my right to bodily health and to safe, unadulterated, non-GMO food. I encourage you to do the same. Please contact the White House through the Comment Line at 202-456-1111, by fax at 202-456-2461, or through this Contact Form, and let President Obama know how you feel about the recent decision to allow unrestricted cultivation of genetically-modified Roundup-ready alfalfa. Polls have demonstrated repeatedly that consumers, if given the choice, do not want GMOs in their food, and want labels on GMO foods. What about you?

For more insight into this issue, please visit the Huffington Post, New York Times, The Atlantic,, and/or Organic Consumers Association.


  1. Linda, I am so glad you've seen the results of eating healthy and are as free from pesticides, chemicals and hormones as we can get these days. I've recently heard from a friend that drinking kefir made from the traditional Caucasian kefir grains has lifted her depression and helped her get off antidepressants. Thank you for the contact links! gail

  2. Linda, I have posted the link to your blog in our Buying Club site. Thanks so much for all of the research, and for being an inspiration and example to so many others. Love you.

  3. Me too Gail!

    That's wonderful about your friend! I'm not big on kefir plain, but love it in a nice berry smoothie!

    You're welcome!

    Thanks for spreading the word Mom! Just wanting to do my part and hope others will too. Seems too important not to. Love you too! xoxo

  4. Thank you for sharing this information! More people should take responsibility for their health like you have, and these attempts to undermined our abilities to do so is absurd.

  5. Happy to do it Rose.

    It's war at this point. I believe history will show the decision to release Round-up ready alfalfa was the tipping point.

    It's time we all come wide awake to the unholy alliance between our government and big business, in this case Big Ag(riculture.) We are no longer living in a country of, by, and for the people, and that's been the case for a very long time.

    Our government has become a puppet regime serving the interests of large corporations, and our politicians have been bought and paid for by those corporations. They (the corporations,) have far too much power.

    Our current president has just proven to me that he's no different than the rest of them, which I guess I should have known all along.

    It's really up to us to educate ourselves and take personal responsibility for our own, and our families' health. That's not easy under the current paradigm, but I believe it is essential for our, and our children's' health.

  6. Great post, Linda! I'm glad your changes in diet have helped you; I should try more of the changes you recommend, since so many foods bother me as well. I'm concerned about the GMO foods, too, but I'm also disturbed by the way animals are raised for meat production these days. When I was young and living on our farm, our cows really were those "happy cows" seen in commercials and spent days out grazing in the pasture. The more I read and see, though, of how they're raised today, I'm seriously contemplating becoming a vegetarian. Buying your meat and dairy from the Amish sounds like the perfect solution.

  7. Hi Linda, a very eye opening post. I believe the term 'taking responsibility for you own health' is the key. It is difficult and it is expensive. Often 'organic' farmers are not but claim to be. We have to spend the time and money and be willing to go far to buy the best foods. That is our responsibility. The government will always side with big business and against the consumer.

  8. Thank you Rose! I agree completely about the way food animals are being raised. It's very inhumane mostly. I'm so glad to see the movement towards more sustainable farming and pasture-raised meats, dairy, and eggs.

    I don't eat a lot of meat, but feel much better about getting it from a farmer I know, whose farm I can visit, and who I feel is raising his animals in a much healthier, more humane way. For me, while I do choose to eat meat, I need to do my best making sure it's being raised in a healthy, sustainable way that is good for the animals' health and good for the planet.

    I'm happy to support a healthy, natural way of farming that's much more like it used to be done before the advent of factory farms.

    I don't eat a lot of meat, but if I had to go back to factory-farmed and CAFO meats and eggs, I think I'd rather be vegetarian for sure.

    I agree Marnie - taking responsibility for our own health is key, and the government has made it very clear their agenda is much more complicated than simply good health for citizens. As long as political campaigns are paid for largely by big business, politicians are not going to be looking out for the best interests of its citizens.

    It's definitely alot of extra effort finding the best places to find health-giving foods, and it's not cheap. For me, being sick has been, I think, more expensive than buying the best, cleanest food I can find.

    It's been the same with our dog George too - his health is so much better now since I changed his diet and got him off commercial dry food. I spend a lot more on his homemade diet, and alot less on his vet bills.

    I read somewhere recently that individuals have to pay for their own health care, while insurance covers some of the cost of sick care. Unfortunately, it seems to me that's how the conventional medical paradigm works in this country.

  9. Thanks for the link. I sent in my comment.

  10. My pleasure Victoria!

  11. I'm staggered. As an outsider - with lots of impressions about what the USA is like (both good and bad) this idea that people don't have the right and responsibility to look after their own health, or, at the very least, not to have others interfere with that right seems a very un-American approach.

    One (again as an ignorant outsider) tends to think that citizens of the USA are very keen to defend their own freedoms - and the freedom not to have other people interfere with what we eat by releasing dubious and powerful strains into the food chain seems, to me, to be a serious infringement of one's freedoms and independence.

    All very odd.

    All the best with the campaign. Big business is slippery but not (hopefully) invincible when it gets things wrong.

    Fascinating that Amish and Mennonite producers may be conserving the key to the future.


  12. It seems very un-American to me too Esther. It seems to me we (Americans) have been lulled to sleep by our government, the media, the celebrity culture, and powerful, wealthy corporate interests and lobbyists. It's incredible to me the lies, propaganda, and misinformation these entities promote, and even worse, that the citizenry seems to trust.

    I'm not confident we can do much to sway the government, since our elected officials are bought and paid for by corporations, since corporations have all the rights of citizens and none of the responsibilities, and since so much of our government is being run by non-elected officials who are former big business and big agriculture executives and attorneys. The revolving door between government agencies and these huge multi-national corporations is truly appalling. Even one of our supreme court justices is a former Monsanto attorney.

    I think our best hope is to educate ourselves and vote with our wallets and with our forks. We can and should boycott GMO foods. American consumers can be a powerful force for change if more of us would just wake up to reality, take responsibility for our own health, and demand clean, unadulterated, sustainably-produced food. Our health care system wouldn't be so broken, and the health of ourselves and our children (and even our pets!) would improve if more people would wake up and take personal responsibility instead of blindly consuming the toxic diet large corporations are trying to force-feed us.

  13. It's beyond belief that we're forced to pay extra, have to search far & wide to find chemical-free products, and that the words 'There is No Right' appeared in that lawsuit by our govt! Sadly, the majority of us aren't even aware of these issues. Can you send me a private FB message for suggestions on your personal-care products? Do you shop online or health food stores locally? Sadly, even Whole Foods has 'sold out' to the govt. and is ok w/GMO's!

  14. It's all about profits and which commodities our government chooses to subsidize, because our elected officials are bought and paid for by huge, multinational corporations, and because many former corporate attorneys and execs have been appointed to high-level government posts in the FDA, USDA, and even on the Supreme Court. It's no wonder the gvmt makes such apalling decisions considering who they're in bed with.

    I think the Whole Foods debate is a little more complicated than it's been portrayed in the little press this issue has received. I'm not so sure Whole Foods is quite the villian it's been protrayed as. I also think, (as much as I'm not fond of Vilsack,) that the GMO alfalfa decision came straight from the top (Obama, who wants to be re-elected and doesn't want to piss off his corporate campaign donors.)

    (It's no wonder the network news rarely reports on this stuff - just pay attention to the drug, fast food, processed food, industrial food associations, and yes, even those warm, fuzzy Monsanto commercials.) The networks, cable, and even public radio and TV want the advertising $$ and are not about to piss off their sponsors.

    I shop both on line and locally. We even have a local farmers market vendor who mades all natural, organic soaps, insect repellent, body washes - all kinds of really nice toiletries as well as selling organic floral arrangements and vegetables. I'm happy to send you a facebook message.

    The really good news Jan, is that it's getting much easier to find natural, botanical toiletries these days. I've learned the lessons that just because it's in a health food store, doesn't mean it's chemical-free, and you have to be discriminating even at farmers markets.

  15. Great post. I've been paying attention to the gmo alfalfa issue, but didn't know about the lawsuit you mention.

    It is astounding that we don't have a right to out own health! I too, am steadily learning how to eat healthier. My next project is homemade yogurt.

    Ecological Gardening

  16. Thank you Adrian. It truly is astounding that any US court would declare that we don't have that right. I was truly shocked reading that. It reinforced my view that if we want to achieve good health we need to take personal responsibility for it. as it's pretty clear our government is more interested in the rights of the corporations who are poisoning the environment and our food supply than it is in the health and wellbeing of its citizens.


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