International Organics Weekly - Edition 74

This week's dose of organic headlines, updates, resources and recipes courtesy of dsnodgrass...


Having been allowed to thrive over the last two decades, with numerous enablers whose actions would lay to rest the notion that bi-partisanship is dead, the genetically modified crop industry has become a genuine single-name monopoly; Monsanto.

USDA Reverses Course, Weighs Restrictions on Biotech Alfalfa

The Department of Agriculture is considering the imposition of geographic restrictions and isolation distances on the cultivation of a genetically modified crop, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today, a stark reversal of the agency's previously laissez-faire policies

The deregulation of Roundup Ready alfalfa, engineered by Monsanto Co. to resist the popular herbicide glyphosate, could be accompanied by restrictions on seed production and, in some cases, cultivation of the hay itself, should USDA decide on implementing one of two preferred alternatives presented in a court-ordered environmental review of the crop, released today by the department.

USDA has not chosen between two equally weighted alternatives presented in the review, ordered by a federal judge several years ago. The department could still deregulate the crop without any restrictions, as it has done with past biotech crops like corn and soy, Vilsack said. The secretary will be inviting representatives from the biotech and organic industries to his offices in the coming days to discuss how the two farming methods may coexist, he added.

"We have seen rapid adoption of biotechnology in agriculture, along with the rise of organic and nongenetically engineered sectors over the last several decades," Vilsack said. "While the growth in all these areas is great for agriculture, it has also led, at times, to conflict or, at best, an uneasy coexistence between the different ways of growing crops. We need to address these challenges and develop a sensible path forward for strengthening coexistence of all segments of agriculture in our country."

USDA's consideration of the modified alfalfa, which will be finalized in January, is an attempt to reckon with the thicket of legal challenges the department has faced in the past few years.


This is an important companion piece to the story immediately above.

Judge's Ban on Modified Beets to Be Appealed

The judge in that case has issued his decision, and it's a mixed bag. In essence, the judge appears to be aiming for a compromise position which looks to give farmers who are growing genetically modified sugar beets the time frame of a growing season to convert to non-gm crops.

Monsanto Co. said Wednesday it would appeal a federal judge's order to uproot hundreds of acres of genetically modified sugar-beet plants in Arizona and Oregon next week.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White in San Francisco issued a preliminary injunction late Tuesday at the request of environmental groups, which had argued the U.S. Department of Agriculture improperly issued planting permits in September to a handful of companies that produce sugar-beet seeds.

Activists groups, including the Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice, are trying to prevent the Obama administration from sidestepping Judge White's August decision that effectively banned U.S. farmers from planting genetically modified sugar beets next spring, and perhaps even in 2012.

"With due respect, we believe the court's action overlooked the factual evidence presented that no harm would be caused by these plantings, and is plainly inconsistent with the established law," said David Snively, Monsanto's general counsel.

The sugar-beet plants at the center of this fight are genetically modified in the same way as the majority of corn, soybeans and cotton grown in the U.S. They contain Monsanto genes that give them immunity to glyphosate-based herbicide, which the St. Louis crop-biotechnology company sells under its Roundup brand.


Rob Zombie, I'm a huge fan of your Hellbilly Deluxe album, but this just doesn't come off very well.

ROB ZOMBIE Introduces New Line Of Coffee

The judge in that case has issued his decision, and it's a mixed bag. In essence, the judge appears to be aiming for a compromise position which looks to give farmers who are growing genetically modified sugar beets the time frame of a growing season to convert to non-gm crops.
Rocker-turned-filmmaker Rob Zombie has rolled out his very own line of coffee. His first two blends — French Roast Organic and Peru Organic  [...].

Rob Zombie French Roast Organic Whole Bean Coffee description: "Our deepest and darkest roasted coffee. This 100% Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified French Roast offering has a surprising characteristic that you'll notice when you purchase whole beans — a hint of speckle. This is because we artistically blend our French Roast with a moderate percentage of different roasts, producing a complex taste profile that no other French-style coffee has in existence. Savor the deepness."

Rob Zombie Peru Organic Whole Bean Coffee description: "From the tall peaks of the Andes to the tropical forests of the Amazon Basin, Peruvian coffees are as distinct as their birthplace. Featuring 100% Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified beans, this incredible single-origin coffee supports the battle against social and environmental challenges. Medium-bodied with a tangy fruit finish, our lively Peru has been hand-crafted to realize its complete flavor potential."


Of course, no Rob Zombie organic coffee would be complete without organic pop tarts.

Now Heating | Pop Art Pop Tarts

The judge in that case has issued his decision, and it's a mixed bag. In essence, the judge appears to be aiming for a compromise position which looks to give farmers who are growing genetically modified sugar beets the time frame of a growing season to convert to non-gm crops.

With the $3 cupcake firmly entrenched across America, there’s a new contender for your playfully ironic baking dollar: designer organic Pop Tarts. The kitschy breakfast junk food is undergoing an artisanal reimagination thanks to Candice Reynolds, whose Atlanta-based Red Queen Tarts brings a small-batch, Slow Food ethos to that American classic.  

Using heirloom cold-milled whole wheat from North Carolina, seasonal produce and local butter, Reynolds turns carefully chosen ingredients into flavors like cinnamon apple tatin, blueberry lemon curd and a pumpkin tart better suited for the end of a meal than for a wait for the school bus. Her poached-pear Pop Tart could be the most worthy of rapture: Anjou pears, stewed in clove and honeyed port, nestled between pockets of Sonora wheat pastry. No frosting? No problem; nothing else should get in the way of those pears.

“There are other ‘Pop Tarts’ on the market that are organic,” Reynolds said, “but they taste like the box they’re packaged in. I knew I could make them better.” Her passion is part-time, a growing diversion from her day job at an Atlanta catering company.

You could call Reynolds’s start-up an exercise in retro cutting edge: Red Queen has no storefront, no wholesale operation and no Web site. The tarts are currently available to the denizens of Atlanta’s vibrant farmers’ market scene. Reynolds brings her craft to the Serenbe Farmers and Artists Market in Fulton County and the Waleska and Woodstock markets in Cherokee, where urbanites mingle with the keepers of central Georgia’s breadbasket, and one can plan a menu around brussels sprouts the size of tennis balls.



Related Reading:

Ex Monsanto Lawyer Clarence Thomas to Hear Major Monsanto Case
EPA Fines Monsanto for Selling Mislabeled GM Cotton in Forbidden Areas

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  • Posted on Dec. 18, 2010. Listed in:

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