California’s Prop 37 highlights the difference between GMOs and Organic foods

GMO vs Organic prop 37

things worth noting/ zooming in about are the “natural products” lines on the left which were systematically bought out by corporations (such as Coca Cola, Pepsi, General Mills, and Kellogg) as part of their strategic green-washing campaigns.  Those supporting the organic food industry on the right of the poster include Organic Valley, Dr.Bronners, and Eden Foods.


For those of you voting in California, Prop 37 would require GMO labeling and increase transparency about the processes under which food is grown. Vote YES on Prop 37, November 6th.

This little news clip has more info:



Soul Food Junkies at The BlackStar Film Festival

via Hannah Slipakoff

Soul Food Junkies

730pm, Sunday, August 5th, 2012
International House (3701 Chestnut Street)

Dir. Byron Hurt, USA, 54 minutes


Food traditions are hard to change, especially when they’re passed on from generation to generation. In this PBS documentary, award-winning filmmaker Byron Hurt shares his journey to learn more about the African American cuisine known as soul food. Through candid interviews with soul food cooks, historians, and scholars, as well as doctors, family members, and everyday people, Soul Food Junkies blends history, humor, and heartwarming stories to place this culinary tradition under the microscope.

Byron Hurt will be present for Q&A after the screening!

Muddied Conclusions on Food Access and the Concept of “Food Deserts”

Mari Gallagher’s response to the NYT article “Studies Question Pairing of Food Deserts and Obesity” from April 18, 2012:

This is in response to the lengthy but flawed New York Times article
on food deserts and obesity that appeared on April 18. I write from
the perspective of a researcher who has been deeply engaged for many
years in these matters and whose studies have helped stimulate
solutions in my hometown of Chicago as well as other parts of the

The Times piece begins with a misstatement that policy makers and
first lady Michelle Obama think that all poor urban areas are food
deserts. There are many poor urban areas in which residents do have
significant access to healthy food options. But food deserts can and
do exist in urban, rural and even suburban locations.
In Chicago, many
food desert residents are poor. We also identified more than 12,000
food desert households that earn $100,000 or more annually.

Ms. Kolata, who wrote the Times story, states, “It is unclear how the
idea took hold that poor urban neighborhoods were food deserts,” but
there is really nothing unclear about it at all.
The existence of food
deserts in many U.S. cities is not an idea, but an established fact.

Our research firm popularized the term “food desert” in the U.S. in
2006 with the release of a report titled Examining the Impact of Food
Deserts on Public Health in Chicago.
Additionally, the National Center
for Public Research, of which I am the founding president, launched a
highly successful three-year food desert awareness campaign shortly

Once the awareness war was won, we retired the campaign to focus our
energy on a kaleidoscope of solutions that include – but certainly are
not limited to – improving healthy food access. Ms. Kolata named the
National Center for Public Research, but appears to have missed or
overlooked the details of the campaign or that my firm has found and
reported statistically significant relationships in Chicago between a
lack of access to nutritious food options and two crucial indicators
of negative health impacts: higher body mass index, which is a proxy
for obesity, and increased incidents of premature death by diabetes.

We found similar results in many other locations all across the
country, and so have many other researchers. In our latest study –
which took place on the East Coast and is being finalized for release
later this spring – we found a statistically significant relationship
between overweight newborns and poor food access, after controlling
for a number of factors (i.e. race, prenatal care, mother’s education,
mother’s age, mother’s alcohol use, mother’s tobacco use, marital
status and gestational age).

food access obama

We have stressed throughout the course of our work that plopping down
a grocery store does not mean that these problems are instantly
Yet Ms. Kolata’s article unfairly suggests that community
leaders, policy makers, Mrs. Obama, and so many others want to “combat
the obesity epidemic simply by improving access to healthy
foods.” [emphasis added] To my knowledge, no one of any credibility
has ever suggested that access was the entire solution or that
anything involving the complicated relationship between diet and
health is simple

Healthy food access is a necessary and important foundation to build
upon – we cannot choose healthy food unless we have access to it.

Once we do have access, other factors that drive individuals to make
unhealthy food choices come into play. Behaviors do not change
overnight. We all have a lot of work to do. Thankfully, many different
community, policy, government and market leaders and organizations in
my hometown of Chicago and all across the country – including Mrs.
Obama – are working on aspects of this complicated and urgent problem.

Ms. Kolata’s summary of two recent studies on the link between child
obesity and access to healthy food was also misleading in several
respects. She fails to note the large number of studies that have
identified food deserts and the subsequent large number of studies
that have found a link between living in underserved areas and poor
health outcomes. The article fails to note the shortcomings of the two
studies it touts, even though the authors of those studies themselves
go to great lengths to describe those deficiencies.

Another shortcoming – again, discussed in these studies, but not in
the Times article –

concerns the failure to account for how access to food retailers is
different in suburban locations where automobile use is nearly
universal, compared to urban locations where fewer residents drive and
must travel on foot, by taxi, or by mass transportation to obtain the
food, nutritious or not, that makes up their daily diet.
suburban and urban places together in the analysis is inappropriate: A
retailer that is a few miles away might be reached in a drive of a few
minutes in a suburb, but this would take much longer on foot and on
public transportation in a city, with an even more difficult return
journey with sacks of groceries.

The article also does a disservice to all of us concerned about access
to nutrition by setting up a “straw man”: an imagined world in which
more grocery stores and improved access to healthy food is the only
solution to problems like obesity. Anyone who claims that access is
the silver bullet is indeed foolish.
But our own research – and the
research of many others – makes no such claims. Education, for
example, can help people make better choices

But all the knowledge in the world will not allow food desert
residents to choose healthy food if they do not have access to it.
Solutions to the challenge posed by obesity lie in both access and
education, and in more studies that reveal what works and what doesn’t
in changing peoples’ behavior. Cost, culture, and preference are also
factors. The
solutions do not lie in the misleading presentation of a
few contrary findings, the limitations of which even their authors
readily acknowledge.

Our issue is not with the two new studies; we thank the authors for
their valuable contributions. Our issue is the reporter’s sloppy job
of getting the facts straight. Some of this could have been settled by
some simple Google searches. She muddied the water at best, misled at
worst, and left the inaccurate impression that food access and the
concept of food deserts does not matter.

Mari Gallagher
Institute on Urban Health Research
Northeastern University

Shale Gas Outrage – Rally – September 7, 2011

Rally to Stop Dirty Gas Drilling — Protect Air, Water, Earth and Human Health & Food Systems

This demonstration is in response to the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s conference in Philadelphia on Sept. 7th and 8th. CEOs from major fracking companies will be plotting to expand their poisonous operations in PA, NY, OH, MD, WV, VA, and NJ. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and former governors Tom Ridge and Ed Rendell will be speaking in support of the industry. Dubbed “Shale Gas Insight,” this is not only a key trade show for the industry, but also a brazen expression of its political muscle.

When: Wednesday, September 7, Noon – 2 PM (March follows until 3 PM)

Where: Center City Philadelphia, Arch St., between Broad and 13th Streets; In front of the Pennsylvania Convention Center

Rain or Shine!!!: In the event of inclement weather the rally will be held in a 1,200-person-capacity indoor venue within walking distance of the scheduled outdoor rally.


  • Josh Fox, Director of the Oscar-nominated “Gasland”
  • Craig & Julie Sautner, Dimock, PA
  • Blondell Reynolds Brown, Philadelphia City Councilwoman
  • Curtis Jones, Philadelphia City Councilman
  • Doug Shields, Pittsburgh City Council President
  • Al Appleton, internationally respected water systems expert
  • Iris Marie Bloom, Protecting Our Waters
  • Tracy Carluccio, Delaware Riverkeeper Network
  • Jim Walsh, Food and Water Watch
  • David Braun, United for Action

Additionally, lifting our spirits in such serious times will be:

  • Welcoming songs from the powerful Rev. Rhetta Morgan
  • Rebel Diaz, bilingual political hip-hop
  • Beth Nixon, West Philly’s comic genius (and FJAR Member)
  • The Band Called Fuse, underground rock & hip-hop

Stay tuned as we will post additional appearances here in the coming days!

Why: Maximizing the sheer numbers attending this rally on September 7th will show a broad-based popular movement that will not tolerate contamination of our air, water, and earth by dirty drilling, or the corruption of our politicians by industry money. We will demand that not one more family be poisoned by fracking and shale gas extraction.

RSVP on Facebook

Post source & more information at:

Bill Clinton Goes Vegan

Following years of heart problems, former President Bill Clinton is now vegan.

Bill Clinton Vegan

The former U.S. president told CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta this week that he doesn’t eat any dairy, eggs or meat, and consumes very little oil. He first opened up about his new plant-based diet last year to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Clinton has turned to eating solely plants in order to keep weight off and his heart healthy.

Clinton — who used to be a huge fan of hamburgers, steaks and other foods of the like — underwent the diet overhaul to reverse the heart disease he’s been plagued with in the past. He underwent a quadruple bypass surgery in 2004 because blood flow was blocked to his heart, and just last year he had to have two stents put into his heart to “open up veins from his bypass surgery,” according to CNN.

Since his diet change, Clinton has lost more than 20 pounds, CNN reported.

There have been numerous studies linking a veggie-heavy diet with good heart health. For example, research shows that fewer vegetarians than meat-eaters have metabolic syndrome, a condition where you possess three of five heart-risk factors, Everyday Health reported. The factors include high blood pressure, triglycerides and blood sugar, low “good” cholesterol and a large waist size.

In addition, research shows that a nutrient-dense, vegetarian-based diet can lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Clinton joins the company of other vegan politicians and celebrities, including Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, actors Alicia Silverstone, Brad Pitt, Natalie Portman and Ellen Degeneres, writer Alice Walker, musicians Prince, Erykah Badu, Ian MacKaye and rapper André 3000, and former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. Activists César Chávez and Coretta Scott King were also vegan.