Friday, September 21, 2012

What Would Rachel Do? Drink Organically Grown Wine

Next week is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring, Rachel Carson's groundbreaking, bestselling expose of the harm pesticides do to ecosystems. Today groups like Pesticide Action Network (PAN) are asking the question, "What Would Rachel Do?"

Succinctly put, PAN's summed up the history of the last 30 years: "Chemical Cartel + Farm Lobby = 50 yrs of Pesticide Policy Paralyisis," pointing out that the farm lobby is a key political component of getting these dangerous chemicals to market through huge loopholes in the law.

From PAN: "Fact: Of the 16,000 current product registrations, 11,000 (68%) have been brought to market through conditional registration (CR), and half (5,400) of those have been conditionally registered since 2000."

Evidence is mounting that GE crops do have health dangers, as data from the first long term study (just released) shows.

Another way to celebrate:
read this new biography of

I think the best way to honor Rachel Carson's landmark work's 50th birthday would be:

1  Have a party and stock up on organically grown wines you can drink all year long, This year and every year. take a pledge that you will try to give 80% of your wine spend to organically grown wines.

2.  Ask wine growers and vintners why they are not organic and/or certified. If they tell you its too much paperwork and it costs too much, ask them if they know how much it costs or if they know that the federal government reimburses 3/4 of the cost, making them less than 4 cents a bottle in general (or $10 an acre).

3. Ask the wine managers at the shop where you buy wine from if they could have a larger local organic selection and clearly label organic (and not throw it into the "sustainable" section - a word which in this context has no meaning other than a marketing message.). For instance:

• Mission foodie haven Bi Rite Market has hundreds of bottles of imported wine, hardly any of it organic and not a single bottle of a local, organically grown (certified grapes) wine. (They do have Unti, which says they are organic but is not certified).
• Whole Foods has the sustainable wines mixed in with the organic wines - as does Berkeley Bowl.

4. Point to good models of organic wine display at these shining paragons of virtue: Ukiah Natural Foods (great organic selection and well marked) and Ashland Coop (end cap display, prime spot, featuring local and other domestic organically grown wines.). Pictures from Ashland are posted on this blog.

5. Shop at or become a Wine Club member at wineries that make wine from organically grown grapes. Think of it as your CSA for Wine - or CSW.

• Affordable wines are easy to find for $10-15 (see companion post below on Hopland Passport). 
• Fabulous wines in higher price points are also widely available: visit and/or order from Volker Eisele, Grgich Hills, Cowhorn - just to mention a few. See the list of wineries with at least one organically grown wine on the map on the second tab of the top menu on this blog.

DO something next week to make Rachel proud!

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