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Mercury contamination, its negative health effects, how to detoxify the body of mercury and other heavy metals.

The month of July is here and with it concerns about mercury contaminated sugar remains a critical food safety issue…there are more questions than answers.

This article seeks to provide some answers to the questions as follows:

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Why sustainable diets for all (SD4ALL) in the context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

The month of June is here and with it some optimism in the air…a renewed realization of our interconnectedness with Nature and the need to embrace a “systems thinking approach to make progress in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

  • Why is there an urgent need to change from the current industrial chemical farming system of food production to agro-ecological local and non-chemical farming system?
  • It is because the later is more aligned to the goals of the SDGs and is in tandem with natural rhythms and cycles. It ensures affordable, accessible, available and acceptable (4A’s) sustainable diets, for all people.
  • Here is an example of community based advocacy for change, from Burkina Faso, on combating threats to sustainable ecosystems:
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  • What benefits does the more sustainable agro-ecological food production and consumption system offer to the ecosystem? Sustainable Food Systems are aligned to the 17 SDGs: They embrace the three critical components of the SDGs summarized as “ People, Planet and Profits”, in that order.
  • Agro-ecological food production and consumption systems minimize or completely avoid the use of external synthetic chemical inputs (fertilizers and pesticides) which damage the environment, the soil/landscapes, and the health of plants and human populations: Here is scientific evidence of how a commonly used pesticide, glyphosate aka Roundup Weed killer, is a pathway to a plethora of non-communicable diseases, ranging from gut dysfunction to diabetes, brain dysfunctions and cancer. http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4/1416/htm
  • How does sustainable farming improve diets? Sustainable diets include macro and micro-nutrients and trace elements like Zinc, Manganese and Selenium without which dietary mineral deficiencies impair healthy outcomes: Here is evidence of their importance: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12006126 and here: https://iubmb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/biof.1005
  • Are there any examples of practical of food production and consumption systems that have resulted in sustainable health outcomes for all? A New Jersey holistic health practitioner, Dr. Ron Weiss, puts into practice the “let food be your medicine “ wisdom: https://www.myethoshealth.com/ron-weiss-md
  • How can we encourage and create consumer awareness on the “triple benefits” of growing and consuming agro-ecologically grown foods? Are there any successful examples? 
  • Here are some examples: http://strongertogether.coop/food-lifestyle/michael-pollan-three-simple-rules-for-eating
  • And a local example of Sustainable Diets for All(SD4ALL): https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/magazines/Organic-foods-eatery-flourishes-on-pursuit-of-healthy-lifestyles/1248928-2610712-t5wthyz/index.html
  • Agro-ecologically grown organic foods, unlike conventionally grown foods, promote and conserve the environment, promote diversity of seeds and crops, including neglected and underutilized species(NUS), traditional vegetables. These enrich the soil microbiota from use of re-cycled organic inputs, resulting in high nutrient density in plant foods, which in turn, result in sustainable healthy diets for all(SD4ALL). Here are some examples: http://strongertogether.coop/food-lifestyle/michael-pollan-three-simple-rules-for-eating
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    Is there any evidence that multinational corporations and their push for Africa to adopt large scale monoculture farming is a threat to small scale farmers’ livelihoods, their health and climate change?

    The month of April is here and with it the torrential floods seem to have subsided or have they?

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    Did you know that SEED justice and democracy is at the heart of the “war” between chemical industrial monoculture agricultural food systems and agro-ecology-organic food systems?

    Good people,

    The month of May is here and yet the rains show no signs of reducing...what do SEEDS have to do with floods and droughts, you may ask? Everything! Seeds give life and with life, the ecosystem, in all its diversity and resilience, has evolved organically, over millennia.

    • Seeds are an important entry point for development interventions, including achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); Seeds, in their most diversified and natural form, can deliver an array of benefits for smallholder farmers and consumers;These benefits range from improved nutrition and food security to better livelihoods and resilience to climate change.
    • There is a serious threat to diversified seed: Corporate multinational’s disrespect for seed diversity and their insatiable greed for profits and the ensuing monopolistic food system is a threat that is contributing to deteriorating environmental and human health: There are, however, concerted efforts to change this narrative: Professor Olivier De Schutter, the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food(2008 – 2014) and the co-Chair of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems(IPES-Food), has , recently written on the need for a shift from Uniformity to Diversity and for Consumers to Citizens: A dual transition. SEED democracy and diversity is at the heart of this paradigm shift: http://www.ipes-food.org/images/CoreDocs/BEmag2_Prof.-Oliver-De-Schutter_article_-p-11-13.pdf
    • What does seed diversity have to with improved livelihoods and food security? Here is a self-explanatory video featuring the Masai of Kenya and how they are coping with weather extremes, with the assistance of pastoralist friendly technology. https://www.pciglobal.org/afriscouthttps://www.pciglobal.org/afriscout/
    • And did you know that ITPGRFA is the only international legally binding instrument that recognizes Farmers’ Rights? The United Nation’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources in Agriculture (ITPGRFA) both acknowledge the contribution of farmers in the development and conservation of agricultural diversity (including seeds) and set up mechanisms to facilitate the flow of genetic materials that are important for agriculture. Seed is the most important agricultural INPUT.
    • Are there policy frameworks to protect our seed biodiversity? Are there African based policy frameworks to address protection of seed variety and FMSS? YES: http://www.aripo.org/services/traditional-knowledge
    • What is the way forward towards preserving, protecting and saving our diversified seeds? ”At the pan-African level farmers, support organizations, consumers, experts and a wider range of social movements and stakeholders must come together in a long-term consultative process to critically discuss the state of Farmer Managed Seed Systems(FMSS) on the continent, elaborate a shared vision and the potential policy frameworks or mechanisms to effectively support and develop resilient FMSS. http://afsafrica.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/SEED-POLICY-ENG-ONLINE-SINGLE-PAGES.pdf

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    What are the emerging threats to agro-ecological food systems and some of the local solutions? A tribute to Sue Edwards…

    March is here and with it the beginning of the rains; this has double significance...

    • Firstly, in the recent past, i have hardly woken up a happier person…I heard and “smelt” the rains last night.. and this morning, saw the evidence…finally, the month old paspalum grass, in my front lawn, can start shooting, upwards...as if to say, “thank you to God” or it is “thank you Mother Nature”: the second reason is that the start of the rains marks a significant closure to the life and times of Sue Edwards who passed on the 14th of February, last month,…a great warrior, a great matriarch: This month’s blog article is a dedication to her tireless efforts in the advancement of the agro-ecological Movement…a befitting tribute to Sue Edwards…her spirit lives on…
    • Who was Sue Edwards? Some of us prefer to remember her, for lack of better works as a gentle visionary, a trail blazer, a pioneer, who believed in agro-ecological food systems… who demonstrated it in practice…and who encouraged many of us, with some of those quotes: “take over from where we have reached”…”when I see people like you in the movement, I feel confident and happy that the Movement is in safe hands…” here is a link to some of her words of wisdom and teachings: African can Feed itself:
      the video captures her sharing an overview of the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD), which she helped establish and how she successfully applied Indigenous Knowledge to increase food production in Ethiopia.
    • One of the Movement followers explains, from a public health physician’s point of view, reasons as to why Ecological Organic Agriculture is the future of agriculture and food security/sovereignty; and why we should advocate for policy review to reduce and finally, eliminate the use synthetic fertilizers and chemicals in the food chain: Dr. Mokaya, of Organic Consumers Alliance, explains why “Your health is your First Wealth” and that the “The Future is Organic”:
    • What are some of the most serious threats and challenges to the adoption of agro-ecological organic and related food systems? It is gene editing and related synthetic biology technology: The architects of dangerous and unsafe technologies are hell-bent to “adulterate” the gene pool, through the reckless use of GMO like technology aka gene editing: Gene editing in the newest threat and enemy of biodiversity and Nature, as we know it today: Here is the evidence: http://www.etcgroup.org/content/reckless-driving-gene-drives-and-end-nature
    • It this threat real? YES. It is already happening in Burkina Faso: Here: https://acbio.org.za/press-release-no-benefit-imminent-release-risky-gm-mosquitoes-burkina-faso/?
    • And in Brazil:https://www.brasildefato.com.br/2018/02/06/governo-brasileiro-quer-impor-a-liberacao-de-novos-transgenicos-sem-nenhum-controle/ (there is an English translation)…the regulators seem to have conspired to ignore UN protocols!

    What are some homegrown solutions which Sue Edwards would have recommended?

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    Going Organic in East Africa

    What's causing cancer?

    organic farmers
     

    Organic Farmers

    This is just a few names and contacts of organic farmers who work closely with OCA.

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    Organic Markets

    The retailers buy thei food from the organic farmers and sell them at various organic

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    Restaurants

    OCA works closely and directs traffic to the only organic restaurant in Nairobi so far.

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    Processors

    OCA closely works with one processor whose products are certified organic.

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    About Us

    Organic Consumers Alliance (OCA) focuses on promoting and creating awareness on

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    ICIPE Complex, Kasarani Road

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    P.O. Box 2398-00200
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    Tel: +254 20 2610863
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    Email: info@organicconsumers.co.ke