Wise Traditions 2005
What an amazing gathering of passionate and dedicated members and friends our 2005 Wise Traditions conference turned out to be! More than 800 folks registered for the conference, making it our largest gathering ever. The location, at the Westfields Mariott Hotel, near Dulles Airport, Chantilly, Virginia, was superb.
The food was outstanding, thanks to our own chef, John Umlauf, and the hotel’s chef, K. Michael Sullivan and his staff. Much of the cheese and butter as well as sauerkraut were donated by Foundation members. John prepared his usual very tender beef shanks for our Saturday evening dinner. Several of Michael’s splendid recipes can be found elsewhere in this journal.
Our speakers, numbering over 30, covered such topics as lacto-fermented food preparation, fertility issues, traditional foods, vitamins A, D and B12, raw milk, the relationship between nutrition and cancer, heart disease, holistc dentistry, and the Codex guidelines on dietary supplements. Also included in the agenda were panels on children and nutrition, raw milk activism, the philosophy of food and the upcoming farm bill. Audio and video recordings of the speakers can be ordered at www.conventionrecorders.com or by calling (443) 528-3997.
Our 12 sponsors and 54 exhibitors set up their wares for sale, making it the largest number ever to exhibit at our conference. They ranged from natural foods to books to lacto-fermented drinks to various healing therapies to jewelry and clothing. The exhibit hall was filled most of the time with attendees asking questions and making purchases. All the exhibitors said they would return next year, which indicates their level of satisfaction and enthusiasm.
I would be remiss in not including the recipients of several awards that were given during our Saturday evening awards dinner. First, your passion and enthusiasm for the work of the Foundation brought in almost 600 new members during our membership drive beginning in early September, concluding at the conference. Congratulations! We honored those who enrolled at least five members with a copy of Sally Fallon’s classic Nourishing Traditions, in a special deluxe edition hardback copy. Those members include Jeannie Weaver, Muriel Plichta, Christina Plichta, Toni Fairchild, Gwendolyn Arndt, Viki Gustavson, Alfred and Carney Farris, Anita Sorkin, Kim Lochard and Donald Kylman. For their extra special efforts, we honored those who enrolled 15 or more members with a waiver of conference registration fees. Those individuals are Steve Moreau, Charlotte Skiles, Jessica Prentice and Regina Bordieri.
Secondly, we honored those members whose activism in the campaign for raw milk over the past year was exemplary with the WAPF Activist Award. They included Ron Schmid, Mark McAfee (our evening’s keynote speaker), Lee Dexter, David Wetzel, Shawn Dady and Pete Kennedy.
We concluded our awards by honoring Kaayla Daniel, PhD, author of The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food, with the Foundation’s Integrity in Science award. This award goes to the individual who, over the past year, has revealed exemplary honesty and integrity in their scientific work and has made a major contribution to furtherance of our knowledge in health and nutrition.
We also offered our thanks and appreciation to those members who tirelessly assisted the various state raw milk campaigns by writing to state legislators, state secretaries of agriculture and health, governors, etc. when asked. Your letters, e-mails and phone calls made an enormous contribution to passing legislation in several states favoring the production and purchase of raw milk and raw milk products and to defeating legislation in some states that would prohibit the purchase of raw milk. At the awards dinner I read an e-mail from Dennis Stoltzfoos of Florida in which he thanked the Weston A. Price Foundation’s members for helping him overturn a determined effort by Florida’s State Department of Health to curtail his ability to sell raw milk in the state. This was an enormous win. There were several more just like this one in Florida in which you all made a significant difference.
Kaayla Daniel was also thanked for her tireless and splendid assistance to the Foundation for writing extensive comments and rebuttals to the Solae Corporation’s health claim petition to the FDA on soy protein isolate and cancer. The Foundation, through Kaayla’s efforts, submitted three 50-page rebuttals over the course of a year and a half. In addition, the more than 1,000 comments posted by Foundation members to the FDA requesting that the health claim to Solae be denied made an enormous difference. On September 30 of last year, Solae informed the FDA that it was withdrawing its petition. I can’t tell you enough what a difference your comments and commitment make!
On Monday, we held our first day-long gathering of our chapter leaders. Over 100 chapter leaders and prospective chapter leaders stayed the extra day to share ideas and programs, network and make new friends. Kathy O’Brien of our staff provides a summary of the day’s events in the Local Chapter Report.
We also want to thank the 67 volunteers who helped make this conference run as smoothly as it did. They manned the registration table, helped with the flow into the speaker rooms, attended to speaker needs, helped with the Continuing Education (CEU) table registering health practitioners, and so on. Many thanks to Janna Weil for her superb work, as usual, as the volunteer coordinator.
The staff of the Westfields Hotel bent over backwards to help the conference flow as smoothly as possible. Ira Schoonhaven, the hotel’s events manager, was most helpful, making sure he and his staff were available throughout the conference.
Last but not least our thanks go to Paul and Misty Frank of PTF Associates, our event coordinators, for their superb work with the registrations, exhibitors, volunteer coordination with Janna, finances and hotel interface. We could not have put on this conference without their assistance. They were outstanding.
Outstanding photos of the conference, taken by our staff member, Liz Pitfield, are online. Keep next year’s conference dates on your calendar: November 10-12, 2006 at the Westfields Mariott Hotel, Chantilly, Virginia. The theme will be “The Health Equation: Healthy Soil = Healthy Grass = Healthy Animals = Healthy Meat and Milk = Healthy People.” See you there!
Other News: Organic Labeling
U.S. organic standards, under the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990 as implemented in 2002, allow four different organic categories based the percentage of organic ingredients in a product. These include three distinct categories (100% Organic, Organic and Made with Organic) and a fourth option for products that contain organic ingredients but not at a high enough level to meet one of the three distinct categories. Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it arrives at your local supermarket or restaurant must also be certified.
To assist consumers, USDA has designed a seal, “USDA Organic,” that may be used only on products categorized as 95 to 100 Percent Organic. Use of the seal is voluntary, but manufacturers and growers see it as a useful tool. Grocery stores are increasingly using the “USDA Organic” seal to help identify organic sections in the store. Non-food products that meet the requirements for using the “USDA Organic” seal may also carry the seal. More information on the organic seal can be found at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/Consumers/Seal.html. The USDA-specified organic categories are as follows:
- 100 percent Organic: Under the OFPA, only products that have been exclusively produced using organic methods and contain only organic ingredients (excluding water and salt) can carry the “100 percent organic” label on the product package. These products may include the “USDA Organic” seal on the package.
- Organic: The OFPA was recently amended to formally include organic products containing at least 95 percent organic ingredients (by weight, excluding water and salt) as “organic” on the product package. The remaining 5 percent of contents must be natural or synthetic ingredients not available in an organic form, but which are recommended by the National Organic Standards Board and allowed on the National List (for specific information on the National List, see http://www.ota.com/listbackground05.html). The product cannot use both organic and non-organic versions of any ingredient that is listed as organic. For instance, if a loaf of bread is made with organic wheat, all of the wheat in the bread must be organic. These products may also include the “USDA Organic” seal on the package.
- Made with Organic: Products with 70 to 95 percent organic ingredients may display a “Made with organic” label with up to three specific organic ingredients or food groups listed on the front panel of the product.
- Products with less than 70 percent organic ingredients can list the organic items only in the ingredient panel, with no mention of organic on the main panel of the product.
Categories 1-3 prohibit the inclusion of any ingredients produced using genetic engineering, irradiation or sewage sludge. Further information on the National Organic Program can be found on the USDA website at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/indexNet.htm and Organic Trade Association information on organic labeling at http://www.ota.com/organic/us_standards.html.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2005/Spring 2006.