Would you change the way you eat if it kept you from getting cancer or stopped the disease in its tracks? Could you see yourself adding more sustainable, fresh local foods to your diet every day if it might prolong your life?  Cancer researcher Dr. William Li, of the Angiogenesis Foundation, thinks you can.

Li’s work revolves around looking at the way that our blood vessels–every person has around 60,000–deliver oxygen and nutrients to the all our body’s organs, but can also feed cancers and grow tumors in the body. To prove his theory about the preventative powers of healthy food, his Angiogenesis Foundation has kicked off an Eat to Defeat campaign, that has a goal of signing up one million volunteers who are willing to increase their intake of healthy foods, and to become a part of his research. Read more

The Ecologist reported recently that three French farmers have successfully sued chemical companies for cancer and Parkinson’s disease that resulted from their occupational use of pesticides–an issue as widespread as it is under-reported. A cereal farmer with 100,000 hectares of land in in the Vosges region, Dominque Marchal was the first farmer to have his leukemia associated with his daily pesticide use. His wife was determined to get to the bottom of the issue. From the Ecologist:

She employed a lawyer to help her gather the scientific evidence and herself set about gathering invoices and receipts to list which pesticides her husband had been using in previous years. Then, from their own pesticide stocks and with the help of neighbouring farms, she was able to gather samples of each of the potential cancer-causing substances. Her lawyer helped her find a laboratory willing to analyse the contents, and when the results came back they showed that 40 per cent contained benzene, a substance not marked on any of the contents labels but that is known to increase the risk of leukaemia.

No farmer has succeeded in taking on Big Chem for their illnesses in the U.S. because it is especially difficult to get medical recognition for the disease-occupation correlation, despite the fact that there is plenty of evidence that exposure to certain pesticides increases the risk of illness. Read more

What happens in Iowa doesn’t stay in Iowa. This is the lesson illuminated in Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney’s latest film, Big River, a companion to their successful film King Corn (made with director Aaron Wolff). In King Corn, Ellis and Cheney grew an acre of corn and followed it to the plate by way of the processing that brings us most of our packaged food and the confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) that bring us 99% of our meat. This time around, they follow the top soil, fertilizer runoff, and pesticide residues from the acre they planted into the local water system and further to the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone. Read more