Category Archives: Food Security

My take on the E-Coli Outbreak and it’s relation to GMO

There is a Universal truth: What you resist, persists.

By now, everyone is aware of the new pathogen E-Coli 0-104. If not, a few articles for you to get up to speed with:

http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/06/sequence-yields-clues-to-germany.html?ref=hp

http://www.naturalnews.com/032622_ecoli_bioengineering.html

I first want to address the small vegetable farmers who had to throw out their produce. Cucumbers were cleared of wrong doing yesterday. The EU farmers are very aware that their healthy produce is a threat to Big Agribusiness. In protest, they took all they had and dumped it (if you are going to attack me I simply won’t feed you anymore). Yet, one more reason to grow a garden this year: the food shortages are getting increasingly larger. And another reason to support small local farmers.

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The Importance of Seed Banks

April: Sorry for not having written for some time, but this year I have planted and started 5 times what I have done in the past! It’s a good year!

In my area, many of us grow vegetable crops and many have developed seeds for  generations. We have started a seed bank and in collaboration with a few other seed companies and groups, some of us will be growing for seed alone this year. Saving seeds is the easy part. It’s quite another to grow for seed each year. In order to really save seed well, you must grow it and keep it fresh year to year.

Why is this SO important? Andrew Kimbrell of The Center For Food Safety says it well:

My first experience with the perils of large scale seed banks was the scandal that erupted over the Fort Collins collection in the mid 1980s.  Journalists had published stories dramatically detailing the grossly negligent manner in which deposits to the seed bank were treated.  Numerous seed deposits were spilling out onto the floors of the facility, the facility was woefully understaffed, there was no testing of the seed and a virtually complete failure of required regeneration — in short a seed saving disaster. A legal petition by my organization to rectify the decision seemed to get the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) attention. But when no real action resulted we litigated. I was a very active member of that legal team. As such I reviewed much of the material in the case that documented USDA’s complete disregard for the safety and integrity of the seeds under its care. This litigation ultimately forced a settlement where USDA agreed to do an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and conditions at the seed bank improved somewhat.

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Health Canada to ban parsley capsules by end of 2011

This was one crazy day: I walk into my favorite health food store and the owner was close to tears. They lose sleep over just buying this store a year ago, and one month later, Harper pulls the rug out from them.

“We are about to lose over half of our product lines, and the shelves are already hard to fill. And now, one of our biggest customer base for parsley caplets is being told by Health Canada that they can’t get it anymore, because there isn’t sufficent evidence available that it is safe.”

I kid you not. I did the research, and it does appear that parsley will be taken off the “natural products” list. But Red Bull Sugar/Caffeine Drink is fine.

I have a call in to Health Canada. Should be interesting.

So here’s my pledge: this year I will grow parsley; lots of it. Dry it. Put it into vegetable based capsules. Sell it. In fact, this year is a really great time to grow all the banned herbs.

This is my pledge, Health Canada. Come and get me. Let’s open this whole BS debate wide enough for all Canadians to hear. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain: for Canadians, at least. Let’s open the raw milk debate up as well. How about the other long list of herbs that, as far as I can Google, have never killed anyone.

We can sell Red Bull but not parsley. We get mercury vaccines. GMO foods. What is this country coming to? Other than a revolution…

Links to this fiasco:

soscanada.net nhppa.org charterofhealthfreedom.org savenhp.org

*Just one funny note: if you go on HC’s site, and send them an email, it asks for all your personal information or it won’t send. When you get the reply email stating yours has been received, there’s an important claimer: “1) IMPORTANT: For reasons of security and privacy, we ask you not to send us any personal information.”

Palm against forehead….

 

BC Urban Farmers start off on right foot!

A few Sundays ago, in fact, the only nice Sunday we’ve had so far, 40+ of us from the BC Urban Farmers group sat around tables and hashed out a strategy for forming an organized collective.

After 6 hours we came up with the beginnings of a plan to get our message out, and firm up who we are and what we stand for.

Not all the members farm in urban areas. I do both. Both have different models and different varieties based on space available. It is in these findings that we can come together and compare notes, making us all the more wiser. Intensive agriculture is not new, but it is making a comeback as it feeds a large number of people, has multiple markets, and you can earn a living wage from it.

I have posted our “conclusions” from our first meeting for you to look at: (January+30+Urban+Farmer+Meeting+Summary). Feel free to join us. Even if you have a smaller garden, everyone’s experience here counts. All gardening has value. Especially today…

The Future of Canadian Food rests in Parliament for one more day!

April: This is only important if you eat. If you don’t eat, it doesn’t matter.

Bill C-474 (“an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted”) protects farmers from losing their crops, their livelihoods and their farms (More links below). As GE seed/crop corporations like Monsanto sweep in and take over every food crop growing in Canada, you, the consumer, will lose ALL choices of what you buy and consume. Including all vegetables.

We as farmers will no longer be able to save seeds. Which means, if we buy them at the inflated costs, YOU will be paying double for your groceries.

However, if you don’t eat, it doesn’t matter.

Below, Tom Rudge is a farmer in the Yukon. I know Tom. He works hard to feed you and I. The Yukon is a GE Free Zone, thanks to many that brought it forward and passed it. That doesn’t mean Tom’s farm is safe. I have included Tom’s letter to Harper. Read it, as it applies to ALL farmers. In 24 hours, we will find out if we have a future or not.

Subject Heading: My future and Bill C-474: Your future too?

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Exposing Monsanto’s Minions

A few posts down I spoke of Monsanto’s GE alfalfa deregulation. It was a complicated issue, and has opened up the issues and awareness of GMO. Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumer’s Association lashed back. While there are two sides to every story, one side is not being told, and Ronnie wants that exposed. He makes a valid point: one that I found valid in the beginning as well, but did try to understand “why” the Organic groups bowed to the concession of co-existence. So my question now is “Why didn’t they demand that co-existence was not ever an option, but would allow deregulation with the option of coming back to the table to sue?” Below is Ronnie Cummin’s backlash:

Monsanto Nation           By Ronnie Cummins

My exposé last week, “The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto: What Now?” has ignited a long-overdue debate on how to stop Monsanto’s earth killing, market-monopolizing, climate-destabilizing rampage. Should we basically resign ourselves to the fact that the Biotech Bully of St. Louis controls the dynamics of the marketplace and public policy? Should we seek some kind of practical compromise or “coexistence” between organics and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)? Should we focus our efforts on crop pollution compensation and “controlled deregulation” of genetically engineered (GE) crops, rather than campaign for an outright ban, or mandatory labeling and safety-testing? Should we prepare ourselves for a future farm landscape where the U.S.’s 23 million acres of alfalfa, the nation’s fourth largest crop, (93% of which are currently not sprayed with toxic herbicides), including organic alfalfa, are sprayed with Roundup and/or genetically polluted with Monsanto’s mutant genes?

Or should we stand up and say Hell No to Monsanto and the Obama Administration? Should we stop all the talk about coexistence between organics and GMOs; unite Millions Against Monsanto <http://www.millionsagainstmonsanto.org> ,  mobilize like never before at the grassroots; put enormous pressure on the nation’s grocers to truthfully label the thousands of so-called conventional or “natural” foods containing or produced with GMOs; and then slowly but surely drive GMOs from the market?

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Feb 8 is the Day We Support All Farmers (Or Not)!

URGENT Action Alert: Please Distribute Widely –
SEND A MESSAGE TO YOUR MP BY FEB. 8th VOICING YOUR SUPPORT FOR BILL C-474

Help Protect our Farmers
Support Bill C-474

A simple action today could stop genetically engineered (GE) seeds from causing chaos on Canadian farms – lost markets, lost crops and livelihoods, and permanent crop contamination.

Private Members Bill C-474 is currently scheduled for a vote at third reading in Parliament on February 9th. The Bill could effectively stop GE alfalfa and GE wheat from being commercialized in Canada. It would require “an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted.”

GE Seeds and ‘Market Harm’
With greater scrutiny of GE crops in Europe, Canadian flax and alfalfa farmers stand to lose their traditional export markets if these crops are commercialized in Canada. Late last year, Canadian flax exports were found contaminated with a GE variety not approved for our export markets. Canadian flax farmers are paying a heavy price, with some facing the prospect of no markets at all for their crops.

They recognized the potential threat, and in 2001 farmers even took steps to remove GE flax from the market. But despite their best efforts, contamination occurred, creating market uncertainty and depressed prices. Farmers are now paying to test and clean up their seed supplies. They may yet need to abandon their farm-saved flax seed and buy certified seed – all unnecessary and preventable costs.

Allowing for the commercialization of GE alfalfa and GE wheat could also lead to similar problems. Please protect Canada’s farmers and support Bill C-474.

ACTION

Write a letter to your MP instantly. Our friends at CBAN have made it simple. Take action by February 8!
Find out more about this issue and share it with your friends and families by visiting cban.ca or Parliament of Canada.
Learn about the importance of crop diversity and food sovereignty at www.usc-canada.org and at www.seedmap.org.

For more action options and information visit cban.ca or contact:

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network by Email (coordinator@cban.ca) .

Your actions make a difference!

Thanks for your support of this important issue!