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.
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.
Posted in Food Security, Food Today, Genetically Modified Organisms
Tagged Bill C-474, GE Free BC, GE Seeds, Ignatieff, Liberal Agriculture Critic, Monsanto, Tom Rudge, Wayne Easter, Yukon
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?
I have watched the latest news as the USDA gave the Organic’s industry 2 choices: full deregulation or partial. There is much to consider, so I have written it as I see it. But one thing I feel: we are at the tipping point of our food sovereignty. This could be it folks: whether we get to live in a GE world or not. Hope the experiment doesn’t fail, just in case WE do…
There are several players here: Whole Foods, Stoneyfield and many other grocers that I will be referring to. Their problems run deep and are not as transparent as they seem, so I will attempt to cut through the crap and bring very real, very pressing issues to the forefront.
Here are the problems Stoneyfield, Whole Foods (WF) and all the other organic “grocers/producers” face with this alfalfa deregulation. This is where I would be putting my money and efforts into:
1. We all KNOW the real issue here is not GE alfalfa, but that this ruling is a precursor for ALL GE crops/plants/trees to be released, unregulated. Or at least “moderately”, and anyone that grows for a living understands there is no “moderation” in cross-contamination. This was the open door Monsanto and “friends” needed to push the rest of their agenda. Why? Because they can monitor the pulse of the consumer and public: will they fight it? Will organic organizations fight it? How, exactly, can Monsanto be stopped? Because at this juncture, “stop” is the critical point: the tipping point to losing our food sovereignty, control and choices. That is what this is all about.
Posted in Food Security, Food Today, Genetically Modified Organisms, Organics, Personally Speaking, Urban Farming
Tagged FDA, GE, GE Alfalfa, GM, GMO Contamination, Monsanto, Organic, Stonyfield, Urban Farmers, USDA, Whole Foods
US decision to allow unconfined release of GE alfalfa a disaster for Canada’s organic industry
OTTAWA – New Democrat Agriculture Critic, Alex Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior), is calling on Prime Minister Harper to urge the US Government to immediately reverse yesterday’s decision to authorize the unrestricted cultivation of Monsanto’s hotly contested genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa in the US.
“It is certain that any GE alfalfa grown in the US will inevitably lead to contamination of alfalfa in Canada,” said Atamanenko. “If Harper doesn’t take a stand to protect Canadian farmers and their organic markets from this looming nightmare then there can be no doubt that Monsanto not only rules the roost in the US but in Canada as well.”
Who would ever in their right mind have thought that growing food or raising livestock could be considered a crime, but senate bill 510—the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 (an amended bill to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act) does just that; making the growing of your own food or saving your own seeds or raising your own chickens a criminal act punishable by law. And once again you can thank one of the usual suspects in Congress—Dick Durbin [Democrud from Illinois]— for this piece of draconian legislature. But Dicky-boy is not alone in this bit of police state legislation, he has lots of co-sponsors on the bill, friendly folks like:
Lamar Alexander [R-TN], Jeff Bingaman [D-NM], Richard Burr [R-NC], Roland Burris [D-IL], Saxby Chambliss [R-GA], Christopher Dodd [D-CT], Michael Enzi [R-WY], Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY], Judd Gregg [R-NH], Thomas Harkin [D-IA], Orrin Hatch [R-UT], John Isakson [R-GA], Edward Kennedy [D-MA], Amy Klobuchar [D-MN], Ben Nelson [D-NE], Tom Udall [D-NM], and David Vitter [R-LA]. The last entry in this rogues gallery is of special interest to me. He’s my very own senator. I’ll have to fire off a quick fax and let the “Honorable” Senator Vitter know how he needs to proceed with this bill if he wants to stay in office. My rule this fall for voting: vote all the incumbents out. Even Ron Paul.
Now you’re probably wondering what’s so bad about this bill to warrant such a sensationalist headline. Here it is:
I posted this on the blog GE Free BC: http://gefreebc.wordpress.com/2010/08/30/important-dna-fragments-from-gmo-plants-in-animals/ It’s an article regarding how Genetically Engineered plant DNA is beginning to show up in animals, which you can read as “YOU”. In fact, some of the Genetically Engineered DNA was found to be “enhanced” in children that drank goat’s milk; those goats fed GE soy and other crops.
It’s becoming increasingly obvious to many: any food that’s not created by Mother Nature simply cannot sustain life or be expected to “feed the world” without creating a new nightmare of potential disease, environmental disasters and complete corporate monopolization.
The company that tested the above (Testbiotech) also tested wheat and found the plant became unstable and disease prone when under changing environmental conditions. GE Wheat has not been approved yet for production in North America, but it is being considered as a crop soon.