Monthly Archives: February 2010

Video on Urban Food Growing in Cuba

Young people in Havanna Cuba are growing urban organic gardens within their city. It’s a good model to use for your own backyard ideas and community gardens.

Cuba Urban Gardens

Global GM Crop Slowdown

Feb 26, 2010,  Josette Dunn

The annual GM industry-funded survey of global GM crops, by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agro-biotech Applications (ISAAA), shows 7 of the 25 GM countries grew less genetically manipulated (GM) crops in 2009. No more countries adopted GM and just 2.7% of global agricultural land was used for GM soy, corn, canola and cotton.

Canola

This slowdown in GM crops appears to be largely due to the widespread public concern about the safety of consuming GM foods.  “Most GM product goes into animal feed, biofuels or cotton products, as shoppers avoid eating GM foods” says Gene Ethics Director Bob Phelps.

“GM is not a global industry. Just six countries dominate GM cropping, with the USA, Brazil, Argentina, India, Canada and China growing 95% of all GM crops. Though 20 other countries, including Australia, grow some GM they are just dabbling.

“The Cartagena Biosafety Protocol will be completed this year, giving countries more grounds for saying ‘no’ to GM crops. 156 countries are now members of the treaty but Australia is not among them.”

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is an international agreement on biosafety, as a supplement to the Convention on Biological Diversity.  The Biosafety Protocol aims to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology.

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SmartStax corn is now in the ground

Monsanto’s 8 trait SmartStax corn is now being planted:

There’s been a lot of buzz about Smartstax, the eight-trait hybrid corn seed with reduced pest refuge developed by Dow Agrosciences and Monsanto, but reports from south Texas have it that some of the new seed is actually in the ground.

Farmer Robert Rieder of Sinton, Tx., planted some of the new seed late last week in an area where spring already has begun. Dow Agrosciences and Monsanto have begun selling Smartstax under Monsanto’s DeKalb, Kruger, Holden’s brand and Dow’s Mycogen seed lines.

SmartStax has been approved by federal regulators to reduce their pest refuge – the planted acres set aside for non pest-resistant corn – from 20 percent to 5 percent. The refuge is required to prevent the mutation of bugs resistant to insecticides and anti-pest genomics in seeds.

Pioneer Hi-Bred of Johnston is awaiting federal approval for its AcreMax seed lines which also will allow reduced acreage.

What this means for consumers: It’s a ‘watch and wait’ game to see if this corn has similar effects as StarLink. As a consumer, this is the last summer to eat anything with corn in it, unless you know exactly where it came from. Don’t be a guinea pig.

A seed compromise worth thinking about

I just came across this company, eMerge, who produces patented hybrid non-GMO seeds for corn and soybeans.

They state that these seeds will produce high yields and are healthier than GM. That’s good: that’s believable.

They ask that you buy their seeds each year instead of keeping them. While I still like the idea of keeping and saving seeds each year, could this be a reasonable compromise?

Why can’t Monsanto do this? Is it so hard to just drop the DNA altered foods and come to some agreement to at least provide farmers and consumers with a better alternative?

Keep moving ahead eMerge. You will likely be one of the last companies standing, along with the rest of us who save seeds each year. We have varieties Monsanto will never find or patent.

People are waking  up.

Farmers, Others Sue USDA Over Monsanto GMO Alfalfa

Date: 17-Feb-06
Country: USA
Author: Carey Gillam

Opening another front in the battle over genetically modified crops, the lawsuit contends that the US Department of Agriculture improperly is allowing Monsanto Co to sell an herbicide-resistant alfalfa seed while failing to analyse the public health, environmental, and economic consequences of that action.

“The USDA failed to do a full environmental review when they deregulated this genetically engineered alfalfa,” said Will Rastov, an attorney for Center for Food Safety, one of the plaintiffs. “They’re going to wreak untold dangers into the environment.”

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Food Inc on the web!

Quick, before it’s taken down: Food Inc. is on the web at full format: Food Inc.

GMO Foods: kernels that may be of interest

By Kenda Swartz Pepper | Published: February 7, 2010

You may recall from previous posts the role Michael Taylor played in affecting your food.  As of January 2010, the new Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the FDA is none other than Michael R. Taylor.  Good ole’ Mike. Mikey mike mike. The Mikester.  Mikemonger. The Mike-man makin’ messages.

One may feel a special closeness – a bond even – with this guy.  After all, if you recall, in November 1993 during the Clinton administration, while in the FDA, he helped put Bovine Growth Hormone into your milk.  Taylor was the leader (I use that word loosely) in banning the labeling of GM products.  Oh, and for more than ten years he worked for Monsanto. He was intimately involved in some bad food policy, which makes you, the consumer, intimately involved with the outcome of his decisions.

Here’s some scoop on Mike Taylor and other government associations with Monsanto

In 1994, the FDA, while in the sack with Monsanto put out a message to grocery stores and dairy farmers who weren’t using rBGH:

Do not label milk as free of the hormone.

Shortly thereafter (within a matter of weeks) Monsanto sued two milk processors that labeled milk as free of the hormone according to a New York Times article.

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