Monthly Archives: May 2010

Haitian Farmers Commit to Burning Monsanto Hybrid Seeds

http://www.truthout.org/haitian-farmers-commit-burning-monsanto-hybrid-seeds59616
Tuesday 18 May 2010

by: Beverly Bell, t r u t h o u t | Report

Jonas Deronzil from Verrettes has been farming since 1974. Like small
producers throughout Haiti, his meager income from corn, rice and
beans is threatened by new competition from Monsanto.

“A new earthquake” is what peasant farmer leader Chavannes Jean-
Baptiste of the Peasant Movement of Papay (MPP) called the news that
Monsanto will be donating 60,000 seed sacks (475 tons) of hybrid corn
seeds and vegetable seeds, some of them treated with highly toxic
pesticides. The MPP has committed to burning Monsanto’s seeds, and has
called for a march to protest the corporation’s presence in Haiti on
June 4, for World Environment Day.

In an open letter sent May 14, Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, the executive
director of MPP and the spokesperson for the National Peasant Movement
of the Congress of Papay (MPNKP), called the entry of Monsanto seeds
into Haiti “a very strong attack on small agriculture, on farmers, on
biodiversity, on Creole seeds … and on what is left our environment
in Haiti.”(1) Haitian social movements have been vocal in their
opposition to agribusiness imports of seeds and food, which undermines
local production with local seed stocks. They have expressed special
concern about the import of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

For now, without a law regulating the use of GMOs in Haiti, the
Ministry of Agriculture rejected Monsanto’s offer of Roundup Ready
GMOs seeds. In an email exchange, a Monsanto representative assured
the Ministry of Agriculture that the seeds being donated are not GMOs.

Continue reading

Results of our GMO Movie Showing

April Reeves, May 24 2010

I thought it would be appropriate to post the results from our first Free Movie Showing evening on the 22nd of May.

The showing was held in the Ralph Fisher Auditorium which holds around 160 people. It was almost packed out, and many people came and went (hospital staff from Richmond General next door!). Once we broke into Q&A, no one left. Many great questions were answered by a panel of 4: Arzeena Hamir, Larry Tolton, Teresa Quach and April Reeves.

Nature’s Path was a sponsor and provided the granola bars for the event. I will be sending them flowers – what a wonderful company! And really great food by the way – to those who haven’t sampled their cereals yet.

We also had free Heirloom bean and pea seeds to start planting your GMO-free garden. A draw to win one of 2 full gardens ready-to-plant was a big hit at the end. The plants went to a good home 🙂

Many ‘active’ GMO activists showed up: April Goodman and Inge Hanle being just 2 of the many, but 2 vocal ones.

Discussions around current issues was hot: Bill C-474, Enviropig, CETA: Canadian European Trade Agreement, Codex and Terminator trees were discussed.

It is also being discussed to take this event into every other municipality in the lower mainland. What was learned is that most people in the urban/city areas have no idea about their food. They have no idea what a GMO is. It’s time to begin a long procedure of educating them. This is one of the few ways we can stop these potentially harmful foods from entering our system permanently, keep our freedom of choice and stop corporate control of Canada.

We will also work with others that wish to lead their groups into pushing for GE Free zones around BC as well. This is more important than ever now. If we sit idly by and say nothing, do nothing, our world as we know it will be gone. This is not the future we want to leave our children.

You can make a HUGE difference right now!

This is minimal effort with maximum effect: there is a poll on this website that asks if you want Richmond BC to be a GE Free zone – cast your vote asap before the poll disappears. There is power in the YES vote: scroll down the page and the poll is on the left hand side 2/3 of the way down. Thanks – in advance – to everyone that votes yes!

http://www.bclocalnews.com/richmond_southdelta/richmondreview/

Extreme Genetic Engineering is here: man-made DNA

In a paper published today in the journal Science, the J. Craig Venter
Institute and Synthetic Genomics Inc announced the laboratory creation
of the world’s first self-reproducing organism whose entire genome was
built from scratch by a machine. Synthetic biology refers to the
construction of novel life-forms using synthetic DNA made from off-the-
shelf chemicals – a form of “extreme genetic engineering”.

ETC Group News Release 20 May 2010 www.etcgroup.org

Synthia is Alive and Breeding: Panacea or Pandora’s Box?

As Craig Venter announces lab-made life, ETC Group calls for Global
Moratorium on Synthetic Biology.

In a paper published today in the journal Science, the J. Craig Venter
Institute and Synthetic Genomics Inc announced the laboratory creation
of the world’s first self-reproducing organism whose entire genome was
built from scratch by a machine.(1) The construction of this synthetic
organism, anticipated and dubbed “Synthia” by the ETC Group three
years ago, will stir a firestorm of controversy over the ethics of
building artificial life and the implications of the largely unknown
field of synthetic biology.

Continue reading

Article posts for GMO: May 20

April: There just wasn’t enough time in the day to post the really good stuff in full, so I am going to start listing the links to articles I think you may want or need.

HRAC members decide to boycott Genetically Modified foods

French Wine to Be Modified Genetically

Prisoners turn over a new leaf with eye on environment

Orwell-Speak Award Goes to Canada’s GM “Enviropig”

Protesters Block Monsanto in the Netherlands – Demanding End to GMOs

Facebook Page (Arzeena Hamir, GE Free Steering Committee) on Roger’s Sugar: asking us to send Roger’s an email on GMO Sugarbeets. Please let Roger’s know that you will not buy their products anymore.

Chemtrails and Monsanto’s New Aluminum Resistance Gene – Coincidence?

Monsanto Plant Shut Down by Activists in Europe

Lawsuit seeks to ban genetically modified sugar beets

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) A group of Oregon farmers are seeking an injunction against this year’s planting of Monsanto’s genetically engineered sugar beets. The groups of organic farmers, food safety advocates and conservationists, is seeking to persuade a judge to ban the crop until the USDA provides a proper environmental impact statement proving that the crops are safe and that they will not cross-contaminate nearby fields.

The debate over whether or not to allow GE crops into the food supply has been a hotly debated one, but the biotech industry has been the side unable to prove that its products are safe. Those concerned about the negative consequences of GE crops have plenty of unresolved questions that demand answers prior to any GE crop being approved. Yet in reality, the USDA has succumbed to industry pressure instead, jeopardizing the entire food industry.

Nearly half of the nation’s sugar beets are genetically modified. They can be found planted on more than one million acres across ten states. The beets have been engineered to be resistant to Monsanto’s “RoundUp” herbicide, but their components are not limited to the fields in which they are planted, spreading across the landscape via pollen and seeds carried in the wind. Because it is impossible to track where GE plant fragments end up, there is no ensuring that any crop is truly non-GE or organic.

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Stop “Enviropig”: Take action to stop GM Animals in Canada

Stop “EnviroPig”! Take Action today to stop genetically modified
animals.

Write to the Minister of Health instantly from http://www.cban.ca/enviropigaction

Health Canada could soon approve the first genetically modified (GM)
animal for human consumption. The University of Guelph has applied for
food safety approval of its GM pig – they call it “Enviropig”.

The GM pig contains genetic material from a mouse and E-coli bacteria,
and is engineered to excrete less phosphorus in its feces. Its owners
claim that “Enviropig” can reduce water pollution caused by excess
pig manure that comes from industrial factory farms. A GM pig is not
needed to solve this problem. Pigs can be raised without causing
phosphorus pollution – by making changes to production practices or
using an enzyme feed supplement that helps pigs digest grains.

“Enviropig” is not needed by farmers and is not wanted by consumers.
“Enviropig” is unacceptable and will harm the markets for Canada’s
hog producers at a time of severe economic crisis in the industry.

Health Canada is wasting precious public resources trying to assess the safety of a GM animal that no one wants. Health Canada does not have the capacity to regulate this complex technology for human safety.

Write to the Minister of Health today from http://www.cban.ca/enviropigaction
and tell her that GM animals are not acceptable in our food system.
Tell her that you don’t want to eat “Enviropig”

For more information on “Enviropig” and how you can join the campaign
visit http://www.cban.ca/enviropig

Donate today to support the campaign to stop “Enviropig” http://www.cban.ca/donate

This action alert was issued May 18 2010, by the Canadian
Biotechnology Action Network www.cban.ca in partnership with Beyond
Factory Farming www.beyondfactoryfarming.org

Join us in building the campaign: http://www.cban.ca/enviropig

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)

Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
431 Gilmour Street, Second Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 0R5
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext.6
Fax: 613 241 2506
coordinator@cban.ca
www.cban.ca

Take action to Stop “Envriopig”: No GM Animals http://www.cban.ca/enviropig
Donate Today http://www.cban.ca/donate
Subscribe to the CBAN News and Action Listserve http://www.cban.ca/About/CBAN-e-News

Pesticides and ADHD: new tests prove links for children

April: finally, a study showing links with pesticides and ADHD in children! But did they study the links; where the pesticides came from – the sprayed pesticide or the pesticide that lives within every cell on a GMO RoundUp Ready plant? The plant that is found in almost every packaged and processed food in North America? This remains to be studied…

Pesticide link to ADHD in children: Study

Agence France-Presse: Monday, May 17, 2010

WASHINGTON – Children exposed to higher levels of pesticide found on commercially grown fruit and vegetables in the United States were more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a study published Monday.

Researchers in the United States and Canada studied data from 1,139 children aged between 8 and 15 and found that children with higher residue levels of pesticides known as organophosphates were roughly twice as likely to have ADHD, the study in the Journal of Pediatrics found.

Continue reading

Free GMO Movie Showing May 22

Don’t forget: May 22 is our Free Movie Showing! GMO’s: Panacea or Poison (see poster below).

First 100 participants receive a package of heritage/heirloom pea and bean seeds to plant. Plus we have a draw to win a small garden of heirloom and ancients vegetable plants!

The movie is an hour long, with a guest speaker panel at the end to answer any of your questions. So come on the 22nd and get informed about GMO foods, crops and trees. Why you should care and what you can do.

Kelowna Doctor to participate in GMO Workshop

A short note to everyone coming this evening to our GMO Workshop in Vancouver:

We have 2 special guests coming from Kelowna: Dr. Wittel MD and Nutritionist Heidi Osterman are driving in today to attend the workshop!

Their presence is wonderful – Dr. Wittel has many years of activist experience. Heidi Osterman is interested in bringing this message forward to more people. This workshop is a perfect venue for them to work with interested and enthusiastic activists.

I have been asked by several US groups to work on this: creating a model on workshops for others to use and follow. Together we have great power – let’s make this workshop a “model” for how to do it right!

GMO Workshop 7-9pm

Wednesday May 12 2010 (today)

Unitarian Church, Vancouver, Oak street and 49th.

Canada & Codex: GM labeling – US Increasingly Isolated

Canada at the UN Codex meeting on GM food labeling: Negotiations continue, U.S. increasingly isolated

Your actions worked – again!

Thanks to your letters, the Canadian government delegation to the UN
Codex meeting last week did not boldly ally itself with the U.S.
position against GM food labeling. The U.S. failed in their attempts
to stop the negotiations.

The Canadian government did not speak up to support the nonsensical
position from the U.S. that GM foods are no different from foods
produced through conventional methods. Though not yet actively
supporting a positive position on GM labeling, Canada did not obstruct
the meeting and the U.S. was not able to put an end to the
negotiations. Out of the over 50 countries at the negotiations, the
U.S. was only supported in its position by Mexico, Costa Rica, and
Argentina.

Codex recommendations on GM labeling could protect developing
countries from challenges brought through the World Trade Organization.

The U.S. was trying to put an end to the UN Codex negotiations on GM
labeling but the negotiations will continue. There will be an
important Codex meeting in May 2011 in Quebec City – and we must
continue to pressure the Minister of Health. The Canadian
Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) will continue to take action and
monitor this issue, as well as collaborate with U.S. groups. Please
see below from Consumers Union in the U.S.

For updates and more information: http://www.cban.ca/labeling

Please consider your donation to support this campaign http://www.cban.ca/donate

May 10, 2010 Update

Press Release: Consumers Union Calls on U.S. to Support Genetically Modified Food Labeling Agreement

U.S. Stands Nearly Alone in Opposition at Recent International Meeting

Yonkers, NY—Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer
Reports, today called on the Obama Administration to endorse a
compromise on guidelines for labeling of genetically modified (GM)/
genetically engineered (GE) food, that was supported by the
overwhelming majority of nations during international negotiations
last week in Canada.  Consumers Union again expressed serious concerns
that the current U.S. position in opposition to the compromise on GE/
GM labeling could create major problems in the long term for U.S. and
foreign producers who want to label their products as free of GM/GE
ingredients.

Continue reading

Superweeds have arrived and threaten US agriculture

By April Reeves, May 7 2010

I read it across the ‘ticker’ on CNN yesterday: US farmers deal with super weeds: single worst production threat in the history of agriculture we have ever seen. Strong words. Now, CNN often is a bit ‘expressive’ in their dialogue, but this time I have to agree.

What surprises me are the people who are surprised. Really, it was a matter of time, like many of the issues of GM crops that will eventually surface. We have said for how long now – it’s not sustainable to mess with Mother Nature. But no one listened. 3 of the big GM crops have super weeds: corn, cotton and soy.

So we ‘heretics’ and ‘fear mongers’ once again shake our heads and laugh. It was evident to anyone with any thread of common sense and vision that this day would come. And it came fast.

You can only sustain healthy agriculture through diversity in your crop choices. Monocrops (single plant crops) will eventually fall prey to either disease or in this case, resistance. I’m sure the bugs will be a tough one to destroy this year as well. Climate change as well, demands a biodiversity in order to survive. It’s the old way, but it’s THE way. While man runs around trying to fix everything, even that which is not broken, eventually it will bite him in the butt.

Farmers are curious: if they have to work longer hours (pulling weeds), do the same things they were doing before GM crops (tilling, changing chemicals), then why spend the extra money on GM seeds? While corn and some soy and cotton may prove higher yields, that should not be a concern any more: what matters is profit, and commodity crops are losing their value as junk food processors demand lower and lower prices to compete.

It’s a treadmill that’s almost impossible to get off of. We have been fed a promise that’s now leading us into chemical dependency.

So what does all this mean?

Unless Monsanto can either engineer another type of plant, or create stronger, nastier chemical pesticides, they have succeeded in taking out mass amounts of shareholder value. Creating new crops take millions of dollars. If these crops have a short duration before they implode and turn useless, the value is just not there for investors. So by subjecting farmers to stronger chemicals is the answer? No wonder young people have no interested in going int0 mass agriculture. They are moving into organics and traditional farming instead. Children are growing up much smarter than many of the older folks…

Farmers will incur additional costs trying to maintain what was suppose to be an easy, infallible system. Those costs will be passed on to the consumer, unless the tab is picked up by government subsidies (that would be you, the taxpayer).

Maybe we should take a page from our antibiotics book for super germs. Don’t we learn anything from history? Especially recent history.

Farm income drops to staggering lows

From the Western Producer paper, May 6 2010

Farm income predictions grim

Projections 91 percent below 2009

The 2010 farm income projections are devastating.
Agriculture Canada released them with little fanfare in late April, which is later than normal.
A sector that will produce $41.6 billion in farmgate receipts this year will return $291.5 million to farmers in realized net income after depreciation. It is a 91 percent reduction from 2009 levels.
Several provinces will be in deficit, including Ontario and Alberta.
The hog and cattle sectors will be hit particularly hard, according to the numbers prepared by and agreed to by federal and provincial officials.
The forecast projects a 12 percent increase in program payments to $3.76 billion despite an Agriculture Canada longer-term projection of a sharp decline in government support over the next three years.
National and provincial leaders affiliated with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture called the numbers a clear signal that federal programs are not working.
“The government’s own forecasts show deep losses for many commodities and highlight that the business risk management programs currently in place were not designed to function with today’s unique set of economic circumstances,” CFA president Laurent Pellerin said in a statement.

Next Wednesday – GMO Workshop for GM Activists

Monsanto takes on CBAN re: Bill C-474: Students in Vancouver take action

Please see below that Monsanto is fighting back to stop Bill C-474
and CBAN’s successful campaign.
1. The industry arguments are desperate  and make very little sense – stay tuned for CBAN rebuttal of industry  arguments: “If you let groups like CBAN offer their comment I don’t think it really has any interest whatsoever in protecting farmers’
rights to access to new technology.” – Trish Jordan, Monsanto Canada
(from below article)

2. House of Commons Agriculture Committee hearings on Bill C-474 will
happen in late May and early June.

3. Your actions continue: Vancouver Kingsway NDP MP Don Davies
presented a petition in the House of Commons April 29 in support of
Bill C-474, signed by well over 100 students, organized by Chanel and
Cassandra Ly, Emily Chan and Brendan Chan. “These students took the
leadership and initiative to educate their classmates about this
important issue raised by this bill and I am proud to present their
views in Parliament on their behalf. These students want to protect
the environment, ensure the health of Canadians and support community
food producers. I join with them in calling for the swift passage of
this bill through committee and into law,” said Mr. Davies in the
House of Commons. You can download the petition from http://www.cban.ca/474
and request your MP to present in the House also.

Article:

Continue reading

How To Create A GMO Event

This is a post for those interested in hosting an event to bring awareness to GMO issues. It follows our May 22 event: Plant Your GE Free Garden and free movie showing.

Real Event as a Model: Step by Step Guidance

by April Reeves:

I’m going to write about a real event I’m organizing. May 22 is the date. Ralph Fisher Auditorium is the venue: holds 300+ people and I intend to fill it. Here’s how:

Continue reading

If you ever wanted to make a difference…

Interesting little clock…

I don’t usually post this sort of thing, but this is a clock that may put a great deal into perspective. Also realize, as you’re looking at some of the numbers, that the loss of forests (for crops) and the desertification (pesticide use) has a great deal to do with GM foods: there is a higher loss of forests and natural land today than ever before: the cows have nothing on GMO’s for devastation and destruction!

World Clock

Canada-EU trade agreement damaging

From The Western Producer April 20 2010

By Terry Boehm, National Farmers Union

Canada and the European Union are negotiating a new free trade agreement, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
This agreement with the EU is no small matter for farmers. The CETA, if implemented, will, as much as the North American Free Trade Agreement or the World Trade Organization, transform Canadian agriculture and farms. And not for the better. The CETA will further intensify Canada’s farm income crisis.
The CETA would mean many changes, but none would be more negative or sweeping than its effect to extinguish farmers’ rights to save and use seeds.
Worse, the agreement would give enforcement powers to any corporation that asserted a farmer had infringed the company’s intellectual property rights.
The CETA would require Canada to implement the UPOV ’91 version of plant breeders’ rights (PBR). That version of the International Convention for the Protection of New Plant Varieties would virtually eliminate farmers’ rights to save, reuse and sell seed.