Category Archives: Non-GE foods

Joel Salatin – Lunatic Farmer, is coming to Vancouver!

A Lecture with a Lunatic Farmer

Friday 09/10/2010 – 11:12 — Trevor Join us for a lecture with Joel Salatin, American farmer, author, and proponent of sustainable agriculture. Salatin will share stories and insights based on his upcoming book, The Sheer Ecstacy of Being a Lunatic Farmer.

Joel Salatin was profiled in Michael Pollan’s New York Times bestseller, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and featured in the documentaries Food Inc and Fresh. Salatin and his family own and operate Polyface Farm in Virginia.

Public Event

Tickets are $45 and include a signed pre-release copy of The Sheer Ecstacy of Being a Lunatic Farmer. Please call 604-688-6755 for tickets.

Time: Monday, September 27 7:00 PM
Location: MacMillan Building – 2357 Main Mall Rm. 166

Seating is limited, call 604-688-6755 for tickets

UBC Student, Faculty & Staff Event

Admission is free with a UBC Student, Faculty or Staff ID card.
Signed copies of The Sheer Ecstacy of Being a Lunatic Farmer will be sold afterwards.

Time: Monday, September 27 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Location: MacMillan Building – 2357 Main Mall Rm. 166

Seating is limited; admission is first come,  first serve.

For more event details, contact:

Natalie Yuen

UBC Farm Administrative Coordinator
E-mail: ubcfarm.admin@gmail.com

Nature’s Path is first in Canada to obtain Non-GMO Certification

Nature’s Path, a Richmond BC based privately owned company is the first in Canada to be granted the rights to label their products with the Non-GMO seals. Nature’s Path is owned by President and founder Arran Stephens.

Canada requires that any product labeled Non-GMO cannot claim 100% avoidance of GMO’s in their foods. They must meet the EU standards (less than 9/10ths of 1 percent). This is the first time a Non GMO label has existed in Canada.

Canada will soon see many products out with the Non-GMO labels soon. The US already has the label on many brands.

What is the Non-GMO label?

Three years ago a group of natural food retailers in North America joined forces to create the Non GMO Project, in an effort to establish Non-GMO labeling. The non-profit includes executives from Whole Foods, Big Carrot, Nature’s Path’s Dag Falck, John Fagan of Global ID Group, Mark Squire of Good Earth, George Sieman of Organic Valley Family Farms, and Megan Westgate, to name a few.

How to find products that do not contain GMO ingredients

While we have a list of some of the better non GMO products on this blog, many sites, such as Greenpeace have Greenpeace’s Non GMO Shoppers Guide and what is acceptable.  Another way to find out is to call each company whose products you use and ask. Most have a toll free number listed on their sites.

Why should you care?

This blog details many of the arguments against GMO’s. There are 3 main issues surrounding this technology: health, environment and corporate control of your food supply. Please take the time to educate yourself on these issues. And next time you shop, look for Nature’s Path and the Non-GMO label on their products.

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.

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Conservative Party makes huge blunder in GMO email

Written by April Reeves, Director, GE Free BC

I was forwarded this email today from a colleague. It’s a response from Conservative MP Alice Wong regarding their stance on Bill C-474. This response clearly states how little the Conservative party thinks about our rights, freedom, and intelligence. Read on:

Dear Alice Wong, MP, Richmond, Conservative Party,

On April 28, 2010, you sent a response to a fellow named ‘Bruno Vernier’ regarding Bill C-474. I would like to remind you of this email, and I have a few comments about your response you should hear. Your email:

Dear Bruno,

You are absolutely correct that we are to represent the citizens of Richmond,

and that most of the e-mails we received asked us to vote for C-474. However,

our Parliamentary system isn’t totally based on referendum or constituency

majority wishes.  An MP isn’t just elected to a “puppet” of the electorate.

They are elected for their ability to lead as well as for their willingness to

follow consensus.  Yes, a good MP works hard at listening to his or her

consitutents and representing them well.  But by electing an MP, constituents

are also placing on them a mantle of authority, a “trust quotient” if you

will, to go to Ottawa and vote as they see best on issues of national

importance.  This may not always be the “popular” position and ultimately each

MP faces accountability for that at the election booth.  But they will also

run for reelection on their expertise and skill, not just on being a “puppet”

of constituents’ wishes. Parliamentary democracy has a lot of nuances to it

and there are some grey areas in how it plays itself out on the daily

political arena. The main objective of both sides was to support Canadian

farmers, and we listened to the large number of farmers who asked the

government to defeat this bill.

Voting against the C-474 was not an attempt to stifle debate over the issue.

Back in October 27, 2009, the Agriculture Committee passed a motion to study

genetically modified organisms, and the first hearing on the subject was held

on December 3. We agree that we should have a debate on the issue of GMOs in

committee; approving the substance of the bill in principle was not necessary

to facilitate that debate.

Although we have two differing opinions on the issue, I wish to thank you for

your civility and sharp grasp of the issues you advocate. We receive many

generic e-mails asking for support for different issues, but only a few take

the time to share their personal views and articulate them so well. Thank you

for dialoguing with us.

All the best,

Micah Au, Constituency Office of Alice Wong, MP for Richmond

– – –

Lets start at the beginning.

First off, you DO in fact work for the people who voted you in. It’s called Democracy, a term the Conservatives have forgotten about.

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Which Veggie Burgers Were Made With a Neurotoxin?

By Kiera Butler Mon Apr. 12, 2010 2:30 AM PDT

UPDATE: Veggie burger rumors are flying! Some readers and other news organizations have alleged that the study I wrote about on Monday was funded by the pro-meat, anti-soy group the Weston A. Price Foundation. But this morning, I spoke with Cornucopia Institute director Mark Kastel, who said that the Weston A. Price Foundation did not contribute any funding to the “Behind the Bean” (pdf) study. More here.

UPDATE: Readers’ questions about veggie burgers and hexane answered here.

This is about the time of year when I start keeping packages of veggie burgers in the freezer, just in case of an impromptu barbecue. In the past, I haven’t had much fake meat brand loyalty: I’ve found that once I smother my hunk of textured vegetable protein in barbeque sauce, all soy patties are pretty much created equal. But after reading a recent investigation by the Cornucopia Institute, I’m going to be a lot more picky: The food and agriculture nonprofit found that most non-organic veggie burgers currently on the market are made with the chemical hexane, an EPA-registered air pollutant and neurotoxin.

In order to meet the demands of health-conscious consumers, manufacturers of soy-based fake meat like to make their products have as little fat as possible. The cheapest way to do this is by submerging soybeans in a bath of hexane to separate the oil from the protein. Says Cornucopia Institute senior researcher Charlotte Vallaeys, “If a non-organic product contains a soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, or texturized vegetable protein, you can be pretty sure it was made using soy beans that were made with hexane.”

If you’ve heard about hexane before, it was likely in the context of gasoline—the air pollutant is also a byproduct of gas refining. But in 2007, grain processors were responsible for two-thirds of our national hexane emissions. Hexane is hazardous in the factory, too: Workers who have been exposed to it have developed both skin and nervous system disorders. Troubling, then, that the FDA does not monitor or regulate hexane residue in foods. More worrisome still: According to the report,

“Nearly every major ingredient in conventional soy-based infant formula is hexane extracted.”

The Cornucopia Institute found that a number of popular veggie burgers were made with hexane. The list (pdf, page 37, and below) is longer than you might think:

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How I grow food every year – Nutrigenomics

I ran across this article that talked about a new revolutionary way to eat that prevents disease and is tailored specifically for you. It’s called Nutrigenomics, and begins with garden grown vegetables that you ‘encode’. This is NOT a GMO project.

I have been doing this for years, so to hear it’s “new” was rather humorous. Here’s how it works:

You take the seeds you want to plant and eat, and place them under your tongue for at least 9 minutes. This allows the plant to “assume” your particular needs for your body. Plants can heal us if we let them. I use heritage and heirloom seeds only, from sources I trust (they are on this site). I then take water that I have washed my hands and feet with, and water those new seeds with it. Your hands and feet shed toxins and garbage from your system daily. The plants take this new data and create the foods you need to fix the problems in your own body.

This year we have added friends seeds to our personal garden. It will be interesting to see how their foods work for them.

Here is the article on Nutrigenomics.

Free Movie Screening in Richmond BC

If you’re in the area you might want to take this in:

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

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.

Traditional seed supply found to have GM DNA

If you read nothing else read this – April

What is new about the Gone to Seed report?

Gone to Seed reports, for the first time, that the traditional seed supply for important food crops is contaminated with DNA from genetically engineered crops. UCS tested six traditional varieties each from three crops—corn, soybeans, and canola—and found that most of them carry pieces of DNA from genetically engineered varieties.

Why is contamination of the traditional seed supply important?

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

Bt crop: Insect-resistant crop variety engineered to produce an insect toxin originally found in a soil bacterium. YieldGard, NaturGard, KnockOut, and StarLink are trade names of some Bt-corn varieties.

DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid, the linear macromolecule that makes up the genetic material of most organisms. DNA usually exists as a double-stranded helix.

Gene: Functional unit of hereditary material usually carried on chromosomes and passed from parent to offspring. A gene codes for proteins (the molecules that are responsible, alone or in combination, for traits exhibited by plants such as seed color and shape, height, and insect resistance).

Genetic engineering: Molecular-level techniques capable of combining genes and regulatory sequences and transferring them into an organism. These techniques, which may be used to transfer genes between unrelated organisms or to remove and rearrange genes within a species, are also called  transgenic, gene splicing, and genetic modification techniques.

Herbicide-resistant variety: Plant variety resistant to the otherwise toxic effects of herbicides.

Pollen: Dust-like material, produced by the male parts of flowers, which contains male sex cells.

Primer set: Short pieces of DNA added to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) mixtures to “find” the pieces of target DNA that will be copied. Primer sets are synthesized to match sequences at the beginning and end of the target DNA, thereby defining the exact segment to be subsequently duplicated by a DNA-copying enzyme.

Traditional seeds represent the portion of the seed supply that is presumed not to be genetically engineered. Such seeds are important to conventional farmers exporting crops to countries that reject  genetic engineering; to organic farmers who are barred from using genetically engineered seeds; and to society as a whole as an insurance policy against the possibility that something might go awry with genetic engineering.

How did the contamination occur?

UCS is not sure. We do know that there are two major routes by which the DNA we detected could move into seed supplies: physical mixing  of seeds or seed parts, and pollen, which is carried by wind or insects to the female parts of plants and gives rise to new seeds. But we do not know whether seed mixing or pollen flow or both account for the engineered genetic material we found in traditional varieties in our study.

What kinds of genetically engineered elements are contaminating traditional varieties of seeds?

Again, we do not know. We could only test for a few genes—those that are used in popular herbicide- resistant and Bt varieties of genetically engineered crops—and we did detect some of those genes. But there are many other genes that could potentially contaminate traditional seeds that we could not test for. Gone to Seed lists hundreds of genes and traits that have been moved into varieties of soybeans, corn, and canola, such as genes added to corn to produce drugs for people and animals and to alter the crop’s starch, oil, and protein makeup.

If corn, soybeans, and canola are safe to eat, why would anyone be concerned about the low levels of seed contamination that UCS found?

Well, first, we’re not sure what the levels of contamination across
the seed supply really are, although the limited data in our study suggest that it is low. One reason we advocate a large follow-up study is to obtain better estimates of the levels of contamination.

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Great video: Biodynamic Farming

Frog Hill Farm in Port Townsend, Washington: The farm’s diverse acres include woodlands, an herb and flower garden, wetlands, pastures for goats, ducks and chickens as well as neat rows of vegetables. Sebastian Aguilar, who runs the farm with his family, has taken his organic certification to the next level by employing biodynamic farming practices.

An often misunderstood technique due to its roots in Rudolph Steiner’s esoteric spiritual philosophy, biodynamic agriculture treats farms as unified organisms and emphasizes the relationship of soil, plants and animals. Biodynamic farms try to eliminate inputs (such as fertilizers) and instead create a closed-loop system of soil maintenance using cover crops, manure and herbal composts.

Video of Frog Hill’s Biodynamic Farming

Greenpeace puts out list of Non-GMO food companies

If you are looking for a list of Non-GMO/GE food companies, and a list of those companies that do use GM, Greenpeace has compiled a list you can print out and take to the grocery store. Thanks Greenpeace.

I have some additions to the good companies that don’t use GM. You can find them under the “Foods” page on this blog. I will be adding to them as I find them. I source them out by calling and speaking with their researchers and owners. I only post companies that are 100% Non-GE.

Greenpeace: Shopper’s Guide to Avoid Genetically Engineered Foods

You have a right to know.

GMO seed watch: You won’t know you’re planting GM seeds

Here is a GMO  variety heads up, courtesy of Maureen Bostock (a BC expat now based in  Ontario)

It seems Seedway Company out of Pennsylvania is selling BT Sweet Corn in  the U.S. & southwestern Ontario.

The  varieties are marked by the “Attribute” label and are produced by  Syngenta.  BC 0801, WH 0812, BC 0832, BC 0808, BC 0805, BSS 0977 and  BSS 0982 are some of the sweet corn variety names.

Maureen mentioned  that as far as she knows growers are required to sign a user’s agreement for this sweet corn – so most organic producers can easily avoid purchasing  these varieties; but GE varieties of crookneck summer squash are also  listed, and apparently growers are not required to sign a user’s agreement  for them.

Rochelle Eisen
BC’s Organic Extension  Agent
250 499.2413 (phone)
250.502.0323  (cell)
ONLINE  archives of COABC’s Fall Webinar Series <http://www.certifiedorganic.bc.ca/infonews/events.php>  are available
http://www.certifiedorganic.bc.ca/infonews/events.php#seminar

Grain companies exploit flax situation to tighten vise on farmer seed saving

National Farmers Union Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE
RELEASE
JANUARY 18, 2010

GRAIN COMPANIES EXPLOIT FLAX SITUATION TO
TIGHTEN VISE ON FARMER SEED SAVING

SASKATOON, SK: Grain company Viterra wants to force all farmers wishing
to grow flax in 2010 to purchase certified seed.  A Viterra spokesman
delivered that message in a presentation on January 11 at the Crop
Production Show in Saskatoon.

Viterra and others are pushing the requirement for certified seed as a
purported solution to the problem of the Triffid contamination in flax
shipments to Europe.  Triffid is a genetically modified variety not
approved in Europe.  But the NFU believes that the proposed certified
seed cure is the wrong one, and that there will be long-lasting and
negative side effects.
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Non-GE Food Finds #1

I’m going to start posting all the non-GE foods I can find, and add each one to the Food Page. I’ll try to find the locations that sell them, and all links.

Find of the Day

Falafel Chips

This chip is all organic, no-gm and it’s fantastic! Just tried it today and ate the whole bag, oops! Dip these in hummus, bet they taste even better. Buy an extra bag and keep at all times in your car. They come in regular and spicy. The spicy rocks. High fiber, high protein, great flavor. This company thought of it all, including recycled paper bags you can use as a lunch bag after. Rates a #1 with me!

Locations: All Choices markets, BC         www.falafelchips.com