Category Archives: Organic Growers & Seeds

Are there more young farmers in BC?

As I’ve travelled the Province this year, from Bella Coola (where I had coffee with a bunch of farmers including one who has just started farming pigs profitably) to Campbell River (where I met two young women farmers who are in the their second year of sharecropping from a local farmer to grow organically) to Kaslo (where I bumped into an old friend at the local coffee shop who helped turn Kaslo into a GE free zone), I’ve noticed that there are more young people wanting to get into farming- especially is we stretch young to under 40. Given the demographics with many Canadian farmers due to retire in the next 10 years, this is a positive sign. And the young farmers I have spoken to are into local and organic. I heard the same from friends outside York in Ontario recently. Who knows if this is a trend or just the places I’ve been going to, but there’s a magazine article to support this hypothesis:

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/new-livelihoods/a-growing-movement

Beekeepers win major court victory against Monsanto in Europe

A court ruling this week could have major implications for the planting of GE crops in Europe, and for Canadian exports of honey. See the article and link below.

EU Court Puts Limits on Modified Honey

Associated Press, September 6 2011

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=14456268 Continue reading

List of Bee-happy non-GM flowers

April: This is a good chart for those that plant flowers for bees. These flowers are non-GM (so far). I also provide links to articles on GM flowers currently in the lab. Bees are a vital component to our survival: GM pollens could be partly to blame for CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder). Help the bees: plant for them as well as your nose!

Flower Chart for Bees

GM flowers for better scent: http://singularityhub.com/2010/02/24/genetically-modified-flowers-that-can-smell-like-anything-coming-soon/

Trends in plant science: http://www.finegardening.com/pages/g00094.asp

Monsanto in Your Garden: Why You Need to Buy Organic Seeds

When most people think of Monsanto, they picture huge Midwest farms growing Roundup Ready GMO corn and soy.  But did you know that Monsanto and other agrochemical multinationals are in the home garden vegetable seed business as well?

The commercial seed industry has undergone vast consolidation in the last few decades, with several agro giants buying up many seed companies around the world.  The majority of these companies target the commercial agriculture industry, but companies such as Monsanto and Swiss-based Syngenta produce a range of seeds for the home vegetable gardener as well.

Aside from the anti-trust issues raised from having a few large corporations control the world’s seed supply, there are other concerns as well. The recent consolidation frenzy has resulted in a drastic decrease in the variety of seeds. Insects and disease tend to attack monocultures, so the strength of any ecosystem is the level of its plant diversity. Monocultures, where the same type of crops grow on large plots of land year in and year out, also lead to an increase in pesticide usage.  This is convenient for the giant seed companies, since they’re in the pesticide and herbicide business as well.

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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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US Supreme Court case one of history’s most important for GMO’s

April: while this case may appear to be about GE alfalfa contaminating organic crops, it has a secondary, and in my opinion, worse outcome.

Monsanto is petitioning for an injunction to stop any future law suit against them for anything. This is the worst part, as no one could ever take them to court again for anything: this is very broad: crop damage, human diseases, environmental failures and chemical contamination.

What does this mean? Now we can only sit back and watch, as Monsanto can now do whatever they want, to whomever they please. And we can’t do a thing about it, legally.

Here is a lengthy post filled with information about the beginnings of this historic case. Remember fellow Canadians, this could be us. Bees don’t need passports. We wait on the edge of our seats to hear the outcome….

Supreme Court to take first look at Genetically Modified Crops in Case
with NEPA Implications

The New York Times, USA by Gabriel Nelson    22.04.2010

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments Tuesday
involving a federal judge?s temporary ban on a breed of pesticide-
resistant alfalfa, setting the stage for the court’s first-ever ruling
on genetically modified crops.

Legal experts do not expect a blockbuster decision on the merits of
regulating modified plants such as Monsanto Co.’s Roundup Ready
alfalfa, but the case, Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms, has drawn
widespread interest because the justices could issue a ruling that
would raise or lower the threshold for challenges under the National
Environmental Policy Act.

Environmental groups, which frequently use the statute to bring
lawsuits against government agencies and industry groups, ‘don’t
expect anything good’ to come from the Supreme Court’s eventual
decision, said David Bookbinder, chief climate counsel at the Sierra
Club. It seems that some of the justices are ‘on a kick to gut NEPA
remedies,’ he said earlier this year during a panel discussion on
environmental law at Georgetown University.

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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.

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

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

Non-GMO label getting a local push by Lundberg Family Farms

I think Lundberg is both intelligent and brave to be the first to label Non-GMO! Email them and let them know you’re proud of them: Lundberg contact

By HEATHER HACKING – Staff Writer

Posted: 01/11/2010 12:00:00 AM PST

RICHVALE —Lundberg Family Farms is among the leaders in a trend to label foods as non-GMO. GMO stands for genetically modified organisms, which are created through transferring genes from one organism to another.

Most Americans consume genetically modified foods every day. The majority of soy, cotton, corn and canola grown in the United States contains genetically modified crops, most of which have been altered to resist pests and weeds.

Other genetically modified foods may contain higher nutrients, are more tolerant to adverse growing conditions or produce higher yields.

Previously there has been no organized system in the United States for people to know whether the foods they buy contain GMOs.

Over the past two years, Lundberg Family Farms, which produces organic rice products, and others in the organic industry have created a new labeling system and verification process to label foods as “non-GMO.”

The group is a nonprofit organization called the Non-GMO project.

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The Indian GM industry In Panic

By Devinder Sharma

18 December, 2009
Countercurrents.org

When the going gets tough, the loser’s panic. And the desperation grows.

Well, this is the story of the duo — Dr Ron Herring (from Cornell) and Dr Shantu Shantaram — doing the rounds across the country on behalf of the GM industry. After the New Delhi panel discussion organised by the Institute of Economic Growth on Dec 3, the duo went to Ahmedabad and from there to Thiruvanthapuram in Kerala.

You have probably read about the New Delhi meet, and the FAQs that come up again and again, on this blog earlier. Just in case you missed it, here is the link: http://devinder-sharma.blogspot.com/
2009/12/gm-denial-industry-cornell-university.html

My colleague Sreedevi Lakshmi Kutty was in Thiruvanthapuram early this week and did manage to attend for sometime the two-day conference where both Ron Herring and Shantu Shantaram were present. She sends me this report.

I was in Kerala on a vacation last week and during that time came across this workshop on “Modern biotechnology in Indian Agriculture” (on Dec 13-14). This was organised under the banner of AICBA Delhi and FBAE Bangalore. This was a pro-GM industry conference, where Monsanto also made a presentation.

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Network Farming: how Washington farmer grows non-GE to consumers direct

By Stephen Samaniego

Fred Fleming’s family has been farming in Lincoln County Washington for over a hundred years. President Grover Cleveland signed the deed to his great grandfather back in 1888. Since then the farm has been passed on from generation to generation. To say farming is in his blood would be an understatement.

See video on Fred’s farm and listen to his words of wisdom to others to do the same!

Fleming jokes about how he used to be addicted to the traditional farming methods passed on to him by his father. “I’m a recovering conventional farmer. I’m ten years into my program. My name is Fred.”

Fleming says this with a coy smile, but for years he worried about the sustainability of conventional farming. Traditionally, a wheat farmer sells his product on the commodities market where prices can be so volatile a farmer can be bankrupt before he knows what happened to him.

Fleming decided it was time for him to start selling wheat on his own terms. Fleming and his long-time friend and fellow farmer Karl Kupers decided to bypass the commodity market and take their product directly to the customer.

“We actually develop a relationship with our customer,” says Fleming.

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Canadian list of Heirloom, Heritage and Rare Vegetable Varieties

green peppers are better grown organically The following seed companies and nurseries sell heirloom and rare or endangered varieties of vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs. In some catalogues, the heirloom varieties are noted as such, but in others they are not, so you have to know what you are looking for.

Canada:

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How to grow vegetables in BC

Garlic can be grown successfully in BCThis is a short list of great articles on how to grow just about any vegetable. The information is complements of each farm and grower. Please take time to look at their websites and plan to buy local Non-GE/GMO seeds for 2010.

West Coast Seeds: large inventory and great explanations on vegetables and herbs.

Two Wings Farm Planting instructions for the organic seeds they sell.

Salt Spring Sees This site is just a goldmine for information on growing and everything else!

Full Circle Seeds Instructions for the seeds they sell.

Seed sellers in BC that do not sell GE/GMO seeds.

A foggy day for The Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing ProgramGE Free Gardening

no GE (genetically engineered), no GMO (genetically modified) seeds

At GE Free BC, we want safe, healthy food that is not genetically engineered. Inserting foreign genes into a food is an imprecise process that damages the DNA, with unpredictable results. It affects the nutritional content, can cause allergies, and antibiotic genes can survive in the human digestive system. Containment of GE crops from other crops in the field is impossible. Pollen from GE plants can cross with non-GE cultivated & wild plants. You can get more info from the GE Free BC newsletter, and get involved, by emailing: gefreebc@yahoo.ca

Over 100 seed companies have signed the Safe Seed Pledge that they will not buy or sell genetically engineered seeds.

The Safe Seed Pledge

“Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants.

The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately healthy people and communities.”

Seed sellers in B.C. who have signed the Safe Seed Pledge:
Aurora Farm Seeds of Victoria
Butchart Gardens Stellar Seeds
Crafty Gardener Sunshine Farm
Fraser’s Thimble Farms Terra Viva Organics
Grass Root Seeds West Coast Seeds
Salt Spring Seeds
Others – and some outside B.C.- who sell GE-free seeds:
Van Dusen Seed Collectors Richter’s Herbs
Planting Seeds Project Territorial Seeds
Thompson and Morgan Twining Vine

Interesting Seeds to Plant in 2007:

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