Aerial view of a crop circle made by local farmers and Greenpeace volunteers
There aren’t too many corporations more globally disliked than the sustainable agriculture company Monsanto. And by “sustainable agriculture,” they mean genetically engineering food crops with unknown chemicals leading to health and environmental risks including a jarring decline in global bee populations.
The Mexican government is likely to authorize the cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) corn in Mexico. And until now Mexican citizens, with the help of organisations like Greenpeace, have managed to prevent agribusiness giants like Monsanto, DuPont and Dow AgroSciences from gaining approval in Mexico for genetically engineered corn.
Imagine a democratic government adopting a legislation that would instruct its own Department of Agriculture “to ignore any judicial rulings that block the planting of crops that the court determines to be illegal”(according to Senator Jon Tester D-MT).
In essence, this is what the US Congress has done by adopting a small clause (Section 735) inside the 2013 agricultural budget. Continue reading →
Whole Foods Market, the eighth largest food and drug store in the U.S. has announced that by 2018, all products sold in U.S. and Canada stores must be labeled if they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Whole Foods currently provides customers with the choice of over 3,300 Non-GMO products from 250 brands which is more than any other retailer in North America. While we agree with other groups that want Whole Foods to accelerate their commitment to 2015, we also applaud the company for its leadership.
This is huge news coming just a few months after the California citizen’s initiative (Proposition 37) that would have mandated clear labeling of genetically engineered ingredients on food packages was defeated. With interest in GMO labeling around the country now at an all time high, recent polls have shown that more than 82 percent of Americans want full GMO transparency making it mandatory to label GMOs. Continue reading →
Too many countries have in history experienced the devastation of not only failed harvests, but also gross agricultural policy mismanagement.
The Great Famine of the 1930s in the Ukraine, which resulted in millions starving to death, is just one of many. It was a direct result of a political decision to impose a centralised and industrial agriculture model that obliterated centuries of farmers’ know-how. The results were so catastrophic that the Ukraine government describes it as genocide.
“Monsanto fully supports UK food manufactures and retailers in their introduction of these labels. We believe you should be aware of all the facts before making a purchase.”
This quote comes from an advertisement that Monsanto ran in the UK in the late 1990′s when consumers demanded that genetically engineered food be labeled. Monsanto may not have initially liked the idea, but as the policy became inevitable, they began running ads in support of labeling, to pretend they supported it all along. The European Union mandated labeling of all genetically engineered foods in 2003.
Nearly a decade later, California may become the first state in the US to require genetically engineered food to be labeled. With only a few days until the proposal is put to a vote, Monsanto has already given over $8 million to a front group that is blitzing California’s airwaves with anti-labeling advertisements. The “No on 37″ group has raised well over $40 million so far, with Monsanto as the largest donor.
What gives? Do Monsanto executives think it’s okay for British parents to know what’s in the food they feed their kids, while treating America’s children as “guinea kids”?
Vote Yes on Proposition 37 to ensure the labeling of genetically engineered food in California, because we have the right to know.
Fossil fuels are killing our climate and we need to find alternatives.
It’s a simple message that most people get, but what happens when one of the supposed alternatives also becomes not just a climate killer, but a driver of hunger? Then surely it’s time to stop and rethink? Continue reading →
Farmer working in a watermelon field in an Indian province
On this World Food Day, I am in Rome where government ministers attending the World Committee on Food Security are facing up to a sobering reality: the food world system is badly broken. From climate change, to biofuels and GE foods, it’s time we take stock and look for solutions.
“Don’t forget to eat the redwood sorrels!” I was on a hike in Julia Pfeiffer State Park in Big Sur, CA with a close friend. As we were hiking she was teaching me about these small edible heart-shaped plants called redwood sorrels. When you chewed on the leaves, they taste just like the skin of a fresh green apple. Though we had a picnic lunch packed all I could think about was how these wild growing plants could taste just like the apple in my backpack. This experience taught me more about the food I consumed. I never stopped to consider what it was I was putting into my body and how it would affect my health. I never considered the consequences of my consumerism or the industries I was supporting nor the environmental impacts the food system in the US had on our planet. It was then I realized I have the right to know what I am eating and I wanted to learn more. Continue reading →