Farming News

Monsanto continues to generate headlines with their Machiavellian takeover of the food system. Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Monsanto, overturning a previous ruling of a lower court that had banned the corporation's Round-up resistant, genetically modified alfalfa seeds. While Monsanto touts the ruling as a victory for GM freedom, opponents aren't discouraged, pointing out that the ruling doesn't change the USDA's regulation of the crop, which it found illegal in 2007. You can read an article about it here, or the Supreme Court opinion about it here.

Truthout's Micky Z recently interviewed journalist and film director Marie-Monique Robin, who wrote the book and directed the movie, "The World According to Monsanto: Pollution, Corruption and the Control of Our Food Supply" (The New Press). A snippet from the interview:

"MZ: To what would you attribute the fact that the vast majority of us rail mostly at governments, instead of the far more dangerous and powerful multinational corporations?

"MMR: The problem is that the corporations act behind the scene, manipulating information, studies, press and the experts of the regulatory agencies. To speak quite frankly, I had never imagined before that a company could resort to such procedures, to sell its harmful products, in complete impunity, during decades: concealing scientific data, lying, manipulating regulations, corruption, pressuring scientists and journalists, threats. The problem is also that governments do not take any legal action against companies which are repeatedly affecting the environment and the health of consumers. If Monsanto were a private person, it would be convicted as a great criminal, but current law protects the criminal companies, which are never held accountable for the damage they cause."

Robin's next book, Toxic Lies, will expose the connection between pesticides, food additives, plastics, and other chemicals, and cancer and disease. Read the full interview here.

On a similar note, check out the report "Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use: The First Thirteen Years" by Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., Chief Scientist at The Organic Center. One of the report's conclusions is the following:

"The basic finding is that compared to pesticide use in the absence of GE crops, farmers applied 318 million more pounds of pesticides over the last 13 years as a result of planting GE seeds. This difference represents an average increase of about 0.25 pound for each acre planted to a GE trait.

"GE crops are pushing pesticide use upward at a rapidly accelerating pace. In 2008, GE crop acres required over 26% more pounds of pesticides per acre than acres planted to conventional varieties. The report projects that this trend will continue as a result of the rapid spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds."

The full report can be read here.

Finally, another item that caught our attention looks at a North Dakota farm that is trying to meet the environmental challenges of "disappearing fossil fuels, fossil water (the legacy of ice-age melting contained in our great aquifers), declining biodiversity and genetic diversity, and more unstable climates." In the Yes! Magazine article, Frederick Kirshenmenn describes what happened to the family farm when his father switched to synthetic pesticides in the 1940s. Over the course of a few decades, "We rarely saw an earthworm. Organic matter had declined, and the physical character of the soil had deteriorated. Soil granules had broken down, and there was little pore space in the soil. The soils on our farm were absorbing and retaining much less moisture from our limited rainfall. We were more vulnerable to droughts." Kirshenmenn gradually changed course beginning in the 1970s, and now looks toward more progressive methods for the future, including perennial grains, energy exchange, and synergistic production. You can read his interesting article here.

Image: Truthout
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  1. Anonymous12:27 PM

    Gross. It's sad that "foodie" people are the crazy culture.

  2. Some really interesting stuff in this post - thanks!

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