Barb’s Note: This is doable, city folks! The first segment shows the community garden, and the second shows a backyard garden, along with a compost bin, chicken coop, and start of a greenhouse all made from pallets.

City farming with rotated animal cages over raised vegetable beds.

“Trust yourself and believe. Whatever happens, don’t give up” (William Kamkwamba).

These are the words of a man who “at age 14, in poverty and famine, built a windmill to power his family’s home” (TED).

earthworm-main_FullBy Ed Howes

Happy Slaves

The lowly earthworm, slaughtered by the trillions or zillions by chemical, corporate, money lover agriculture, is worth many times the pennies it costs to buy your starter stock, if they are not readily available for free. The profitable organic food producer raises them in controlled conditions to increase their rates of reproduction, foil predators and to prevent their escape. Worms are the cheapest labor you can get for your food crops. They work night and day tilling soil for food, which you provide them. They like decaying plant material to eat and they especially like to eat compost. The castings, or worm manure is superior to fresh compost as plant food. As your worm farm – ranch grows in size, you have more and more to add to new garden beds and tree holes. Plant quality and crop volumes sky rocket, requiring mechanical supports. (more…)

Barb’s notes:
  
The conclusion that this auther infers is that millions of people would die if we didn’t have the large-scale GMO food production that we do. This is false. Studies have proven that there are other farming techniques that are much more sustainable and environmentally sound than GMO production, which kills the soil, creates superweeds, and requires more and more pesticide use as time goes on. However, the main point of the article is very useful.
 
Here is a link to the complete user’s guide for the PLU Code for produce identification:

bag-seeds-tBy Barbara H. Peterson

Monsanto and its cohorts in crime promised us that they would not be using Terminator technology called GURT, or genetic use restricted technology. In fact, the United Nations actually issued a moratorium on the project. So we’re safe, right? Wrong. (more…)

On April 1, 2008, I published the following article. Here it is again, because I believe that this information needs to be in the forefront of our minds when confronting the GMO invasion of our food supply. At the end of the article is a current update on the status of the GMO takeover.

America’s Silent Killing Fields

By Barbara Peterson

America’s silent killers are deadly, and do not discriminate. They target babies, the elderly, teenagers, young adults, middle-age housewives, and businessmen alike. They poison livestock, pets, and wildlife, and the people behind them deny complicity in the carnage. Who or what are these silent, deadly killers? They are the beautiful, green, uniform, and seemingly beneficial, killing fields of genetically modified (GMO) crops. The people behind them are the U.S. government, the Rockefellers, Monsanto, Dow, DuPont, and Syngenta.

 

How it Began  

Eugenics is a dirty word, yet particularly applicable to America’s killing fields and their inception:

 

Henry Kissinger drafted the controversial NSSM-200 in 1974, called “the foundational document on population control issued by the United States government.” According to NSSM-200, elements of the implementation of population control programs could include: the legalization of abortion; financial incentives for countries to increase their abortion, sterilization and contraception-use rates; indoctrination of children; mandatory population control, and coercion of other forms, such as withholding disaster and food aid unless an LDC implements population control programs.

 

NSSM-200 also specifically declared that the United States was to cover up its population control activities and avoid charges of imperialism by inducing the United Nations and various non-governmental organizations to do its dirty work.

 

(Human Life International, 2008)

 

In 1970, Henry Kissinger said, “Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.” How do you control food? By consolidating agricultural interests into what was to be termed agribusiness, creating genetically modified organisms out of heritage seeds with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, patenting the new seeds, and making sure that these new seeds are force-fed to U.S. farmers as well as the rest of the world. By holding the patents on these seeds and requiring farmers to purchase new seeds every year, the control is complete. Also, by controlling how these GMO seeds are created, other more sinister uses come to mind. But first, you must convince the world of your good intentions. This is accomplished through lies, deception, and a bit of media manipulation. By promising farmers that this technology was safe, and would result in increased yields at less cost, they were more than happy to give it a try. The fact that in most cases this claim was false had yet to be proven by the innocent farmers that believed the lie.

 

By the time independent studies started revealing that GMO is harmful, it was too late, and the freight train called agri-business was on its way to fulfilling its purpose – to make as much money as possible by spreading GMO seeds as far as possible, and thus gaining control of the population via food.

 

The U.S. Farmland Takeover  

It is now 2008, and the U.S. is in the midst of a deadly trend. From time-tested agricultural processes that involve tilling the land, planting, and harvesting both produce and seed, to mass-produced, genetically engineered seed injection requiring less workers and more pesticides, agribusiness has taken hold and is strangling the country with its GMO crops and farming methods. The end-result? The family farmer is squeezed out in favor of agribusiness’ mass-production methods using genetically engineered crops grown with poisoned seeds, good for one harvest only. Here are some statistics that show how GMO crops are taking over U.S. farmland:

 

The adoption of HT [herbicide-tolerant] corn, which had been slower in previous years, has accelerated, reaching 52 percent of U.S. corn acreage in 2007.

Plantings of Bt [insect-resistant] corn grew from 8 percent of U.S. corn acreage in 1997 to 26 percent in 1999, then fell to 19 percent in 2000 and 2001, before climbing to 29 percent in 2003 and 49 percent in 2007. Plantings of Bt cotton expanded more rapidly, from 15 percent of U.S. cotton acreage in 1997 to 37 percent in 2001 and 59 percent in 2007.

Adoption of all GE [genetically engineered] cotton, taking into account the acreage with either or both HT and Bt traits, reached 87 percent in 2007, versus 91 percent for soybeans. In contrast, adoption of all biotech corn was 73 percent. (USDA, 2007) 

The Killing Fields go Worldwide

Not content to restrict the use of GMO to the U.S., a larger, more ambitious plan was in the making.

 

 

By Presidential Executive Order [1992], the US had defined GMO seeds as harmless and hence not needing to be regulated for health and safety. It made sure this principle was carried over into the new World Trade Organization (WTO) in the form of the WTO’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement (SPS), which stated, ‘Food standards and measures aimed at protecting people from pests or animals can potentially be used as a deliberate barrier to trade’… 

Other WTO rules in the Agreement to Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) forbid member countries from using domestic standards or testing, food safety laws, product standards, calling them an ‘unfair barrier to trade.’ The impact of those two US-mandated WTO rulings meant that Washington could threaten that any government restricting import of GM plants on grounds they might pose threats to health and safety of their population, could be found to be in violation of WTO free trade rules! (Engdahl, 2006)

 

This resulted in a long awaited plan by the multinational GMO pushers to take over global agriculture, as represented in the following chart that outlines just how many hectares of land were devoted to GMO crops from 1996 to 2006:

 

 gmo-hectares

 

(GMO Compass, 2007)

 

Take a good look at the chart above, and let’s do the math. Keep in mind that all figures are approximate.

 

1 hectare = 2.4711 acres. In 2006, there were 102 million hectares of land on planet earth devoted to GMO crops, or 252.05 million acres. 1 square mile = 640 acres. Therefore, by 2006, there were approximately 393,828 square miles of GMO crops.

 

The earth’s total landmass is approximately 92,229,476 square miles. In 2005, Taipei Times reported that 40% of the earth’s land mass was being used for farmland. Not accounting for any increase from 2005 to 2006, the amount of land being used for farmland was, in 2006, 40% of 92,229,476 square miles, or 36,891,790 square miles, and this includes grazing land for livestock production.

 

According to Science Daily, “grazing occupies 26 percent of the Earth’s terrestrial surface.” 26% of earth’s total landmass of 92,229,476 square miles = 23,979,664 square miles. So, subtract that from the total amount of land being used for farmland, and we get 12,912,126 square miles of farmland devoted to raising crops. Of this total amount of farmland that is being used to raise crops, 393,828 square miles are devoted to GMO crop production as of 2006. Let’s look a bit further:  

According the chart above, in 1996, there were 1.7 hectares, or 4.2 million acres, which equates to approximately 6,563 square miles of farmland devoted to GMO crops. In 2006, there were 393,828 square miles of farmland devoted to GMO crops, which was 387,265 square miles more in 2006 than in 1996. Using a rate of increase calculation, this equates to

 

A 5900% INCREASE IN LAND DEVOTED TO GMO CROPS IN A 10-YEAR PERIOD!

 

If you think that this trend cannot continue, think again.

 

In 2007, the cultivation of genetically modified plants also increased. The area dedicated to such plants rose by 12 million hectares to reach a total of 114 million hectares. The greatest increase was shown by maize, which added 10 million hectares to its area. Genetically modified plants are commercially employed in 23 countries, twelve of which are developing nations. (GMO Compass, 2008)

 

 gmo-graph

 

(GMO Compass, 2008)

 

It looks like the agri-giants are right on schedule, with an average yearly increase of approximately 10 million hectares of land. The increase from 2006 to 2007 was 102 to 114 hectares. At this rate, the amount of land dedicated to the growth of GM killing fields will double in another 10 years.

 

GMO – What Harm Can it Do? 

Contrary to claims by the U.S. government and Monsanto et al, who claim that GMO crops are beneficial, independent studies have been conducted with shocking results.

 

In a 2005 report by Regnum, a Russian news agency,

On October 10, during the symposium over genetic modification, organized by the National Association for Genetic Security (NAGS), Doctor of Biology Irina Ermakova made public the results of the research led by her at the Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). This is the first research that determined clear dependence between eating genetically modified soy and the posterity of living creatures. 

 gmo-test

 

“The morphology and biochemical structures of rats are very similar to those of humans, and this makes the results we obtained very disturbing,” said Irina Ermakova to NAGS press office. (Regnum, 2005)

 

Another glaring example is that of Syngenta and the German farmer, Gottfried Glockner of North Hessen. As William Engdahl explains in Seeds of Destruction,

 

This farmer found evidence that planting Syngenta Bt-176 genetically engineered corn to feed his cattle in 1997 had been responsible for killing off his cattle, destroying his milk production, and poisoning his farmland. Syngenta’s Bt-176 corn had been engineered to produce a toxin of Bacillus thuringiensis, which they claimed was deadly to a damaging insect, the European Corn Borer. (pg. 230)

 

Evidently, Syngenta’s GMO corn was deadly to a lot more than the corn borer.

 

Is Anything More Important? 

To make a distinction between the health effects of GMO on animals and humans is reckless at best. If rats that eat GMO soy, and cattle that eat GMO corn have severe health effects and die, then what happens to humans that eat GMO soy and corn, drink milk from GMO-fed cows, and eat beef from GMO-fed cattle? Don’t we deserve more? If GMO killing fields are poisoning the animals whose products we consume, then they are poisoning us also.

 

What does it matter about the issues we fight about if we are being slaughtered slowly and silently by the foods we eat? Not only are we being killed off, but the diseases that we get because of this consumption keep the medical establishment in Ferraris and Penthouses while doctors treat the symptoms of the diseases we contract, while never addressing the cause.

 

Can it be Stopped? 

GMO killing fields are taking over our farms and stores, as well as our very lives. These silent, deadly killers have been hiding in anonymity since “1992…when George H.W. Bush…issued an Executive Order proclaiming GMO plants such as soybeans or GMO corn to be ‘substantially equivalent’ to ordinary corn or soybeans, and, therefore, not needing any special health safety study or testing” (Engdahl, 2006). Even labeling foods containing GMO ingredients is not allowed. With the proliferation of GMO ingredients, it is no wonder that companies do not want to be responsible for labeling their products. They probably do not know if what they are getting is GMO or not! How can you label something if you do not know what it is? 

Planting individual gardens with organic seeds, then harvesting these seeds from one year to the next is one way to combat the GMO revolution. Also, local groups devoted to growing organic produce for the communities in which they live can stem the tide of personal GMO consumption one community at a time, at least for a while.    

The Endgame  

The U.S. government, Monsanto, Dow, Dupont, and Syngenta are not in business to keep people healthy. They are in business to make money. Unless this is understood, these corporations will continue using the public as guinea pigs for their experiments in population control, and in so doing, glean ever-increasing profits from the unsuspecting and naive. It is time to stand up and resist these giants by demanding accountability, and using what resources are left to become self-sufficient and say NO WAY to GMO! If we don’t, America’s silent killing fields will do their job, and we will no longer have a choice.

 

Copyright 2008, Barbara H. Peterson     

Notes:

  

For full references, click here.

 

March 20, 2009 update:

 

In 2008, the cultivation of GM crops grew worldwide once again. Compared with 2007, the area dedicated to such plants rose by 9.4 per cent to 125 million hectares. Bolivia, Egypt and Burkina Faso cultivated GM crops for the first time in 2008. A sum of 25 countries used genetic engineering commercially. About 70 per cent of soybean production was occupied by GM soybean and the share of GM cotton is 47 per cent. (GMO Compass)

Here is the new chart:

 

 gmo-cultivation-2008

 

(GMO Compass)

 

GMO wheat, which was tabled by Monsanto because of farmer protests, is now back on the table, along with potatoes, rice, and sugar beets.

 

A March, 2009 report on GMO Compass states:

 

A majority of farmers in the USA have expressed approval in a poll on genetically modified wheat. They expect gene technology to contribute towards solutions to current problems in wheat cultivation…..

In conducting the survey, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) approached in writing 21,000 farmers with a wheat cultivation area of at least 200 hectares. A third of those addressed participated in the poll. The object of the survey was the opinion of farmers towards a petition that was formulated by the NAWG and contained essential statements towards genetically modified wheat. Three-quarters (76 per cent) of the participating farmers agreed with the petition.

Let’s do the math:

 

NAWG approached 21,000 farmers. One-third, or 7,000 farmers participated. Out of that 7,000, 76%, or 5,320, approved of GMO wheat. 5,320 is only 25% of the 21,000 farmers originally approached. NOT A MAJORITY OF FARMERS! This statement is simply not true! The pollsters are twisting the statistics to suit their own purposes. What about the other 14,000 farmers, or two-thirds of all farmers who were not represented in the poll?

Five years ago, the Monsanto company abandoned plans for the market introduction of genetically modified wheat, since many farmers feared losses in wheat export to Europe and Asia. “Our farmers still have no interest in herbicide-resistant Roundup wheat,” declared a spokesperson of the NAWG. However, farmers demand increased yield and wheat types that better withstand heat, dryness and cold. As stated by the NAWG, “Our poll is a strong signal that farmers are ready to plant genetically modified wheat.”

Monsanto clearly benefits from the pollster’s twisted statistics. Who cares about the truth, full steam ahead! Field trials are already underway:

 

Field trials are underway in many countries, including countries in Europe, to find out if experimental GM wheat plants are actually resistant to fungal infection and thereby produce grains won’t be laden with dangerous mycotoxins. (GMO Compass)

 

Even the foods that we think contain no recognized GMO products in them are processed using GMOs.

 

Processed foods that are affected by GMOs:

 

 

  Bread and Pastries

 

Milk, Dairy Products, Cheese, Eggs

 

Chocolate, Sweets, and Ice Cream

 

Meats and Sausage

 

Beverages: Juice, Wine, Beer, Soft Drinks

 

Animal Feed

        (GMO Compass)

 

Fruit juice, beer, wine, and liquor – many of our beverages are based on plant ingredients. Neither the plants themselves, nor the yeasts used in alcoholic fermentation are genetically modified. Nonetheless, many beverages are produced using enzymes made with the help of genetically modified microorganisms. (GMO Compass)

Even bread made from conventional flour is likely to contain other ingredients derived from GM sources.

Genetically modified ingredients: It takes more than just flour to make bread. Many ingredients found in bread and baked goods are sometimes made with the help of genetic engineering.

Several ingredients often found in baked goods are derived from soybeans: oils, lecithin and other emulsifiers, and even soy flour, which is sometimes mixed with wheat flour in small quantities (up to 1 percent) due to its physical properties.

Maize is the basis for various starches and other ingredients like glucose syrup (corn syrup), which is produced by starch saccharification.

Other flour additives may also be produced with the help of genetic engineering, for example: ascorbic acid (E300) or cysteine (E921).

Enzymes are often added to baked goods. They can make dough easier to process, make it expand, or provide for an ideal crust. Many of the enzymes used today (e.g. amylase) are made with the help of genetically modified microorganisms. (GMO Compass)

We are facing a takeover so complete that it makes a tsunami look tame in comparison. Get your heirloom seeds and start a garden. Save the seeds and create your own seed bank. Do it now.

 

Barbara H. Peterson

This is a 3 part video series done by the Organization for Competitive Markets regarding its concern that Monsanto is headed for a monopoly over agriculture seeds and our food supply.

Monsanto’s biotechnology patents control over 80% of corn and 90% of soybeans in the U.S. Farmers are going bankrupt, which leads to the importation of more of our food. Watch this video series to understand how the monopoly started, and just where it is headed.

Also, watch a reporter who takes a picture of a Monsanto sign from a public street being chased down by Monsanto security. This abomination of a company will stop at nothing.

By the way, did you know that your friendly fast food giant McDonald’s has partnered with Monsanto?

Critiquing Monsanto’s Response to Vanity Fair
by Pamela Drew

 

In the May 2008 issue, Vanity Fair published Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear, by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele. If you haven’t read the article, you should; it is a wonderful recap of what’s been happening in the legislation, politics, science and spin zones of America’s food supply. In response to the Vanity Fair article, Monsanto’s Communications Director, Darren Wallis, put together a page by page reply to issues raised by the authors. This is my critique of Monsanto’s response; it selects points in the Monsanto letter to address because doing a full five page point by point is too much for readers to slug through. Monsanto must have had a preview copy, since the article was published in May and the reply is dated March. Monsanto’s full reply is linked below if anyone wants to read that first or in addition to selected passages here.

Friday, March 14, 2008 Mr. Jim Steele Contributing Editor VANITY FAIR 4 Times Square, 22nd Floor New York, NY 10036 Dear Jim: Thanks for your recent correspondence and your interest in Monsanto Company. As someone who values research, you’ve undoubtedly seen that the name “Monsanto” has been associated with a company headquartered in America’s Heartland since 1901. However, today’s Monsanto is a relatively new company that took shape in the year 2000, and is today 100 percent focused on agriculture.

This is priceless; just erase the past and begin anew in 2000, free from all the toxic history that came before. Like a Holy Baptism by the powers vested in the SEC, voila, out with the old and in with the new.

In 1997, the company formerly known as Monsanto (“Old Monsanto”) spun off its chemical businesses as Solutia Inc. In 2000, Old Monsanto merged with Pharmacia & Upjohn to form Pharmacia Corp. In 2002, Pharmacia Corp. was acquired by Pfizer Inc. and spun off its agricultural businesses as Monsanto Company (“New Monsanto”). A provision in the spin-off agreement states that in the event Solutia fails to meet its environmental obligations outlined in the 1997 spin-off agreement, New Monsanto would be responsible for them on behalf of Pharmacia. This is what happened when Solutia filed for bankruptcy in December 2003.

Glad we’re all clear on who is who. What happens to the Solutia facility in Texas that’s ranked in the top toxic waste with tens of millions of pounds of known carcinogens released into the environment. I know the government stops reporting the releases and soon we can look forward to all pesticide data vanishing (LINK).

It sure makes the new technology look brighter when the critics and evidence disappear. What the heck, if Monsanto and Solutia get it wrong and stuff makes people sick the Pfiser opportunities explode (LINK).

Monsanto’s rebirth process may have helped feed a cadre of hungry lawyers and meet the letter of the law in financial reporting terms, but there are a few problems with this approach. First is how the “new” Monsanto begins with a selective product line from the “old” Monsanto. To an average observer it looks like dumping the liabilities and keeping the money makers, which include seeds that are tolerant to Monsanto’s herbicide and the monopoly in bovine growth hormone. Tossing off losses is not a concept most Boards of Directors ignore; profitability stays on the agenda. The PCB and dioxin pollution and associated criminal activity, was handily spun off to a tidy solution, by creating a new corporation called Solutia. But the patented seeds and dairy hormones remained core agricultural offerings. See how confusing this is to appreciate where the “old” Monsanto ends and “new” Monsanto begins? Monsanto’s gmo Bovine Growth hormone treatments have been uninterrupted in in America’s food supply and banned in developed countries since 1994. We do know the ban is not worldwide any longer, Pakistan and Mexico now allow these treated products too. Consumers across America should be tickled pink to know that such bastions of protection in human rights and science are with us in swallowing the stuff.

I just want my right to know who’s hands are on my food and opt out of any help from folks who mostly know how to kill stuff. I want to know how many of the folks who consume the bulk of the low priced stuff are getting diabetes now. When the European Union first banned hormone treatments for cows they cited concerns about increased risk for diabetes and cancers. Have we tracked consumers to see if we’re seeing that now? Nope, don’t look don’t find is the policy and then the argument becomes that absence of evidence of harm is substantially equivalent to proof of safety. Monsanto’s other GMO seed patents are uninterrupted by the rebirth. I’d like to be rebirthed, with my losses cut, too bad we can’t all enjoy being corporate citizens!

At Monsanto, we apply innovation and technology to help farmers around the world be more successful, produce healthier foods, and better animal feeds, and create more fiber, all while reducing agriculture’s impact on the environment.

Never have more inspiring words been uttered, but sadly they do not reflect the reality of a decade of biotech crops. Where are these healthier foods? As long as we’re looking at health, where are the human health studies showing these things are safe? Who has the peer reviewed studies? Where are these acres of nutritionall improved varieties? According to the USDA these biotech crops are divided into three categories, herbicide tolerant, pesticide producing or both also known as stacked.

This product summarizes the extent of adoption of herbicide-tolerant and insect–resistant crops since their introduction in 1996. Three tables devoted to corn, cotton, and soybeans cover the 2000-07 period by State. (LINK)

In 2007 biotech was over 90% of the US soy acreage. Which one of those is healthiest for me? Can I ask my doctor? Have the New England Journal of Medicine and Jama endorsed those or should we look for the pharma rice to be evaluated there first? Don’t ask a medical doctor because no studies have been done for them.

On the biotech side is a cadre of veterinarians and Ph.D.’s, serving as the industry’s voice of the “Doctors” and the animal studies, comparing relative weight gain from gmo feeding is what the focus is on. There’s no human health study done by industry. Here are all the often cited industry studies, but feel free to add any I have missed (LINK).

Will a fatter pig help me reach my health and fitness goals? No. Will the same gmo feed traits bioaccumulate so the stuff that made the pig fatter might make people fatter too? Probably not, as if we’d miss an obesity epidemic and not look to it like a population wide feeding result to investigate. A pig feed, that grows the bottom line for agribusiness, may have its appreciative fans, but don’t sell it to the public as healthier to anything more than revenues. It isn’t. There are downstream effects of industrial farming.

From Scorecard, the global authority on chemicals and pollution. Almost two trillion pounds of animal waste are produced per year nationally. An increasing amount of this animal waste is produced by intensive livestock operations, which are really more factories than farms. Common animal waste treatment practices used by these livestock factories are often inadequate to protect our drinking water and environment, posing one of America’s serious pollution problems. See Scorecard’s overview of animal waste problems. (LINK)

What about being better for the environment? Surely that would count to the positive side, if it were true. We see the claims but not the evidence. It is not true that this new technology does anything it was billed to do at the outset. Past the third year of gmo crops, insect and weed tolerance begin to require heavier applications of chemicals. It’s survival of the fittest in the world’s natural order. Organisms either targeted or non-targeted mutate or vanish from the chemical exposure. Stronger toxins need to be used over time. Denying the basics of Nature isn’t going to change the reality of mutation. The myth of chemically intensive yield advantages was busted by the Cornell 22 year study that found organic farming produces the same corn and soybean yields as chemically intensive farming, without chemicals! (LINK)

Then there are findings which relate specifically to the gmo crops, which predate the creation of the “new” Monsanto, but use the exact same technology and product name. Imagine my confusion, again!

Roundup Ready (RR) GM soya Studies from 1999 – 2007 consistently show RR GM soya to yield 4 – 12% lower than conventional varieties. A 2007 study by Kansas State University agronomist Dr. Barney Gordon suggests that Roundup Ready soya continues to suffer from a yield drag: RR soya yielded 9% less than a close conventional relative. A carefully controlled study by University of Nebraska agronomists found that RR soya varieties yielded 6% less than their closest conventional relatives, and 11% less than high yielding conventional lines (Elmore et al, 2001). This 6% ‘yield drag’ was attributed to genetic modification, and corresponds to a substantial loss in production of 202 kg/ha. In 1998 several universities carried out a study demonstrating that, on average, RR soy varieties were 4% lower in yield than conventional varieties (Oplinger et al., 1999). These results clearly refuted Monsanto’s claim to the contrary (Gianessi, 2000). Yields of GM soybeans are especially low under drought conditions. Due to pleiotropic effects (stems splitting under high temperatures and water stress), GM soybeans suffer 25% higher losses than conventional soybeans( Altieri and Pengue, 2005) 5 studies between 2001 -2007 show that glyphosate applied to Roundup Ready soybeans inhibits the uptake of important nutrients essential to plant health and performance. The resultant mineral deficiencies have been implicated in various problems, from increased disease susceptibility to inhibition of photosynthesis. Thus, the same factors implicated in the GM soya yield drag may also be responsible for increased susceptibility to disease. (Motavalli, et al., 2004; Neumann et al., 2006; King, et al.,2001; Bernards,M.L, 2005; Gordon, B., 2007). The yield drag of RR soya is reflected in flat overall soybean yields from 1995 to 2003, the very years in which GM soya adoption went from nil to 81% of U.S. soybean acreage. By one estimate, stagnating soybean yields in the U.S. cost soybean farmers $1.28 billion in lost revenues from1995 to 2003 (Ron Eliason, 2004). More recent evidence shows that the kilogram per hectare ratio of soybean has been in decline since 2002, leading to the conclusion that RR soy does not have an impact on yield (ABIOVE, 2006a). (LINK

Where are all the loudly boasted benefits borne out in the data? Noble goals a plenty, but talk is cheap.

Agriculture is facing great challenges: increasing population, limited arable land and precious fresh water resources, among others. Farmers are being asked to address these challenges in an environmentally sustainable way while also balancing pressures that face them on their farm. Helping address these topics is not only important, but at Monsanto we believe they are essential in helping farmers succeed today and tomorrow. This introduction to you describes Monsanto’s focus and commitment to the success of farmers and agriculture around the globe. It’s important because you’ve raised questions on complex topics which face our business, questions that seem to cast doubt on our intentions.

There are no doubts about the intentions of Monsanto. All corporations are chartered to deliver increasing returns for stock holders. People understand that and a quick glance at the MON stock shows your Directors get it too. This trail of benevolent concern leading the market growth is hard to follow. So very much falls through the cracks with the end of one Monsanto and the beginning of another. Take the feeding study for example, the glyphosate tolerant soy sounds exactly like the patented varieties that belong to the “new” Monsanto.

Hammond, B., J. Vicini, G. Hartnell, M.W. Naylor, C.D. Knight, E. Robinson, R. L. Fuchs, and S.R. Padgette et al. 1996. The feeding value of soybeans fed to rats, chickens, catfish and dairy cattle is not altered by genetic incorporation of glyphosate tolerance. J. Nutr. 126: 717-727. (LINK)

They also leave no doubt the proiducts are designed to benefit agribusiness customers, but where’s the healthier part? Maybe health is measured in profits alone and by that measure there’s nothing about the “new” Monsanto that isn’t robust. Imagine the delight of the public if they could find an investment opportunity like this, from start up in 2000 to what? Ah yes, the seed and genomics business had sales of $4bn for 2006, or more than half of Monsanto’s total revenue. Quite a nice sum for a start up venture in a market not known to reward farming so richly. (LINK)

Bovine somatotropin, or bST, is a naturally-occurring protein produced by all dairy cows. It’s a necessary component of milk production. Supplementing dairy cows with bST enables dairy farmers to produce more milk using fewer cows and other resources which ultimately benefit the environment. All milk and dairy products meet stringent safety requirements and pass regular inspections by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture making milk one of the safest foods available. Milk produced by cows supplemented with bST is the same, safe, nutritious milk as that which comes from cows not receiving supplemental bST. Regulatory agencies and independent scientific and academic organizations throughout the world have reviewed and studied the use of supplemental bST in dairy production for more than 20 years and determined it to be a safe, responsible and effective management tool for dairy farmers. Monsanto supports accuracy in consumer labeling. Dairy product labels that make unqualified absence claims, such as no hormones or bST-free, imply a safety or quality difference and are misleading to consumers. These labels undermine consumer confidence in dairy products. To that end, we applaud the efforts many states are making to ensure accuracy in consumer labeling for dairy products. Monsanto supports many industry groups across all areas of agriculture. And we have provided assistance to the Center for Global Food Issues, CGFI, and to American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology, known as AFACT.

It may be an effective “tool” for factory farm operations, but let’s be honest about the lack of safety testing and the interests of these “self directed” groups of supporters. To date the safety assurance at the FDA website remains the opinion of a fluid scientist at Cornell, written in 1994 (LINK). Using measurement tools that are older than Monsanto itself to support the claims of no difference is deceiving.

Where are the follow up studies showing how rBGH consumers fare compared to the consumers with no hormone supplemented dairy in their diets? Surely there’s something more substantial! One would think so and no small credit goes to father and son, Dennis and Alex Avery who have championed biotech from the 1990′s. Not only did they create the Center for Global food Issues, but they made Milk is Milk, Stop Labeling Lies and Voices for Choices. These busy promoters should be recognized and applauded for adding the same list of opinions on all the sites yet making it seem they’re all citing other sources, brilliant really how one or two individuals can seem like a dozen organizations worth listening to. The sites all feature the same collection of Monsanto supporters like the coalition who tried to eliminate labeling of milk from cows not treated with rBGH.

Just a few months ago the Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, former Monsanto Dairy farmer, Dennis Wolff, got a bill right to the desk of the Governor and no small credit is due Avery’s and the AFACT members. Yes indeed, unbiased informed opinion is what consumers deserve. That’s what we are supposed to find with AFACT as well. But there’s a problem once again. Leader of AFACT is a farmer on the Board of Directors for Corner Bank and the communications contact was listed as a rep for Monsanto’s PR firm from 1998, and beyond to the new Monsanto. (LINK)

AFACT Web site: http://www.itisafact.org/Default.aspx Fax number given on Web site: (720) 367-5047 Contact information listed on AFACT media alert: Jason Gerke gerkej@osborn-barr.com

These are bankers and advertising agencies and individuals with increased personal fortunes tied to the sale of Monsanto products. The connections are well documented but in some ways the point of who will stand and suypport the benefits of Monsanto is a moot one. Theoretically we Americans are free people with a free market economy. Why is my right to choose what to eat not a basic right? Why is a company formed in 2000 determining what we eat? If so many legislators and executives think the gmo food is so wonderful why not put your mouths where your money is? Why isn’t the White House and Capitol converted to a full biotech menu? Have the visiting dignitaries compare the subtle nuance of difference between herbicide tolerant corn bread and stacked trait, serve some ring spot virus papaya smoothies with Bt soy milk, the possibilities are endless. Just don’t try to do it at Monsanto where the employee cafeteria is GMO Free!!

August 8, 2007 UNITED KINGDOM. From now on, staff at the British headquarters of biotech giant Monsanto will be eating only non-genetically modified products on their lunch breaks. Foods containing genetically modified soy and corn are no longer available in the company cafeteria. (LINK)

Thanks for the opportunity to share our story with you and with your readers. It is our sincere hope that the context that surrounds each of these topics is included within your article. Sincerely, Darren Wallis Monsanto Public Affairs

There’s oodles I’ve left out but for those who have an appetite for more of the scams, frauds, false claims and fronts, Jeffrey Smith who has tracked the biotech mutations the of products and process longer than almost anyone, just released a downloadable report called State-of-the-Science on the Health Risks of GM Foods. The pdf is 28 pages and Smith doesn’t miss a trick.

Sources:

Vanity Fair http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/05/monsanto200805

Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear http://www.democracynow.org/pdf/MonsantoResponse.pdf

Monsanto’s Letter to Vanity Fair http://www.nass.usda.gov/research/atlas02/Farms/Land%20in%20Farms%20and%20Land%20Use/Acres%20Covered%20under%20a%20Federal%20or%20Other%20Crop%20Insurance%20Policy.gif

USDA Crop Insurance Bonanza for Biotech http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=American_Farmers_for_the_Advancement_and_Conservation_of_Technology

Bad news about pesticides http://pameladrew.newsvine.com/_news/2008/05/21/1502582-bad-news-about-pesticides-end-pesticide-reporting

Destruction of Amazon at Record Levels http://www.theage.com.au/news/World/Destruction-of-Amazon-reaches-record-level/2005/05/20/1116533544020.html

Soil Association Study

State-of-the-Science on the Health Risks of GM Foods http://www.seedsofdeception.com/DocumentFiles/145.pdf

 
Copyright 2008, Pamela Drew
 

 

 

 

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