Tag Archives: monsanto

Open Letter to Roger Cohen, NYT Moron

I’m pissed. I was pissed when I read this bullshit piece from Stanford, then got even MORE pissed when this jackass, Roger Cohen from the New York Times came along and insulted organics, the people who grow them, the people who eat them, the people who sell them.  Fuck you, man.

OPEN LETTER TO AN ELITIST HALF-WIT

Mr. Cohen:

Regarding your piece, “The Organic Fable,” of September 6, 2012, you were so busy patting yourself on the back for being a “trend”-bucker that you forgot to do any research.  Your cynical statement that, “… the organic ideology is an elitist, pseudoscientific indulgence shot through with hype” speaks volumes about the path used to come to the self-serving, dubious conclusions you reach in this hit piece.  Namely a path which was not sullied by science or peer-reviewed studies which very clearly demonstrate the hazards of GMOs and the chemicals that love them.

You relied upon the Times’ rehash of a Stanford Systemic Review published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Perhaps you thought, “Hey, my employer published it…It must be close enough to true for me.” Little heads-up; it’s not.

“… the study completely fails to account for key factors such as the presence of GMOs, artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, mercury (such as that admittedly contained in high-fructose corn syrup), BPA, and much more. It also does not even properly address the two topics it seeks to address concerning the presence [sic] antibiotics and chemical residue. The researchers fail first of all to reveal the difference between the organic food and conventional food pesticides, and then go on to state that organic food actually does have lower pesticide levels.”

Here too is another excellent piece about the junk science used to come to those erroneous conclusions. This is yet another piece blasting the associations between Stanford and BigAgra, namely Cargill.

Your ignorance on this topic is astounding, but I’m going to help you. Here’s the skinny on GMOs:

-Start with this video called “The World According to Monsanto.” It’s two hours long, so you might want to cozy up with some GMO popcorn that you microwave-irradiated in a BPA-laden bag. Bon appétit!

-Perhaps follow that up with reading about the work of Dr. Vandana Shiva, who is trying desperately to save India’s seeds from total obliteration at the hands of Monsanto.

-Maybe then engage in a little light reading about the plight of the Indian farmer, where extraordinarily high suicide rates are being blamed on Monsanto’s Roundup-resistant GMO cotton.

-Here’s a piece regarding how and why Monsanto was named the Worst Company of the Year for 2011. In part, it states:

  • An analysis of 19 animal studies revealed that nearly 10 percent of blood, urine, organ and other parameters tested were significantly influenced by GMOs, with the livers and kidneys faring the worst.
  • A 2009 Brazilian study discovered that female rats fed GM soy for 15 months showed significant changes in their uterus and reproductive cycle, compared to rats fed organic soy or those raised without soy.
  • A study performed by Irina Ermakova with the Russian National Academy of Sciences reported that more than half the babies from mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, while the death rate in the non-GM soy group was only 10 percent. Additionally, the babies in the GM group were smaller, and, worst of all, could not reproduce. In a telling coincidence, after Ermakova’s feeding trials were completed, her laboratory started feeding all the rats in the facility a commercial rat chow using GM soy. Within two months, the infant mortality facility-wide reached 55 percent.
  • Milk treated with the Monsanto-developed genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH) contains higher levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), a hormone linked to breast, prostate and colon cancers in humans.

A study that finds glyphosate-based herbicide induces necrosis and apoptosis in mature rat testicular cells in vitro, and testosterone decrease at lower levels. (Maybe you can ignore this too. It’s from the NIH…those dummies.)

-A whole mess of peer-reviewed links and studies about the grand genocidal failure that is glyphosate (the key ingredient in Roundup, which is sucked up by your GMO corn, soybeans, cotton, etcetera and then ingested by you. Lucky you!)

You even manage to get it wrong about organic yields versus conventional (ouch). “Yield is not the same as efficiency” and “Producing more grain is not the same as feeding the world.”

To speak to your assertion that (I’m paraphrasing) we’re “affluent narcissists,” know this:  Organic farmers like me gladly sell our products to restaurants and grocery stores. We have to make a living, too. The slightly higher prices offset the admittedly higher labor hours needed to not poison ourselves, our customers, and the planet. Spraying Roundup is easy. Mulching and hoeing in the hot Texas sun on this little patch of organic acreage is way freaking harder. But we find it worth the extra work to not develop tumors, disease, genetic defects, or the sense that we’re above it all, out here in the actual dirt…You know, where food comes from.

Here’s something you probably didn’t know either (maybe because to know would have required you read or do research, or even listen to someone who isn’t just hanging out with you at expensive restaurants where you all laugh about the “little people” and how we’re better off eating chemicals and mutated genetic calories):

There’s an important piece of legislation on the table in California called Proposition 37. It’s an initiative that would mandate the labeling of GMOs in food. Information that we “pampered parts of the planet” want, I guess because we’re elitists. If BigFarm, BigAgra, and the chemical consortiums are so proud of their products, it follows that they should slather their names on the grocery store packaging. Yes, please!

Know what the rest of the world does with GMOs? THEY LABEL THEM or ban them outright. Do you even know who the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Foods is? It’s Michael Taylor, former lobbyist and executive at Monsanto.

Perhaps you can understand my frustration now. Maybe you can comprehend now how maddening it is to back an underdog like the “Just Label It” initiative, who has a relatively tiny budget to pit against $40 million dollars from Big Agra. Know where they could have put that money, while they’re crying, “It would just be too expensive to label!” That’s right: Labeling.

A hit piece like yours based on nothing but your personal bias against something a whole bunch of us are well-educated about and fighting for just makes you look and sound stupid. Please either shut up or wake up.

You’re cordially invited to come down to Texas and meet a real farmer, who can teach you a thing or two thousand about what GMO really means. To you, me, and the planet.

Donna DeViney
Soilent Greens

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Monsatan’s Lap Dog

Remember this post (Monsatan Lovers)  I wrote in response to this dude, who had responded to this post (Sustainability vs. Monsatan) in a most Monsanto shillrific manner? (Yes, it’s a word. I just made it up.)

I was just over at fellow blogger SoulsbyFarm’s site reading this excellent piece, The Truth About Genetically Modified Organisms – GMO’s, when I noticed one of the commentors seemed familiar. I clicked on his (publicly available) link, and yep, it’s the same [genetic mutant?] Monsanto lap dog who propagandized all over my blog with no basis in fact. Which he also did at Soulsby’s blog. The fine folks at Soulsby are much nicer than I.

I take back all the relatively nice things I said about you, Michael. You’re a wanker.

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Gardening: Crack and You

A friend on Facebook recently mentioned something about getting into gardening. I told him I’d do a Top Five list of what to know from a beginner’s perspective, but as I was just out weeding the watermelon patch (literally…friggin’ weeds took that thing over with a quickness), I realized my first foray into “Gardening Experience” should be about what gardening means to me, and what to expect.  I’m also going to do a post (hopefully) today on what I’ve learned recently about Seminis/Monsanto and their devil merger. Next week, a list of Top Ten Gardening Must-Haves.

The cocaine megastore.

Okay, baby gardener. First and foremost, you’re about to become an addict. Know that going in and everything will go smoother. Don’t fight the crack. Embrace the crack. It’s going to win anyway. It’s a crack habit with tendrils. It’s a gateway drug. It will have you learning words like “monocot” and “cabbage looper” and “vermiculite.” It will make you have Farmtek and Baker’s Creek Heirloom Seeds catalogs in your bathroom. It will make you curse the fact that you either a) don’t have a big enough yard to dig up, or b) you just dug up way too much yard and what the hell were you thinking? (Hint: You were thinking, “I can’t get enough of this crack!”) Also know that this gardening thing makes you vaguely insane.

If you start with just a tomato seedling, you are done.  You were thinking, “Man, some fresh tomatoes would be awesome this summer. Joe the Slow down the street grows them. How hard can this be?” You will pick up the adorable seedling with its sultry photo tag and realize you need dirt. But what kind of dirt? Topsoil or fill? You’ve heard of compost, but should you make it yourself or buy a bag at the store? This tomato seedling needs a pot; that little one looks pretty (it’s such a small plant, right?). You’re definitely going need a little shovel, because you’re not sure you want to get your hands all dirty. Speaking of which, you’re going to need gloves. Oh, and some fertilizer! But what kind? You’ve been hearing so much about organic, but should you go that route? You decide yes, because all the cool kids are doing it. But wait! Is my little seedling organic? Uh oh, better swap that out. Well, crap, now you’ve got this big bag of organic soil, another bag of organic compost, another bag of organic fertilizer, and it just seems RIDICULOUS to only have one seedling. Which is why you’re going to go back to the tomato seedling area and pick up three more plants, two different varieties. Now you’re going to have to return that pot, because you remember how big your neighbor’s tomatoes got, and realize you need to plan on digging out a section of your lawn. So, that means a big shovel! Pointed nose, right? And hell, a wheelbarrow to carry off all that stuff. Man, that’s some sweaty work. Better get a sun hat and while you’re in that aisle, some rubber clogs so you don’t junk up your tennies.  Okay, now you’re going to need more dirt, to replace what you’ll lose from so much grass going away. Well, shit. Now I need a book on tomatoes because this is getting a little complicated. HOLY CRAP, the book section. You’re going to buy at least two, so make sure one is all-encompassing, because now you’re remembering that you love potatoes, beans, cilantro, and FLOWERS…AW SHIT, FLOWERS. And sweet lord, what if you’re too late to get your babies into the ground and experience the tomato bounty?! That seems akin to setting the world to wobbling off its axis! So you get to the checkout aisle as fast as you can, because you need to get on those books asap. And check online to see when the planting season is in your region. Oh shit, what’s a region? Will your tomato plants live forever, or do they die (because somewhere you’ve heard of perennials and annuals, and know that there’s some kind of difference). MY GOD, I’D BETTER LEARN THE DIFFERENCE!

You haven’t even made it to the checkout lane yet, cracky. Ha!

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Follow-up: Organic Nightmare

Healthy Mammoth sunflower

Regarding my post yesterday, 2,4-D: Organic Nightmare, there has been some movement. And wow, I never ever thought I’d say this, but I think these sprayers did the right thing.

Yesterday afternoon, I got a return phone call from M*********, the leaseholder. He explained that he’d been out of town, and returned my call as soon as he got the message (which may or may not be true*), and asked what he could do for me.  I stated to him, “We have a problem,” and went on to explain how we have an organic garden here, and how 2,4-D may have contaminated our gardens. He listened to me very patiently while I ranted a little, and then said, “Well, I’ve been using the same sprayers for a long time, and I’m going to contact them right this minute and find out what happened. 2,4-D shouldn’t have been used near your property, for sure, and I’m going to find out what is going on. Is it okay if they contact you at this number?” And I said “yes.”

Not more than a half hour later I got a call from a guy at an ag supply place in town with whom we’re fairly familiar. He asked if there were any questions he could answer about the spraying that occurred, and asked if he could come out and survey the property. He listened to me rail on as well, very patiently, and expressed his regret that 2,4-D was used anywhere near a working farm, especially an organic one. He shared that he has a home garden as well, and would not have been happy to have 2,4-D sprayed close to what his family eats. We set up a time this morning for him to come out.

He showed up this morning a little after 9:00 a.m. with the tractor operator, which, transparency-wise, impressed me. He shook my hand and thanked me for allowing him to come out. I showed him the gardens, and told him which way the wind had been blowing, how the gusts had been working, and how the tractor operator had been spraying. He told me about his company, how they do everything they can to be good neighbors, and how they consider themselves stewards of the land in this valley, even if they do use conventional agriculture methods. He told me about the organic options available at his company. He explained that the preparation of 2,4-D is the amine and not the ester, which greatly reduces wind drift. He explained how high the spray nozzles are, and how the ideal particulate (400 microns) disperses across a leaf, not bouncing off and not blowing away. He described how the tractor operator measures his boundaries (with foam), and how he ensures his own safety in the HEPA filtered cab.

I explained our stance on 2,4-D, on GMOs, and on anything non-organic. I told him I’m in contact with Texas A&M Ag Sciences, and how I’m a blogger who advocates organics. I showed him how much work we’ve done, and told him how heart-breaking it was that it might have all been undone by carelessness. I told him that we didn’t necessarily feel like there had been any malicious intent, but carelessness can have the same damaging effects.

Here’s the thing: I think we might be okay. We talked for a long time about how the effects would have manifested themselves if there had been significant spray drift. He showed me right across the fence similar weeds which were clearly toppled over or showing signs of distress, and feet away on my side, the same weed looking healthy as ever. I don’t know if we’re okay yet, because 2,4-D drift can take up to 14 days to show itself. I don’t know yet if our plants are going to show signs of damage or not, or if they do if the yields will be affected. I do know that I don’t feel like crying or throwing up anymore, and that my stomach has eased up on the knots.

Four days from now, he’ll be back out and we’ll look for signs of damage on the tomatoes and sunflowers (the two most sensitive barometers of damage). Then, a week after that, he’ll be back out. We’re not looking for a pay-day here. We’re not looking for a get-rich scheme. We’re only looking to be made whole if something is indeed wrong with our gardens.

Thanks for everybody’s kind words yesterday. It really helped, knowing that so many people understand how distressing this was, in our tiny little part of the organic world.

*If he’d called me back right away, I might not have contacted the Texas Department of Agriculture. I’m not out to get anybody into undue trouble here, but not calling me back asap was not a great move. Even if I think the “See Something, Say Something” campaign from the DHS is a bunch of alarmist, big-government, controlling bullshit, I DO believe in it in the garden.

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2,4-D Drift: Organic Nightmare

Tractor of death. The tree in the foreground is on our side of the property line.

Yesterday morning, I was all doodly-do, doing my morning stuffs, when I heard big machinery noise, closer than normal (they’re working on the county roads around us right now). I went outside and couldn’t see anything, and then all of a sudden there was a crop-spraying tractor, complete with two big white chemical tanks and two giant boom arms, spraying the shit out of our neighbor’s acreage. I called the husband and said, “Holy shit, they’re spraying chemicals on the front acreage” and he suggested I stop the guy and talk to him, so I did.  What follows made me later throw up my lunch.

Me: *Hailing tractor guy*
TG: *Stops tractor and comes over*
Me: Hi, are we neighbors?
Him: Nope, I'm working for the guy who leases this parcel, M*******.
Me: Whatcha sprayin'?
Him: 2,4-D, for goat weed.
Me: Oh. Um, we have an organic farm over here and it's drifting onto my 
property...
Him: Welllll, the wind's mostly blowing my way and it's a real light spray, 
so you oughtta be all right.
Me: You're kidding, right?
Him: *Goes right on spraying*

2,4-D. Mother-humping goat fuckers. This devil juice makes (and I’m not exaggerating in the least) RoundUp look like harmless chemical Kool-Aid. Dow AgroSciences’ contribution to the weed-killing business is the main defoliant contained in Agent Orange. It’s been around since 1946.  It is under attack again (thank God) because Dow is trying to get approval for its 2,4-D Resistant Corn, to take the place of Monsanto’s failed RoundUp Resistant Corn, which created super bugs and super weeds, and is no longer able to withstand RoundUp bombardment because of genetic mutations. Genius! (It’s in the EPA’s lap right now; let’s all count on them to do the right thing, right?) It’s a DEFOLIANT, which means it kills plants dead. What it doesn’t kill, it mutates. It’s suspected as a cause of “…major health problems such as cancer, lowered sperm counts, liver toxicity and Parkinson’s disease. Lab studies show that 2,4-D causes endocrine disruption, reproductive problems, neurotoxicity, and immunosuppression.”

If you’ve followed my blog for even a short amount of time, you know how I feel about chemicals in our farms, ranches, food supply. Here, about Colony Collapse Disorder; here about pesticides and BPA; here about Monsatan, again, and again, and again.

We’re out here in a tiny patch of Texas, practicing only organic gardening, using compost, organic fertilizers, organic topsoil and mulch, Neem oil, blood, sweat, tears, dreams, and hand-weeding. Do y’all know how much EASIER it is to be conventional in a garden? Of course we could use RoundUp for the weeds; it’s an extremely effective, efficient killer! Of COURSE we could use Sevin insecticide! It’d be way easier than having to get up extra-early to apply Neem oil, or smooshing cabbage rollers by hand. We did ALL OF THIS SPECIFICALLY  TO KEEP CHEMICALS OUT OF OUR FOOD.

“Before” picture of the big garden.

Just writing this post is making me cry. I cried yesterday when I fully realized what had just happened to us. I pulled up my research on 2,4-D and found lots of new stuff, all horrifying. I learned about ground permeation, wind drift patterns, plant aspiration, and the life of 2,4-D. I contacted a professor/friend at Texas A&M’s Ag Sciences Department. He shared with me that tomatoes are especially sensitive to 2,4-D, and to keep an eye on them first. He told me to keep photo documentation of the plants in case the rancher might not do the right thing by us.

And of COURSE tomatoes are affected first and worst. They’re the crop we’ve most heavily planted, in the greatest variety. We were looking forward to canning, sharing, and perhaps selling a few to our chef friends.

I’m upset still, even after I learned the leaseholder’s name (who’s responsible for the spraying), contacted him (no response), found out the regulations he violated*, and reported him to the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Tomatoes galore.

I’m upset for several reasons. We started this entire farm endeavor with one goal in mind: organic sustainability. That has been ruined. I can no longer bill these vegetables as organic, and we now have to decide if we even want to eat them ourselves. I’m upset because to get rid of this poison (assuming it doesn’t kill the crops outright), I’ll have to pay to have the site dozed, replace the topsoil and amendments, and start all over. All the little baby plants we started from organic seeds in our little greenhouse, misting and lighting and thinning for MONTHS, then lovingly potted to harden off, then transplanted and agonized over for months while they struggled to grow, all fucking ruined. A’s first gardens EVER, all ruined. Every hour we spent digging, weeding, fertilizing, watering, pruning, caging, and loving these gardens have been fucking RUINED by this dude’s careless disregard for anybody but himself.

*Prior Notification: Nope. None given.

Proper notification for use of methyl, ethyl, butyl, isopropyl, octylamyl and pentyl esters. Nope.

No use in winds higher than 10 mph? Fucked that up, too.

Amine-only 2,4-D? Don’t know. I doubt he even obtained a permit to do the spraying.

I’m going to use this blog as I do regularly, but now with the added feature of keeping record of what’s happening to our plants, and what’s happening about enforcing the regulations. If I didn’t have a place to vent, I might possibly go mad.

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REALLY? Really.

I had intended to post this morning with some photos from the farm, depicting the bounty that spring is bestowing upon our valley and sharing how lucky I am to be given this opportunity to live where I do, and how cool my friends and partner are. I was going to post a thank you for being nominated for a blogging award.

Instead, I started reading (again) about Indian farmer suicides (one of my Facebook “Likes” linked to a 2008 article which halfway through, I realized I’ve already read), which lead to a Google search for “Past month” and “Indian farmer suicides.” Go ahead and Google it yourself. It’s mind-blowing. Pages and pages and pages of recent and old articles related to the subject. (I also got sidelined by a piece on Neotame, NutraSweet’s “answer to sugar” which is 13,000 times stronger than table sugar, is made up of “aspartame plus 3-di-methylbutyl, which can be found on the EPA’s list of most hazardous chemicals,” and doesn’t require labeling.) (p.s.: NutraSweet was formerly owned by Monsanto.)

Here’s how it works, for those of you who haven’t watched The World According to Monsanto.  Poverty in India (a largely agricultural society) is staggering, accounting for one-third of the world’s poor. Think about that number. Poor farmers, formerly growing “traditional” or non-GMO seed, have been led down the garden path repeatedly by Monsanto, sold the idea that signing a contract with them to use their proprietary (“Bollgard”) Bt Cotton seed, which promises higher yields, greatly reduced need for expensive pesticides, and lowered water consumption, will greatly improve their profits.

THE EXACT OPPOSITE IS TRUE. It requires up to four times more water to grow, which in India’s drought-stricken environment, means a devastating loss of crops. It no longer resists the insects it was genetically modified to resist, and in fact has created “super weeds” and “super bugs,” which have adapted to get around Monsanto’s biological controls and are far more destructive than the original bolls it was meant to thwart (and clears the path for further infestation by formerly non-threatening insects and weeds, because the plant is weakened). Further devastation to crops. Facing financial ruin, many Indian farmers turn to high-interest money-lenders, and then have another crop failure and can’t pay Monsanto for new seed, can’t afford pesticides to kill the super bugs, can’t afford to pay back the money-lenders, can’t afford to feed their kids, can’t afford to school their kids. On top of that, Monsanto says it’s because farmers don’t grow their crops correctly; it’s their fault. THEN, they prosecute any farmer who attempts to save seed, because their seeds are copyright-protected.

Sometimes, increasingly, Indian farmers see the only way out as suicide.

 

Winning!! (Except, not at all.)

Some Indian provinces are fighting back. The Punjab government has “refused to agree to US agrichemical giant Monsanto’s demands for intellectual property rights protection for its BT cotton seeds and has accused the company of a “monopolistic” plan to take over agriculture in Punjab.”

India is of course not the only country to come under attack by Monsanto. And make no mistake about it, IT IS AN ATTACK. Look at how heavily-planted those awesome crops are, here in America. The Indian plight strikes me personally because of the cultural reaction of suicides, but lives are being devastated all over the planet.

Despite the fact that the United States is leading the charge to push GMOs worldwide, the world (and yes, the US) is resisting. Check out the Community Alliance for Social Justice.

Spread the word; sign the petitions. Help stop the propaganda being spread by the GMO companies by seeding truth among your friends and families.

Just Label It (petition). Here’s the biggie. Almost one million signatures and comments…

This is exhausting. But! Gotta go feed the chickens, spray pepper spray on whatever is eating my cabbages, check the chicks, take some more photos, and perhaps blog happier thoughts later in the day.

 

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Oh, GMO…

I cruise around the Internet all the time, as I’m sure you all do. Sometimes my occasional sidetracks take me to “alternative media” sources which y’all might not have seen yet, including a few I’ll focus on today while discussing another disgusting facet of the GMO industry: The incestuous relationship between GMO manufacturers and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Why you should care: Watch this video where another little kid explains the dangers of GMOs.

(I found this video a few months ago, and I can’t stop watching. If I wasn’t already certain he has AWESOME parents, I’d adopt him myself. He’s dreamy.) Maybe go check out Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms, who is referenced in the video. He and Dr. Vandana Shiva are vocal proponents of sustainable agriculture, and big heroes of mine.

Watch The World According to Monsanto, if you’ve not already seen it. Tell your friends. It’s free. It’s important.

In my blog pieces, “Sustainability vs. Monsatan” and “Monsatan Lovers,” with videos and links to information about the scientifically-proven dangers of genetically modified organisms and their adjunct products, and the wholly evil business practices of their manufacturers*, I attempt to give a glimpse of the reality of GMOs in our food and agriculture systems. On sites like Seeds of Deception, they’re doing much more comprehensive work than I could ever attempt, and there’s a “Summary and Debate” page with 65 Health Risks of GM Foods. I already know a lot about this topic, but lately it’s like falling down a rabbit hole of more and more horrifying information.

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You might ask, “Who regulates GMOs in the United States? The answer is “nobody.” Click the link to read an awesome article that articulates the problem of GMOs running amok in America. If you don’t believe her, Google “how are gmos regulated in the usa?” And click any link.

Monsanto promises they’ll do research on their products and present the US governmental agencies with the results. The US government then says “Yea” or “Nay” based upon their “unbiased scientific review.” It’s essentially a system of mutual trust. Which is hilarious (if it weren’t so sickening).

“…Monsanto claims that its injection of foreign DNA into its GM crops is also automatically safe because, get this, DNA is present in natural crops as well. Never mind that the injected DNA is foreign and unnatural, and is used to alter the entire genetic structure of GM crops — according to Monsanto, its unnatural DNA is automatically non-toxic because every other plant also has DNA. Case closed.” Which is patently absurd to a normal, thinking human being. But apparently our government agencies are not manned by those types.

The Senate’s Agriculture and Water & Rural Economic Development committee chair, Democratic Sen. Brian Hatfield, and two Republicans, Sens. Jim Honeyford and Mark Schoesler, have all taken money from Monsanto, reports the Organic Consumers Assn.”

“Committee Chair Hatfield denies taking campaign cash from Monsanto, saying the Organic Consumers Fund is making ‘wild claims,’ even though anyone can see the public record of these contributions by entering ‘Monsanto’” at this search link in the Contributor Name box.

“…why do the GMO giants seem to be ever-growing and encroaching on more and more farms and foods?  Through bullying, lobbying, and putting key figures into key positions of government. That’s how.”

Know who’s guarding the hen house? Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for the FDA. Why does that matter? He’s also a former lobbyist and vice president for Public Policy at Monsanto. This year alone, Monsanto spent over $6 million in lobbying dollars to keep their GMO madness safe from testing, regulation, and labeling by the US. Think that money’s going to orphans for kittens at Christmas time? Me either.

HOW DO WE FIGHT THIS BULLSHIT???

Sign Petitions:

Eat local and organic meat and produce. Buy from your local farmers’ markets. Buy heirloom and/or organic seeds and grow your own. Write your congressmen and women and demand GMO labeling, like every other major country already has. Join the sites above and get updated information through Twitter or Facebook. Watch the movie linked above.

I’m not exaggerating when I say these people are monsters.

*Topic for a whoooole other rant.

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Monsatan Lovers

Delicious glyphosate!

I recently received a comment from a fellow blogger in response to my blog post, “Sustainability vs. Monsatan.” I was going to just delete it because it is unbelievably ROOD and condescending, but I’m feeling righteous this morning and have decided to rebut his unsolicited patronizing blurb of wrongness. Here is his comment, unedited by me or anybody else:

“Submitted on 2012/03/16 at 8:42 pm

Obviously a fear mongering blog post. GMO’s are feared because the average person does not understand them. The GMO’s that once were banned in many parts of the world are now being accepted since the science proved the fears were not real.

There have been long term tests of the effects of GMO’s and they are still going on. I’m not talking about one test, I’m talking about scientifically replicable tests. Testing that takes years to prove one way or the other. So far there is no difference in the effect of GMO’s versus non-GMO’s. The tests that seem to show an adverse effect from GMO’s, show about the same amount of damage as washing your hands with soap and do not have a control to show what a non-GMO does. The word is as stated above, potentially, so far, no difference.

GMO’s do much more than just making a plant resistant to a chemical. Some of the most exciting GMO’s are ones that make plants have better root systems so that they can survive in dryer conditions. There are also some GMO’s that are making plants so that they are more efficient, thus they use less fertilizer, or even survive insect infestations that previously would have killed them. There are so many GMO’s that you should not lump them all into one Monsatan pot. In fact, Monsanto is not the only company that is producing GMO’s, nor were they the first.

By all means keep eating heirloom varieties of plants. We need those varieties for protection from some as yet unknown problem, but please, it does not have to be organic or heirloom to be sustainable. Eat them for the taste or the novelty, not for some potential, but never proven problem.

Beware though, some of the organic practices are just as scary as non-organic ones. I’m thinking of things like organic peanuts that leaves them open to a natural toxin. There are many real natural things out there that WILL kill you or make you sick. There is nothing potential about it.

Sustainability means so many different things to so many different people that it is hard to peg down. Please do not confuse a love of the old ways of doing things with being sustainable.”

I learned your name because your email address is attached to the comment. So I Googled you. Your name is Michael W*****, and you farm 880 acres of corn and soybeans in W*****, MN with your dad. That’s cool. I farm 4 acres of about 40 different things in TX with my fiance. The major difference here (besides size and variety of veg) is that I’m in no way endorsed by any company, nor do I rely upon any corporation’s contracts, money, or largesse to maintain my little grow-op. I am willing to bet one million (hypothetical) dollars that you depend on Monsanto seed for your livelihood, thereby negating any opinion you have on the subject as highly prejudiced and worth a hill of crap (in my opinion). (Actually, that’s doing a disservice to a hill of crap, which I can use in my compost pile.) If I’m wrong about that, then I apologize.

However, I will rebut every daft, subjective idea you have espoused on my blog, and quite easily, because I know how to read, do research, back it up (as I did in the original piece), and contrary to your rude assertion, DO understand GMOs.

For purposes of this discussion, I’m going to stick with Monsanto GEs and Roundup (specifically glyphosate) Ready Seed, although I did mention Dow and BASF in my original piece (again, you misspoke).

First, allow me to address this little nugget of “wisdom”:

“There have been long term tests of the effects of GMO’s and they are still going on. I’m not talking about one test, I’m talking about scientifically replicable tests. Testing that takes years to prove one way or the other. So far there is no difference in the effect of GMO’s versus non-GMO’s. The tests that seem to show an adverse effect from GMO’s, show about the same amount of damage as washing your hands with soap and do not have a control to show what a non-GMO does. The word is as stated above, potentially, so far, no difference.”

I’ve taken the liberty of blending GMO research with research on glyphosate/Roundup and Roundup Ready seed, because that’s what my initial post was about.

So basically, however well-meaning your comment may seem on its face (and I doubt that), you’re simply wrong. If you find studies that find Roundup Ready Seeds/Roundup/Glyphosate/GMOs are harmless, you’ll also find that they’re prepared by the GMO corporations themselves by their paid scientists, with no oversight, no non-funded peer review, no independent analysis. I’d just as soon trust a fox to guard my chickens.

Also, since my original piece was specifically about those topics, I did not address other genetically modified organisms or systems. Of course I know there are other GMO systems and manufacturers; anyone with a sixth grade education knows that. I also believe that there are certainly some cool innovations in the world of GM crops and animals, but that sure as hell doesn’t mean I’d advocate their willy-nilly dissemination across the globe before enough unbiased scientific research and evidence proves them absolutely safe for consumption or proximity to humans or other animals.

Peru, Hungary, France, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania, and Portugal all have complete or partial bans of GMOs. Do they just not understand GMOs because they’re “average” people who fear what they are too dumb to comprehend?

With regard to the remainder of your comment, it’s absurd that you’d imply that choosing sustainability is “old-fashioned.” There is not a way to be more forward-thinking than choosing a sustainable approach to farming and life in general.  Or your assertion that, “There are many real natural things out there that WILL kill you or make you sick.” No shit, Sherlock. I guess I already knew that rattlesnakes are poisonous and that’s why we don’t pet them on the head. And yes, there ARE many ways to view sustainability. My entire blog is a testament to the way WE SPECIFICALLY have chosen. I’d no sooner go over to your blog and imply you’re simple-minded than I would back-talk my mama, and it’d be pretty cool if you didn’t drop in on random strangers’ blogs and tell them they’re feeble.

You seem like a very nice person. But please, believe what you want and keep it to yourself and off my blog. I’ll stay here in Texas and mind my own heirloom/organic operation, and only occasionally fret about GMO drift and the fact that Monsatan might sue me for copyright infringement.

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Heirloom Sourcing/Monsatan Follow-up

A fellow blogger asked about heirloom/non-GMO seed sources in the UK . So I applied my deft Google-fu to the problem and here are some lists for several countries:

UK:

And now wait a second, this is pissing me off. I clicked on Heirloom Vegetable Seed Catalogs (William Rubel dot Com, whoever he is), and I noticed that Burpee is on that list, a company I KNOW buys seeds from Seminis (Monsanto-owned). So I dug a little deeper. Here’s a post from the owner of Burpee, supposedly debunking the rumor that Burpee is affiliated with Monsanto. Personally, I think that if they buy seeds from a company that is owned by Monsanto, then they are affiliated with Monsanto. But if you want to use them, carry on. Back to the list.

  • WilliamRubel.com (Very comprehensive list of heirloom seed catalogs, despite the Burpee thing. Read each blurb carefully; some are organic-only, not heirloom)

Canada:

South Africa:

This is not an endorsement for any particular seed company or source, just a list for you to start your own research.

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That said, relating to my earlier post, here is some more information about GMOs, specifically Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seed (text copied from their website):

“Developed in 1974, Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides continue to be a perfect fit with the vision of sustainable agriculture and environmental protection. In fact, their use on Roundup Ready® crops has allowed farmers to conserve fuel and decrease the overall amount of agricultural herbicides used.

Roundup Ready® Soybeans were commercialized in 1996, followed by alfalfa, corn, cotton, spring canola, sugarbeets and winter canola, which contain in-plant tolerance to Roundup® agricultural herbicides. This means you can spray Roundup agricultural herbicides in-crop from emergence through flowering for unsurpassed weed control, proven crop safety and maximum yield potential.” [emphasis mine.]

Fantastico!

Except they fail to tell you of ongoing and recent studies showing that weeds and insects that were formally resistant to Roundup are now genetically capable of defeating the seeds’ resistance. In other words, generations of mutated pests and weeds that were formally resistant have developed ways around the Monsanto Über seeds that were supposed to stop them. Nature.Will.Out.

Google the phrase “resistance to Roundup.” Thousands and thousands of research articles, empirical evidence, scientific proof that these seeds are creating genetic monster super weeds and super bugs.

That means that the contractually-obligated farmers, all over the world, who HAVE to buy Monsanto Roundup Ready seed year after year, are seeing their crops wiped out by the very weeds and pests Monsanto promises to protect against. And you know how Monsanto deals with the problem? They tell farmers that farmers screwed up.

These horrors are of course only tangential when compared with the fact that Monsanto has known that glyphosates cause birth defects and cancerous tumors.

Six EU countries have banned GMOs. Peru just did. South Africa already has. WHEN IS THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT GOING TO STOP ACCEPTING HAND-OUTS FROM MONSANTO, BASF and DOW?

Probably not any time soon. Know who’s the “food safety czar” for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration? Michael Taylor, formerly a lobbyist for Monsanto.

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