Monsanto Nation – Taking Down Goliath
#287, July 28, 2011
In this issue:
- Essay of the Week: Monsanto Nation – Taking Down Goliath by Ronnie Cummins
- Action Alerts
- Stop the Deregulation of Genetically Engineered Crops
- Shut Down the Big Ag Food Safety Rule Before It Shuts Down Small Farms
- Stop Monsanto’s Failed “Drought Tolerant” Corn
- Millions Against Monsanto Events
Essay of the Week
Monsanto Nation – Taking Down Goliath by Ronnie Cummins
“Living in Monsanto Nation there can be no such thing as ‘coexistence.’ It is impossible to coexist with a reckless industry that endangers public health, bribes public officials, corrupts scientists, manipulates the media, destroys biodiversity, kills the soil, pollutes the environment, tortures and poisons animals, destabilizes the climate, and economically enslaves the world’s 1.5 billion seed-saving small farmers. It’s time to take down the Biotech Behemoth, before the living web of biodiversity is terminated.”
No Free Pass for New Genetically Engineered Crops
For the first time ever, the USDA announced that it was waiving its regulatory authority over a new genetically engineered lawn grass made by Scotts Miracle-Gro, letting the company start selling the Franken-grass without any review of how it might effect human health, the environment, or organic farmers whose pastures will be contaminated. Essentially, the USDA has created a new class of genetically engineered plants, animals and animal drugs that get a free pass through any government regulation or review.
Because Scott’s new, gene-altered lawn grass is “RoundUp Ready”, we will all be exposed to more of Monsanto’s toxic pesticide, which is linked to birth defects and cancer. Plus, the reasoning used to give the RoundUp Ready grass a free pass will be used by companies like Monsanto to get future genetically engineered crops into the food supply without any public input or government review.
Monsanto spokespersons and biotech industry reps are claiming they won’t try this with food, arguing that genetically engineered food crops would not be accepted by the market without government approval. Don’t be so sure. Genetically engineered foods don’t have to be labeled, so there’s nothing stopping new Frankenfoods from being secretly injected into the food supply.
The President, USDA & Congress to need to hear our anger, loud and clear. We must fight back against this latest crime attack on sensible regulation and consumers’ right to know!
Support the OCA
Help David Bring Down Goliath: The Organic Revolution Moves Forward
Our heartfelt thanks to the 2700 Organic Bytes readers who sent in donations over the past two weeks, enabling OCA to overcome our financial crunch and meet our summer fundraising goal of $75,000. Now we are soliciting matching funds from our major donors in the hope that we can double the funds that you have just sent us, and thereby secure adequate funds to finance our Fall Offensive against Monsanto and Food Inc. For 13 years, OCA has been “growing the revolution” – preserving strict organic standards, expanding the organic market, and spreading the good news that organic agriculture can sustainably feed the world while reversing global warming. The time is right to ramp up our efforts and achieve some real victories in the fight against Monsanto, with labels on genetically engineered foods, but we need to raise a substantial amount of money over the summer to do so.
Shut Down Big Ag’s Food Safety Rule Before It Shuts Down Small Farms
Take Action Today! July 28, 2011
The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, an agency with no food safety expertise or authority, is proposing to establish a set of food safety regulations for leafy greens (spinach, lettuce and cabbage). This “National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement” is being pushed by the most powerful “Big Ag” players in the industry. It adds a second, conflicting layer of food safety standards and audits on top of FDA food safety rules.
The NLGMA, as proposed, would give the large conventional produce industry the ability to use its own worldview to dictate farming practices. Small scale and organic farmers would have a very small voice in the standard-setting process.
The NLGMA is modeled on state food safety agreements in California and Arizona. In those examples, the conventional produce industry has pushed through food safety regulations that are biased against organic and small-scale farmers, have led to the destruction of wildlife habitat and discouraged good conservation practices on farms.
Diversified farming operations with complex rotations have been shown to be beneficial to the environment. Yet crop-by-crop food safety regulations, such as the NLGMA, are an economic disaster for diversified farming operations, and are biased toward large mono-cultural operations. For a farmer with 40 crops on 100 acres to comply with 40 different food safety regulations is prohibitively burdensome. Crop specific food safety regulations, such as NLGMA, will drive farmers out of environmentally sensitive diversified crop production, and toward chemical-intensive mono-cultural operations. This is counter to the goals of food safety and more environmentally sound agriculture.
Stop Monsanto’s Failed “Drought Tolerant” Corn
Comments Due August 11, 2011
Monsanto has long made false marketing claims that its genetically engineered crops are less polluting, and that they increase yields and make crops more resilient. In truth, Monsanto’s business is focused on selling farm chemicals and patented seeds. All of its seeds are designed to either tolerate its herbicide RoundUp (so they can sell more pesticides) or produce an insecticide (so they can sell more high-priced patented seeds). Monsanto’s genetically engineered crops have been shown to increase pesticide use, while being more susceptible to disease and less tolerant to drought and flood than organic crops.
Now, Monsanto is seeking regulatory approval for the first genetically engineered crop that, according to them, could benefit farmers, a so-called “drought-tolerant” corn variety. The corn contains a gene discovered in soil bacteria strains exposed to harsh, cold conditions. The only trouble is, according to a USDA review of Monsanto’s data, it doesn’t work. Monsanto’s genetically engineered, so-called “drought-tolerant” corn doesn’t perform any better than varieties produced through conventional breeding techniques. And as researchers around the world have pointed out, the real varieties of “drought-resistant” corn under cultivation are those that are cultivated organically, with yields 50-70% higher than chemical and GMO varieties under drought conditions.
So, why is the USDA planning on approving Monsanto’s bogus drought-resistant corn? Because proving or disproving Monsanto’s false claims about the benefits of genetic engineering isn’t their job. They believe their charge is to determine whether the bacteria gene Monsanto used might pose a plant-pest problem. And, as to that, they used data submitted by Monsanto to conclude there’s no problem, but didn’t conduct the Environmental Impact Statement required under the law by courts that have acknowledged that the right of farmers and consumers to choose organic and non-genetically engineered is threatened by the contamination risk of genetically engineered crops.
We can’t allow the USDA to approve failed “drought-resistant” genetically engineered crops, when it’s inevitable that they will contaminate and ruin the proven ability of resilient organic crops to adapt to climate change.
Millions Against Monsanto Events
October 1-16, 2011: Right2Know March from NYC to DC for GMO Labeling
We feel that everyone has the Right to Know whether their food is genetically modified. We demand GMO labeling on all food and drink products in this country, and we support local and global efforts to keep GMOs out of our food supply.
Join us as we March from New York City to the White House in Washington DC from October 1 – October 16, 2011 to demand labeling of Genetically Modified Foods. Its time we put people over profits and mandate justice for our food.
We’ll be hiking across cities and townships, bringing our message to rallies, festivals, and farmers’ markets for over 300 miles and a little over two weeks. We’ll have speakers, exhibits, press opportunities, cookouts, and teach-ins, and we’re sure to generate a buzz around the issue. Bring a group from your community, volunteer to spread the word, fundraise, and together we will win the fight against Frankenfoods!
Millions Against Monsanto Events
October 16, 2011: World Food Day Rallies Against Genetically Engineered Foods
World Food Day, October 16, is traditionally an international day of action against agribusiness and Monsanto. Last year, La Via Campesina called for actions around the world to denounce the role of agribusinesses such as Monsanto and their destruction and corporatization of biodiversity and life.
This year, we want to see US consumers step up and join the international cause by holding local rallies across the nation.
In March, there were Rallies for the Right to Know about genetically engineered foods in more than 30 cities. Since then, organic activists have been building our networks and gathering supporters in the hopes of making the Millions Against Monsanto campaign 1,000,000 strong and having an even bigger national day of action in October.
There are already World Food Day actions being planned in 36 cities. Join in.
We are now almost up to 600,000 supporters! Please ask your friends to join the following networks and spread the word:
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Book of the Week
“Wow. A mixture of holy water evangelist and tree hugging shaman, Eric Herm takes on American materialistic decadence and landscape rape with aggressively insightful causes and solutions. Mischievously clever wordsmithing illustrates both wit and depth of understanding that only come from eclectic knowledge and spending many hours alone, in the fields, deeply thinking. Although Herm’s vituperative condemnation of modern America could be termed negative, his discussions all lilt into an Earth stewardship love song that is refreshingly positive. Herm has done our culture a great service in this altar call to get our hearts rights and then heal our world. A truly wonderful read.”
– Joel Salatin, Polyface Farms, author of several books on sustainable agriculture
Dr. Bronner’s is Celebrating Our 60th Anniversary!
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