Tag Archives: GMOs

Action Alert: Labeling Genetically Modified Foods

Institute for Responsible Technolgy-Heathy eating starts with no GMOs!
The Institute for Responsible Technology reports that U.S. negotiators at an international conference on Codex Alimentarius are currently pushing an agenda that could make it difficult to label foods as genetically modified (GM) or even make non-GM claims on a product label.

If you care about keeping food sources good, clean, fair, and HONEST, you should care about food labeling! Please visit the Institute for Responsible Technology’s petition site and sign the petition TODAY. As many signatures are possible are needed before Wednesday, May 5, but the Institute for Responsible Technology suggests that the public should continue support in opposition to this agenda until the desired result is achieved.

Water Wisdom: From India to Everywhere

resurgence-logoThe solution for the climate crisis, the food crisis and the water crisis is the same: biodiversity-based, organic farming systems. —Vandana Shiva

In Resurgence magazine, Vandana Shiva talks about the “water famine” in India that has resulted as a consequence of the Green Revolution—that is, of the switch from traditional farming methods and crops toward chemical agriculture and water-intensive crops. She speaks of falling water levels, disappearing groundwater, widespread drought, and declining soil fertility Issue 259, (March/April 2010).

Shiva’s context is India, but the problem—and the solution—is as global as it is local. Want to know more? Read Water Wisdom on the Resurgence website. Then bring it home by supporting the wise farmers in your community.

(Seacoast Winter Farmers’ Markets continue this Saturday, in Rollinsford! The remaining Seacoast winter markets are listed here.)

Interview with “Father of the Local Food Movement”

An interview with Gary Paul Nabhan (text, interspersed with short videos) from Indiana Public Radio’s EarthEats contains many great definitions for terms that mean a lot to people who care about good, clean, fair food: GMOs, monoculture, “local eating”, and heirloom seeds. This particular video is about Slow Food and eating locally; read the entire interview and see other videos at Questions for Gary Paul Nabhan “Father of the Local Food Movement”.

(Nabhan has been called a “bio-terroir”-ist. Love that!)

Even more about GMOs … and Monsanto

In December, the USDA determined that Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa met the Obama Administration’s standards, despite the risk of contaminating organic crops … and acknowledgment that GE alfalfa is virtually certain to contaminate normal seeds. Cross-contamination is the number one concern with GE crops.

The USDA is accepting public comments on Monsanto’s application through February 16. Credo Action provides this link to learn more, then quickly and easily (customize and) submit a form message to USDA. Please act now!

NH GMO Bills: Report, Request, and Resources

This week, Slow Food Seacoast has posted twice about NH policy related to genetically modified organisms (GMOs): Your chance to speak out against GMOs in NH and Attend GMO hearings today. Elizabeth Obelenus (info@nofanh.org), program coordinator at the Northeast Organic Farming Association, NH Chapter (NOFA-NH), provides a brief report of yesterday’s hearings here:

The hearings were delayed till 2 pm and we finished at 5 pm.  The morning’s hearing on a study committee to ban pesticides went from 9am to noon (it was an excellent hearing too) which was a problem for us because we had at least 60 people show up all anxious to be a part of the hearings.  However, our hearings went very well, and even better, biotech’s lobbyists were in DC digging out from the snow so could not show up and their substitute lobbyist was a joke.  Rich Bonanno from the NE Veg & Berry Growers though showed up against (I was surprised) but after all the people signed in (not including the 150+ emails sent) we out numbered the opposition by what, 30-1?

The interim results sound promising … but the game is still on! If you haven’t yet, please urge your NH legislators to support the labeling of GMO seeds and protect NH farmers whose non-GMO crops are contaminated by GMO crops by February 15. Use the following link to quickly send (or customize)  a form email to the members of the NH House Environment and Agriculture Committee and your own representative: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1221/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=2253. Suggestion: Write the message on your own computer, SAVE IT, then copy and paste it into the window provided. If the website doesn’t work properly, please send your message to the following addresses, provided by Elizabeth from NH House of Representatives, Environment and Agriculture Committee, website (http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/committees/committeedetails.aspx?code=H06):

Tara A. Sad, (d) Chairman (tara.eric@gmail.com)
Jane E. Beaulieu, (d) Vice-Chairman (jane.beaulieu@leg.state.nh.us)
Suzanne J. Smith, (d) Clerk (zanne1@metrocast.net)
Derek Owen, d (owen31@juno.com)
Leigh A. Webb, d (leigh.webb@leg.state.nh.us)
Roger R. Beauchamp, d (roger.beauchamp@leg.state.nh.us)
Steven W.Lindsey, d (steven.lindsey@leg.state.nh.us)
Brian D. Poznanski, d (bpoznanski@anselm.edu)
Susan E. Wiley, d (stephmwv@ncia.net)
Robert H. Haefner, r (bobhaefnerjp@comcast.net)
J. David Knox, r (jdknox@worldpath.net)
Laura J. Gandia, r (laura.gandia@leg.state.nh.us)
Warren J. Groen, r (warrengroen@gmail.com)
Stephen J. Palmer, r (spalmer_peanuts@msn.com)
Pamela Z. Tucker, r (pamzt@comcast.net)

And finally, here are some GMO-related facts and resource links from Pam, to inform and motivate you.

  • Geneticist Marcello Buiatti says, “From a scientific point of view GMOs are a total failure.” He adds that they “use out-dated technology, do not increase production of useful food crops, do not help fight famine and do not do what their patents claim” and “serve only to make their owners rich as farmers have to pay royalties to the multinationals to use their seeds” (http://www.slowfood.com/sloweb/eng/dettaglio.lasso?cod=D5D7F482190d022CD4RxY105A0A2).
  • Monsanto is a U.S.-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. It calls itself an agricultural company yet was founded as manufacturer of agricultural chemicals, then expanded to include molecular biology, biotechnology, genetic modification, and pharmaceuticals (http://www.monsanto.com/who_we_are/history.asp).
  • Monsanto sells 90% of genetically engineered or GMO seed worldwide. It started to acquire existing seed brands in 2004 and has continued to do so almost every year since (http://www.monsanto.com/who_we_are/history.asp).
  • Monsanto also is the world’s leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate (active ingredient in the Roundup family of brands). Its broad-spectrum, nonselective herbicide products “are registered in more than 130 countries and are approved for weed control in more than 100 crops” (http://www.monsanto.com/monsanto/content/products/productivity/roundup/back_history.pdf).
  • GMO farming encourages monoculture (growing one single species or crop), which decreases ecosystem diversity and is not a sustainable approach to agriculture. “Monocultures deplete the soil, and fruits and vegetables become more susceptible to pests and disease than those grown in a diverse crop environment, thus requiring larger amounts of chemical sprays” (http://www.sustainabletable.org/intro/dictionary/).
  • Farmers growing GMO crops are prohibited from saving seeds (i.e., collecting and drying seeds from one crop to use the following season) because GMO seeds are patented (http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstryc657.html?recid=505).
  • Many GMO crops are genetically modified to either be tolerant of or contain (directly in the seed) pesticides or herbicides. Examples include Roundup Ready varieties of soybean, cotton, canola, and corn (which require the application of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide) and YieldGard Rootworm corn (with “in-seed insect-protection against the corn rootworm”) and Bollgard II insect-protected cotton (http://www.monsanto.com/who_we_are/history.asp). Both kinds of seed increase environmental exposure to pesticides and herbicides, which has implications for the health of water, plants, insects, and humans as well as other animals.
  • The use of pesticide-tolerant GMO seeds has been implicated in the widespread decline in the populations of honeybees and other plant pollinators (http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4557.cfm). Without pollinators, plants cannot bear fruit or vegetables.
  • The results of a recent study indicate an alarming effect of GMOs on human health: Monsanto’s GMO Corn Linked to Organ Failure (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/12/monsantos-gmo-corn-linked_n_420365.html).
  • Because of nature (in the form of wind, birds, and other animals), GMO seed and pollen inevitably “drift” into non-GMO crops. And in cases of GMO drift, liability usually falls on the farmer (http://www.caff.org/publications/aa/02_Fall/gmo_threat.shtml).
  • GMO drift and cross-pollination spell economic loss or ruin for farmers whose valuable non-GMO crops have been contaminated by GMO crops. What’s more, Monsanto has a history of criminalizing small farmers who have been unwitting victims of the forces of nature (e.g., Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser, http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/schmeiser012004.cfm and http://www.percyschmeiser.com/).

Thanks in advance for sending your written statement!