Meet Kris, a cow-share farmer in Michigan, who was recently served a warrant about her operation. The milk was not proven contaminated but could have easily become that way by the actions of the inspectors. Did they employ good science? You decide!
Hybrid Seeds. Genetically-modified (GMO) seeds. Heirloom seeds. The labels often confuse people. Not a single day passes without some well-meaning reader leaving a comment like this one: “GMOs are perfectly safe. Farmers and gardeners have been cross-breeding seeds like this for thousands of years. Take off your tinfoil hats, people!”
Um… no. Just no.
Farmers and gardeners have NOT been cross-breeding seeds like this for thousands of years. What those well-intentioned readers fail to understand is the fundamental difference between hybrid seeds and GMOs.
Those who argue in favor of the creation and propagation of genetically-modified organisms, also known as GMOs, will be the first to tell you that GMOs represent a great humanitarian effort to “feed the world.” Yet despite their rhetoric, GMOs have gotten a lot of bad humanitarian press. GMO crops like corn and soy aren’t living up to their high-yield propaganda. And in less than a decade, India’s seen more than 270,000 farmers commit suicide because of the crushing debt they experienced as outrageously expensive GMO cotton and cereal grains performed far worse than anticipated. Given all the negative coverage, it’s no wonder that they’re trying to tout the humanitarian benefit of Golden Rice — a GMO rice that’s been modified to produce extra beta-carotene. According to biotech firms, this rice will save the lives of millions of children who are suffering from vitamin A deficiency.
The golden era of useful antibiotics may be coming to an end, due in large part to the overuse of antibiotics in CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations). CAFOs, otherwise known as “factory farms,” are all about raising farm animals faster, bigger, cheaper. To sustain their unnaturally concentrated and large populations of livestock, CAFOs rely heavily on antibiotics. Now, the newest research out of China reveals that the overuse of subtherapeutic antibiotics as growth-promotants on CAFOs is creating antibiotic resistant superbugs — strains of bacteria that do not respond to antibiotic treatment.
id you know that most cheese in the United States is made from genetically modified ingredients? Additionally surprising? Many European cheeses imported to America, while from countries where GMOs are limited, are GMO-sourced.
A few months ago, when Dr. Oz announced he’d found high levels of arsenic in various kinds of commercially available fruit juice, he was roundly criticized for fear mongering. After all, his findings hadn’t been confirmed — until last week. Consumers Union, the group that publishes Consumer Reports, conducted its own test on 88 juice samples from popular grocery store brands. A shocking 10% contained levels of arsenic higher than those permitted in drinking water.
Why am I not surprised?
Ah what a wonderful world we live in — a world where giant agricultural producers regularly feed arsenic to chickens. This, mind you, isn’t how they kill the chicken. No, it’s how they make it grow bigger, faster, cheaper. Administered in small amounts, arsenic is one of many compounds found in various drugs routinely administered to chickens in their feed. These same giant agricultural producers have maintained for years that the arsenic never makes its way into the actual chicken meat sold at the supermarket.It all gets pooped out! Or so they say. Yet if that’s the case, then why did the FDA recently admit that arsenic does, in fact, show up in supermarket chickens?
Large-scale industrial farming of animals relies heavily on antibiotics. I’d go so far as to say that it wouldn’t be possible without the regular administration of antibiotics on relatively “healthy” animals. Otherwise, how else could they get away with crowding the animals into facilities that are sanitation nightmares? According to a new ad campaign launched by the Pew Charitable Trusts, up to 70% of antibiotics used in the U.S. go to farm animals that aren’t sick.
What’s Big Ag’s answer to the growing threat of Round-Up resistant superweeds? Why, creating an even deadlier GMO commodity crop that’s resistant to a more powerful herbicide, of course! That’s what Dow has done — creating genetically-modified varieties of corn & soy that are resistant to 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (commonly known as 2,4-D), the chemical that makes up half of the infamous Agent Orange herbicide deployed during the Vietnam war. The USDA is currently taking comments (through February 24th) on these 2,4-D resistant crops.
There are many benefits to starting market booths with kids, but there are some serious considerations, too. Here are some words of wisdom from a few teens who have years of experience in running their own small businesses at the local farmer’s market.