The FDA’s proposed food safety regulations pose significant problems for sustainable farmers, food producers, and food hubs across the country. Under the proposed regulations, many farmers will be forced to comply with high-cost, industrial-scale regulations, and they will be unable to use traditional, sustainable growing practices. Food hubs and local food businesses will be forced to deal with costly and burdensome paperwork. Ultimately, consumers will face increased food prices and reduced availability of locally and sustainably produced foods. Below is information on how YOU can help, with sample comments to the FDA and more!
In a groundbreaking turn of events, Mexican authorities placed a ban on genetically-modified corn within their borders. Giant biotech companies like Monsanto will no longer be able to sell or plant their corn in Mexico. This follows on the heels of of Peru’s decision to ban GMO corn last year, and for many of the same reasons.
Nothing strikes more fear into the heart of a loving parent than the idea of having their children taken away. Yet that’s just what the state of Maine threatened to do recently to young mother Alorah Gellerson when she told her doctor that she was feeding her baby a homemade formula made from raw goat’s milk.
Last week the USDA announced a change in the organic ingredients “sunset” policy — without any kind of public review. You see, before last week, if a company wanted to include a non-organic (synthetic) ingredient in certified organic foods, the ingredient had to apply for an exemption which would expire after five years unless it was re-exempted by a decisive, two-thirds majority vote of the National Organic Standards Board. That is no longer the case.
Have you heard of the not-so-cleverly named food substitute that’s about to break into the American market? It’s called Soylent. Soylent’s creator, Rob Rhinehart, wanted to create an inexpensive food replacement (not “meal” replacement) that could help end world hunger and allow techies to stay glued to their computers without the need to take pesky breaks for eating. Last month, Soylent successfully raised more than a million dollars through pre-orders in one of the world’s most popular crowd funding campaigns to date.
National Geographic photographer George Steinmetz was recently arrested for taking aerial photographs of a feedlot in Kansas. He took the aerial photographs for a series on food issues that the magazine has scheduled for next year. In an age when the government has no qualms tapping your private cell phone calls and monitoring your internet usage without a warrant, this government support of a lack of transparency on the part of giant agribusinesses is both a little alarming and a tad hypocritical.
Did you know there is no genetically modified wheat approved for U.S. farming? Yet farmers in Oregon recently discovered a non-approved strain of GMO wheat in their fields — a strain that Monsanto stopped testing in Oregon way back in 2005. Officials aren’t commenting about how the wheat may have gotten there, but I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out. GMO contamination of non-GMO fields is notoriously widespread, particularly in seed-bearing crops that are wind-pollinated.
I seriously doubt this was an act of bioterrorism, or that someone maliciously planted the GMO wheat in this field, or that the farmers are guilty of thieving and espionage against Monsanto. The simplest answer is likely the correct one, and the USDA is humming with all the potential ramifications of this if growth of the GMO wheat turns out to be far-reaching.
I am doing my happy dance. Vernon Hershberger, the Amish dairy farmer recently on trial in Wisconsin for providing raw milk to his community, was acquitted last week by a jury on three of the four charges against him. The state of Wisconsin charged Hersbherger with operating a farm store without a retail food establishment permit, operating a dairy farm without a milk producer license, operating a dairy plant facility without a license, and violating a hold order that the state’s department of agriculture placed on food on his farm during a 2010 raid. Hershberger was acquitted of the first three charges and found guilty of the fourth. His acquittal marks a huge step forward in the food rights movement because it upholds private contracts between individuals and counters overbearing government regulations.
Our nation’s bees are vanishing. Every winter for the last six years, more than a third of all bee colonies in the U.S. have simply … gone. Now the decimated bee population has finally reached critical mass. According to an industry wide survey, there will no longer be enough bees in the U.S. to pollinate our almond, avocado, blueberry, pear, plum, and apple crops this year. Yes, you read that right. Next year, these crops will fail — not because of poor weather, not because of a new blight ravaging the crops, but because of a lack of bees.
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.