In a staggering move which may cause other nations to follow suit, Russia suspended all imports of genetically-modified corn from the U.S. last week on the heels of a newly released study suggesting a link between GM corn, cancer, and organ damage.
“Praise be to God!” I exclaimed when I read the email. My husband, sitting at his desk on the opposite side of our office looked up from his work and said, “What? What happened?” The kids were wrestling on the floor, their squawks escalating into shrieking laughs. “I’d rather not talk over the kids,” I smiled. “But it’s good news.”
Michael Pollan once gave readers this advice, “Avoid food products that contain ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.” Love him or hate him, Michal Pollan’s food rule #7 is spot on. And it seems simple enough, right? No disodium guanylate, pyrophosphate, sodium stearoyl lactylate, or crazy glow-in-the-dark food additives. Just real food. Unfortunately, when it comes to bacteria-eating viruses sprayed on your lunch, labels don’t help – and “organic” is no exception. Clever labeling laws have made detecting the presence of this “food additive” – sold under the brand name Listex – virtually impossible.
It’s the stuff of science fiction or horror, the plot of some M. Night Shyamalan flick. But it actually happened! And, it was practically in my own backyard. A field of genetically-modified Bermuda grass that’s been happily feeding a Texas cattle rancher’s small herd for the past 15 years spontaneously started producing cyanide gas, killing 15 of his 18 cattle.
Denise Morrison of Tulsa, Oklahoma gardens. Every single plant in her yard was edible. Some were medicinal and used by her to treat her diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis. Others were fruit or nut trees. Some were vegetables. All of them were well-tended. Last year, the city received a complaint against her yard. Knowing that everything in her garden and yard was up to code, she took the citation to court last August. The judge ruled to postpone the case until October. Three days later she came home and found city workers digging up her garden, removing thousands of dollars worth of plants as well has her only source of food at the time. (She was unemployed.)
Canaries in coal mines. That’s what our children are. Our food supply has grown more tainted with each successive generation. So, it’s not a surprise to me when mothers like Laura Philyaw send me their stories. What is rare is that those mothers give me permission to share those stories with you. Laura did. So, let’s take her bravery to heart and pass it on, shall we?
When their butcher announced his retirement in 2008, the Jeffries family decided to build their own on-site butcher shop, complete with a traditional brine curing room as well as smoker to produce custom artisan cuts and sausages. Rather than mortgaging off a piece of their farm to finance the project, Walter turned to an innovative new online fundraising tool called Kickstarter.
In a brazen power grab threatening small farmers, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is using the state Invasive Species Act to expand its jurisdiction beyond hunting and fishing to farming operations. Farmers, ranchers and game preserves with successful small businesses are now threatened with economic and criminal sanctions, based on the physical characteristics of their swine.
On Friday, March 16th, 2012, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that asserts his authority to take over all food resources in the nation so long as it is done “to promote the national defense under both emergency and non-emergency conditions.” Can that qualifying phrase be any more ambiguous?
Obama has claimed this authority for himself and all future Presidents based on the fact that the President is “Commander and Chief” of the U.S. military. Essentially, this means that should the President ever deem it a matter of national defense, the U.S. government can now forcibly claim control of all your privately held crops, seeds, farm equipment, and livestock.
Think I’m exaggerating? Read the Executive Order.
On February 24, Judge Naomi Buchwald handed down her ruling on a motion to dismiss in the case of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Assn et al v. Monsanto after hearing oral argument on January 31st in Federal District Court in Manhattan. She ruled to dismiss the case brought against Monsanto on behalf of organic farmers, seed growers and agricultural organizations. Their goal? To protect themselves from patents Monsanto holds on genetically-modified seeds. 83 plaintiffs joined the suit, representing more than 300,000 members. To say they are disappointed in Judge Buchwald’s decision to dismiss the case is an understatement.