Tag Archives | Organic Farming

Texas Police Raid Farming Commune After Mistaking Tomato Plants For Marijuana

tomatoesPerhaps to be on the safe side, we should prohibit growing plants in general. NBC 5 Dallas–Fort Worth reports:

A small organic farm in South Arlington is demanding an apology from police who raided the property in early August. Officers raided the Garden of Eden, a 3.5-acre farm, searching for marijuana in the gardens, according to search warrants. Police did not any drugs.

Quinn Eaker, a resident, told NBC 5 that the six adults who live at the farm were handcuffed when SWAT officers from the Arlington Police Department came to their home with weapons drawn. According to a statement posted on the Garden of Eden’s website, the raid of the farm lasted for an estimated 10 hours.

Code compliance officers mowed the grass on the property and removed wild, cultivated plants including blackberries and okra. Eaker said that the plants police mistook to be marijuana were likely tomatoes: “They can’t even tell the difference between tomato plants and a marijuana drug cartel.”

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How To Keep Your Home Garden Monsanto-Free

Should you choose to create your own fruit or vegetable garden in your backyard or on your windowsill, how can you keep Monsanto from reaching its grubby fingers into your home? The corporate behemoth has gained control of 40% of the U.S. vegetable seed market by buying up smaller companies, and now owns the rights to the names themselves of many kinds of seeds. Thus these tips from Healthy Home Economist:

Avoid buying from the seed companies affiliated with Monsanto. Here’s a list of these seed companies: http://www.seminis.com/global/us/products/Pages/Home-Garden.aspx

Buy from this list of companies Monsanto HASN’T bought and are not affiliated or do business with Seminis: http://www.occupymonsanto360.org/2012/03/06/monsanto-free-seed-companies/

Avoid certain heirloom varieties because Monsanto now apparently owns the names. This article lists the seed varieties to avoid: http://www.occupymonsanto360.org/2012/03/17/monsanto-owned-seednames/

Ask seed companies if they have taken the Safe Seed Pledge. Here’s a list of companies that have done so: http://www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org/ViewPage.aspx?pageId=261

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Big Food Companies Corrupting Organic Standards

Texarkana Roadtrip (CC)

The organic food movement in the United States has become a victim of its own success, with corporate food giants buying up most of the successful organic brands and dominating the standards board, writes Stephanie Strom in the New York Times:

Michael J. Potter is one of the last little big men left in organic food.

More than 40 years ago, Mr. Potter bought into a hippie cafe and “whole earth” grocery here that has since morphed into a major organic foods producer and wholesaler, Eden Foods.

But one morning last May, he hopped on his motorcycle and took off across the Plains to challenge what organic food — or as he might have it, so-called organic food — has become since his tie-dye days in the Haight district of San Francisco.

The fact is, organic food has become a wildly lucrative business for Big Food and a premium-price-means-premium-profit section of the grocery store.

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California To Vote On Labeling Genetically Modified Foods

Should people have a right to know what corporations are feeding to them, or is it none of their business? The Guardian on a referendum this November which could change how food is sold across the country:

Last month, nearly 1m signatures were delivered [in] California calling for a referendum on the labeling of genetically engineered foods. If the measure, “The Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act”, passes, California will become the first state in the nation to require that GM foods be labeled as such on the package.

Lawmakers in states like Vermont and Connecticut have also proposed labeling legislation, which has gone nowhere in the face of stiff industry opposition. What makes the referendum in California different is that, for the first time, voters and not politicians will be the ones to decide. And this has the food industry worried. Understandably so, since only one in four Americans is convinced that GMOs are “basically safe”, according to a survey conducted by the Mellman Group.

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Does Organic Food Turn People into Jerks?

Organic Food

Photo: Missvain (CC)

Writes Diane Mapes on TODAY Health:

Renate Raymond has encountered her fair share of organic food snobs, but a recent trip to a Seattle market left her feeling like she’d stumbled onto the set of Portlandia.

“I stopped at a market to get a fruit platter for a movie night with friends but I couldn’t find one so I asked the produce guy,” says the 40-year-old arts administrator from Seattle. “And he was like, ‘If you want fruit platters, go to Safeway. We’re organic.’ I finally bought a small cake and some strawberries and then at the check stand, the guy was like ‘You didn’t bring your own bag? I need to charge you if you didn’t bring your own bag.’ It was like a ‘Portlandia skit.’ They were so snotty and arrogant.”

As it turns out, new research has determined that a judgmental attitude may just go hand in hand with exposure to organic foods.

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Retro Dreams Of Giant Future Food

Lifestyle magazine articles and Sunday comic strips in the 1960s predicted the arrival of a golden age of eating by the year 2000, with plates filled by technologically modified, super-sized foods of the future. The illustrations may look fantastical, but this is more or less what has happened — the only thing that was not anticipated was an organic foods movement putting up resistance. Via Paleofuture:

Gamma ray fields now operating on the east coast point to a day when crops will grow to giant size, vastly enlarging yield per acre. These super-plants will be disease and insect resistant — more tender and tasty — and controllable as to ripening time. Seasonal vegetables like corn will be available fresh nearly everywhere for most of the year instead of only a month or so.

1961-April-9-CTWT-sm

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Organic Food That’s Bad For The Planet

Tomato P5260299bYou knew it was too good to be true, of course. The New York Times provides fodder for critics of shipping out of season produce thousands of miles to satisfy the desires of organic food fans. Perhaps this will help push consumers towards seasonal, local foods that are produced both organically and sustainably:

TODOS SANTOS, Mexico — Clamshell containers on supermarket shelves in the United States may depict verdant fields, tangles of vines and ruby red tomatoes. But at this time of year, the tomatoes, peppers and basil certified as organic by the Agriculture Department often hail from the Mexican desert, and are nurtured with intensive irrigation.

Growers here on the Baja Peninsula, the epicenter of Mexico’s thriving new organic export sector, describe their toil amid the cactuses as “planting the beach.”

Del Cabo Cooperative, a supplier here for Trader Joe’s and Fairway, is sending more than seven and a half tons of tomatoes and basil every day to the United States by truck and plane to sate the American demand for organic produce year-round.

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Toxin From Genetically Modified Crops Detected In Canadians’ Blood

bigredbarnUntil now, scientists and multinational corporations promoting GM crops have maintained that Bt toxin poses no danger to human health as the protein breaks down in the human gut. But the presence of this toxin in human blood shows that this does not happen.

Eating GM corn, soy, and potatoes is perfectly safe, provided you don’t mind having a powerful toxin swirling in your bloodstream. Oh, and your unborn baby’s bloodstream as well. So says a debbie-downer peer-reviewed Canadian study, India Today reports:

Fresh doubts have arisen about the safety of genetically modified crops, with a new study reporting presence of Bt toxin, used widely in GM crops, in human blood for the first time.

Scientists from the University of Sherbrooke, Canada, have detected the insecticidal protein, Cry1Ab, circulating in the blood of pregnant as well as non-pregnant women. They have also detected the toxin in fetal blood, implying it could pass on to the next generation.

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