Tag Archives | seeds

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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Supreme Court To Rule On Monsanto’s ‘Self-Replicating Patent’ Seeds

Monsanto demands that anyone who plants a seed containing the its patented herbicide-resisting genes pay steep “technology fees.” The problem is that Monsanto’s plants amount to self-replicating patent machines, as the Monsanto-created genes spread through the ecosystem. NPR  reports:

This farmer, Vernon Hugh Bowman, has been a loyal customer for Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” soybeans. Sometimes he bought ordinary soybeans from the local grain elevator or another farmer.

But here’s the problem: Monsanto’s soybeans account for 94 percent of all the soybeans grown in Indiana. So almost all the soybeans that Bowman could get his hands on contained the patented “Roundup Ready” gene. Monsanto found out and took Bowman to court [where he was ordered] to pay $84,000. An appeals court affirmed that decision.

The arguments and counter-arguments that both sides have submitted to the Supreme Court mostly focus on the reach of Monsanto’s patents — specifically, whether Monsanto really can demand a royalty for the planting of any soybean containing its patented genes.

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Biotech Giants Are Bankrolling a GMO Free-for-All

Tom Philpott brings the bad news to Mother Jones:

The so-called “Big Six” agrichemical companies—Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow Agrosciences, BASF, Bayer, and Pioneer (DuPont)—are sitting pretty. Together, they control nearly 70 percent of the global pesticide market, and essentially the entire market for genetically modified seeds. Prices of the crops they focus on—corn, soy, cotton, etc.—are soaring, pushed up by severe drought in key growing regions. Higher crop prices typically translate to increased pesticide sales as farmers have more money to spend on agrichemicals and more incentive to maximize yield.

The companies operate globally—and have gained a stronghold in that emerging center of industrial agriculture, Brazil—but the biotech-friendly US is their profit center. They’ve got a big chunk of US agriculture pretty well sewn up—their GMO seeds dominate our corn, soy and cotton crops, which account for more than 53 percent of US farmland, and have won approval for GMO alfalfa (hay), which accounts for another 19 percent.

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Farmers & Food Co’s Rally Against GM Seeds & Chemicals

SOCC_logoThe dangers of using bio-engineered seeds and chemical pesticides in agriculture have been warned against by activists for many years, but now many farmers and food companies are sounding the alarm too, calling for government intervention. From Reuters via Yahoo Finance:

A coalition of more than 2,000 U.S. farmers and food companies said Wednesday it is taking legal action to force government regulators to analyze potential problems with proposed biotech crops and the weed-killing chemicals to be sprayed over them.

Dow AgroSciences, a unit of Dow Chemical, and Monsanto Co. are among several global chemical and seed companies racing to roll out combinations of genetically altered crops and new herbicides designed to work with the crops as a way to counter rapidly spreading herbicide-resistant weeds that are choking millions of acres of U.S. farmland.

Dow and Monsanto say the new chemical combinations and new crops that tolerate those chemicals are badly needed by corn, soybean and cotton farmers as weeds increasingly resist treatments of the most commonly used herbicide – glyphosate-based Roundup.

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Black Farmers Suffer At The Hands Of Monsanto

drboydAn interesting take on the disastrous effects on agriculture resulting from Monsanto’s control of seeds, by Dr. John Boyd of BlackFarmers.org, at Roland Martin Reports:

Black farmers in the United States are disappearing. Their numbers shrank from approximately 900,000 in the 1920s down to about 43,000 in the last U.S. Census — down to less than 1 percent of America’s farmers.

But the staggering 98 percent decline in Black farm ownership does not tell the whole story. With each farm closure, those farmers, their families and their employees all lost a way of life that had existed for generations. Despite the horror stories behind Black Americans’ link to the land throughout our national history, these losses represent an erosion of cultural, geographic and heritage bonds far greater larger than the Black farmers’ small presence in American agriculture…

For most of the NBFA’s history, racial discrimination was the biggest threat to Black farm ownership.

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No Monsanto GMOs For The UK

No Monsanto Crop Circle

UPDATE from Natural News:

We regret to inform our readers that this story is based on a Daily Mail article that we have now been informed is from 2003, not 2012. In their own search engine, Daily Mail mistakenly listed their own story as being published on February 3, 2012…

Oh well – let’s pressure Monsanto to get out of the UK anyway!

Mike Adams reports for Natural News:

A massive victory against Monsanto and genetically engineered seeds has been achieved in the United Kingdom today. Monsanto has announced a total withdrawal from the UK, shuttering its Cambridge-based wheat production operation. UK newspaper Daily Mail was instrumental in promoting opposition against Monsanto through its “Frankenstein Foods” educational campaign.

The paper is now reporting that Monsanto plans to sell off GMO crop-breeding centers in France, Germany and the Czech Republic. Daily Mail reported, “…the company has given up hopes of introducing GM crops to Europe.” (Are you grinning as wide as I am right now?)

The UK government, it turns out, was on the verge of announcing a finding that genetically engineered crops would “pollute the countryside for generations.” Gee, ya think?

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Seedbank Vaults In Case Of Mass Extinction

Nordic Genetic Resource Center Seed Vials, Svalbard Global SeedVia Wired, Dornith Doherty’s photographs offer a glimpse inside several of humanity’s vital seed-saving facilities, where samples of our planet’s flora are stored and protected in case of future mass extinction (be it due to climate change, nuclear war, astroid impact, or disease epidemic). Perhaps most stark is the Svalbard “Doomsday” Seed Vault, located on an island near the North Pole. One of these tiny outposts could someday be the savior of life on Earth:

Dornith Doherty’s documentary images of seed-saving facilities capture the logistics — and existential anxiety — behind the elaborate steps now in place to preserve the world’s crop diversity.

Once a traditional, year-to year practice by smallholding farmers to develop sturdy varietals, this simple act of putting seed aside has more and more become the concern of international affairs and corporate policy.

“Seed saving and its role in preserving biodiversity is of utmost importance. We are in an era called the Holocene extinction, which is notable for its decline in biodiversity,” says Doherty.

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Scientist Warns That Roundup Ready GM Seeds Could Cause Crop Collapse

Roundup_herbicide_logo

The Institute of Science in Society‘s Dr. Mae-Wan Ho reports that a USDA senior scientist has sent an “emergency” warning to US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack regarding a new plant pathogen in Roundup Ready GM soybean and corn that may be responsible for high rates of infertility and spontaneous abortions in livestock:

An open letter appeared on the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance founded and run by Judith McGeary to save family farms in the US [1, 2]. The letter, written by Don Huber, professor emeritus at Purdue University, to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, warns of a pathogen “new to science” discovered by “a team of senior plant and animal scientists”. Huber says it should be treated as an “emergency’’, as it could result in “a collapse of US soy and corn export markets and significant disruption of domestic food and feed supplies.”

The letter appeared to have been written before Vilsack announced his decision to authorize unrestricted commercial planting of GM alfalfa on 1 February, in the hope of convincing the Secretary of Agriculture to impose a moratorium instead on deregulation of Roundup Ready (RR) crops.

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Haitian Farmers Commit to Burning Monsanto Hybrid Seeds

GMOBeverly Bell, Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, writing for Huffington Post:

“A new earthquake” is what peasant farmer leader Chavannes Jean-Baptiste of the Peasant Movement of Papay (MPP) called the news that Monsanto will be donating 60,000 seed sacks (475 tons) of hybrid corn seeds and vegetable seeds, some of them treated with highly toxic pesticides. The MPP has committed to burning Monsanto’s seeds, and has called for a march to protest the corporation’s presence in Haiti on June 4, for World Environment Day.

In an open letter sent of May 14, Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, the Executive Director of MPP and the spokesperson for the National Peasant Movement of the Congress of Papay (MPNKP), called the entry of Monsanto seeds into Haiti “a very strong attack on small agriculture, on farmers, on biodiversity, on Creole seeds…, and on what is left our environment in Haiti.”[1] Haitian social movements have been vocal in their opposition to agribusiness imports of seeds and food, which undermines local production with local seed stocks.

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Mark Of The Beast: Obama’s Latest Monsanto Pick, Elena Kagan

from Doc Searls at Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Doc Searls (CC)

Rady Ananda writes for Thepeoplesvoices.org:

First, we spit out our coffee over President Obama’s appointments of former Monsanto goon Michael Taylor as Food Safety [sic] Czar and ‘biotech governor of the year’ Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture. Then we choked on our grits when he made Monsanto lobbyist, Islam Siddiqui, the US Ag Trade Representative. Now, the real food movement has completely lost its appetite with Obama’s nomination of Monsanto defender, Elena Kagan, to the US Supreme Court.

In December 2009, in her capacity as Solicitor General, Kagan intervened in the first case on which SCOTUS will rule involving genetically modified crops, Monsanto v Geertson Seed. She defended Monsanto’s fight to contaminate the environment with its GM alfalfa, not the American people’s right to safe feed and a protected environment.

The lower court ruled that “contamination of organic and conventional alfalfa crops with the genetically engineered gene has occurred and defendants acknowledge as much.

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