Archive for June, 2010

While dairy farmers in America face their worst crisis since the Great Depression, giant milk processors like Dean Foods are still raking in record profits. Like so many of the problems in our food system, it’s a direct result of excessive concentration, which offers dairy farmers little choice where they can sell their milk and severely limits incentives to adopt ecologically friendly farming techniques such as organic and grass-fed.

Please stand with the farmers in demanding that the Department of Justice break up the dairy monopolies!

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On June 21, 2010, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) announced he would introduce three bills to comprehensively regulate all genetically engineered products, including a bill that would require all foods containing genetically modified ingredients to be labeled.

Most Americans simply do not understand that 80% of non-organic supermarket processed foods (basically every product containing soy, corn, canola, cottonseed oil, sugar beet derivatives or ingredients from animals fed soy or corn) are contaminated with genetically modified organisms. While nearly everyone in North America has eaten genetically modified foods, only 26% believe that they have.

People don’t think they’re eating genetically modified foods because they have no way of knowing whether they are or not. Genetically modified foods aren’t labeled.

If we’re going to save this generation from reproductive dysfunction and save our farmland from the ravages of RoundUp, we need to stop Monsanto.

The first step is to protect consumers’ right to know whether their food is genetically modified. Please ask your representatives in the US Congress to cosponsor Rep. Kucinich’s legislation.

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“Today the Supreme Court ruled that when it comes to genetically modified organisms, we as consumers have to wait until the damage is done and obvious before we can act to protect health and the environment, even if that damage could be irreversible.”

“Haven’t we learned from the catastrophe in the Gulf of the dangers of technological arrogance, of proceeding ahead with technologies without worrying about the consequences? Why do we continue to throw precaution to the wind?

“Tomorrow I will introduce three bills that will provide a comprehensive regulatory framework for all Genetically Engineered (GE) plants, animals, bacteria, and other organisms. To ensure we can maximize benefits and minimize hazards, Congress must provide a comprehensive regulatory framework for all GE products. Structured as a common-sense precaution to ensure GE foods do no harm, these bills will ensure that consumers are protected, food safety measures are strengthened, farmers’ rights are better protected and biotech companies are responsible for their products.”

– Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a long-time advocate of family farmers and organic foods, on June 21, 2010, after the Supreme Court voted 7-1 to allow the experimental planting of genetically modified alfalfa seed before an environmental review is completed.

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CBS News, Posted June 23, 2010

A recent poll shows that 53 percent of Americans say they won’t purchase foods that have been genetically modified. But, as Armen Keteyian reports, many Americans are unaware that they already do.

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Inspiring Video!

In Detroit, demolition crews are planning to tear down 10,000 residential buildings over the next four years that the city has deemed dangerous. But as old structures are coming down, the city is redefining itself in other ways. An estimated 20 to 30 percent of the city’s lots are vacant, and there is a growing urban agriculture movement that community groups are using to reclaim the city. Malik Yakini, chairman of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, gives us a tour of D-Town Farm, one of the biggest urban farms in Detroit. [includes rush transcript]

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Posted on June 21, 2010 by Heather

Many of you may have read press today reporting that the 7-1 decision announced by the Supreme Court this morning went entirely in Monsanto’s favor, and have asked us to clarify this decision. Not to our surprise, Monsanto’s PR machine is working hard to overpower the truth in today’s decision in the first-ever Supreme Court case on genetically engineered crops (Monsanto Co. v.  Geertson Seed Farms). While the decision is complicated, this Court opinion is in many ways a victory for CFS and a defeat against Monsanto—especially  given that it is still illegal to sell or plant GMO alfalfa.

CFS’s Executive Director, Andrew Kimbrell authored an article in today’s Huffington Postto help clarify the legal ramifications of the decision. Grist also has a good piece outlining the decision, as does Eco Centric.

Despite what Monsanto is claiming—and what many mainstream media outlets reported earlier this morning—today’s ruling isn’t even close to the victory they were hoping for. Generally speaking, Monsanto asked the Supreme Court to rule on three main issues: (1) to lift the injunction on GMO alfalfa; (2) to allow the planting and sale of GMO alfalfa; (3) to rule that contamination from GMO crops not be considered irreparable harm. In fact, the court only ruled on the first request which it did affirm by stating that the injunction was overly broad and should be overturned; however, the Court ruled in CFS’s favor on the other two issues, which in many ways are more important as the fact remains that the planting and sale of GMO alfalfa remains illegal.

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Practice keeps soil rich in nutrients, saves farmers time and money.

It’s been 30 years since the Rodale Institute began working with cover crops, trying to keep soil rich in nutrients, promote a more sustainable method of farming and allow farmers to save money on fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides.

Thanks to a grant from a Michigan organization that promotes nutritious food, the Maxatawny Township nonprofit is showing even more farmers in Lehigh and Berks counties — as well as a handful in New JerseyMaryland and New York — how to incorporate cover crops into their farming systems.

It’s the expansion of an ongoing effort Rodale’s engaged in to promote more sustainable agriculture.

Rodale received $50,000 from the nonprofit W.K. Kellogg Foundation to help no-till famers incorporate cover crops — which can be planted on fields immediately after the fall harvest or in the spring, depending on what cash crop a farm produces. When the growing season arrives, the farmer doesn’t have to harvest: Seeds are planted directly on top of the cover crop.

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SILICON VALLEY’S apricot and cherry orchards disappeared decades ago, replaced by semiconductor plants and office parks populated by technologists. Now some of the Valley’s most prominent venture capitalists are looking to the region’s roots for what could be the next new thing in an old business: agriculture.

“Sustainable agriculture is a space that looks as big or bigger than clean tech,” said Paul Matteucci, a venture capitalist with U.S. Venture Partners in Menlo Park, Calif. “Historically, we have not seen a ton of entrepreneurial activity in agriculture, but we are beginning to see it now, and the opportunities are huge.”

A catch-all phrase for environmentally beneficial farming, sustainable agriculture has long been the province of organic enthusiasts.

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SKARA, Sweden — Johan Bergstrom, a blond and boyish man of 31, who farms here with his father, reached into the dark, soft soil and extricated a tennis-ball-size potato, holding it gently so as not to snap off any of a half-dozen white shoots that were growing out of the potato’s eyes. He advised against tasting the potato, whose dulcet name Amflora belies its harsh flavor, a result of genetic jiggling that has made it almost pure starch.

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Russian researchers have found that hamsters fed a diet of genetically engineered (GE) soy failed to reproduce after three generations. “‘This study was just routine,’ said Russian biologist Alexey V. Surov, in what could end up as the understatement of this century,” writes Jeffrey Smith in the Huffington Post. Smith heads the Institute for Responsible Technology, a U.S. nonprofit that advocates rejection of GM foods. “Surov and his colleagues set out to discover if Monsanto’s GE soy, grown on 91% of U.S. soybean fields, leads to problems in growth or reproduction. What he discovered may uproot a multi-billion dollar industry.”

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