Tag Archive for: GMO Labeling

What’s Up with Our Seeds? Heirloom Seeds vs GMO Seeds

Stephen did a presentation for the GMO Free Prescott group at One Root, a local apothecary and herbothecary on the state of our seeds and what the benefits are for the home gardener. After introductions and going over some foundational definitions, the main topic was GMO seeds, what they are, where they came from and what the concern is. Once the facts, figures and issues had been introduced and briefly discussed the focus shifted to education for the home gardener and what a single person could do in their own garden and why heirloom seeds play such a critical role for them.

As a point of clarification, Wendell Berry’s excellent passage from “The Idea of a Local Economy” was read –

“What has happened is that most people in our country, and apparently most people in the “developed” world, have given proxies to the corporations to produce and provide all of their food, clothing and shelter. Moreover, they are rapidly giving proxies to corporations or governments to provide entertainment, education, child care, care of the sick and elderly, and many other kinds of “service” that once were carried on informally and inexpensively by individuals or households or communities. Our major economic practice, in short, is to delegate the practice to others.”

The point was made that we as individuals must make our own decisions for our own lives, starting with the decision to determine the quality and source of our food that we want. From there, the opportunities that are open to the individual were explored, as well as the responsibility to learn more about our food that we eat and to take action based on this new-found knowledge.

Watch the presentation to see why we believe that every person growing a garden makes the world better, one garden at a time!

GMO and Glyphosate Presentation

Stephen Scott: GMOs and Round Up – Genetic Hazards to Our Children? from The Healing Grapevine Network on Vimeo.

Here is a video presentation that I did for our local Non-GMO group that shows the dangers of not only GMO seeds but how they work with Roundup (glyphosate).

I wanted to explore the implications and relationships of Genetically Modified seeds and Roundup (glyphosate) to the health of people, animals, soil and waterways.

Show how GMOs are developed to be glyphosate tolerant, able to absorb the poison without dying. They then pass this glyphosate up the food chain, creating a multitude of chronic and acute health concerns in domestic animals as well as people.

Then, taking a larger view and examining the lifecycle of glyphosate in the soil, show how it chelates minerals and nutrients needed for life, and its effects on the lifecycles in waterways it contaminates. Explore ways to tie up glyphosate in the soil through mineralization and soil building techniques.

This is a serious concern for many, and here is some knowledge to give you an edge in dealing with it!

“You have to live a life without fear; and to be fearless, you have to have a very clear conscience that guides you on a daily basis. If you are fully aware of doing the right thing everyday, there is no power on earth that can make you afraid.” ~ Vandana Shiva, Mt. Allison University, New Brunswick Feb. 26, 2012

“We live today where creating fear is the political governing style today. Cultivating fearlessness I think is one of the most important trainings of democracy and citizen freedom.”

We share this short video of Vandana Shiva telling her story of the struggle to preserve heirloom seeds in her native India from the wonderful folks at The Perennial Plate.

GMO Labeling?

GMO Labeling – Good Idea?

The upcoming GMO labeling vote, known as California Proposition 37 or popularly called the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act is shaping up to be a huge fight for both sides. Those that support labeling of foods that contain GMO ingredients –about 70 – 80% of all processed foods– believe that there are many unanswered questions about the impacts of GMO foods on our health, both now and in the future. Advocates of the safety of GMOs say the passage of the proposition will be too costly and complex to enforce, while not doing enough to protect public health. They also assert that there is no scientifically proven dangers of the GMO ingredients.

The battle lines are very clearly drawn with scientific studies, experts of all kinds, parents and lots of emotional appeal being deployed by both sides of the argument. So far other GMO labeling efforts have failed in 20 states, most recently Oregon, New York and Vermont. Much media attention was paid to the Vermont case, as public opinion and votes were seemingly disregarded after threats of lawsuits from Monsanto against elected officials turned the tide. California is very important to this issue due to the historical trend of what has been adopted as agricultural practices has spread to other states. As California goes, so goes the nation. Labeling advocates point to recent studies showing consumers support Prop 37 by an almost 3 – 1 margin, with 64.9% in favor and 23.9% opposed. This follows several years of national public opinion polls showing the same or greater trending.

This isn’t just about a label appearing on the box of cereal you might choose for breakfast. This is about huge amounts of money and profits at stake for large food corporations. Research has shown overwhelmingly that consumers will be reluctant to buy packaged foods that have a “Made with GMO” label on them. This will create a sea change in the packaged foods industry, with earthshaking consequences. New food ingredient suppliers will be needed, supply will most likely not be able to keep up with demand for some time, certifying the non-GMO ingredients will cost money, and the new ingredients will most likely be more expensive. These increased costs will be partially passed on to the consumer, resulting in the average American’s food bill to increase appreciably. It might become more cost effective to finally eat a more healthy diet!

Expect this issue to hold center stage more often as the November election draws closer.

Battle over genetically engineered food heading to voters

“You do not measure the fruit of your action. You have to measure your obligation of action. You have to find out what’s the right thing to do. That is your duty. Whether you win or lose is not the issue. The obligation (is) to do the right thing…”

An intimate and very telling interview with Dr. Vandana Shiva, a scientist, philosopher and champion of food and seed sovereignty. She recounts the history of genetically modified seeds, lies told to the Indian farmers, why there have been over 250,000 documented farmer suicides, the truth about actual GMO production versus what was promised, and why there is such a battle between the Indian government and corporations seeking a greater foothold, mainly by economic force. Dr. Shiva goes into some detail on how wrong it is to institute “intellectual property” rights on seeds, but how it makes absolute perfect corporate sense economically in moving into a monopolization on seed and food on a global scale.

Well worth the next 25 minutes of your time to watch – rewind, read the transcript and take notes!

Vandana Shiva on the Problem with Genetically-Modified Seeds

GMO Labeling Fight

This is an interesting report from the Nielsen company- the same company doing the familiar Nielsen Ratings.

The consumer interest in Non-GMO labeled foods is skyrocketing. In 2009, this micro market segment was worth $60.2 Million and grew at 67% over 2008, making it the #1 healthy eating trend in store brands for 2009. Store brands are like Topco Full Circle and Safeway “O” Organics. Store brands like these now make up almost 40% of products with no preservative claims, 25% of all organic product sales, and nearly one-fifth of all products with “natural” claims in food/drug/mass merchandise retailers. Whole Foods Market, one of the largest U.S. natural foods retailers, have started the process to certify that all of their store brands are GMO free.

What is even more interesting is the early adoption of the Non-GMO labeling by store brands, which are taking the lead in offering healthy products instead of trailing the major brands as they used to do. Consumer sentiment against genetically modified foods (GM or GMO) is growing- despite all of the marketing and press support by genetic engineering companies like Monsanto- and market brands are reflecting that. With GMOs being linked to organ damage, crop failures, increased water usage, soil contamination and worse, consumers are becoming aware of the dangers of these products. Another major winner is the “No high fructose corns syrup” label worth $13 Million and growing at 28% over 2008. That gives it a #10 rank.

These dollar amounts are big numbers to most of us consumers, but are small potatoes to the large national brands, such as Lays and Kraft. What makes them take notice is the growth percentage. They will be watching the growth in several of these segments to see if there is consistent, sustained growth that makes it financially feasible or even necessary for them to switch suppliers from conventional to non-GMO. If there is enough movement in the market towards GMO free products, they will switch, as they will not stand by and watch a large market share evaporate.

This happened in the recent past with RBGH or RBST, the bovine growth hormone developed, not suprisingly, by Monsanto to increase the milk output from cows. It created many other problems, such as increased infections in the milk and disease in the cows. The FDA stated RBGH did not alter the milk, and sued several dairies that labeled their milk RBGH free. Enough consumers found out the truth and started requesting RBGH free milk. Not long afterwards, the major players saw the movement in the market and made the switch to RBGH free suppliers. Surprisingly, this didn’t take a majority of consumers, only 5-7% of Americans, as they represent several hundred millions of dollars to the major national brands. This is money they will not lose when they can make a switch in suppliers and keep their customers happy.

Monsanto is worried, of course. When, not if, the major national brands make the switch, Monsanto will find itself with many highly expensive bio-engineered products that no one wants. They are already in trouble in Europe, as they have lost several recent lawsuits they filed to force their way into European markets and agriculture. The nations of the European Union and more importantly- it’s people- have rejected genetic engineering of food almost out of hand.

What this means for you and I is great news. Safe, wholesome and sustainable food is at the core of our needs, next to clean air and water. With people starting to actively request GMO free labeling on their foods, safer foods are closer and easier to get for everyone.