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Posted By: FoodDemocracyNo... on Mar 09th, 2017

 

When John Chester, a filmmaker from California, quit his job to become a farmer, he didn’t do it out of a desire to “feed the world”. Instead, he says: “I’m trying to feed my neighbors – and if everyone did that, we would be able to replicate this.”

 

He is referring to Apricot Lane Farms, a 213-acre biodynamic and organic farm in Moorpark, California, that Chester runs with his wife, Molly. The couple nurtures 100 different types of vegetables, 75 varieties of stone fruit, and countless animal residents: Scottish highland cattle, pigs, chickens, sheep, ducks, hens, horses and livestock dogs. Last year, Apricot Lane Farms was recognized by the National Wildlife Federation and the North American Butterfly Association for supporting so much wildlife – not a recognition typically given to farms.

 

 

Posted By: FoodDemocracyNo... on Mar 09th, 2017

The idea that pesticides are essential to feed a fast-growing global population is a myth, according to UN food and pollution experts.

 

A new report, being presented to the UN human rights council on Wednesday, is severely critical of the global corporations that manufacture pesticides, accusing them of the “systematic denial of harms”, “aggressive, unethical marketing tactics” and heavy lobbying of governments which has “obstructed reforms and paralysed global pesticide restrictions”.

 

 
Posted By: FoodDemocracyNo... on Mar 09th, 2017

Burkina Faso's cotton sector has settled a dispute with U.S. seed maker Monsanto over what it said were revenue losses caused by the introduction of genetically modified cotton, the head of the country's main cotton company told Reuters.

 

The agreement, which includes the dividing up of royalties withheld by Monsanto's Burkina Faso partners, brings definitive closure to a collaboration that had promised to offer the company a foothold in Africa but ended in dispute.

 

 


Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Mar 03rd, 2017

(UR) Brazil — The list of countries refusing Monsanto’s genetically-modified crops continues to grow. Highlighting the world divide on the issue, Brazil recently refused all U.S.-grown GM crops. While we are continually force-fed genetically modified foods — since they are in approximately 80 percent of all packaged, conventional foods in grocery stores in America — other countries are refusing to import them, grow them, or sell them within their borders. As more nations pass laws that impose trade regulations on genetically modified goods, despite World Trade Organization back room deals, Monsanto and their cut-outs opt for ever-more devious strategies to insinuate their wares onto the world. Despite this, as a Bloomberg article points out“In recent years, some of the largest commodity trading companies have refused to take certain GMO crops from farmers because the seeds used hadn’t received a full array of global approvals, something that can lead to holdups at ports or even the rejection of entire cargoes.”

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Mar 03rd, 2017

They promote GMOs, defend toxic chemicals, and attack people who raise concerns about those products as 'anti-science'. But behind the slick 'astroturf' PR fronts lurk some very dubious funders: the same arch-conservative foundations that finance climate science denial. Stacy Malkan exposes the key players in the agribusiness and chemical industry propaganda wars. British writer George Monbiot has a warning for those of us trying to grasp the new political realities in the US and the UK. "We have no hope of understanding what is coming until we understand how the dark money network operates", he wrote in the Guardian. Corporate America may have been slow to warm up to Donald Trump, but once Trump secured the nomination, "the big money began to recognize an unprecedented opportunity", Monbiot wrote. "His incoherence was not a liability, but an opening: his agenda could be shaped. And the dark money network already developed by some American corporations was perfectly positioned to shape it." This network, or dark money ATM as Mother Jones described it, refers to the vast amount of hard-to-trace money flowing from arch-conservative billionaires, such as Charles and David Koch and allies, and corporations into front groups that promote extreme free-market ideas - for example, fights against public schools, unions, environmental protection, climate change policies and science that threatens corporate profits.


Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Mar 03rd, 2017

Nairobi — Kenya is withholding approval for field trials of genetically modified (GM) maize because some officials argue that a ban on GM imports applies to controlled growing tests as well, according to a person familiar with the deliberations. Talks involving representatives from the health and environment ministries and the Kenya’s National Biosafety Authority (NBA) reached a deadlock in meetings held to discuss applications last week, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private. The National Environmental Management Authority halted the applications to test seeds from Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) last year in October, after the two science research bodies had received the go-ahead from the NBA.

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Mar 02nd, 2017

Lactose intolerance is characterized by low or inexistent levels of lactase, and the main treatment consists of dietary changes, especially replacing dairy milk by soy milk. Soy contains phytoestrogens, substances with known estrogenic activity, besides, glyphosate-based herbicides are extensively used in soy crops, being frequently a residue in soy beans, bringing to a concern regarding the consumption of soy-based products, especially for children in breastfeeding period with lactose intolerance. This study evaluated the pubertal toxicity of a soy milk rich feeding (supplemented or not with glyphosate, doses of 50 and 100 mg/kg) during prepubertal period in male rats. Endocrine disruption was observed through decrease in testosterone levels, decrease in Sertoli cell number and increase in the percentage of degenerated Sertoli and Leydig cells in animals receiving soy milk supplemented with glyphosate (both doses) and in animals treated only with soy milk. Animals treated with soy milk with glyphosate (both doses) showed decrease spermatids number and increase of epididymal tail mass compared to control, and decrease in the diameter of seminiferous tubules compared to soy milk control group. Animals receiving soy milk supplemented with 100 mg/kg glyphosate showed decrease in round spermatids and increase in abnormal sperm morphology, compared to control.


Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Mar 02nd, 2017

What would be considered a bombshell in normal times seems unsurprising, considering the massive corruption in Washington D.C. these days and federal agencies tripping over each other in order to sell themselves to the highest corporate bidder. That “bombshell,” revealed this week, is that the former Deputy Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Jess Rowland, may have engaged in a cover up to hide evidence of the cancer-causing properties of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s controversial herbicide, Roundup. This allegation is from a February 10th filing by cancer victims who are suing Monsanto in a San Francisco federal court. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, who is presiding over the case, agrees that the evidence demonstrates a “highly suspicious” relationship between Rowland and Monsanto, and says, “When you consider the relevance of the EPA’s reports, and you consider their relevance to this litigation, it seems appropriate to take Jess Rowland’s deposition.”

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Mar 02nd, 2017

Representatives from over 100 countries, including virtually all areas of food production, manufacturing, retailing and soil science have, for the first time, come together on a unified definition for the quickly emerging “Regenerative” approach to growing food that has been shown to provide multiple benefits to food security, health, and climate change. According to Tim LaSalle, PhD, former head of the Rodale Institute and co-director of the Regenerative Agriculture Initiative at California State University Chico: “Regenerative agriculture keeps the natural cycles healthy—like water and carbon—so that land can keep growing food and keep carbon and the climate in balance.” Additionally, as the world has realized that most of the planet’s topsoil has been lost due to poor soil management, efforts are being made to rebuild soil health. “It’s impossible to feed the world without soil. The UN says we have sixty harvests left at the rate we’re going.” says Tom Newmark, The Carbon Underground co-founder. “Regenerative agriculture actually creates new topsoil, reversing the last century’s trend of destroying it.”


Posted By: FoodDemocracyNo... on Mar 02nd, 2017

 

John Steinbeck’s novel “Grapes of Wrath.” Woody Guthrie’s ballad “Deportee.” Edward R. Murrow’s documentary “Harvest of Shame.” Every decade or so, the public is shocked by yet another discovery that migrant farmworkers are being horribly abused by the wealthy masters of the corporate food system. And here we go again.

 

 

Last November, the New York Times reported that the workers who grow and harvest the cornucopia of fruit and veggies in the rich fields of California’s Salinas Valley live in a constant crisis of poverty, malnutrition and homelessness. Toiling in “America’s salad bowl,” they literally cannot afford to eat the fresh, nutritious edibles they produce.

Posted By: FoodDemocracyNo... on Mar 01st, 2017

With the growing demand for organic foods in the U.S., there has been a backlash from agribusiness groups, companies, and individuals who see organic as a threat to their interests. These critics accuse the organic industry of using deceptive marketing practices to get consumers to pay more money for organic food. Another line of attack has been that organic farmers use lots of pesticides, some of which are more toxic than those used by conventional farmers.

 

The reality is that some organic farmers do use pesticides but such products are primarily derived from natural substances, go through a strict regulatory approval process to ensure they are not harmful to the environment and human health, and are only allowed to be used when other pest control methods aren’t successful.

 

The fact is that the organic farming and food movement is based on producing healthier foods without the use of toxic pesticides.


Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Mar 01st, 2017

A new study of wild bees identifies 139 counties in key agricultural regions of California, the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, west Texas and the Mississippi River valley that face a worrisome mismatch between falling wild bee supply and rising crop pollination demand. The first-ever study to map U.S. wild bees suggests they are disappearing in the country's most important farmlands -- from California's Central Valley to the Midwest's corn belt and the Mississippi River valley. If wild bee declines continue, it could hurt U.S. crop production and farmers' costs, said Taylor Ricketts, a conservation ecologist at the University of Vermont, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting panel, Plan Bee: Pollinators, Food Production and U.S. Policy on Feb. 19. "This study provides the first national picture of wild bees and their impacts on pollination," said Ricketts, Director of UVM's Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, noting that each year $3 billion of the U.S. economy depends on pollination from native pollinators like wild bees.

 

Posted By: Food Democracy Now on Mar 01st, 2017

Six out of 20 panel members failed to disclose financial conflicts of interest. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) publishes numerous reports each year that are received with high esteem by the scientific community and public policy makers. The NASEM has internal standards for selecting committee members that author its reports, mostly from academia, and vetting conflicts of interest. This study examines whether there were any financial conflicts of interest (COIs) among the twenty invited committee members who wrote the 2016 report on genetically engineered (GE) crops. Our results showed that six panel members had one or more reportable financial COIs, none of which were disclosed in the report. We also report on institutional COIs held by the NASEM related to the report. The difference between our findings and the NASEM reporting standards are discussed.


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