Thursday, September 22, 2011

Two Things

   First, this is an excellent article from the October 3rd edition of The Nation. The article is called The Food Movement: It's Power and Possibilities and was written by Frances Moore Lappe', author of the 1971  book, Diet For A Small Planet.

   A couple highlights from the article, which covers issues concerning farm workers, land, seed, culture, and economics:

"Fueling the consolidation were three Supreme Court rulings since 1980—including one in 2002, with an opinion written by former Monsanto attorney Clarence Thomas—making it possible to patent life forms, including seeds. And in 1992 the Food and Drug Administration released its policy on genetically modified organisms, claiming that 'the agency is not aware of any information showing that [GMO] foods…differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way.'

"The government’s green light fueled the rapid spread of GMOs and monopolies—so now most US corn and soybeans are GMO, with genes patented largely by one company: Monsanto. The FDA position helped make GMOs’ spread so invisible that most Americans still don’t believe they’ve ever eaten them—even though the grocery industry says they could be in 75 percent of processed food.

"Even fewer Americans are aware that in 1999 attorney Steven Druker reported that in 40,000 pages of FDA files secured via a lawsuit, he found 'memorandum after memorandum contain[ing] warnings about the unique hazards of genetically engineered food,' including the possibility that they could contain 'unexpected toxins, carcinogens or allergens.'

"Yet at the same time, public education campaigns have succeeded in confining almost 80 percent of GMO planting to just three countries: the United States, Brazil and Argentina. In more than two dozen countries and in the European Union they’ve helped pass mandatory GMO labeling. Even China requires it."


"In all these ways and more, the global food movement challenges a failing frame: one that defines successful agriculture and the solution to hunger as better technologies increasing yields of specific crops. This is typically called 'industrial agriculture,' but a better description might be 'productivist,' because it fixates on production, or 'reductivist,' because it narrows our focus to a single element.

"Its near obsession with the yield of a monoculture is anti-ecological. It not only pollutes, diminishes and disrupts nature; it misses ecology’s first lesson: relationships. Productivism isolates agriculture from its relational context—from its culture.

"In 2008 a singular report helped crack the productivist frame. This report, 'The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development' (known simply as IAASTD), explained that solutions to poverty, hunger and the climate crisis require agriculture that promotes producers’ livelihoods, knowledge, resiliency, health and equitable gender relations, while enriching the natural environment and helping to balance the carbon cycle. Painstakingly developed over four years by 400 experts, the report has gained the support of more than fifty-nine governments, and even productivist strongholds like the World Bank."

   I recommend reading the article. It contains a lot of good information and some hope.

   Also, I came across this documentary, Back to Eden. There's a lot of Christian religion in it which is a topic for a different forum, but the premise of food production in harmony with nature is one I really get behind. The film is an hour forty six minutes and you can watch it right at the link above.

   There are exciting things to talk about regarding the garden, resolutions, and such. Right now I'm busy with harvest-canning-hunting season. Hopefully I will find time to post something soon!


1 comment:

  1. Food has played a significant role throughout history and prehistory. Just the developments of animal husbandry and crop raising set into motion everything we now take for granted. It will play a significant role in the shape of our future as well.
    The Fertile Crescent is an example of overuse dooming a region, and it is one of the numerous important lessons that our history as a species has for us.