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Make Your Choice About Food?
January 29, 2011
,
Should you find out about your food?

This is an unusual edition. I want to focus attention on issues affecting earth friendly people and gardeners like you.
The details and reference links I include here will help you discover the facts, then decide, then act...
I'm not being one sided...

Questions To Ask:

  • - Food Security, Are We Vulnerable To Progress?
  • - Wood For Sale?
  • - Structurally Vulnerable (don't make the same mistake)
  • - Numbered Links & References To Keep You Informed.
  • - Down To Earth more from the-organic-gardener.com here.

1 - Food Security, Are We Vulnerable?

...but the next headline really spells out G.M.

ADD A DROP OF YOUR OWN
SPECIAL FLAVOUR TO YOUR RIVER,

THEN SUE THE WORLD BECAUSE

YOU OWN THE WHOLE OCEAN.

Then get a court to agree with you!
Make us all pay for it!

That's the satirical madness of G.M. seed (genetically modified seed).

American's can't tell if they are eating GM stuff because products don't have to be labelled there. But where are we all really going with G.M.?
I wanted to find out...

In a recent article in [1]Garden News January 11th 2011, champion grower Medwyn Williams described it as "privatising fertility". That's because farmers in America are being sued.

Medwyn expresses disbelief at the prospect that gardeners who save seed or breed new varieties, could be sued. Yet there have been 100's of [2]lawsuites and numerous bankruptcies on American farms due to this very issue.

And now scientists are reporting[3] that GM and non GM seed have been mixed up by human error.

The G.M. Revolution Is Coming
Remember, the idea is to insert a gene into a living organism that does something useful. G.M. herbicide resistance allows farmers to use weedkiller on the crop to clean the field.

The gene they insert into Roundup Resistant crops makes an enzyme that does the same job as a natural enzyme - the one that's poisoned by weedkiller. So GM plants live, none G.M. plants die.

This is supposed to mean reduced herbicide use but [4]contraversially it seems that herbicide use has increased! Surprise?

And because of that one way or another we now have herbicide resistant weeds[5]. That's due to natural selection fighting back under really excessive herbicide use.

Also left over GM seeds that come up among the next crop in subsequent years are resistant to herbicides[5]. I think that means 2 more problems? But don't be complacent, there's more...

Kill Insects Without Spraying
In another application of G.M. to cotton plants an insecticide is made by the new gene. Neighbouring none G.M. crops also seem to benefit.

But the poisons affect non-pest insects too. There are scientists[6] concerned that bees and butterflies could be killed as a result. And that's truly devastating.

Although G.M. advertising has clearly been a success, it says nothing about the technology in practice. Many claim it is unnecessary[7].

Is G.M. a pollutant? Yes.
Why isn't there a law for that?

G.M. companies may be clever, but they depend on nature's own genetic machinery. They don't own the whole ocean. They have to accept, that like water, genes move around. Otherwise their technology would not work.

Indeed organic farmers and gardeners should be able to sue GM seed producers[2] if their plants become infected by GM pollen. For many these genes are unwanted pollution. Why has the legal system got this all wrong?

Will open pollinated plants in farms across the world be contaminated by pollen from G.M. crops?
Medwyn's article[1] "Will Seed Savers Suffer as GM Crops Start To Arrive?" draws attention to possible genetic contamination of neighbhouring plants. That's simply natural pollen transfer.

Some gardeners are already struggling to save heritage seed varieties, after commercialisation of F1 varieties. Will they now spoil existing genes by stealth? Can we protect our plants?

I haven't found the answer but we sure need assurances and proof that this definitely won't happen. I think Medwyn will write a follow up after a talk at the R.H.S.

Who controls our vital interests?
G.M. doesn't support sustainable agricultural methods, in fact it leads to greater dependency. And that's where European policy is confused.

You see the European Union is set to allow individual member states to decide how they regulate the use of G.M.[8] Amazingly this is an exception to everything else European. For different political reasons you may agree with subsidiarity but don't be complacent.

This leaves a wide open door for the introduction of G.M. fairly soon. I suspect the UK government will probably support it. Caroline Spelman[9] U.K. Minister for The Environment, Food And Rural Affairs is pro G.M.

And in Europe companies are lining up to sell us lots more GM technology. Indeed you might be attracted by their promises. But don't be complacent.

For me the main issues are about ownership, additional vulnerability of our food supply, and mismanagement of genetic diversity.

What about you? We need to send out our views...
email friends[13], foward this newsletter
write to legislators[9]...
Get more information with the references and links below

More news below on sell-offs & factory farms needs your attention... !!
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2 - WOOD FOR SALE

The U.K. Government is planning a massive sell-off of Forests[10] including: The New Forest, Sherwood Forest and The Forest of Dean - prime woodland.

Clearly governments are weak right now and vulnerable to coersion by political scheming and private interests. You may agree with them and believe the promises they give here[10].

But as these forests have huge environmental value I would simply ask that you keep a close eye on the issue.

Are they washing their hands of the responsibility?
Is giving them to charities realistic?
Will a piece-meal approach seriously limit good management?
Can the promised lease hold agreements be changed later?

Private companies always promise a lot. But once they get control we may become powerless to prevent them doing just about anything: more golf links, charges, restricted access...

Actually the forestry commission have done a reasonable job of opening access and landscape management. Do you agree with the government proposals?

Please follow this issue closely and make your views known[9][13] to at least ensure the government[9] keep more than their promises.
If you feel strongly about this there's a petition here[11].
See references and links below

And here's the outlook...
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3 STRUCTURALLY VULNERABLE

I never object to farmers OR retailers making a good living - of course not.
But hey, how are they going to be doing that?

We've had battery managed chickens, now get used to factory farm cows and pigs. For me the slurry pit pollution issue is a distraction from a greater problem - food security.

Some people think green is old fashioned, technical is always better. That means huge factory farms with cows kept on life suppport machines? Some think these changes are inevitable and there's nothing they can do about it. I think we deserve what we get! ...so I want to do something about it.

Our Food Supply Is Vulnerable
These are no ordinary chemical factories where you turn a dial to control the flow. Cows are living and complex animals. They can't simply be turned off.

We've already seen how B.S.E. (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy) related to Human CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) became a massive problem because this same industry insisted on feeding animal protein back to animals. The cost of preventing that disease spreading was enormous.

And an 'unexploded bomb' remains with the use of antibiotics on animals - a standard farm industry practice used in some countries to increase productivity - regardless of risks to human health through antibiotic resistance[6].

Food Security A Massive Vulnerability
But as consumers we should be concerned about the security of our supplies too. What happens when you concentrate all your milk into one or two massive factories?

The green field farmers are gone and the source of supply is limited. Then we really don't have a choice.

The price of milk might be cheaper now but in future we could be held to account for any costs the factory farms want to pass onto us - not to mention shortages if they fail.

Why can't we have fair competition with diverse and sustainable sources that build in choice and long term security of supply?

Building New Structural Dependency Is Madness
The change to factory farms brings with it a structural change that in future we won't be able to reverse.

Just as modern life has become dependent on oil for so much, we could become dependent on a few massive factory farms for essential food.

Do you want these changes to happen? Unfortunately the free market won't go where you want it to 'on autopilot'.

And yes, you could argue that Europe has been messing this up for decades. But I think they are willing to move if you push them.

It's an issue involving the big retailers and suppliers as well as government for the common good. So we need to campaign for change.

Of course businesses campaign for change to increase profits. And recent experience with banks shows how the short-sighted... ... commercial agenda really works. So we must stay alert and likewise campaign for our vital needs.

There's just one earth, we're in it together, we can't sell out. But the decisions taken on our behalf will affect you and you may agree that they will be of serious concern for your children...

Please take an interest
- check out the references find out more
- forward this ezine to your friends
- forward it to legislators[9][15]
- send me your comments[14]
- write to your Euro MP[9a], Secretary of State[9], Local MP.
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Would you like to sign up for this Ezine - Newsletter from The Home Of The Organic Gardener ? -
Future editions will contain:
* Gardening tips with the latest gardening offers, and news.

Plus occasional news and features:
* On Green Energy,
* Gardening technology,
* A computer security update (is planned for inclusion pre-christmas),

Sign up to recieve News From The Organic Gardener here.

Find organic products in the Down To Earth Section below.
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4 - REFERENCES - get the links and details here.

Will your home and garden ever be the same?
Find out more on issues that affect you and the environment.

the-organic-gardener.com offers these links for your interest and convenience but is not responsible for their content.

1 - Garden News - for U.K. gardeners** is packed with expert information, feebies and offers.

(see next section 'Down To Earth' for free p&p seed/plant offer)

1a - Magazine For American Organic Gardeners from Rodale to keep you up-to-date on the issues and gardening.

2 - Network Of Concerned Farmers - America

3 - Production-chain management is key issue in GM crop escapes by David Tribe

4 - Real Food Festival

5 - Genetically Engineered Crops And Pesticide Use In The United States reports by Dr. Charles Benbrook.

6 - Open Letter from World Scientists to All Governments Concerning Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) - Institute of Science in Society

7 - GM Watch also check the GMMyths Link.

8 - Current EU rules on GM

9 - caroline@carolinespelman.com - U.K. minister for Dept of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

9a Find Your Euro M.P. here.

10 - Forestry in England: A new strategic approach - Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs - U.K.

11 - Petition against U.K. Forest Sell Off is here.

12 - A more controversial view about forests is here.

13 - Forward this ezine to your friends.

14 - Contact The Organic Gardener Here. You'll soon be able to post your gardening information onto the-organic-gardener.com.

And

15 - Join the campaign in America or get the Low-Down from activists here

Get the Low-Down from the farmer here

And if it's really safe for independent organic gardeners where is the proof?

You can can contact the-organic-gardener.com to send me links and information.
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5 - DOWN TO EARTH

Just released U.K.: Free Postage & Packing for your seed and plants this weekend only!

Updates to The-Organic-Gardener.Com continue.

Recent page updates include: Growing Potatoes - new, maincrop, freshly picked and some in storage.

You get huge variety with organic home grown potatoes from organically produced seed potato tubers here.

Did you know that a potato crop is good at cleaning up the weeds and improving the soil? Find out more here...

Organic Weed Control (a few more pages to add/update)

Bring on the new gardening year

the season is about to begin.

From: Michael at The Home of The Organic Gardener.


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