Category Archives: Food Sovereignty

Busted! Research on food waste shows no need for GM crops

foodwaste-(1)An increasing population needs an increasing food supply, right? At least, that’s the excuse politicians and corporations have been force-feeding the public, justifying their pursuit of genetically modified foods. They tell us that organic processes and farming techniques in tune with nature just aren’t up to the task of feeding the nearly 7 billion people on the planet.

That myth is now busted, and the proof is in the nearly 222 million tons of food wasted by industrialized nations every year. “If we eliminated this unnecessary food waste, we could potentially provide 60-100 percent more food to feed the world’s growing population,” writes Andrew Gunter in his Huffington Post article, “Big Ag Profits From Food Waste.”

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Filed under Food Sovereignty, Industrial agriculture, Solutions, Waste

GM agriculture does not deliver higher yields than organic processes

bananas-925216“Failure to Yield,” a study produced by the U.S. Union of Concerned Scientists, shows that the bio-fortification of bananas in Uganda and genetic engineering of bovines in the “1000 bull genome project” does not actually combat hunger, malnutrition or result in higher yields. A recent article in the Inter Press Services by Julio Godoy explains how these two projects fall short when compared to traditional, organic methods.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture

From Mexico to Brazil, climate change threatens coffee growers in Latin America

By Diego Cupolo, June 3, 2014. Source: Upside Down World

Photo by Diego Cupolo

Photo by Diego Cupolo

Coffee, like gold, sugar and oil, has long been one of Latin America’s major exports, sustaining everyone from independent farmers in mountain regions to corporate bankers in capital cities, all while keeping weary minds alert throughout the world.

Yet over the last decade, changing climate patterns have intensified droughts and plagues in the region, creating conditions less suitable for coffee production and wreaking havoc on the industry that came to define, even shape, many hillsides in rural Central and South America. Today, as coffee growers struggle to recover from a string of weather-related events, some industry analysts have already foreseen a major shift in coffee production towards Asia and away from Latin America. Continue reading

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Filed under Food Sovereignty

U.S. investors, government policies leading global land-grabs

By Carey Biron, May 28, 2014. Source: MintPress News

In this June 5, 2013 photo, farmers prepare the soil for planting rice in a field which was confiscated in 1992 by the Myanmar security forces in Dala, southeast of Yangon Myanmar. About three hundred farmers led by social-justice activists entered the 500-acres (2-square kilometer) land on June 5, 2013, and started preparing the soil for paddy cultivation defying the government’s ban as navy officers watched armed with guns. Despite new freedoms in Myanmar, new laws are still used to punish protesters and small-scale farmers for protesting land grabs. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

In this June 5, 2013 photo, farmers prepare the soil for planting rice in a field which was confiscated in 1992 by the Myanmar security forces in Dala, southeast of Yangon Myanmar. About three hundred farmers led by social-justice activists entered the 500-acres (2-square kilometer) land on June 5, 2013, and started preparing the soil for paddy cultivation defying the government’s ban as navy officers watched armed with guns. Despite new freedoms in Myanmar, new laws are still used to punish protesters and small-scale farmers for protesting land grabs. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. public and private sectors are among the leading drivers of a global drive to snap up usable – and often in-use – agricultural land, in what critics say remains a steadily increasing epidemic of “land-grabbing.”

Africa and Southeast Asia are together seeing some three-quarters of problematic large-scale land acquisitions, according to new research from the global development group ActionAid. Africa remains a particular focus of this investment drive, constituting six of the top 10 countries experiencing significant land-grabbing. The continent has seen at least 40 million hectares switch hands in recent years as part of large-scale sales or leases.

However, land speculation is currently affecting almost all continents. The report warns of particularly negative effects for the estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide that rely on small-scale agriculture to meet their families’ needs. And this impact is felt far more broadly, as those smallholders, a majority of whom are women, provide the food that feeds some four-fifths of the developing world, according to the United Nations. Continue reading

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Filed under Biodiversity, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Land Grabs

Latin America: Protests target Monsanto, Chevron

May 26, 2014. Source: WW4 Report

Photo: Alalam

Photo: Alalam

Latin American activists joined thousands of environmentalists and farmers around the world in an international protest May 24 against genetically modified (GM) crops and Monsanto, the Missouri-based multinational that dominates the transgenic seed industry. This was the thirdMarch Against Monsanto since May 25 last year, and organizers expected the day of action to include protests in some 351 cities in 52 countries.

In Chile, where a farmer won more than $65,000 in December 2013 by challenging the contracting methods of Monsanto’s local affiliate, organizations including Chile Without Transgenics and I Don’t Want Transgenics (YNQT) sponsored protests in eight cities.

Mexicans held a total of 13 different protests. In the southeastern state of Chiapas, Without Corn There Is No Country and other groups organized an informational event in front of the cathedral in San Cristóbal de las Casas to raise awareness about the consequences of GM crops, while about 60 protesters marched in Santiago de Querétaro, the capital of the central state of Querétaro. Rubén Albarrán, of the band Café Tacvba, joined the painter and environmentalist Francisco Toledo to protest in the southern state of Oaxaca, and hundreds marched in Mexico City chanting: “We want beans; we want corn; we want Monsanto out of the country!” GM planting is limited in Mexico, but researchers say that even the current level of sowing has contaminated some of the many varieties of native corn; the plant was first cultivated in Mexico. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Latin America-Caribbean

Oregon non-GMO farmers v Monsanto/Syngenta winning at the polls

Note: The measure banning GMO crops from Rogue Valley has passed, winning broad support at the ballot box.

-The GJEP Team

By Jane Ayers, May 20, 2014. Source: Reader Supported News

Matt Suhr and Aluna Michelle, owners of HappyDirt Veggie Patch in Medford, Oregon, are dedicated to producing naturally grown, chemical-free food – a few miles from a farm owned by Swiss biotech company Syngenta that grows GMO seed. Photo: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone/Envision

Matt Suhr and Aluna Michelle, owners of HappyDirt Veggie Patch in Medford, Oregon, are dedicated to producing naturally grown, chemical-free food – a few miles from a farm owned by Swiss biotech company Syngenta that grows GMO seed. Photo: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone/Envision

Will there be peace in the valley? According to local Rogue Valley farmers in Southern Oregon, only if Monsanto and Syngenta farmers stop planting GMO crops that threaten their livelihoods. A Jackson County ballot measure, #15-119, is set for a vote on Tuesday, May 20th, in Southern Oregon. The measure would protect some of the nation’s purest non-GMO seed supply from ruin. Southern Oregon is considered in the top five of seed producing regions in the world, so much is riding on this county vote. The ballot measure bans “any person from propagating, cultivating, raising or growing genetically engineered [defined] plants in Jackson County” and would require any GMO plants to be harvested, destroyed, or removed within 12 months. Our Family Farms Coalition and GMO Free Jackson County have pushed for the rallying of Non-GMO: YES on Measure 15-119. However, Monsanto and Syngenta recently spent over $800,000 trying to defeat the Rogue Valley’s local farmers’ initiative.

In this ideal farming valley, the local support is extremely noticeable (except for the editorial board of the local newspaper, Mail Tribune, which was recently bought by a new company). A few days ago, even Jackson County itself claimed its support for the farmers’ non-GMO measure. Hundreds of local businesses, restaurants, and farmers are on-board to claim this valley as non-GMO. Even the area’s preachers, rabbis, and native elders have had events focusing on the morality of introducing genetically engineered organisms, thus messing with Creator’s “sacred seed.” Also of concern is the issue of protecting the area’s water from pesticides that are used with genetically engineered crops.

The Rogue Valley is also home of Harry and David’s, and also Amy’s Organics processing factory, which ranks high in worldwide sales of organic soups and frozen dinners. Amy’s Organics and even Whole Foods have expressed to local farmers the desire to purchase more organic vegetables from this valley, to ensure freshness, and to lower their trucking costs by buying more local produce. In addition, hundreds of local restaurants and food businesses have recently joined together in the Food Integrity Project, which is labeling their businesses as non-GMO dining, with different percentages of their menus using foods that are non-GMO.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Industrial agriculture

When our land is free, we’re all free

By Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor and Jacinta Fay, May 7, 2014. Source: Sustainable Development Institute/Friends of the Earth

On 6-8 May 2014 agribusiness corporations are courting African governments at the Grow Africa Investment Forum in Abuja, Nigeria to ‘further accelerate sustainable agricultural growth in Africa’.
Corporations’ interest in agriculture in Africa has certainly accelerated corporate control of land and seeds but done little to support agriculture that will feed the continent. Rather than support family farming and smallholder agriculture private sector investment in agriculture has resulted in grabbing land from communities; the land which they farm sustainably and rely on for their survival.

Communities are resisting this corporate takeover of their land and they are winning. All over Africa people are sending a clear message to their governments; stop selling Africa to corporations. The Jogbahn Clan in Liberia is one such community and here is their story.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Green Economy, Land Grabs, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

CO2 producing hollow food

By Stephen Leahy, May 7, 2014. Source: Inter Press Service

Women plant rice in Nepal. More than 2.4 billion people get key nutrients from rice, wheat, maize, soybeans, field peas and sorghum. Photo: Mallika Aryal/IPS

Women plant rice in Nepal. More than 2.4 billion people get key nutrients from rice, wheat, maize, soybeans, field peas and sorghum. Photo: Mallika Aryal/IPS

Rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels will make many key food crops like rice and corn less nutritious, a new study shows.

Important food crops will contain lower levels of zinc and iron by mid-century without major cuts in CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels, an analysis of field experiments conducted on three continents has found.

“Two billion people already suffer from low levels of zinc and iron. It’s an enormous global health burden today,” said Samuel Myers of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, co-author of the Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition study published in the journal Nature Wednesday.

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Filed under Climate Change, Food Sovereignty