Opinion/Editorial Archive

Don’t Repeat Mistakes That Led to Superweeds

Friday, July 18th, 2014

The Des Moines Register
by Neil D. Hamilton

Palmer Amaranth
Credit: USDA

The Des Moines Register deserves a hearty thank you for Donnelle Eller’s eye-opening Sunday article on glysophate-resistant Superweeds. It details a real threat to Iowa agriculture and raises important questions about responsibility and the way forward.

Some may believe it too soon or even unhelpful to consider how this happened and who bears responsibility for getting us into this mess. But if we fail to consider these questions, don’t we risk the likelihood our “solutions” will simply repeat our mistakes?

For over 20 years the farm chemical industry, led by Monsanto, has proclaimed the unquestioned benefits of genetically modifying seeds, and farmers gladly got on the GMO bandwagon as we raced to a golden era of high-tech agriculture. Claims of enhanced yields and one-pass weed control were hard to resist — especially as the seed industry bred resistance to Roundup, or glyphosate, into every crop and variety possible.

Truthfully, though, herbicide resistance is not inherently yield enhancing — not like the hybridizing work of Henry Wallace or any seed breeder who helps plants put more beans in the pod. What we created is simply a weed control system the main effects of which are to sell more Roundup and expensive modified seeds and allow farmers to cover more acres. Read Full Article »

The Future of Farming Is A Gift From Our Past: Celebrating 90 Years of Biodynamic® Agriculture

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Demeter Association, Inc.
by Erin Sojourner Agostinelli

Demeter Certified BiodynamicNinety years ago this year, Rudolf Steiner addressed a group of farmers at a European farmhouse located in today’s Poland.  A well-known scientist and social advocate, Steiner is now best known as the founder of Waldorf education.  The farmers asked Steiner for help because they were very concerned about what they were witnessing on their farms.  Their farms’ soil was depleted, their seeds weren’t germinating, and their animals were suffering: the overall life and vitality of their farms was markedly declining.

It’s helpful to place this in the context of the times.  Prior to the advent of industrialization, our communities were agrarian and people lived on their farms.  They grew food for themselves and their farm animals.  Lots of different crops grew and the farm itself existed in a larger ecological context of forests, plains, and watersheds.  People lived in tune with the seasons and the celestial rhythms.  But by the turn of the last century, people moved from their farms to the cities.  Factories were built focused on increased production based on the increased utilization of our natural resources.  Read Full Article »

California Stung by Lawsuit to Protect Bees

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Pesticide Action Network North America
by Paul Towers

Blue Orchard Bee
Credit: USDA

They’re in our garden plants, sprayed on orchards throughout the state, and used as seed coatings on commodity crops in California and across the country. After five years of review, California officials have not only failed to complete an evaluation of neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics), they continue to bring more and more of these bee-harming chemicals to market.

Fed up with the years of hand-sitting, PAN and our partners brought the state and pesticide manufacturers to court today.

Read Full Article »

Why Monsanto Will Never Rule the Food World

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

The Three-Prong Movement That’s Stopping the Beast in Its Tracks

by John W. Roulac

[Originally published in Green Money Journal]

John Roulac, Nutiva

The issue of how we grow and process our food, while it’s always been important, is now a hot topic both at the kitchen table and on Wall Street. From the recent scandal about a chemical used in yoga mats being found in Subway bread to the rising awareness of GMOs and demands to label their presence in foods, the public is fast awakening to the need for safe, whole, natural nourishment.

In early May 2014, the stock price of Whole Foods Market (WFM) dropped about 20 percent in 24 hours, based largely on fears that Walmart and other grocery giants will overtake WFM’s share of organic food sales. The number of equity funds looking to invest in the next Annie’s or Clif Bar is astounding. Astute investors now understand that food impacts not just waistlines but bottom lines.

The elephant in the room is that agriculture, not transportation, is globally the greatest contributor to greenhouse gases—an issue that gets glossed over by Al Gore and 350.org alike. The media, whether in the recent New York Times food reportage or in the May 2014 National Geographic cover story on “The New Food Revolution,” all fail to mention the three most pressing food issues: the climate change connection; the vast subsidies to corn, soy, and wheat; and the massive increase in the use of Monsanto Roundup with its human health and ecosystem impacts. Read Full Article »

Confused by the Oregonian’s GMO Confusion

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Blue Oregon
by Rick North

grocery-store-pick-upThat didn’t take long.

Three days after GMO labeling supporters turned in over 155,000 signatures to put their initiative on November’s ballot, and four months before Election Day, the Oregonian editorial board sounded the alarm“GMO food-labeling mandate would sow only confusion.” The labeling they fear would be worded “Produced with Genetic Engineering.”

Let’s do a little survey on a few other federally mandated labels for everyday products:

“Contains orange juice concentrate” (Minute Maid): Confused?

“Irradiated” (Wegman’s Ground Beef): Puzzled?

“Calories – 150” (Pringles): Mystified?

“Product of Thailand” (Trader Joe’s Whole Cashews): Bewitched, bothered and bewildered?

If you answered no to all of the above, I’m guessing you’re part of a vast majority of Americans who emerge from grocery stores mentally intact. Read Full Article »