Vermont Farmers take on Monsanto

Video via – Sep 20, 2012

Vermonter’s gather at a rally to protest Monsanto pushing their unsustainable products on Vermont Farmers. Rachel Nevitt (from Full Moon Farm) comes in at 8:20 in this video speaking about the unsustainability of Monsanto Corps.

Nevitt and her husband, David Zuckerman, are plaintiffs in a lawsuit that concerns patent rights and genetically modified organisms (GMO). – BFP full article about the lawsuit

excerpt quote from her speech –

Creating a seed that can not be selectively saved nor improved upon is NOT sustainable, asking farmers to buy all their seed from the same corporation is NOT sustainable, forcing farmers to buy Monsanto’s compatible herbicide annually is NOT sustainable, wide spread over-use of round-up herbicide leading to the creation of glyphosate resistant super-weeds is NOT  sustainable, suing farmers for saving seeds is NOT sustainable, suing farmers for cross-contamination is NOT sustainable, annihilating seed diversity is NOT sustainable,  not properly testing your products for long-term health or environmental effects is NOT sustainable, causing a never before seen on Earth pathogen that effects our livestock’s ability to reproduce is NOT sustainable,  Spending 7.1 million dollars out of their pocket-book to keep California consumers in the dark is NOT sustainable.” – Rachel Nevitt

When Monsanto speaks of sustainability they are speaking of sustaining their control and profits over our food supply, not the health and well being of our future generations and land. From Monsanto’s website on why they sue farmers who save seed, “When farmers purchase a patented seed variety, they sign an agreement that they will not save and replant seeds produced from the seed they buy from us.”

That is why,

Monsanto’s cost-inflated and ineffective seeds have been driving farmers to suicide, and is considered to be one of the largest — if not the largest — cause of the quarter of a million farmer suicidesover the past 16 years.

According to the most recent figures (provided by the New York University School of Law), 17,638 Indian farmers committed suicide in 2009 — about one death every 30 minutes.

Read the full article – http://naturalsociety.com/monsantos-gmo-seeds-farmer-suicides-every-30-minutes/#ixzz277ILHHmC

Take Action – http://www.organicconsumers.org/monsanto/

Sanders Calls For GMO Labeling Amendment To Farm Bill

From VPR News:

Thursday, 06/14/12 5:50pm

Bob Kinzel

Senator Bernie Sanders is urging his colleagues to allow individual states to require the labeling of all genetically engineered foods. Sanders’ proposal is one of more than 80 amendments to the new Farm Bill.

The Vermont Legislature considered a labeling bill this past session but Democratic leaders decided not to bring it up because of concerns that the major chemical companies would sue the state.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Sanders said his amendment makes it clear that states do have the authority to address this issue if they choose to:

“Amendment number 2310 is about allowing states to honor the wishes of their residents and allowing consumers to know what they are eating,” said Sanders. “If this is not a conservative amendment I don’t know what is. Americans deserve the right to know what they and their children are eating and that is what this amendment is all about.”

And Sanders notes that dozens of countries, including the European Union, have similar labeling laws in place:

“So this is good in 49 or more countries around the world why is it not acceptable in the United States of America and the answer is pretty simple,” said Sanders. “That we have a large powerful multi-national corporation who is more concerned about their own profits that they are about allowing the American people to know what is in the food that they are eating.”

The full Senate is expected to vote on the Sanders amendment early next week.

link to article – http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/94870/sanders-calls-for-gmo-labeling-amendment-to-farm-b/

Food Democracy Now Blog Article – w/text of Amendment – http://fooddemocracynow.org/blog/2012/jun/14/senators_sanders_and_boxer_farm_bill_label_gmos/

Bernie’s Press Release – http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=09f69aba-a6a5-4292-9ac2-cb8ae1265ede

Biotech 2, Vermont 0

From: the Bovine Blog

Vermont has long been regarded as one of the most progressive States in the Union when it comes to things like alternative medicine and access to healthy food choices. If this is what’s going down in Vermont, what’s happening in the rest of the United States that we’re not hearing about?

From Brian Gaston for Salem-News.com:

The biotech industry has had to use corruption and threats to keep secret what they continue to claim is safe and “substantially equivalent” to normal food. 

(MONTPELIER, VT) – Vermonters were slammed by the biotech industry twice this month.  They were hit the first time when 90% of the population wanted GMOs in their food labeled but the governor would not sign a bill requiring this because the biotech giant Monsanto threatened to sue the state. Monsanto thus stopped “informed consent” around food, leaving people without crucial information needed to decide what goes into their and their children’s bodies, and are thus essentially tricked into eating it in not know what is what. Instead of informed consent required in medical experiments – and this is one of the largest in human history – there is enforced ignorance. The biotech industry has had to use corruption and threats to keep secret what they continue to claim is safe and “substantially equivalent” to normal food….

full article – http://thebovine.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/biotech-2-vermont-0/

(text excerpt from) Rural Vermont’s – LEGISLATIVE UPDATE:  March 16, 2012

YOU DID IT! Thank You.

H.722, the bill that will require genetically modified food sold in Vermont to be labeled, IS STILL ALIVE in the State House.

After several long days of compelling testimony and a huge outpouring of public support, House and Senate leaders agreed today to give the bill more time to complete the legislative process. Without this special consideration, the bill would have failed to meet today’s “crossover” deadline.

The latest info we have is that the House Agriculture Committee will be able to continue their work and will likely hold their vote on it within two weeks.

Thank you for taking the time to contact your representatives and helping to turn the tide that was definitely running against the bill as late as this morning….

After the Ag Committee votes on it, the bill will then have to pass through the Joint Committee on Rules since they are the ones who granted it a “hall pass” to not have to meet the crossover deadline. The bill may also have to be reviewed by another House Committee before it gets to a House floor vote and then it has to do basically the same series of steps on the Senate side – all by the end of April…

For the latest info follow the campaign on Facebook or visit the campaign website VT Right To Know GMOs

Have a great early spring weekend!

Andrea Stander

Rural Vermont
Rural Education Action Project

Roundup May Be Damaging Soil and Reducing Yields, Says USDA

(Beyond Pesticides, August 22, 2011) A US Department of Agriculture (USDA) official speaking at an agricultural conference said that the heavy use of Roundup, an herbicide manufactured by Monsanto and used heavily on “Roundup Ready” genetically engineered (GE) crops, appears to be causing harmful changes in soil and potentially hindering yields of crops that farmers are cultivating. Reuters reported that Robert Kremer, PhD, a microbiologist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, told the audience at the August 12, 2011 conference sponsored by the Organization for Competitive Markets that repeated use of the herbicide glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup herbicide, impacts the root structure of plants, and 15 years of research indicates that the chemical could be causing fungal root disease.

Dr. Kremer first warned us about his research and questioned the government’s response last year. “This could be something quite big. We might be setting up a huge problem,” Dr. Kremer told Reuters last year. “Science is not being considered in policy setting and deregulation. This research is important. We need to be vigilant.”

Monsanto created “Roundup Ready” crops to withstand its Roundup herbicide (with the active ingredient glyphosate). Growing previous Roundup Ready crops such as soy, cotton, and corn have led to greater use of herbicides. It has also led to the spread of herbicide resistant weeds on millions of acres throughout the U.S. and other countries where such crops are grown, as well as contamination of conventional and organic crops, which has been costly to U.S. farmers. Because of GE crops, Roundup has become the most popular pesticide ever.

Problems with Roundup Ready GE crops don’t stop with soil problems and superweeds. Researchers are finding impacts on livestock that eat GE feed as well. Michael McNeill, PhD, an agronomist with Ag Advisory Ltd. in Algona, IA, told Boulder Weekly that he and his colleagues are seeing a higher incidence of infertility and early-term abortion in cattle and hogs that are fed on GMO crops. He adds that poultry fed on the suspect crops have been exhibiting reduced fertility rates too…..

full article – http://www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/?p=5817

For more news and information on “Roundup Ready” and other GE crops, see Beyond Pesticides’ genetic engineering page.

 

Big Article on Labeling GMO Foods!

Monsanto’s Achilles Heel    –    By RONNIE CUMMINS     July 29 – 31, 2011

The Achilles heel of Monsanto and the biotech industry is consumers’ right to know…

In the EU there are almost no genetically engineered crops under cultivation or GE consumer food products on supermarket shelves. And why is this? Not because GE crops are automatically banned in Europe. But rather because under EU law, all foods containing genetically engineered ingredients must be labeled….

If Vermont passes a state labeling law though its legislature in 2011, or California voters put a GMO labeling initiative on the ballot in 2012 and pass it, the biotech and food industry will face an intractable dilemma. Will they dare put labels on their branded food products in just one or two states, admitting these products contain genetically engineered ingredients, while still withholding label information in the other states? The answer is very likely no. Withholding important and controversial information in some states, while providing it to consumers in other states, would be a public relations disaster.

A clear precedent for this situation was established in California in 1986 when voters passed, over the strenuous opposition of industry, a ballot initiative called Proposition 65, which required consumer products with potential cancer-causing ingredient to bear warning labels. Rather than label their products sold in California as likely carcinogenic, most companies reformulated their product ingredients so as to avoid warning labels altogether, and they did this on a national scale, not just in California.

This same scenario will likely unfold if California voters pass a ballot initiative in 2012 requiring labels on food containing genetically engineered ingredients. Can you imagine Kellogg’s selling Corn Flakes breakfast cereal in California with a label that admits it contains genetically engineered corn? Or labeling their corn flakes as GE in California, but not divulging this same fact to consumers in the other 49 states or Canada? Of course not. How about Kraft Boca Burgers admitting that their soybean ingredients are genetically modified? How about the entire non-organic food industry (including many so-called “natural” brands) admitting that 75% of their products are GE-tainted?

Once food manufacturers and supermarkets are forced to come clean and label genetically engineered products, they will likely remove all GE ingredients, to avoid the “skull and crossbones” effect, just like the food industry in the EU has done. In the wake of this development American farmers will convert millions of acres of GE crops to non-GMO or organic varieties.

The biotechnocrats and their allies have indeed used their vast resources to buy off Congress, the White House, and most state legislatures with campaign contributions. Monsanto, DuPont, and other corporate giants have used their enormous clout to send their lawyers and scientists through the revolving door into jobs as government regulators. Biotech’s financial power has polluted state and federal governments, along with trade associations, universities, research institutions, philanthropic organizations, and media outlets.

But there are two things Monsanto’s money can’t buy: Our trust, and our votes.

Polls Show Consumers Overwhelmingly Support GE Food Labels…

Read the whole Article – http://www.counterpunch.org/cummins07292011.html

To support or join up with the Millions Against Monsanto Campaign, go to:http://www.organicconsumers.org/monsanto/

Ronnie Cummins is the International Director of the Organic Consumers Association.

Rural Vermont Update July 22

As many of us know, consumer interest in healthy, natural or organic foods is growing. As a result, many food companies are selling “All Natural” products which are priced higher than similar products despite the fact that they may be filled with SYNTHETIC and GENETICALLY ENGINEERED (GE) ingredients.

Relevant studies and data indicate that consumers are more likely to purchase products that prominently display the words “All Natural” on the front of food packages, despite the fact that the “All Natural” claim may be misleading at best, and fraudulent at worst.

Pinnacle Foods Group, LLC, which is selling its Log Cabin brand “All Natural” syrup in Vermont, is one such company using an “All Natural” labeling claim to win over consumers.  Log Cabin brand “All Natural” syrup contains synthetic ingredients. 

While Vermont farmers spend hundreds of hours boiling sap to make truly “All Natural” Vermont Maple Syrup, they are loosing out to brands like Log Cabin who package and label syrup “All Natural” so as to appear like real Vermont Maple Syrup despite synthetic ingredients.

Rural Vermont and  Law for Food are looking for individuals who have purchased Log Cabin brand “All Natural” syrup in the last few years. If you have purchased this product believing it to be “All Natural” and not to contain genetically engineered or synthetic ingredients, please contact us at  jared@ruralvermont.org or kenneth@lawforfood.com right away as we may be able to address this failure on the part of large corporations like Pinnacle Foods to properly label their products.

Allegedly “All Natural” products often mislead consumers about healthy food choices and cause them to purchase products they wouldn’t otherwise buy.  In addition, these often misleading tactics harm Vermont farmers who produce truly “All Natural” and non-GE products because they are forced to compete with multi-national corporations and their industrial scale marketing tactics.

Vermont Farmers and Vermont Consumers deserve better. Please act now and let us know if you or anyone you know has purchased “All Natural” Log Cabin Syrup.

Best, Jared

P.S. Check out our website at www.ruralvermont.org for info, on our great fall internship opportunities! As well as a the calendar of events.

Canadian scientists finding toxin from GMO crops in human blood samples

“(NaturalNews) The biotechnology industry’s house of cards appears to be crumbling, as a new study out of the University of Sherbrooke, Canada, recently found Bt toxin, a component of certain genetically-modified (GM) crops, in human blood samples for the first time.

Set to be published in the peer-reviewed journal Reproductive Toxicology the new study shreds the false notion that Bt is broken down by the digestive system, and instead shows that the toxin definitively persists in the bloodstream.

Industry mouthpieces have long alleged that Bt toxin, which is derived from a soil bacterium known as Bacillus thuringiensis, is harmless to humans. The built-in pesticide has been integrated into certain GM crops to ward off pests. Bt corn, for instance, has actually been designed to produce the toxin directly inside its kernels, which are later eaten by both livestock and humans (http://www.naturalnews.com/026426_G…).

In the recent study, researchers Aziz Aris and Samuel Leblanc evaluated 30 pregnant women and 39 non-pregnant women who had come to the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS) in Quebec, Can., for a tubectomy. Upon taking blood samples, researchers detected the Bt Cry1Ab toxin in a shocking 93 percent of maternal and 80 percent of fetal blood samples. And 69 percent of non-pregnant women tested positive for the toxin in their blood….”

Learn more:

http://www.naturalnews.com/032407_Bt_insecticide_GMOs.html#ixzz1Mp9rhX49

And on the same topic from the Eat Drink Better blog “Toxin from GM crops found in human blood”:

“When you let the GMO industry police itself and evaluate the safety of its own products, you are bound to get something different than if you had (or let) independent scientists do so. I’ve covered the scientific limitations of GMO studies commissioned or conducted by the GMO industry before, as well as 13 scientific studies that have identified a link between GMOs and organ disruption. News is out now that may be even more disturbing.

“Fresh doubts have arisen about the safety of genetically modified crops, with a new study reporting presence of Bt toxin, used widely in GM crops, in human blood for the first time,” India Today recently reported.

Above composition From: the Bovine Blog

roughly 200,000 India Farmers that were relying on chemicals or GMO seeds  + Chemicals have committed suicide – The Industrial Chemical Agriculture Revolution in India was dubbed “The Green Revolution”… Sound familiar?

(NaturalNews) Foundational changes that have taken place in the agriculture sector of India have led to a epidemic of farmer suicides over the past 16 years, according to a new report. Released by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University’s (NYU) Law School, the report explains that, on average, one Indian farmer commits suicide every 30 minutes in response to the devastation caused by the effects of globalization on agriculture, and genetically-modified organisms (GMO) in particular.

The report, entitled, “Every Thirty Minutes: Farmer Suicides, Human Rights and the Agrarian Crisis in India,” (http://www.chrgj.org/publications/d…) explains that Indian policy has stripped many farmers of their livelihoods by greatly decreasing the value of their crops. Combined with the introduction of GM crops that trap farmers into an endless cycle of debt without providing any substantial benefits, and you end up with a society marked by despair, hopelessness, and an increase in suicides.

http://www.naturalnews.com/032422_GM_crops_suicide.html#ixzz1OJWVgaQf

a Must Watch POSITIVE movie on this subject – http://onemanonecow.com/

possibly related article –

UVM Researcher Studies Causes Of Pre-eclampsia

Monday, 06/06/11

A researcher at the University of Vermont is trying to figure out why 5 to 10 percent of previously healthy women develop high blood pressure during the second half of pregnancy, leading to a dangerous condition known as pre-eclampsia that can be life-threatening for both the mother and her baby.

Right now, the only way to treat pre-eclampsia is to deliver the infant, which results in premature and low birth-weight babies.

University of Vermont researcher Dr. Ira Bernstein is conducting studies to solve the long-standing mystery as to exactly what causes pre-eclampsia, but he says the indicators for the disease are clear.

link – http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/91047/

Canada Wants Food Security and Sovereignty!

Green Party calls for democracy in food policy

OTTAWA – If elected, the Green Party will establish a Canadian food policy that ensures our food production system serves the interests of consumers, not corporations, and that supports and promotes high-quality, safe, locally-grown food.

“Canada has never had a coherent and cohesive national food policy, yet we need one more than ever. We have a globalized food system that is diminishing quality and safety controls, and that is ever increasing the distance between food production and our dinner plates,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party. “Canadian consumers want to know where their food came from, they want to buy local, they are increasingly demanding organic, non-GMO food products. A democratic food policy must answer to those wishes, not the wishes of global agri-business.”

full article – http://www.northumberlandview.ca/index.php?module=news&func=display&sid=7707

Activists Protest Urban Sprawl on Saanich Peninsula, British Colombia

Today, as the CRD board prepares for its April 13th meeting about urban sprawl on farm and forestland, activists hung banners over the Rogers Avenue and Royal Oak overpasses of Highway 17 to raise awareness about reckless development on the Saanich Peninsula.
The banners read “Farms Not Sprawl,” and “Farm Here How?” and directed viewers to a website with video interviews of local activists explaining how urban sprawl is impacting local food production: farmherehow.com.

“It’s becoming increasingly obvious that we need to be growing our food locally and sustainably, but developers are constantly paving over farmland for more subdivisions, malls, and luxury estates,” said the group’s spokesperson Nick Montgomery.

Food Freedom Vs. Monsanto

The Public Patent Foundation filed suit on March 29, 2011 on behalf of sixty organic and sustainable businesses and trade associations, including thousands of certified-organic farmers.

Excerpt from the Suit:

Introduction:

1.Society stands on the precipice of forever being bound to transgenic agriculture and transgenic food. Coexistence between transgenic seed and organic seed is impossible because transgenic seed contaminates and eventually overcomes organic seed. History has already shown this, as soon after transgenic seed for canola was introduced, organic canola became virtually extinct as a result of transgenic seed contamination. Organic corn, soybean, cotton, sugar beet and alfalfa now face the same fate, as transgenic seed has been released for each of those crops, too. And transgenic seed is being developed for many other crops, thus putting the future of all food, and indeed all agriculture, at stake.

2. Plaintiffs in this matter represent farmers and seed businesses who do not want to use or sell transgenic seed. Plaintiffs are largely organic farmers and organic seed businesses, but also include non­organic farmers who nonetheless wish to farm without transgenic seed. Plaintiffs are increasingly being threatened by transgenic seed contamination despite using their best efforts to avoid it….

link to read the entire Suit – http://www.pubpat.org/assets/files/seed/OSGATA-v-Monsanto-Complaint.pdf

Say No To GMO! – http://www.saynotogmos.org/

Separate shelves for GM foods is now law – Cyprus Mail

Separate shelves for GM foods is now law – Cyprus Mail.

Cyprus – THE HOUSE yesterday voted into law a bill making it compulsory to display genetically-modified (GM) foods on separate shelves in shops and supermarkets.

GM foods and foods containing GM ingredients, will now be sold with a prominent sign stating clearly that these are GM foods, or food containing GM ingredients.

The law provides for GM labelling in three languages (Greek, English and Turkish), and stipulates hefty fines for non-compliance.

It was passed by unanimous vote, despite earlier concerns of opposition from vested interests, such as commercial quarters.

The passage of the law was welcomed by the Green Party, which has been pushing for tighter GM regulation.

“This caps our efforts of nine years,” said Greens MP George Perdikis.

☣ Want GMO and GE Food Labeled? ☣ Take Action

Here is a link to let your State Reps. know you want Genetically Engineered Food labeled. It takes 10-15 seconds.

http://www.capwiz.com/grassrootsnetroots/issues/alert/?alertid=22063501&type%20=ST

The EU’s Common Catalogue of Registered Varieties

The GMO debate is on in the US of A with the two cases recently filed; Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Earthjustice filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), arguing that the agency’s recent unrestricted approval of genetically engineered Alfalfa was unlawful, and the case filed by the Public Patent Foundation suit against Monsanto Company challenging their patents on genetically modified seed, on behalf of 60 family farmers, seed businesses, and organic agricultural organizations. for details on these cases visit – http://www.goodfoodworld.com/2011/04/new-gmo-lawsuit-this-time-suing-monsanto/

…..But what is going on in Europe? We always hear of how valiant the Europeans are in their rejection of GMO seeds, slowly slowly the “seed industry” chips away at the resistance. It isn’t only GMO seeds that afford these giant corporations control over our food. What is the Common Catalogue of Registered Variety??? I didn’t know about this until today, I heard of this small organic seed company Kokopelli from France, they are facing many many lawsuits…Why? Because they sell Heirloom Varieties that are not registered in this “Common Catalogue”.

If a variety is not registered in the catalogue, it may not be marketed. And marketed means exchanged and given away too, not just sold. That’s the legislation that the Kokopelli Association fell foul of, and many folks simply don’t believe it. But it is true, and has been since the 1960s.

Quote from the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog article: How the European Common Catalogue destroys biodiversity by JEREMY on FEBRUARY 12, 2007.

This is a great article explaining the Catalogue and how the whole system “works”…Or Doesn’t!

Kokopelli isn’t just another organic seed company they are activists! This is why they are being targeted.

Dominique Guillet, President of Kokopelli Association, dreams of a planet “with free seeds for all, cultivated with respect for the environment. Our gardens and fields are our source of life and diversity.” He advises those which have a garden or small independent farm to sow seeds that are prohibited, to give them away, exchange them, and to produce young seedlings of prohibited varieties in order to distribute them to the poorest countries, if we don’t he says, in a few years, there will be no more free seeds nor diversity, but only the limited registered varieties, genetically modified organizations and F1 hybrids.

This is a rough translation from: Action Sante Libertes Blog

Kokopelli is involved in many developing countries through regional organizations to try to and preserve their bio-diversity. 

Organic Farmers & Monsanto Fight It Out In Court | UK Progressive

Organic Farmers & Monsanto Fight It Out In Court | UK Progressive.

Monsanto, an agriculture giant whose patented genes are in 95% of all soybeans and 80% of all corn (maize) grown in the US, has been suing farmers suspected of violating patents – even if done inadvertently. Incidences of farmers being sued because pollen from nearby Monsanto-brand genetically modified crops blew over the fence, on to organic fields, has earned Monsanto over $15 million from patent violation cases.

On March 29th, 2011, Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed suit on behalf of 60 family farmers, seed businesses and organic agricultural organizations against Monsanto Company to challenge the chemical giant’s patents on genetically modified seed. The organic plaintiffs were forced to sue pre-emptively to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement should they ever become contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed, something Monsanto has done to others in the past. The case, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, was filed in federal district court in Manhattan.

Plaintiffs in the suit represent a broad range of family farmers, small businesses and organizations from within the organic agriculture community who are increasingly threatened by genetically modified seed contamination, despite using their best efforts to avoid it. The plaintiff organizations have over 270,000 members, including thousands of certified organic family farmers.

full article – http://www.ukprogressive.co.uk/organic-farmers-monsanto-fight-it-out-in-court/article11356.html