Jun 222011
Published on Truthout (http://www.truth-out.org) Thursday 9 June 2011 by: Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report (Image: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t [3]; Adapted: Carl Mueller / Flickr [4]) Keith Starvrum stands on the banks of Willapa Bay, where the low tide has revealed long lines of mudflats speckled with empty oyster shells. The sun is making a rare appearance in southwestern Washington State, but the perfect spring weather fails to cheer up the lumbering Starvrum, whose loud outbursts and biting sarcasm keep his employees’ eyes rolling. He served overseas as a special ops soldier in his youth and he has some interesting things to say about the recent uprisings in Arab countries and the CIA’s dirty habit of quietly “rearranging” governments amid apparent political turmoil. But he has a lot more to say about oysters. Starvrum points to a lone oysterman gathering the day’s catch from neighboring mudflats and shakes his head. Starvrum used to harvest oysters from the thick mud exposed by the low tide, but he has not brought in a catch in three years. He refuses to participate in the lucrative business, a traditional mainstay of the local economy, because the pesticides sprayed on adjacent mudflats drifted onto his oyster beds. “That’s why we don’t sell our oysters, ’cause we know what they’re in,” Starvrum says. “But when we do, they will be 100 times better.” Other oystermen have used pesticides to kill pests for generations, but Starvrum did it differently. He harvested oysters by hand, without using chemicals, and hauled them right from the bay to the kitchen of a small hotel on the same property. The rest were shipped to natural foods restaurants. Starvrum says his oyster farm was “as organic as you can be in Willapa Bay.” The pesticides that finally drove Starvrum to cancel his oyster harvests were not sprayed by his fellow oystermen, however. State agencies sprayed the chemicals to combat a saltwater marsh grass “infestation.” Like industrial gardeners weeding a giant brackish plot, government workers came in boats and helicopters, slowly spraying thousands of gallons of herbicides into the bay’s shallow waters. Some call this grass spartina alterniflora and others call it cord grass. Fritzi Cohen just calls it “spartina.” Cohen runs the Moby Dick Hotel and Oyster Farm with Starvrum, and she loves spartina. Cohen says she used the grass to make homemade paper and compost for her garden. (more…)
Jun 192011
Bloomberg By Rudy Ruitenberg – Jun 17, 2011 The Group of 20 countries must reach an agreement at a meeting of farm ministers in Paris next week to avoid the 21st century from becoming “the century of hunger,” French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire said. France, as president of the G-20 this year, is proposing a shared database on food stocks and harvests, a forum on export restrictions, emergency stocks in food-deficient countries and regulation to reduce commodity-price swings, Le Maire said. “If we’re not able to cooperate, we’re heading for a major food crisis,” Le Maire told reporters today. The G-20 has a responsibility for food security, and the world “will not understand” if the countries can’t reach a deal, he said. World food output will have to rise 70 percent by 2050 as the planet’s population climbs to 9.2 billion from an estimated 6.9 billion in 2010, theUnited Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization says. At the same time, growth in world farm production may slow to an average 1.7 percent a year through 2020, from 2.6 percent in the previous decade, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and theFAO said in their annual Agricultural Outlook report today. “The crisis isn’t tomorrow, the crisis is now,” Le Maire said at a conference of international farm organizations in the French capital. “We don’t know how to correctly feed the world population. We therefore are all responsible for finding the solution.” ‘Crucial’ Decisions “All the countries of the G-20 will have to assume their responsibility for taking crucial decisions for world agriculture,” Le Maire said. Governments can choose either “international solidarity” or “egoism,” he said. The three “especially sensitive points” of the French G-20 proposal are transparency on stocks and production, “because it raises very big questions about national sovereignty,” as well as financial regulation of agricultural- commodity markets and export restrictions, Le Maire told reporters. “The Chinese consider that being transparent on production and stocks, when you have 1.4 billion people to feed, risks showing a weakness or difficulty to the world,” Le Maire said. “The European countries, in terms of transparency, are not good pupils. Many don’t want to disclose their stocks.” At the start of negotiations about a year ago, the U.K. and Australia had reservations about market regulation, the U.S. was worried that emergency food stocks might affect their capacity to export and Brazil and Argentina were concerned that the G-20 nations would (more…)
Jun 052011
http://www.organicconsumers.org/bytes/ob279.htm World Food Day is October 16, 2011. That means there are only 4 months left to get 1,000,000 people to sign our petition to label GMO foods and organize 435 Millions Against Monsanto demonstrations nationwide. Download the petition Getting everyone you meet to join the Millions Against Monsanto campaign should be easy – upwards of 90% of the public already agrees that foods made with genetically modified organisms should be labeled – but if you need some ammunition and inspiration to inspire you to spread the word, look no further than these 10 scary reasons to label GMOs: #1 Monsanto’s Bt-toxin, in its Bt-producing GMO corn and cotton (used in food in the form of cottonseed oil), was found by Canadian doctors in the blood of 93% of pregnant women and 80% of the umbilical blood of their babies. #2 The authors of the Canadian study conclude that the women and their babies were exposed to Monsanto’s GMO Bt-toxin through a “normal” non-organic Canadian diet, including non-organic (so-called “natural” and “conventional”) meat, egg, and dairy products from animals fed Bt corn. #3 Monsanto’s GMO “Bt” corn and cotton plants are engineered to produce a insecticide in every cell of the plant that kills insects by breaking open their stomachs. #4 Mice fed Monsanto’s Bt corn had elevated levels of immune system substances that are also higher in humans who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, cancer, allergies, Lou Gehrig’s disease, autoimmune disease, and colitis. #5 Young mice in the same study had elevated T-cells, which are increased in people with asthma, and in children with food allergies, juvenile arthritis, and connective tissue diseases. #6 Monsanto’s GMO Bt-toxin has properties of known allergens – it actually fails the World Health Organization’s allergen screening tests. #7 Monsanto’s GMO Bt-toxin has been found to bind with the small intestines in mice and with intestinal tissue in rhesus monkeys. #8 In addition to its GMO “Bt” crops which are engineered to produce insecticide, Monsanto also produces GMO “RoundUp Ready” crops, engineered with a bacterial DNA that allows it to survive otherwise deadly doses of its herbicide RoundUp. #9 In the only human feeding study ever published on GMOs, Monsanto’s GMO “RoundUp Ready” soybeans were found to transfer Monsanto’s “RoundUp Ready” DNA to the bacteria living inside human intestines. #10 According to Jeffrey Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology, the (more…)
May 242011
U.S. must do more for food security By: Catherine Bertini and Dan Glickman May 24, 2011 09:16 AM EDT How do you feed 10 billion people? It is not just a humanitarian question, but a vital U.S. national security imperative. A recent U.N. report projects a 46 percent population increase by 2100. Africa, home to more than a quarter of the world’s undernourished people and more than 20 violent conflicts in the past half century, is predicted to more than double its population. We must not only consider how to feed all of these people — but what it means if we can’t. Food commodity prices are at record highs, leading to instability in already volatile regions. The Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review warns that factors like “climate change will contribute to food and water scarcity” even more in future, leading to “further weakening of fragile governments.” Clearly, there is reason for the U.S. to get even more aggressive in addressing global food security. Food supply stresses represent an increasing national security threat and are not going away. These increasing food prices are one likely catalyst of the Middle East upheaval. Last August, for example, Russia banned all wheat exports — including 600,000 tons of outstanding Egyptian orders. Egyptian food prices spiked dramatically – in a country where food is already 38 percent of consumer expenditures, compared to 13 percent in the U.S. Washington cannot allow food insecurity to exacerbate instability in already volatile regions. We are not doing all that must be done. U.S. policymakers are taking the right, first steps, according to our new report, but more resources as well as long-term commitment are needed. We are issuing a report card on U.S. efforts to alleviate global hunger and poverty through agricultural development programs. Washington received an overall grade of just B-. The U.S. has earned praise since 2009 for progress on USAID effectiveness, interagency coordination and support for agricultural education and infrastructure, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. But Washington still lacks strong efforts to reform policies impeding the development of global sustainable agricultural infrastructure. These include failures to repeal restrictions on aid that might lead to exports of certain commodities or change policy on subsidies that reduce the cost of farming inputs, like seed and fertilizer. We also need to address the continuing biofuels policy — which encourages growth of food crops for fuel. America’s efforts to build partnerships between (more…)
Oct 192004
      F. William Engdahl is an award-winning geopolitical analyst, strategic risk consultant, author, professor and lecturer. He has been researching and writing about the world political scene for more than thirty years. His most recent works trace the strategies and events that led to the rise of the U.S. as an international superpower. He describes the emergence after 1945 of an American power as a new kind of Empire not based upon sole military occupation of land, but control of vital resources. Discussed are the origins and aims of GMO – Control of food by Globalist Criminal Corporations. Share this:FacebookLinkedInTwitterGoogleTumblrPinterestReddit (more…)