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Monday, April 4, 2011

GMO patents lawsuit and what you can do to help!


  • NOFA Vermont and Rural Vermont Join Lawsuit Challenging GMO patents

    On Tuesday, March 29, NOFA Vermont joined dozens of farmers, seed producers, agricultural businesses, and nonprofit organizations across the U.S. and Canada as plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against Monsanto Corporation in federal court in Manhattan.
    The suit challenges the validity of the chemical giant’s patents on a number of its genetically engineered (GE) crops. It also asks the court to prevent Monsanto from continuing its unwarranted and damaging patent infringement lawsuits against farmers and others for alleged patent infringements when their organic and non-GE fields and crops become contaminated by Monsanto’s GE crops. On Wednesday,RuralVermont joined in as a plaintiff as well.
    Read NOFA Vermont’s press release
    Read the Public Patent Foundation’s (PUBPAT) press release
    Read the entire filed Complaint (lawsuit)
  • Local and Organic Food and Farming: The Gold Standard

       By Will Allen, Ronnie Cummins, and Kate Duesterberg
       Organic Consumers Association, Feb. 23, 2011
    Recent USDA decisions to lift restrictions on GMO alfalfa, sugar beets, and ethanol corn along with consumer confusion about the terms local and organic has left many trying to understand how one can choose to do the right thing for their family.
    The locavore phenomenon brings up several important concerns including: food miles, chemically grown food, greenhouse gas emissions, factory farming, genetically engineered animal feed, and the value of organic labeling. All of these crucial issues relate to the central question: what should be in your market basket?
    Those who espouse local food are now called “locavores.” But, beyond the greenwashing and co-opting of the term by Wal-Mart, the supermarket chains, and factory farms and feedlots, what does “local” food and farming really mean? What is the impact of non-organic local food and farming on public health, nutrition, soil, water, marine life, biodiversity, and climate?
    This breaking article addresses the issues and confusing foodie definitions and informs us that organic standards are more important now than ever before. Click this heading to read the entire article written byWill Allen and Kate Duesterberg, Cedar Circle Farm’s co-managers, along with Ronnie Cummins who is the head of the advocacy organization the Organic Consumers Association. Local and Organic Food and Farming: The Gold Standard
  • The latest on GMOs: Washington deregulates genetically modified crops

    by Cat Buxton, Cedar Circle Farm Education Coordinator
    GMOs: “Novel enough to be patented, yet not so novel as to warrant a label telling us what it is we are eating.” —Michael Pollan
    GMOs in the form of bovine growth hormone (BGH) in milk products and conventionally grown corn, canola, soy, and cotton have been found in processed foods on grocery store shelves since 1996. We have seen crop contamination from genetic pollution, super weeds that are resistant to herbicides, and an increase in the use of glyphosate herbicides designed to accompany Monsanto’s line of patented Roundup-Ready crops.
    As a consumer, I rely heavily on the organic label because GMOs are not allowed under USDA regulations. In the last three weeks, the Obama administration and the USDA have made some really bad agricultural desicions concerning the use of genetically engineered crops and they are certain to have an effect on organic agriculture. Here is a summary excerpted from a Food Democracy Now email I received:
    • Monsanto‚ Roundup-Ready GMO alfalfa, Jan. 27, 2011. Over the objections of hundreds of thousands of American citizens, the White House approved this unnecessary crop — despite the fact that 93% of alfalfa hay grown in the U.S. does not use herbicides and that genetic contamination with conventional, non-GMO and organic alfalfa threatens the livelihoods of tens of thousands of family farmers and the food choices of more than 50 million organic consumers.
    • Monsanto‚ Roundup-Ready GMO sugar beets, Feb. 4, 2011. Defying a court order to complete a proper Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) the USDA announced that it is granting a ‘partial’ approval of Monsanto GMO sugar beets, giving farmers and seed dealers the clear signal that final approval is right around the corner. By the time the EIS is expected to be complete, sometime in May, farmers will have already started planting their crop for the next year since the USDA says it gave the green light to avert a shortage in the U.S. Sugar beets comprise some 54% of U.S. sugar found in everything from soda, other beverages, candy bars.
    • Corn for Ethanol, Feb. 11, 2011. This new GMO amylase corn product contains an enzyme that allegedly allows an increase in ethanol production with a reduction of natural gas and water usage, thus saving ethanol plants money. While caving to the biotech and ethanol industries, the Obama administration basically ignored the concerns of leading food manufacturers who fear that if this new industrial corn cross-pollinates with or is accidentally mixed with corn used to make food products, it could lead to crumbly corn chips, soggy cereal, and a host of other food processing disasters.

    What you can do about it

    Take political action . . .
    . . . write a note to Washington
    . . . thank and encourage our Vermont delegates to Washington not to give up:
    . . . encourage your New Hampshire delegates to protect organic agriculture and your right know what you are eating
    Take direct action . . . Learn more . . .
    Learn more — websites:
    Learn more—articles:
    Organic Consumers
    NY Times columnist
    Here is a recent article that has sparked a debate about big organic vs. small organic (aka: deep vs. shallow organic), and a counterpoint article.
  • Another reason to eat, buy and grow organic

    Our Will Allen, author of The War On Bugs, confirms: Clothiaidin and several other fluorinated nicotinoids (synthetic nicotines) are definitely the final straw in colony collapse. Bees are moved a lot, which is hugely stressful. They ingest these pesticides from multiple crops as they pollinate, starting with cherries and almonds south, all the way north to apples.
    Credo Save the Bees
    Stop the pesticide that’s killing bees.
    Honey bees have been dying at alarming rates in the last few years. Recently leaked evidence shows that the E.P.A. ignored critical information when approving a chemical linked to the bee die-off. Sign the petition telling the E.P.A. to ban clothianidin today. 

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