Small scale farmers in Russia are showing us that it doesn’t take a huge, industrial farm to produce the food required to feed mass quantities of people. These small scale, organic Russian family farms, usually less than an acre in size, are providing the bulk of fruits and vegetables to the country.
According to some statistics, they grow 92% of the entire countries’ potatoes, 77% of its vegetables, 87% of its fruit, and feed 71% of the entire population from privately owned, organic farms or house gardens all across the country.
via The Russians Prove Small Scale Organic CAN Feed the World.
This is reportedly being done without pesticides, without herbicides and without genetically modified, patented seeds.
Remember that report I gave you yesterday about GMO wheat appearing on an Oregon farm? Fall out from that report was quick. Japan is suspending certain wheat purchases until we sort this mess out.
Japanese authorities have already opted to cancel part of a tender offer to buy US western white wheat and have suspended imports of both that variety and feed wheat, Reuters reported on Thursday.”We will refrain from buying western white and feed wheat effective today,” Toru Hisadome, a Japanese farm ministry official in charge of wheat trading, told the agency.
via Discovery of Monsanto GMO wheat threatens US exports — RT News.
This is not good news for the American wheat farmer. Japan is the largest exporter of our wheat behind Mexico so that’s a big sector of our market just disappearing. Other Asian buyers of our wheat are considering the same course of action.
A farmer in Oregon finds some weeds growing where they shouldn’t be so he hit ’em with Roundup®. They didn’t die. Finding that to be very peculiar he takes those weeds to Oregon State University where they test them where they find that this is wheat containing the Monsanto® Roundup Ready® gene.
This is disturbing in that GMO wheat has not been approved for commercial use. Monsanto hasn’t field tested Roundup Ready® wheat since 2005 and there have been no field tests of Roundup Ready® wheat in Oregon since 2001! Where did this come from? Where else could it be? Is it going to show up on an organic farm next?
The Agriculture Department attempted to allay our fears with this statement:
The department said it was not known yet whether any of the wheat got into the food supply or into grain shipments. Even if it did, officials said, it would pose no threat to health. The Food and Drug Administration reviewed the wheat and found no safety problems with it in 2004.
via Modified Wheat Is Discovered in Oregon – NYTimes.com. via Flutterby
I may have an argument with them over whether or not any GMO crop is truly safe and poses no health problems but there is no arguing over the fact that free range GMO wheat just popping up where it isn’t planted poses a very clear and imminent economic threat to our wheat farmers.
The Supreme Court has sided with Monsanto in a patent case that I really wish it hadn’t. A farmer bought commodity seeds from a local co-op for a late season soybean crop. The seeds were contaminated with DNA from Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soybeans which made them herbicide resistant. The farmer noticed this but used seeds from this new crop to plant subsequent late season soybean crops.
The farmer, Vernon Bowman, was a Monsanto customer. His early season soybean crop had been sowed with Monsanto seed he had purchased from Monsanto. He had agreed to Monsanto’s licensing agreement. He knew his late season crop was most likely tainted with Monsanto’s Roundup Ready DNA because it was resistant to Roundup yet he saved seeds from this crop to replant anyway. It’s hard to argue against Monsanto on this regardless of how much I’d like to.
What really troubles me about this is that the Obama Administration chose to get involved and support Monsanto when they could have just kept quiet. This on the heels of the Obama Administration signing into law the Monsanto Protection Act makes me wonder.
The Obama administration had told the Supreme Court in a filing that the justices should not concern themselves with the possibility that such rigid patent protectionism could undermine traditional farming techniques, where parts of one harvest are often used to produce the next. The administration said Congress “is better equipped than this court” to consider those concerns.
via Supreme Court Backs Patents on Seeds Self-Replicating Technology | Threat Level | Wired.com.
I have to admit, though. He’s right. Congress is better equipped to resolve this issue. I’d like to see a law passed making pollen in the wild free from any licensure. This might encourage Monsanto and other biotech seed producers to find ways to contain their pollen and prevent GMOs from contaminating our entire food supply.
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