Tag Archives: traditional

Resources for saving & exchanging traditional seeds

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Seed Saver’s Exchange

“A Handful of Seeds” publication on seed saving and seed study for educators, a 91 page full color illustrated guide with lessons linked to California Educational Standards, practical information on seed saving in the school garden, seed history and lore. By the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center School Garden Program.

Please add to this list by sharing a resource you know in a comment.

Big Ag and its destruction called ‘conventional’ farming to hide the truth

farming for profitConventional farming is Big Ag’s planned destruction of human and natural food systems. It includes GMOs, patented seeds, silent forests, animals that are tortured for years before being slaughtered, one more India farmer that will commit suicide 30 minutes from now and many other very scary things. Conventional seems like such an innocent word: conjures up thoughts of conventional wisdom, societal conventions which are the underpinning of civilization … but this word, like our food system, has been corrupted by Big Money and their lapdogs, the major media portals, to confound and confuse us, and to obfuscate the truth. L.E.A.F. explains:

Conventional farming systems share many characteristics: rapid technological innovation; large capital investments in order to apply production and management technology; large-scale farms; single crops/row crops grown continuously over many seasons; uniform high-yield hybrid crops; extensive use of pesticides, fertilizers, and external energy inputs; high labor efficiency; and dependency on agribusiness. In the case of livestock, most production comes from confined, concentrated systems.

Philosophical underpinnings of industrial agriculture include assumptions that “a) nature is a competitor to be overcome; b) progress requires unending evolution of larger farms and depopulation of farm communities; c) progress is measured primarily by increased material consumption; d) efficiency is measured by looking at the bottom line; and e) science is an unbiased enterprise driven by natural forces to produce social good.” [Karl N. Stauber et al., “The Promise of Sustainable Agriculture,” in Planting the Future: Developing an Agriculture that Sustains Land and Community, Elizabeth Ann R. Bird, Gordon L. Bultena, and John C. Gardner, editors (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1995)

When it’s good food you crave to feed to your families, look to traditional or family farming – and organics. Although take care with organics, as in recent years that industry has been steadily encroached upon by Big Ag too.

Farmers & people creatively resist GMOs

gmo seed costs moreTwo of the problems farmers face with GMOs is how much they strengthen weeds and insects, and how much they cost. Over time, the amount of pesticides and herbicides farmers use to kill weeds and insects increases as GMO crops become immune to their effect. Modern Farmer shares these chilling statistics,

Between 2001 and 2010, the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch reports, total on-farm herbicide use increased 26 percent as weed resistance grew.

Genetically altered seed producers in the United States and the processed food companies that support them have quadrupled their investments in lobbying efforts and public relations campaigns to fool politicians and the public into believing GMO foods are safe and there’s no need to label them. If that’s true, why are these companies so determined that the public not know that GMOs are in all of the common processed foods they eat and all corn products, most soy products and now, even wheat? Monsanto, Pepsi, Coke, Nestlé and other companies are spending tens of millions of dollars to make sure United States residents do not realize how pervasive GMO contamination has become in the US.

This has led some US crop farmers to return to traditional seeds – not because they believe in a GMO free world, but for economic reasons. GMO seeds cause farmers more out of pocket expense to purchase them and increasing amounts of the pesticides and herbicides they use to protect crops. And, GMO contaminated harvests can’t be sold everywhere. Aside from foreign countries that have banned them, some US buyers won’t touch them either. Modern Farmer explains,

Clarkson Grain, which buys conventional and organic corn and soybeans, pays farmers a premium — up to $2 extra per bushel over the base commodity price of soybeans, $1 for corn — to not only grow the crop but also preserve its identity. (That is, keep it separate from genetically modified grain all the way from planting through harvest, storage and transportation.)

Non-GMO Project
And talks about other players in the non-GMO space. The most interesting of which is the Non-GMO Project. It’s ironically funny that since Monsanto & its friends have successfully blocked most legislation to require GMO labeling, this organization emerged to champion the flip side of the issue with recognition for and labeling of, foods that are GMO free. Modern Farmers tells us that for food producers, the benefits of non-GMO verification are many

Sales at Hiland Naturals, which makes conventional and organic feeds for livestock, have more than doubled since it received Non-GMO Project verification last year. Most of Hiland’s customers are small farmers who sell eggs or meat at farmers markets and natural grocery stores. But many sell birds to Whole Foods and to institutions like colleges. Some of Hiland’s growth, owner Dan Masters says, comes from people wanting to know what they’re eating, some is from pending labeling laws and some is from “people who are tired of big corporations and big agriculture.”

Good on us.