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General News    H2'ed 3/1/09

The criminalization of seed banking: hidden inside Monsanto "food safety" bills

Message Linn Cohen-Cole
We are facing a catastrophe to the environment, to farming, to food, to health, if the bogus "food safety bills" currently in Congress go through.
International corporations are intentionally destroying small farmers around the world (now here ) and aggressively pursuing the take over of food worldwide (now here) with what will be devastating impact on the environment and climate change .  
These "food safety" bills in Congress driven by Monsanto, Cargill, ADM, the big meat packers, and giant surveillance companies, will industrialize ALL farms in the US, the ones they do not eliminate outright.  The environmental impact will be extreme and the loss to biodiversity incalculable.   
Similar laws in the EU (with which these bills are meant to 
"harmonize") have already gotten rid of 60% of Polish farmers.  
The bills will end organic farming and criminalize seed banking through  and "food safety" measures.  
The parts that are dangerous are all buried elsewhere, hidden deep in various agency lists or regulations, but they are triggered by coded words in the bills themselves ("best farming practices," sources of contamination," "tracing"), but stripped of the details, they are made to look innocuous to the public.  
Who would believe that seed banking will be criminalized or manure made illegal or that seed cleaning equipment is already illegal this year?  They are all on a short list of "sources of seed contamination" in an innocent looking document within the FDA (though the absence of pesticides or chemical fertilizers from that list is a tip-off of who has had a hand in this).
Wendell Berry is opposed to NAIS, which is core to these bills, but the bills also press for "best farming practices" which will mandate what kind of feed (GMO) and when, what medical regimen (drugs), what kind of sprays (pesticides) and when and where to spray it.  Farmers will not only be forced to comply with such anti-farming industrial rules but be captive to purchasing industry's terrible products.  And these in the world of "best bureaucratic nonsense practices" for farming, animals and crops (and the intricate positive relationship between the two) will be illegal on the same farm.  
Meanwhile, back in the sane and miraculous world of real farming, mob herding of grassfed cattle can sequester carbon incredibly fast.  It will be gone, and we will be left with the giant feedlots - which do the opposite.
Joel Salatin  couldn't have said it better; 

"Every bit of the alleged science linking methane and cows to global warming is predicated on annual cropping, feedlots and herbivore abuse. It all crumbles if the production model becomes like our mob-stocking-herbivorous-solar-conversion-lignified-carbon-sequestration fertilization. America has traded 73 million bison requiring no petroleum, machinery or fertilizer for 45 million beef cattle, and we think we’re efficient. Here at Polyface, we practice biomimicry and have returned to those lush, high organic matter production models of the native herbivores.

"If every cow producer in the country would use this model, in less than 10 years we would sequester all the carbon that’s been emitted since the beginning of the industrial age. It’s really that simple. Without question, grass-finished, mob-stocked beef is the most efficacious way to heal the planet. We should drastically drop our chicken and pork consumption and return to our indigenous, climate-appropriate protein source: perennial forages turned into red meat and milk."
Very few people are aware of what is in those bills (which surely was the point).  And, worse, Food Democracy Now in being so frighteningly out of touch, is giving people the dangerous misimpression that things are getting better.  By being excited about a meeting with Vilsack, they distracted attention from dangers happening at the moment - the entire rug of all green agriculture being pulled out from under us all.  I am sure Vilsack mouthed the PC (but irrelevant) words about organic farming which gave "hope" but the reality is sinister.  FDN's actions should not help lull people just when alerts should be going out everywhere.  One wonders if that lulling effect may actually be why Merrigan was appointed now and Food Democracy got its "audience."
Basic description of how the bills will destroy everything:  
History and detail here:  
It is hard to stress enough how threatening these bills are to our country, our democracy, and our survival.  Any help you can render, including reaching Food Democracy Now and waking them up to the real situation, would be immensely appreciated.  One alert from them could wake progressives that "food safety" is very much the opposite of what is in store for us.  
Aacademic communities concerned with biodiversity and the environment do not typically consider farming so they don't understand how much biodiversity is protected through farmers raising heritage seeds and heritage animal breeds and with pride in their contribution, or that the presence of independent "real" farms is a critical wall between us and total industrial and commercial development.
Sierra Club in Michigan has video that shows the two worlds, real farming and industrial farming, side by side, and the crushing environmental impact of the latter.  http://www.sierraclub.org/factoryfarms/nightmare_documentary.asp
NAIS - beyond its bureaucratic and financial burdens which will crush farmers and its being unconstitutional - appears to me to be a set up on the animal side to do what Monsanto has done on the seed side - put them out of reach or destroy them.  It's already happening in Asia.
And they are ready with biotech animals and justifications (or emergencies they manufacture) for them.  And it is unclear (they keep it all unclear) whether DNA will be taken from all the animals (with farmers having no say and no means of profiting from any use of that DNA).
If you have contacts at MoveOn, please reach them.  Their involvement could be invaluable in stopping this.  Reach academic communities and have them post alerts across the country about the threat to normal seed banking.  Reach gardening groups, reach health and environmental groups, reach media and artists groups, reach cooking and family groups, reach religious and even business and sports groups, etc.  This concerns us all.
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Met libertarian and conservative farmers and learned an incredible amount about farming and nature and science, as well as about government violations against them and against us all. The other side of the fence is nothing like what we've been (more...)
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