GE Alfalfa

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If you'd like to share your thoughts on genetically engineered crops, or the role of the local food movement in national politics, please do so here. We'd love to hear what you think!

By: | Mar 6, 2011 08:09 AM | Permalink
Appreciating the most recent post (Tina B.), let me say I'm neither a farmer nor am I a scientist. Consider me among the skeptics who merely prefer to not use chemicals in my garden or believe genetically altered, manufactured seeds have been or will be proven to be safe. Sufficiently to satisfy my way of thinking.

As to the food industry comment, yes. My mother also drove refrigerated trailers cross-country and had stories to tell.

Thanks to all for weighing in on topic.

Deb

By: Tina Burgett | Mar 1, 2011 11:56 PM | Permalink
Well after reading all the replies I don't think many of them are farmers. People can talk good or bad about G.M. crops, you can quote all the scientists you want, But let me tell you I have between 20 to 30 cows in the barn, depending what time of year it is, We also raise 300 plus chickens a year. I'm a conscientious farmer that loves his animals, I'm very observant and I have seen their reaction between G.M. and open pollinated corn, the animals know the difference, that's enough proof for me. And just to let people know what goes on in the world around them, Back in the mid 1980's I drove semi coast to coast with a refrigerated trailer. On several occasions I picked up a load in the Bronx N.Y.C. The load was cut up chicken part's, The chickens originated from Arkansas, Don't know who hauled them to N.Y.C. But I hauled them to South Dakota 1500 miles just to barbecue them. Said chicken parts were then reloaded on the same trailer and taken back to the same place in the Bronx. Over 4000 miles and they had not seen a plate. By the way the chickens went to the school system in N.Y.C.

By: | Feb 28, 2011 03:58 PM | Permalink
Biotech crops have been used for 14 years now, counting back to the introduction of RoundUp Ready Soybeans in 1996. The number of countries, crops, and farmers using them has increased steadily since then - check out ISAAA.org if you want to see the number of crops and countries. It continues to grow and spread because farmers find it cost-effective and it works. If it failed either of those tests, farmers wouldn't buy it.

So what does the science say about GM? After 14 years of growing global use, there has not been one documented case of an adverse public health or environmental impact. Not one. If somebody has read a peer-reviewed scientific paper with proof to the contrary, please share the source.

By: | Feb 26, 2011 11:22 PM | Permalink
I'm a little confused by people saying there is not science that shows g.e. seeds and foods are potentially dangerous to our long term health because of how it affects soil, etc. Those saying this have apparently not read the results of the science out there and have also not heard about the failure of what was called the "green movement" in India where Monsanto seeds were used and the hope was to save the poor and provide a lush food source. G.E. seeds have proven to be so much less than the hype that companies like Monsanto have pushed upon vulnerable farmers. Ultimately the need for even stronger pesticides is created, much like what happened with the over use of antibiotics which resulted in super bugs. Are people really that deficient in facts and knowledge about these things? Please encourage your readers to educate themselves about what is really happening with these multinational corporations who say they want to help alleviate food shortages and hunger in the world but are really being motivated by their profit margins.

I for one do not want anyone altering my seeds and food and certainly don't want anyone telling me that I CAN'T have organic produce. The insidious nature of what is being taken away from us through corporate manipulation is down right scary and it frightens me that people are so busy being entertained by FaceBook and YouTube that they're missing the signals.

By: Barron Shaw | Feb 26, 2011 01:32 AM | Permalink
...It seems right...

Always a signal to stop, slow down & think about it.

If the alfalfa were growing so well without the new technology, there wouldn't be any market for the more expensive seeds. If on the other hand, it makes farmers more productive and allows them to make a profit, and it's safe, then why not?

There is absolutely no reputable evidence that GM foods are unsafe. And it helps farmers transition to no-till methods of farming that prevent erosion and save fuel. The herbicides used on GMO's have an extremely low residual and are virtually undetectable in days.

So here's for more thinking - to go along with the good intentions of everyone on this great site!

By: | Feb 25, 2011 08:02 PM | Permalink
I share Emma's thought about "show me the research" - we're all best served by a science-based regulatory process for new technologies that makes objective decisions about what can and should be used. Any decision to allow or ban products or technologies should be made on this basis. For those products deemed safe but where some consumers don't want them based on personal preference, the market provides an excellent way to differentiate. LocalHarvest is a great example of that principle in action.

The United Nations says our global population will reach 9 billion people by 2050. The advocates of technology posit that we can only feed them all by increasing production efficiency, and hence the need for continued innovation. I agree with this view. But let me ask - If that innovation is not permitted, what is the alternative plan for feeding those people?

By: Emma Stout | Feb 25, 2011 01:32 PM | Permalink
I am fine with outlawing GM seeds but I fear there is no REAL research that convinces me that GM foods are unsafe. All I can find is opinion, which doesn't carry any real weight for me.

Where is the research? Don't forget, GM foods might be dangerous but American farmers still feed the world and since they have to cut costs on herbicides and pesticides and fuel, the GM seeds save those extra trips across the fields and the run-off is not happening. So, please, help me here: show me the research.

In Cuba, I understand, everyone is REQUIRED to go to the field with their hoe and get rid of weeds. Since we have no such requirement, (Thankfully) how do we propose to keep the weeds out of the field and the yield up?

As I stated, I am for the more natural hybrids but am at the mercy of others to raise the feed stuffs for our herd. Please help me. Emma Stout

By: jamie dittmeyer | Feb 25, 2011 01:21 PM | Permalink
Thanks for the bare truth article. I have e-mailed the white house.. I have never done that in my 32 years. Here's to the first of many e-mails/phone calls.. you have to start somewhere..

By: SallyJo Gehrke | Feb 25, 2011 12:38 PM | Permalink
Deb, Thank you for demonstrating to all of us what thoughtful empathy looks like (your kind words to poor Heidi). Peace and love, another Old Girl at Sustainable Dream Greenhouses

By: | Feb 25, 2011 10:55 AM | Permalink
To Heidi: let us not give up but continue the conversation as a large unit. I can share your frustation while also gifting Erin a bow for the courage to be bare and honest on topic. It's how we learn, together.

Baby steps thought from this old girl,

Deb

By: | Feb 25, 2011 10:47 AM | Permalink
"Within a week I had received a half a dozen emails encouraging me to call the Administration and urge them to make it right. I deleted them all."

I'm working to digest that, Erin. But I digress...

My senators and congressional representative may have become more than tired from hearing from me on numbers of topics; that's okay, to me. Perhaps time I place Pennsylvania Avenue [read White House] as a speed dial contact number.

Our First Lady has spoken out numbers of times on camera for the health of all children. In that vein, is it not incumbent upon our President to be doing that very thing as well (i.e., a guarantee of whole food, devoid science and chemicals)?

Just saying...

By: Joseph Ashcraft | Feb 25, 2011 04:01 AM | Permalink
I can see that I am in the minority on this issue. I helped farmers with the establishment of Roundup Ready Alfalfa when it was first available and was very happy with the results. We established it on some ground that had a very bad quackgrass problem and with the help of Roundup we were able to have a very productive field of Alfalfa. This avenue was much better than the alternative of a weedy field or applications of other chemicals that do not work as well as the Roundup did. We will not use RR alfalfa on every acre, it costs too much.

I help many farmers use crop protection chemicals on their field crops each and every year. We use them on an as needed basis and not ones we don't need. Sometimes the profit margin on a wheat or barley crop is $30-40 / Acre, we don't want to spend $15-20 that is not needed. I have also been involved with fields where I recommended an application, farmer felt like it was not warranted, but at harvest time yield and quality suffered because of the weed pressure.

By: Heidi Mead | Feb 25, 2011 01:35 AM | Permalink
Organic is organic. Period. No GMOs, no artificial anything. And I'm very disappointed that you don't see this. I'll unsubscribe to this newsletter.

By: | Feb 24, 2011 11:09 PM | Permalink
Erin, thank you for weighing in on this; certainly food for thought :-) and of course, you're right on. Recently, a TV station here has aired a commercial for commercial Round-up herbicide, advertising its cost at $3/acre. That's certainly quite a bit less than 'residential' Round-up cost! For even small farmers, trying to compensate for higher costs in other areas (fuel!) with increased production and efficiencies, that's a tough temptation to refuse...I truly hope we can make a difference on this issue, and the only way is to spread the word, which I again thank you for doing.

By: Gina Anderson | Feb 24, 2011 09:45 PM | Permalink
Dear All at Local Harvest and readers,

I hope all of us will phone or email about the GMO alfalfa, and other policy issues that affect food and agriculture here in the US. If we don't, we're operating in a vaccuum, or maybe the image of an ostrich with its head in the ground is a better one.

To make it easier, several groups, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, watch policy issues including food/agriculture and will let people know via email when an issue is up for a vote at the federal level - and will provide a draft letter to congresspersons that can be modified by us, the senders, so making an impact is quicker.

The federal policy framework (including agricultural subsidies and that whole can of worms) has a huge impact an all that we are interested in as people wanting better food. I am very, very middle of the road - but the ability for us in the US to obtain quality, real food is So Compromised, and so impacted by difficult-to-understand policy, that I've come to understand that with legislators about policy happenings, and letting them know enough is enough, is critical.

Please, let legislators know what you think!

Thank you, and sorry about the grandstanding. Gina Anderson sustainable transport, project manager

By: | Feb 24, 2011 09:39 PM | Permalink
Erin,

Wonderful post. I just wrote to the White House. We all need to speak up if these issues concern us. Our health and the health of future generations depends on protecting our food supply and keeping it as pure as possible. Thank you.

By: | Feb 24, 2011 09:08 PM | Permalink
Hi, Thank you for the consistent updates!!! I would like to know if anyone knows any groups to connect with related to these issues and organic farming in the New Jersey area. I live in Montclair. My e-mail is nutritionalhealthconsultant@ yahoo.com.

Thanks!! Rose

By: Kevin McCloskey Sr. | Feb 24, 2011 08:51 PM | Permalink
Hi Erin, Great newsletter, I agree that people should complain if a good or service is not up to par. There are some people that don't complain even if it's justified. Also there are people that complain just because they can. My feeling is if a complaint is warranted do so and until they get satisfaction. Our company M & K Sales(listed here) has a 30 day money back guarantee. We have a philosophy if you like us tell a friend if not tell us we will make it right.

Kevin

By: | Feb 24, 2011 08:49 PM | Permalink
I have been writing our so-called representatives for quite some time about the government over interference in our food choices.

The reason I call them "so-called" representatives is that I make use of the site opencongress.org, to see who is getting campaign financing from what groups. I've come to the conclusion that unless there is a tidal wave of protests with valid information for the representative, we don't have a say in what goes on.

Another site I keep track of is from Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund. These guys keep track of the assaults on the small farmers and defend them if necessary. These assaults come from the big-ag, and big-pharma cronies in our government. FYI, that food safety and modernization act, now law, is the biggest attack on small farmers yet. Even if there are small clauses that say that family farms, farmers' markets. and farm to consumer groups are exempt, doesn't mean that the FDA won't try to harass the family farmer. They are already making it very very difficult for small organic dairy farmers to sell raw milk and raw milk products. Those of us who know that most of the beneficial microbes for digestion are killed with pasteurization are horrified by their draconian rules. Yes, we need to protest. We need to have consumer information for people who come to farmers markets so they can write their representatives as well. The importance of education in the area of the all around benefits of eating fresh locally grown and organic foods can not be overstated.

Yes, we need safe food. But we don't need the government to tell us what we can or can not eat. An FDA spokesperson actually said that Americans do NOT have the right to decide what to put in their bodies. It's obvious isn't it, that the government wants even more control over your life?

By: | Feb 24, 2011 08:39 PM | Permalink
Quite inspirational. I clicked the link to the Obama site and left my comment right away...I didn't want to put it off and forget. Having only recently come to the "local food table" I am outraged by the possibility of having my new-found yummies become intoxicated in the very worst sense. Thanks for getting me off my figurative butt!

By: Shane Morgan | Feb 24, 2011 07:50 PM | Permalink
Great letter Erin. People all over the world are speaking up for their rights. Rights to a good education, rights to healthy food, rights for fair healthcare and fair wages and the list goes on. We are lucky to have freedom of speech, we should put it to good use.

By: Mighty Isis | Feb 24, 2011 07:37 PM | Permalink
The bigger problem is that many Democrats are not well informed enough to know when their rights are being attacked. Look at what Gov Walker (R) WI is trying to do to us! Republicans are trying to use public policy to destroy voter rights by trying to keep voters (young, students, usually Dems) from registering. He is trying to break the unions cuz he knows 3 of the 10 top contributors to campaigns are union, the other 7 are big Corps = Republicans. So many people are against unions, but they don't understand that they are one of the only ways we have of defending our rights. Pleas please pleas please use this forum to take a stand and inform our brothers and sisters of what's going on. Inform yourselves. Act. Do. Thank you Local Harvest for the reminder to put our energies where it matters. Sustainable Dream Greenhouses

By: Pam | Feb 24, 2011 07:32 PM | Permalink
I have signed up for several newsletters that are diligent about keeping consumers posted on this crazy stuff. They make it very easy to click, and send!

http://www.organicconsumers.org/

http://www.workingforchange.com/

I don't always agree on every campaign or action, but it is wonderful to be able to keep up with things and voice an opinion if I want to.

By: Sandi Dutton | Feb 24, 2011 07:14 PM | Permalink
Hello, Letter to the White House: I chose Other, not sure where this falls. GE Alfalfa. Is Monsanto married to a drug manufacturer? Aren't you trying to fix or straighten out the Health Care in this country? The old saying will never go away, "You are what you eat". Period. And we are being poisoned with Every mouthful. This is a chain, one linked to the other. Isn't anyone in Congress ever grown up on a farm? Guess not.Stupid city folk. They all should have a vacation to a real small farm and find out how things should be done. Nothing was broken 60 years ago or before herbicides, so why fix it? Do you see farmers back then wearing haze matt suits? No! That alone should tell you something. I'm not vegan or a raw foodist, but I do read labels, and conscious of what my food is made of. I laugh at all the money being spent in the so called Health Food stores. Again, the people that shop there are brain washed and stupid. Don't they read labels? All they see is the word Organic and they think its healthy. Wrong, how many additives and preservatives are in that packaged food. Please please STOP this ridiculous push towards all GMO's. Growing Smiles and Food for the Soul, Sandi

By: alicia miller | Feb 24, 2011 07:04 PM | Permalink
Thank you and to everyone.Its time to speak up.

By: | Feb 24, 2011 06:56 PM | Permalink
Thank you so much for the amazing newsletter. I totally agree that we need to unite and have our voices heard.

Unfortunately, some of us are not as talented at writing strong, concise letters to our representatives. Perhaps a sample letter that one could cut and paste would be helpful.

Thanks for your hard work. Always love to get the newsletter!

By: nadine lew | Feb 24, 2011 06:16 PM | Permalink
thank you for your thoughtful newsletter on this, and for linking the white house comment line.

By: Michelle Schaker | Feb 24, 2011 06:16 PM | Permalink
It didn't take a minute to do this. i also thank you for the link and the push.

By: Kathy Youngquist | Feb 24, 2011 05:49 PM | Permalink
Thank you for the push and the contact link. I have e-mailed President Obama about GE seeds and I will also post information about this on our Farmers Market Facebook page and website. If everyone who is opposed to this will take 5 minutes to contact President Obama it might make a difference and we can at least have made an effort .

By: Charles Schwartzbauer | Feb 24, 2011 04:56 PM | Permalink
I do not agree with genetic food and their by products being introduced into almost everything you find on store shelves with out being labled. If this food supply is so progressive and ideal ,why do they not label it. "Contains Genetically modified ingredients" ? Because the truth in labeling law has not been introduced yet. Why do they not take it into their own hands and label with out political force to do so? I have watched and listened to every food documentary and Organic websites and talked to Farmers directly.Monsanto used illegal means to infest clean crops and then sued Farmers for patent infringment to get their round -up ready seeds out there. Every thing Monsanto and its constituents have done to our food source has been underhanded.I do not like this way of selling a product and do not trust that it is in our best intrest to let them continue their worldwide takeover of the clean food sources in the USA and overseas.This is totally criminal profit and should be shut down.The studies to find if GMO food is safe has been cunducted by the same companies that make and sell the food. That is bias and false research.Monsanto has had many of their top excecutives traveling back and forth from the USDA and the FDA to continue their quest to force this GMO food on us.They are MONSTERS and are poisoning our natural food sources.Over the years Monsanto has repeatedly been fined by the US Gov.for dumping waist into our streams and rivers.How can you trust any of these pirates of profit and enviromental destroyers with your food ? The food in this country should be run by non-profit public Organizations that have human nutrition and health in mind.I ask you to please join with the Organic farms and Organizations to pass restrictive laws against use of these deceptive and illegal tatics used by Monsanto and stop the patenting of these seeds. Thank You !

By: Barry Duggan | Feb 24, 2011 04:50 PM | Permalink
It is so easy to control weeds-- my weeds enrich my soil with the minerals they deeply harvest via my compost pile. If we buy into the idea of helplessness of "the weed problem", well, we get what we pay for : genetic pollution. The Good Lord does not just ask us to be Good Stewards over the land, He demands it. Personally I want to be a blessing to the land that so richly blesses me, my family, my friends, and all my neighbors. Many of you know already of the the PCB pollution in the Bloomington Indiana water-- please don't let anymore garbage infiltrate our drinking water, our gardens, and our farmers' fields. amen.

By: diane harvey | Feb 24, 2011 04:22 PM | Permalink
Erin, if you want to see grass roots action in force, check out the current controversy surrounding one families attempt to trademark the terms Urban Homestead & Urban Homesteading. http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Take-Back-Urban-Home-steadings/167527713295518

Over 5,000 people have joined the page in 1 week and blogged (during a Blogging Day of Action) about their love of delicious fresh grown produce, meats & foods. Like the customers you spoke about, we're passionate about protecting our food and encouraging others to grow their own. Within the group, many have talked about taking this action forward to challenge companies like Monsanto and the regulation of GMO's. As a mini homestead grower, I'm only beginning to learn about making my city lot productive, but it was a direct result of joining a CSA and wanting to have more of the delicious fruits & veggies we were getting each week!!


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