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Global Food Freedom and The European Union

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Lynn Swearingen (c) copyright 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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“However the major issue is the announced fees for the registration of conservation varieties in Sweden. The Agricultural Department (SJV) in Sweden has proposed a fee of 3000 SEK (approx 300 Euro) for the registration of a new conservation variety and an annual fee of 2000 SEK (approx 200 Euro).”

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Two aspects of living intertwine their way into my life on a regular basis : good Art and great Farming. A feeding of the soul along with nurturing of ones body – the basis of a pretty good life.

For the first I can recommend Canadian Robert Bateman as a Master Artist of depth, breadth and originality. Be prepared to sink into his world of detail and, through further investigation, come away amazed.  Not only does he express beauty in his works, but he lives a beautiful life contributing to his community through development of programs designed to educate and protect the natural world he lives in.

For the Second I recommend the humble seed.  If the reader is not familiar with the technical definition of what a seed is, head on over to Wiki for the various -isms, -ologies or (goodness) even the -tyledons. I prefer to consider the seed a hope, a dream, a miracle. When carefully considered breeding is planned, the most glorious varieties of sustenance to gut and glory to the palate are achieved.

What instantly springs to mind combining the best of both Art and Farming are tomatoes. Specifically the Green Zebra created by Tom Wagner in the early ’80s. If one is a “foodie” of any level, the introduction of this open-pollinated cultivar cannot be discounted. Sought by home chefs and professionals alike, the Green Zebra entered into main stream culture at local markets and fine retailers such as Whole Foods. With its arrival, the populace realized that tomatoes could be more than red-globular-cardboard cut outs picked unripe, gassed and shipped to the masses at market to be sliced into rigid forms draped across insipid greens and deemed a “dinner salad”. More

Confronting the FAO to stop GMOs

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By GRAIN

Between 28 February and 3 March  2010, the Network for the Defence of Maize, the National Assembly of Environmentally Affected People and Vía Campesina–North America held an independent public hearing in Guadalajara, Mexico. The objective was to bring together the evidence and to elaborate the arguments for starting proceedings in international courts of justice against the Mexican government for deliberately permitting the introduction into the country of genetically modified maize. Mexico is where maize originated, thousands of years ago, and where today more than 1,500 native varieties grow, evolve, and are bred. The cultivation of these varieties is governed by a complex interaction of not only social relations, profound knowledge and trust, but also community resistance.

Ten years ago, Mexico’s government began to distribute large quantities of GM maize seeds in the countryside, in an illegal, undercover operation, and native maize in different regions began to be contaminated. In response, indigenous and peasant communities from many regions formed the Network for the Defence of Maize (Red en Defensa del Maíz). They exchanged local knowledge and experience, and decided to ban the introduction of GM maize in their regions. The network was a space where they could share views, and they became more convinced than ever that the best way of protecting maize was by growing it.

For these communities, agriculture is not a commercial activity but a way of caring for the planet through continuous work. Growing their own food is not only a way of understanding the complex relations between winds, water, forests, other crops, animals and soils but also of protecting human life and promoting justice. Only then can communities be sure that the diversity of maize will not be lost and that the natural and social fabric of relations that lie behind maize will not be weakened.

The decision to hold a first public hearing to make an international case against the Mexican government and the major corporations involved in GM agriculture and food stemmed from the perception that the Mexican judicial system is completely closed or corrupt, or both. Over the last decade the Mexican government has approved a set of reforms and laws to privatise, register, certify or ban what were once commons – water, forests, seeds, biodiversity. It has encouraged intellectual property rights through patents and other legal devices and supported the introduction of GM crops. These laws have created a huge new space for the big corporations to manoeuvre at large but restricted yet further the already limited legal space available to common people. The three most damaging measures have been: the land counter-reform that permits the privatisation of public or communal land; the approval of NAFTA, which provides the big corporations with a totally different set of rules with which to advance their interests; and the refusal to acknowledge indigenous rights in the Constitution. More

Canada battles biotech takeover of seeds: Another “free trade’ agreement

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URGENT:  Trade Negotiations Events:  April 19 – Ottawa, 20 – Montreal, 21 – Toronto

QUOTE:  “. . . it would virtually eliminate the rights of farmers to save, reuse and sell seed, providing biotech, pharmaceutical, pesticide, seed and grain companies powerful new tools to essentially decide who should farm and how.” More

Rapid Rise in Seed Prices Draws U.S. Scrutiny

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LIVE LINK:  NEW YORK TIMES

Monsanto researchers in Stonington, Ill., are working to develop new soybean varieties that will be tolerant to agricultural herbicide and have greater yields.

By WILLIAM NEUMAN
Published: March 11, 2010

“Farmers would also be free to save seed from one year to the next, a money-saving step they are now barred from taking.”

 

During the depths of the economic crisis last year, the prices for many goods held steady or even dropped. But on American farms, the picture was far different, as farmers watched the price they paid for seeds skyrocket. Corn seed prices rose 32 percent; soybean seeds were up 24 percent. More

IOWA:Krause Campaign: Statement for workshop on monopolistic practices in agriculture

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3/4/2010

STATEMENT BY BOB KRAUSE

Democratic Candidate, United States Senate

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Senate candidate Bob Krause releases prepared

statement for workshop on monopolistic practices

The following is a statement prepared by Bob Krause concerning Monopoly Practices in Agriculture that he has prepared for submission to the Joint DOJ/USDA Workshop to be held March 12 in Ankeny, Iowa:

Thank you for this opportunity to make a statement concerning the topics of “seed technology, vertical integration, market transparency and buyer power” before this workshop. My direct concern for this workshop is that something be done to curtail monopoly practices that have build up in the agricultural seed business. More

Farmers fight to save seed and the DoJ provides cover for Monsanto

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By: S.D. Fields (c)copyright 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

” Thomas should have removed himself from the process because of his past employment by Monsanto. Their need to have certain arguments presented was critical. When I looked at the courts opinion I had to ask myself, “Was Monsanto’s corporate staff present during the language design of the opinion?”

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Imagine the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments about traffic signs. I can read the opinion now, the stop and yield signs are equal in authority. Perhaps they are, but completely different functions occur with each. One stops traffic completely, the other allows traffic to merge smoothly.

Something similar happened when JEM Ag V. Pioneer Hi-Bred Intl. was handed down. Clarence Thomas stated the “PVPA & Patent law were equal in authority”, but he failed to relay his confidence of understanding either while writing the opinion. The dissent gave clear statements of confusion by asking ” Why would Congress pass two laws with nearly identical authority?”

We have all watched cop shows with segments in the courtroom. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?  In today’s corporate climate, the easiest way to gain any legal authority is to orchestrate a legal argument and exploit the ignorance of the Judicial system. Well, in this case the whole truth was conveniently omitted.

I’ve only known one Federal Judge that has ever had his hands in the dirt checking his planters seed placement depth.  Oral arguments lasting only a few days don’t even begin to educate the Judicial system about the complexities of the seed industry today. The only best way to arrive at an opinion is to live the issue. More

Patenting life: crossing the threshold?

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 by: S.D. Fields (c)copyright 2010 All rights reserved

 

“The trucker knew he was a target. Operating on the Interstate to perform a delivery was a risky move because he had no licensing agreement for authority. The dirt roads weren’t efficient enough and  sooner or later he had to surface to cross a major river to access state lines. Always looking in the mirror was tiresome, so maybe driving at night would provide some cover. Who should worry? What he was doing was not against the law, but thousands of snitches were willing to call a hot line to turn him in. He hated driving through St. Louis anyway, it was the home of the Gateway Mafia.

Bureaucrats in Washington had allowed a firm named M-satan Movers to paint the center line with their patented paint. Congress never approved it, but a judge with former employment credentials of M-satan Movers ruled it was legal. This center line provided certain features that M-satan Movers claimed was revolutionary.

The trucking firm only had one rig. M-satan Movers had 50,000.  Since MM had the patent on this new paint they were allowed to pick & choose who got to drive on the hi-way system. Competitors dropped like flies in freezing weather. The injustice of the issue is the fact that all trucking firms were made to help maintain the hi-way infrastructure with their taxes; but many now couldn’t access it without permission from a major competitor. Very expensive licensing agreements were required; exposing all customer records. Fuel tickets & log books also were demanded. Those who chose to sell their soul to M-satan, soon found themselves in trouble because it was impossible to cross the financial threshold & constant demands of MM. When these firms couldn’t make ends meet, M-satan Movers consumed them in a leveraged takeover.

Although this is an analogy, the same level of redundant behavior is occurring in the seed industry.  Monsanto’s Round-up Ready is nothing more than a chemical event piggybacked onto the public’s genetic infrastructure.  The seed is used as a vehicle for delivery.  Since only so much infrastructure, exists, controlling a massive segment gives a fantastic amount of leverage to a single company.”

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How could this happen? There is catastrophic ignorance from our legal system when applying patent law to life. Assuming genetics are stable enough to continue indefinitely is equivalent to assuming a farmer is going to get the same amount of rainfall every year, exactly when they need it.

These genetics are a parallel to our hi-way system.  Layers of publicly funded research and development have expanded the various corridors for the public to access and spur economic growth.  The same taxation without benefit is occurring also.  Public universities are patenting publicly funded research and allowing single seed companies to claim it as their own. More

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