A Word From Our Editor, Grace Sylke
I really thought I was going to talk about the Food Revolution in one Newsletter.
I’ve just completed our third Newsletter on the Series and am finding I still have more to share on this important subject.
So look for the
FOOD REVOLUTION Part 4 in our
More About the #1 Adversary, Monsanto
Where does Aquaponics fit in?
If you haven’t read Parts 1 or 2, you can access them at the top of our Quick Links.
The FOOD REVOLUTION
We are at war–it’s a FOOD REVOLUTION.
In some ways it’s a war just like any other war because it’s all about territory. The side that gets the most territory wins because food is raised and grown on our land.
But we don’t actually fight this battle with high tech weapons and rifles. We fight this war with our pocket books, our credit cards and our food stamp vouchers; and in that way WE, THE CONSUMER, can and are choosing the winner of this war.
Every time we purchase a food item, we are fighting on one side of this war or the other. That’s why it’s important to know who are our Allies and who are our Adversaries because the battle lines have been blurred and are often not existent at all.
In truth, the Battleground is our entire world.
And the two main factions of the battle are the Genetic Engineers with their Big Food Allies versus the Naturalists with their small Family Farm Allies. So who are these two factions and what are the beliefs which fuel the fight.
Genetic Engineers: Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, is the direct manipulation of an organism’s genome using biotechnology. New DNA may be inserted in the host genome by first isolating and copying the genetic material of interest using molecular cloning methods to generate a DNA sequence, or by synthesizing the DNA, and then inserting this construct into the host organism.
An organism that is generated through genetic engineering is considered to be a genetically modified organism (GMO). How we got here is a long story. If you really want to know, read William Engdahl’s Book, Seeds of Destruction.
Most of us “commoners” have no clue what these Genetic Engineers who are messing with our food are up to; but all we really need to know and understand is they are changing the DNA of many species.
Did you know that “All species, from simple bacteria to human beings, use the same genetic code? It consists of four chemical units in DNA, sometimes called nucleotides or bases, that are usually represented by the letters A, C, G and T.” Recently, one group of researchers just added two more letters to the code because they believe that “if you have a language that has a certain number of letters, you want to add letters so you can write more words and tell more stories”. They’re talking about our DNA with this callous, arrogant analogy.
These scientists actually believe they can play God with our universal DNA without consequences; and the GE food engineers believe non labeled GMO Food should be fed to the people of the world without giving us a choice. (Quotes taken from New York Times Article, May 7, 2014 by Andrew Pollack, “Scientists Add Letters to DNA’s Alphabet, Raising Hope and Fear”)
Naturalists: The Naturalists encompass overlapping groups that include the Organic Food, Raw Food, Local Food, Vegetarian, Aquaponic and Hydroponic food proponents along with various Animal Advocacy groups. For the most part, the Naturalists believe that food should be free of petro-chemicals, pesticides and, most certainly GMO’s; and that the food animals should be raised in humane environments and sacrificed in humane ways. Naturalists believe food should be as close to what mother nature intended as possible whether it be fruits, vegetables, dairy or meat.
In the U.S., the term “Natural” on labels is not regulated and, therefore, is vague and rather meaningless. But the term “Organic” has an established legal definition in many countries, including the U.S. Aquaponic and Hydroponic food is hitting the food market in ever increasing numbers and is presently self identifying with a variety of individualized labels.
If you think we ought to be messing with the DNA, you’re on the side of the GE’s in this battle. If you believe that DNA is something that should not be messed with by man and is beyond our full ability to understand or comprehend, you’re on the side of the Naturalists. It’s good to know which side of the battle you’re on.
Factory Farms have devastated the Family Farm
Not that long ago chickens were raised on family farms and allowed to roam freely around the farmyard. In the last 70 years, small family chicken farms, have been devastated and chicken farming has been taken over by five multinational giants we are citing as Adversaries in the Food Revolution.
The five chicken meat producing companies include: Tyson, Gold Kist, Pilgrim’s Pride, ConAgra Poultry and Perdue Farms. “They produce chicken meat under ‘atrocious health and safety conditions.’ According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), these plants had ‘one of the highest rates of injury and illness of any industry’ ” (Quote taken from article by Stephen Lendman, Jan. 19, 2008 “Unleashing GMO Seeds: “Food is Power”)
Because poultry is the world’s most important source of meat protein, we can be sure the Genetic Engineers are already working on producing a GMO bird. Presently, they’re introducing a GMO Salmon as their first test of the market for a GMO food animal.
Cows, both dairy and meat cattle and pigs have also been taken over by large multi-Nationals among which Cargill, Sysco, JBS and Smithfieldare dominant. In the U.S. these animals have been fed GMO feed “since these crops were first introduced in 1996 and each of the top 6 GMO crops (soy, cotton, corn, canola, sugar beet, and alfalfa) are heavily utilized by the US and global animal feed market”. (Quote taken from article by Ryan Beville, July 16, 2013 and published on the GMOInside.org website “How Pervasive are GMOs in Animal Feed?”)
So even if you’re being careful not to purchase GMO foods, if you’re a meat eater, you’re getting a secondary dose of GMO’s via the animal meats you’re ingesting. It’s kind of like breathing secondary smoke from smokers.
And if you’re a milk drinker, there’s the whole awful subject of rBGH, which stands for recombinant bovine growth hormone, which causes dairy cows to produce 100 pounds of milk per cow per day, which is 10 times as much milk as a calf would need. This unnatural “milk production causes cows bones to become severely deficient in calcium. They become prone to fracture, and the result is a sharp increase in the number of downed cows, a general term for farm and food animals who collapse, unable to stand up again, and must be destroyed.”
How did the idyllic family farm turn into a cruel, grotesque, bloated caricature of its former self? Farming got taken over by mega corporations. A corporation is incapable of feeling love or respect for the food animals they’re raising. These animals represent income and stock market indexes. They are simply figures on a balance sheet. There is no heart in the Factory Farms. One of the best documentaries out that describes this travesty is called “Food INC.”(Quote taken from article published on Britannica Advocacy for Animals website, June 11, 2007, linked below)
Here are two Links to the Allies on the Naturalists’ side of the fray that appeared in this segment:
Who’s Putting GMO’s on our Plates without our knowledge and wants to continue doing so?
These are the Adversaries; and many of them are playing on both sides of the battlefield.
This section may surprise many of you because here is where the blurred lines get clearer; and you’ll see who the Adversaries really are.
The up side of the losses of the ballot measures to label GMO’s in both California and Washington is that the Adversaries had to show themselves in order to cause these defeats. They had to come out of the trenches and stand in full view of the public they’ve been duping for over a decade. This unveiling came in the form of contributions to defeat the ballot measures. These companies were so determined to cause these defeats, that they were willing to reveal themselves to do so after a Washington state Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, filed a lawsuit that forced the issue, of course. So who are they?
Here are some of the big players: Read further at your own risk. You most likely will find some of the producers of your favorite products here. These companies were hiding behind the Grocery Manufacturers Association until they were forced to step into the light of day.
Pepsico (owners of Pepsi Cola)
ConAgra (you saw this name with the Meat Producers)
Campbell’s Soup Company
Ocean Spray Cranberries
Cargill (you saw this name with the Meat Producers)
The Hershey Company
Then there’s the Genetic Engineering and AgriChemical Companies which include:
BayerCropScience (this is enough to cause headaches)
But the truth gets even more painful, when you realize that many of your favorite organic and natural products, like Kashi, quite literally “sold out” to mega corporations.
Here’s that painful list:
Yes, Coca-Cola owns odwalla, vitamin water, Zico Coconut Water, Honest Tea and Simply Orange!
Coco-Cola spent $1.5 million to defeat the GMO labeling bill in Washington.n to
Naked is owned by Pepsi, the company that contributed $2.4 million to defeat the GMO labeling bill in Washington.
Gardenburger, Kashi and Fit are owned by Kellogg. We’re not sure how much Kellogg contributed to kill the labeling bills in California and Washington; but it was a monetary contributor.
Arrowhead Mills is owned by Hain-Celestial, which is partially owned by Heinz. In fact, between the time the Agriculture Department came up with its proposed regulations for organic food in 1997 and the time those rules were made law in 2002, hundreds of small, independent organic companies were purchased by the corporate giants.Heinz and it’s affiliate, Hain, bought 19 organic brands alone.
“In 1995 there were 81 independent organic processing companies in the U.S. A decade later, Big Food had gobbled up all but 15 of them.” (Quote taken from article written by the Cornucopia Institute, “Who Owns Organic”)
“Now Big Food has assumed a powerful role in setting the standards for organic foods; and these major corporations are dominating the Board that sets these standards. If they want to use carrageenan, they’ll use carrageenan. As these Big Food companies started stacking the Board, the list of nonorganic materials approved for organic foods increased. It’s called the National List and it has grown from 77 items in 2002 to 250 nonorganic substances in 2012.” More about this sad development in the July Newsletter. (Quote taken from our Aquaponics World website’s Aquaganic page)
General Mills owns Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen and LaraBar. General Mills spent $869,000 to defeat the GMO labeling bill in Washington.
Horizon is owned by Dean Foods. We’re not sure how much Dead Foods contributed to kill the labeling bills in California and Washington; but they are part of the gang of GMO lovers.
Dean Foods also owns Silk, which they acquired when they bought White Wave in 2002. Then they changed the word “Organic” on the label to “Natural” but left the packaging the same. Thousands of unaware shoppers are buying “Silk” thinking it’s still organic.
Just click on the words, “Big Food Corps” to see this graph up close and uncomfortable.
These Big Food Corporations hide in the background of their organic company acquisitions because they don’t want us consumers to know what’s actually going on. They don’t want us to realize that our food system has been hijacked by less than 35 mega corporations.
So, which family owned organic food companies didn’t sell out to the mega giants?
Here’s that List: It’s short and sweet–too short; and we’ve most likely missed a few.
U.S. and the largest supplier of organic dry grocery items. We’re adding the owner of Eden Foods, Michael J. Potter, to our Revolutionaries List, which we published in our May Newsletter. We will be adding Mr. Potter to our List in our July Newsletter. Mr. Potter is deep in the trenches fighting for real food. See that story in July.
Amy’s Kitchen is located in Petaluma, California and has remained a family owned organic, vegetarian food producing business since its inception in 1987. The company is now offering 110 Gluten-free options along with many frozen meals, but they also make a line of canned sous, chili, beans, pasta sauce and salsas. In 2011, Amy’s introduced several lines of products including Light and Lean, Gluten Free, and Light in Sodium for customers with special dietary needs.
Nature’s Path is located in British Columbia, Canada and has remained a family owned organic food producing business since it’s inception in 1985. It’s product line consists of breakfast cereals, granolas, hot oatmeal, waffles, toaster pastries and snack bars. This company is North America’s largest organic cereal brand with products sold in 42 countries worldwide.
Originating in Wisconsin, this Cooperative of Family Farms is demonstrating how small, family farmers can conpete wit the gega giants by becoming a large Cooperative. Today, Organic Valley comprises 1,834 farmer-owners located in 32 states and three Canadian provinces that specialize in sustainable, organic agriculture practices. Organic Valley has becoe the world’s largest independent cooperative of organic family farmers and one of the nation’s largest producers and distributors of organic produce, dairy, soy and eggs. It markets its line of beef, pork, turkey and chicken products under the Organic Prairie brand.
A special Thanks to the WordPress Blog, Bliss Returned, for it’s excellent post entitled “Find Out Which Organic Companies Owned by Mega Corporations”.
Just Click above on the words, “Genetic Engineering and AgraChemical Companies” to see this graph.
The Independent Seed Industry is in even worse shape compared to the Independent Food Producers because, as you can see by this graph, there are only 8 Multi-National Companies in ownership of most of the seed companies; and 5 of them are on The Big Six List of mega giant Genetic Engineering Companies.
Here’s that List:
Monsanto has the largest market share of GE crops in the world.
Syngenta makes most of its money on pesticides but is working to
to introduce new GE crops, like rice for Japan.
Dow Agrosciences is a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company.
Bayer Cropscience is a subsidiary of Bayer.
Pioneer Hi-Bred International is a subsidiary of DuPont.
So what do you think is happening to our seeds under the control of these companies? We’re talking about seeds that have taken thousands of years to adapt to specific climatic conditions in various parts of the world.
“Many of today’s modern garden crops and fruit were first grown six thousand to seven thousand years ago by the Incas of Peru, the Maya of Central America and the Aztecs of Mexico. These cultures were the first to grow more than 150 species of plants such as corn, beans, certain varieties of squash, peanuts, peppers and tomatoes.”
(Quote taken from Native American Gardening by Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac, Fulcrum Publishing, 1996).
The history of corn is a fascinating one as it took thousands of years of careful cultivation to transform maize from a wild grass called Teosinte that originally grew in Central America 7,000 years ago into the staple food we recognize as corn today.
It took the Genetic Engineers less than 25 years to turn 85% of the U.S. corn crop into GMO corn. Obviously, it takes a lot less time to destroy our natural food resources than it does to cultivate them.
So Which Seed Companies Didn’t Sell Out To The Mega Giants?
Here’s that List: It, too, is short–real short.
Introducing Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, also located in Petaluma, California, and their line up of available books, magazines and free Good Seeds catalog. Baker Creek caries one of the largest selections of seeds from the 19th century, including many Asian and European varieties. The company has become a tool to promote and preserve our agricultural and culinary heritage. All of their seeds are non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated and non-patented.
Introducing Humble Seed, founded in 2009 by Jim and Kristen Mitchell, a husband and wife team devoted to top-quality garden seeds, the betterment of the environment and the well-being of people.
Humble Seed’s premium herb, fruit and vegetable seeds are packaged in re-sealable Mylar® bags. Then they are themed and bundled in FDA food-safe containers like the ones you see above. Their convenient garden seed kits inspire gardeners to venture beyond the produce section by growing their own varieties of fresh foods.
Humble Seed is packed with care by their friends at the Marc Center. Marc Center provides opportunities for people with disabilities to be actively involved in determining where and how they live, learn, work and play.
And yet another company in the Petaluma, California area. It seems Petaluma is a hot spot for Naturalists. Introducing The Natural Gardening Company.
For 26 years, they’ve specialized in certified organic seedlings, organic vegetable, herb and flower seeds, drip irrigation, natural pest controls and fertilizers, and tools. Their catalog is a work of art.
The family that owns this company is the real deal and has been passing heirloom seeds back and forth since the 1830’s.
The President is the famous Bill Heid who has been putting out the SURVIVAL SEED VAULT since the crash of 2008 and purporting the necessity of preparedness and food independence. His company,Heirloom Solutions is an off shoot of his popular Seed Vault offering many more varieties of heirloom seeds.
This company got the premiere name, HEIRLOOM SEEDS and then attached a .com to it so they are often at the top of the Google search list. It doesn’t appear that they have a fancy catalog and their website is quite basic. Located in South Western Pennsylvania, they are a small, family run seed house that has been in the mail order business since 1988. When they started this business, their first priority was to offer old fashioned vegetables noted for their taste. All of the varieties they offer are open pollinated (non hybrid) and have been grown by generations of backyard gardeners.
Irish Eyes Garden Seeds has been going through some changes in the last couple of years. They recently absorbed Garden City Seeds and are a family company that is also related to Ronniger’s Potato Seed Company. They specialize in organic heirloom variety seeds, as well as organic pest control and garden supplies. They also do their own trials for taste & hardiness in cold climates. The catalog has very specific (and helpful) growing instructions, including companion crop listings and pest control hints.
Our newly found HERO and a true Revolutionary in the FOOD REVOLUTION! To meet the other Revolutionaries Click over to our May Newsletter from our Quick Links Menu on the left.
|Dr. Phil Howard, an expert on our broken Food System
|Meet Dr. Phil Howard; and if we had anything to say about it, this man would be as famous as the other Dr. Phil.
Dr. Phil Howard, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State. He is responsible for the creation and updating of the Organic Food Producers Chart and the Seed Industry Structure Chart. These Charts were featured in this Newsletter above. He teaches in the University’s Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies program.
Here’s some advice from Dr. Phil Howard:
“Consumers who want food companies that embody more of the original organic ideals would do well to seek out products from independent organic firms,” Howard advises. “Given the very uneven playing field they are competing in, independent organic processors are unlikely to survive without such support.”
Howard has created additional infographics and network animations on the wine, beer, soft drink and coffee industries, as well as on foodborne illnesses and the structure of the food system.
Like we stated in our introduction, this is a REVOLUTION we will win or lose with our wallets.
Don’t Miss The Final Part of this 4 Part Series, called FOOD REVOLUTION,
COMING IN JULY
We’ll be talking more about:
The #1 Adversary, Monsanto
Where Aquaponics Fits in
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