"GMOs"

The Perennial Plate: Female seed savers reclaiming the food system

I'm currently working on a project that investigates seed saving networks and their role in promoting local food security and resiliency. (I know how amazingly boring that may sound...I'm working on a catchier pitch - suggestions welcome!) It largely began because I save some seeds, but I didn't know - and still don't know - fellow seed savers in my bioregion. In my early research, I'm surprised and delighted to read about seed saving in mainstream news publications on a more regular basis. I came across this beautiful, inspiring video from The Perennial Plate about female seed savers and farmers in India:


As Vandana Shiva (founder of Navdanya) states, "Most farmers are women. All seed savers are women...When women do farming, they do it for life. When women do farming, they do it for their children. They do it for nutrition. They do it for taste." This is why seed saving is so important: Seed saving preserves food, culture, history and empowers individuals. For these individuals in India, seed saving is a central, integral part of their livelihood and existence. My hope is that the more people, especially Americans and individuals in "developed" countries, who recognize the source of seeds and their corporate owners, the more they will acknowledge that seed saving is far more than a quaint hobby by backyard gardeners. Even with the prominence of GMOs, I don't think we're at a point yet in this country where seed saving is on-par with healthful, sustainably grown food dialogue. I hope we'll get there soon.

If you don't know about or follow The Perennial Plate, it's time to get on the wagon! Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine are talented storytellers who tirelessly shed light on all elements of our food system every week.

Headline Harvest: Silencing factory farm reports; Bad news for organics; Colbert's take on climate change

It's that time again! (I would have written something clever about grabbing a blanket and getting cozy by the fire, but it was 60 degrees here in CT today...in January.) So, get comfortable in your favorite reading spot and read the latest:

In keeping with this freakishly warm weather, a word from Mr. Colbert:



In natural resources news:
In shortcomings-of-the-Farm-Bill-and-commodities news:

Headline Harvest: Monsanto doubles profits; kids offer hope through gardens; the quinoa problem

It's colder than usual outside, so bundle up and pretend it's warmer with these freshly picked headlines (I know, I know...)

In GMO/Monsanto news:
  • "Monsanto's Earnings Nearly Double As They Create A Farming Monopoly" - Charlotte Silver, for Al Jazeera, as published on AlterNet.org
    • From the article: Monsanto knows that consumers won't voluntarily buy their products - a lesson learned in Europe when GE foods there were required to be labelled as such. In America, the company and its allies have spend millions to defeat local labelling initiatives, most recently in California. But if the company successfully crowds out conventional farmers, Americans won't have a choice - with or without a label."
In consumer demand & awareness news:
  • "Can Healthy Eaters Stomach the Uncomfortable Truth About Quinoa?" - Joanna Blythman, The Guardian, as published on AlterNet.org
    • From the article: But there is an unpalatable truth to face for those of us with a bag of quinoa in the larder. The appetite of countries such as ours for this grain has pushed up prices to such an extend that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it...In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken. Outside the cities, and fuelled by overseas demand, the pressure is on to turn land that once produced a portfolio of diverse crops into quinoa monoculture. (my emphasis added)
  • "12 Disturbing Facts About Farm Labor Conditions" - Roque Planas, Huffington Post
In farmland news:
In kids-are-cute-and-full-of-hope news:

(From GOOD.is; to support this project, click here.)

Help fund "SEED: The Untold Story"!

In addition to trying to understand and grapple with the nuances of farm subsidies, ag. policy and the complex farm bill, I'm also beginning research on seed saving (i.e. networks, banks, growers) in my bioregion for my grad. thesis. So, of course, I was delighted to hear about this opportunity to help fund a really important documentary, "SEED: The Untold Story" through Collective Eye Films (the creators of "The Real Dirt on Farmer John" and "Queen of the Sun"). Take a look:


Seed is not just the source of life. It is the very foundation of our being. - Vandana Shiva 
SEED: The Untold Story is a new documentary film that will investigate the dramatic story of seeds, the basis of life on earth. For 12,000 years man has been nurturing and cultivating seeds to form the backbone of civilization. Now, 94% of our seed varieties have been lost and many more are nearing extinction.
SEED unveils a David and Goliath battle for the future of our seeds by examining how five chemical corporations have taken control of seeds through patents, copyrights and genetic modification. These companies are placing ownership on the seeds, literally stealing the genetic material from our ancestors who nurtured these seeds for thousands of years. As Vandana Shiva says “the threat to seed freedom impacts the very fabric of human life and life on the planet.” 
Entertaining and engaging, SEED follows heroes working tirelessly to preserve agricultural diversity as well as the rich knowledge held by indigenous cultures. These farmers, scientists, and seed collectors such as Gary Paul Nabhan, Bill McDorman, Vandana Shiva, Harald Hoven, Native American Emigdio Ballon and Winona LaDuke are the visionaries and caretakers of many of the world’s remaining seeds. On an absorbing journey following a diverse cast of characters, we will witness a brave new movement as these heroes struggle to create a vibrant web of biodiversity and resilience. 
SEED will reveal the awe, wonder and hidden beauty of seeds. It will ignite the imagination of audiences, inspiring them to be part of a new movement to help sustain seed diversity. We will unearth the resilience and power that all seeds have to sustain, enliven and enrich our humanity.
How amazing does this project sound?! Remember, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing sort of fundraising medium; if the filmmakers don't reach their goal, the film will not be made. So, help these filmmakers with their project and get the message out there about the incredibly imperative need to save seeds, bring food sovereignty to the forefront and promote food and farm literacy!

Watch, share, and, ideally, donate, please!

Food MythBusters: "Do we really need industrial agriculture to feed the world?"



Food friends! What a perfect find for our year of food literacy (if I do say so myself).

What you just watched is the latest production by the Food MythBusters from the Real Food Media Project. The Project is the brainchild of Anna Lappe and Corporate Accountability International. Check out the Project's site - amazing! 

It's an incredible resource to bookmark for insider food nerds like myself as well as, well, anyone who eats food. Visit, learn and share resources and/or the video you just watched.