"planet news"

Happy Earth Day!

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature - the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

The snap peas are up! (...and I may have gotten irrationally excited when I saw these!)
Happy Earth Day, everyone! Treat everyday with respect for others and the planet, but be extra nice today!

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!

Headline Harvest: 2012 wrap-ups; fiscal cliff reviews; fish, fruit and climate change

Ah yes - a new year, a new bounty of food and farm news just for you! Time to settle in, drink a hot beverage and peruse the latest headlines:

2012: A review...
In fiscal cliff/farm policy news...
In climate news...
In GMO news...
Hmmm...
In hopeful news...
And, because I can...

Must watch: "Seeds of Freedom"


About the film (from Seeds of Freedom site):
Seeds of Freedom charts the story of seed from its roots at the heart of traditional, diversity rich farming systems across the world, to being transformed into a powerful commodity, used to monopolise the global food system.The film highlights the extent to which the industrial agricultural system, and genetically modified (GM) seeds in particular, has impacted on the enormous agro -biodiversity evolved by farmers and communities around the world, since the beginning of agriculture. 
Seeds of Freedom seeks to challenge the mantra that large-scale, industrial agriculture is the only means by which we can feed the world, promoted by the pro-GM lobby. In tracking the story of seed it becomes clear how corporate agenda has driven the take over of seed in order to make vast profit and control of the food global system. 
Through interviews with leading international experts such as Dr Vandana Shiva and  Henk Hobbelink, and through the voices of a number of African farmers, the film highlights how the loss of indigenous seed goes hand in hand with loss of biodiversity and related knowledge; the loss of cultural traditions and practices; the loss of livelihoods; and the loss of food sovereignty.  The pressure is growing to replace the diverse, nutritional, locally adapted and resilient seed crops which have been bred by small-scale farmers for millenia, by monocultures of GM seed. 
Alongside speakers from indigenous farming communities, the film features global experts and activists Dr Vandana Shiva of Navdanya, Henk Hobbelink of GRAIN, Zac Goldsmith MP (UK Conservative party), Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser, Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace International, Gathuru Mburu of the African Biodiversity Network, Liz Hosken of The Gaia Foundation and Caroline Lucas MP (UK Green party). 
This film is co-produced by  The Gaia Foundation and the African Biodiversity Network. In collaboration with GRAIN, Navdanya International and MELCA Ethiopia.