THE GMO HEALTH DEBATE: War of the Blogs

THE GMO HEALTH DEBATE: War of the Blogs by William Olkowski, PhD. 10.1.12

This so called GMO health debate is shaping up to be another David and Goliath Story, with the prize – all life. We have on the Right, Big Ole Goliath paid for by the well heeled Monsanto Group (Monsanto and Nine Others, Including DuPont). They have already started the cascade of lies, twisted reasoning, ad hominum attacks, reinterpretation and critiques of poorly funded studies, Jeffrey Smith warns us about in the book Genetic Roulette. But now I see an actual gas-type attack starting and the fog is coming our way. I call this a reasoning fog, the most deadly weapon in their arsenal. The poorly funded Academics are now certainly hard to see. And then there are people like me, volunteers, who can think critically and are able to connect the dots. They don’t know I am here.

David and Goliath Are Made Up of People There’s similarity in structure between the protagonists but the Giant has bad feet, the ground is quaking. But the beast will fight back fiercely. It’s now and it’s for all life, including us humans, a most vulnerable species, VS the thousands or so employees (of the Monsantoes and their untold numbers of stock holders).

Here is a Weak Blast from the PRO CROWD?

The blast comes from discovery magazine, no author is specified in the reference my Google Search Engine creates which delivers my GMO mail each day. Normally this survey tool documents a ground swell of great proportions for Yes on 37 the California proposition to label genetically modified foods. Plus, my recent sampling of an old rocker crowd of 5,000 here at the Santa Barbara bowl (Led Zeplin was playing) of 5,000 at least 1,000 gave me the thumb up sign, mostly women. The seats were selling for over $80 bucks on average. Some were going for $125, so a guard tells me.

Here is the citation, check it out yourself.

News 13 new results for Genetically Modified Organisms Under Controlled: Why the New GMO Panic Is More Sensational Than Sense Discover Magazine (blog). Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have always been a controversial topic. On the one hand are the many benefits: the higher crop yields from pesticide- and insect-resistant crops, and the nutritional modifications that can make such a difference in … See all stories on this topic.

Read the above announcement and then read the review with a critical eye, at least with the same level of scrutiny the author displays in her critique. She is saying yes there is a problem but your proof needs further work and better descriptions. No argument there. The conclusion stands, however, until another study confirms or challenges the conclusion with evidence. That’s real science at work. Evidence needs confirmation. At least the study shows a potential exposure route and really bad physiological effects. And there are many other studies showing potential harm in animal tests. These are not mentioned by this author neither is Jeffrey Smith’s book, Genetic Roulette. And the announcement implies great yield improvements are happening, something debatable, for sure.

She does not take the conclusions of the study that GMO foods are causing tumors, but weakens the conclusion by saying its a small study of 200 rats, even though it ran for two years. Aparently its the longest known feeding study (from France). Note that our science establishment did not do the longest study so far.

BACK TO THE BATTLE FIELD

It’s us good guys, outnumbered and outgunned against the giant with all the money, over $30 million so far poured into the No on 37 campaign. The fear that labelling, already done in 50 other countries will reduce purchase and use of such foods is the source of this money. We have a pittance in comparison. But remember the Giant has only one EYE, did you notice it? He sees movement like we do, but he has a haze around his head. The haze is created by money, and he must see through this haze to move around.

These Monsantoes are very smart, experienced, well paid mix of business types, and even scientists who have swallowed the business hook. The hook is this twisted sharp tool called money, one of the main roots of all evil. These Monsantoes, if they think, think that money is how you keep score in life. They think the profit motive is untouchable, and its the only reason one has for living.

We have Right and Truth on our side, however, and ultimately these helpers will win the battle. We have brains that are connected to our ethics, certainly our politics. As for behavior, I think GMOs are criminal and the whole lot of 10 Genetic Modifying Companies should be bought by the all the governments where the Monsantoes have property; bought at cost, and run as an interim non-profit, and phased out. We don’t need GMOs and never have. We all ate before GMOs and will do so again. The existence of organic farmers, who demand a higher price for their products should be proof enough that good food is great and possible. But this requires people who could think clearly.

If corporations are people lets use the death penalty, after all when the dust settles and I am right many people have and will suffer needless painful deaths from the poison these poison peddlers are peddling. Close the businesses is the equivalent of the personal death penalty, no need to actually hang, or inject the CEOs, etc.

And we will not demand an apology for contaminating us and the biosphere with corrupted genetic material. No, just get out of the business, retire everybody, let an international UN committee run the 10 corporation as a public corporation and wind down the stock of contaminated seeds. Go out of business, go away.

I wish it were that easy. And I hope I am wrong, but right now there is a stink so bad it dwarfs even Fukushima, certainly one of the biggest stinkers of all times. How many stinkers do we need to change things? Apparently we need too many.

BIOSPHERE CONTAMINATION IS FOREVER

There is also concern for contaminating the biosphere, including our gut fauna. A contaminated gut fauna will convert other normal gut bacteria to producing Bt poisons, proteinacious poisons, on a continuous basis. Round Up Ready corn has the herbicide in the corn. This happens when the herbicide is sprayed over the plants since the plants are resistance to herbicide damage. Don’t worry we will breed a human tolerant strain like the microbes do, by selection. Selection here means no reproduction process is safe from exposure to these microbial poisons and “cides”. And we also have the herbicide glyphosate offering synergistic effects in combination with Bt genes in the same corn plant. This adds fuel on a hot fire already. Let’s throw the fire back at that eye.

HOW MUCH DOES A SCIENTIST COST

Cheaper than a bought-politician. Cardiologists start at least at $100 grand per year with benefits, a little above an entry policeman. My bet is that’s the salary level of a bench scientist in these companies. But I could be wrong. This group buys scientists by the bucket full, why they can even buy movies, certainly a science writer or two.

ON THE MOVIE FRONT

On this front however, surely the first effective blow was delivered by Jeffrey Smith in his book and movie, Genetic Roulette. Before that it was the Seeds of Deception. This Roulette movie could by itself take down the giant. He tells of test animals dying with disrupted guts, infections, tumors, a panoply of altered molecules producing organ changes and certainly not dying the best way, quick and fast, but slow and painfully.

The microbial poisons in Bt corn, for example, kill slowly acting like chronic poisons, like the blood thinner poison and medicine called Warfarin. This analogy is strong. To use warfarin against a rat, for example, the animals must be baited first to establish a habituary gustatory exposure route. Then after a day or two, the poison is introduced. Warfarin works very slowly, a few days after an effective dose is built up. With repeated ingestion the animal bleeds to death and dies from dehydration. During this time they wander and search frantically for water. After a “baiting” session or two dried carcasses, not picked up by the poisoner, can be found as the dying animals crawl deeper into their runways, die and dry up.

THIS IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE SO FAR

The biological issues Genetic Roulette alone raises, point to the need for a make over in FDA, EPA and USDA regulatory systems. Certainly a human health disaster OF MASSIVE PROPORTIONS is a potential outcome. It may dwarf Chernobyl reactor mortality cases, set at ONE MILLION. But genetic pollution is worse than even nuclear pollution. Genetic pollution is forever, while nuclear pollution is just a few hundred thousand years, for example. That makes genetic pollution potentially greater than nuclear pollution.

ON THE RELIGIOUS FRONT

I take it that Gaia is doing some furniture moving. She could be working on chopping off a chunk of humanity. However, beneficial in any case this will certainly lead to another financial fiasco with its old shell game: The rich getting richer, the poor, poorer. That’s two positive feedback mechanisms going in opposite directions. But the medical industry loves disease, after all, they cannot make money when someone just ups and dies. They must suffer so at least can get pain medications.

If I had any stock in these companies I would sell it now, for they are going to loose. Even with surely some multiple of the pennies in our war chest they will loose. “You can’t fool all the people all the time.” But we have the TRUTH. With the Truth as David we will damage the giant. Even the $30 million that the Monsantoes are using to fight the Yes on 37 campaign is chicken feed with these companies PROFITTING billions, every year. More is needed to cure ourselves.

WOMEN WAKE UP YOUR GUYS

Are women smarter? I wonder how many women work for the Monsantoes? Employees for Monsantoes probably number in the high 3 orders of magnitude, but I bet a maximum of only 5 % are women. And they have the lower incomes of course. That figure will tell a lot. The upper income levels in these companies are probably all males. Competition and battle is what males do, females are responsible for the next generation. So ladies, wake up your guys. Your kids are being damaged by GMO foods and have been so for almost 15 yrs, now. We are now discovering we are all contaminated with a microbial toxin, it’s the new generation’s DDT coming around again.

THE BIOSPHERE IS UP ON THE SELLERS BLOCK

What is at stake in this battle is not just WHO WINS THE battle, but all life for all future time. The GMO stuff is another set of world wide contaminants yes, but this poison in a new kid on the block. This one makes poison, like a small scale factory, you just have to get it out there into human guts. These inserted gene collections are molecule makers. These excrete proteins that are altering the genetics of the biosphere, BIGTIME.

Toxicants, like those produced by Bt destroy other molecules and tissues, certainly as they penetrate cell walls in insects, test animals and most probably any human who eats GMO contaminated foods. But it’s a slow acting poisoning process hard to detect. The food chains of the world are already contaminated by numerous pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, metals, and medicines. So are all the waterways, great areas of fertile soils, and air masses, ALL have their doses, like ours. Nobody is adding it all up. Nobody keeps tract of all the poisons. If they do, it should be public information, forget the patent laws.

We are not same people who fought Goliaths before, like Nazi Germany. We are distracted and poisoned to some degree, sometimes I think actually neurologically impaired. That’s how I account for the closeness of the political poll results. A lot of people even look neurologically impaired and can’t reason logically. I think neurological damage and political belief are connected but I am willing to learn differently. Please tell me that there is some brain power left in enough people to swing a moratorium. That’s what is needed now, stop all creation and production of GMO foods. We don’t know what we are doing with this technology.

This would not be the first time a halt was made in technological development. We have the stupid stop or brakes put on researching stem cells which was a big mistake. Before that the Supersonic Transport was stopped which was good. Now we must stop genetic food tampering.

SOME SPECULATIONS: What to do Now? DONT EAT PROCESSED FOODS

Eat Organic Pay more now so you don’t pay later to the Medical Industry.

By processed foods I mean anything with corn, soybeans, sugar, canola oil, cotonseed, sugar beets, Hawaiian Papaya (most) and a small amount of Zucchini and Yellow Squash, for starters. GM alfalfa is fed to livestock and that includes hamburgers, milk and milk products.. Eat organic foods because they are subject to third party verification.

HYPOTHESIZING that people are being exposed to nerve poisons is not just a speculation, many pesticides are derived from poison gases used in WWII. Organochlorines and organophosphates are all nerve poisons, and now many have been found to be hormone mimics. Nerve poisons are among the worst poisons as they kill nerve cells. So one should examine nerve diseases for rate changes, or frequency changes correlated in time to about 15 years ago when the first genetically engineered (GE) crops were approved (First Bush to G.W. Bush, etc). I will begin a search but can someone help me here?

Further, I would check the rosters of all the advisory committees at EPA, FDA, and USDA appointments for former employees of these companies. Those are the generals for the Other side, the Monsantoes. Lets get them out. Establish citizen advisors and pay them for their time and representation. Select from the Sierra Club, for example. Why not, we select from Monsantoes now, why not plain old citizens?

WHO WILL WIN? LIFE OR DEATH? AT WHAT COST?

I am rooting for David who is supported by volunteers like me. But Goliath is much bigger being supported by the Monsanto Group. The David and Goliath analogy is applicable here because a classic RESOURCE mismatch of epic proportions has started. This is certainly true if you count up the millions being poured into the impending misinformation campaign courtesy of the Monsantoe Group. Remember now, there are many scientists, certainly agronomists, horticulturalists, entomologists, physiologists, medical researchers, statisticians, and microbiologists working for the Monsantoes of the world. Some will lose their jobs if Yes on 37 passes and it cascades across the US. The strategy of the intricate defense can create a mental fog, in which the evidence gets obscured, all by design. Then our lawyers in Washington will all have a field day, talking to each other until millions more are threatened. Lawyers are not scientists, nor are all scientists biologists. Lawyers don’t examine biological data so just follow the authority they like. This is a risky way to make decisions affecting the whole Biosphere. 15-20 years of virtually constant human exposures to microbial proteinacious toxins and herbicides via the alimentary tract are turning up health problems in the simplest association, which is correlation. Even I can see the patterns after a few minutes of movie exposure watching Genetic Roulette. Percentages can be compared also. Even percentage comparison as indicators might show patterns for further examination.

And there are excellent theoretical indicators that physiological damage is very likely upon toxic exposure of living cells to Bt toxins, certainly those in the human gut. After all, Bt was discovered by insect pathologists and later showed great selectivity. There were different strains more effective in a pest control sense with different species, i.e., larval flies, Lepidoptera and Coleoptera. The toxin kills by disrupting the cell wall in the insect stomach, or at least somewhere along the alimentary tract. A tissue study can be done rapidly and monitored on a daily basis with chromatograph sampling and X-Ray diffraction (or whatever is now state of the art) studies to determine molecular structure. Toxicity evaluations based on low dose exposures with ability to detect genetic damage are vitally needed.

Consider a molecule able to tear through the alimentary tract in a wide range of insects. Consider the number of cells which would be needed to be killed to allow sporulation in the hemolymph of other insect species, mice and rats. An Ames Test would be low cost and can be used to evaluate if this toxic can destroy the same type of cells, i.e., to at least damage or kill the same number of cells damaged in an insect, in their guts. Now, proteinacious toxins able to kill insects, including hundreds of species are not innocuous. Just because feeding studies done with commercial Bt products show good safety margins, does not mean they are innocuous. The Bt spore and crystal protein toxin level required for ingestion by immature insects should be acknowledged as a poor indicator of safety when millions of people are eating the toxins.

Pregnant women and those just pregnant must be alerted to the potential teratogentic hazard. Proteinacious toxins can be expected to elicit immune responses. Opening gut tissues allows incompletely digested materials into the blood stream where they elicit an immune response, leading to inflammation, already associated with numerous aging diseases, like arthritis, heart disease, and even cancers. A real epidemiological study would have to compile all diseases associated with an immune response, so all microbial infections, especially West Nile Virus is a target, being so much in the news recently. Since 36,000 die each year from influenza, even an examination of changes in influenza cases might be useful. To this formidable list must be added allergies, attention deficit disorder, depression, mental diseases, liver and kidney diseases. These should also be evaluated individually and in combinations using multiple correlation analysis. Let’s use our big computers for such studies rather than collecting all the emails of the US into some huge building. Imagine now they will have robots reading our mail, including this message. I wonder what a machine would make of our stupidity.

Positive indicators in epidemiology indicate the need for emergency study of causes. So we must demand further study, but also demand a moratorium on new genetic food products while the issue gets examined. All sales of GMO products should cease.

TO THE GOVERNMENTAL WORKERS at EPA, FDA, AND USDA

Our government regulators are contaminated by former employees of the very companies they are tasked to regulate, and so is our government, right up to the not so Surpreme Court. From this sort of government impartiality we are told such genetically modified products are safe. Is it true that, THESE GMO PRODUCTS were approved with no evaluations, just assumptions? Nobody has told me other wise. It would be interesting to have a justice probe to understand the financial relationships of these companies to our elected officials and our civil servants, also.

RESEARCH COSTS BIG MONEY and, SO DOES ADVERTISING.

Independent research costs money and whatever publically supported scientists are able to assemble by way evidence has already alerted us to a pending acknowledged health epidemic OF TRAGIC PROPORTIONS. Early results are important as they point in dark directions for millions of people who have been eating these poisoned foods.

Some FACTs for Review.

Millions of People Have been Eating a Tiny Bit of Pertinacious Poison for about 15 years since the first GMO product was approved. This poison is produced by some kind of mix of genetic material forced in the genomes of crop plants which are eaten directly, or as a processed food. Corn and soybeans are fed to cows, so beef, milk and milk products are worth examinations. Other genetic alterations are occurring on various animals (mosquitoes, pigs, some other domestic animals) as well. This should be stopped on logical grounds alone. These poisons will effect all future generations once released, because they do not stay in the plant, they move with the wind in pollens. I bet no one cleared the pollens of GMO crops for air contamination. I would hate to breathe on any GMO farm.

The potential is there for tragedy, so I would like to be shown evidence to prove me wrong. Prove to me that Bt toxin is safe for realistic exposure levels for the life of test mice, and rats, for starters. More study would be helpful. Who will fund this? Not the biggest research institutions in the world, certainly not the pharmaceutical industry. Public sources like CDC, NIH, USDA, EPA, FDA will fund such studies? Can we believe them now? I would also like tests done on fungi, bacteria, viruses, worms, in vitro. This could be a tiered test system, moving up to more complex forms of life once and if damage levels are detected in the lower forms. We are already ready for upper level testing. But why go on?

A moratorium now may be most critical. Since adequate testing was not done before registration, let’ s stop sales, and test. Such studies should not be held up to the best studies money can buy at this moment. Risks based on lower than the 95% level can be correct and aid preventative strategies as they can lead to prevention of further genetic contamination. Such strategies are not subject to the 95% rule when the stakes are so high. Even a 70% level in such a regulatory context should be enough to stop further registrations, certainly further sales. Stopping the production of more genetic modified seeds until evidence shows they are safe is rational.

Our Toxic Substances Control Act needs a drastic overhaul.

MONEY- MONEY-MONEY – MAKES THE WORLD GO AROUND

Of course we all know where all the money is, it’s in the military and in the chemical industry, Monsanto and their ilk. We must get over money as the way to keep score. How about a Nobel Prize for Compassion and Pain relief? How exactly was those first GMO products released? Who was paid off? Lets retire them to Lompoc Prison. =========== end

SEEDS, TYPES, WHY WORRY, and Heirloom Seeds.

Notes for a radio broadcast on 91.9FM, KCSB,

9.13.12, program Spindrift, 9:30 am PST.

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION

BY Marika Davidek and William Olkowski, PhD. 9.13.12

Announcements

This quote is by the political philosopher, George Kennan, (from the biography by Ronald Seal, 2004).

THERE IS NOTHING IN MAN’S PLIGHT that his vision, IF HE CARED TO CULTIVATE IT, could not alleviate.  THE CHALLENGE IS TO SEE WHAT COULD BE DONE, and then to have the heart AND THE RESOLUTION TO ATTEMPT IT.”

Please keep this quote in mind as we explore the subject of seeds in today’s broadcast.

WHY ARE WE SELECTING SEEDS FOR TODAY’S PROGRAM?

The GMO companies, led by Monsanto have taken over 67% of the world’s supply of seed.

This means that most of the seed sources for most of the world’s food is in corporate hands, and we have no control over these companies.

This is direct threat to the world’s food supply.

1) SEEDS ARE THE ULTIMATE SOURCES OF OUR FOOD and Food SUSTAINS OUR LIVES,  and,

2) WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THESE CORPORATIONS.

Two aspects are important with these facts:

1) Why is this happening?  and,

2) What about the remaining 1/3rd of the world’s seeds?

1) Why is this take over happening?

LET ME EXPLAIN:

The attempted take over of the commercial seed industry has only occurred recently and is primarily aimed at pushing Genetically Modified Seeds.  This is done by monopolizing all seed sources available to farmers, but only selling the GMO seeds.  The farmers who don’t participate are sued when the pollens from the genetically altered crops are blown onto their crops which then become contaminated.  These contaminated crops are then subject to patent law infringement and the farmer is sued.  This is a deliberate attempt to manipulate farmers by threat so they will only buy GMO seeds.

Certainly this is an unethical practice, but if you have only money in mind, ethics will always be dammed.

For thousands of years seeds have been passed from generation to generation ever since the development of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent about 10,000 years ago.

So, today, the corporate policy of about 10 companies controls the largest proportion of the world’s seed and thus the main proportion of the world’s food supply.  And these companies are polluting the human food supply with strange genes never before found in most foods. This is an unprecedented TAKE OVER FOR THE sole PURPOSE OF MAKING MONEY FOR THESE COMPANIES.  We were doing fine before these companies existed.

THESE COMPANIES use GENETIC technology to pollute the sources of the human life everywhere.

IN THE PAST SUCH MONOPOLIES WERE BROKEN UP BY GOVERNMENT ACTION.  TODAY, with deregulation being the zeitgeist, such action cannot be expected for the foreseeable future.

Let me explain further with some botanical facts.

A seed is the result of a pollination process which is a sexual means of reproduction.  Sexual reproduction is a genetic means for suppressing mutations and for creating variation without mutations.  Most mutations are deadly.

Only 10% of flowering plants are pollinated without animal assistance.[3]  The most common form of abiotic pollination is wind pollination.  This form of pollination is predominant in grasses, most conifers (LIKE PINES), and many deciduous trees.

Plants can also be propagated vegetatively, but this just extends the same genetic combinations without suppressing mutations.  It’s asexual reproduction, strawberry runners are an example.

The most important animals responsible for sexual reproduction in plants are insects, particularly bees, but others also occur, such as bats and birds.

The results of such pollination are seeds.

So seeds are a plant’s method to reproduce itself.  It is also a storage and dispersal agent. Many seeds require a certain period of incubation and some sort of weathering.  Seeds need to be stimulated to send out its stems and roots to produce the first true leaves.

In the human past since agriculture started about 10,000 years ago, seeds were passed from generation to generation by farmers.  These seeds are open pollinated varieties, which are now called heirloom seeds.  Being open pollinated means the normal pollination process was in effect.  This means either wind or insect pollination, although there are seeds pollinated by bats and birds.

In 1950’s hybrid seeds were developed and seed companies sold these as ways to create bigger yields.  Hybrid seeds usually do not produce the same benefits in the second season, because pollination of these hybrids create uncommon genetic mixes, called “throwbacks”, which means the orginal parental genes are expressed.  And they can have good and bad aspects.

To get stable safe passage form year to year one needs open pollinated varieties.

SEEDS NEED THREE THINGS TO GERMINATE: WATER, LIGHT AND THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE.

Knowing a little bit about seeds makes you a better gardener and farmer by helping you to make conditions right for your food plants and to discourage weeds.  For example, to discourage weeds from sprouting, don’t disturb the soil as turning will bring up seeds.  If you must condition compacted soil turn it at night when the light conditions are low.  Weed seed needs light to germinate, besides moisture.

Most of the vegetable seeds of WHATEVER THE TYPE can be planted in the spring in the soil, add watered each day to keep the area wet, and presto, you will see a small stem pop up through the soil surface.  A small root also is formed and grows downward.

Some seeds however need some more help.  That’s because they normally require passage through the stomach of a bird or another animal.  Seeds don’t have legs so have been cleaver in figuring out how to get dispersed in the environment.  Some require cold temperatures, some hot, even fire to sprout.  Some have special hooks and sticky stuff so they can attach to an animal which will carry them around, which is how they can expand their ranges.

Scarification is the term used to describe any process for treating seeds to speed up their germination.  Sometimes a shallow knife scrap, or a light filing or a rub or two on sandpaper will open a hard protective seed coat.  Sometimes just a few weeks in a cold refrigerator, sometimes a chemical can stimulate germination.

Pests of Seeds

All sorts of organisms destroy seeds.  Of course birds eat enormous numbers of seeds as just a few minutes of BIRD observation will show.  Many insects eat seeds, milkweed bugs feed on the pods and seeds.  But when you want a seed to germinate and you put it into the ground sometimes they do not come up.  This is more covert. Fungi in the soil are always present and with the right temperature and moisture they will eat the seed before it can make it up into the light.  Many seed companies therefore treat their seeds with a fungicide.  With the growth of organic agriculture the seed community has developed seeds without these fungicides, so to get food without poison look for untreated seed, they are now common and are clearly labeled.

Heirloom Seeds

Fortunately, TODAY ABOUT 1/3 rd of the seed sources are not owned by Monsanto and their ilk.  So these sources are a force to push against these rapacious corporations.  There are many seeds still passed from generation to generation by farmers and seed savers.  One can learn about these sources by getting seeds from Heirloom sources.  These people are having a gathering in Northern California called the Heirloom Seed Expo.

This second annual conference in Petaluma, CA is expected to draw over 20,000 people.  There will be lectures, films, discussions and information exchanges at the Solano County fairgrounds from Tuesday the 11th to the 13th of September.  Many speakers from all over are coming to this little town formerly famous for its chicken ranches.  Also, the fairgrounds will be displaying over 3,000 heirloom varieties, some available to taste.

An heirloom seed is one that breeds true from seeds and is at least 50 years old in passage from season to season.  The heirloom seed industry is big in Europe and is just starting to grow here in the US as more and more people are starting home and community gardens.

Heirloom seeds, unlike genetically altered seeds, can be saved and replanted year after year. These open-pollinated seeds depend on nature’s pollinators for fruiting and evolving, whereas genetically modified seeds have been tampered with in the lab and are often treated with pesticides and herbicides.

The fear in the heirloom seed industry is that genetically modified seeds, which are patented and cannot be saved and replanted from year to year, will dominate, pollute and diminish the biodiversity of any given area.

The GMO crops are already known to pollute weeds, hybrid and organic crops by wind blown pollens.  This pollution is used by the Monsantos of the World to sue farmers claiming they have stolen their patented product.  UNBELIEVABLE.

When you own the supreme court and populate it with biologically ignorant lawyers what do you expect?  We could do a lot better.

The Heirloom seed industry is part of the pure food movement which got its start as a trade movement in the 1870s. Made up of food industry members, its primary mission was to advocate for a federal law against food adulteration.  But this idea is only now coming back to the US.

More information about the festival at

www.festivaloffruit.org.

A friend, Amigo Bob Cantisano, is one of the speakers and he will be talking about an early seed saver named Felix Gillet.  We visited a site about 10 years ago around Nevada City, in Northern CA where many American Chesnut trees are still living.  The American chesnut was devastated when a pathogen called Chesnut Blight was accidentally introduced to North American many years ago.  The chesnut blight virtually destroyed the entire Native forest of Chesnuts.

Bob showed me a stand of these trees and at the time I was wonder stuck for I thought they were all gone.  I also found a large American chesnut up in Oregonon a friend’s farm at another time.  This means we could bring back the American chesnut from such sources, something akin to restoring a long lost species like we are doing with the condor, for example.

Remember the quote at the start of the broadcast?  I paraphrase it as: If we had the vision there is nothing we could not do to alleviate man’s condition.  So lets have a vision of restoration.  With such a vision, heirloom seeds will play a big part.

Confirmed speakers include Bob Hornback speaking about Luther Burbank, Amigo Bob Cantisano speaking on Felix Gillet, and Ram Fishman talking about on Albert Etter. John Preece, Research Leader at the Davis Germplasm Repository of the USDA, will speak about the extensive fruit collection at Wolfskill experimental farm, including heirlooms from around the world. Axel Kratel, a fruit collector who has grown over 500 varieties of apples, and other deciduous and subtropical fruits, will speak on his experience with European heirloom cider and fresh eating apples.

WHAT TO DO NOW?

1: Get GMO labeling passed in California.  As California goes so goes the Nation.

2: Grow your own food and learn how to save seeds.

Labeling is first because the election is coming up rapidly and this labeling requirement can be accomplished by passage of a proposition here in CA.  Over a million people signed the petition to place the proposition on the ballot.  And when CA passes the proposition (37) other states will follow.  Then by knowing which foods contain genetically modified ingredients one can make a choice.  Now most of the main sources of calories in theUS(corn, soy beans, sugar beets, canola oil, others) are contaminated with GMO genes and their derived proteins which have not been tested for safety.  Roughly 80% of our food supply is already contaminated.

The deregulation push and some careful insertions of people from the GMO industry helped the regulatory agencies (FDA, EPA, USDA) skip over the testing requirements.  The assumption is that these products were safe.  It’s regulation by neglect.  The widespread contamination of the food supply and its associated genetic pollution is part of the payback for deregulation. 

We don’t need DEREGULATION WE NEED BETTER REGULATION.

With labeling we will be in a position to avoid buying any seeds or products sold by these companies (see list below).  Over 50 countries have already adopted such laws.  Only Canada and the US have not passed a labeling law

NEXT, START TO GROW YOUR OWN FOOD, STARTING WITH VEGETABLES.  I have been teaching and practicing this for over 40 years.  Now this idea is rising to become a reality as thousands of people are now starting to grow their own foods.  By growing your own vegetables you get pesticide free food, at little cost, and can begin to save your own seeds.  Plus there is no transportation cost.

==============

The following extract from The City People’s Book of Raising Food (by H. andW. Olkowski, now out of print but to be republished again in the spring).  This book is instructive about saving seeds.

“We have had particular luck with saving our own seeds from peas, beans, carrots, onions (leave them in the ground over winter, they will flower the second season), lettuce, coriander, New Zealand spinach, chard, cooking celery, parsley, upland cress, and tomato. 

With most of the above you can either collect the seed from the dried flower head, or, as in the case of chard, keep the entire branchlet of seed pods stored for the winter.  With tomatoes you’ll need to mash away the pulp from the seeds.  Then dry them thoroughly, spread out on a paper towel or screen, before you store them away.”+

Chaos Gardening – The Lazy Man’s Way

The lazy man’s way to grown your own seed is to let plants go to seed in the garden.  For example, just let a lettuce plant go to seed.  Then you can harvest seedlings to eat directly or weed them out where you want to plant something else.

In my SB garden, for example, I let borage, sweet allysum, cherry tomatoes, nasturtiums, and fennel seed in, but pull them out where I don’t want them to grow up.  Borage is a good bee plant, sweet alyssum feeds the beneficial insects, cherry tomatoes taste good right off the vine, nasturtiums flowers are edible and fennel is a nice spice and feeds a beautiful swallowtail butterfly.

THE URBAN AGRICULTURALIST IS IN A GOOD PLACE TO LEAD THE DEVELOPMENT OF A NEW SET OF LAND RACES IN COMPETITION TO THE GMO SEED COMPANIES OF THE WORLD.

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FINALLY WE LEAVE YOU WITH THE FOLLOWING STORY FROMRUSSIA.  Would you think seeds are worth human lives to defend?  The following true story raises this idea in a most dramatic way.

It’s a story we can gain courage and direction from:

This story is one of courage in the face of totalitarianism from the Nazi disaster which arose inGermanyin the 1930’s.

Most botanists and geneticists know the name Vavilov because he identified the centers of origin of cultivated plants.  His full name was Nikolai Ivanovich Vavilov -1887 – 1943).

Vavilov was an outspoken critic of Lysenko, a scientist elevated by Stalin to dominate Russian agricultural policy.  Lysenko’s ideas have subsequently been shown to be false, but not until they ledRussiaon a many decade farcical, miserable agricultural policy.  For his criticism of Lysenko, Vavilov was arrested and died in prison in 1943 near the end of WWII.  So he gave his life for his scientific beliefs.

Vavilov is famous for discovering the origin of the main centers of cultivated crops.

By the early 1940s inSt. Petersburg (formally calledLeningrad) then the focus of one of the turning points in WWII, Vavilov had created a seed bank which had in its vaults almost 400,000 seeds gathered from all over the world. While the city starved under siege from the Nazis, Vavilov’s staff barricaded themselves in the seed bank, protecting this precious resource from both the starving citizens ofSt Petersburg and their invaders. Over the 28 month period of the siege, twelve of those scientists starved to death while literally surrounded by food. Why? Because they believed that saving those seeds for future generations, was more important than their own lives.

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URBAN AGRICULTURAL NOTES: GMOs and Seed Savings

URBAN AGRICULTURAL NOTES:

GMOs and Seed Savings

By William Olkowski, PhD, 9.9.12.

The take over of the seed industry documented below has only occurred recently and is primarily aimed at pushing Genetically Modified Seeds.  This is done by monopolizing all seed sources available to farmers but only selling the GMO seeds.  The farmers who don’t participate are sued when the pollens are blown onto their crops which then become contaminated.  These contaminated crops are then subject to patent law infringement and the farmer is sued.  This is a deliberate attempt to manipulate by threat so farmers will buy the GMO seeds.  Certainly this is an unethical practice, but if you have only money in mind ethics will always be dammed.

What is most puzzling about this whole situation is that farmers are not suing for having their crops contaminated.  I know that farmers can’t afford the costs of suing, even if they thought they could win against such big corporations.  And I suspect there are no laws comparable to the patent laws, which involve property rights.  Property rights must be superior to pollution rights, especially in an era of deregulation.

In any case the world food supply is threatened by these seed monopolies and the GMO crop take over strategies.

What To Do Now?

First, don’t buy any seeds or products sold by these companies (see list below), and hope California passes the label GMO proposition 37.  If CA labels the rest of the US may follow.  But note that only Canada and the US have not passed a labeling law.  50 other countries have done so.

Next, start to grow your own foods, starting with vegetables.  I have been professing this for over 40 years and now all is becoming clearer and thousands of people are now starting to grow their own.  By growing your own vegetables you get pesticide free food, at little cost, and can begin to save your own seeds.

The following extract from The City People’s Book of Raising Food (by H. and W. Olkowski, out of print but to be released again in the spring) is instructive about saving seeds.

“We have had particular luck with saving our own seeds from peas, beans, carrots, onions (they will flower the second season), lettuce, coriander, New Zealand spinach, chard, cooking celery, parsley, upland cress, and tomato.  With most of the above you can either collect the seed from the dried flower head, or, as in the case of chard, keep the entire branchlet of seed pods stored for the winter.  With tomatoes you’ll need to mash away the pulp from the seeds.  Then dry them thoroughly, spread out on a paper towel or screen, before you store them away.”

All seed, whether bought or saved from your own garden, should be kept in a cool, dry place.  This is essential as you want seeds that will germinate with vigor the following season. Be attentive to selecting seeds from an individual plant that is vigorous, or earliest and most productive.  Mark it with a ribbon or marker, so as not to harvest it by mistake.

We have also been successful in letting many different plants go to seed in the garden and harvest seedlings to eat directly or weed them out where you want to plant something else.  I call it chaos gardening and have developed a philosophical essay to support the concept (to see this essay tune into the entomological philosopher.com, my blog, search under chaos.

The urban agriculturalist is in a good place to lead the development of a new set of land races in competition to the seed companies of the world.  Good luck and good night.

SEED INDUSTRY DATA 2007

History

Originally seeds were overwhelmingly in the hands of farmers and public-sector plant breeders.
Corp take-over

Gene Giants have used intellectual property laws to commodify seed supply – a strategy that aims to control plant germplasm and maximize profits by eliminating Farmers’ Rights.

Seed Market

In 2007 the global proprietary seed market was valued at US $22B which constituted 82% of the worldwide commercial seed market (According to Context Network).
The proprietary seed market is even bigger.  This includes brand-name seed that is subject to exclusive monopoly, i.e. intellectual property.  In 2007 total commercial seed market was valued at $26B (does not include farmer-saved seed).

The World’s Top 10 Seed Companies

2007 seed sales (US$ millions) – % of global proprietary seed market (Source: ETC Group).

1.Monsanto (US) –                    $4.9B – 23%
2.DuPont (US) –                       $3.3B – 15%
3.Syngenta (Switzerland) –               $2B      – 9%
4.Groupe Limagrain (France) –         $1.2B  –  6%
5.Land O’ Lakes (US) –             $917m – 4%
6.KWS AG (Germany) –            $702m – 3%
7.Bayer Crop Science (Ge) –     $524m – 2%
8.Sakata (Japan) –                   $396m – <2%
9.DLF-Trifolium (Denmark) –   $391m – <2%
10.Takii (Japan) –                    $347m – <2%
Top 10 Total –                          $14.785B – 67% (2/3 )of global Proprietary Seed Market

Adding up, Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta account for 47% of the worldwide proprietary seed market.
Monsanto’s biotech seeds and traits (including those licensed to other companies) accounted for 87% of the total world area devoted to genetically engineered seeds in 2007 (ETC Group).
Monsanto licenses its biotech traits to 250 companies
< 48% of DuPont’s seed revenue came from products that carried a biotech trait.
Global value of GM crops in 2007 at $6.9 billion (Cropnosis).

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