Bumblebees Dead After Neonicotinoid Pesticide Use in Oregon

Bumblebees Dead After Neonicotinoid Pesticide Use in
Oregon 
http://shar.es/xDqBL

Source: ecowatch.com

An estimated 50,000 bumblebees, likely representing more than 300 colonies, were found dead or dying in a shopping mall parking lot in Wilsonville, OR. Authorities confirmed Friday the massive bee die-off.

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Russia Warns Obama: Monsanto and Neonicotinoids.

 

Russia Warns Obama: Monsanto

Posted: May 28th, 2013 ˑ Filled under: Top News ˑ  31 Comments

The shocking minutes relating to President Putin’s meeting this past week with US Secretary of State John Kerry reveal the Russian leaders “extreme outrage” over the Obama regimes continued protection of global seed and plant bio-genetic giants Syngenta and Monsanto in the face of a growing “bee apocalypse” that the Kremlin warns “will most certainly” lead to world war.

According to these minutes, released in the Kremlin today by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation (MNRE), Putin was so incensed over the Obama regimes refusal to discuss this grave matter that he refused for three hours to even meet with Kerry, who had traveled to Moscow on a scheduled diplomatic mission, but then relented so as to not cause an even greater rift between these two nations.

At the center of this dispute between Russia and the US, this MNRE report says, is the “undisputed evidence” that a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically related to nicotine, known as neonicotinoids, are destroying our planets bee population, and which if left unchecked could destroy our world’s ability to grow enough food to feed its population.

So grave has this situation become, the MNRE reports, the full European Commission (EC) this past week instituted a two-year precautionary ban (set to begin on 1 December 2013) on these“bee killing” pesticides following the lead of Switzerland, France, Italy, Russia, Slovenia and Ukraine, all of whom had previously banned these most dangerous of genetically altered organisms from being used on the continent.

Two of the most feared neonicotinoids being banned are Actara and Cruiser made by the Swiss global bio-tech seed and pesticide giant Syngenta AG which employs over 26,000 people in over 90 countries and ranks third in total global sales in the commercial agricultural seeds market.

Important to note, this report says, is that Syngenta, along with bio-tech giants Monsanto, Bayer, Dow and DuPont, now control nearly 100% of the global market for genetically modified pesticides, plants and seeds.

Also to note about Syngenta, this report continues, is that in 2012 it was criminally charged in Germany for concealing the fact that its genetically modified corn killed cattle, and settled a class-action lawsuit in the US for $105 million after it was discovered they had contaminated the drinking supply of some 52 million Americans in more than 2,000 water districts with its “gender-bending” herbicide Atrazine.

To how staggeringly frightful this situation is, the MNRE says, can be seen in the report issued this past March by the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) wherein they warned our whole planet is in danger, and as we can, in part, read:

“As part of a study on impacts from the world’s most widely used class of insecticides, nicotine-like chemicals called neonicotinoids, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has called for a ban on their use as seed treatments and for the suspension of all applications pending an independent review of the products’ effects on birds, terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, and other wildlife.

 

“It is clear that these chemicals have the potential to affect entire food chains. The environmental persistence of the neonicotinoids, their propensity for runoff and for groundwater infiltration, and their cumulative and largely irreversible mode of action in invertebrates raise significant environmental concerns,” said Cynthia Palmer, co-author of the report and Pesticides Program Manager for ABC, one of the nation’s leading bird conservation organizations.

ABC commissioned world renowned environmental toxicologist Dr. Pierre Mineau to conduct the research. The 100-page report, “The Impact of the Nation’s Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds,” reviews 200 studies on neonicotinoids including industry research obtained through the US Freedom of Information Act. The report evaluates the toxicological risk to birds and aquatic systems and includes extensive comparisons with the older pesticides that the neonicotinoids have replaced. The assessment concludes that the neonicotinoids are lethal to birds and to the aquatic systems on which they depend.

“A single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid can kill a songbird,” Palmer said. “Even a tiny grain of wheat or canola treated with the oldest neonicotinoid — called imidacloprid — can fatally poison a bird. And as little as 1/10th of a neonicotinoid-coated corn seed per day during egg-laying season is all that is needed to affect reproduction.”

The new report concludes that neonicotinoid contamination levels in both surface- and ground water in the United States and around the world are already beyond the threshold found to kill many aquatic invertebrates.”

 

Quickly following this damning report, the MRNE says, a large group of group of American beekeepers and environmentalists sued the Obama regime over the continued use of these neonicotinoids stating: “We are taking the EPA to court for its failure to protect bees from pesticides. Despite our best efforts to warn the agency about the problems posed by neonicotinoids, the EPA continued to ignore the clear warning signs of an agricultural system in trouble.”

And to how bad the world’s agricultural system has really become due to these genetically modified plants, pesticides and seeds, this report continues, can be seen by the EC’s proposal this past week, following their ban on neonicotinoids, in which they plan to criminalize nearly all seeds and plants not registered with the European Union, and as we can, in part, read:

“Europe is rushing towards the good ol days circa 1939, 40… A new law proposed by the European Commission would make it illegal to “grow, reproduce or trade” any vegetable seeds that have not been “tested, approved and accepted” by a new EU bureaucracy named the “EU Plant Variety Agency.”

It’s called the Plant Reproductive Material Law, and it attempts to put the government in charge of virtually all plants and seeds. Home gardeners who grow their own plants from non-regulated seeds would be considered criminals under this law.”

 

This MRNE report points out that even though this EC action may appear draconian, it is nevertheless necessary in order to purge the continent from continued contamination of these genetically bred “seed monstrosities.”

Most perplexing in all of this, the MRNE says, and which led to Putin’s anger at the US, has been the Obama regimes efforts to protect pesticide-producer profits over the catastrophic damaging being done to the environment, and as the Guardian News Service detailed in their 2 May article titled “US rejects EU claim of insecticide as prime reason for bee colony collapse” and which, in part, says:

“The European Union voted this week for a two-year ban on a class of pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, that has been associated with the bees’ collapse. The US government report, in contrast, found multiple causes for the collapse of the honeybees.”

To the “truer” reason for the Obama regimes protection of these bio-tech giants destroying our world, the MRNE says, can be viewed in the report titled “How did Barack Obama become Monsanto’s man in Washington?” and which, in part, says:

“After his victory in the 2008 election, Obama filled key posts with Monsanto people, in federal agencies that wield tremendous force in food issues, the USDA and the FDA: At the USDA, as the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto Danforth Center. As deputy commissioner of the FDA, the new food-safety-issues czar, the infamous Michael Taylor, former vice-president for public policy for Monsanto. Taylor had been instrumental in getting approval for Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.”

Even worse, after Russia suspended the import and use of an Monsanto genetically modified cornfollowing a study suggesting a link to breast cancer and organ damage this past September, theRussia Today News Service reported on the Obama regimes response:

“The US House of Representatives quietly passed a last-minute addition to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill for 2013 last week – including a provision protecting genetically modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks.

The rider, which is officially known as the Farmer Assurance Provision, has been derided by opponents of biotech lobbying as the “Monsanto Protection Act,” as it would strip federal courts of the authority to immediately halt the planting and sale of genetically modified (GMO) seed crop regardless of any consumer health concerns.

The provision, also decried as a “biotech rider,” should have gone through the Agricultural or Judiciary Committees for review. Instead, no hearings were held, and the piece was evidently unknown to most Democrats (who hold the majority in the Senate) prior to its approval as part of HR 993, the short-term funding bill that was approved to avoid a federal government shutdown.”

On 26 March, Obama quietly signed this “Monsanto Protection Act” into law thus ensuring the American people have no recourse against this bio-tech giant as they fall ill by the tens of millions, and many millions will surely end up dying in what this MRNE report calls the greatest agricultural apocalypse in human history as over 90% of feral (wild) bee population in the US has already died out, and up to 80% of domestic bees have died out too.

Source

 

Lead Free Garden Hose

Buy a Lead-free hose: One easy way to cut down on the amount of lead in your immediate environment is to get a lead-free garden hose. Not only will it drastically reduce the amount of lead being deposited in your yard, it will also virtually eliminate direct exposure when watering by hand or tending to the garden. A lead-free garden hose is also safe for children to get a much-needed drink or play in the sprinklers, and pets will also be spared of potential lead poisoning from water bowls filled from the hose. The hoses are often white with a thin blue stripe, and are commonly sold in marine and recreational vehicle (RV) stores. An RV lead-free garden hose can also come in a beige color with blue stripe, to match the beige paint of many RVs. Although sold for RV and marine use, these hoses serve as great lead-free garden hoses.

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Ecological Farmet Educational Greenbelt Design

 Ecological Farmet Educational Greenbelt Design

by William Olkowski, PhD.

This idea grew out of a review I conducted for a presentation of the 5 small scale urban gardens we developed and the one small scale farm we created which grew into a school for disadvantaged young women.  We called the farm: Skyhigh.  This was because it was placed above the Sacramento Valley floor at about the 500 foot level.  A farm at this height assured safety from when and if the Berryessa Dam would break and flood the nearby areas.  Plus it would mean saving the beautiful productive soils in the valley from the common and destructive activities of civilization, principally roads, shopping malls, vast plots of residential single family dwellings instead of precious farmland.

I am summarize the experiences from the 5 small scale urban gardens.

Compost is key

Compost helps conserve water by reducing evaporation

Manures are key to compost

Animals: chickens and rabbits are most appropriate for small scale.

Compost helps conserve water by reducing evaporation

Ecologcial farmet Design

Why Educational?

Why Greenbelt?

Why should someone consider this idea of Small Scale Greenbelt Farming?

The vision we were working on at our peak of concentration on developing this farm was seeing the deliberate construction of green belts around major metropolitan areas that contain small scale “farmets”.  On such small farms where people grew plants and animals for their own food and for sale at farmers markets or though sustainable delivery of boxes of food on a subscription basis to people within an hours drive a new type of farm would/could arise with many public benefits.  Further such farms would also be educational sites where people would visit as an educational/ecological tour bringing their children and themselves to a beautiful place where food was produced and where they could see again what it takes to produce the life sustaining materials they need to live.

It was really the educational aspects that finally came to be the most important product we created.  We are really educators and like to pass on what we are learning to our friends, associates and community members.  Personalities certainly play a part in what one chooses to do with one’s life. But it is hard to both farm and educate.  Many people, however, see the need to do both and this book is for them from fellow travellers who were both farmer participants and as teacher/learners.  We hope the reader will see both the need for public educational programs linking farmers and urbanites and the need for educators to learn more about producing food from our work.

Selecting Design Criteria: No Pesticides, No Machinery, Low Water Use

Our plan was: No pesticides in the traditional sense.  Mulches are the key to weed management.  Larger scale composting means creating excellent nutrient rish compost for use as mulches.  This requires major sources of organic matter and that means a pickup truck and sources to haul materials in and for processing via composting.  I do not see how anyone can farm without a truck.  I bought a ’67 ford pickup which burned lots of oil which I replaced and could still buy parts for, especially oil filters.  This truck was simple enough that I could repair most problems and those I could not the local gasoline station could.

I did not want to spend the necessary time under a tractor making repairs as I have seen other small farmers do.  So we decided that one of the aspects we would test out is how little machinery we could use on our “farmet”, to coin a term.  We used rototillers but after very little use we found that they replant weeds that are a major labor problem for management without herbicides. We used lawn mowers to manage the grasses for fire protection but gradually switched to sheep.

Mulch the Whole Farm

At our peak we produce huge piles of compost from farm waste, especially chicken manure, but also wastes from the 10 ac or so gardens we constructed.  I also hawled in truck loads of rice hulls from the University of California, Davis, about 20 minutes away.  I used to joke that the principle product of that school for our farm at least was the dump where they piled the rice hulls mixed with manures from their animals quarters.

This idea of setting up the farm based on wastes as a key input has a theoretical base.

See energy flow diagram showing the largest component is waste (i.e. the decomposer community) and this fits into the larger farm community since the biggest energy material flow is carbon.  Rice hulls and animal manures are key examples.

Fires and Protection from Fire

Over the years we learned that fire was an important component of the naturally occurring ecosystem within which we lived and thus that must be a focus for design.  Fires could be assumed to be at least an every 10 year of so event.  We saw two big fires which threatened our farm while we farmed.  ONe we set by mistake, the other someone else set by mistake.  This was a turning point for us as we switched to using sheep as fire protection grazers to keep grasses low and roadways constructed in concentric circles around the main buildings.  The roadways were kept clear by our donkeys.  The idea was to eat the sheep while also getting inexpensive grazing-fire protection rather than running mowers, using personal time and energy as well as fossil fuels.

Skills and Knowledge – Design Tools

I certainly felt overwhelmed at times doing plumbing, electrical repairs and installations, installing pumps and water delivery lines for animals and various shelters. I joked that what people were seeing with my work was “entomological carpentry, entomological plumbing and an entomological electrician installations.  I did not mind the larger scale composting and got very good at it, and I did all the veterinary work of castrating, fixing small wounds, injecting drugs, shearing and all the hoof cleaning on the donkeys, and trimming on the goats as our veterinarian taught me.  At age 55 I learned how to shear sheep, a most taxing job to learn, but once learned could be a good income for someone much younger.

Degree of Mechanization

I did not want to spend the time to repair equipment so we decided that one of the aspects we would test out is how little machinery we could use on our farmet.  We used rototillers at first but after very little use we found that they replant weeds that are a major labor problem for management without herbicides.

Mulches made from compost was our main weed control on the beds with hand picking and shovel extirpation.  We raised seedlings in a greenhouse and transplanted them to the beds.  That gives them time in a protected environment to grow fast and after transplanting are past the most vulnerable stage for pests to eat is also past.

That and subsurface leaky pipe irrigation were our first efforts at watering.  Weeds grow from watering.  Concentrating the irrigation to the root zone prevents a great deal of weed growth as weed seeds in the soil need sunlight as well as water to germinate.  Our walkways between beds were dug out and filled with rice hulls a local waste product.  This helped reduce weed growth in walkways.  Morning glory was the biggest weed problem at first, but later grasses invading beds became most problematic.

We used lawn mowers to manage the grasses surrounding the garden for fire protection but gradually switched to sheep.  I broke at least four commercial lawn movers before switching to sheep.  Lawn mowers do not work very well, especially against grasses, compared to domesticated lawns.

Compost into mulches for the whole farm is based on wastes as a key input.

See energy flow diagram showing the largest component is waste and this fits into the larger farm community since the biggest energy material flow is carbon.  Rice hulls etc.

Animals: Protein is the Key Production Goal

Probably the most significant step anyone can make is to take on the responsibility for a pet, a domestic animal or for that matter another human being. The attraction seems to be innate. We loved chickens, got to love sheep, got donkeys to protect sheep from coyotes and other .predators, got to love donkeys, got goats for fiber, got 12 geese, later rabbits and loved them all. The result was a complicated set of needs for food, care, housing, and ultimately time. Given most peoples’ needs to have mobility the decision to raise animals means being tied down.  Animals do not understand holidays, Sundays vs. weekdays, have babies which are difficult to time within other chores, get sick and die and are dependent for their lives on your skill, patience and knowledge.

We had 3 chicken runs and three different houses which we constructed, the best being those with concrete floors.  I mention this detail as concrete floors properly connected to the walls can keep rats and mice from gaining entry. Our first chicken house at Skyhigh had a ramp up into the nest boxes where we would harvest the eggs.  One day while raising the cover on the nest boxes I starred right into the hind end of a skunk who had broken an egg and was munching away.  Maybe the distraction of food saved me from a miserable spraying, but I quickly closed the lid.  I did not want to trap the skunk as skunk kill and eat mice, always some help around chicken feed.

So I resolved the problem by taking away the ramp.  The chickens could jump/fly the two-three feet to enter the laying areas.  This left the skunks to patrol and kill any mice they could find.  They could not jump the distance to get back into the laying areas.

These separated areas keep the new layers from the old, and the babies from the developing hens.  Essentially there are three age groups, with a continuous effort to raise new layers each year.  That was one objective but I think it could have been scaled down, since many birds can lay for more than a year.  Three groups of 250 was what we were managing at our peak.  These bigger older birds don’t lay as many eggs and some are fleshier depending upon the breed.  We had a mix so that we could produce eggs with multiple colors.  Helga was the one who mixed the different eggs, white, brown and greens (Arucana breed).  This chocolate box arrangement almost double the value of our product making it the highest value of all the eggs sold where we supplied.

One needs an outlet for the older hens as we could not eat as many as we produced, and throwing away so much good food seemed too wasteful.  So we found a small chicken butchering operation inSacramentoand sold them after butchering to the upscale Chepanese Restaurant run by Alice Waters where we also sold eggs, lamb and some vegetables.

In our animal mania we drew the line at milking animals because we knew we could not devote the extra time each day to milk and keep the milk clean and safe. Fiber was our targetted crop for the sheep, goats, and rabbits.  The natural colored wool from the Marino breed had a reddish brown soft pastel color which was highly attractive.

Growing vegetables is comparatively easy compared to raising animals which is a 24/7 job.  There was many a night when I had to get up to solve one problem or another.  An example will suffice.

A Bobcat Visits the Chicken Coop

Helga pokes me in the ribs to get up and find out why the chickens are squawking so loud and so animated.  It’s about 5 am and still dark.  So I stumble out of bed (around the cat) and walk over to the nearby coop where I here more screeching and I see a pile of chickens in one corner on the floor.  I go in and like a fool close the door behind me.  Then I see it: a BIG pussy cat, actually looks like a small tiger, very colorful and powerful lean standing very still on the other side.  I go back to our trailer and get my insect net, for want of something to defend myself.  I only had my underwear on as it was a hot night.  I go back and open the door leaving it open this time, go in and slowly walk toward the large pussy who still stand rock still.  Moving slowly I go up to it and touch it with the pole end of my net and in a flash it’s gone out the door. Faster then I could see it move.

I go back to the pile of chickens who are frightened out of their tiny minds and start tossing them out the door.  About 25 were killed from the smothering pile, but I saved a good bunch of the silly things.  I stored most of them in the freezer but it took the rest of the day.  I will never forget being so close to a bobcat, a most marvelous looking animal who had climbed the outside wall of the coop, found a hole to fit his/her head through and got inside.  Thousands of these animals are killed inCaliforniaalone, for so called sport.  I don’t understand killing for sport, where’s the sport?  Buying the high powered scope mountain cannon they sell almost everywhere?  Try tennis, golf or checkers.  They are real sports.

Water Catchment: Aspirations Go Beyond Reality and Self Capability.

After purchasing the 40 ac piece in the early 1970s and developing the farm for 10-15 years finally living there full time, with part time pest control design work, we took time to reexamine the situation.  We had by then purchased another 20 acres that came up for sale next to our property and it had a good 10-15 gals/min well functioning.  Anyway that’s what the local pump company told us was the yield.

Wow, with that much water our farm would be tropical paradise, imaging no water limitations.  Their estimate (done without a flow meter) was off by 100%.  They were paid by the sellers.  Water flooded our minds and stopped critical examination.  I can imagine what a gold discovery must do.  After buying came the realities.  The first was that the well was 600 feet below our main growing sites and the water needed to be pumped uphill that distance. This system was set up to gravity feed water to the house and gardens, etc.  We installed the necessary water lines (2,000 feet of 2 inch plastic pipe) and the biggest electric wire we could afford (#6, about $2.oo/ft) and we started to use the water to refill our 2,000 gal tank installed up on our hill another 100 feet up the hill thereby adding the need for a greater lift.  One year it cost us over $300 per month to run the pump for the late season months (Oct.- Feb or March, depending upon the rainfall).  Fortunately, we were running the  farm on about 2,000 gals/day with a very elaborately distributed drip and subsurface irrigation so our needs were low and water conservation practices were working.

However, the yearly rainfall pattern normally ran from November at the earliest to March at the latest, then we had to live on pumped water.  By the end of the year the ground water was being fast depleted so took at least a day to refill the tank we used to draw from.  Also there were times when an error occurred and a hose was left running and all 2,000 gals was wasted.  During the driest part of the year, when the rains were late, things got very tight.  So to fix this problem I planned out a water catchment system to store 90,000 gallons minimum so we could use this rainfall during the driest months.  As such projects go we got very close to making the plan work.  We got a grant to demonstrate the system and bought 10 tanks of 2,500 gals each and installed them where rain fall would fill them from run off from small buildings (chicken coops, garage, etc.) and we could pump from the tanks to gardens or animal shelter, or even the house.

This project took us about 2 years before we had all the gutters connected to the tanks and the tanks to use locations, and catchment sites (buildings).  We also had a 2 ac pond storing about 2 ac  feet of water (ca. 100,000 gals) at most, about half of which was lost to evaporation by the  fall each year.  By December without rain the pond went dry.  We tried to augment the size of the pond by digging deeper and building up the dam, but the soils in the area open wide cracks when dry and although we tried to coat the bottom of the pond with clay it would have been better to leave the old pond as it was.  In some years at least it held water until the first rains.  Our new pond with higher capacity never made it to December.  So another brain storm came about and I built a 60,000 gallon cistern.  We lined the cistern with thick polyethene and pumped it near full one year from the pond during the winter when water was plentiful.  Since the surface area of the cistern was much smaller than the pond I reasoned we could save water from being evaporated, possibly even with a pool cover.  Pumping water laterally is much more efficient than pumping water uphill.  I was so cleaver and was just hoping it would work.

Then the natural resistance factors entered the picture.  With the cistern empty before the first rains we found a series of punctured holes in the lining.  It was clear that a hoofed animal had fallen into the pond and had punctured many holes through our precious polyethylene and got out.  I tried various patches but nothing seemed to work and that project was moved to the back burner.  I still believe one can run a small farm on just rainfall stored properly and wish I had research funds to make such a demonstration actually work.

Old Age Catches Up

One day I watched Helga walk up to the main house from our trailer where we lived and a new life became my goal.  What good is a farm if one cannot live a good life on it?  She could not really do the work she used to do, and I had to grit my teeth and face reality.  Fortunately at that time, about 1996 or 1997 we got the message that Helga’s father wanted to see us and we made our usual trip south to Santa Barbara, which we did for over 30 years.  When we visited SB, it was usually a vacation for us as the folks fed us, we slept, went to movies and made painting excursions to nearby parks, and beaches.

This trip was different.  Dave looked very tired from helping care for his wife, who now was deep in the grips of The A disease, which was our way of saying Alzheimer’s Disease.  And the story he told us about his health care helpers did not bode well, and we left them after 2 weeks, with regrets as our lives were so complicated at that point that we could do nothing about helping them out.  Besides, Dave had moved a woman into the house who became his cook, and helper with his wife.  He told me where his check books was kept and the records for the house, etc.  So he knew what was coming and did wave us good bye.  Later we were told he had died in his favorite chair and we decided to leave the farm, sell the office/house in Berkeley, and go take care of Helga’s mother.  So we moved to Santa Barbara, with the wrenching that goes with leaving places full of so many memories and fine friends.  We thought at one time that the farm would be our last repose. I would not have mined to be buried with our favorite cat, for example.  It could have worked if we could pass the farm to some sympathetic and sympatric souls who could carry on the same dream.

This should tell a story to readers about ones fantasies compared to a real view of what is in store for each of us.  Watch out for your dreams, they can become real, but then you learn how to dream better the next time.

The reality was that we could not attract the right people who could join us in this vast, yes, vast small scale enterprise.  Our friends don’t have the money, nor commitment to the same dream.  I felt alone again, at least I had my wife companion.

What Lessons Were Learned?

To create an alternative agriculture in the US, will require public help.  Sure, with enough money, from some sort of inheritance, or bonus income, the small scale idea for food production can be part of most people’s lives, but they would have to appreciate having and caring for and eating animals, and the ability to grow plant foods, at least for themselves and whoever helps them.

What do I mean by public help?  Various possibilities arise in answer.  Public help would mean zoning for small scale farmets, possibly around metropolitan areas, say as part of greenbelts, which could also incorporate playing fields, for example.  It’s not that far fetched.  We used to charge a small fee ($2/person) for a tour of the  ” farmet and showed various experiments in plant and animal cultivation, for example.  Everybody who came and many hundreds did so in the 5-10 years our farm ran at top form.  It was an educational source for many people, who surely had a family history in farming.  I call this option The Greenbelt Farm Option.

end

 

THE DIRTY DOZEN AND THE CLEAN 15 CAMPAIGN

THE DIRTY DOZEN AND THE CLEAN 15 CAMPAIGN

TOWARD A PESTICIDE FREE WORLD SOCIETY

From : http://naturalsociety.com/dirty-dozen-fruit-vegetables-clean-15/

The Dirty Dozen

Without further ado, the dirty dozen:

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Nectarines (imported)
  7. Grapes
  8. Spinach
  9. Lettuce
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Blueberries (domestic)
  12. Potatoes

Plus 2 more to add to the dirty dozen:

  1. Green beans
  2. Kale/Collard Greens

Going into a little more detail for the dirty dozen, 100 percent of imported nectarines tested positive for pesticides, as well as 98% of apples and 96% of plums. Grapes had 15 pesticides in a single sample, while blueberries and strawberries each had 13. As an entire category, grape samples contained 64 different pesticides; bell peppers had 88 different residues, cucumbers 81 and lettuce 78.

The Clean Fifteen

And the clean fifteen:

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Cabbage
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Eggplant
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cantaloupe (domestic)
  12. Sweet Potatoes
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Watermelon
  15. Mushrooms

dir

AT LAST SOMETHING GOOD OUT OF CHRISTIANITY

AT LAST SOMETHING GOOD OUT OF CHRISTIANITY

Labeling GMO’s?

By William Olkowski, PhD

Well, I am clapping for my religious friends and family for a recent report by the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA), on how to end world hunger.  As part of a broad alliance of world wide Christians some ecological sense may be emerging from a group I have little knowledge of.  The EAA are calling for food and farming systems instead of systems based on pesticides and GE seeds.  Haleluya!!

What’s so funny about that sort of statement is they think its based on the ” Christian values of fairness, care for creation and sustenance for generations. This global network of Christians calls for investment in agroecology. Why? Because it works.”

We should take “Whatever Works”, as Woody Allen recommends, but while keeping an open mind, let’s not let the brains fall out (from my favorite Skeptic), and forget that religions are still the greatest force working to keep us human’s apart.  And as long as we are separated there will be wars over oil, water, land, wildlife and other resources.  But there is common ground hardly explored, food security is one of them.

 

This is a global Week of Food Action, and as part of the push, a broad alliance of Christians from around the world has released a set of recommendations for ending world hunger.

Despite best attempts by the chemical industry to use “feeding the world” as moral justification to sell pesticides and proprietary, genetically engineered (GE) seeds to farmers worldwide, members of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance are calling for investment in agroecology. Why? Because it works.  Read further as there are some good examples which could have wide applicability.  Some few successes amidst so many tragedies, so let’s give the successes some clapping.

http://www.e-alliance.ch/en/s/news/single/article/2012/10/16/press-release-churches-take-action-for-food-justice/

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.

===========

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.

end

 

 

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).

end

94 Fold Increase in GMO Crops in US

94 FOLD INCREASE IN GMO CROPS in US from 1996-2011.

Crops include: soy, corn, cotton, canola, sugar beets (main source of sugar), squash, alfalfa (main source for meats and milk), and papaya.

50 countries already have labeling, including Russia, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Australia.

This is a major problem because a 94-fold increase in GMO hectarage from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to 160 million hectares in 2011 makes biotech crops the fastest-adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture.  More than half the world’s population, 60% or 4 billion people, live in the 29 countries that are currently planting biotech crops. These numbers are expected to grow. In some countries, GMO crops count as the majority of all soy, corn, cotton, and canola grown. Other GMO crops include sugar beets, squash, alfalfa and papaya. Everything including bread, cereal, frozen pizza, soup, soda—all sorts of processed foods—now contain GMOs. One concern is that we do not know whether GMOs are safe for humans to eat because the studies have not been done.

In 1998, a loud outcry among consumers in the European Union resulted in mandatory labeling of foods containing GM ingredients. Over the past 15 years the list of countries that require some form of labeling has grown to include Russia, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, Venezuela, India, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Czech Republic, Australia and New Zealand.

Read More:

http://www.downtoearth.org/blogs/2012-09/environment/gmo-foods-should-be-labeled-part-iii

GMOs and Seed Saving

GMOs and Seed Saving

By William Olkowski, PhD, 8.29.12.

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 denying all seed sources available to farmers and thereby 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 hopeCaliforniapasses 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.  I take it as another example of how the US has slipped backward.

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 by Viva Publishers, Berkeley, CA 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 Gardening.

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 supply of  d 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).

end