Our Poisonous Food Supply
I remember being outraged in a college class in 2002 when our professor asked us to debate the controversial decision that Zambian President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa made, when he decided not to accept 50,000 tons of GMO food aid that was badly needed to feed his country of starving citizens.
Now I realize he clearly understood something I did not at that time.
The Chicago Tribune did sum it up best:
“The president of Zambia says his nation would ‘rather starve’ than feed genetically modified corn to its people. So when the government of Zambia said ‘thanks but no thanks’ to much-needed food aid that was to contain more than 50,000 tons of genetically modified corn from the United States, it was one of the most significant pieces of evidence that the rest of the world has not joined the United States in its unquestioning acceptance of what the British call “’Frankenstein foods’ aka GMO crops.”
In the U.S., the soil’s capability to sequester carbon has been severely deteriorated due to the enormous increase in the use of nitrogen fertilizers, mostly to raise Monsanto’s genetically engineered crops for animal feed. … Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer kills soil life, including earthworms and microorganism
Of all the mega-corps running amok, Monsanto has consistently outperformed its rivals, earning the crown as “most evil corporation on Earth!” Not content to simply rest upon its throne of destruction, it remains focused on newer, more scientifically innovative ways to harm the planet and its people.
If you want to find a complete History of Monsantos crimes:
But what is a Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)?
Genetic modification is the process of forcing genes from one species into another unrelated species that would never happen naturally. The injected genes come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals and sometimes humans. For example, goats injected with spider genes to produce milk with stronger proteins, or strawberries and tomatoes injected with fish genes to protect the fruits from freezing.
Why is there so much controversy?
Roundup Ready crops are engineered to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. The active ingredient in the herbicide is glyphosate, which the World Health Organization (WHO) recently deemed probably carcinogenic to humans. In the scientific literature, Roundup Ready corn is referred to as NK603.
The study has been heralded as “the most thorough research ever published into the health effects of GM food crops and the herbicide Roundup on rats.” Images of the tumor infested rats took social media by storm.
Among other findings, the research found that 50 to 80 percent of female rats developed three large tumors at the start of the 24th month. Approximately 70 percent died, in comparison to 20 percent in the control group.
Furthermore, the tumors of rats of both sexes fed GM corn were two to three times bigger than rats not fed GM corn. The massive tumors developed in females after seven months. Comparable tumors didn’t develop in the control group until 14 months. The researchers report that the tumors were “deleterious to health due to a very large size.”
According to the Center For Food Safety, Monsanto has already been able to gain massive control of the food market. In fact, up to 85% of corn, 91% of soy and 88% of cotton (cottonseed oil is used in most processed foods) today are GMO. It is estimated that 75% of items found on grocery store shelves are genetically modified. That is a scary fact given the white elephant in the room, that modern diseases such as autism, autoimmune disorders, cancer and many behavioral disorders, are skyrocketing due to the consumption of GE and GMO foods.
Scientists and doctors know that the spike in human body malfunctions has to be environmental in nature due to the high growth we’ve seen over the past decade. Glyphosate is now found in urine, blood, water and breast milk throughout the world.
“How could we have ever believed that it is a good idea to grow our food with poisons?” – Dr. Jane Goodall
Two reports published add to the already large and convincing body of evidence, accumulated over more than half a century, that agricultural pesticides and other toxic chemicals are poisoning us.
According to the World Health Organization, whose report focused on a range of environmental risks, the cost of a polluted environment adds up to the deaths of 1.7 million children every year.
In 2017, facing the prospect under the most corporate-friendly administration in history, of dismantling what little remains of the government’s ability to stop the rampant poisoning of our soils, food, water and air—the very resources upon which all life depends.
From the Guardian:
“A new report, being presented to the UN human rights council on Wednesday, is severely critical of the global corporations that manufacture pesticides, accusing them of the “systematic denial of harms”, “aggressive, unethical marketing tactics” and heavy lobbying of governments which has “obstructed reforms and paralysed global pesticide restrictions.”
The report says pesticides have “catastrophic impacts on the environment, human health and society as a whole”, including an estimated 200,000 deaths a year from acute poisoning. Its authors said: “It is time to create a global process to transition toward safer and healthier food and agricultural production.”
The Crop Protection Association, a lobbying group representing the $50-billion agri-chemical industry, fired back at the report with its standard false claim that pesticides “play a key role in ensuring we have access to a healthy, safe, affordable and reliable food supply.”
The excessive use of pesticides contaminates soil and water sources, causing loss of biodiversity, destroying the natural enemies of pests, and reducing the nutritional value of food. The impact of such overuse also imposes staggering costs on national economies around the world.
‘Exposure to pollution kills millions of children, WHO reports find’
A FDA-registered food safety laboratory tested iconic American food for residues of the weed killer glyphosate (aka Monsanto’s Roundup) and found ALARMING amounts.
Just to give you an idea of how outrageous these amounts are, independent research shows that probable harm to human health begins at really low levels of exposure – at only 0.1 ppb of glyphosate. Many foods were found to have over 1,000 times this amount! Well above what regulators throughout the world consider “safe”.
Why we all should be concerned about eating glyphosate:
Independent research links glyphosate to cancer and it has been deemed a probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s team of international cancer experts. The childhood cancer rate is steadily rising and experts say that they don’t know why. Why are they not taking a closer look at these facts?
Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum antibiotic killing the good bacteria in your gut. Poor gut health is linked to inflammation and a whole host of diseases. As GMOs laced with glyphosate are commonly fed to farm animals, this could very well be contributing to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
It binds with vital nutrients in the soil (like iron, calcium, manganese, zinc) and prevents plants for taking them up. Glyphosate is thereby making food less nutritious!
“I have been a wheat farmer for 50 yrs and one wheat production practice that is very common is applying the herbicide Roundup (glyposate) just prior to harvest. Roundup is licensed for preharvest weed control. Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup claims that application to plants at over 30% kernel moisture result in roundup uptake by the plant into the kernels. Farmers like this practice because Roundup kills the wheat plant allowing an earlier harvest.”
A wheat field often ripens unevenly, thus applying Roundup preharvest evens up the greener parts of the field with the more mature. The result is on the less mature areas Roundup is translocated into the kernels and eventually harvested as such.
The chart below of skyrocketing applications of glyphosate to US wheat crops since 1990 and the incidence of celiac disease is from a December 2013 study published in the Journal Interdisciplinary Toxicology examining glyphosate pathways to autoimmune disease. Remember that wheat is not currently GMO or “Roundup Ready” meaning it is not resistant to its withering effects like GMO corn or GMO soy, so application of glyphosate to wheat would actually kill it.
The consequences of this systemic inflammation are most of the diseases and conditions associated with the Western lifestyle:
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Heart Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
And the list goes on and on and on …
THE SOLUTION – Sustainable Agriculture & Permaculture
Since World War II the number of farms has declined and the average farm size has increased.
Agriculture has changed dramatically, especially since the end of World War II. Food and fiber productivity soared due to new technologies, mechanization, increased chemical use, specialization and government policies that favored maximizing production. These changes allowed fewer farmers with reduced labor demands to produce the majority of the food and fiber.
Although these changes have had many positive effects and reduced many risks in farming, there have also been significant costs. Prominent among these are topsoil depletion, groundwater contamination, the decline of family farms, continued neglect of the living and working conditions for farm laborers, increasing costs of production, and the disintegration of economic and social conditions in rural communities.
When the production of food and fiber degrades the natural resource base, the ability of future generations to produce and flourish decreases. The decline of ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia, the Mediterranean region, Pre-Columbian southwest U.S. and Central America is believed to have been strongly influenced by natural resource degradation from non-sustainable farming and forestry practices.
Diversified farms are usually more economically and ecologically resilient. While monoculture farming has advantages in terms of efficiency and ease of management, the loss of the crop in any one year could put a farm out of business and/or seriously disrupt the stability of a community dependent on that crop. By growing a variety of crops, farmers spread economic risk and are less susceptible to the radical price fluctuations associated with changes in supply and demand.
Properly managed, diversity can also buffer a farm in a biological sense. For example, in annual cropping systems, crop rotation can be used to suppress weeds, pathogens and insect pests. Also, cover crops can have stabilizing effects on the agro ecosystem by holding soil and nutrients in place, conserving soil moisture with mowed or standing dead mulches, and by increasing the water infiltration rate and soil water holding capacity. Cover crops in orchards and vineyards can buffer the system against pest infestations by increasing beneficial arthropod populations and can therefore reduce the need for chemical inputs. Using a variety of cover crops is also important in order to protect against the failure of a particular species to grow and to attract and sustain a wide range of beneficial arthropods.
Optimum diversity may be obtained by integrating both crops and livestock in the same farming operation. This was the common practice for centuries until the mid-1900s when technology, government policy and economics compelled farms to become more specialized.
In simplest terms, sustainable agriculture is the production of food, fiber, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare.
This form of agriculture enables us to produce healthful food without compromising future generations’ ability to do the same.
The primary benefits of sustainable agriculture are:
Sustainable farms produce crops and raise animals without relying on toxic chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified seeds, or practices that degrade soil, water, or other natural resources. By growing a variety of plants and using techniques such as crop rotation, conservation tillage, and pasture-based livestock husbandry sustainable farms protect biodiversity and foster the development and maintenance of healthy ecosystems.
“Food production should never come at the expense of human health.”
Since sustainable crop farms avoid hazardous pesticides, they’re able to grow fruits and vegetables that are safer for consumers, workers, and surrounding communities. Likewise, sustainable livestock farmers and ranchers raise animals without dangerous practices like use of nontherapeutic antibiotics or arsenic-based growth promoters. Through careful, responsible management of livestock waste, sustainable farmers also protect humans from exposure to pathogens, toxins, and other hazardous pollutants.
A Sustainable Food Future
Although industrial agriculture currently dominates the food system, public awareness of the problems caused by this model has grown rapidly, building extensive support for sustainable agriculture, creating a robust market for sustainable foods, and inspiring formidable demand for agricultural policy and regulatory reform.
A common philosophy among sustainable agriculture practitioners is that a “healthy” soil is a key component of sustainability; that is, a healthy soil will produce healthy crop plants that have optimum vigor and are less susceptible to pests. While many crops have key pests that attack even the healthiest of plants, proper soil, water and nutrient management can help prevent some pest problems brought on by crop stress or nutrient imbalance. Furthermore, crop management systems that impair soil quality often result in greater inputs of water, nutrients, pesticides, and/or energy for tillage to maintain yields.
In sustainable systems, the soil is viewed as a fragile and living medium that must be protected and nurtured to ensure its long-term productivity and stability.
The Economic, Social & Political Context
In addition to strategies for preserving natural resources and changing production practices, sustainable agriculture requires a commitment to changing public policies, economic institutions, and social values. Strategies for change must take into account the complex, reciprocal and ever-changing relationship between agricultural production and the broader society.
The “food system” extends far beyond the farm and involves the interaction of individuals and institutions with contrasting and often competing goals including farmers, researchers, input suppliers, farmworkers, unions, farm advisors, processors, retailers, consumers, and policymakers. Relationships among these actors shift over time as new technologies spawn economic, social and political changes.
“As consumers, we can vote for sustainability with our wallets at the supermarket—or better yet, at the farmers market, where the chances that our food was grown sustainability go way up.”
The Ideal Permaculture ‘Farm’ brings production of food closer to consumers and the consumer’s wastes back into the cycle. It also reduces the energy wasted in transporting the foods by producing the foods where the people are. In permaculture, the people contribute in their daily life toward the production of their food and other needs.
Essentially Permaculture is trying to close the energy loop by optimizing what we have.
Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems.
It has many branches that include, but are not limited to, ecological design, ecological engineering, environmental design, construction. Permaculture also includes integrated water resources management that develops sustainable architecture, and regenerative and self-maintained habitat and agricultural systems modelled from natural ecosystems.
“Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labour; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.”
Agroforestry is an integrated approach of permaculture, which uses the interactive benefits from combining trees and shrubs with crops or livestock. It combines agricultural and forestry technologies to create more diverse, productive, profitable, healthy and sustainable land-use systems. In agroforestry systems, trees or shrubs are intentionally used within agricultural systems, or non-timber forest products are cultured in forest settings.
Hügelkultur is the practice of burying large volumes of wood to increase soil water retention. The porous structure of wood acts as a sponge when decomposing underground. During the rainy season, masses of buried wood can absorb enough water to sustain crops through the dry season.
A natural building involves a range of building systems and materials that place major emphasis on sustainability. Ways of achieving sustainability through natural building focus on durability and the use of minimally processed, plentiful or renewable resources, as well as those that, while recycled or salvaged, produce healthy living environments and maintain indoor air quality.
Rainwater harvesting is the accumulating and storing of rainwater for reuse before it reaches the aquifer.It has been used to provide drinking water, water for livestock, water for irrigation, as well as other typical uses. Rainwater collected from the roofs of houses and local institutions can make an important contribution to the availability of drinking water. It can supplement the subsoil water level and increase urban greenery. Water collected from the ground, sometimes from areas which are especially prepared for this purpose, is called stormwater harvesting.
Greywater is wastewater generated from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing, which can be recycled on-site for uses such as landscape irrigation and constructed wetlands. Greywater is largely sterile, but not potable (drinkable). Greywater differs from water from the toilets, which is designated sewage or blackwater to indicate it contains human waste. Blackwater is septic or otherwise toxic and cannot easily be reused. There are, however, continuing efforts to make use of blackwater or human waste. The most notable is for composting through a process known as humanure; a combination of the words human and manure. Additionally, the methane in humanure can be collected and used similar to natural gas as a fuel, such as for heating or cooking, and is commonly referred to as biogas.
Intensive rotational grazing
Grazing has long been blamed for much of the destruction we see in the environment. However, it has been shown that when grazing is modeled after nature, the opposite effect can be seen. Also known as cell grazing, managed intensive rotational grazing (MIRG) is a system of grazing in which ruminant and non-ruminant herds or flocks are regularly and systematically moved to fresh pasture, range, or forest with the intent to maximize the quality and quantity of forage growth. This disturbance is then followed by a period of rest which allows new growth. MIRG can be used with cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, rabbits, geese, turkeys, ducks, and other animals depending on the natural ecological community that is being mimicked.
Zones intelligently organize design elements in a human environment based on the frequency of human use and plant or animal needs. Frequently manipulated or harvested elements of the design are located close to the house in zones 1 and 2. Manipulated elements located further away are used less frequently. Zones are numbered from 0 to 5 based on positioning.
The house, or home center. Here permaculture principles would be applied in terms of aiming to reduce energy and water needs, harnessing natural resources such as sunlight, and generally creating a harmonious, sustainable environment in which to live and work.
The zone nearest to the house, the location for those elements in the system that require frequent attention, or that need to be visited often, such as salad crops, herb plants, soft fruit like strawberries or raspberries, greenhouse and cold frames, propagation area, worm compost bin for kitchen waste, etc. Raised beds are often used in zone 1 in urban areas.
This area is used for siting perennial plants that require less frequent maintenance, such as occasional weed control or pruning, including currant bushes and orchards, pumpkins, sweet potato, etc. This would also be a good place for beehives, larger scale composting bins, etc.
The area where main-crops are grown, both for domestic use and for trade purposes. After establishment, care and maintenance required are fairly minimal (provided mulches and similar things are used), such as watering or weed control maybe once a week.
A semi-wild area. This zone is mainly used for forage and collecting wild food as well as production of timber for construction or firewood.
A wilderness area. There is no human intervention in zone 5 apart from the observation of natural ecosystems and cycles. Through this zone we build up a natural reserve of bacteria, moulds and insects that can aid the zones above it.
After all, the overpopulation of our planet forced us to put more worth into quantity than into quality. Of course GMO’s feed the world, but also make us sick and degrade our Gene Pool so far, that in a few generations not one healthy person will live on our planet anymore. Our Children and their Children will have to live lifes plagued with pain and disease, thanks to our mindless way of solving our crises. The main problem of our time is over population, and solving it in the ways we are doing t is utterly wrong and a crime in itself. We have to face that there are good ways to solve our Problems, but GMO’s are not one of them.