ARCHIVE

Monsanto Supersizes Farmers’ Weed Problem

So now the Monsanto Company thinks its bad reputation with the public is primarily an air time problem. As the agribusiness giant’s Chief Technology Officer (and recent World Food Prize winner) Robert Fraley told Politico recently, Monsanto has been “absolutely riveted and focused on giving technology and tools to farmers to improve their productivity and yield and we haven’t spent nearly the time we have needed to on talking to consumers and talking to social media.”

Seriously?

This is a company that spends, on average, $100 million per year on advertising. Read more

Meet 2,4-D, a Pesticide Even Conventional Vegetable Farmers Fear

A new coalition is trying to throw sand in the gears of industrial agriculture’s chemical treadmill. And this one just may have what it takes to slow it down. I’m referring to the fight over USDA approval for Dow AgroScience’s new genetically modified corn seeds (brand name “Enlist”), which are resistant to the herbicide 2,4-D.

This is part of biotech’s “superweed” strategy, by which they hope to address the fact that farmers across the country are facing an onslaught of weeds impervious to the most popular herbicide in use, Monsanto’s glyphosate or RoundUp (and in some cases impervious to machetes as well!). Of course, this is a problem of the industry’s own making. It was overuse of glyphosate caused by the market dominance of Monsanto’s set of glyphosate-resistant genetically engineered seeds that put farmers in this fix in the first place. Read more

Dr. Vandana Shiva: Occupy Our Food Supply!

Today, February 27, is an Occupy Our Food Supply day of action. The following essay is just one of several related posts that will be appearing online to mark the day.

The biggest corporate takeover on the planet is the hijacking of the food system, the cost of which has had huge and irreversible consequences for the Earth and people everywhere.

From the seed to the farm to the store to your table, corporations are seeking total control over biodiversity, land, and water. They are seeking control over how food is grown, processed, and distributed. And in seeking this total control, they are destroying the Earth’s ecological processes, our farmers, our health, and our freedoms. Read more

Genetically Modified Crops: Follow the Money

The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) has done it again. Their annual ‘state of play’ report on genetically-modified (GM) agriculture, paid for by a host of vested interests including Monsanto, Bayer CropScience and CropLife International, uses inflated claims and sleight of hand to ‘demonstrate’ the alleged popularity of GM crops. Read more

Corporate Lovebirds of the Mutant Corn

Today, some will feel the sting of cupid’s arrow and fill their days with red roses and chocolate (hopefully fair trade) and a romantic dinner at a fancy restaurant. Other people call today Black Tuesday and will boycott all the hype and commercial schmaltz and stay home, maybe alone, eating leftovers. Still others will eschew people and proclaim their love of profit above all else. This is a love story about the latter category. Sure, we may not consider these two dollar-signs-in-their-eyes lovers people, but the Supreme Court does, so they deserve to couple up like the rest of us, right? 

He’s a mad scientist who got rich producing chemical agents for war in his lab and is now trying to pawn off those old toxic chemicals as pesticides and herbicides and squeeze as much money as possible out of raindrops. He calls himself GE Seed King, but we know him as Monsanto.

She ran away from her small hometown in Arkansas to take over every suburb and rural town in America and is now setting her sights on urban centers and every country in the world. To her inner circle, she’s known as Big Box Mama, but to us, she’s Walmart.  Read more

Farmers, Seedsmen, Advocates Turn the Tables on Monsanto and Sue

Speaking with Maine farmer Jim Gerritsen recently, just a few days before he was to appear in court, I was struck by how much this likable gentleman–proprietor, with wife Megan, of Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater, sounded more like an ambitious and idealistic community organizer, aiming to grow a fair and democratic agricultural system, than a man who’s spent the last few decades building a reputation for productive, delectable spuds. He’s begun to find a receptive audience. Last autumn the Utne Reader–long considered the Reader’s Digest of the alternative press–called him “one of 25 visionaries changing the world.”

A grower of All Blue, Butte, Caribe, Russian Banana and a host of other organic and heirloom seed potatoes, Gerritsen is also president of the Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association (OSGATA), lead plaintiff among 83 North American family farmers, seed businesses, and organic agriculture organizations in a potentially groundbreaking lawsuit, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, that’s just recently seen its first day in federal court. Read more

Monsanto’s New Seeds Could Be a Tech Dead End

When I wrote recently about the next generation of genetically engineered seeds, I was in truth referring to the next next generation. The fact is that the next actual generation of seeds is already out of the lab and poised for approval by the USDA.

And I’m not talking about Monsanto’s recently approved “drought-tolerant” seeds, which the USDA itself has observed are no more drought-tolerant than existing conventional hybrids.

No, the “exciting” new seeds are simply resistant to more than one kind of pesticide. Rather than resisting Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup alone, they will now also be resistant to Dow AgroScience’s pesticide 2,4-D.

“A new pesticide,“ you say. “How exciting!” Except 2,4-D, despite its catchy name, has been around since World War II. Not only is it one of the most commonly used pesticides in the world, but it came to further prominence in certain circles when it was incorporated as a main ingredient in Agent Orange. Read more