A movement is spreading through North America and it may play a profound role in the ever clearer contradiction between corporate and community farming, between genetically modified and pure and healthy food, between monoculture and diversity. Today’s speaker, Lawrence Davis-Hollander says that finally, after the farm and gardening revival that began in the 1960 and early 70s, the seed collecting and seed saving movement is flourishing as well.
This is a rich, personal account of Davis-Hollander’s experience as collector, touching on many of the pertinent questions around seed saving, the connection to history, genetic variety, food, culture and place – and the role seed saving plays in the resistance to genetic engineering and corporate control of seeds.
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Monsanto appeared in Federal District Court in Manhattan on January 31st, 2012, to have a suit dismissed that was filed by organic growers. At stake is: Can Monsanto sue farmers whose land was contaminated by pollen or seed from genetically modified plantings by their neighbors? The answer is that Monsanto has asserted their patent rights over those whose land was polluted by GMOs and continues to do so. Monsanto has to date filed 144 lawsuits against farmers in at least 27 different states for alleged infringement of its transgenic seed patents, while settling another 700 out of court.
Dan Ravicher, the attorney for the Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association and others, representing over 300,000 individuals, gave this summary of the [ . . . ]
With Arpad Pusztai, Tyrone Hayes, John Losey and Ignacio Chapela
This program is about academic freedom, independent thinking, corporate intervention into science, the buying of academia, the collusion of regulatory agencies with the very corporations they are to oversee and maybe – most frightening of all – the invasion of the DNA, the inner spaces and the self organization of life.
Arpad Pusztai was an advocate of genetic engineering until his research with rats showed serious damage to their immune system and organ growth when they were fed with genetically engineered potatoes. He was fired from his job as Principal Scientific Officer at the Rowett Institute in Scotland, a job he had held for 30 years.
Tyrone Hayes did research on the effects [ . . . ]
The contamination of the cradle of corn with genetically engineered seeds
Ignacio Chapela from the University of California, Berkeley discovered that genetically modified corn had contaminated the cradle of corn in the remote mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico. The Zapotecan Indians have cultivated corn here for over 10,000 years. When the report was published in the science magazine of record, Nature, it caused an international scandal. Apparently under pressure from the Biotech industry, the magazine attempted earlier this year to pressure Chapela to withdraw the story. This is Chapela’s story and the story of corn that needs to remain intact so future generations will be able to eat.
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A panel at UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism called attention to the role of the food industry in our current obesity crisis.
The media and the food industry – even government agencies – tell us that the serious current obesity crisis is our own fault and that we need to exercise more. Of course exercise is good for us but nobody tells us that the food industry, with the help of huge government subsidies, through advertising and addictive ingredients promotes ill health by feeding us grease, sugar and starch.
There is talk of law suits targeting fast food chains patterned after the law suits against the tobacco corporations. They also claimed that there was no health risk associated with smoking. The food [ . . . ]
Kimbrell talks about the transformation of nature via biotechnology to make life fit a dangerous system rather than changing technology to make it appropriate to life. Vandana Shiva reports on rural resistance and WTO free zones in India. Taking back the seed from the 5 corporations that now control the source of food of the planet is for her the symbol of the new freedom.
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Vandana Shiva is a physicist, philosopher of science, feminist and campaigner against globalization, the patenting and ownership of life, and the WTO. She now is an internationally acclaimed speaker and author and uses her growing influence to champion the cause of the poor in India. During her speech at the University of San Francisco she spoke not about philosophy or science but of the plight of the peasants in India who see their knowledge taken away, their seeds poisoned and their local economies destroyed by multinational food corporations. The small farmers, she reports, are fighting back and declaring zones that are free of genetically modified seeds.
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Mark Ritchie heads the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in Minneapolis. He highlights globalization’s challenge to organic agriculture. Taped at the Ecological Farming Conference, Asilomar, Calif., 1998 40 minutes
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The love and work that make a garden grow can heal and empower a person. Cathrine Sneed is the founder of the innovative Greenhouse Project (est. 1982) at the San Francisco County Jail. Asilomar, Calif., 1998 60 minutes
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Organic farms are no longer an endeavor on the edge of sustainability. They range from a 4-1/2 acre market garden near Santa Cruz to 1,500 acres of organic herbs in southern Washington. Asilomar, Calif., 1998 60 minutes
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Paul Billings, Marcy Darnovsky, Andrew Imparato
What really is the nature of the human genome project? It is a rough draft, with an error rate of 30%. The human genome is not a blueprint for making a human being. Our genes are not particularly different from those in mice and dogs. As genetic engineering progresses, issues from the past return to the fore, among them eugenics, genetic discrimination, classification of people as uninsurable or unemployable. These violate the fundamental right to privacy, including genetic privacy.
There is a new twist in human genetic engineering, techno-eugenics, a technology involving human clones that makes “designer babies” possible. This technology would employ direct manipulation of [ . . . ]
Martha Crouch & Ricarda Steinbrecher / Ed Hammond
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Dr. Martha Crouch, retired professor of biology, closed her lab when she realized that her research was being used to develop terminator technology. She says that our cycle of life has depended on the health of plants, seeding and fruiting naturally, for the last 10,000 years. With genetic engineering we are able to change that relationship so that we are now forcing other organisms to respond in ways that may be inimical for their own lives.
Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher is a retired genetic scientist and outspoken critic of genetic engineering. When the Human Genome project was completed, she says, scientist had to admit to [ . . . ]
Andy Kimbrell, Andres Barreda, Vandana Shiva, Victoria Tauli Corpuz & Chaia Heller
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Andrew Kimbrell is a public interest attorney and author. He calls mechanization and marketing of life, and the corporate enclosure of the entire living commons, the most disturbing aspects of genetic engineering. Andres Barreda, a scholar and activist from Mexico says that in 1994, when NAFTA was signed, “the war began in my country.” Indigenous peoples in Mexico now find that the key to any hope for autonomy is the struggle against biodevastation.
Vandana Shiva from India says that the first colonialism was about land. Now bodies and lives are being appropriated and exploited. Life is not an area of [ . . . ]
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Part A: Peter Rosset, Brewster and Cathleen Kneen
Side B: Vandana Shiva and Brian Leahy
The program begins with a list of myths about genetic engineered food presented by Food First director Peter Rosset. Brewster Kneen, former goat farmer and publisher of the Ramshorn says that our foods and the systems by which they are grown and distributed are being deliberately contaminated by genetic pollution. His wife, Cathleen Kneen, reminds us that eating is very personal. The food becomes our body. Food is the basis of culture and community.
Vandana Shiva from India reminds us of the impact of the Green Revolution that was imposed on the Third World. She found in her [ . . . ]
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Ted Quaday, John Kinsman, Bill Christison, Percy Schmeiser, & Bill Wenzel
Hear from the people who grow our food. Soy and corn, two of the basic staple food crops, are also the most heavily genetically engineered. This is far more than an issue of personal consumption and health. Corporate and political powers seem determined to put these GMO foods on our plates, whether we want them or not.
The stories of these farmers demonstrate that planting healthy food has become an act of rebellion. Banks and seed companies try to force farmers to plant engineered seeds. Farmers are also finding it harder to find non-GMO seed stock. Even organic seed supplies are [ . . . ]