Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dr. Vandana Shiva: Occupy our food supply!


This is a straight lift from the online GRIST journal. Thanks to GRIST and Dr. Vandana Shiva for good ideas and good work! Why's Woman


Dr. Vandana Shiva: Occupy our food supply!

taken from onlive issue of GRIST 27 Feb 2012 8:28 AM


Today, Feb. 27, is an Occupy Our Food Supply day of action. (http://ran.org/occupy-our-food-supply) The following essay is just one of several related posts that will be appearing around the internet 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.

It starts with seeds. Monsanto and a few other gene giants are trying to control and own the world’s seeds through genetic engineering and patents. Monsanto wrote the World Trade Organization (WTO) treaty on Intellectual Property, which forces countries to patent seeds. As a Monsanto representative once said: “In drafting these agreements, we were the patient, diagnostician [and] physician all in one.”

They defined a problem, and for these corporate profiteers the problem was that farmers save seeds, making it difficult for them to continue wringing profits out of those farmers. So they offered a solution, and their solution was that seeds should be redefined as intellectual property, hence seed saving becomes theft and seed sharing is criminalized. I believe that saving seeds and protecting biodiversity is our ecological and ethical duty. That is why I started Navdanya (http://navdanya.org/ )25 years ago.

Navdanya is a movement to occupy the seed. We have created 66 community seed banks, saved 3,000 rice varieties, stopped laws that would prevent us from seed saving, and fought against biopiracy.

Corporations like Monsanto have created a seed emergency. This is the reason I am starting a global citizen’s campaign on seed sovereignty (http://navdanya.org/campaigns/seed-sovereignity ). I hope you will all join. The lawsuit that 84 organizations, including Navdanya, have filed against Monsanto (http://www.vandanashiva.org/?p=630 _ in New York through the Public Patent Foundation is an important step in reclaiming seed sovereignty.

The next step in the corporate control of the food supply chain is on our farms. Contrary to the claims of corporations, the chemical-based “green” revolution and genetic engineering do not produce more food. Navdanya’s report on GMOs, Health per Acre (www.navdanya.org ), shows that the GMO emperor has no clothes. Biodiverse organic farming protects nature while increasing nutrition per acre. We have the solutions to hunger, but it’s not profitable for major industrial agriculture companies like Monsanto and Cargill to implement those solutions.

Cargill, the world’s biggest grain giant, wrote the WTO’s agriculture agreement, which has destroyed local production and local markets everywhere, uprooted small farmers, devastated the Amazon, and speculated on food commodities, pushing millions to hunger. A global corporate-controlled food system robs farmers of their incomes by pushing down farm prices, and robs the poor of their right to food by pushing up food prices. If a billion people are hungry today, it is because of greed-driven, capital-intensive, unsustainable, corporate-controlled globalized industrial agriculture. While creating hunger worldwide, agribusiness giants collect our tax money as subsidies in the name of removing hunger.

This system has pushed another 2 billion to food-related diseases like obesity and diabetes. Replacing healthy, local food culture with junk and processed food is achieved through food safety laws, which I call pseudo-hygiene laws. At the global level these include the Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary agreement of the WTO. At the national level they include new corporate-written food safety laws in Europe and India, and the Food Safety Modernization Act in the U.S.

The final link in the corporate hijacking of the food system is retail giants like Walmart. We have been resisting the entry of Walmart in India because Big Retail means Big Ag, and together the corporate giants destroy small shops and small farms that provide livelihoods to millions.

We must Occupy Our Food Supply because corporations are destroying our seed and soil, our water and land, our climate, and biodiversity. Forty percent of the greenhouse gases that are destabilizing the climate right now come from corporate industrial agriculture. Seventy percent of water is wasted for industrial agriculture. Seventy-five percent of biodiversity has been lost due to industrial monocultures.

We have alternatives that protect the Earth, protect our farmers, and protect our health and nutrition. To occupy the food system means simultaneously resisting corporate control and building sustainable and just alternatives, from the seed to the table. One seed at a time, one farm at a time, one meal at a time — we must break out of corporate food dictatorship and create a vibrant and robust food democracy.

Learn more about the Occupy Our Food Supply day of action, sponsored by Rainforest Action Network. (http://ran.org/ )

Before becoming an activist, Dr. Vandana Shiva was one of India’s leading physicists. She holds a Master’s degree in the philosophy of science and a PhD in particle physics. She is the director of the Research Foundation on Science, Technology, and Ecology, the author of many widely-translated books, and a leader in the International Forum on Globalization, along with Ralph Nader and Jeremy Rifkin. Shiva is also the founder of Navdanya (“nine seeds”), a movement promoting diversity and use of native seeds

Help STOP Compost restrictions from coming to London Ontario

Hi again,

On the recent Family Day long weekend I opened the local newspaper to find out that a Public Participation Meeting for citizens was being advertised: Londoners were being invited to comment on some proposed changes to what is currently called the Clearing of Land By-law PW-9. Included with some proposed regulatory changes to do garbage and graffiti were proposed regulations to do with the size, enclosure and placement of composters, and regulations about leaf composting!

Those of you who read my regular posts can imagine the steam that came out of my ears! How could anyone think that a tidyness bylaw or a committee to do with public safety could ever be the place to put composting?!!

Compost is not refuse or garbage. Compost is valuable, living, organic material which puts nutrient into soil, aerates soil and increases its ability to hold moisture.

In London, right now, homeowners' gardens are prized and praised on our urban boulevards ... and every one of them is illegal under bylaws! City committees discuss outdated City infrastructure as relates to rainwater run-off and the overburdened sewage system; there could be encouragement of innovative, bio-diverse plantings on properties to hold rainwater.

Discussions on many aspects of gardens and urban agriculture should have begun years ago between Londoners and City staff from all sorts of departments. Bylaw changes have been promised for years.

In my longstanding opinion, London Ontario - and every city - should be making public statements about gardens and urban agriculture that begin something like this: Our City welcomes all styles of gardens and respects the innovation, knowledge of experience of gardeners of all types.

The Public Participation Meeting I've mentioned will be part of the Public Safety Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 6, 2012. The meeting itself starts at 4:00 p.m. The actual time of the Public Participation part of this meeting should be listed on the meeting agenda, which should be posted on the City website Friday afternoon, March 2. http://www.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/Meetings/Default/meetingpackages.htm

You do not have to be registered to speak at the Public Participation Meeting part of this. There is always a call for people to get up and speak.

If you want more information, including the full draft of changes and the current bylaw, email Community Gardens London and one of the elves will get back to you: communitygardenslondon@execulink.com

Community Gardens London generally tries to post events of interest to gardeners in London, and posts interesting news items as they come along. The proposed changes to do with composting are posted on both its News and Events page. www.communitygardenslondon.ca

I'll certainly be at London City Hall (Dufferin Avenue) on Tuesday, March 6. Hope to see you there too!

Best regards,

Why's Woman

Wonderful animation by Nicole Hewat

Hello everyone,

I was just casting around to check out what is happening with the innovative urban agriculture CSA, Backyard Bounty, in urban Guelph Ontario. http://www.backyardbounty.ca/

And before I even checked out the main website, my attention was caught by a great art project: an animation by artist Nicole Hewat. She was given pictures of Backyard Bounty's vegetables and gardens. Then she painted on about 300 plates of glass - she must have used the cell animation technique of adding aspect upon aspect to an image to create movement - and photographed them in turn to capture the movement. Peter J. Kovacs assisted with technical work, and added music by Luke Michielsen.

It's really fun, and beautiful!


Sorry I'm not smart enough to import the YouTube video directly, but just click the link! I bet you'll watch it twice. It's bloomin' lovely!

Best regards as always,

Why's Woman

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Haiti agriculture and food sovereignty

Hello everyone,

I'm going to be so boring! This is mostly a resource list.

Someone posted an article on the Community Gardens London Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Community-Gardens-London/220527951338866), and it sent me on a research project: to find out about Haiti's agriculture, Haitian and Via Campesina activist Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, and Monsanto.

I had read about Monsanto seeds going to Haiti in 2010, on the Organic Consumers website, new about it. However, I hadn't done much reading about the whole situation. I started with the important article you posted on the Community Gardens facebook page, and went from there.

Beverly Bell's article Haitian Farmers Commit to Burning Monsanto Hybrid Seeds dates from May 17, 2010, not long after Haiti had accepted GMO seeds from Monsanto.

As in anything, there's a lot of stuff around! Monsanto remains a bad guy ... surprise! There are some problems with distribution and what I'll be polite and call "questionable" political/business connections exist in Haiti and internationally. Haitian farmers know what's what and have ongoing actions. I offer this list of articles, which I've put in order most from recent to earlier. I have no time to summarize them. Some deal specifically with Monsanto and seeds to Haiti; a couple are enlightening interviews with Haitian activist Chavannes Jean-Baptise on the topic of agricultural sovereignty. For anyone interested, they each have useful information.

Sorry for the weird formatting.

Best regards!

Why's Woman

Beverly Bell's Other Worlds Are Possible website is up to date and has information about Haitiwww.otherworldsarepossible.org this is a "Wow!" website, I've only gotten to ... lots to explore

Via Campesina website: www.viacampesina.org

Millions Against Monsanto: http://www.organicconsumers.org/monsanto/ I'll leave it to any reader to explore this huge site and the information on it

Peasant Farming Can Cool Down the Earth: an interview with Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, Executive Director of Mouvement Paysan de Papaye ... in Durban South Africa, December 2011 posted Friday, 13 January 2012 11:08


Chavannes Jean-Baptise: Agribusiness is the Problem Via Campesina website Monday, December 5, 2011 this is just a photo


Haiti and Monsanto Seeds
Haitian Farmers Commit to Burning Monsanto Hybrid Seeds
May 17, 2010

by Beverly Bell May 17/10 at http://thewip.net/talk/2010/05/haitian_farmers_commit_to_burn.html

Monsanto in Haiti

by: Haiti Grassroots Watch, | Report Truth Out


this article has a lot of internal links to information and other articles, about Monsanto, agriculture, Haitian and other governmental who's who, and who is protesting Monsanto in Haiti and generally

Haiti - 3 part with music really nice! put together in early 2011, I thinkGlimpses of Haiti-Payay - peasant march to Hinch (anti-Monsanto demonstration with local seeds distributed) - women in Leogane tent city

- photos by Tequila Minsky, taken in 2010 www.youtube.com/watch?v=yS8NbECkylU

Monsanto's Seeds Donation Sparks Debate Over Haitian Agricultural Policy

by Alice Speri no date!!!!! although given the donation was Spring 2010 and the text says "last May" ... it may be 2011 http://haitiantimes.com/view/full_story/8441876/article-Monsanto-s-Seeds-Donation-Sparks-Debate-Over-Haitian-Agricultural-Policy-

Our Take on
Haiti USC Canada http://usc-canada.org/2010/03/04/our-take-on-haiti/ this is a response to the Inside Canada's START disaster relief article

Inside Canada's START disaster relief Haiti team in Ottawa


By Jeff DAvis, Feb. 15, 2010 The Hill Times, jdavis@hilltimes.com

"Haiti Is Going From Catastrophe to Catastrophe" IPS NEWS Inter Press Service http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=43969

Michael Deibert interviews CHAVANNES JEAN-BAPTISTE New York, September 23, 2008

Chavannes Jean-Baptiste ensures a future for Haitian farmers
http://grist.org/food/nijhuis-jean-baptiste/ Grist
23 Apr 2005 1:39 AM Michelle Nijhuis

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Follow the Links to a Community Gardening How-to and advice on working with groups

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all well and happy.

Time has flown by even more than usual. I recently figured out that the fatigue I was having was due to a tooth problem. It's nicely under control, and antibiotics sure have their place in life! I feel awake for the first time in maybe six weeks.

I'm all enthusiastic right now about a new resource on community gardening, and I came upon it by a circuitous route!

Garden City Harvest*, out of Missoula Montana sent me an e-mail mentioning that its local historic theatre, The Wilma, would be holding a screening of a new documentary titled Cafeteria Man, made by Recipe for Change Films. (yes, I'm on a lot of mailing lists!) http://cafeteriaman.com/synopsis

Cafeteria Man is about "the aspiration of social activists and citizens coming together ... overhauling a dysfunctional nutritional system. ... Leading the charge to replace pre-plated, processed foods with locally-grown, freshly-prepared meals is Tony Geraci, food-service director for the city’s public schools. A charismatic chef from New Orleans, Geraci describes himself as a “little bit lunch lady, a lot P.T. Barnum.”

One may only watch a clip, but this looks like a really interesting documentary and I hope this Baltimore Maryland project is a huge success. [Remember the Jamie Oliver in America shows that were on last year? http://www.jamieoliver.com/jamies-america/ ]

From Cafeteria Man, I looked up "Baltimore community gardens", and found my way to the Grow It Eat It page of the University of Maryland. http://www.growit.umd.edu/\

Grow It Eat It is the Maryland Food Gardening Network

and there on the left menu bar is the Community Gardening Toolkit - a pop-up pdf of a succinct 24 page guide to setting up community gardens - and a publication of the University of Missouri!

There are other such guides. One need only look at the Community Gardens London website to have some examples and even a short, printable 2-pager - http://www.communitygardenslondon.ca/gardensolutions.html

But the Community Gardening Toolkit is the newest such that I've found, so today I'm excited about it. There are some great little cartoons, which always cheer me up and help me understand things. It's clearly written, with good advice. And it has a very nice section that lists Five Core Beliefs of Working Groups ... sensible ideas that apply to all sorts of groups, take the pressure off start-up people for having to get everything 'right' all at once, and remind us to look to others for help.

Core Belief #1: "There are many ways to start and manage a community garden" [or any other project!]

Core Belief #2: "In order for a garden to be sustainable as a true community resource, it must grow from local conditions and reflect the strengths, needs and desires of the local communty."

Core Belief #3: "Diverse participation and leadership, at all phases of garden operation, enrich and strengthen a community garden."

Core Belief #4: "Each Community member has something to contribute."

Core Belief #5: "Gardens are communities in themselves, as well as part of a larger community."

I hope you find an idea in these few links, and any others you might happen upon.

Happy Googling and Firefoxing!

Best regards, as always!

Why's Woman

*Garden City Harvest - the people who wrote the terrific book - www.gardencityharvest.org

my July 10/11 post - http://www.savingtheworldinmysparetime.blogspot.com/2011/07/garden-city-harvest-urban-agriculture.html