(This one is on request. Thats a first.)
As well as other side projects since returning, lately more related to the writing side of my life, I have taken a part time job at Riverford Farm shop. It’s nice to be working in a place and with people that have such similar ethics as me, but even in an area that prides itself on good local organic produce and good, fair and sustainable relationships with its environment, the enemy can often be lurking closer than one thinks..
By the enemy I mean Monsanto, yes the wonderful, kind hearted, generous agricultural friendly giants.
This post comes after being asked by a follower in the USA to explore Monsanto’s footprint in and around Totnes- I expected and hoped there would be virtually no trace, non -existant, but he was less optimistic and he sure had reason to be..
Just today I heard that a woman down the road from me, with a small vegetable allotment, had been using Monsanto’s most infamous product- RoundUp.
RoundUp is a branch of Monsantos monopoly of herbicides- it is one of those revolutionary herbicides that allows the gardener to never actually need to garden (to never worry about weeds again). It is so revolutionary that it could potentially, given the time, change the face of our environment like no other product ever has…it sure as hell is trying).
Farmers who buy Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seeds are required to sign an agreement promising not to save the seeds or sell them to other farmers. The result? Farmers must buy new seeds every year, and they must buy them from Monsanto.
Monsanto has actually hired an army of private investigators and agents to secretly videotape and photograph farmers that may attempt to reuse their seeds- I think too often we struggle to understand the imense power that such multinationals have. Abdulai Radesh, a peasant farmer from Pakistan, who got in trouble for doing exactly that and saving his seeds described them as “the agricultural Gesapo”.
Now Monsanto are considering using terminator seeds, these seeds have been genetically influenced so that they only last for one harvest and seemingly “Self distruct” before being reused- the seeds become sterile and thus farmers like Mr Radesh from Pakistan must buy new seeds from Monsanto each year, as the agricultural giants tighten their grip on even the most vulnerable small scale family farmers like .
I know this all sounds very Sci-fi and yes, you should be scared.
If you thought your Organic Carrots were safe from Monsanto’s clutches, you are sadly mistaken; genetically engineered crop’s gene’s can get passed on to other crops. What that basically means is once the terminator seeds are released into any region, the knock-on effect has the potential of making most or all of the seeds in the region sterile.
So like I said, when I was first asked how Monsanto’s presence was in Totnes, I thought, “What a waste of my time, we are more sensible than that”. Now I have to say I was wrong…
I won’t name the store that sells the product, I already sent a long email to the manager and its only fair I let them reply first.
But the scary thing is they are selling… thats why they are in the shop and thats probably the scariest thing of all.
The first thing we can do is understand the full picture. The links at the bottom of the post offer some (genetically modified) food for thought.
But I would like to offer a solution and finish this post with a ray of hope that is exactly where we should start putting our energy and resources instead of “investing” in the world Monsanto hopes to create.
The Real Seed Catalogue is a family run initiative that simply aims ” to assemble the best collection of really reliable, tasy and interesting, non-hybrid vegetables for the home gardener, whislt educating you how to save your own.
Where Monsanto aim to have each customer coming back to them each year for seed, Real Seeds hope never to see the same customer again, “..We hope our customers can leave us with the best seeds and knowledge and know-how to then be able to harvest their own seed for future years.”
I won’t cover them so much, I enjoyed discovering them- so will leave the next steps for you.
So there are far more positive future prospects out there, we just need to be careful with who we choose to support. Monsanto are big because we made them that way, because we helped them grow and supported their development- we retain the power to reverse that process and may I suggest a RoundUp Boycott is the least you can do….
The Future of Food an in depth study into the world genetically modified food is creating
The World According To Monsanto the most well known online resource of Monsanto’s work
Battle Against Monsanto