Dateline: 21 June 2006
In my book, Writings of a Deliberate Agrarian, I have a chapter titled, "Industrial Providers", in which I explain the vast control that an oligopoly of enormous corporations have over the world’s food supply. The average person in America doesn’t understand this, nor do they much care to understand it. All they really care about is cheap, plentiful food. When you add to that our modern culture’s preoccupation with pleasure and leisure and amusements, you have a modern version of Rome’s bread and circus which was employed to keep the masses occupied as the empire crumbled. But I’m starting to digress....
What I really want to tell you about is The Future of Food, a DVD documentary that I recently purchased and will be sending out to any agrarian-minded bloggers who would like to view it (as explained here).
The movie is about the genetic modification of seeds, the history and politics of patenting such newly created life forms, and the very serious dangers of the science and business of genetically modified (GM) technology. It is an expose of the selfish, shortsighted actions of the powerful food oligopoly. The Future of Food will inform you and tug at your emotions. It is, in my opinion, very well done. After seeing the movie, Marlene and I thought of many friends who we wanted to share it with. But I will be sharing it first with my internet blogging friends, as explained here.
In the movie, you will see and hear from Percy Schmeiser, the Canadian farmer who saved and developed and replanted his own seed for 50 years, only to be informed one day by Monsanto that he owed them a patent fee. Why? Because his canola fields had been contaminated with some Monsanto Roundup Ready GM canola. Schmeiser had never bought a single canola seed from Monsanto. He fought the company (spending his life savings in the process) all the way to the Canadian Supreme Court. And he lost.
The bottom line is that Monsanto owns what they patented—no matter where it goes. They developed and released their new GM technology into the environment uncontrolled and unconfined, yet they bear no responsibility for where it goes. But the farmers do. Any plant that cross pollinates with Monsanto’s GM creation becomes Monsanto property, as do all succeeding generations of that plant. That is so bizarre that it is hard to believe, but it is true. According to Schmeiser, there is probably not a canola field in Canada that isn’t contaminated by GM plants.
Monsanto tests farmer’s fields for the presence of their GM genes. If they find them, and the farmer did not purchase Monsanto seed, their attorneys send a letter to the farmer demanding a patent fee. This is not just a Canadian thing. It is happening in the U.S. and the movie interviews North Dakota Farmer, Rodney Nelson, who has been targeted by Monsanto. Most farmers pay to avoid a lawsuit. They see what Monsanto did to Percy Schmeiser and others and are intimidated into never saving and planting their own seed ever again. This is the kind of total control the Oligopoly wants, and is getting. They want to own and control and profit from all species on earth. Animals too.
Did you know GM food was approved in the U.S. over the concerns and protestations of the FDA? How could this be? The movie tells you and it’s an eye-opener.
Have you heard of the terminator gene? This devious GM technology ensures that all seed produced by a plant is sterile. So farmers must purchase seed from the Industrial Providers every year. The Terminator gene is co-owned by the U.S. government. What happens if it spreads to other crops, as Monsanto’s Roundup Ready gene has done?
There is much more to this movie but that gives you some idea of what it’s about. Marlene and I and our three boys sat down to watch it. Marlene and I were very interested in the whole movie. The kids were only mildly interested but the visual elements of the movie were good enough to keep them watching. Then, around the middle, things got a bit technical and they lost all interest. To tell you the truth, my mind wandered a bit during the technical discussion because, frankly, I just don’t understand how those molecular biologists can do what they are doing. But the technical stuff was only for a few minutes and the movie got back on track. In the end, after being downright discouraging, the movie became encouraging as it talked about sustainable agriculture. The grassroots fight against GM food is not yet lost to the powerful Oligopoly. It must continue. There is so much at stake. This movie will give you facts and information and inspire you to do what you can to fight this Industrial terror.
If you are an agrarian-minded blogger (which doesn’t mean you have to be an agrarian—being sympathetic to agrarian issues like how food is produced is sufficient enough) and you have an interest in seeing this movie, and will then mentioning it to readers of your blog, I’d like to put you on the viewing list. This is completely free—no strings attached.
E-mail me your name, address, blog, and blog address to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will put you on the list. You have until this Friday at midnight to contact me. I will compile the list, post here who it will be going to (just your name and blog—not addresses) and send the DVD out on Monday.