Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Future Of Food: Agri-Business Is Killing Us All.

(The letter "M" for "Monsanto" with a slash through it; message from farmers to agri-business: get out).

Walter Mosley has an article in a recent issue of the Nation titled "Ten Things You Can Do To End World Hunger." His list generally raises issues about food justice or injustice, and starvation. We, as a nation, need to take control of the food production in this country, get the corporations out of food and out of farming. Food should be considered an international resource, belonging to the world and all its people, a sacred treasure to be guarded and protected for each generation, with each person in the world entitled to a fully nutritious diet every day. Our international aid should be directed to helping people get land for family farms, and providing non-chemically-altered seeds and implements, irrigation, to create farms throughout the world to feed the people.

Instead, we have agri-business in the U.S., corporate-control of the entire food supply of the world including seeds, patents to allow corporations to control the food supply of the world, food which is lacking in nutrition, full of chemicals and artificially infused with carbohydrates and sugars, which is making us sick and killing us, while millions starve because they are denied the opportunity to own land and have local farms.

The corporate control of food production and the food supply will destroy the earth and everything living in it. They will feed us nothing but poison and fat if they can get away with it, radically increase the cancer and suffering and early deaths in the world, strip all nutrition from food, destroy the "real" food and plants that nature created to substitute genetically modified versions for which they can charge a lot of money, starve more and more people in the world because of exorbitant prices for even seeds, and make sure everyone who buys and eats their products is sick, weak, tired, lacking basic nutrition, and dies early. The corporations always operate to increase profit regardless of how many people they kill in the process.

For example, U.S. agri-business flooded Haiti with cheap rice, under-cutting local farmers and putting them out of business. A few years later, after the U.S. corporations had succeeded in putting local farms in Haiti out of business, the U.S. corporate agri-business jacked up the price for rice (the food staple for Haiti) to the point that the people could not afford it, and there was massive starvation within that country.

One of the biggest players is Monsanto, which is genetically modifying the basic food stuff of life such as rice, wheat, even livestock, so they can claim they are entitled to royalties and license fees every time anyone in the world eats a morsel. In the process of their Frankenstein-lab experiments, how much of the food of the world will they destroy? They are joined in their quest by other corporations who sell us tasteless fruit, nutritionless vegetables, and boxed everything. For a discussion of Monsanto's use of thugs and goon-squads to harass, threaten and intimidate farmers around the country to gain control of our food, see

(Excerpt from the Vanity Fair article, link above):

[A Monsanto thug went into a man's small store in rural America to threaten him in front of his employees and customers, accusing him of violating Monsanto's patents, threatening to ruin him].

"On the way out the man kept making threats. Rinehart says he can’t remember the exact words, but they were to the effect of: “Monsanto is big. You can’t win. We will get you. You will pay.”

"Scenes like this are playing out in many parts of rural America these days as Monsanto goes after farmers, farmers’ co-ops, seed dealers—anyone it suspects may have infringed its patents of genetically modified seeds. As interviews and reams of court documents reveal, Monsanto relies on a shadowy army of private investigators and agents in the American heartland to strike fear into farm country. They fan out into fields and farm towns, where they secretly videotape and photograph farmers, store owners, and co-ops; infiltrate community meetings; and gather information from informants about farming activities. Farmers say that some Monsanto agents pretend to be surveyors. Others confront farmers on their land and try to pressure them to sign papers giving Monsanto access to their private records. Farmers call them the “seed police” and use words such as “Gestapo” and “Mafia” to describe their tactics. "

What is a "genetically-modified" food? Monsanto takes a food plant, such as wheat, and breaks down its DNA in a laboratory, then alter that DNA and insert into it a bar-code type of identifier to show that it is (for example) Monsanto Wheat. They also change the DNA so that the plant can be sprayed with Monsanto's "Round-Up," a pesticide, and the plant won't die. They alter the food-stuff of life so that they can spray it with poison then sell it to us. The plant won't die, but what about the rest of us?

This altered food-stuff is then patented in the U.S. so Monsanto can claim they own it all. If they eliminate all the natural wheat from the world, spread their altered seed on all the continents, the only wheat in the world will "belong" to Monsanto -- chemically created in their laboratories -- and everyone in the world will have to pay money to Monsanto every time they eat a sandwich, or some pasta.

Once the basic food-stuff has been genetically modified in a Monsanto laboratory, Monsanto manufactures and aggressively sells their seeds to grow Monsanto Wheat. The seed package includes onerous contractual provisions obligating the buyers in ways not generally anticipated by a seed buyer.

For example, it says Monsanto can come onto the buyer's property and farm whenever they want, with no notice, at any time in the future, and "test" the crops to see if they contain any Monsanto Wheat. They prohibit farmers from saving seeds from one year's crop to use in growing next year's crop, which is such a fundamental part of farming that it is often the difference between a third world country's people eating, and massive starvation.

They have gone around the world and found farmers who they claim have "saved" Monsanto seeds, sued them, run up enormous legal fees, threatened to take away their farms.

They are trying to develop "Terminator" seeds which will automatically self-destruct at the end of one growing season, so farmers cannot save seeds, and will be forced to buy more Monsanto seed next year. If the Terminator seeds mixed with other seeds, other food supplies, could they end up chemically destroying all the source of food and plants in the world?

You may recall a few years ago a battle between Ben & Jerrys and Monsanto over the issue of the use of chemicals and hormones to force cows to speed up the production of milk used in dairy products. Some people question whether this massive infusion of hormones into our food supply will, for example, create or speed up the growth of cancer in humans. The use of hormones in women as an anti-menopause "treatment," supposedly to fool the body into thinking it's young by forcing into the body large quantities of hormones, has now been associated with a laundry list of sometimes deadly diseases in women including a radical increase in breast cancer among women taking hormones, as well as heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems. So if we infuse our cows and dairy products with artificial hormones made by Monsanto, will that have the same effect? Or other negative effects? Does Monsanto have the right to force us to eat the hormone-infused products, or should we be allowed to make that decision by choosing to buy products which are labeled to show they did not use hormones?

Ben & Jerrys was not a fan of the idea of hormone-laced milk products, so they refused to use it in their products. They went further, as nationally-recognized representatives of the old hippie-health-green-environmentally conscious generation of the 60s, and they put labels on their ice cream to advise the public that they did not use the hormonally-infused dairy products. Monsanto went nuts. Among other things, the Agri-Business and chemical industry that is in the process of taking over control of all the food-stuff in the world "lobbied" governments at the state and national level to pass laws making it illegal for any food seller to put on their label the fact that they do not use chemically- or hormonally-infused products. Monsanto wants the public ignorant. They think we have no right to know. We don't even have the right to decide not to use the hormone-milk.

Why is the younger generation so fat? We hear about TV, working mothers, nobody at home, no fresh air or exercise, no adult supervision. All true. But the weight-gain is mostly the result of the fat-and-carbohydrate-and-sugar diets that we feed to our nation. The result of having our entire food supply of the world controlled by corporations, Agri-business. Our food, what we eat and what we feed our children, is like a prison diet. They feed prisoners very high carbohydrate diets, which makes them gain weight, but also makes them sluggish so they hopefully will be easier to control. We're feeding ourselves and our children a prison diet.

The children are fat, unhealthy, full of chemicals, sluggish (mentally and physically in many cases) and are headed for diabetes and heart disease at a very early age, likely followed by death at a young age. Where is the public outrage? As long as the public is kept ignorant by laws which make it illegal for anyone to tell the public what's going on, then we'll keep turning out unhealthy fat kids doomed to an early death. We turn this into an individual, usually female-blaming issue: what's wrong with the mother, why doesn't she serve a better diet? But the fact is this is a national issue, and blaming individuals is just a good cover for the corporations like Monsanto who are making billions of dollars for their insiders while gaining control of the food supply for the entire world.

Monsanto, and the other corporate owners of Agri-Business, do not want the public to know what is going on. They bribe our politicians to pass laws making it illegal for anyone to disclose to us on the labels what it is that's really being sold. Our grocery stores tell us that if we want food that is not covered with poisonous cancer-causing chemicals, they're going to charge us three times as much for the food. So either be rich or die young is the national approach to our food.

Who would allow this type of radical experimentation, altering the genetics of the basic food of the world in laboratories, which runs the risk of destroying the entire food supply of the world? The U.S. government, that's who, in the pockets of agri-business, our corrupt politicians and officials back this Frankenstein-Food plan with enthusiasm, issuing patents to their agri-business friends and receiving enormous bribes in return.

When the U.S. sent Paul Bremer into Baghdad after the initial invasion of Iraq, and claimed he was temporarily in charge of that entire country, one of the first things he did was sign documents that legally bind Iraq to honor U.S. patents, such as the patents on the Frankenstein seeds and food.

All food production should be local, controlled by local people. It should be illegal to genetically modify the basic foodstuff of life. In the meantime, buy local when possible. Support or create community gardens, eat fresh locally-grown food, shop at local farmer's markets and stop buying boxed, take-out and instant food. Write letters to your local paper on this subject, and educate your friends. Support programs to help farmers in other countries and stop the U.S. agri-business from being subsidized by the U.S. government, dumping their food on third world countries, and putting farmers around the world out of business.

For more, see Organic Consumers Association and the Millions Against Monsanto campaign, plus other articles on the subject, at:

Part 1

Here are links to Parts 2-10.

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Part 7:

Part 8:

Part 9:

Part 10: (Film Credits)

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