Monday, February 28, 2011

Monsanto in the News: Local and organic food, farming: Here's the gold standard

Local and organic food, farming: Here's the gold standard

Often, growers at farmers markets will say, "I don't use pesticides, I only use chemical fertilizers." Sadly, what many people do not realize is that chemical fertilizers are extremely hazardous.
Frequently, local chemical farmers claim that they only use "less toxic" pesticides or herbicides such as Monsanto's Roundup. Unfortunately, "less toxic" is a dangerously relative term! Roundup is a powerful weed-killer, and is now sprayed so heavily on the nation's 150 million acres of genetically engineered crops that it is poisoning our water supplies, killing the soil, and creating superweeds that can only be killed with super-toxic herbicides such as 2,4 D, arsenic and paraquat.

Farmers in the U.S. have used everything from arsenic, lead, cyanide, fluorine, DDT, and nerve poisons since the 1860s, and they still use massive amounts. More than 80 percent of all the pesticides currently used in vegetable, fruit, and flower production are nerve poisons that were used on insects and also on concentration camp victims during the first and second World Wars.

Unfortunately, meat, dairy, or eggs coming from CAFOs in North America are not required by law to be labeled as such. Greenwashing CAFO products as "natural" or "local" is a major source of profits for Wal-Mart, Cargill, Conagra, Perdue, Land O' Lakes, Kraft, McDonalds, KFC, Monsanto and chemical/GMO farmers and ranchers. Organic consumers, farmers, and retailers need to educate the public about the hazards of factory farms and CAFOs.

Millions of consumers are still in the dark about how "conventional" foods - especially the cheaper brands of animal products, processed, fast, and fake foods - are produced. We must educate the public about the need to fight for Truth-in-Labeling so that CAFO products, derived in great measure from Monsanto's GMO crops, are no longer greenwashed as "local" or "natural."
Fortunately, locally and nationally, farmers have worked out strategies of how to grow fresh foods in the middle of the winter with better technology and a minimum of heat, even in extremely cold places like Maine, Vermont, Minnesota, and Montana. Consequently, farmers and consumers are growing and storing food throughout the year so that they are not responsible for so many food miles on their tables.

Chemical farmers are not inspected or reprimanded by the federal or state governments as to their use or abuse of pesticides or fertilizers unless there is an accident, whether they are local farmers or factory farmers from California, Florida, or China. By contrast, organic growers are inspected every year and can be inspected at any time the certifying agency or the federal government (USDA) deems it appropriate.

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