Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What happened?

LA City Council chose not to vote on GMO-Free LA today. Here is what happened:
  • Three highly-paid lobbyists representing the pesticide industry influenced a number of the Councilmembers and stopped the bill from moving forward today. 
  • The bill has been kicked back to the Arts and Parks Committee, but is still alive.
  • Around 50-75 concerned citizens were at LA City Hall today. However, the item was pulled from the agenda and citizens were not allowed to speak before the Council even under general comments once the item was pulled.
While it is sad to think that months and years of effort invested by the People into GMO-Free LA did not today result in an ordinance, and while it is frustrating that a few paid lobbyists can thwart the efforts of hundreds of concerned citizens, there is still much to be hopeful and thankful for.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bill of Rights for Seeds

We the Peoples of this Earth
Gratefully Honor the Ancient Knowledge of Seeds that Nourish and Sustain All Living Beings

1. Seed is the source of life. It is the yearning of life to express itself, to renew, multiply and evolve. We recognize the right of seeds to maintain their vital cycles.

2. We respect the right of seeds to retain their unique identity as distinct, self-regulating organisms.

3. Seeds shall enjoy the right to clean water, the essential element for all life.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Los Angeles is going to be a GMO-free Zone!

Today in a historic vote, Los Angeles City Council declared its intention to make L.A. a GMO-free Zone.

That means that we shall soon have an Ordinance (that is an actual law) that says: GMO seeds and plants cannot be grown here!  GMO seeds and plants cannot be sold within the L.A. City footprint.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

An organic corn seed producer speaks out

Link to video
"The genetically modified seed is TWICE as much money as what we charge."  says Vince Trudell of DeDell Seeds. He's a producer of organic corn seed.

Watch people hand-pollinate a corn field.  This labor-intensive process is what it takes to keep it un-polluted by GMOs.

In the video you'll learn quite a bit about traditional plant breeding, and how GMO-production differs from traditional plant breeding.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Freedom in Heirloom Seeds

"Heirloom seeds give us many freedoms: freedom to pass on ancestral traditions; freedom to grow food without patent fees; freedom to nourish our bodies; and freedom to exchange seed without corporate oversight."  

Drought-tolerance: Conventional plant breeding is far better

Corporate boasting, move aside.  GMO crops are far, far outdistanced by conventional breeding in drought tolerance.

And here in water-starved California, with a climate-changed future staring down at us, drought tolerance in food crops is a huge issue. Let's face it, genetically altered crops get a big "FAIL!

A recent article in the scientific journal Nature highlighted the efforts of plant breeders from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico City and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan, Nigeria.  These plant breeders are studying both conventional and transgenic methods in efforts to develop drought-tolerant maize.

"There are already about 153 varieties of conventionally-bred corn currently in trials for drought tolerance," writes blog Civil Eats.

"Researchers say that they are at least 10 years from developing a comparable GM variety," reports Nature.

Drought tolerance is a complex trait that involves multiple genes. Transgenic techniques, which target one gene at a time, have not been as quick to manipulate it.

Traditional plant breeders have been developing drought-tolerant varieties for generations:  See selection of varieties from the desert Southwest, available for purchase at Native Seed.  With a GMO-Free Zone, we can help preserve them, to feed humanity in a drought-challenged future.

Here they come ... GMO bees

Now they're starting to genetically modify honeybees?

Entomology Today hails it as a "breakthrough in the efforts." But to those of us familiar with the out-of-control dangers of GMO pollen drift, this one is downright scary.

Christina Schulte and colleagues from Heinrich Heine University have apparently figured out not just how to alter genes in honeybees, but how to make those genetic alterations be passed along to offspring. (link to study)

What happens when a few of those GMO bees escape into the wild?  Aren't our natural honeybees already under enough attack by modern agriculture?  Suspects in Colony Collapse Disorder include ...
  • A parasitic mite called Varroa destructor that has often been found in decimated colonies
  • Several viruses
  • A bacterial disease called European foulbrood that is increasingly being detected in U.S. bee colonies
  • The use of pesticides, including neonicotinoids, a neuroactive chemical
  • (summary article)
Frankly, Franken-bees are not the answer!