Categories for Potatoes in History
November 9, 2015 9:39 pm
'The Atlantic' digs into the suppression of USDA's solid entomologist, Dr. Jonathan Lundgren. Jim
Late last year, Jonathan Lundgren, a South Dakota-based entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, submitted an article to the scientific journal Naturwissenschaften. It described how clothianidin—one of a controversial class of pesticides called neonicotinoids—harmed monarch butterflies. The paper was accepted. Then, in February, a supervisor confronted Lundgren. She informed him that the paper shouldn't have been submitted without official approval. It was sensitive...
November 9, 2015 9:12 pm
"In August the USDA formally suspended Lundgren for these transgressions. But according to Lundgren, he wasn't punished for breaking a few rules. Instead, he says, the very agency responsible for America's farms and food punished him for his science.
"For anyone who cares about scientific integrity, or about agricultural practices and policies with profound consequences for everyday life, it's a disturbing allegation. The potential ramifications extend beyond Lundgren to other scientists who might be discouraged from studying important but politically contentious topics.
"'There's a message: If you want to prosper at USDA, don't make waves'...
"First, Lundgren talked to a journalist about the risks of a new genetic-engineering technique pioneered by the agribusiness-behemoth Monsanto. Then he peer-reviewed a report by the Center for Food Safety that criticized the overuse of neonicotinoids, which are ubiquitous in American agriculture and linked to widespread declines in pollinators...
"Still, Lundgren is unquestionably accomplished in his field. He's won awards, published dozens of peer-reviewed articles and been widely cited by other scientists. And, according to PEER, he isn’t alone.
"'You can do whatever science you like, so long as it doesn't have real-world implications,' says Ruch. 'That's a curious stance.' Some attribute these measures to the heavy hand of companies that profit from controversial practices and hold considerable sway within the USDA. Indeed, the USDA has relied on industry-friendly interpretations of science in several recent high-profile actions, including approvals of new genetically modified crops and criticisms of an Environmental Protection Agency neonicotinoid review."
While the California EPA makes it decision whether to list glyphosate as a carcinogen under Prop 65, a new study now exposes the link between its use and environmental injustice. Jim
"...released a report with findings that that more than half of the commercial glyphosate sprayed in California is applied in the state’s eight most impoverished counties. Glyphosate is a phosphanoglycine herbicide that inhibits an enzyme essential to plant growth. Commonly known as Roundup, glyphosate is classified as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for the Research of Cancer (IARC), based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals, and is currently under review to receive a similar designation from the state under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65)...
November 4, 2015 1:44 pm
"The analysis finds that the populations in these counties are predominantly Hispanic or Latino, indicating that glyphosate use in California is distributed unequally along both socioeconomic and racial lines. The report aligns with another recent study by California EPA that found Hispanics and people in poverty disproportionately live in areas of high pesticide use, and a 2014 California Department of Public Health study showing that Hispanic children are 46 percent more likely than white children to attend schools near hazardous pesticide use. All of these findings bring awareness to the factors that perpetuate environmental injustice in our low-income and minority communities...
"'We’ve uncovered a disturbing trend where poor and minority communities disproportionately live in regions where glyphosate is sprayed,' said Nathan Donley, Ph.D., a staff scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. 'In high doses glyphosate is dangerous to people, and California can’t, in good conscience, keep allowing these communities to pay the price for our overreliance on pesticides.'"
The results are in and Maine voters have come out in support - 55%-45% - of expanded public campaign financing. Maine now becomes the first state in the USA to pass campaign finance reform since the disastrous 2010 'Citizens United' Supreme Court ruling which has opened the flood gates of Big Money into American elections. With the vote, Mainers have defied oddball Gov. Paul LePage who opposed the measure by calling it a "scam" and characterizing citizens who support campaign finance reform as "naive." Thanks for your help passing our reform, Gov. LePage! Jim
October 22, 2015 3:50 pm
"Approved by voters in 1996, the Maine Clean Election Act allows candidates running for the Legislature or governor to receive public campaign financing in exchange for agreeing to forgo private donations. Question 1 will increase the total pool of money available to the Maine Clean Elections program and increase the potential disbursements to candidates while allowing them to collect additional $5 donations.
"The initiative will also require organizations behind political advertisements to disclose the top three donors to the ads and increase penalties for candidates who violate Maine’s campaign finance laws..
"'Today, Mainers sent a message loud and clear: We want transparency, we want a government accountable to everyday people, and we want a strong public-financing clean election law that puts voters in control of our democracy – not wealthy special interests and high-paid lobbyists,' said Andrew Bossie, executive director of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections..."
In Riverside CA, outside-the-box thinking increased food quality, cut costs and helped local farmers.
October 12, 2015 9:48 pm
"He soon noted that the city had small farmers whose crops weren’t always harvested because doing so wouldn’t guarantee a profit. Taylor saw an opportunity: By working with local and regional farmers, he’d get fresher produce and also save on distribution fees...
"Riverside’s goal is the popular yet radical idea of making the healthy choice the easy choice, but in a way that also feels a little luxurious for the students...
"Small changes to the lunch line — like putting the salad bar first, before children hit the hot options — encourage students to choose and eat fresh foods...
"That kind of approach is what’s got Riverside winning. The school district is the 15th largest in the state, and its population of approximately 43,000 students makes it kind of perfect for good school food: It’s big enough that it can generate revenue as well as provide good-paying jobs while supporting local farmers, and it’s not so big that it would seem impossible to even attempt changes. As salad bar programs lose favor in some districts, this part of California’s Inland Empire has set a model for how to do school food right."
Blockbuster "Fortune" article from this Summer provides valuable insight into the MASSIVE SHIFT going on in the food industry - THE DIRECT RESULT of our conscious opting for organic and natural food. MUST READ! Do not miss! We should remain strong, cautious and very wary of wolves in sheep clothing. Jim
"A third conveyed what her industry feared would be the largest casualty of the public’s 'mounting distrust of Big Food'—that shoppers would turn away from them for good. 'We understand that increasing numbers of consumers are seeking authentic, genuine food experiences'...
October 8, 2015 10:33 pm
"'I’ve been doing this for 37 years,' he says, 'and this is the most dynamic, disruptive, and transformational time that I’ve seen in my career.'
"If your products are non-GMO, organic, and have no artificial ingredients, says Simon, you’re always going to give up 10% to 15% on margin. He questions whether the hungry giants are really willing to leave that on the table. “The big companies today, they want to have Annie’s and Small Planet, but on the other hand they want to sell genetically modified ingredients,” he says. “You can’t go both ways. You’ve got to put your stake in the ground.”
"If your products are non-GMO, organic, and have no artificial ingredients, says Simon, you’re always going to give up 10% to 15% on margin. He questions whether the hungry giants are really willing to leave that on the table. 'The big companies today, they want to have Annie’s and Small Planet, but on the other hand they want to sell genetically modified ingredients,' he says. 'You can’t go both ways. You’ve got to put your stake in the ground.'
"Indeed, the polarizing and emotional GMO-labeling issue may best illustrate the dilemma facing big food companies today. Polls show that the vast majority of consumers say they support labeling products that contain GMOs, even though regulators—and established scientific organizations—have declared such modifications safe. Big food companies, however, have poured millions of dollars into overturning state initiatives that require labeling."
Today, at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, bullying lawyers for the Monsanto-propelled GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Assn) will argue people don't have a right to know what's in their food because such honesty might hurt the profits of self-serving multinational food corporations. The people gained a major victory in April when Federal District Court Judge Christina Reiss ruled the Green Mountain State's GMO Labeling law was constitutional and denied injunctive relief sought by GMA/Monsanto Arguing in this David & Goliath case on behalf of truth and justice is the courageous and capable Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell. Vermont's historic GMO Label Law is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2016. It is in this context that the Ultimate Monsanto Protection DARK Act - which would Federally pre-empt GMO Label laws in VT, CT and Maine - is being pushed at Congress: a backup plan for Monsanto survival because GMA expects to lose this Appeal. Jim
September 30, 2015 8:28 pm
"However, the GMA's executive vice president, strategic communications, Roger Lowe, acknowledged that time was running out, as the judges would not likely make a ruling on the injunction for weeks or even months."
Dr. Huber has had a very long AND celebrated career as a renowned plant pathologist and leading U.S. expert in germ warfare. As an extraordinary educator, he combines his encyclopedic knowledge with an effective and graspable style of teaching. This new interview with Carol Grieve' of Food Integrity Now should be considered MUST LISTEN. Dr. Huber is a TRUE AMERICAN HERO. In recent years, Dr. Huber has been the target of a viscous character assassination campaign orchestrated and paid for by dark self-serving Biotech interests.
September 30, 2015 8:20 pm
"Genetic engineering as we practice it today is based on 'fossil science,' based on the concept you have one gene and it controls one function. We know that isn't the case and threw out that whole concept of genetics pretty much about 50 years ago with the sequencing of the human genome. It's not one-gene one-function, but the spatial relationship between the genetic material and the influence of the environment that determines what is produced...
"So that when people say 'there aren't any documented health aspects to the genetic engineering process,' it's just not true. There are numerous documented peer-reviewed scientific studies that document the presence of very toxic compounds, and again, some of them totally new to science. But we have no real idea of what their toxicity is because we've never seen them before. They're not natural products, normal products of metabolism." Jim
Respected scientist Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman authors this excellent discussion of the alarming pattern of Biotech using its power and money to stifle dissent and engage in character assassination of scientists as a means of controlling debate about GE crops. By exposing the inner workings of this malevolent self-serving strategic effort, Dr. Gurian-Sherman provides a valuable public service.
September 25, 2015 4:46 pm
"In conjunction with the huge amounts of biotech industry money pouring into public universities has come the intimidation of scientists who criticize or question the development of biotechnology. A result has been the relative silence of academic scientists who have concerns about biotechnology or its development. The result of biotech industry money therefore seems to be not only an amplification of industry-friendly academic voices, with their ability to lend credibility to biotech, but also the likely reduction of academic scientist perspectives that could counter industry arguments...
"What distinguishes many of these efforts is not their criticism of research. That is a normal and welcome aspect of the scientific process. Instead, they often involve attempts to discredit the scientists themselves or to harm their careers. That goes far beyond normal scientific disagreement, even for strongly held views, and should raise questions about what is behind these efforts. They also are part of a strong message to the science community involved in these fields...
"The consequence of all of this influence laundering and the stifling of dissent has been a distortion of the public debate about genetic engineering, and especially how it is developed, to whose benefit, and with what consequences to agriculture and society more broadly." Jim
Don't miss this MUST READ Truthout article by Dr. Moench which exposes the foundationless misrepresentations and shilling by suspect GMO cheerleaders and hired guns.
September 24, 2015 9:34 pm
"The 'Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act' (which should win an award for irony in naming) would bring the federal hammer down on states to prevent them from requiring labels identifying food that contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Chief sponsor of the bill Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) states on his website that the federal government's primary role is 'to get the heck out of way [sic] and let the citizens of this great nation prosper with individual and economic freedoms.' Just where is the 'federal government getting out of the way' part of this legislation? Where is this bill's deference to individual freedom, like the freedom to know what you are putting in your mouth?
"Pompeo suggests on his congressional education page, 'No one knows what's best for your children better than you - as a parent - do.' Except when it comes to GMOs - then suddenly Pompeo, the federal government and Monsanto all know better than parents and citizens...
"The statement came from the AAAS board of directors, whose chair, Nina Federoff, is the scientific face of GMO advocacy. Her expertise is in plant DNA and 'jumping genes.' Federoff was the first to clone plant DNA. She knows how to create GMOs. Good for her. But she is not a physician any more than Monsanto is your family doctor, and apparently she does not have the expertise to weigh in on whether or not those GMOs actually harm human health." Jim
Don't miss this well-made and eye-opening video (5:19).
"Is the ‘old’ Monsanto, the one responsible for producing Agent Orange, PCB’s and DDT and a terrible record at covering up and denying the tragedies that have resulted from their use, the same as the ‘new’ Monsanto, the one at the forefront of research in plant gene technology? We argue their scientific and ethical track record is entirely relevant to what they do today. " Jim