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Variety Corner: Spotlight on Caribe

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Wednesday, 03 September 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

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Variety Corner: Spotlight on Caribe.’

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   We closely observed Caribe’ (pronounced (“Ka-REE-bay”) prior to its official naming and release in 1984 while it was being grown as an experimental numbered variety (“F55066”) by organic farmer friends across the line in Canada.  Caribe’ – Spanish for “Caribbean” – was early on recognized as a truly extraordinary potato variety. 

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  Caribe’ had been bred by our friend, Dr. Hielke De Jung, the Agriculture Canada potato breeder in neighboring Fredericton, New Brunswick (and author, along with Cornell potato breeder son, Walter, of the excellent The Complete Book of Potatoes).  The intention back in the 1970s was to fill the niche  for a purple-skinned, white-fleshed export variety for Cuba.  Among other appealing qualities, local Cuban lore credits such purple potatoes with powers as an aphrodisiac.  Sadly, the Caribe’s minor susceptibility to the fungal pathogen fusarium was a mismatch for the tropical climate of Cuba – as well as the tropical southern half of Florida – so Caribe’ never came to flourish there. 

 

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   However, Caribe’s extraordinary qualities – including earliness, very high yield, great taste and stunning beauty – and excellent performance in northern Florida and the other forty-nine States has made it a top performer virtually everywhere away from the tropics.

 

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   Caribe’ is a striking potato in many ways.  It is an attractive oblong potato with lustrous purple skin, fairly shallow eyes, and a delicious snow-white flesh.  Caribe’ is unexcelled as a new potato fresh out of the garden.  It’s incredible earliness and very rapid tuber bulking allow impressive harvests beginning in as few as 60-65 days after planting when seed potatoes have been fully green-sprouted.  Caribe’ is a consistently high yielding variety.  University of Rhode Island researchers considered the early, high yielding nature of Caribe’ to be so exceptional that URI came to recommend simply growing Caribe’ as an effective strategy for combating economic loss due to potato nemesis Colorado Potato Beetle (CPB).

 

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    Tubers of Caribe’ exhibit medium dormancy and should be considered a preferential choice for Fall planting where winters are mild and Fall planting is practiced.  Yet with proper storage conditions (soil-like conditions: dark, moist and 38oF) Caribe’ actually stores very well and will keep all winter, though the purple color typically begins to fade after about three months storage.  Cool and moist soil conditions during the growing season result in the best coloration for Caribe’; in hotter and drier conditions, the beautiful purple color will be more muted.

 

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Performance in the Kitchen and Field.

 

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   In the kitchen, Caribe’ is a versatile, good tasting variety.  It’s waxy, mid-dry texture makes it suitable for boiling, baking or frying.  The dry heat of baking will preserve best the purple skin color; boiling or steaming will tend to wash out some color.

 

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   In the field, Caribe has proved itself to be a reliable easy to grow potato.  Plants are medium-sized and spreading.  Tops flop over as plants reach maturity.  Caribe’ is widely adapted and has only moderate nitrogen requirements.  It is highly resistant to hollow heart and is somewhat resistant to potato scab.

 

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   Year in, year out, Caribe sets a good number of tubers per hill and is reliably one of our highest yielding varieties.  For over twenty years it has been one of our best selling varieties.  Caribe has a fiercely loyal following and we witness a great number of farmers and gardeners who unfailingly order it year after year after year.  We know from experience that they are onto something. Caribe’ deserves to be in your garden, too.

 

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Jim & Megan

 

Click Here for Our Maine Organic Certified Seed Potatoes.

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CHINA REVERSES POLICY AND REVOKES GE RICE.

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Wednesday, 03 September 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

More evidence of the growing momentum worldwide which responds to citizen concerns and keep GE out of the human food supply. "China’s Ministry of Agriculture has decided not to renew biosafety certificates that allowed research groups to grow genetically modified (GM) rice and corn...Whatever the reason, the decision marks an abrupt change in fortunes for transgenic rice in China. Five years ago, 'China was widely expected to soon put GM rice on the country’s dining tables"....The Bt rice project 'is now to all intents and purposes dead and buried....'" Jim

http://news.sciencemag.org/asiapacific/2014/08/china-pulls-plug-genetically-modified-rice-and-corn

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RUSSIA GETS TOUGH ON ENFORCEMENT OF RIGHT-TO-KNOW GMO LABELING VIOLATIONS.

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Tuesday, 02 September 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

Russia is one of the 64 countries worldwide - representing over half of the world's population - which require labeling of GMO foods. They are becoming serious about enforcement. Our government should reverse its bias which favors the Biotech industry's self-serving position over the interests of the people. "Control bodies can also confiscate the improperly marked stock.... Russian lawmakers are pushing for changing the existing law On Safety and Quality of Alimentary Products by introducing a norm set for the maximum allowed content of transgenic and genetically modified components. The motion’s initiators want to make this norm zero for all foodstuffs produced in Russia." Jim

http://rt.com/politics/181244-russian-gmo-food-fines/

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FDA DISINTEREST AND INEPTITUDE: YET MORE REASONS TO BE VERY SKEPTICAL OF CONVENTIONAL PROCESSED FOODS.

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Tuesday, 02 September 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

One would be living in a fool's paradise to imagine that the government is looking out for your family's interests when it comes to processed food and food additives. This expose' from 'The Washington Post' will be an eye-opener into the failing process of government oversight of the Industrial Food industry. "In the five decades since Congress gave the FDA responsibility for ensuring the safety of additives in the food supply, the number has spiked from 800 to more than 9,000, ranging from common substances such as salt to new green-tea extracts. This increase has been driven largely by demand from busy Americans, who get more than half their daily meals from processed foods, according to government and industry records.... the FDA proposed new rules. The agency told companies that were going the GRAS route — which turned a years-long process into one of months — that they no longer would have to submit their research and raw data. The companies can share just a summary of their findings with the agency...The changes didn’t work out as planned. For starters, most additives continued to debut without the FDA being notified...'I’ve given up on the FDA protecting the public; they are protecting businesses,' said Grovit, who also has Crohn’s disease. 'The only reason for its presence in so many food products today is that it’s cheap and it makes food processing easy.'" Jim

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/food-additives-on-the-rise-as-fda-scrutiny-wanes/2014/08/17/828e9bf8-1cb2-11e4-ab7b-696c295ddfd1_story.html

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USDA'S ATTEMPTED CO-OPTION OF ORGANIC COMMUNITY DETAILED IN REPORT BY FORMER NOSB CHAIR.

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Tuesday, 02 September 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

If you care about the future of the organic community and your family's continued access to high quality authentic organic food, then this concise report by former NOSB Chair - and certified organic Montana farmer - Barry Flamm is MUST READ material. "In its Report (1990) on the bill, the Senate Agriculture Committee stated that, 'The Committee regards this Board as an essential advisor to the Secretary (of Agriculture) on all issues concerning this bill and anticipates that many of the key standards will result from recommendations by this Board….(it) is generally responsible for advising the Secretary on all aspects of the implementation of OFPA, specifically, the Board is responsible for evaluating substances for inclusion on the Proposed National List'...In 2013, all began to change without public notice or opportunity to comment or consult with the NOSB...The issues may sound complicated, but it really boils down to two questions: 1) Does the organic community and public want a strong NOSB as prescribed by OFPA? 2) Does the organic community and the public believe and want the implementation of the overall principle of OFPA that for any product to be labeled organic it must be produced and handled without the use of chemicals with only temporary exemptions allowed and then only after stringent review? Will there now be a community uproar as occurred in the nineties when USDA tried to push through unsuitable regulations?"
The future of organic hangs in the balance. Please become informed and get involved. We will continue to post important developments in the on-going efforts to protect organic and return independence to the NOSB. Jim & Megan

http://www.montanaorganicassociation.org/nosb.htm

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YES ORGANIC CERTIFICATION DOES MATTER AND IT MATTERS A LOT.

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Monday, 25 August 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

For families, it means significant assurance by an independent verifier that the food is authentic and meets the highest organic standard. For organic farmers, certification establishes a high common ground thereby leveling the playing field, and provides the format for the organic community to make key decisions for what is - and is not - appropriate in organic production. This article does a good job to put the debate over organic certification in context. Do read between the lines and do remain wary about unsubstantiated claims about food the producer would like customers to believe is 'just like organic.' "In the 14 years he’s owned his farm, he’s never sprayed a pesticide directly on any food crop. Yet, he says, 'I have no interest in being straight-up organic. It gives me a little wiggle room to do things I might need to do. Kruger uses a conventional fungicide on his raspberries..." As a farmer I wonder if that fungicide is a systemic which by design translocates via the xylem system throughout the plant including to the edible portion.
Choosing certified organic gives you peace of mind when it comes to feeding your family bonafide organic food.

Jim & Megan

http://civileats.com/2014/08/18/organic-vs-organic-how-much-does-certification-matter/

 

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DECEPTION EXPOSED: HAPLESS MONSANTO/CONDE' NAST SCHEME TO SNARE GOOD-FOOD-LEADERS INTO CLOAKED PR PROJECT.

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Wednesday, 20 August 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

There is good reason why Monsanto is considered one of the most hated corporations. The world has learned repeatedly Monsanto is not to be trusted. Now, in this MUST READ article Tom Philpott writes of their feckless attempt to trick respected good food advocates into becoming unwitting promoters. "...I've learned that Condé Nast's Strategic Partnerships division dangled cash before several high-profile food politics writers, in an unsuccessful attempt to convince them to participate." Here's another link describing a related Monsanto attempt to also trick Center for Food Safety's Andy Kimbrell into participation. Jim

http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/08/monsanto-and-conde-nast-offered-big-bucks-writers-pr-project

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DROUGHT IN CALIFORNIA DICTATES FARMING CHANGES AS FARMERS GRAPPLE WITH CLIMATE CHANGE.

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Monday, 18 August 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

Well-written and valuable Bloomberg article provides insight and examples of the major changes underway in California agriculture as farmers respond to extended drought. "In the long term, California will probably move away from commodity crops produced in bulk elsewhere to high-value products that make more money for the water used...That may mean less farmland in production as growers abandon corn and cotton because of the high cost of water...On its own, California would be the world’s ninth-largest agricultural economy...An estimated 82 percent of California is experiencing extreme drought...Another dry year in 2015 is a strong possibility, according to a study by the University of California at Davis released last month...'California needs to rebalance its agricultural portfolio in response to this drought,' Howitt said. 'You will see more fallowing of land. We have to reduce our water footprint.'" Jim

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-11/california-drought-transforms-global-food-market.html

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NEW REJECTION OF GE GRAIN BY CHINA, RUSSIA AND THE WORLD SERVES AS WARNING SIREN THAT AMERICAN FARMERS SHOULD STOP GROWING GE GRAIN NO ONE WANTS.

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Monday, 18 August 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

More sign of the beginning of the end for Biotech crops. The world market is making clear they do NOT want GE crops. However, Biotech and our government-in-collusion continues to act wantonly and to the detriment of American farmers. "The industrial agribusiness has embraced GMOs in the United States, but it’s having a serious effect on farmers. Most recently, China began rejecting a variety of genetically modified US corn, and the rejection is reportedly costing American farmers upwards of $3 billion, according to the National Feed and Grain Association...'They’re being a bad actor here,' says Max Fisher of NGFA, referring to Syngenta. 'They’re making $40 million' selling the new corn varieties, but it’s costing U.S. farmers $1 billion.'" Jim

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/25550-china-is-rejecting-gmo-corn-and-that-isnt-good-for-american-farmers

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MONSANTO BEATEN BY BEEKEEPERS IN MEXICO.

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Thursday, 14 August 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

An independent judge has ruled that GE crops represent an absolute threat to Mexican honey, a critical export crop grown by 25,000 farm families on the Yucatan peninsula. "In withdrawing the permit, the judge was convinced by the scientific evidence presented about the threats posed by GM soy crops to honey production in the Yucatán peninsula, which includes Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatán states. Co-existence between honey production and GM soybeans is not possible, the judge ruled...GM crops could devastate the important European export market for Mexican beekeepers, where the sale of honey containing pollen derived from GM crops has been restricted since a landmark decision in 2011 by the European court of justice."


http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/aug/08/sweet-victory-beekeepers-monsanto-gm-soybeans

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STUDY PROVES ALEC "PRO-BUSINESS" POLICIES DO NOT HELP ECONOMIC GROWTH BUT DO MAKE THE RICH RICHER.

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Thursday, 14 August 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

Once again, the truth is 180 Degrees opposite the assertions of the one-percenters and Koch-Brothers-funded ALEC as to what creates beneficial economic growth. This MUST READ article exposes the failed concept of 'trickle-down voodoo economics' (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-voodoo-economics.htm) invented in the Reagan era. "As Menzie Chinn of the University of Wisconsin has now shown, the problem is that pro-business policies don't really contribute to economic growth. They just make the rich richer, which is not the same thing at all...Indeed, when Chinn mapped the ALEC rankings for all 50 states against their economic growth, he found that, if anything, a higher index score correlates with a worse economic performance. That won't come as a surprise to anyone who has followed the ALEC follies over time: The Iowa Policy Project found the same negative correlation in 2012." Jim

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-surprise-probusiness-20140506-column.html

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BREAKING NEWS! GALLUP POLL: NEARLY HALF OF ALL AMERICANS OPT FOR ORGANIC FOOD.

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Monday, 11 August 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

For the first time ever the Gallup organization polled Americans about their preference for organic food and the results show strong interest across the demographic spectrum to include organic food in our everyday diets. Commitment to organic food was strongest among younger Americans, those living in the West and those in small or large cities. "Organic agriculture is monitored and certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and must adhere to strict regulations to be certified as 'organic.' Organic food is free of man-made additions like antibiotics, and organic farming is supposed to be better for the environment than traditional farming." Jim

http://www.gallup.com/poll/174524/forty-five-percent-americans-seek-organic-foods.aspx?version=print

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VERMONT FILES BRIEF DEFENDING ITS WILL-OF-THE-PEOPLE LANDMARK GMO LABELING BILL.

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Monday, 11 August 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

The overarching question in play here is why is Biotech, Industrial Ag and the Junk Food lobby so maniacally opposed to granting the people their right-to-know the truth about their laboratory-engineered food products? Sadly, the only possible answers from the bullies and scoundrels are very bad for the people's interests. "Attorney General Bill Sorrell defended Vermont's new labeling law with a 51-page court filing. He asked the court to throw out a lawsuit seeking to overturn the law filed by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, International Dairy Foods Association and the Snack Foods Association...Vermont's labeling law is slated to take effect in July 2016 pending the outcome of the lawsuit." Jim

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/politics/2014/08/08/gmo-lawsuit-response/13800873/

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ORGANIC FOOD IS SIMPLY BETTER FOR YOU THAN CONVENTIONALLY GROWN FARE.

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Monday, 28 July 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

We often don't find great insight in Motley Fool articles, but this one is an exception. It is particularly significant when viewed as reflecting a shift of the middle: the superiority of organic farming is becoming mainstream knowledge and that's a good thing. "Scientists estimate that we humans—since our earliest ancestors—have been running around the earth for well over two million years. Only within the past century—or 0.005% of that time—have we come to rely so heavily on the use of pesticides to help feed our world's population." Jim

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/07/19/new-study-touts-benefits-of-organic-goods-question.aspx

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STUDY DOCUMENTS SIGNIFICANT SECONDARY EFFECTS ON VERTEBRATES FROM USE OF FARM INSECTICIDE.

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Monday, 28 July 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

Food Navigator takes a look at the new Dutch-based study. "The study looked at the impact of the neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid, on bird populations such as starlings and barn swallows. Imidacloprid is the most widely used insecticide in global agriculture systems, applied to treat seeds and bulbs, as a crop stray in greenhouses and in the open." Jim

http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Insecticides-are-a-bigger-threat-to-the-natural-food-chain-than-thought-warns-study/?utm_source=newsletter_weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=From+11-Jul-2014+to+18-Jul-2014&c=mvJJjvCHWexS3sa1QKKtZA%3D%3D

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CHOOSING ORGANIC IS YOUR BEST BET FOR AVOIDING CHEMICALS IN YOUR FAMILY'S FOOD.

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Monday, 28 July 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

Do be aware of the heavy influence that Industrial Ag and Big Food have in the setting of 'tolerance levels' of their chemicals ending up in our food. You are wise to be skeptical - most especially of the untested compound interactions between different chemicals found in the same food. "It found that the percentage of bread products containing pesticide residues has more than doubled over the last 12 years - rising from 28 per cent in 2001 to 63 per cent in 2013." Jim

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2695224/What-chemicals-lurking-loaf-Nearly-two-thirds-bread-products-contain-pesticide-residues.html

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HOW EUROPE HAS BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN HELPING GROW THE RESISTENCE TO GE CROPS IN THE USA.

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Monday, 28 July 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

Good article provides background to the European role in opposing GE crops. "Only five EU countries grow GM crops at all – Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia...Europe's fragmented politics, diverse landscapes and smaller scale farming traditions have made it less compatible with the mass-farming techniques in the Americas... the seeds of Europe's aversion to GM were sown in the 1990s, thanks to two factors in particular: the strength of the Green party in Germany at the crucial moment when the technology was first emerging, and then the scare over mad cow disease in Britain.
'Mad cow disease caused a loss of public confidence in science. You had the British government saying beef was safe, while the EU said the opposite,' he says." Jim

http://www.rappler.com/science-nature/environment/62528-why-does-europe-hate-genetically-modified-food

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SELF DESCRIBED PLUTOCRAT ISSUES URGENT WARNING TO FELLOW ZILLIONAIRES: SHARE THE WEALTH OR TROUBLE IS AHEAD.

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Monday, 21 July 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

Nick Hanauer has done his homework and understands history and the need for greater income and wealth equity. "The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent...The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution...If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when." Jim

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/the-pitchforks-are-coming-for-us-plutocrats-108014.html#.U8wZ0bF8alt

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VANDANA SHIVA EXPOSES BIOTECH'S POWER GRAB AND FAILING PROPAGANDA WAR.

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Monday, 21 July 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

Precise and pertinent, Vandana's concise MUST READ new essay lays bare the unprincipled attacks on scientists who stand in the way of Biotech's obsession for control AND the peoples' growing resistance. "Monsanto and friends, the biotech industry, its lobbyists and its paid media representation continue to push for monopoly control over the world’s food through its seed supply. This 'empire' is being built on false foundations: that Monsanto is a creator/inventor of life and hence can own the seed through patents and that life can be engineered and machined like an iPhone... Last month an investment fund sued DuPont for $1 billion for pushing herbicide-resistant crops knowing fully well they would fail to control weeds and instead contribute to the emergence of 'superweeds'...Italy has just passed a law, Campo libre, making planting GMO crops punishable with a prison sentence of one to three years and a fine of 10,000-30,000 euros." Jim

http://www.asianage.com/columnists/fine-print-food-wars-538

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HOW WOULD YOU HAVE ANSWERED THE VERMONTER'S SURVEY ON EXACTLY HOW GMO PRODUCTS SHOULD BE LABELED?

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Monday, 21 July 2014 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

Were I a Vermonter I would have voted for a front-of-package location with prominent "Nutrition Facts" sized lettering. "The Attorney General’s Office conducted the survey as part of its rule-making process for Vermont’s law requiring manufacturers and retailers to label certain food products containing genetically modified ingredients starting in 2016." What do you think? Jim

http://vtdigger.org/2014/07/16/more-than-2000-people-resond-to-ags-survey-on-gmo-labeling

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