SUBHEAD: GMO products are bathed with pesticides in open field tests adjacent to our schools and homes. The dangers are real and present.
By Juan Wilson on 15 July 2013 for Island Breath -
Image above: Photograph of some of the effects of the explosion at the BASF chemical plant on 21 September 1921 that produced synthetic fertilizer and nitrogen based munitions. More severe damage occurred at the epicenter where a crater 400ft across and 60ft deep was created. From (http://www1.wdr.de/themen/archiv/stichtag/stichtag5978_lpic-1_lupe-true.html).
Big Island NO GMO Bill. (http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2013/07/big-island-no-gmo-bill.html)
...In what will end up being one of the longest public hearings in recent memory, hundreds signed up to testify at the Hawaii County Council committee hearing on bill 79 – which would prohibit genetically modified organisms on the Big Island. The debate has reached a fever pitch over the last few months...In a comment on the post "TheOldTechnician" wrote:
Bill 79's supposed exemptions for GM papayas really amounts to defacto ban on them, to wit, from Bill 79's text:I commented back:
"(c) Any person using transgenic organisms in the production of agricultural produce or the raising livestock of any kind prior to the effective date of this article under the exemption allowed in subsections (b) and (c) is exempt from the prohibition set forth above in section 14- (a), provided documentation of the usage, the defined location and the extent thereof, is submitted to the department of environmental management, along with proof that all transgenic organisms are physically contained, as defined herein."
"Physically contained” means following USDA protocols and guidelines at the BSL-3-Ag Containment Level or greater as outlined in USDA Departmental Manual No. 9610-001: “USDA Security Policies and Procedures for Biosafety Level-3 Facilities.” -
Just what is BSL-3-Ag containment? See this slide show.
There's no way that real farmers can operate under such draconian and totally unnecessary restrictions.
Aloha Old Technician,
That appears to be what you are. When you say "real farmers" you really mean techno-indusatrial farmers.
What you don't get is that "real farmers" of the Green Revolution are the cause of the problem - not the solution.
There dependence on petrochemical fertilizers/pesticides, petroleum fueled machinery, and intercontinental supply lines is suicidal.
Time for backyard gardens and 100 acre family farms - not "real farmers".
The Old Technician replied:
A farmer that decides to grow GM papayas doesn't suddenly stop being a real farmer because of that decision. Without GM papayas, there would be little papayas at all, including the organic ones. GM papayas are providing herd immunity to the rest.
It should also be noted that one doesn't need petroleum to produce fertilizers. Google the Haber process to see why.
And as far as small farms being the way to go, consider this thought experiment:
Suppose there were 4 rectangular shaped farms, just small enough to be considered, "small". Suppose these 4 farms all shared at least one common side with each other, as is often the case with farms. Suppose that the only thing separating these farms from each other are barbed wire fences.
One day, the 4 farmers meet each other at their common corner and they find out they are all growing the same crops, use the same techniques, using the same equipment. One gets an idea! "Let's cut down those barbed wire fences!". They all agree.
Now they notice they, as a group, no longer need 4 tractors, only 1 or 2 and likewise for their other major equipment. They are notice they can combine their purchase orders and get price breaks.
Question: Did cutting those barbed wire fences,thus making the 4, just small enough to be small, farms into 1 not small farm suddenly decrease their efficiency? If so, how?
And, what is your definition of a, "family", as it pertains to farming?
Image above: Photograph of damage in the town of Oppau near the BASF plant. About 80 percent of all buildings ithere were destroyed, leaving 6,500 homeless. Over 600 people died as result of chemical explosion. From (http://www.pbase.com/jmollivier/image/85996484).
My response is this post:
To begin with I would say that agriculture as practiced over the last several thousand years has been one of the most destructive forces on Earth. It has desertified the "Cradle of Civilization" started in "The Garden of Eden" - namely the Middle East and a good portion of Eurasia.
In in the May 2006 "Permaculture Activist", by Toby Hemenway, titled "Is Sustainable Agriculture an Oxymoron?" His answer to the question is "Yes". The article begins...
"Jared Diamond (author of "Collapse") calls it “the worst mistake in the history of the human race". Bill Mollison (author of "Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual ") says that it can “destroy whole landscapes". Are they describing nuclear energy? Suburbia? Coal mining? No. They are talking about agriculture."
In recent centuries agriculture has deforested Europe and North America and is now flattening the Amazon to grow GMO soybeans for the Chinese. The human record on habitat destruction and megafauna extinction is a tragedy. Unless we give up conventional agriculture that extinction could enter our own backyards and include our children.
I wrote of this in 2007 in an article titled The Garden of Eden (http://www.islandbreath.org/2007Year/20-HookahiKauai/0720-03GardenOfEden.html)
...THE NOT SO GREEN REVOLUTION
After World War Two, as a result of research programs by organizations like the Rockefeller and Ford Foundation, petrochemical based fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides were widely incorporated into US agriculture on a monumental scale: specifically in the growth of wheat and corn.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) exported this agribusiness technology throughout the world. In 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War, the USAID coined the term "Green Revolution" to describe this worldwide intensification of agriculture in even the poorest countries. The USAID was to farming, what the CIA has been to diplomacy.
This Green Revolution has allowed the human population of two billion to triple in just three generations.
The Green Revolution is dependent on the continuation of a US reinforced Global Economy based on cheap oil. US agriculture is now largely the conversion of crude oil into corn byproducts. The Green Revolution is not green in an environmental sense. It is quite the opposite.
We on Kauai are at the center of corn technology research by Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and others. These corporations need a protected and isolated place to develop their mutations. We are that place. Field by field, our Agland is being converted into GMO laboratories.
When the cheap crude oil is gone, the Green Revolution will be over. America won't be exporting corn syrup then... we'll be trying to burn it. Even on Kauai the agricultural multinationals are lining up the subsidies and doing the PR work to replace food crops with fuel crops. Ethanol subsidies are a scam that won't have legs to carry us to fuel self-reliance. We'll starve first.
The tug of war between those wanting cheap fuel, and those wanting something to eat, won't be pretty. And, unfortunately, neither side holds a winning hand. There won't be enough land to grow the fuel for our present life style, and once oil is gone there won't be enough of the fertilizer and other petroleum based products to keep growing the food we will need.
So, besides lowering our population, what is the answer to this dilemma. In a word: Permaculture.
Anthropologist Yehudi Cohen, and other scholars, break human cultures into five categories based on the method they use to get food. Sometimes people combine two or more of these categories into new roles.The role people play getting food is reflected in their economy, political organization, art and even religion. These five categories are:
• FORAGERS - hunter-gatherersPermaculture (Permanent Agriculture) is a term coined in 1971 by Bill Mollison to describe "the maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems." The Permiculturist uses simple methods to nurture useful plants and animals. Permaculture is self reliant and sustainable.
• HORTACULTURALISTS - gardeners
• AGRICULTURALISTS - farmers
• PASTORALISTS - ranchers, herders
• INDUSTRIALISTS - chemists, manufacturers
Permaculture blends a bit of Foraging, with little Agriculture and a lot of Horticulture. Permaculturists gather some wild food, like Foragers; and farm some domesticated plants, like Agriculturists; but mostly they garden, like the Horticulturists. How fitting for us, living on "The Garden Island".
Unlike Agriculture, Horticulture can be best done at a small and intimate scale. Typically, the social organization needed is small - at a tribal or village level. Also, unlike modern large scale Agriculture, Horticulture does not require synthetic fertilizer, heavy mechanization, or chemical treatment. It can best be done organically.So specifically, in response to your comment I would begin by saying:
Horticulture is the most efficient method known for obtaining food, measured by return on energy invested. Permaculture is therefore relatively easy and productive. It would seem that in the past the Hawaiians practiced Permaculture using their Ahupua'a system of land management...
Point 1: GMO Papayas
We have grown a variety papayas from our own seeds for the last ten years without any debilitating diseases. We have had are papayas checked and they have not been contaminated by GMO. We hope to continue doing so. And no, we don't consider ourselves papaya farmers.
Point 2: Fossil Fuel Free Fertilizer
I did google Haber Process and got (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haber_process). It is not exactly fossil fuel free. The entry begins;
"The Haber process, also called the Haber–Bosch process, is the industrial implementation of the reaction of nitrogen gas and hydrogen gas [to produce synthetic ammonia] ... Haber and Bosch were awarded Nobel prizes, in 1918 and 1931 respectively, for their work in overcoming the chemical and engineering problems posed by the use of large-scale, continuous-flow, high-pressure technology. During World War I, the synthetic ammonia was utilized for the production of nitric acid, a precursor to munitions. As Germany lacked access to such readily available natural resources, the Haber process proved important to the German war effort."I am not interested in fertilizer that requires early 20th century industrial processing of methane at high pressure and high temperature(1,000ºf that probably then required a coal furnace).
Point 3: Barbed Wire Surrounded Farms
I hope we don't need a grid of rectangular plots surrounded by barbed wire to produce low input food crops using permaculture techniques to produce food forest. What we are really looking for is "sufficiency" in the environment, and not "efficiency". As concerning the sharing of equipment and effort that is too expensive for a single family to afford - I am certainly on board. That was certainly the motivation of the single family farms that joined the Grange Society in the 19th century and the Amish families "Barn Bees" to this day.
Point 4: Definition of Family Farms
We'll be growing our own food soon. That does not mean it will be on a "far" in the 20th century sense. But an attempt to define family farm might go something like this: "A related group of people who are self sufficient from the land they live on. " I know that's very fuzzy, but I'm sure that will come into better focus as we practice our gardening.
Finally, I think it no coincidence that it was BASF that industrialized the "non-petroleum"process to produce fertilizers (that required natural gas and coal) and endangered the very community it was supposed to be supporting.
BASF is still a chemical company. They operate here on Kauai in arrangement with Syngenta to produce GMO products that are bathed in cocktails on pesticides in open field tests adjacent to our schools and homes. The dangers are real and present.
Ea O Ka Aina: Yes to Horticulture! 7/17/13