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The future of food

Jim Boxberger - Correspondent
Posted 8/21/20

After reading Hudson Cooper's column “Lettuce eat” last Friday in the Democrat, I had to respond to him opining about all the vegetable varieties and how it was so much simpler years ago. …

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The future of food

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After reading Hudson Cooper's column “Lettuce eat” last Friday in the Democrat, I had to respond to him opining about all the vegetable varieties and how it was so much simpler years ago.

Hudson, everything was simpler back then, there were only three television channels and your phone was either black or white hanging on the wall in the kitchen or on a table in the den.

I remember as a child when we had moved from Liberty to Merrimack, New Hampshire back in the seventies, when we would drive home after spending a weekend with my aunt and grandparents in Liberty, my dad would call my grandparents house and let the phone ring twice and hang up. That was the code so they knew we made it home safe and we wouldn't be charged for a long distance phone call. Yes it was a simpler time, but time marches on.

As far as the vegetables go, variety is the spice of life, but not all the changes from the old days are good ones. In 1985 the first GMO patent was granted for what at the time was called Round-up ready corn. The corn was genetically modified so that the weed and grass killer Round-up would not kill it when it was sprayed with it.

Prior to that time farmers would spray their fields with Round-up to kill off any unwanted weeds and grasses about seven to ten days before planting their corn. Round-up works in about forty-eight to seventy-two hours, then completely breaks down in the soil in five to seven days. Farmers would then plant their fields after the Round-up had broken down and became inert.

The new GMO Round-up ready corn allowed farmers to spray Round-up directly onto the fields of growing corn to alleviate any weeds or grasses while the crop was growing. This is deemed safe and has the approval of our FDA. Since 1985, almost every major crop grown in this country has GMO varieties and currently there are no laws that say we have to be told when we are buying a GMO product.

Years ago California tried to pass Proposition Six which would require producers to label all products that contained a GMO item as such. Needless to say the Proposition was defeated after a six billion dollar advertising campaign by Monsanto, the makers of Round-up, and other GMO producers like BASF, Ciba-giegy and Archers-Daniel-Midland (ADM).

They knew that if people knew the truth about their food they would make better choices when purchasing it. But those choices don't necessarily mean buying organic, because some items labeled organic can still be a GMO and this is allowed by the FDA. You see if a farmer A grows his/her crop to all the state and federal regulations to be considered organic and their crop gets contaminated by pollen from a GMO plant grown by farmer B, farmer A can still list their produce as organic even though it now contains GMO markers.

Back in the nineteen nineties, in Canada, a lawsuit brought on by Monsanto put many family farmers into financial ruin when it was discovered that GMO Canola developed by Monsanto had cross pollinated with local Canola and the resulting hybrids from that pollination contained the genetic markers that legally belonged to Monsanto.

Because the canola belonged to Monsanto and royalties had not been paid to Monsanto for the use of their genetic property, the resulting profit from that field belonged to Monsanto and any resulting seed that was collected also belonged to Monsanto as well. You can find this case on the internet “Monsanto Canada Inc v. Schmeiser 2004”. That is the year that the final appeals by the farmers were heard by the Canadian Supreme Court.

This case was turned into a documentary called “The future of food”, which can be found on Youtube, Hulu, and other internet sources. I urge everyone to take a couple hours out of your day to watch, listen and learn to what is happening in the world around us.

During the time of the Monsanto Trial in Canada the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety was drafted in Montreal, Canada on January 29th, 2000. The Biosafety Protocol seeks to protect bio-diversity from the potential risks posed by genetically modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology.

To date 166 countries have signed the Cartagena Protocol with the notable exceptions of the United States and Russia, even China has signed this protocol. You might wonder why this is important. Each year that Monsanto Canola grows, it infects more regular canola until the point that there is no regular canola left, thereby leaving Monsanto the sole provider of canola in the world.

This is happening with other crops like corn as well. Monopolies are never good and when it comes to feeding the world, should one CEO looking to maximize profits, be the one in charge? It seems like the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster, one small farmer taking on the mega food conglomerant that is trying to control the world.

Add some explosions, car chase scenes and Vin Deisel and I think it would sell. If you don't see my column next week, maybe I sold that movie script.

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