the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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republished and open for peer review: long-term toxicity of a roundup herbicide and a roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize

In 2012, the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology published a study on the chronic toxicity of glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup and GM corn (Monsanto NK603). This study was met with much opposition and after a year of intense pressure, the journal retracted the study.
It’s back! This study has been republished by Environmental Sciences Europe and contains extra material addressing criticisms of the original publication. The raw data underlying the study’s findings are also published. The new paper presents the same results as before and the conclusions are unchanged. 
The republished study is available HERE!
 


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pedal & plow

You’ll want to follow the journey of these folks: Pedal & Plow.  Read on for their perspective!

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It seems everyone has an opinion on “How to Feed the World.” From The most recent National Geographic article, to the works of Michael Pollan, there is increasing awareness of the challenges our food system faces. However in this chorus of voices, the opinions of small farmers and peasants seems to be drowned out. With one billion farmers worldwide isn’t it time to start looking for solutions from the very people that will be trusted to feed this growing population?

Pedal and Plow is at its heart committed to small scale farmers and understanding the challenges and realities of a changing food system. Lydia Caudill, creator and host of Pedal and Plow, will be riding her bike from Paraguay, across the America’s back to her home in Washington State. Along this epic journey she will interview small farmers, cooperatives, and anyone with a new perspective on farming and food systems. Continue reading


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social enterprise in cuba

Listen here

A group of ‘socially responsible entrepreneurs’ from the United States is trying to help Cubans obtain the best of both worlds: Retaining the achievements of the existing system in Cuba, while infusing entrepreneurship, with a collective tinge. We interview Eric Leenson with Sol Economics about a recent group visit to Cuba and his organization’s plans.

And check out Sol Economics

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kyrgyzstan bans all gmo products and gm crops!

The Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan’s recent vote to ban all gmo products and gm crops is important. Why? It is estimated that 90% of all temperate fruit in the WORLD genetically comes from this region. With food forests dotting the mountainous countrysides of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, it is the Eden of the world, brandishing a diversity of ancient fruit genetics that is unparalleled  by any other place on earth. Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are known as the birthplace of apples, where these genetics have been evolving for 4.5 million years. Good job, Kyrgyzstan!

 

IMG_0979Photo source: Eliza Greenman


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china’s new agrarians

How China’s young idealists are turning to the soil
by Carrie Gracie for the BBC

china

In June 1989, on the orders of China’s ruling Communist Party, the army crushed pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, killing hundreds of people. Twenty-five years on, a different type of protest against the values of modern China has emerged.

My hunt for China’s young idealists, the inheritors of the Tiananmen spirit, started with a three hour drive through snarled traffic. Ironically the route took me first across the north end of Tiananmen Square, under the gaze of Chairman Mao’s portrait on the gate of heavenly peace.

Then west along the avenue of eternal tranquillity, the very same route the tanks took in the opposite direction 25 years ago, rumbling into the heart of Beijing to kill both an untold number of young people and the idealism of a generation.

These public spaces haven’t changed much, but the Beijing beyond is unrecognisable from the one the students marched through a quarter of a century ago. No more mule carts, markets and teeming brick alleys. Beijing has supersized – it’s now all six-lane ring roads, high rise glass and concrete.

The young idealists I was hunting had renounced city life and decamped to the countryside. After much to-ing and fro-ing on bumpy tracks, we finally stumbled upon a flaking sign proclaiming the Righteous Path farm.

continue reading HERE

 


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belgium: civil action against gmos

Field Liberation Movement

The Field Liberation Movement and its sympathisers promote sustainable solutions for farmers and consumers and a transparent research funding of science in the interest of society.

Public funds should benefit sustainable agriculture, and not the patenting of genes and crops by a handful of multinationals. The position of farmers in the food chain should be strengthened, not weakened.

There are insufficient studies of the risks of GMO’s for humans and the environment. The monoculture that GMOs are designed for do not solve hunger nor enrich biodiversity.

To learn more about the FLM, visit their website HERE!


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an excellent response to nat geo

Read National Geographic’s piece, Feeding 9 Billion, HERE. (with some incredible photography)
Eric Holt-Gimenez of Food First responds HERE.

Feeding Nine Billion: Five Steps to the Wrong Solution
Eric Holt-Giménez | 04.25.2014

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National Geographic‘s recent online slideshow featuring an article by global ecologist Jonathan Foley lays out a Five Step Plan to Feed the World that proposes to “blend the best” farming techniques of organic and local farms with those of high-tech and conventional farms. It is a collaborative proposition framed within an attractive media presentation that relies on much of the conventional wisdom expressed in food and agriculture policy circles today.
It is also wrong.
The five steps (freeze agriculture’s footprint, grow more on existing farms, use resources more efficiently, shift diets, reduce waste) are all good technological fixes, none of which are terribly complicated. So if they are so great, why aren’t we implementing them? Or even more disturbing, why is hunger still prevalent in places where they are implemented?
The answer is because the Five Step Plan is based on a number of hidden–and false–assumptions.


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landworkers’ alliance protests in london

Yesterday (April 17th) 100 farmers and growers from the Landworkers’ Alliance travelled to London from around the country to protest outside the head offices of DEFRA and the National Farmers Union.

Under the leadership of Owen Patterson over the past two years, DEFRA has strengthened its support of large-scale industrial agriculture and marginalized smaller producers, while the NFU has consistently lobbied for the interests of agribusiness and ignored the views of smaller farmers.

The land workers’ Alliance want to see small-scale producers put at the heart of decision making in agricultural policy.

“DEFRA needs to recognise the role of small-scale producers in contributing to the national food economy, as well as the environmental and social services provided by these producers,” says Ed Hamer from the LWA.  “As a matter of urgency we demand that DEFRA create policies conducive to a sustainable food future for all.”

The demonstration took place in solidarity with the April 17th – The International Day of Peasant Struggles. A global day of action called by La Via Campesina, the international union of peasant farmers which has over 200 million members worldwide.

Small farmers' demo outside DEFRA offices

(Above) The Landworkers’ Alliance catch minister for agriculture (Owen Patterson) in bed with agribusiness.


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dow chemical seeks usda approval for 2,4-d ready corn

2,4-D

 

Excerpts taken from the Pesticide Action Network
Dow and USDA are hoping to quietly approve a new genetically engineered corn seed that basically swaps RoundUp (glyphosate) for a worse weedkiller (2,4-D).

As with Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready lines, the herbicide with which these seeds are engineered to be used (2,4-D) will surge in use. Dow aims to get 2,4-D-resistant corn to market this year, soy next year and cotton in 2015. These three crops dominate U.S. agriculture, blanketing over 100 million acres of mono-cropped countryside and driving the pesticide market. Only this time, the fallout will be even worse. Here’s why:

  • 2,4-D is a more toxic herbicide, both to humans and to plants.
  • 2,4-D does and will drift off of target crops
  • Corn is wind-pollinated which means that genetic material from 2,4-D corn will contaminate non-GE cornYou cannot put a GE genie back in the bottle.

To read this article in full and learn more about the effects of 2,4-D corn, click HERE


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shoveling water

Journey to the heart of coca country where United States tax dollars have financed the aerial fumigation of 2.6 million acres of land in Colombia – the world’s second most biodiverse country. See cropdusters target coca plants, the main ingredient of cocaine, with concentrated herbicide as part of the U.S. war on drugs. Listen to people on the ground, hear about the impacts, and learn new ideas about how to solve this deadly problem.

 


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sea shipping industry goes on a carbon diet with the worlds largest ship

Sea shipping accounts for 3 to 4% of global CO2 emissions and the largest 15 ships could be emitting as much carbon and greenhouse gases as 760 million cars! Enter Denmark’s Maersk shipping company, owner of the massive Triple-E container ship. This ship  could help cut the carbon emissions per container by 50% !

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For more about this new container ship and also to watch a video, click HERE


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pedal and plow

An interesting project to follow in the coming years: Pedal and Plow

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Pedal and Plow is a documentary web series following Lydia Caudill, Creator and host of Pn’P, as she rides her bike from Paraguay all the way home to Washington state. Along the way she’ll be documenting alternatives to industrial agricultural from those on the front lines of food justice in Latin America. She’ll interview farmers and organizations all strivingto maintain their personal and community right to determine their diet and way of life in the face of a rapidly industrializing food system. The solutions will be local, but we hope for our scope to be far reaching. Lydia believes that sharing these ideas can inform and empower everyone connected to their food throughout the world. We invite you to join her on this epic trip! Check out the most recent episodes, or learn more from Lydia on her blog. 

 


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study finds roundup, a monsanto product, may be linked to negative health issues

Roundup

Heavy use of the world’s most popular herbicide, Roundup, could be linked to a range of health problems and diseases, including Parkinson’s, infertility and cancers, according to a new study.

The peer-reviewed report, published last week in the scientific journal Entropy, said evidence indicates that residues of “glyphosate,” the chief ingredient in Roundup weed killer, which is sprayed over millions of acres of crops, has been found in food. Read more here…


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more on seed solidarity

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You may be a loyal enough blog reader to have caught the thread on TTIP TTP and TPP.  These are free trade agreements being written and negotiated on practically intergalactic level.  The stakes are high, especially around agriculture, intellectual property rights, and trade rules– but unlike during the WTO talks which triggered a massive mobilization and anti-globalization movement– so far these agreements have been quite quiet, except when the NSA controversy, exposed by Edward Snowden over US spying on European delegation communications, brought it into the press.  Continue reading
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