GM food: the factsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
GM food: the facts
By DAVID TRIBE
Monday 3 April 2000
A vigorous campaign is being waged to raise suspicion and fear in the public mind and stop the use and experimental development of genetically modified crops.
Unfortunately, the campaigning is a gross case of producing bad facts masquerading as science. As a scientist with 30 years of experience in genetics, it is particularly galling for me to see this misuse of biological science by people who display so little understanding of how DNA actually rearranges and recombines in nature.
It is even more galling to discover, in a democratic country with a free press, that we see this one-sided information being fed to journalists and editorialists without any hard questions being asked.
How can it be that GM technology has such bad press? The two great success stories in the 20th century are the taming of infectious disease by antibiotics and vaccines, and the Green Revolution and other genetic improvements in crops, which have allowed worldwide famines to be avoided.
From a strictly environmental viewpoint, GM food provides two distinct advantages that one would have thought would have the endorsement of those so set against it. Between 1940 and 1980 in the United States, per hectare yields of maize tripled and those of wheat and soybeans doubled. Without this higher productivity, more land would have to be found to produce adequate food to feed the world's increasing population.
Furthermore, by 1999 in the US, it was expected that 40 per cent of the corn, 50 per cent of the cotton, and 45 per cent of the soybean crop area would be genetically modified, reducing the use of chemical pesticides by millions of kilograms. A further benefit is that these crops create more scope for minimum-tillage farming, reducing erosion of topsoil.
And what of children's health in the Third World? About 200 million children are malnourished. "Golden rice" vividly illustrates how GM foods can greatly benefit these children. Newly developed strains of rice have been created to meet the needs of people suffering vitamin A deficiency, the world's leading cause of blindness, affecting as many as 400million people.
Another rice variety has been created with high levels of iron. Iron-deficiency anaemia is the most common consequence of malnutrition and afflicts some 3.7 billion people.
The scare of toxicity is yet another reason to applaud GM food. Food toxicity is found in both GM foods and conventional foods, but the extra attention given to GM foods has worked in favor of consumers. For instance, Brazil nut protein, whose gene was inserted into soybeans, was found to cause allergic reactions in Brazil-nut-sensitive people. As a result, this novel food has not entered the marketplace.
Such screening is not possible with conventionally bred hybrids, and the danger is real. Natural varieties of potato and celery have in the past led to the selling of foods that were downright hazardous. Relatively little fuss was made about them and they were withdrawn from the market. Conventionally bred potatoes and celery still appear on supermarket shelves without warning labels.
In the face of the hysteria and vilification campaign, we must recall that genetic modification of crops began some 9000 years ago and both inbreeding and cross-breeding have played an important role in the origins of all our staple foods. Bread wheat, for example, contains virtually the complete chromosomal sets from three distinct grasses whose relatives grow wild today in the Middle East. It is an inter-species hybrid and is now mankind's most valuable crop.
Democrat Senator Natasha Stott Despoja was reported in The Age on Friday calling for greater scrutiny of GM crops. "It's essential that the veil of secrecy which shrouds genetically modified crops be lifted. The public must know what science is doing to our crops and our farming." Precisely.
I get angry when it is stated that scientists don't want this debate to occur. Where is the debate in the newspapers? Why are the advantages of GM food and the compelling reasons for its development not being clearly put in a balanced debate?
Ultimately, we all depend on science for almost everything in our lives; the most urgent task of the media is to help us understand the issues in a more balanced way.
Dr David Tribe is a senior biotechnologist from the University of Melbourne.
This article is posted to continue the debate re: GM crops etc. It's big news in OZ and especially so in my regional area. Lots of opinions flying about.
Regards from OZ
-- Pieter (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 03, 2000
It's been awhile since I've cut and pasted a response, but Geri Guidetti has a most interesting article (second in a series of Michael Hyatt's weekly newsletters) on this topic. I tend to believe Geri. Let's see if my cutting and pasting works.
SELF-RELIANT LIVING EDITORIAL
Food Terminator and Traitor Technologies: Part 2: Targeting Global Seed and Food Supply
by Geri Guidetti
March 31, 2000
Nature can be cruel sometimes. With broad geographic brushstrokes, floods, severe droughts, earthquakes or volcanic eruptions can wipe out the food and drinkable water supplies for communities or whole regions in hours, even minutes. Within days and weeks following a disaster, competition for whatever resources remain can be fierce, even deadly. The formerly complex rules of community life are quickly simplified to one: food is power. Whoever has it, survives. Whoever controls it has virtually complete power over those who dont.
Throughout human history, man has learned to manipulate that simple, natural truth to starve out pockets of ideological resistance, to gain control of strategic ports, or to turn whole populations into serfs for a handful of powerful masters. Last week I discussed efforts and patents by our own U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and an ever-smaller handful of global gene giants to create and commercialize genetic seed technologies designed to render food and fiber seeds sterile. The seed embryos are genetically programmed to commit suicide. These first generation Terminator technologies are designed to prevent farmers from raising and saving their own seed for future crops. Please note, from my original, June 1998 Terminator article, that the USDA clearly expects to profit monetarily from this patent. Dependence for food seed on a handful of powerful global giants and a U.S. agency ensures profits, but strips farmers and, eventually the people they feed, of food security and freedom.
Yet, the now thirty-plus Terminator-type technology patents are apparently not enough profit insurance for these powerful multinational seed and agrochemical companies or, for that matter, for the USDA. It has now been learned that two more seed sterilization patents were issued to the USDA and development partner, Delta & Pine Land. Patent No. 5,925,808 was issued on July 20, 1999 and patent No. 5,977,441 on November 2, 1999. According to RAFI Executive Director, Pat Mooney:
The U.S. government is advancing research and squandering taxpayer dollars on a technology that has been universally condemned because it is bad for farmers, food security, and biodiversity. Its an egregious misallocation of public resources for the sole purpose of maximizing seed industry profits.
RAFI Programme Officer, Silvia Ribeiro, commented:
Despite mounting opposition from national governments, United Nations agencies, farmers, scientists, and civil society organizations around the world, USDA continues to ignore the public outcry at home (Maryland just introduced a bill to ban the Terminator this monthG.G.) and abroad.
Meet the Traitors
If you think it is difficult to imagine a more ruthless technology than the Terminator, meet the Traitors, a collection of (so far) 29 patents that introduce genetic traits to food plants that make those plants dependent on the external application of a corporations proprietary chemicals to bring in a crop. What a perfect business plan! Sell them the seed, and then you get to sell them all of your own chemicals, too! If they dont buy and apply the chemicals, they dont eat! Here is a look at some of the Traitors:
AstraZenecas Verminator II patent, WO 9735983 (The Verminator got its name because a rat gene was used to create specific genetic controls in the plant): Plants genes are modified to create chemical junkies. Plants will need continuing exposure to specific chemicals to germinate and grow. Killer genes will direct the seed or plant to commit suicide unless the killer compound, barnase, is inactivated by another pair of genes turned on by the companys chemical(s). The junkies must have their chemical fix or they die. The fix is only temporary, and it is inherited. Seed saved from these plants are also junkies. No chemicals, no food. The company says the technology can be used in all plants, especially in wheat, barley, rice, maize (corn), apples, peaches, pears, carrots, cabbage, onions, lettuce, melons, bananas, strawberries, tomatoes, tobacco, sunflowers, canola and sugar beets. They said they will seek patent approval in 77 countries.
Seed and chemical giant, Novartis, has patents that also create chemically dependent plants, but with a different, perhaps more sinister twist. They target plants innate, natural pest and disease resistance genes, eleven of them, and then genetically modify them so they can be turned on or off externally.
Novartis explicitly claims the introduction of traitor traits by the deactivation of essential, natural resistance functions of plants. By linking this deactivation to inducible promoters, patented plants can be sold that will not exhibit natural positive traits like germination and pest resistance unless exposed to a chemical. Novartis blandly calls it inactivation of endogenous regulation. According to the company, the technique results in plants in which genes which are natively regulated can be regulated exclusively by the application to the plant of a chemical regulator. In other words, the plants are effectively drug addicted (see reference #1 at end of article).
Traits that Novartis proposes for chemical control are germination, insect resistance, herbicide resistance, flowering, nutritional qualities and flavor. (Italicized for emphasiswill innate, natural flavor and nutrition be disabled unless the plants are continuously dressed with proprietary chemicals?)
Novartiss patents are also designed for most vegetables, some grains, clover, alfalfa, tobacco and cotton. (Italicized for emphasis note that pasture and hay crops are now also targets for the creation of chemical dependencies in plants.) So far, patents for this family of technologies have been issued in Australia, Poland, Portugal, the USA. Patents are pending in Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Israel, Norway, New Zealand, South Africa and many others. A total of 76 countries are targeted.
The Bigger Picture Raises Many Questions
Terminator technologies were designed to ensure that farmers must come back, year in and year out to the company to buy seed, but growing seed is a huge task for these companies, a task fraught with all kinds of weather, transportation and handling challenges. Why bother? What if they could get you, the farmer, to grow your own seed for future crops but still have to pay them for it every year? What if they had a way to hook you permanently to their pipeline of chemicals?
This is now possible with Traitor technologies. The combined technologies will unwittingly ensnare many farmers, especially those highly targeted but not as well informed, in Second and Third World countries, in a tangled web of chemical purchases, spray schedules and licensing fees. U.S. farmers are already reeling from the high cost of hybrid, genetically engineered seed and chemical inputs. In bad weather years when there is little or no harvest, they teeter on the brink of bankruptcy. Many are already bankrupt and have been forced to sell out to corporate, factory farms. These technologies will drive the nails in the coffin of the family farmer. Other Resources
Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space With Less Work by Mel Bartholomew (Rodale Press, 1981) presents a new way to garden in less space with less work. The book has been overwhelmingly accepted by gardeners across America. Bartholomew also hosts the popular PBS series of the same name. The book includes 37 photos and 63 illustrations and charts. This is the book on gardening. There are many uglier, potentially more dangerous sides to this seed issue that few are talking aboutyet. Every gene creates a protein. Many of the genes inserted into plant genomes to create Traitor and Terminator technologies create proteins that have simply never been tested as food in humans! No one can say that they are safe for human consumption! Most human allergens are proteins. If a protein is recognized by a persons immune system as foreign, the body launches an attack which many of us recognize as allergies. Some of the most severe attacks are life threatening anaphylaxis and asthma. How will we know which food or food component in our complex diets of fast and processed foods caused the illness or death of a child? What if severe reactions and deaths take months or years to occur as our bodies build up levels of novel metabolic byproducts of these chemicals that we are unable to excrete? Will we merely say that serious allergies and allergic asthma are sadly becoming more common? A sign of the times?
What about the potential carcinogenicity of grains, fruits and vegetables that have now been bathed throughout their entire growth cycles with a vast array of herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics and even fertilizers, the gene/agrochemical giants saviors that will remove the artificial locks they have placed on natural, God-given germination, disease resistance, nutrition and flavor? What about the effects of all of these novel proteins and chemicals on the farm animals who will eat the engineered clover and alfalfa that are bathed in proprietary chemicals? What about the run-off from these pastures and farms, run-off that ends up in our already highly contaminated creeks, rivers and drinking water. Given our own USDA is the co-originator and has been granted a profitable patent on at least three of these technologies, my guess is these will be commercialized without doing a single study on potential health and environmental effects.
One last big unknown: many biologists have come forward worldwide to say that there is a clear danger of pollen from these plants infecting related species in neighboring fields. If you refuse to grow their seed, a percentage of the pollen will get your plants anyway. If its a Terminator, your seed will be terminated for next year. If its a Traitor, perhaps it will be disabled, made suddenly disease susceptible, and languish or die. We will not know how high the frequency of this genetic drift is until it happens. This has already happened using other technologies.
Heres another thoughtspeculationthat we should consider. What if the pollens of natural, open-pollinated, non-hybrid seeds are portrayed to government bodies, in corporate PR and in legal complaints as contaminants of a corporations better, genetically engineered seed? What if they are able to convince governments that native crops grown by local farmers now threaten the patented, proprietary genes growing in Traitor and Terminator fields? Who do you think will win such legal and legislative battles? The little guy with patches on his jeans or the multinational with the deep pockets in his? Will our natural heritageour wealth, our only real food security, our non-hybrid seedsbe taken away from us? Will smaller seed companies be told they can no longer grow and sell it? The latter is probably moot. Most small seed companies have now been bought out by the big ones. Consolidation continues. It will be very easy to engineer the disappearance of the rest of our natural seed heritage from the catalogs and stores.
This is madness! It deserves your questions, your study, your opinions. Here are some addresses and resources you might find useful:
Secretary Dan Glickman USDA, 200-A Whitten Bldg. 1400 Independence Ave.,SW Washington, D.C. 20250 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Email: email@example.com Tel: 202-720-3631 Fax: 202-720-2166
RAFI, the organization that is taking the international lead on this issue is an outstanding resource. Emails and phone numbers here, too. Or , by mail:
RAFI International Office 110 Osborne Street, Suite 202 Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3L 1Y5 CANADA
Also, please The Ark Institute, is dedicated to educating people on this important issue:
The Ark Institute PO Box 142 Oxford, OH 45056. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Note: The Ark Institute will provide free non-hybrid, open pollinated vegetable and grain seed to individual and community growers as part of our preservation work. Please contact us by email or at the address, above. Put Free Seed on the subject line or at the top of the envelope and we will contact you with details.
) 2000, Geri Guidetti. All Rights Reserved. "What if the pollens of natural, open-pollinated, non-hybrid seeds are portrayed to government bodies, in corporate PR and in legal complaints as contaminants of a corporations better, genetically engineered seed? What if they are able to convince governments that native crops grown by local farmers now threaten the patented, proprietary genes growing in Traitor and Terminator fields?"
) 2000 Michael S. Hyatt. All Rig
-- Jo Ann (MaJo@Michiana.com), April 03, 2000.
Guidetti, makes many useful and valid points form a scientific Guidetti makes many reasonable and valid points from a scientific viewpoint. Now something from a more philosophical perspective by Peter Melchett.
The following is the text of a speech by the director of Greenpeace responding to Robert Shapiro, ceo of Monsanto. The speech was given at Greenpeace Business Conference Wednesday, 6th October 1999.
BOB, I WANT TO START by saying thank you for being with us today, and for agreeing to address our conference [by video link], even though you werent able to come to Europe. And thank you for being so blunt with us. Nobody is ever likely to accuse you of lacking a clear vision. But you wouldnt be human if you werent wondering how things have turned out so badly. Monsanto has made huge efforts in every direction, with the full support of multinational food manufacturers, retailers, communications firms, regulators even governments yet there has been a massive public rejection of your vision.
You have managed to put Monsanto in the uncomfortable, possibly fatal, position of providing the lightning rod for a quite unprecedented, implacable opposition to GM foods across Europe. Your company is in trouble on Wall Street. Respected financial analysts in your own country publish a report entitled GMOs are dead. It seems as if every food manufacturer and supermarket in Britain avoids GM like the plague. The head of the American corn growers association describes your products as an albatross around the neck of farmers. New scientific concerns surface every week, but are ignored by your industry, which prefers to try to distract us all with fresh promises of exciting new products just around the corner. Meanwhile, in the marketplace, premiums are being paid for GM-free crops.
You could be forgiven for thinking it wasnt meant to be like this, and wondering where it all went wrong.
I want to give you a Greenpeace view on where it did all go wrong. The economic and political disaster you have contrived has important lessons for the future of every large corporation, and for governments. It is all too easy for the ignorant and the shortsighted to blame environmental groups and the media for spreading hysteria, using emotional arguments and generally stirring up an otherwise acquiescent public.
This is an argument we hear from a great many people who should know better. It isnt just a weak excuse. It is palpable and dangerous nonsense. It obscures the true nature of the situation, which is that a well-educated and well-informed public have taken a careful look at what you are offering and have said no.
That rejection is all the stronger because of the conviction that you and other chemical companies attempted to impose GM ingredients on them by stealth. This caused real outrage.
You have made a lot of mistakes [some of which you have just referred to] but the fundamental error was to fail to understand the way public values are developing in Europe, and across much of the rest of the world. The vast majority of people are not anti-science. Nor is Greenpeace. Greenpeace promotes scientific innovation. We promote solar photovoltaic electricity, ozone- and climate-friendly refrigeration and air conditioning, and the worlds first non-pvc credit card, made from Monsantos own biodegradable, non-GM plastic.
But people are increasingly aware, and mistrustful, of the combination of big science and big business.
They have a far more hard-eyed, realistic sense of the limits of scientific knowledge, and about the genuine unknowns, than the scientific and political elite appear to comprehend.
They increasingly understand just how difficult it is for governments and regulators to protect the wider public interest in the runaway world of deregulation, free trade and the wto.
In the United States, you have, for example, seen massive public reaction to the dangers of pesticide residues on fruit, and to the links between numerous toxic but approved chemicals and breast cancer. In Europe weve had mad cow disease. Worldwide weve seen chemicals that were fiercely defended as safe, like ddt, dioxins and cfcs, all now condemned. Nuclear technology, originally promoted by scientists and governments as safe, economic and as absolutely necessary to human progress and development, is now utterly rejected.
In the face of all this, people have learnt to make up their own minds and take responsibility for their own actions.
And they scorn patronizing assumptions based on the premise that they dont know what is good for them. On the contrary, people insist that it is their society and their world, and they will decide what is acceptable, and what is not.
There are, of course, some people in important positions who have placed the idea of GM food into a package labelled modern, progressive things we believe in at all costs and must support for the sake of the nation. They seem genuinely perplexed, and even rather hurt, at the outright public rejection of this part of their package, as if we were all being somehow ungrateful.
Yet Amory Lovins, the author of an important new book subtitled The Next Industrial Revolution, sees things rather differently. He embraces fuel cells, hypercars, and advanced materials and technologies of every sort. But his verdict on genetic engineering is uncompromising. He says its ambition is to replace natures wisdom with peoples cleverness; to treat nature not as model and mentor but as a set of limits to be evaded when inconvenient; not to study nature but to restructure it . . . the transformation of plant genetics is being accelerated from the measured pace of biological evolution to the speed of next quarters earnings report.
The creation of art and literature; the movements for equal rights and fundamental human freedoms; our ever-expanding understanding of scientific knowledge; and our growing realization that we need to act in accordance with the limits the planet places on us are all part of the growth of more civilized human societies. Personally, I believe a further test of our civilization is our ability, collectively, to decide whether or not, and how, to use the power and the possibilities that science and technology provide us with. The coming worldwide rejection of GM food shows people acting in line with civilized values and feelings about our relationship with nature.
Its great for any business leader or politician to try, as you do, to think in a joined-up, long-term fashion about resource pressures and future human needs. Very few do. Greenpeace has been saying for years that there is a desperate need for more long-term thinking. We know, we agree with you, that things cant go on as they are. But we fundamentally disagree with your vision of the solutions.
Your vision fails because it is highly selective; driven by a blinkered view of the technical possibilities, rather than by a balanced understanding of social and environmental realities and needs on the ground, in the real world. It perpetuates the technocratic, top-down approach that so often succeeds only by working against the grain of nature. It promotes false promises of easy alternatives via short-term technical fixes. And it increases the imbalance of power between multinational corporations and farmers in the developing world.
You behave not as a company offering life and hope, but as bullies trying to force your products on us. You sue those who oppose you, and try and injunct them and anyone theyve been in contact with suppressing dissent, not encouraging debate. When you do debate, as in your recent uk press ads, you get your facts wrong.
I have lived all my life, on and off, on the east coast of England, in the Norfolk countryside. As a child, a walk to the end of our garden brought me to fields full of people, wild flowers, insects and birds. We called birds like skylarks, tree sparrows and corn buntings common-or-garden birds because they were part of everyones experience. Today they are all on red lists threatened or endangered. In the brief half century of my life, we have ripped the face of our countryside bare. Gone are movement, scent, sound and colour.
We are living in the future that Rachel Carson foresaw in her book Silent Spring. But I have also seen that these things bees, wild flowers, skylarks can return have already started to return. And I know that this amazing reversal of the destruction we have caused during the second half of this century is threatened, not helped, by GM technology.
Agricultural GM techniques have been the subject of an immense amount of hype, portraying them as the future and even essential to our survival as a species. In reality they represent more of the past. A past in which over-confident technologists, out of touch with the values and aspirations of ordinary people, have tried to impose solutions on society. A past in which governments and big industries are in bed together, apparently incapable of being honest about the limits of their understanding seeing only what they want to see and looking only for what they want to find. And a past in which the contrary views of citizens are dismissed as irrelevant and their complaints derided as ignorant, emotional and even hysterical.
Life sciences is a good name. But you have applied it to the wrong sort of science! We do need to set about restoring the Earth, mending the tattered web of life and building nurturing, sustaining systems that support life on Earth.
EVERYTHING WE HAVE actually seen of GM food and farming so far is bad, and is taking us in the wrong direction. It is the latest and least acceptable aspect of the industrialization and intensification of agriculture. A truly visionary, holistic life sciences solution, combining the fundamental goal of achieving agricultural production while sustaining life, in all its rich diversity, does already exist. It is directly in tune with public values. It works by making the most of natural processes. It produces food of the highest quality. And it brings premium prices for farmers. It is called organic agriculture.
Organic agriculture is striking a huge public chord. Ask the supermarkets. Look at the opinion polls. As an industry it is currently growing faster than computers or telecommunications. The potential is immense, precisely because organic agriculture goes with the grain of what people understand to be good for themselves and for the environment which ultimately sustains us all. People know what kind of a world they want for themselves and their children, they know how they want companies to behave, and they know how they want their food to be produced. And you are blocking this progress.
The unrealized potential of organic agriculture is immense it simply needs the application of the sort of technical skills and resources that have been squandered on GM technology and industrial agriculture over the last fifty years.
WE COULD, I suspect, argue all day about agriculture. Lets get back to looking at the meaning of the GM debate for industry and governments. The message is clear. Be warned. Technical advances alone, even when presented with a plausible, sustainable development rationale are not enough. Companies, no matter how large, who fail to go with the grain of the social and environmental values of increasingly sophisticated and self-confident citizens will pay the price. This is the Brent Spar message, written in capitals. And with each disaster of this kind, people generally, and Greenpeace in particular, are becoming more confident in their understanding of what is at stake and more resolute in their ability to resist it successfully. There has been an unprecedented, permanent and irreversible shift in the political landscape.
The GM politics of the last two years underlines the fact that taking account of public values on environmental issues is now an absolutely central necessity for the worlds economic health. To repeat it is necessary for the worlds economic as well as environmental health. Governments around the world including our own continue to ignore or dismiss this essential new dimension. Yet the longer this neglect continues, the worse the consequences will be for industry, for scientists and for the authority of governments themselves.
I want to end with a formal public offer from Greenpeace to Monsanto. We have a long record of working creatively with companies to address environmental challenges. And we would like to do more in this constructive vein. We are not afraid to work with our opponents if they are brave enough to embrace radical change. If Monsanto will:
stop developing GM crops,
get out of producing pesticides and
reject the idea of patenting life forms,
Greenpeace will work enthusiastically with you to produce a new Monsanto. This could be the worlds first genuine life sciences company, based on ecological, organic, holistic principles. We could offer twenty-six years experience in our staff, volunteers and membership; innovative ecological vision; and access to Greenpeaces global reach and credibility. Swords into sustainable ploughshares. Do think about it.
-- (Hallyx@aol.com), April 03, 2000.
Why should any of this really surprise anyone??? TPTB set up that 'little' airport in Mena, Arkansas to allow the CIA to bring in drugs to pay for their "dirty little war" in Nicaragua...do you think it's just a 'little' coincidental that Clinton was Gov. at the time? 'Course it's kinda curious that a Republican was in the Oval office. (quickie side ques: IS there really a dime's worth of difference between 'em?)
Why then should it be surprising that the same "powers that be" also favor agricultural junkies that require constant application of designer chemicals? To them -- a junkie is a junkie -- and there's always a profit of some sort to be had. It always involves some kind of profit and/or control issue. How d'ya like having the likes of creatures that could come up with this diabolical agriculture plan being able to control whether or not you eat tonite???
If you have the land, time and ability--grow some non-hybrid fruits and veggies...then learn how to save the seed for the next generation. Search on the net for others doing the same thing...trade seeds...start small but keep doing it...and keep learning...don't believe a word that the GM, Terminator and traitor stuff folk say. Think all this through and trust your instincts.
-- BaarfOn (GM&Terminator@&traitorStuff.com), April 03, 2000.
Thank you, Jo Ann, for posting Geri's article. I hadn't heard about the Traitor seeds, or the verminator seeds! I found The Ark's email address, if anyone wants it:
I wrote to them, asking about their free seeds for our non-profit community garden, but I haven't heard back yet.
And thank you, Hallyx, for posting Peter's excellent speech! He said exactly what I would have said (if I were a good speaker!)..
This is a really important issue...all of us will be involved down the road. Two years ago, when Mr. Glickman was considering a new definition for the word "organic" (to include GM foods, irradiated food,& products grown in sewage sludge), he was surprised by the hundreds of thousands of people who contacted his office to protest.
"Mothers for Natural Law" is another group that has good information about this.on their web site..including lists of food companies that do not include GM food in any of their products. They presented several hundred thousand signatures to the vice president last summer, requesting the labeling of GM foods, so at least the consumer can make the choice when purchasing.
We need to talk about this...talk to everyone! Many people are totally unaware of how the food gets on their plates! And even less aware of what the food really is.
-- Margo (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 03, 2000.
Mothers for Natural Law has a web page:
Lots of good info
-- Margo (email@example.com), April 03, 2000.