Jan 182013

Hawaii is on a mission to label GMOs. More than that, the pure food groups would like to kick Monsanto right off the islands. A big demonstration at the capital on Jan. 15 coinciding with the opening of the legislative session got things going followed up by the Vandana Shiva tour.

Dr. Vandana Shiva is one of the rock stars of the food movement world wide and we were lucky enough to get seats for her talk Wednesday night at the amazing Salvation Army Joan Kroc Community Center in the Kapolei area. This $133 million community center was something to behold and it’s too bad that MacDonald’s Joan wasn’t into healthy food. Then, perhaps, her $1.6 billion gift might have gone to an organization like Hawaii Seed. It’s ironic that a hamburger-funded facility hosted such an event which also featured the very impressive Andrew Kimbrell from the Center for Food Safety and Walter Ritte the guy who got the military to stop practice bombing the island of Kahoolawe.

In many ways, the GMO issue is the most important political issue of our time. Topics like Right to Life and Gun Control get more press but are side shows. Because, everything is about food. And, as it is with so many other things the public has been sold a load of crap by corporate interests to modify our behavior so they can make more money.

Both Dr. Shiva and Mr. Kimbrell made the point that our modern food system of chemical monocroping is a continuation of WWII. The big chemical companies did really well with explosives. Sadly, the same materials used for bombs can be turned into fertilizer. Farmers were convinced to use these modern methods to increase yield. Shiva pointed out that it’s all about control and the strategy of the chemical industry has been to “Occupy the Seed.” If you control the seed you control the farmer and the food and the public will be forced to eat what you present to them. Patenting seeds, plants and animals and genetic engineering are tactics in the stategy of occupying the seed. (The chemical industry has succeeded in morphing the phrase “genetic engineering” to the less inflammatory GMO or “genetically modified organism”).

All of us need to learn a lot more about the hazards of GMO. There are no studies to determine the side effects. Modern agriculture has convinced most of the world that to feed the billions their chemistry will be required. The sad truth is that chemical agriculture makes us sick, destroys the soil and affects the culture and local economy by undermining traditional food systems.

Here’s the exciting thing about the food issue: it’s a political issue that you can do something about immediately. This minute. You can decide to never eat genetically engineered food. You can decide to grow some of your own food. You can decide to boycott any store that sells unlabeled GMO products. You can decide to support local agriculture and local farmers. You can contribute to organizations working to defeat Montsanto and the other four or five giant chemical companies who have worked so diligently to turn their war chemicals into fertilizer and who are determined to control the world’s seed stock.

Makana, one of our favorite Hawaiian performers opened the show. He’s written a number of anti GMO anthems and sung for us last evening. Here are the last few stanzas:

Monsanto and the others all make great claims

Of feeding the world… and pests they overcame

But yields are shrinking and the pests are getting bigger
And no one knows what’s coming cause they pulled an early trigger

Remember the butterflies and bees that all died
And the quarter million farmer suicides
You think you might start asking why?
So many living things would die from a thing that’s meant to save the world

The makers of Agent Orange and Roundup too
Were all excited over a new breakthrough
Just before their patent on herbicide was up
They found a way to keep farmers drinking from their cup

They built their product right into the crop
Turned Mother Nature into their own shop
Now they can patent your food
While family farmers are sued for the crime of saving their seeds

And all the cheerleaders talk of ending world starvation
But it ain’t from lack of food, it’s from economic segregation
They say Genetic Engineering is old as growing food
But we know it ain’t the same in fact it’s way more crude

It ain’t science when you’re aiming a gun
And praying the DNA don’t come undone
They’re playin’ cowboy with our genes
Ignoring all the unforeseen risks, they made a laboratory of the world

50 nations label transgenic food
But out here in the US the consumer’s gettin’ screwed
It didn’t change the price of food to label it elsewhere
Now they’re spending millions just to keep us unaware

This is the story of the GMO
It’s on your plate and you probably don’t know
There never was a dry run
Put on a grocery shelf, not one test to prove the safety of the food


  3 Responses to “Vandana Shiva vs Montsanto”

  1. Vandana Shiva is a true hero for our times; if anyone can inspire/teach us to save ourselves it is her! Out here in San Juan County we successfully banned the propagation of GMOs. Our position was that if we could protect our seeds from contamination we can become a ‘clean grow’ location for GMO free seed to help replace Corporate/Industrial AgriBusiness with home gardens and sustainable small farms. Eventually, ever-more-expensive energy will require us to decentralize and simplify, why not start now?

  2. Good post and the fact the San Juan’s were able to get legislation passed banning GMO’s is and inspiration. I read a lot about things that are grown but what about living organisms such as salmon. I recently read about salmon being genetically modified with genes from an eel. Wouldn’t that be just wonderful released (accidentally or otherwise) into our environment.

  3. We have alternatives that protect the Earth, protect our farmers, and protect our health and nutrition. To occupy the food system means simultaneously resisting corporate control and building sustainable and just alternatives, from the seed to the table. One seed at a time, one farm at a time, one meal at a time — we must break out of corporate food dictatorship and create a vibrant and robust food democracy.

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