Sunday 9 February 2014

Blog #2  Food/Seed Control System (Part 1)
February 9, 2014

Food control system specifically referring to Canadian Federal Bill C -18 as reported by National Farmers Union.  The next few blogs in this month of February will be referring to this link and the impact of Bill C-18.  Please take the time to read this and refer back to it.

Consider that the majority of the Canadian population lives in metropolitan areas where growing one’s own food is not an option – at least not food to feed the family year round. Therefore, there is a significant reliance on the food market to provide consumers with a year’s worth of food. When you pick out your head of lettuce or bag of potatoes, are you asking yourself about the quality of soil health, the health of the farmer, or if the seed that produced the produce was high quality and energy.  Thinking at the micro-DNA level of the seed that produced the groceries in the shopping cart is usually the furthest thing from one’s mind, with the introduction of Bill C-18 such questions are important to start educating yourself about, and as a consumer, bringing to the attention of your supplier.  Why? He who controls the seed business will control the food system.

Having been a conventional farmer for over 20 years, originally, then gradually moving over to organic and biodynamic farming over 33 years, the impact of this bill could not be clearer to me.  In essence this bill supports the conventional/factory (multi-national corporate) type farming and the result is a controlled food production system where the end user (the consumer – you) is victim of higher prices, restricted quantity (and variety of food), reduced quality of food, and the growing power of seed controllers.

One type of seed does not fit all! For a seed to produce the best product, it must come from within 100 miles of where it is grown.  In Atlantic Canada, many can at least attest to a variety of climate differences in just 60 miles of road.  This is the same for seeds that adapt each year to the conditions of the soil where it grows, and that adaptation is cumulative with nature making needed changes for next year’s crop to flourish.  It is nature’s nature to grow abundantly.  However, when control and restrictions are imposed such as would happen with Bill C-18, this nature habit is all but overridden. So, one seed does not fit all – an example of a similar restrictive approach was the resulting potato famine in Ireland years ago.

The bottom line, though, is that the food you purchase is less than likely to come from local seed, and if from a multi-national corporate farm, the impact of Bill C-18 will affect the pocketbook at check out, with likely impacts on one’s health.

Here is what happens when, let’s say, you are farmer of conventional-factory size.  You have two options in the beginning of a new farm, to get your seed from a local producer, to get your seed from a large seed producer. If you opt to get seeds from a large producer, it is unlikely the seeds will be from local areas, thus the seed will not be able to adapt quickly enough to be a cash crop the first year. It is more than likely that the large seed producer will require that you use a herbicide… a common one used is  called Roundup.  Roundup kills weeds (weeds are an indication that the soil is lacking in certain elements for balanced health), and contains inerts which have been considered to affect health. Using the seeds of the large seed producer, the farmer must sign an agreement that he never passes seeds from his farm on to anyone else (impact: price increase due to lack of competition). Once this herbicide is applied to the ground, it ruins the naturally occurring organic matter in the soil.  Further, weeds, which are nature’s way to correct imbalance in the soil, either will flourish or become resistant to the herbicide. The farmer is told when using these non-local seeds that weeds are not permitted in the crop so herbicides are mandatory. Herbicides are designed to kill weeds, in so doing the condition of the soil remains unaddressed.  The controlled seed system is totally unnatural, and because it must be used in subsequent years, the resulting grain/produce is unbalanced and the costs climbing considerably for both the farmer and the consumer. Ultimately, the land itself, with all living parts, is decimated. As the land gets sicker, some weeds start to become resistant against the herbicides.  The devastation can only be reversed with years leaving the land dormant and other agricultural healing approaches to get land back into health.  In the meantime, that land would not be able to be used to produce crops.  So much land in Canada is now so affected that if there would be a large scale crisis requiring acres to be taken off the herbicide dosing regime, starvation would result.

Adding to this situation the farmer faces, there are “terminator seeds” that he is required to use.  Such seeds do not germinate in a following year, and the farmer is forced to buy back next year’s seed for next growing.  For a seed to act in such an UNnatural way, it has to be changed slightly so it will not germinate.

So we understand when something impacts our pocketbooks, but there is also an impact when we eat food that has been chemically treated.  Imagine further, the impact of eating “terminated” food –  studies done on the effect on human health would be most interesting.

When such controlled seed food system is used, it takes Nature out of Natural. Bill C-18 refers to patenting future seeds which means
  • extinction a wide variety of seed which restricts food needed for health and if a species of controlled seed becomes unusable there are no other varieties to fall back up,
  • seeds supplied away from the growing area will not be able to adapt to local soil and weather conditions (seeds should be from within 100 miles of where they will be grown),
  • seed life is being “patented”, life should not be patented as it is the public domain.
A good example of just how critical it is to have local seeds is Peru where in one field and mountains on one farm there must be different varieties of potatoes growing in different levels of a field.

So next time you are going for groceries, consider the farmer, the land, the soil, and… the seed – for all this effort was put into either producing a product that feeds you, or a product that in whatever subtle, but cumulative ways, takes from you for the benefit of the few. 

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