Observe Nature’s Rules–Or Else!
If organic farmers and gardeners have any goal, it’s to work with nature instead of against her. The idea is that nature’s laws are inviolable without causing illness, pain, and suffering. You can try to short circuit nature’s rules, but you only end up hurting yourself, because you are part of nature and subject to her laws as much as the weeds in the fields, the trees in the forests, and the rest of the animals that live there.
What does this mean practically? Well, nature has set up a system of barriers to keep species, genera, and families of plants and animals separate. A horse can mate with a donkey, but the resulting mule will always be sterile and unable to reproduce. Nature doesn’t favor intergeneric crosses. Even moreso, you can’t cross a muskrat with a fish. Not only won’t you get viable offspring, you won’t get any offspring at all. And you certainly can’t cross a corn plant with a bug. Nature’s barriers to these kind of reproductive attempts keep species separate, so that humans beget humans, rabbits beget rabbits, and mayflies beget mayflies.
You wonder what’s wrong with genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? What’s wrong is that scientists lay out the genes of organisms and start mixing and matching organisms that nature would never allow to cross. They take a gene from a mouse and put it into a cat. They take a gene that manufactures toxins and put it into corn plants. They can make a hamster that glows in the dark by inserting a gene for phosphorescence from sea plankton into the hamster’s DNA. And then companies like Monsanto claim that genetic engineering simply does what nature does all the time when plants and animals cross. No—they do something fundamentally wrong. Nature will make sure there’s payback for this.
And she already has started. We now have superweeds that resist herbicides because the genes inserted into crops to resist hedrbicides have jumped into weeds bordering the fields. We have insects that now can resist the toxins in Bt corn created by genes from a bacterium called Bacillus thuringeiensis.
And now dairy farmers in Germany are suing Syngenta because their dairy cows fed this GMO corn are dying—whole herds of them.
Meanwhile, Monsanto is threatening to sue the state of Vermont if Vermont dares pass a law requiring food containing genetically modified ingredients to be labeled as such. But they can’t do that in California, where a ballot measure this fall asks citizens whether they want their food labeled if it contains GMO products.
Monsanto knows that once the label indicating the presence of GMO products in foodstuffs goes on the products, you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.
Let’s hope all Californians who eat organic take the opportunity this fall to shove Monsanto’s genetically modified food right back down its throat.
This from The Times of India:
“Five million Brazilian farmers have taken on US based biotech company Monsanto through a lawsuit demanding return of about 6.2 billion euros taken as royalties from them. The farmers are claiming that the powerful company has unfairly extracted these royalties from poor farmers because they were using seeds produced from crops grown from Monsanto’s genetically engineered seeds.
“In April this year, a judge in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, ruled in favor of the farmers and ordered Monsanto to return royalties paid since 2004 or a minimum of $2 billion. About 85 percent of Brazil’s massive soyabean crop output is produced from genetically engineered seeds.
“Farmers say that they are using seeds produced many generations after the initial crops from the genetically modified Monsanto seeds were grown. Farmers claim that Monsanto unfairly collects exorbitant profits every year worldwide on royalties from “renewal” seed harvests. Renewal crops are those that have been planted using seed from the previous year’s harvest. Monsanto disagrees, demanding royalties from any crop generation produced from its genetically-engineered seed. Because the engineered seed is patented, Monsanto not only charges an initial royalty on the sale of the crop produced, but a continuing two per cent royalty on every subsequent crop, even if the farmer is using a later generation of seed.
“Monsanto gets paid when it sell the seeds. The law gives producers the right to multiply the seeds they buy and nowhere in the world is there a requirement to pay (again). Producers are in effect paying a private tax on production,” Jane Berwanger, lawyer for the farmers told the media agencies.
It was 102 F. here today, and we’re in Sonoma County, an oceanside county that’s usually cool. What to drink on a hot day like this? Besides ice water, if you don’t have to work and can relax, think bubbly wine. Sparkling wine is refreshing due to its high levels of tartaric and malic acid, its carbon dioxide bubbles, and its crisp fruitiness. It doesn’t have to be expensive Champagne. Ruffino makes an excellent Italian prosecco—the Italian sparkler—with a price that ranges between $11 and $13. Prosecco used to be sweet and fizzy, but is more genteel these days, and a good bargain. You can still use it with peach juice to make a bellini, but for a treat, make a fruit yogurt smoothie and top it off with a half cup of prosecco. Chill a bottle and you will find plenty of good uses for it on hot days like today.
It’s cherry season and the first cherries are now being sold at roadside stands and in the stores. They are labeled “red cherries,” obviously because the sellers either don’t know, or don’t want you to know, the inferior varieties that they are. They are also conventional cherries, drenched in chemicals. I avoid them assiduously. Soon enough will come the organic bings. They are the best cherries in the world. Bide your time. And don’t buy the first peaches or apricots, either. They are woefully inferior and won’t even ripen properly. Wait for mid-season stone fruits. Mid-season and late-season fruits are the best. And make sure they’re organic.