View Full Version : Madge Digest No #137 October 2013

Mick Pacholli
8th October 2013, 12:24 PM
http://www.tooraktimes.com.au/images/imported/2013/10/160.jpg (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=bd517c4ee9&e=4019a4b278)

1) March against Monsanto Saturday 12th October 2013 (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=692964a07e&e=4019a4b278)
2) Rogue GM canola found in Victoria and should Tassie lift its GM ban? (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=631f24a66a&e=4019a4b278)
3) Unstoppable global mums, meeting with bureaucrats… what MADGE has been up to: (http://madge.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=388b4c4d35&e=4019a4b278)
4) Has the heat really gone out of the GM food debate? (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=0746b8f509&e=4019a4b278)
5) Saving the seed that feeds us all and why you make the difference (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=3a304de9d9&e=4019a4b278)
6) Upcoming Events, including our AGM (http://madge.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=46166ae605&e=4019a4b278)
1) March against Monsanto Saturday 12th October

Monsanto is a chemical company with a history of producing products that poison, maim and kill. They include Agent Orange, PCBs and Roundup. They own 27% of all seed worldwide and control about 90% of GM seeds. Here is a 2 minute film on Monsanto (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=7669491231&e=4019a4b278).
Five months ago 2 million people worldwide marched (http://madge.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=c32c8ca1c1&e=4019a4b278) to show their opposition to Monsanto.
On Saturday 12th October there will again be a global march. In Australia there are marches in Hobart, Sydney, Bellingen, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Redcliffe, Perth, Byron Bay, Canberra, Darwin, Albany and Townsville. Details of Australian marches are on Facebook here (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=89baf5d4fe&e=4019a4b278).
Or email marchagainstmonsantoadelaide@gmail.com to find out more.
See you on the 12th!

2) Rogue GM canola found in Victoria and should Tassie lift its GM ban?

Rogue GM canola (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=b7b6af1bc3&e=4019a4b278) weeds have been found growing along roadsides in Victoria by Jessica Harrison from GM CropWatch. “We again call on Monsanto, owner of these patented weeds, to clean up our environment,” she said…“Farmers have a basic right to be able to grow non-GM crops and not be concerned about contamination,” she said.
Photo and story from The Wimmera Mail Times. (http://madge.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=d285c7172a&e=4019a4b278)
GM wheat trials are scheduled to take place near Horsham later this year. This has the potential to contaminate wheat and other crops. Approval for the GM wheat “trial” - really a promotion - is expected by the end of October.
Why are we risking our farmers’ livelihood and our food for a dud technology?
Tasmania is considering lifting its moratorium on growing GM crops. Have your say here (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=bf43a98bd0&e=4019a4b278).
Submissions are due by 5pm 11th October. They do not have to be long and involved. Writing one sentence could get your opinion across.

3) Unstoppable global mums, meeting with bureaucrats… what MADGE has been up to:

Global mums:
More stories of miraculous recoveries when GM food is removed from the diet are appearing. This US mum’s (http://madge.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=f2dc5ba7db&e=4019a4b278)baby daughter’s vocal cords would paralyze shut leaving her struggling to breathe. She was also refusing food. Specialists were unable to diagnose or treat her. Her mum desperately searched the net for information and discovered GM food and how kids recover when it is removed from their diet.
Two weeks after changing her family’s diet her daughter recovered. “We had an amazing team of specialists at the Children’s Hospital that couldn’t figure out what was wrong. It was because of mums on the internet telling their stories. They saved my daughter’s life. It is important that we talk to our friends and families about this and spread the word.”
To do this MADGE has created a Mums Across Australia Facebook page (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=f56d906426&e=4019a4b278) and has joined a coalition of unstoppable “Moms Across the World (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=f040997271&e=4019a4b278)”.
Meeting with bureaucrats:
Gene Ethics, MADGE and the GM-Free Australia Alliance met with representatives from the Victorian Health Department, including the Director of Health Protection, on September 12th.
We raised concerns about the flaws in the approval, labelling and monitoring of GM foods as well as the use of nanotechnology and irradiation in food.
We highlighted that technologies are being approved on the basis of Food Standards Australia New Zealand's (FSANZ's) interpretation of the scientific evidence. This evidence is contested and currently FSANZ's scientific position has been allowed to remain unchallenged.
We would like the new Australian government to follow the example of New Zealand. Their Parliament's Regulatory Review Committee heard two expert scientists detail their concerns over FSANZ's approval of GM soy designed to be sprayed with 3 weedkillers (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=e7cec8fb82&e=4019a4b278).
Due to the complicated regulatory system in Australia, important GM (and irradiation and nanotechnology) safety issues slip through the cracks - time for a Freeze on GM food approvals!
Food Summit:
MADGE attended the GAP Growth Summit on Food Sustainability, International Food Markets and Agriculture (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=a3d0dc0c27&e=4019a4b278). A full report will be in the next digest.
Here are MADGE’s powerpoint presentations from recent talks:

Home Economics Institute of Australia Queensland “Nutrition and Health: the GM and Organic Debate (http://madge.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=94020612d5&e=4019a4b278)”.
Real Food Festival, Maleny “GM food – is it food?” (http://madge.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=b6d7101b7f&e=4019a4b278)

4) Has the heat really gone out of the GM food debate?

Recent media coverage of GM; recycled promises for wonderful GM crops in the future, ignored current GM failures and claimed we are more accepting of the technology.
Dr Craig Cormick (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=1bce720c84&e=4019a4b278), a creative writer and science journalist who works for CSIRO, says GM wheat will benefit consumers and so be more popular with the public than existing GM crops. He neglects to mention this GM wheat has the potential to silence the genes of the people that eat it (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=a0914ca98a&e=4019a4b278).
Cormick softens resistance to GM by telling people that GM papaya saved Hawaiian trees from the ringspot virus. He doesn’t mention GM papaya has lost Hawaii its valuable export and organic market and the virus could have been controlled in other ways (http://madge.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=1cc4e81693&e=4019a4b278).
People are easily manipulated to support technologies when only given partial information. Is this ethical?
GM golden rice test plots were recently ripped up (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=eaa4b57148&e=4019a4b278) in the Philippines by "anti-GM activists”. Scientists spoke out against this.
However nowhere was it mentioned that it was a farmer led protest (http://madge.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=c47af5fe94&e=4019a4b278). Farmers said the way to address vitamin deficiencies is not to feed people GM rice but to ensure they have a varied diet.
Philippine farmers have already been harmed by the introduction of GM corn 10 years ago. The GM seed was initially affordable, promised higher yields, less pesticides and higher profits. The promises have proved empty and the price of GM seeds has skyrocketed, benefitting seed dealers and chemical companies while farmers are falling into debt and losing their land (http://madge.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=0657bb6a1e&e=4019a4b278).
Somehow these huge failures and injustices are kept from discussion but the meme that people concerned about GM are anti-science is regularly trotted out.
Two recent examples are articles on The Conversation. There are plenty of comments, some from scientists and a couple from MADGE, challenging the writers of the articles:

To change anti-science activists minds go beyond science. (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=7cec78d8e1&e=4019a4b278)

For GM food and vaccinations the panic virus is a deadly disease (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=ac6871774c&e=4019a4b278)

Q and A had a brief discussion on GM recently (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=b52ead46a5&e=4019a4b278) (34.38 minutes in).
Rick Roush claimed there is a consensus that GM crops are safe and that the EU Commission showed GM crops reduce pesticide use. There is no scientific consensus on safety (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=e77f0c941e&e=4019a4b278). The EU report relies on studies that are years out of date. The superweed and superpest problems that now plague GM crops was not then apparent. Even at this early stage of GM introduction the benefit of GM soy to US farmers (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=468ad97504&e=4019a4b278) was only reported to be time savings so they could get a second, off-farm, job! (p17). Jim Dale’s GM bananas feeding the world myth is debunked in item 5.
The Global Mail (TGM) has done four articles on GM. One covers GM crop approvals (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=b24868e261&e=4019a4b278). It is misleading as GM potato (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=28b362a2c3&e=4019a4b278) and GM tomato (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=290dcbb6cb&e=4019a4b278) were released and then removed from sale years ago. There are reports of GM tomatoes in China as well as GM rice contamination but officially no GM rice is commercially grown worldwide (http://madge.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=130a942ea3&e=4019a4b278).
The data used by TGM comes from ISAAA. This is a site funded by the biotech industry, including Monsanto. It has been shown to be wildly inaccurate in the past (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=ae0df11973&e=4019a4b278).
Another article covers the organic farmer in WA who is suing his neighbour over GM contamination (http://madge.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=4169c66335&e=4019a4b278). This is a trial over the right of organic agriculture to maintain its 100% non-GM status.
The journalist, Ian Walker, also did the recent Background Briefing programme on GM, Curse of the Frankenfoods (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=9ae8b68157&e=4019a4b278). It bizarrely dismissed peer reviewed studies by scientists, Seralini (http://madge.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=48e7c96cf9&e=4019a4b278) and Carman (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=7a43a78829&e=4019a4b278). Instead it relied on the opinions of Jon Entine a writer who is also the Executive Director of the Genetic Literacy Project (http://madge.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=a3b8998cce&e=4019a4b278)and a visiting fellow of the far right American Enterprise Institute (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=bfea200a41&e=4019a4b278).
Mark Lynas’s was also extensively quoted. He (falsely (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=ada86ab571&e=4019a4b278)) claimed to be a founder of the anti-GM movement who has now repented. He has recently been touring the world promoting GM and appears reluctant to name his funding sources.
If you are tired of being guiltwashed into eating your GM genes so that the planet doesn’t starve you may like the fully referenced report GM Myths and Truths (http://madge.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=bcdca8a698&e=4019a4b278) that can set your mind at rest.
You may also like to read the latest UN report on how to feed the world. It says we need to move rapidly from industrial monocultures to “mosaics” of small farms with lots of diversity (http://madge.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=647b789b6e&e=4019a4b278). Sounds delicious!

5) Saving the seeds that feed us all and why you make all the difference

There is a huge effort to take seed away from farmers, gardeners and the public and to privatize it:

The EU Commission is seeking to ‘streamline’ its seed laws (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=dd0a1f3356&e=4019a4b278). Critics say this will reduce essential diversity and increase corporate control. The EU exports 60% of world seed, which means these laws will have global repercussions.
In Africa the Council of Ministers of the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) hasapproved draft seed regulations (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=29b9817681&e=4019a4b278). These will damage small farmers and open up Africa to large companies and GM seed.

Industrial seed is being forced on farmers by Free Trade Agreements (http://madge.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=3388ccda81&e=4019a4b278) that criminalize and marginalize traditional seed. This means “peasants and small scale farmers in Colombia, Thailand, East Africa, Chile and Europe …only have access to industry seeds which they must buy every year and which require for their cultivation an arsenal of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and other poisons,”
People everywhere are fighting against this takeover of life:

The world’s greatest chefs (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=c2e3102ca9&e=4019a4b278) are talking about the importance of seeds, especially their diversity, flavor and nutritional content.
Vandana Shiva has launched a “Seed Freedom (http://madge.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=ef6200c9a5&e=4019a4b278)” campaign
Colombian farmers went on strike (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=07960fe367&e=4019a4b278) over the control of seed by Free Trade Agreements
Food Sovereignty Ghana is protesting Monsanto’s increased pressure on Africa to adopt GM after its withdrawal from Europe. They call GM “fake science in alliance with corporate greed (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=0a37bdfb7a&e=4019a4b278)”.
Farmers have got the FAO International Seed Treaty Governing Body (http://madge.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=ad98436a99&e=4019a4b278)to adopt a resolution to protect their rights. It needs to be adequately implemented.

The number of crops we eat and the variety within these crops is reducing dramatically (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=4ce08f6114&e=4019a4b278). This is dangerous for us all as it makes it easier for bad weather or disease to wipe out our food. It also makes for dull, monotonous food.
We have been told stories about how industrial agriculture and the global food system is the only way to feed us all. This is entirely wrong.
The Green Revolution was not the main cause of a decrease in hunger (http://madge.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=a1fa34b6cd&e=4019a4b278). Between 1970 and 1995 over half of the reduction in child malnutrition in developing countries was due to improvements in women’s education and status. Just growing more food does not mean more people can afford it. What feeds people is poverty reduction, political action and food sovereignty.
What the global system is excellent at is thwarting these aims. In the lead up to the WTO meeting in Bali therich countries are trying to prevent poorer countries buying food from their farmers and distributing it to poor households (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=964275fa44&e=4019a4b278). The US considers this to be a trade-distorting subsidy. The US gave $130 billion in subsidies to its farmers in 2010. That same year 37 million Americans, including 14 million children, required food relief (http://madge.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=e72ca98e5c&e=4019a4b278).
What can you do?
Buy diverse food from diverse farmers. If we don’t eat it they can’t grow it. Find you local market here (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=d8e904f774&e=4019a4b278).
Be part of Oxfam’s Eat Local Feed Global campaign (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=69f53bf5bb&e=4019a4b278) this month and share a meal and conversation about food
Give a Fork! (http://madge.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=177c8d9099&e=4019a4b278) With Sustainable Table’s focus on seafood.
Listen to women farmers of La Via Campesina (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=c10528ee7c&e=4019a4b278) protecting food and farming from around the world.
Hear how your food choices (http://madge.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=bf2cf8120a&e=4019a4b278) can repair soil and water and bring health and happiness to us all.

6) Up-coming events – including our AGM:

Saturday 12th October – March Against Monsanto, 2pm at the State Library, Melbourne (http://madge.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=d9a7ede6d3&e=4019a4b278). There are similar marches all round Australia, and the world.
Tuesday 15th October – Swinburne Uni, Hawthorn 5.30-7.30pm “Trade and Technology: What does the Trans-Pacific Partnership mean for Australia? (http://madge.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=421247f562&e=4019a4b278)”
Sat 18th and Sun 19th October at “Sustain – your natural and organic lifestyle show (http://madge.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=8f9285e9b4&e=4019a4b278)” at the Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton Gardens, Melbourne.

Saturday November 16th 2-3pm at Lower Merri Room, CERES, Corner of Roberts and Stewart St, Brunswick East, 3057, Melbourne.
Everyone, including children, is welcome to the MADGE AGM (http://madge.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f4c8d30c064f6851b3c340a8b&id=41c4032466&e=4019a4b278). Food writer and mother of two, Katie Falkiner will be talking about feeding kids. For further details ring 0401 407 944.
We all share this world. The kinder and more thoughtful we are to ourselves, each other and the plants, animals, land and water that surround and support us the better it is for us all.
Happy Eating