GMO Awareness has a blog up on the work of Dr. E. Ann Clark on sustainable agriculture. A really good, informative read on agriculture and its future. Dr. Clark analyzes the entire cost of growing food–not just planting something in the ground, but the costs of chemicals’ impact on our ecology and the growing hypoxic zone at the mouth of the Mississippi.
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How did we evolve an agri-food system so centered on specialization, consolidation, and globalization?
That is the million dollar question.
It is a failed policy to believe that bigger is better. Ignoring the wisdom of the elders in putting Glass-Steagall in place (note that it was part of the New Deal and how Bill Clinton got rid of it) or the Sherman Act in place is to our peril.
Here’s a report on how a case against Monsanto for antitrust violation was….dismissed….with nary a peep from the Dept. of Justice…
The USDA does keep market share numbers for the cottonseed market (pdf here), and in the 2012 growing season, Monsanto (through its cottonseed line Delta & Pine), Bayer, and Dow (through its Phytogen subsidiary) owned 80 percent of the market among the three of them.
As far as I’m concerned, owning 80 freaking percent of any market IS a monopoly. But that’s just me.
What about Monsanto’s bullying farmers? How are they allowed to sue a farmer whom has not contracted to purchase their frankenfood seeds, but ends up with bioengineered crops because of drift? Why aren’t the farmers allowed to sue for trespass?
But between 2000 and 2008, Moss writes, “real seed costs [for farmers] increased by an average annual rate of five percent for corn, almost 11 percent for cotton, and seven percent for soybeans.” And for most of those years, she adds, growth in the price farmers were receiving for their crops didn’t match growth in the price they were paying for their seeds—suggesting a possible squeeze on farmers by the seed industry.
Small farms, no doubt. Too Big Too Fails can afford to absorb the increased costs.
(and good luck, Mother Jones, on getting the work of the DOJ on this case. If they had any solid evidence supportive of Monsanto, they would have been happy to trot that out…but they didn’t. )
…but controlling the seeds isn’t the only thing Monsanto wants to control. Gene Logsdon has this up on Monsanto now trying to play God with the weather.
Tell me, DOJ, is controlling the freaking weather breaking antitrust laws? /very snarky
Here’s the New Yorker article on Climate Control Corporation. God, that name sends chills down my spine…
And here is another article on the antitrust laws…a good read. Note the case of Microsoft and Bill Gates’ underhanded tactics, and how the case took a sudden turn in Gates’ favor. Note the dates–during Bill Clintons Administration–his Dept of Justice, where not one but two attorneys general had dropped out of the case.
Finally, a question–have you ever had sugar snap peas right off the plant? No? Well, you are missing a treat that only fresh produce provides–see, the sugar starts to turn to starch once the pea is picked, and that result is a bland tasting pea. I was blown away by how good it tasted when I grew my own, organically. I could hardly wait until the others matured to the picking size so I could enjoy them. Same with cherry tomatoes, and well, *any* tomato you grow yourself is better than the those cardboard-tasting things you buy in the supermarkets.
And speaking of supermarkets–those of us of a certain age will remember when they came into being and how “modern” we felt we were when we had one come to our little town. They even had the Budweiser Clydesdales come to the Grand Opening. Boy, that was living! (said with a sadness that we were so gullible).
Oh, and those purple carrots look really enticing…
Another post on sustainable practice, Pee and Poo Show, here.