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View Diary: DOJ quietly drops investigation of Monsanto (145 comments)

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  •  So Monsanto gets to own food (9+ / 0-)

    Maybe they can figure out how to grow it with a © on every goddam kernel.

    •  Well there is a quiet revolution going on out (22+ / 0-)

      there. The organic movement, the urban farming movement, land trusts, the rise in farmers markets, the local food movement, and even farmers who went big and sprayed and bought into the "get big and buy Monsanto" push from the USDA who are now moving away from that model all point to a shift that's happening. Yes it's incremental and yes Goliath won't go away quietly, but Monsanto is losing the war. Both in our fields and in the marketplace. There is a reason that the organic grocery industry is experiencing such tremendous growth.

      People want good, clean, nutritious food that doesn't taste like cardboard. This coupled with the fact that costs keep rising for chemical farmers and they haven't seen the promised yields nor the disappearance of weeds and pests that Monsanto et. al. held up as reason for conversion all will lead to a shift. The irony is that the consolidation in our food production system seems to be leading to its own demise.

      •  I hope you're right (11+ / 0-)

        And I try to not buy any GMO and always organic, even as that's been co-opted by big-agra such that it means a lot less than it should. But pollen has a habit of disregarding property lines.

      •  I joined a CSA this year (14+ / 0-)

        and was very happy to support a local farmer.  

        I supplemented this with buying at farmers' markets and local farm stands.  

        I have gone out of my way to find places that sell locally raised grass-fed meat and dairy products.

        I buy my fish at a local fish market, and I even have two sources for buying fish and scallops directly from fishermen, and two of my neighbors are lobstermen.

        I only make visits to the regular grocery store for paper products and non food items.  There are only a few food items that I still purchase here, like coffee and pineapple.

        I feel very fortunate to be able to source my food this way, and it is only possible to do so because the area where I live is very committed to supporting local family farms.

        I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

        by DamselleFly on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 03:03:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're part of the revolution. This connection (14+ / 0-)

          to the source of your food is a strong bond, one I would argue is genetic (i.e. part of our makeup). Re-connecting with our food sources I think is answering part of our culture's want for more meaningful experiences and a desire for a connection to the land. Even in completely urbanized environments (New York for example) people are buying food from farmers markets in part due to a satisfaction gained knowing where their food came from and being able to talk to the people who actually grew it.

          For me, working the soil brings me happiness (literally, the soil microbe Mycobacterium vaccae affects our brain in positive ways). And eating food fresh from the ground, vines and trees that I've harvested myself is an incredibly powerful feeling (again, I think it's genetic for us). Our species is experiencing a great existential conundrum that I think is at least partly due to our walling off nature from ourselves. I think we will slowly march back to re-gain that connection.

          •  It feels like a revolution too :-) (0+ / 0-)

            And it applies to more than food.

            I have not been to the mall in years.  I buy fewer things and pay more for those things I do purchase in order to support local shops.

            I saw this article this morning that talks about this growing trend towards supporting ourselves by buying local:

            UK Town Is Model

            I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

            by DamselleFly on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 10:28:09 AM PST

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      •  The future is green robots... small, autonomous (0+ / 0-)

        using mechanical or other non-chemical weed control mechanisms directly along with sophisticated crop and weed recognition and GSP and other navigation & positioning tech.

        Small, light, with sensors cameras and even direct remote control as needed. This potential revolution could totally remove Monsanto and Roundup from the herbicide and GMO crop market...

        And such robots if used at all stages of cultivation even lessen the need for plowing since a lot of the reason for plowing is to make up for all the soil compaction from very heavy farm vehicles... more areated soil, more organic activity, less need for fertilizer. less rainfall run off etc.

        In the future Farmers large and small can run fleets of small mobile economical weeders and even monitor close up soil, condition, crop progress plant by plant. They can be running on locally produced solar electric or bio fuels and would be modular and replacement parts and or modifications and upgrades could be produced via 3D printers... and even the source for the 3D printer feedstocks can be from recycled or green sources.

        It would be interesting if this revolution could be seen in 3rd word farming... a local - up revolution with small farmers sharing low cost smart farming robots partially assembled locally and run locally with later generation RaspberryPi style computing with touch screen interfaces (can even be pre-literate or semi literate), ultra low cost solar power... Grameen bank style financing, smart cell phone communication among farmers in a local area, coordinating their plans, activities, shared used of the equipment etc.... it would augment the direct physical labor they would continue to contribute but leveraged with low cost direct tech... And ALL the components will be even cheaper and cost effective than they are now... Carbon nanotube tech for electronics, grown carbon composites for structural components... everything.

        Ground up farming instead of top down Roundup corporations.

        Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

        by IreGyre on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 03:43:49 AM PST

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      •  USDA supports local foods (0+ / 0-)

        Despite the "obvious" conclusion that USDA is a "wholly owned" subsidiary of Monsanto," the facts don't support that sweeping generalization.  The USDA has a lot of professional staff working to support small farmers, local foods, organic farmers, etc.

        Know Your Farmer


        National Organic Program

        Limited Resource Farmer/Rancher

        are just a few examples.

        -4.9, -5.7. Hominem unius libri timeo (I fear the man of one book) - Saint Thomas Aquinas

        by envwq on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 04:49:59 AM PST

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        •  I know people who work in USDA and who (0+ / 0-)

          are strong supporters of local and organic farming. The USDA has made some changes recently that are positive (the grant funding specialty crop farmer education for instance), but let's not kid ourselves. The overall paradigm of USDA, a HUGE agency mind you, is one tilted towards Nixon's Secretary of Ag. Earl Butz's goal of making farming a corporate, mega-farm industry. This push, happening back in the early '70's, is still the main focus of the USDA. Yes, there are small programs that focus on organic farming, farmers markets, etc, but the bulk of the funding and efforts are clearly where they've been for the past 30+ years: commodity production (i.e. corn, soy, cotton, etc) for industrial food produces who make cheap food (i.e. corn syrup).

          There is virtually no support for "specialty crop" farmers (i.e. fruit and vegetable) even at a time when obesity rates have hit epidemic proportions in this country. The people I know within USDA will tell you firsthand how the agency is deeply entrenched and that making changes is difficult (the industrial food lobby is very powerful). But small, incremental changes are being made and there are people in the USDA who care about organic, local, sustainable food production. Again, the fight is long, but we're going to win it.

          •  Agree somewhat (0+ / 0-)

            Yes USDA is HUGE.  Nothing that big changes rapidly.  USDA is funded by Congress who tells the Department what to do for the most part (Farm Bill) as well as in the annual appropriations.

            But there are real, discernable, positive, cultural shifts, which is the point that I was trying to make.  I have firsthand knowledge of those changes.

            -4.9, -5.7. Hominem unius libri timeo (I fear the man of one book) - Saint Thomas Aquinas

            by envwq on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 01:16:27 PM PST

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            •  And I have firshand knowledge as well of those (0+ / 0-)

              changes, which I pointed out in my reply. Those changes are positive, long overdue, and it will take a LONG time to change the overall culture/focus of USDA. Butz's influence on the department was monumental and persists to this day. Folks within USDA, folks I know, see what happened to our food production system and know something has to change.

              Like I said, it's a long battle, but we're going to win it.

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