What If the Consensus on Small-Scale Toolmaking and Agriculture Is Wrong?

The idea that food is globally incredibly cheap right now doesn’t compute in the mainstream narrative.

Source: OfTwoMinds.com
Charles Hugh Smith
July 14, 2016

In the consensus view, agriculture is only profitable on a mega-farm corporate scale, and tool-making has been offshored because it’s unprofitable to manufacture stuff in the U.S. But what if both of these “obvious” consensus opinions are flat-out wrong? What if small-scale farming and toolmaking are both potentially profitable?

Perhaps we should be asking: what if the highest future profits will belong to small-scale agriculture and manufacturing, not Wall Street or Silicon Valley? This idea is so far out of the mainstream that it is widely considered “impossible:” nothing could be more profitable than politically sacrosanct “too big to fail” Wall Street banks or quasi-monopoly tech giants.

As for agriculture–nothing could be more profitable than large-scale corporate production, all watched over by machines of loving grace (as per Richard Brautigan and Adam Curtis).

All of these presumed “truths” may be melting into air if small-scale machine tools and software technologies enable highly efficient and productive small-scale agriculture:

Drew Sample and I discuss these nascent but potentially revolutionary trends in a new podcast, Small Scale Farming, Small Scale Manufacturing (1:08 hrs).

Critics will quickly point out that large-scale production of grains such as corn and wheat and crops such as soy beans cannot be profitably grown in small plots. While that’s currently a financial reality, that does not imply it’s a permanent truth: large-scale agriculture consumes vast quantities of fossil fuels (currently cheap, but maybe not cheap forever) and huge quantities of minerals such as potash that are non-renewable.

Should essential non-renewables skyrocket in price, large-scale agriculture becomes a lot more costly to operate.

There’s also the question of sustainability. Typical large-scale practices such as tilling cause soil loss that cannot be “fixed” with conventional methods. Then there’s the decline of water tables as aquifers are drained by conventional agricultural practices.

In typical Wall Street fashion, the perspective on what’s sustainable currently extends about one quarter (three months). Few observers ask what will be sustainable in 20 years.

Continue Reading At: OfTwoMinds.com

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Legislation In Alaska Requiring Labeling Of GMO Salmon Will Now Be Reversed By The Senate’s Fake Labeling Bill

GMO labeling
Source: NaturalNews.com
Wes Maxwell
July 15, 2016

In light of the Senate’s recently passed GMO fake-labeling bill, giving food manufacturers voluntary responsibility to label their products’ GMOs, Alaskans received an additional blunder.

Republican Senator, Lisa Murkoswki, took to the Senate floor on July 7 to discuss her concerns with the Senate’s recent approval allowing food companies to manufacture and sell genetically engineered salmon in the state of Alaska without providing clear, transparent GMO labeling.

Prior to the recent approval of the Monsanto-backed GMO fake labeling bill, Alaskan law required labels on all products containing genetically engineered salmon. As laid out in the Biotechnology Labeling Solutions Act, the new legislation “would allow the Agriculture Department to determine which foods qualify as genetically modified and let companies choose the method of disclosing genetically modified organism (GMO) ingredients to consumers.”

This marks the first time in history that the FDA signed off on allowing the production and sale of a genetically engineered species designed specifically for human consumption.

Alaskans calling genetically engineered salmon “Frankenfish”

To make this GE salmon, scientists are taking DNA from an ocean pout, a type of eel, and combining that with DNA from a Chinook salmon to produce what many Alaskans are calling a “Frankenfish.”

While the FDA has reassured concerned Alaskans that the voluntary labeling stipulations of the recently passed bill will be enough to ease their worries, Alaskans are not convinced.

Alaskan Senator, Lisa Murkowski, voiced her concerns to the Senate last week over the approval of voluntary labeling stipulations for this genetically engineered salmon. “My opposition here is to anything that would mistakenly allow genetically engineered salmon into anyone’s home and have it mislabeled as salmon,” Murkowski said.

Senator Lisa Murkowski takes to the Senate to voice Alaska’s disapproval of GE salmon

Alaskan citizens have voiced their disapproval as well, as over 1.5 million of Alaska’s population wrote the FDA detailing their unified opposition to the bill. Additionally, numerous Alaskan grocery stores, including Safeway, Kroger, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Target, have announced they will refuse to sell genetically engineered salmon without mandatory labeling requirements.

Not only does this pose huge health concerns for Alaskans, as they will not know whether the salmon they buy at the grocery store is true, wild Atlantic salmon or if it is some genetically engineered “Frankenfish,” it also poses an enormous threat to Alaska’s seafood industry.

Providing more than 63,000 jobs and contributing over $4.6 billion to the state economy, Alaskan fisheries play a critical role in the maintenance of the state’s overall livelihood. Under the stipulations of the FDA’s approval for aqua bounty technology last November, these genetically engineered salmon eggs will be produced in Canada, and then shipped off to Panama to be raised in pens, providing no benefit to the American economy, let alone the Alaskan economy.

Senator Murkowski spoke of the grave dangers this poses to the Alaskan economy, claiming GE salmon “has the potential to wreak havoc, to do harm to our natural stocks … [and] poses a serious threat to the livelihood of our fisherman.”

As a result, Senator Murkowski is pushing for the approval of an amendment to the recently passed non-GMO labeling bill requiring the FDA to create a new market name for GE salmon, but has been met with strong opposition.

“We will not accept that ge salmon, or this Frankenfish, be sold to us without clear labeling,” Murkowski told the Senate last week.

As Alaskans remain united in their opposition to the sale of unlabeled GE salmon, Senator Murkowski is doing everything she can to be make sure the voice of her people is being heard. Wild Alaskan salmon provides a myriad of tremendous health benefits, providing a natural source of lean protein, Omega 3’s, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and niacin. It would be a shame to see a nutrient depleted, genetically modified “Frankenfish” be sold alongside true Alaskan salmon as one in the same.

Read More At: NaturalNews.com

Totally Hijacked By Big Food: Organic Trading Association Turns Against Genetically Modified Food Labeling

Organic Trade Association
Source: NaturalNews.com
Ethan A. Huff
July 15, 2016

A number of farmer and consumer advocacy groups are breaking ties with the influential Organic Trade Association (OTA), after it was discovered that the membership-based organization, which represents the entire organic industry in both Canada and the United States, sold out to Big Agribusiness by extending its support to the Stabenow-Roberts Bill, which many are now referring to as the Monsanto “DARK” Act 2.0.

The farmer-owned Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) was one of the first groups to jump ship from OTA, citing the organization’s “duplicity towards organic farmers and consumers,” with its support for legislation that preempts existing state laws like those of Vermont and Connecticut that mandate proper labeling for genetically modified organisms (GMOs). OSGATA is outraged that OTA would betray its members by throwing its support behind efforts to un-label GMOs in order to pander to the likes of Monsanto.

OTA announced on June 27 that, based on the current situation surrounding the GMO labeling saga, it was more important for the trade group to prioritize the reinforcement of standards for organic foods and
the organic label in general, than to try to fight the Stabenow-Roberts Bill, which a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) assessment found will end up exempting most or all GMOs from having to be labeled.

According to OTA, this compromise of a bill was inevitable, “with or without us,” and OTA’s primary mission is to protect the integrity of the organic label, not to hash out a labeling standard for GMO food. But groups like OSGATA aren’t convinced, especially since OTA had the option to reject the Stabenow-Roberts Bill, but didn’t.

“It’s important for the world to understand that it was the Organic Trade Association that killed our state GMO labeling laws by backing Monsanto’s Stabenow-Roberts bill,” Maine organic seed farmer and longtime OSGATA president, Jim Gerritsen, said in a statement.

“It’s clear that Organic Trade Association has come under the control of a small group of lobbyists controlled by giant-food corporations that also own organic brands. … The Organic Trade Association can no longer be trusted, and it’s clear that organic farmers can no longer condone this dubious trade association’s troubling behavior.”

OTA’s support for GMO un-labeling highlights rift between ‘organic elite’ and ‘authentic organic’

Part of the problem with the organic industry today is that a lot of major food corporations, many of which peddle conventional foods loaded with unlabeled GMOs, have hopped on the growing organic train in an attempt to court healthy shoppers over to the dark side. Everyone knows that the organic food sector is growing by leaps and bounds year after year, and Big Food can see the writing on the wall: If a food company wants to stay in business, it has to cater to consumers who want clean food free of GMOs and other poisons.

But, as these companies have adopted the organic label and weaseled their way into positions of power at organizations like OTA, organic standards have taken a hit, as have efforts to mandate GMO labeling laws that benefit the People rather than corporations. Carey Gillam, a journalist and research director at the non-profit U.S. Right to Know group, says a rift is growing in which the “organic elite” – Big Food corporations peddling their own organic lines – are now at odds with the smaller “authentic organic” businesses and groups that started the organic food industry in the first place.

A national GMO labeling scheme is what both groups say they want. But, when push comes to shove, the big guys are more interested in passing toothless legislation like the Stabenow-Roberts Bill that won’t do a thing to make true GMO labeling any more of a reality than it currently is, with no labeling laws on the books at all.

The good news is that GMOs aren’t even a concern if you grow your own food at home, and the backyard Vertical Garden Tower helps make that possible.

Read More At: NaturalNews.com

Senate Approves Mock GMO-Labeling Bill, Threatening Genuine Attempts To Label Food At The State Level

GMO labeling bill
Source: NaturalNews.com
Daniel Barker
July 11, 2016

A watered-down GMO labeling bill, which critics say was largely constructed by the GMO industry itself, and is likely to undermine existing labeling legislation at the state level, has just passed the Senate and is also expected to pass in the House of Representatives.

The bill will require food manufacturers to use one of three types of labels to alert consumers to the presence of GMO ingredients in food products. The three label types include a written statement on the package, a link to a website or a phone number, or a quick response (QR) code that can be scanned by a smartphone.

The labeling options are one of the main aspects of the bill that opponents find unacceptable. The use of the QR code will limit access to ingredient information to those who own smartphones, and critics say that is exactly the reason for its inclusion in the bill.

Opponents to the bill argue that only clear text labels are appropriate, and that the other labeling options are only included to make it difficult for consumers to gain information.

The bill will effectively undermine GMO labeling laws that have been passed in states such as Vermont and many municipalities which require clear text labeling on products containing GMOs.

Another issue with the bill is the fact that it leaves loopholes for certain foods to escape being labeled as containing GMOs.

From The New York Times:

“Proponents of labeling insisted that nothing short of text on packages would do. Some, including Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and erstwhile presidential candidate, also raised concerns over the definition in the bill for determining which foods would require labels, a sign that if the bill becomes law, legal challenges will almost certainly follow.”

Under the wording of the bill, many foods containing GMOs may be exempted from labeling. For instance, foods containing oils from GMO soybeans may not require labeling.

No one yet seems to be clear exactly what foods the labeling bill will cover, adding to the confusion and increasing the skepticism regarding its effectiveness.

A victory for the GMO food industry

One thing is clear: the passing of the bill in the Senate is a victory for the GMO foods industry, which spent approximately $100 million in 2015 alone in its efforts to oppose GMO labeling, but which also managed to have the labeling bill drafted in its favor.

The labeling bill is so watered-down and GMO industry favorable, that it has been dubbed an “anti-labeling” bill.

In fact, there will be no penalties or fines imposed for non-compliance, which essentially means that the legislation not only favors the GMO industry, but also has no teeth at all to begin with.

The bill is a “fraud,” according to Mike Adams, the Health Ranger. “It would not require any sort of GMO labeling that’s readable by human beings, and it would destroy the only existing labeling law that requires real, honest labeling (the Vermont law).”

Consumers cannot trust the government to protect them from GMO consumption

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the government and its regulatory agencies cannot be trusted to protect the public. The vast majority – more than 90 percent – of Americans say that they want GMO labeling, but the government has failed to acknowledge this fact and act effectively to meet their demands.

The best approach to protecting your family against GMO food consumption is to buy only local, organic products, and to grow as much of your own healthy, organic food as possible.

Growing organic food at home is easy and practical, even if you have limited space to work with. Raising your own food crops in a small area can be accomplished through incorporating vertical gardening techniques, for example.

The Garden Tower vertical gardening system is the perfect first step towards gaining food self-sufficiency. It’s easy to use, and it’s made in the U.S.A. Visit this link to find out more.

Read More At: NaturalNews.com

Politicians Sell Out Population AGAIN: US Senate Passes Genetically Modified Food Anti-Labelling Bill DARK ACT 2.0 Preventing YOU From Knowing What Dangerous GMOs Are In Your Food Courtesy Of Whole Foods & Monsanto

DARK Act
Source: NaturalNews.com
Ethan A. Huff
July 9, 2016

Under the cover of darkness, just hours after Hillary Clinton was handed a get-out-of-jail-free card by the FBI for committing felony crimes, the Senate quietly voted 63–30 to preempt state law in direct violation of the Tenth Amendment, prohibiting individual states like Vermont from enacting mandatory GMO labeling laws passed by voters. And at least one senator (from Oregon) is absolutely outraged.

Senator Jeff Merkley wasn’t afraid to call a spade a spade in the aftermath of the treasonous vote, which was further buried in the news cycle by Obama’s latest attempt at race-baiting in order to abolish the Second Amendment. Merkley told the media that the so-called Roberts-Stabenow Bill, also known as the Monsanto DARK Act 2.0, is a farce, and will do nothing to protect consumers who want to know what they’re eating.

As we’ve been reporting, S.764 would exempt most GMOs currently in use from having to be indicated on product packaging, which is the whole point of GMO labeling in the first place. The only way consumers would gain access to truth in labeling for those GMOs that aren’t exempted is to scan the “smart” codes on certain products with their smartphones, but not everyone has a smartphone or even data coverage, especially in poorer and rural areas.

All the way round, the DARK Act 2.0 is a disaster for truth in labeling, though it’s being touted by industry supporters as the labeling bill “we need” – of course, because it isn’t actually a labeling bill at all, but rather an un-labeling bill that protects chemical and agriculture corporations from having to properly disclose their hidden additives to consumers.

“How can you have a so-called ‘mandatory GMO labeling bill’ that doesn’t require on-package labels, doesn’t cover the most common GMO products, and doesn’t mandate a single consequence for companies that don’t comply?” Sen. Merkley asked. “The answer is you can’t.”

Even the FDA recognizes the Monsanto DARK Act 2.0 as a total sham

After conducting an independent review, even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took issue with the contents of the DARK Act 2.0. The legislation’s narrow and ambiguous definition of “bioengineering,” the agency found, is completely unacceptable because it “will likely mean that many foods from GE [genetically-engineered] sources will not be subject to this bill.”

An example of this is oil made from genetically-modified soybeans, which would not have to be labeled because it supposedly contains no genetic materials. Similarly, starches, purified proteins and other common ingredients derived from GM sources would be exempt from labeling. According to the FDA, it “may be difficult” for any GMO food to qualify for labeling under this appalling bill.

“The FDA critique makes it very clear that this is really a non-labeling bill disguised as a labeling bill,” stated Center for Food Safety executive director, Andrew Kimbrell. “Preempting the democratically decided upon laws of five states based on this poorly written, discriminatory and ineffective legislation would be a travesty.”

To learn how you can grow your own food at home and avoid GMOs completely, check out the latest in urban gardening technology with the vertical Garden Tower.

The senators who voted yes on the bill in betrayal of the American people are as follows:

Alexander (R-TN)
Ayotte (R-NH)
Baldwin (D-WI)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bennet (D-CO)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Brown (D-OH)
Burr (R-NC)
Capito (R-WV)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Cassidy (R-LA)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Cotton (R-AR)
Crapo (R-ID)
Cruz (R-TX)
Daines (R-MT)
Donnelly (D-IN)
Enzi (R-WY)
Ernst (R-IA)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Fischer (R-NE)
Franken (D-MN)
Gardner (R-CO)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Heitkamp (D-ND)
Hirono (D-HI)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johnson (R-WI)
Kaine (D-VA)
Kirk (R-IL)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Lankford (R-OK)
Manchin (D-WV)
McCain (R-AZ)
McCaskill (D-MO)
McConnell (R-KY)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Moran (R-KS)
Nelson (D-FL)
Perdue (R-GA)
Peters (D-MI)
Portman (R-OH)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rounds (R-SD)
Rubio (R-FL)
Scott (R-SC)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Shelby (R-AL)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Thune (R-SD)
Tillis (R-NC)
Toomey (R-PA)
Warner (D-VA)
Wicker (R-MS)

Read More At: NaturalNews.com

Canadian Govt. Accused Of Covering Up Adverse Effects Of Glyphosate After Firing Top Health Officials Researching Monsanto Herbicide

Glyphosate report

Source: NaturalNews.com
Ethan A. Huff
July 8, 2016

Was former New Brunswick chief medical officer of health, Dr. Eilish Cleary, on the verge of blowing the lid about Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and its danger to humans? Or is it simply a bizarre coincidence that she was mysteriously fired from her position just weeks before she was set to unveil an official report assessing the risks associated with this pervasive weedkiller?

Many environmental groups throughout Canada are seeking answers to these important questions, as Dr. Cleary’s temporary replacement, Dr. Jennifer Russell, won’t agree to talk, and neither will her spokespeople. Dr. Cleary simply picked up where Dr. Russell left off, officials are claiming, and that’s the end of that – or is it?

In a letter to Dr. Russell, Ann Pohl of the Kent County branch of the Council of Canadians, is demanding that Dr. Cleary’s report – or at least what was completed of it before Dr. Cleary was let go – be released immediately for public review. Many fear that this is yet another instance of corporate corruption silencing the truth about the world’s most widely used herbicide, which the World Heath Organization (WHO) found to be probably carcinogenic to humans.

“We need to see that report now,” Pohl’s letter demands. “It is not clear to us if your report has been scrapped, suppressed, or something else has happened.”

An earlier letter from Dr. Cleary to Pohl from last August, when she was still in her position, elicited a positive response about a formidable action plan to be released “in the coming year.” But, before that plan could be released, Dr. Cleary was told to pack her bags and go home, with no logically defensible reason as to why.

If you question the safety of industry cash cows like glyphosate, prepare to be punished

Shortly after Dr. Cleary’s firing, the province’s deputy minister of health, Tom Maston, released a statement claiming that Dr. Cleary’s release had absolutely nothing to do with her conclusions about glyphosate, nor did it have anything to do with the potential contents of her soon-to-be-released report.

But, not everyone is convinced, especially since Maston’s statement was a direct response to the widespread backlash that ensued over the controversial decision. When Dr. Cleary was first fired, no explanation whatsoever was given as to why, which is why many people throughout the region and country are asking some serious and pointed questions.

“Thousands and thousands of New Brunswickers share the concerns I have penned on behalf of our Kent County NB Chapter of the Council of Canadians,” Pohl’s letter adds with succinct clarity.

“Valid population and environmental health research of the risks associated with these compounds is urgently needed. We sincerely hope that the report you have been working on will meet the tests for being valid, in depth and independent. Please send me the report that we are promised.”

To learn more about how to grow your own clean, glyphosate-free food at home, check out the amazing Vertical Garden Tower.

Part of the impetus for Pohl and others’ suspicions is that Canada’s Progressive Conservative (PC) Party had earlier tried to bury the findings of a report Dr. Cleary had conducted on shale gas, a.k.a. hydraulic fracturing, another hot-button political issue. Dr. Cleary’s work in this area was eventually allowed to be released, but only after considerable pressure was put on the PC government.

Canadian officials claim that Dr. Cleary’s report, with whatever changes or alterations are possibly being made under the direction of Dr. Russell, is “nearing completion,” though no official timeline for its publishing has been announced.

Read More At: NaturalNews.com

USDA Running Massive Glyphosate Cover-Up, Refuses To Test Foods For Traces Of Cancer-Causing Herbicide Chemical Used On Genetically Modified Crops

Glyphosate
Source: NaturalNews.com
Sarah Landers
July 7, 2016

Consumer groups have been calling on the U.S. government to test foods for glyphosate residues on behalf of the public, amid a growing body of evidence showing that the chemical is harmful to human health.

Microbiologist Bruce Hemming was hired two years ago to test breast milk samples for residues of glyphosate, a key ingredient in popular weed-killer Roundup. Hemming is the founder of St. Louis-based Microbe Inotech Laboratories and was previously of the opinion that glyphosate was not able to accumulate in the human body.

In fact, Hemming previously worked as a scientist for Monsanto Co., the manufacturer of the popular and toxic herbicide Roundup. Despite his original doubts, Hemming’s lab tests did find residues of glyphosate in the samples of breast milk he received from a small group of mothers.

Food companies, consumer groups and academics have also solicited testing for glyphosate residues, fueled by fears that prevalent use of the pesticide on genetically engineered (GE) crops may be contributing to health problems, as people eat foods containing residues of glyphosate.

Fears have been growing thanks to some recent scientific studies that have revealed health problems tied to glyphosate, as well as data released by the U.S. Department of the Interior which found glyphosate in both water and air samples.

Health concerns regarding glyphosate

Roundup is routinely sprayed on GE crops that have been engineered to be able to tolerate the toxic glyphosate content, such as corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets and alfalfa crops.

However, over recent years concerns have been growing regarding health problems that have been linked with glyphosate, which has started to contaminate the food we eat, water we drink and air we breathe.

People who are suffering with certain conditions have higher levels of glyphosate in their bodies than those who are healthy. The following are some of the conditions that have been associated with glyphosate:

  • In farming communities, there is a strong correlation between exposure to glyphosate and ADHD, possibly due to the chemical’s ability to disrupt thyroid hormone functions
  • Tests on Roundup in the lab show the same type of oxidative stress and neural cell death observed in Alzheimer’s disease
  • Roundup can disrupt the vitamin A-signaling pathway, which is crucial for normal fetal development – causing birth defects
  • Researchers found that if either parent has been exposed to glyphosate during the two years before a child’s birth, the chances of that child developing brain cancer doubled
  • Glyphosate has been found to induce human breast cancer cell growth via estrogen receptors, causing breast cancer

Consumer groups have been calling for the U.S. government to test foods for glyphosate residues on behalf of the public, in an attempt to establish what levels of glyphosate are common and whether the levels are dangerous. However, so far the requests have been ignored.

This doesn’t seem to be a particularly difficult request either – since 1991 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been annually collecting pesticide residue data in its Pesticide Data Program. This testing looks for residues on a range of food products, including baby formula and drinking water.

However, whilst testing occurs for other herbicides, fungicides and insecticides, it seems that the government agency does not test for glyphosate on a regular basis. The USDA claims that it would be too expensive to test for glyphosate residues – however, this seems like a poor excuse considering the costs already approved for the testing of other pesticide residues. It seems that the U.S. government is totally shirking its obligation to provide consumers with clarity over herbicide residues on food, and the associated dangers.

Read More At: NaturalNews.com