Friday, February 17, 2012

Monsanto: how cheap food makes us all poor

I've seen a lot of posts telling us how bad Monsanto is and I tend to agree with them. Here's one view of the history of Monsanto: The World According to Monsanto part 1 of 10.

However, I wanted to take a look at Monsanto from a health point of view.  Monsanto supports a foundation called "Food Health and Hope" - is that their goal?

It seems like Monsanto's goal is world domination - and they are well on their way.  As the saying goes, "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely".  Monsanto has absolute power over most of our farmers. Monsanto plays a mean game of monopoly.  At present, they own virtually all of the worthwhile properties (seeds). 1995-2005 Monsanto acquired over 50 seed companies. Farmers with their own seeds in the Americas are rapidly surrounded and isolated. Monsanto decides which seeds to sell - only GMO seeds. All of the farmers are issued 'go to Jail' cards as soon as they purchase a single crop. Not only that, the best pesticide for your Monsanto seeds is...  you guessed it, a Monsanto pesticide. And a Monsanto weed killer.  Monsanto doesn't participate in the community chest, they collect all of the taxes (they call them profits, but when there are no competitors - profits are just another name for taxes). There are no more free parking cards. They might as well own the utilities, and run the government, and they've bought up all the 'get out of jail free' cards.  If a farmer goes bankrupt - can go to "Food, Health and Hope" - more likely hope and hades. The food?  It's  all Monsanto food.  Food that insects won't eat, with extra pesticides and herbicides added for good measure.

What is the Monsanto Pledge?  Is it: Food Health and Hope, as suggested in the above documentary? Nope: http://www.monsanto.com/whoweare/Pages/monsanto-pledge.aspx

The Monsanto Pledge says nothing about food, nutrition, or health (that's the so called "Food Health Hope Foundation", supported by Monsanto.  Monsanto's real pledge has little to say about farmers, and nothing about food consumers.  Pledge: Integrity, Dialogue, Transparency, and Sharing. The more I learn about them, I think their pledge should be lies, lies, lies and lies written by lawyers, lawyers, lawyers and lawyers.

Monsanto "We will use sound and innovative science and thoughtful and effective stewardship to deliver high-quality products that are beneficial to our customers and to the environment."  Their customers are 'farmers', and 'food producers'. You, the consumer, are not their customer. Sound innovative science?  No.  Patents, yes.

What is Monsanto all about? "Producing more, conserving more, improving lives, THAT's SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE, AND THAT'S WHAT MONSANTO IS ALL ABOUT" - taken directly from their website.  Is it true?

Let's look at their corn: "For farmers today, it’s all about getting the most yield out of every acre of corn, while using as few inputs as possible. Monsanto’s corn traits help farmers do this by providing cutting-edge technology that protects the plant’s yield."

The highest quantity, with lowest input. What about quality?  Of course it's high quality, but... Quality for transportation?  Quality for storage?  What about health?  For optimal health - we need, many different types of corn.  Monsanto offers four different types of corn seeds, here they are, with the first sentence of their description, taken from the Monsanto web-page:

Genuity SmartStax RIB Completeis the industry’s first single-bag refuge solution for U.S. farmers in the Corn Belt. It provides growers with the broadest spectrum of insect control above the ground (corn earworm, fall army worm, etc) and below the ground

Genuity® VT Double PRO® RIB Complete™: The second Genuity RIB Complete product to market is a blend of 95 percent Genuity® VT Double PRO® and 5 percent refuge seed, delivering the lowest refuge in the corn-growing area* for above-ground insect protection.

Genuity® VT Double PRO®: Tailored for above-ground only insect protection, including corn earworm and fall -armyworm control.

Genuity® VT Triple PRO®: The industry’s first dual mode-of-action above-ground insect protection in corn which is stacked with below-ground insect protection and Roundup Ready 2® Technology.

All four brands of corn offered by Monsanto list 'insect protection' as their most valuable quality. Not one of the corns lists anything about the health or nutrient value of the corn produced.  And of course nothing about the varieties provided because there is no variety.  All four are GMO corns.  Monsanto owns the patent.  Presumably, Monsanto owns seeds to hundreds of different types of corn - but they don't sell them - they certainly don't market them.

None of us want corn that is damaged by insects.  But... do you want corn that is so unhealthy that most insects will turn away from it, or die if they eat it? We don't want corn mixed with weed seeds.  But do we want corn grown in a field that was burned to death by chemicals - while our so called 'corn' grew and matured?

Or do we want corn that is optimized for our health? Which may mean, by the way, that it is also optimized for the health of insects who also like corn?  In a field that is so healthy it grows many different kinds of weeds - and complimentary crops as well.

Or do we want choices?  There are over 100 different varieties of corn in Mexico.  Monsanto wants to limit us to four patented corn seeds.

Why do we need choices? 

If you visit the rainforest, you will see many plants that have a few small holes in their leaves.  Why?  Each plant produces a different insect toxin - to ensure that insects don't consume the plant.  The insects have learned that the healthiest way is to eat a bit of many different plants.  Because if they eat a single plant - the toxins will kill them.

It's the same with all food.  Expecially food designed with specific toxins genetically built in, or applied.  The same toxin, over and over - is a danger to health.  A potential killer.

Monsanto wants to help the farmers produce higher yields, with lower inputs - and lower risk of insect damage.  They may believe this results in lower cost food for all. With cheaper food - even the poor can afford to buy Monsanto's corn.  Monsanto wants to kill all of the weeds, but not the corn - so you get cheaper corn.

Cheap food is cheap.  Less expensive food does not help the poor to buy food.  It only restricts the choices of those who want to pay for healthier food.  It makes us all poor.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.  A different apple each day is the healthiest way.

What's the best apple?  Mac?  Fuji?  Crabapples? Granny Smith?

There is no 'best apple', until you define your goals. The best apple for shipping?  The best apple for storage? The brightest coloured apple?  The best tasting apple?

The healthiest apple?

We can measure which is best for shipping and storage.  We can collect opinions on the best tasting, or the brightest colour.

But we cannot find the healthiest apple. All foods contain nutrients and toxins.  Which apple has the most nutrients?  The most anti-oxidants?  The best anti-oxidants? The fewest toxins?  The least damaging toxins?

The healthiest apple, is a different apple every day - to maximize nutrient exposure and minimize toxin exposure.

For health, we not only need freedom of choice - we need variety, freedom to choose.

Which is the healthiest wheat?  Which is the healthiest corn?  Which is the healthiest rice?  There is no healthiest. What is the healthiest?  Variety!   Choice!

Monsanto wants to produce the best wheat - so that all farmers will buy their wheat seeds.  The best corn, so that all farmers will buy their corn seeds. The best rice - so that all farmers will buy "the best rice seeds". The best wheat, rice and corn for the farmers. Not the best for your health. They also want to produce the best pesticides.  For their best wheat, rice, corn, etc.  Certainly not the best for you, the consumer.

Monsanto's best corn is a single GMO corn or a few GMO corns.  Patented corns. For health, we need many types of corn.  The best wheat is only one wheat - we need many types of wheat for health.

Monsanto may have an important goal.  By helping farmers to produce the best crops - with least cost and risk - they can lower the price of foods.  Everyone will benefit, especially the poor - from lower cost food.

Or will they?  Does lower cost of food mean the poor can buy food?

No.  It simply means 'poorer food'.  Does it make the poor people rich? No, it makes us all poor. People who can afford to buy food have only one choice.  Monsanto food.

Even Monsanto's President, Vice Presidents, and Board Members can only buy Monsanto cakes, Monsanto cookies, Monsanto popcorn - with Monsanto pesticides for themselves and their families.  Because Monsanto sells all the seeds, a few at a time.... Unless they move to a country where GMO foods are banned.

Monsanto's mono-culture makes our foods less diverse and less healthy.  Monsonto's monopoly game is a killer. They are playing for keeps - not realizing that they are playing against everyone, even their own families.

Are GMOs dangerous? Are GMOs more toxic than other foods?  Monsanto designs foods that are more toxic - of course they don't use the word toxic, they use words like 'insect protection'.  By definition, GMOs are not more toxic, but in general money spent to Genetically Modify a food is only spent with the aim of monopolizing the market.  Eg. limiting your personal choice.

GMO's are technically and certainly the most dangerous corn if they are the only corn available.

GMOs are designed to limit choice, to limit freedom. Is barring GMO the solution?  It is only one step.

Many corporations, from MacDonald's to Colgate, to Monsanto - grow by limiting choice.  They provide consistency - claiming to provide quality. They want all of the shelf space, food space, seed space - your health is not one of their objectives. Your health is your objective.

True quality means diversity and choice. Personal Health Freedom is all about choice.  You cannot have choice if all you can choose is more of the same.

Are Monsanto's foods 'frankenfoods'?  Toxic foods?  I don't know.  But I know that if your only choice is the same food every day, even the same apple every day - you will not attain optimal health - but you will attain optimal toxic levels for that apple.

No 'fake differences' not fake choices.  As noted in my Toothpaste Rant post - when you have a choice of 50 different flavours of toothpaste, each of which has the same 'active ingredients', but different 'flavours' - you have no choice. You have only a false choice, but no healthy choice.

What can we do? Should we ban GMOs? Maybe we should ban seed patents?  Then we might not need to ban GMOs. GMOs are a symptom of a larger problem.  Our corporate culture, bent on maximizing profit, delivering the lowest price food, has no respect for healthiness.  And no health goals.  We don't pay for health when we pay for food. We know that most of us would rather pay for quantity than quality.  So that's what we get.  That's what Monsanto, and MacDonalds, and other corporations provide.

To be honest - I don't know what we can do.  But I do know that we need more choices, and more freedom to choose.

Monsanto wants to limit our choice to their seeds. That's why I'm against Monsanto.  I'm about Personal Health Freedom.

Monsanto is not about people - it's not even about farmers.  It's not about communities - Monsanto is absolutely against any community that might oppose their goals. Monsanto is not about healthiness - it's about quantity.  Monsanto is not about freedom of choice. Monsanto is about their products. About maximizing their sales and profit.

Monsanto wants to sell us cheap food, the highest quantity at the lowest price.

Cheap foods make us all poor.  Rich food has many sources, many varieties.  It's not necessarily expensive - but it is not cheap.

You have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of healthiness. You have a right to choices.

yours in health,
tracy

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This post has been reposted by the Waking Times