Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Goodbye Organics?

Is this the end to small, organic, family farms, like this one, 
run by my friend Dave Dietz and his loving family in rural Pennsylvania?
Circle of Friends: an organic breakfast from -and on- Dave's farm.
Dave and his parents, Myron and Lois with their farm-raised, home-cooked dinner.

Or how about this one, in rural Mexico, where friends work together to keep a tiny part of the ancient Mayan rainforest from becoming another gated community for rich Americans?
A final fiesta with friends at El Alebrije, where Julie and Onassis teach themselves to farm ecologically while building their jungle tree-house, trying to avoid scorpions, and learning the ways of the jungle.
It almost certainly will be if the Obama administration approves Monsanto's genetically modified Roundup Ready alfalfa for open distribution. 

I don't usually get this political here, but this is an incredibly important, PLANET-CHANGING piece of legislation. It's also very personal, as it effects everything I and Blackbird's Daughter stand for, as well as many of my friends. Below are pictures of some of the wonderful organic people and places that I love. Scroll down, read the petition, and then decide whether this is something that we can ignore. Their - my - our - lives and livelihoods are on the line.
Please, sign the petition from Food Democracy Now HERE. Many thanks, and blessings,

  Here is the letter to Secretary Vilsack and President Obama requesting that they reject approval of Monsanto's GMO alfalfa: Dear Secretary Vilsack and President Obama, I urge you to immediately reject the approval of Monsanto’s genetically engineered Roundup Ready alfalfa. The U.S. Supreme Court has already acknowledged that the economic risks from genetic contamination, as well as the risk to the environment of gene flow, are real concerns. The USDA has a responsibility to protect farmers and consumers and should refuse the biotech industry’s demands for deregulation. More importantly, the Secretary of Agriculture and President of the United States have a sacred duty to protect biodiversity and seed integrity for future generations and our planet.

If approved, the contamination of organic and conventional alfalfa crops is scientifically certain to happen. Once contaminated, organic and conventional crops will lose their economic value and this threatens the livelihood of family farmers who have responded to market signals regarding the valid concerns of the negative health and environmental impacts of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Already the CEO of the largest dairy cooperative has stated that approval of Monsanto’s GMO alfalfa “threatens the very fabric of the organic industry.” Once undermined, consumers will lose faith in USDA approved organic products. As head of the federal agency in charge of protecting farmers, any decision to approve GMO alfalfa threatens to destroy the fastest growing and most profitable segment of agriculture today and thus runs counter to the mission of the agency you are sworn to uphold.

And while I appreciate your admission of the serious risks posed by GMO contamination to organic and conventional farmers, it is evident that the USDA’s proposed remedies are not adequate to protect America’s farmers or our nation’s citizens who choose to buy organic products. Approval of Monsanto's GMO alfalfa infringes upon the rights of Americans to make legitimate choices in the foods that they eat and feed their children daily and threatens the rapidly growing $26 billion organic market.

The basic right to consume food that is not contaminated and for farmer's fields to be safe from genetic contamination that ruins their economic livelihood is enshrined in the Constitution. It is time that federal officials at the USDA, White House and Congress move to protect this right, rather than to continue to trample upon it at the biotech industry’s bidding.

As such, I strongly urge you to reject the approval of Monsanto’s GMO alfalfa. Sincerely, [your name]

Please, sign the petition HERE. Thank you.

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