Why do organic farmers have to pay for certification rather than farmers who use toxic chemicals?
BLOG HOME 3 Posted Jul 10 2016 by Simon Fairlie of The Land Magazine
“So if you’re a farmer and you want to produce food without using chemical fertilisers or pesticides, you have to pay to be certified, putting you at an immediate disadvantage compared to farmers who do use chemicals.”
Phil Chandler and I made this point 17 years ago through the Wholesome Food Association. Still today mega farms collect mega subsidies for poisoning the soil whilst organic growers pay large yearly fees to nourish the soil.
Talk about bad news
“Standard wheat harvest protocol in the United States is to drench the wheat fields with Roundup several days before the combine harvesters work through the fields as withered, dead wheat plants are less taxing on the farm equipment and allows for an earlier, easier and bigger harvest “
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The challenge is huge but the solution may be small very small
“Faced with global warming and a population that will swell to nine billion by 2050, a growing number of experts say that the way to feed the masses as climate change makes growing our food more difficult is to focus on family farmers, who often can barely feed themselves.
When policymakers in the developed world talk about feeding billions of extra mouths in the decades to come, it’s multinational agribusinesses—which operate industrial-size farms—that usually get most of the attention.
But in the long run, it’s small-scale farmers in the developing world, using low-tech but sustainable agricultural techniques, who may be best poised to lead the way in adapting to a warmer world and ensuring the security of the global food supply.”
Nation of Change How Factory Farming Contributes to Global Warming Ronnie Cummins
Published: Monday 21 January 2013
“Today, nearly 65 billion animals worldwide, including cows, chickens and pigs, are crammed into Confined Animal Feeding Operations[ CAFOs.] These animals are literally imprisoned and tortured in unhealthy, unsanitary and unconscionably cruel conditions. Sickness is the norm for animals who are confined rather than pastured, and who eat GMO corn and soybeans, rather than grass and forage as nature intended. To prevent the inevitable spread of disease from stress, overcrowding and lack of vitamin D, animals are fed a steady diet of antibiotics. Those antibiotics pose a direct threat to the environment when they run off into our lakes, rivers, aquifers and drinking water.”
“Opponents and skeptics will ask, “What about feeding the world?” Contrary to popular arguments, factory farming is not a cheap, efficient solution to world hunger. Feeding huge numbers of confined animals actually uses more food, in the form of grains that could feed humans, than it produces. For every 100 food calories of edible crops fed to livestock, we get back just 30 calories in the form of meat and dairy. That’s a 70-percent loss.”
Enough is enough.
Stop and think about what you are doing
On Thanksgiving, Americans will consume around 45 million turkeys. Wild turkeys were abundant around the Plymouth Colony in when they arrived on the East coast of North America. So, serving turkey for the first thanksgiving meant eating nutritious, local fare. Not so today. 96% of the turkeys eaten today were raised in abdominal conditions in facilities crowded with over 30,000 birds. Over the last 50 years, there are 150,000 fewer farms raising turkeys for the market. You may think, So what? Well, my choice of words is factory farming. Animals are treated as “things;” machines so to speak. Many of these turkeys are bred such that their breasts are so large that they can hardly stand. They hold each other up from lack of room. Their weight causes many to develop damaged feet and legs making for a painfully, albeit short, life.
And what about their manure? Across the industry, the 248 million turkeys generate about a billion tons of manure each year. Spread it on the land you say, as fertilizer. Sounds good, but in most cases, there is just too much of it in too small an area. The price of hauling it too far away is high and so it is most often spread too thickly resulting in huge un-absorbed amounts which run off into the streams and rivers; causing death and putrefaction. Excess nitrogen and phosphorous, for instance from factory animal farms along the Mississippi River have caused “dead zones” of over 8,000 square miles. “Because the waste is untreated, it can also contain bacteria and viruses that are harmful to human health, as well as toxic metals and even antibiotics.” *
Why antibiotics? If you just think about how humans, for instance, could stay healthy enough to survive you would realize that these turkeys are fed prophylactic doses of antibiotics that in turn end up in the manure, which goes into the soil, which is picked up by the crops and which we eat. So then our bacteria develop immunity making the antibiotic useless for our possible treatment. “In 2009, drug makers sold about seven million pounds of antibiotics to treat sick people, but they sold about four times that amount—29 million pounds—to aid in the production of meat and poultry.” * You can check the sources in the article cited below to discover that most of the regulatory and well recognised organisations dedicated to public health agree that we are threatened.
Obviously we can vote against factory farms with our pocketbooks and wallets. Good idea. Unfortunately, if everyone did so, it would take a few years for the supply of clean fowl to be made available and many would not be able to buy a suitable turkey. Meanwhile, the price of a clean bird would skyrocket due to the principle of supply and demand. With so much land and farming industry, in the hands of huge multinationals, not to mention the lobbying power of the pharmaceuticals, I don’t see it happening soon.
At least, they don’t have to feed antibiotics to vegetables: not yet.
“The White House turkey deserves a presidential pardon. Industrial animal agriculture does not.”
Why Organics are Still Healthier
Corporate attacks on the Organic Sector
“And then, the mainstream media essentially fell for this hook, line, and sinker. By and large, the media coverage parroted the press release and the attention-grabbing headlines. Granted, most reporters are overworked these days. But we shouldn’t let any of these folks off the hook.
These may seem like two minor studies—but the intent seems to be to change not just how we think about organic food but also our purchasing. As the Stanford press release says in its opening paragraph, the next time you find yourself reaching for an organic plum in a store because you thought it “the healthier decision… new findings from Stanford University [might] cast some doubt on your thinking.”
Please join us—and others, including Francis Moore Lappé and Mark Bittman—in our outrage. Not letting these ludicrous studies change our voice or our purchasing is the way to ensure that Rachel Carson lives on. Buying organic is good for the long-term health of the planet and its inhabitants. So, please do reach for that organic plum.
And please do join us in making it known that we consumers cannot be fooled this easily. If you eat organics, tell your friends why you do so. Write a letter to the editor telling your local newspaper why you choose organic.
Shame on you, Stanford University researchers. And you too, American Association of Pediatrics. At a minimum, you’ve been used by corporate power.
John Cavanagh and Robin Broad wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions.
This article was published at NationofChange at: http://www.nationofchange.org/more-nutritious-why-organics-are-still-healthier-1353507841. All rights are reserved.”
17 November 2012 Last updated at 01:51
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Calais after Sangatte: The migrants ‘worth less than cattle’
By Emma Jane Kirby
BBC News, Calais
Herein lies the key to big profits for corporate farming not to mention huge supermarket profits and why you can’t buy a local pippin apple in the supermarket.
A global food market is a disaster for all but those who manage and support multi-national business.
Support local food.
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
23 A poor man’s field may produce abundant food,
but injustice sweeps it away.
“Date of Writing: Solomon’s proverbs were penned around 900 B.C. During his reign as king, the nation of Israel reached its pinnacle spiritually, politically, culturally, and economically. As Israel’s reputation soared, so did King Solomon’s. Foreign dignitaries from the far reaches of the known world travelled great distances to hear the wise monarch speak.” http://www.gotquestions.org/Book-of-Proverbs.html
I noticed this quote on a poster that hangs in the Church rooms in Hartland, Devon. The poster stated that the church was in favour of Fair Trade.
Imagine this statement from nearly three thousand years ago in a country known the world over for emphasis on the one true God, the God of Israel. And yet, as we speak, hundreds of thousands of people are on the brink of starvation largely [not totally, however because over-population is a huge factor also] because the well-to-do own the land and till single crops for export or to feed cattle for meat that the poor cannot afford to purchase.
[“Already 35 percent of the world’s grain harvest is used to feed livestock.” Charles C.Mann http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/7146/]
Steinbeck revealed atrocious economic exploitation and cruelty as California fruit growers lowered and lowered their fruit picking wages to nearly starvation wages for the unfortunates who lost everything as a result of the dust bowl. Even the dust bowl incident was the result of exploitation and fraud as thousands of newcomers were encouraged to plow up marginal land as a result of a slim, few years of just barely enough rain.
So what? Why do I raise this issue? Well, it seems to me that the message: Peace on Earth and Good will to men [women may have been included, I’m not so sure] has not ensued nor seems likely any time soon.
Most important to me is the question: Why, with the millions of believers in various religions, all preaching peace and love, do we still find injustice?
As an aside, I am reminded of the myth surrounding justice. To the establishment, justice means abiding and supporting the law. But we must not forget the golden rule. Those who have the gold make the rules.
There is a colossal difference between the justice meted out from upholding the law and the unjust laws that lead to injustice. Perhaps it is all about who is making the call. If you are a millionaire or billionaire, then it is unjust for the government to eliminate the injustice in laws that allow them to pay little or no taxes.
Where am I going with this? So far, despite our religions and morality, we behave like other life-forms and expand our territory towards maximising our growth and well-being. The Law of the Jungle as some put it. Animals expand their numbers until they eat out their environment and then the population collapses. Can we really expect that this will NOT happen to us? Of course, this would have happened centuries ago had we not chosen to enslave other animals, pen them up and then chop them up for dinner as we pleased. Within perhaps decades, the millionaires will eat and drink and the million will starve and die of thirst. Do you really think this cannot happen? Do you really think that your God will intervene and smite the wicked?
Update 15:37 28/10/2012
“Not only is the task daunting, it’s strange. In the name of nature, we are asking human beings to do something deeply unnatural, something no other species has ever done or could ever do: constrain its own growth (at least in some ways). Zebra mussels in the Great Lakes, brown tree snakes in Guam, water hyacinth in African rivers, gypsy moths in the northeastern U.S., rabbits in Australia, Burmese pythons in Florida—all these successful species have overrun their environments, heedlessly wiping out other creatures. Like Gause’s protozoans, they are racing to find the edges of their petri dish. Not one has voluntarily turned back. Now we are asking Homo sapiens to fence itself in.” [Mann as above]
Dealing with global warming calls for actions requiring political/social/economic cooperation – global cooperation. This has never been achieved. Not only global cooperation is required, but we are asking corporate structures built on a model of endless growth and profits. Grow or die. Of course most corporates don’t just die, they get swallowed up by other giants. Some lose their jobs and others bank a huge nest egg. A multinational corporation has no provision in its ethos to scale down, shed staff, limit production, retool – all of the very actions necessary for society to prepare for what lies ahead. We desperately need to decrease our population. Few agree with me here. Why? (1) Lots of folks think God has given them special privileges – privileges harmful to Gaia, our higher self. (2) Corporate growth depends on an ever increasing market. Fewer babies, fewer cases of formula sold etc.etc.
Update 16:14 28/10/2012
“Our record of success is not that long. In any case, past successes are no guarantee of the future. But it is terrible to suppose that we could get so many other things right and get this one wrong. To have the imagination to see our potential end, but not have the imagination to avoid it. To send humankind to the moon but fail to pay attention to the earth. To have the potential but to be unable to use it—to be, in the end, no different from the protozoa in the petri dish. It would be evidence that Lynn Margulis’s most dismissive beliefs had been right after all. For all our speed and voraciousness, our changeable sparkle and flash, we would be, at last count, not an especially interesting species.” [Mann as above}
Experts say farmers have begun mowing down wildlife-rich pastures so that they can continue to claim European subsidies
“Farmers are being encouraged to plough up some of the most quintessential English landscapes so that they can continue to claim European subsidies, experts have warned.”
I fear that this is the beginning of a policy that will result in nearly every square inch of unpaved grounds ploughed up to “feed the masses” in other countries.
Is this the future we want to leave for our grandchildren? Is this all there is to life, a planet organised around the concerns of one species? Is this “right” only because we have the power to do it? Most dismal is the question, will you and I have an effective say on this issue? No, not with such immense wealth and power consolidated in the hands of so few. So we vote with our purchases. Support small and local in every way possible. Forget the “savings” at the supermarkets. One, overall you are not saving. Two, it is only on the highest volume items that there is a savings over your local shops.
Back to ploughing up grasslands. What about the loss of diversity and loss of health that lies in the mix of nutrients? Why plough up nutritious pasture to plant non-nutritious monoculture and then buy fertilizer and nutrients out of a bag to help animals survive?
Please tell me what I am missing here?
A farmer’s real wealth is in the soil, not in the price of a bale of hay.