The War On Food: It’s Happening In Our Own Backyards

photo by: alyssa
During WWII, Victory Gardens advertised that the war effort could be supported with the help of every American by planting their very own backyard garden. In the early 40’s these gardens produced up to 40 percent of all the vegetable produce being consumed nationally, not to mention positive community growth. This kind of practice, one that gave each American the sense of empowerment, as well as health and well-being during a time of war is now being seen as a major threat to industrial seed producers like Monsanto, ADM, Sodexo, Dupont and Tyson. These companies aren’t just nasty corporations, but are makers of Genetically Modified foods which means they are patenting and branding seeds so that what you grow will be owned by them not you. Read more about Monsanto here . A more disheartening thought is that these companies have a stronghold within the United States government! Heads of the Department of Agriculture since the late 1970’s have worked with Monsanto including Tom Visack, Agriculture’s director for the Obama Administration. I have just read news of a devastating bill that is supposedly on its way to Congress. Its about criminalizing organic farming and could include you, the backyard farmer . A few highlights include the following from the Campaign For Liberty website where you can read the plan in more detail:

Red flags the Campaign for Liberty found ………..

  • Legally binds state agriculture departments to enforce federal guidelines, effectively taking away the states’ power to do anything other than act as food police for the federal dept.
  • Effectively criminalizes organic farming but doesn’t actually use the word organic.
  • Affects anyone growing food even if they are not selling it but consuming it.
  • Affects anyone producing meat of any kind including wild game.
  • Legislation is so broad based that every aspect of growing or producing food can be made illegal. There are no specifics, which is bizarre considering how long the legislation is.

Things you can do……

  1. Contact your members at 202-224-3121 and ask them to oppose HR 875 and S 425. While you are at it, ask them if they personally have read the legislation and what their position is. If they have not read the legislation ask them to read it and politely let them know that just because other representatives are not reading the legislation and voting on it does not mean they can do the same.
  2. Get in touch with local farmers and food producers by attending a local farmers market and asking them how business is.
  3. Attend a local WAPF meeting, this is a good start to learning about what is going on in farming and local & state initiatives . Find your local chapter at their website .
  4. Check out the Farmers Legal Defense Fund which provides affordable legal counsel to farmers and consumers in need. Their mission is to make the needs of the small farmer and the concerned consumer known to our government, and to promote this shared vision: sustainable farming and direct farm-to-consumer transactions.
  5. Find out who sits on your state’s agriculture and farming committee and contact them with your concerns.
  6. Continue to contact your elected officials and let them know your position on legislation and why.
  7. Get active at the local and state levels; this is the quickest way to initiate change.

Also, check back with my updates about Kitchen Crops; growing food indoors and more on urban farming.

Check out these two very important films:

The Future OF Food

The World According To Monsanto

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There Are 4 Responses So Far. »

  1. I am completely “floored” by this information…and only hope to see the diabolical firm-grip of companies such as Monsanto, been seen and heard by all to put end to this Agriculture warfare. Education is everything! Thank you!

    Your Conscious Neighbor,

  2. Update to this post: we have received some information that is a bit more balanced than some of the hysteria out on the Internet about this bill. For instance: Jill Richardson from the Comfood listserve (Community Food Security Coalition) writes:

    I’ve been in contact with both sides of the HR 875 debate – the people who think it will end all farms, Food and Water Watch, Consumers Union, Organic Consumers Association, and Rosa DeLauro’s office.

    #1 fact to know: HR 875 WON’T PASS. Therefore, it’s irrelevant. I got this from DeLauro’s office. The chair of the committee where it would need to pass is Waxman and I think I read that he doesn’t support splitting the FDA into 2 which the bill does. So the bill is totally dead in committee.

    The bill that has a shot at passing is H.R. 759, John Dingell’s bill, so focus all of your attention there. I’d like to see it specifically exempt farmers who don’t engage in interstate commerce at the very least. It’s not as good as HR 875 to be honest.

    As for HR 875, it wasn’t going to ban backyard gardening, kill small farms and farmers markets, and it wasn’t backed by Monsanto. Those are all lies. I was shocked to get a question about it by a farmer at the farmers’ market yesterday – apparently someone called him directly and was giving him a lot of lies about it and scaring the pants off him that his farm was in trouble. The only thing the bill really said about farms is that they’d have to keep records and the government could visit and inspect farms. That’s probably not what we want for small, sustainable farms (at the very least it’d be a waste of govt resources) – but it’s also not the end of all small farms and farmers’ markets.

  3. I understand that NAIS, National Animal Information System, is part of H-875, and they want to implant a microchip in every dog, chicken, cow, pig, goat, etc,

    oh, but the big factory farms, feedlots, have an exemption built in

    I understand that H-875 and S-425 are both still in committee, which is the place to kill them.

    Organic is the way to restore the nutrition and taste to our food, and to massively reduce health care cost.

    We’ve also got to get GMO’s outlawed since there is no way to contain them, and independent research has demonstrated them to be hazardous to our health, and the health of the soil, since with GMO’s more herbicides are used, killing the zillions of microbes that Mother Nature provided to make soil cycle nutrients and provide natural dis-ease suppression.

    The photo on my Wisdom Circle profile is me standing next to Corn in my garden that grew that tall, with NO chemical fertilizers or pesicides. I built the soil up with Compost.

  4. This comes from a friend who works in DC and is very active in the lobbying scene…
    “Waxman is absolutely in favor of taking food out of the FDA. This bill may not pass, b/c it would compete with Waxman’s own bill to split the two that was expected to be dropped in the near future. However, there are rumors from the hill that Waxman privately gave Dingell the authority to run with the DeLauro bill. Durbin has dropped a potential (eventual) companion bill. It has a lot of differences, but the two could eventually be made to match and pass. I wouldn’t write off the DeLauro bill just yet, although my gut tells me it won’t pass. Last session it only had one cosponsor and went nowhere – but that of course was before the peanuts scandal, which is being exploited by these folks.”

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