January 2008 to November 2008

Following are the contents of some of our recent issues. Feel free to download the whole issue by clicking on the icon. If the articles pique your interest, and you'd like to see more, please subscribe!


#260: November 2008 TOC pdf
Reclaim the Food System! - Cathleen reports on the National Assembly of Food Secure Canada The Hunger Count - Food Banks Canada reports steady numbers at food banks, more groups serving hot meals
Corporate Moves: Updates on Saputo Monsanto Syngenta Big Beef
On the biotech front - Transposons ("jumping genes") don't fit the reductionist model
- If it's GE, is it Ayurvedic? - not according to the traditional Ayurvedic practitioners
- Nontarget Effects: Strong Stalks - BT cornstalks provide overwintering for borers, need to be destroyed
- Argentina: Full of Earth - a local organizing newspaper to publicize landowner abuses
- Markets and Labels (or not) - reports from Korea, Poland, South Africa, and Brazil on GMO approvals and labelling
- On the one hand
- ... and the other - a new GM purple tomato no better than natural alternatives
My two-day field trip with Germany's BASF Plant Science - condensed from a report by Jocelyn Zuckerman in Gourmet Magazine

#259: October 2008 TOC pdf
Troubles and Turmoil: financial market meltdown
Warning: more parasites on the loose - investors move onto Saskatchewan farmland
Obesity - it's corporate obesity we need to worry about
Who gets what: Farm prices and costs - 2008 net farm income is gobbled up by agribusiness
And effects - industrial agriculture run-off causes dead zone
Selling Monsanto - massive propaganda campaign to push GE as the answer to hunger
Small-Scale Organic Seed Production - introducing a useful new publication
Meeting the Millennium Goals - UN President says we have to change the system to address food crisis; US foundations try on more of the same
GM sorghum test approved - Gates Foundation supports research on basic African crop
And not just Africa - Bayer CropScience pushes GE in India
Borneo's "miracle" - tropical rainforest regenerated in only 6 years
Bees - German bees seek urban refuge from GE crops, while Argentine honey crops decline
Paraguay's campesinos fight GE soy - landless and poor farmers occupy Brazilian-owned haciendas in self-protection

#258: August/September 2008 TOC pdf
Lies and Contradictions: we are mesmerized by the barrage of lies from government and industry
Fellow Consumers: Michael McCain, CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, tries to deal with a major outbreak of listeria
Long Reach: the contaminated meat even got to Labrador
Good News: Doha is Dead -- the failure of the Doha round of trade talks in July is good news
Corn of Many Colours -- a poem
But where is the Yield Gene? -- the industry complains about 'spin' from its opposition!
"Can't see another way out" -- Syngenta head admits lack of vision
Common Sense from Royalty -- Prince Charles has a vision, and a program
Hubris -- the biotech/agrotoxin industry promises salvation
Eli Lilly to buy rBGH -- Monsanto backs off
Ban on GE Alfalfa -- a ban has been upheld by the US Court of Appeals
Seed Industry News -- Monsanto's Chinese joint venture
Nestlé Re-Positions Itself -- and tries to defend bottled water
'Protecting' bottled water -- three companies join in a propaganda push
Urban Organic Farming -- a new centre opens in Guelph, Ontario
GMO GPS -- in Germany, you can find GMO crops on the internet, why not in Canada?

#257: July 2008 TOC pdf
"Green is the New Black" - Regulation stifling direct markets may lead to a new black market in local organic food
Government Dismantles Itself - from the CFIA to research, government is handing responsibilities to corporations
A Very Different Attitude - the Bocock family donates most of their farm to the University of Alberta for agriculture research
Ray Epp writes from Hokkaido, Japan, about using wild yeasts
Sustainable Fuel Initiatives:

  Growing biodiesel for their own farms - a farmers coop in Manitoba grows 'feed' for their 'horsepower'
  Learning Centre Proposes Waste-based Biodiesel - Everdale Centre in Ontario looks at 'renting' their product to restaurants and then recycling it as fuel
  Reducing Carbon Emissions - Prince Charles' Aston-Martin runs on ethanol from 'surplus wine'
  What goes ’round ... - a correspondent notices sustainability behaviour in birds
Corporate Watch:
  Rearranging the Deck Chairs - Mergers and Acquisitions
  Tyson Foods - plans to sell beef interests, focus on chicken
  Cargill & Fertilizer - update on world's primary phosphorus and potash producer
  A Public Food Policy - Food Secure Canada members plan a coast-to-coast public process on food sovereignty policy

#256: June 2008 TOC pdf
Resurgent Neocolonialism - and the assault on Africa
The Party Line /Lie: US Ag Secretary spouts lies about development, griculture, and genetic engineering
AGRA: Green Revolution Part 2 - a South African commentary
Fertilizer Prices: accessible to the palm oil producers (if they are large and wealthy enough)
From the Horse's Mouth: direct quotes from the Gates Foundation, FAO, et. al.
La Via Campesina call for mobilization against the G-8 in Hokkaido, Japan
Indigenous Food Sovereignty: excerpts from a major report from BC
Food Sovereignty in Gujarat, India: herders lose access to traditional territories, become nomadic
Farming and Climate Change: a letter from a flooded farmer in the US mid-west
Back to Basics: Guano - an old fertilizer finds a new niche
Playing Lobbyist - you too can come up with a line for Monsanto!
Cargill donates $10 million to CARE with a focus on child nutrition and farmer training
Potatoes: not traded as a global commodity but important nonetheless

#255: May 2008 TOC pdf
Caution: Neoliberalism at work - futures market and its effects; and the conclusion of an international study that change is essential
Who really gets the 'food aid'? (Follow the Money, part two) - perhaps to the CEOs of the agribusiness corporations?
Who is to blame? - Robert Zoellick blames the USA (but he was one architect of their policy)
nontarget.org - a new publication from The Nature Institute on the Nontarget Effects of Genetic Manipulation
Swiss 'Dignity' Law - the law requires respect for the dignity of plants as well as animals, lawyers struggle to figure out what that means
Earnings and Inequity - Statistics Canada reports that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and the average hasn't changed
Sweetness and Light: Candy Makers Merge - Mars and Wrigley, both family businesses, merg
Wind Power - the wind in Spain provides power to the plain
Another burst balloon - the Canadian government pays farmers to kill their sows
European Update
     - Greece expands GMO ban out of concern for bees
     - The European Commission postpones acceptance of three GMO crops
GM Crop Promiscuity, Longevity - canola is found to hybridize about 40 species;
     - scientists map biotech crops to better study gene flows;
     - GM plant seeds found in fields 10 years late

#254: March/April 2008 TOC pdf
Follow the Money: - we look at what is behind the rise in grain prices
Supermarket Wages: breaking the unions for corporate competitiveness
World Beef: update on mergers and expansion
About Feedback: the CFIA learns that people are deeply concerned about health and environment, and decide to adjust their messaging
Clean Milk (relatively speaking): WalMart and others refuse milk produced with rBST
Nutritionism: reductionism in the food system
Food Safety in China: Cargill steps in to help
Appendix A: scientists discover the likely role of the appendix
Neither Food Nor Nutrition: Cargill's new ingredient for frozen desserts; egg replacers for baked and other foods
Cell phones may disorient bees: stay away from the microwave
Sugar Beet Resistance: food companies join the opposition to GM sugar beets
Attack on the Eldest Brother: farmers and activists in Hawaii opposed GM taro, which is viewed as an ancestor of the people.

#253: February 2008 TOC pdf
Lady Bountiful Version 2.08 - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation helping small farmers pull themselves up by their bootstraps
The Indian elite is ... seceding from the people - comment from India about the growing wealth-poverty gap
Food Industry Notes - corporate mergers are old news, the interesting stuff is in the resistance to the industrial food system
Life Imitates Art - Candy bars are now full of caffeine
Dangerous Invasive Species - that would be corporations
"Corporate Control from Seed to Sewer" - NGO position at the Convention on Biological Diversity meetings
News: NAFTA is a Disaster! - rising corn and bean prices leading to a deep crisis
Fertilizer Woes - Potash Corp and friends reap record profits; Canada's Ag minister recommends farmers go cross-border shopping
Seed and Ideology - the attack on Kernel Visual Distinguishability
Bangladesh threatened with hybrid rice - TNCs rush to take advantage of the hurricane aftermath
Cowpeas - Monsanto et. al. are trying to push GM versions of this traditional crop
The Appalling Meat Industry:
   Pork Brains (processing makes workers sick)
   Recalls (slaughter of 'downer' cattle for food programs)
   Connecting Ethanol Byproduct and E. Coli (problems with cattle fed distillers' grains)
It's the model that has to change - Greenpeace and Canadian Federation of Agriculture disagree

#252: January 2008 TOC pdf
The Disappearance of 'Public' - Brewster looks at public markets as a way of considering the use - and loss - of public space
"Eau de Source Public" - tap water may be more 'private' than you think
Product of Canada - of of nature? - how can publicly-controlled water be sold in bottles?
Political meltdown affects food industry - although Unilever is struggling with tea supplies, fresh veggies are shipping from Kenya to the UK no problem
Analysis from Eldoret, Kenya - a friend writes that this struggle is about power, not tribalism, and the poor continue to suffer
From animal to machine: the next step, cloned meat - the industry defends cloning as 'substantially equivalent'
Safe as Milk? - the US FDA support for cloning is questioned
Hey, Nobody's Perfect - James Watson, famous for his work on DNA and his bigoted statements, discovers he probably has a grandparent of African descent
Resources on Agrofuels
The Depressing Section:

  • Monsanto collects from farmers - farmers in the US lose lawsuits
  • Yet another Monsanto front group - American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology
  • Another hidden subsidy for Monsanto - called the Biotech Yield Endorsement program
  • No benefit to consumers, just shareholders - Monsanto's actions are clear
  • Supreme Court won't hear case against Monsanto - Saskatchewan Organic Directorate case denied leave to appeal

On the Other Hand

  • Rural Movement Attacks Syngenta - activists shut down an agrochemical plant in Sao Paulo, Brazil

More Corporate Food News

  • Big Meat - Cargill is forced to recall a mountain of ground beef
  • Commodity Trader Moves into Agrofuels - Louis Deyfus is diversifying
  • Termites, Bakers, and Ethanol Makers - enzymes in the spotlight