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#277, November 2010: The Food Movement: From reform to revolution?

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The Food Movement: From reform to revolution? How Big Food   is trying to take over the food movement, and the core values which are being defended in the struggle
Biotech in Europe: Europeans remain suspicious of genetically engineered foods; The European Food Safety Authority toughens assessment procedures
South Africa's corn glut: Lots of GM corn but few buyers.
Won't - or can't - stand still: Roundup Ready creeping bentgrass creeps a long way; the widespread distribution of GM flax is "an unsolved mystery"
Truth in packaging: Polystyrene is possibly carcinogenic, so is plastic made from GM corn an improvement?
Japan eager for PEI's non-GMO canola
"The choosing experience": Companies improve profits by deleting product lines

HAITI: Security for What? We reflect on the obsession of the Harper government and others with 'security'
Canada's Aid to Haiti: Building jails, equipping police, and building homes (and an embassy) for its diplomats
Land: Two different stories: the potato industry eyes fragile land designated for conservation; 100 miles of shelter belts in Saskatchewan are cleared to increase 'productivity' of machinery operators
What Price Healthy Rivers? A report from Stephen Leahy on the effects of damming rivers

Anniversary: The Ram's Horn is now 30 years old - worth supporting, don't you think?




#276, September-October 2010: Water

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Water: Looking at the governance (management) of water, not just the flow but water embedded in food and other agricultural commodities.
     The virtual water export of Peruvian asparagus
     Pakistan flood: "You cannot just produce 6 million new chicks"

Potash Corp: Benefits for whom? China is bidding for PotashCorp to ensure cheap fertilizer for its farmers; that might lower the price, which would help Saskatchewan farmers but mean less revenue for the province.
Make war, not food: Instead of working on prison farms, the Government has decided that inmates will refurbish military vehicles -- and put more people in jail, at huge cost.
Keeping the Books: We find more and more sources of information and analysis have been 'de-funded', causing appeals to users like the Ram's Horn to help them survive as independent news sources, including the idea of a Journalism CSA. With thanks to all the patrons of The Ram's Horn!
Gluphosate just won't go away: The active ingredient in Roundup is now shown to cause malformations in frog and chicken embryos at very low residue levels.
The Globalburger: every bite counts ... as profit: A private Brazilian investment fund bids for Burger King; Cargill recalls a mountain of ground beef.
Corporate Collusion Illustrated: Cargill passes seed business to Monsanto but moves into groceries in Brazil, while Monsanto works with BASF and Syngenta with Bayer CropScience.
Standards again: The Roundtable on Sustainable Soy fines one of Cargill's suppliers for serious violations of their rules.

Agrotoxin use in Brazil: The world's largest user of agrotoxins fines virtually all the pesticide suppliers.
Tree Monocultures: A commentary from the World Rainforest Movement on the occupation of territories by plantation companies.
Food for all -- India: The Prime Minister claims that there is no way to feed his people, despite the order of the Supreme Court.


#275, August 2010: Old MacDonald Had A Standard

 PDFTable of Contents

Old MacDonald Had A Standard


Starting with the formation of the Chicago Board of Trade, trying to regulate the grain trade, standards have spread all over the place - and do not always assure the consumer of the integrity of the product.
Know Your Fish: Marine Stewardship Council is one standard that is reliable
Industrial-Strength Standards: Monsanto and others tout 'standards' that are just PR; Cargill is using standards as another tool to lock farmers into its systems.
Waste Not, Want Less: Looking at food waste and our energy footprint.
Global Agribusiness: Two decades of plunder: An appreviated version of a thoughtful reflection in GRAIN's publication, Seedling, discussing 20 years of defense of biodiversity around the world and in global forums, watching the rise of agribusiness.
Mongolian Camels and mining companies: Both Rio TInto and the traditional nomadic herders need water. Guess who is getting it?
Aphids: pest-resistant soybeans have been developed using traditional breeding - and Monsanto has announced a GE soy tolerant to powerful insecticides.
"The feed-the-world business": Agrium Inc. is offering to buy the privatized Australian Wheat Board;
Then there is BHP Billiton which is trying to purchase Saskatchewan's Potash Corp.
Lobbies: Millions of dollars grease a close relationship between major corporations and governments, often in support of genetic engineering.
Another "cost of doing business": a $2.5 million fine against Monsanto for illegal distribution of GE cotton seed in Texas.
Pomoting GE? Laying it on the line: top US government officials reassure the biotech industry convention that they will promote their products.


#274, June-July 2010: Standards and Food System Colonization

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Standards and Food System Colonization: Looking at the   dangers of relying on standards and certification which can overwhelm local diverse systems
Climate Certification of Food:  Sweden is introducing standards to allow climate certification for vegetables and fish
Fresh Fish CSA: A group of fishermen in Nova Scotia will deliver directly to customers, hope to make a living
US Supreme Court Decision on RR Alfalfa: Monsant  claims victory, but in fact Roundup Ready Alfalfa is a long way from being approved
The cost of doing business: Monsanto pays millions in lobbying, but is forced to cut the price of its glyphosate herbicide

GM crop 'approval' -- or not: The Canola Council opposes assessment of the market effects of GMOs, hopes that the EU will change its attitude to GE. Seed growers are concerned about the effects of contamination.
Superweed Arms Race: Chemical companies are happy that there is now a new opportunity for their deadly agrotoxins, if they can engineer crops to resist them
Pre-Polluted infants: US President's Cancer Panel blames lax regulation for the contamination of human babies
Summer Reading: Two new papers well worth a look

Real Cheese? Kraft and Saputo are appealing a ruling that limits the amount of 'modified milk ingredients' they can use in their cheese
Golf courses = Agriculture: A new report from California suggests that because golf courses make more money than farms, they should have priority in water allocations
'Balanced' ecosystems control pests: Research confirms on-ground observations that when farmers target pests, the balance  of predators and pathogens is altered, creating a worse situation.


PDF#273, May 2010: Being a Consumer

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 Being a Consumer: Choice and responsibility in the marketplace - buying socks at The Bay vs. buying food at the farmers' market; and the People's Food Policy Project: how do we determine the choices available instead of just choosing between what is on offer?
No end to the colonialism: Clinton and others are following an old pattern
Giant predator Monsanto moves on Haiti: Apparently generous donations of seed to Haitian farmers has strings: they are hybrids and require fertilizers etc. which will -- at first -- be provided for free.
On the Ground: The donated seeds are also treated with deadly fungicides which in the USA require special protective clothing for anyone handling them.
Seed Assessment: A rapid assessment of the Haitian situation concludes that local seeds are available and repeated seed distributions can have profound negative effects.
The colony of Puerto Rico: Coincidentally, the GM cassava fields are next door to the military installation.
Real Cost of Closing Prison Farms: Latest figures show that the government will be spending almost $1million to replace just the milk being produced at Frontenac Institution, without calculating the eggs produced for the prison and the local food bank. Plus the new contract could be filled anywhere in North America under NAFTA.
Urban Farms: The blighted inner-city of Detroit is home to hundreds of urban gardens. Now corporate investors are getting in on the act.
No labelling, No choice: The biotech industry's lobbying for no labelling is paying off as contamination by GE crops spreads.
How Africa is being contaminated: South Africa is dumping GE corn in the rest of the continent
The African Century: Corporate interests are working to remake Africa in their own image.
Creating Dependency: The distribution of GE seed in Africa is compared to Nestle's strategy of free formula, at least until the mothers' breast milk dries up.


 #272, April 2010:  World Fertilizer Cartel


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 World Fertilizer Cartel: We examine the history and current state of synthetic fertilizers, the corporations who push them, and the link with war and violence
Supreme Leader?: Stephen Harper ignores the public, Parliament, and the Supreme Court and moves to curtail the environmental assessment process
Renewable Energy Scam: New Regulations will enforce 5% ethanol content in fuels, despite the fact they do not help curb greenhouse gases. The public has 60 days to comment
Cradle-to-Grave Ownership? Monsanto fails in a move to extend its patents to products processed from its patented soy
Inequity: The senior executives of the financial sector could probably pay off the government deficit out of their pay and bonuses
Genetically Modified Food Resistance: Peru, Switzerland, and Bulgaria all act to limit spread of GMOs
Prince Edward Island: Opposition party leader calls for a whole-scale conversion to organics in order to save PEI agriculture, startng with a ban on GM crops
Consumer Challenges: A new boycott of Kraft in the wake of their takeover of Cadbury's; Tommy Hilfiger buys Phillips-Van Heusen (but the clothing is still made by displaced peasant farmers); PepsiCo touting 'healthier' product lines
India's Eggplant: the Drama of Bt Brinjal: Indian Environment Minister says "there is no hurry" to release Bt brinjal. India happens to be the country of origin for brinjal
There is 'science' and there is science: the Indian Council of Agricultural Research shows that peasant methods are as effective as chemicals in controlling the root and shoot borer; GE techniques are unnecessary
Genet-News: A reliable and comprehensive source
Triffid: In response to widespread contamination of seed stocks, the Canadian flax industry hopes to change customers' rules.


#271, February - March 2010:  Inequity and Progress

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Inequity and Progress: Both of these ideas signify linear progress. Following the visionary artist Hundertwasser who declared war on the straight line, we question the imposition of a singular model of Development and Progress
Haiti offers an opportunity for either straight-line or multi-faceted diverse strategies
'Progress' in Brazil: approving a herbicide-tolerant GM soya to solve the problems left behind by another herbicide-tolerant GM soya; 
More GE crops, more agrotoxins
"Geosphere People": Rich countries are like bio-pirates; they are geosphere people as opposed to the "ecosystem people' who depend directly on local resources for their livelihoods
Celebrating Zapotec Maize vs. the Geopirates: People rooted in their cultural practices and customs expel biopirates and celebrate their indigenous corn-based culture and food sovereignty
Less energy, more food:
Ethanol makers depend on subsidies;
Husky Energy background;
report on uses of grain stocks
Culling Hogs: looks more like clear-cutting than culling
Pharming, it's called: breast-milk substitutes from mice, rabbits with human genes
More - or less - GE: increase in non-GE soy varieties
US 'Exploits' African Seed: a seed variety held in trust is found to be patented, in violation of the trust
Crunching the Numbers: Walmart says it will create jobs in suburban locations in Canada, but the company has laid off workers in Canada and destroyed many jobs in small businesses.

#270, January 2010 : The Financial Sector Is Not An Economy PDF

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Table of Contents

The Financial Sector Is Not An Economy - The financiers playing with, and preying on, the rise and fall of the markets, are helping create rising inequity. The 'development' model follows the same model.
Eliminating Diversity - in paper for printing, seeds, dairy ...
Ecological Absurdity - shipping hay from Ontario to Saudi Arabia!<
Climate Change - in the midst of the Copenhagen meetings, looking at the relation between sustainable agriculture and climate; also: The Angry Mermaid award goes to Monsanto
More on Monsanto: The real cost of GE seeds; A Questionable Legacy (Norman Borlaug as the spiritual father of Monsanto)
Who's Who in Biotech Seeds - a current list of the main players
Fish in Your Garden - Growing Power in Milwaukee has a unique and provocative urban agriculture set-up which includes raising fish in the inner city
Big Sky and small farms - Saskatchewan's largest pork producer folds its tents, leaving little for its farmer-suppliers
Tory spending makes priorities clear - cuts to food inspection staff and environmental programs