All posts by Ken Billings

How France and Germany Are Ousting Glyphosate In A Search For Healthy Soils and Pesticide-Free Crops

Independent Science NEWS – by Ramon Seidler – DEC 6, 2018

The Macron Government of France is offering its farmers a way out of glyphosate dependency within the next 3 years.

Millions have been following European discussions on the possible ban (or a new licensing period) for glyphosate-based herbicides; discussions which stemmed from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declaring glyphosate a probable human carcinogen in March, 2015.

European countries finally voted, in November, 2017 to allow glyphosate to be used another 5 years on farms. Although not the time period desired by many, this was less than the time wanted by industry, some countries, and some European agencies.

Germany, after initially abstaining, in a surprise, politically-motivated, change-of-heart, voted to back the European Commission’s proposal to extend the use of the weed-killer for 5 years. The surprise came when then Agricultural Minister Christian Schmidt took it upon himself to cast Germany’s deciding yes vote supporting 5 more years of glyphosate. Neither Chancellor Merkel nor Environmental Minister Barbara Hendricks had been notified of his intent. After the vote, French President Macron said he would take all necessary measures to ban the product, as soon as an alternative was available, and at the latest within three years.

The French and Germany solution to getting rid of Glyphosate. Read on…

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Why Farming Is Broken (And Always Has Been) (4 min)

MinuteEarth – Sep 27, 2017 – 4 min

Thanks to the Land Institute for sponsoring this video!

VIDEO LINK (4 MIN)

To learn more about their work, visit https://landinstitute.org/ To feed everyone in the future, we may need to disrupt 10,000 years of farming practices and turn agriculture into a closed system. Thanks also to our supporters on https://www.patreon.com/MinuteEarth

To learn more, start your googling with these keywords: Annual plant: living for a year or less, perpetuating itself by seed Perennial plant: living for several years Polyculture: the simultaneous cultivation or exploitation of several crops or kinds of animals Natural systems agriculture: cropping systems based on processes found in nature Agroforestry: land use management that combines the cultivation of trees/shrubs with crops/pasture to create more productive and sustainable land-use systems Alley cropping: planting agricultural crops between rows of trees or shrubs.

If you liked this week’s video, you might also like: Alley cropping: https://nac.unl.edu/documents/agrofor… Agroforestry: http://www.fao.org/forestry/agrofores…

MODIFIED: A Documentary about Food, Genetic Engineering, and Our Right to Know

Harrowsmith by 

A Modified American Gothic – Modified Producer, biodynamic farmer, and award-winning filmmaker, Camelia Frieberg, with Aube Giroux.

Award-winning Canadian food blogger, filmmaker, and gardener, Aube Giroux, digs up the facts about GMOs

The film’s opening moments – the shadow cast by a mother and daughter crunching down a chilly dirt road in Nova Scotia – are the first steps taken in what would become a ten-year journey for filmmaker, Aube Giroux, and her mother, Jali.

This bittersweet, multi-award-winning documentary is an exposé of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in our food system, but it is also so much more. And it’s the more that will have audiences putting down that popcorn, with a sidelong glance, and reaching for a hand to hold, or at the very least, a tissue. (Sorry, no details. To illustrate, would be to spoil this thing of beauty for the uninitiated.)

Giroux’s mother believed that with every bite of food we eat, we are making a choice about the kind of world we want to live in and the kind of agriculture we want to support, and it’s this ethos that propelled Giroux around the globe and deep into the fascinating, often clandestine, sometimes violent world of large scale agri-business and the fight – legal and otherwise – for and against GMOs.

In Modified, Giroux – relentlessly egged on by her mother – sets out to discover why GMO’s are not required to be labeled in Canada and the United States, while in 64 other countries around the world, they are.

Narrated by Giroux, she seamlessly weaves the personal with the political; the past with the present, humour with sadness, and art with reality, all while she ticks the requisite boxes of a good and fair documentarian. And while it’s clear what side Giroux falls on in the GMO debate, the film is well-researched, and features several interviews with credible scientists, farmers and beekeepers, professors, Members of Parliament, a PhD in genetics; Lawyer, Andrew Kimbrell, Director of the Center for Food Safety, and heavy-hitter Dr. Jane Goodall, who says, “It’s a complete lie that there is a consensus of scientific opinion that GMOs are safe; there is no such consensus.”

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‘Hugely Important Breakthrough for Human and Animal Health’ as EU Approves Antibiotic Restrictions for Livestock to Battle Superbugs

Common Dreams – by Jessica Corbett – Oct. 25th, 2018

The European Parliament on Thursday approved new rules for medicine use on healthy livestock in an effort to battle superbugs. (Image: Avicultura.com)

“Antibiotic resistance is a real sword of Damocles, threatening to send our health care system back to the Middle Ages.”

In a move celebrated by experts and activists who continue to raise alarm about the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance—fueled in part by rampant overuse of medicines in agriculture—the European Parliament on Thursday approved new rules for antibiotic use on healthy farm animals.

“This is a hugely important breakthrough for human and animal health and is by far the more serious attempt that Europe has ever made to achieve responsible antibiotic use in farming,” declaredCóilín Nunan, campaign manager of the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, a coalition of EU-based medical, health, agricultural, environmental, consumer, and animal welfare groups.

About 73 percent of the world’s medicines are currently used on livestock, Nunan noted, and “farming accounts for about two thirds of all antibiotic use in Europe, so if the legislation is implemented correctly, we should be seeing very large reductions in use in years to come.”

The “long-awaited” law, which is set to take effect in 2022, will limit preventative use of antibiotics on groups of animals; empower European regulators to designate certain medicines for human use only; impose restrictions on imports; and encourage new research and protections for new drugs.

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World Food Day: Must-Watch Documentaries

Aljazeera – 

FoodHuman RightsPoverty & DevelopmentAgricultureGhana

Every day, one in nine people around the world go hungry. That’s more than 820 million people who do not have enough food to support a healthy, productive lifestyle – despite the fact that the world produces enough food to feed every single one of us.

On October 16, 1945, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) was established. The organisation’s logo is a blade of wheat and its Latin motto, “fiat panis”, translates to “let there be bread”; an apt representation of the work the FAO has undertaken since its inception, with the lead focus of eliminating world hunger.

For almost four decades, October 16 has been celebrated to raise awareness of the FAO’s main working areas, including building sustainable agriculture and fishery industries, eliminating poverty, implementing inclusive agriculture foundations and the aforementioned goal of reducing, and eventually abolishing malnutrition, food insecurity and hunger.

To mark World Food Day, Al Jazeera looks back at some of our most memorable food-related documentaries, from the celebration of the intrinsically-linked relationship between food and culture to the problems with inflation on the most basic of foodstuffs and the politics of food in the heart of conflict zones.

A Taste of Conflict: The Politics of Food in Jerusalem

South Korea: Kimchi Crazy

Hungry for Change: New York’s Food Insecurity Crisis

India: The Republic of Hunger

Ghana: Food for Thought

Egypt: On the Breadline

Continue reading World Food Day: Must-Watch Documentaries

From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture

Dissident Voice – by Colin Todhunter / October 15th, 2018

Food and environment campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason has just produced the report ‘Shockingly high levels of weedkiller found in popular breakfast cereals marketed for British children’. In this 68-page document, she draws from new research in the UK that mirrors findings from the US about the dangerous levels of glyphosate found in food, especially products aimed at children (glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s weedicide Roundup). Readers can access this report here (which contains all relevant references).

Mason begins by reporting on research that significant levels of weedkiller were found in 43 out of 45 popular breakfast cereals marketed to US children. Glyphosate was detected in an array of popular breakfast cereals, oats and snack bars.

Tests revealed glyphosate was present in all but two of the 45 oat-derived products that were sampled by the Environmental Working Group, a public health organisation. Nearly three in four of the products exceeded what the EWG classes safe for children to consume. Products with some of the highest levels of glyphosate include granola, oats and snack bars made by leading industry names Quaker, Kellogg’s and General Mills, which makes Cheerios.

The global food regime degrades public health and the environment, and it has narrowed the range of crops grown, resulting in increasingly monolithic, nutrient-deficient diets. Yet the powerful industry lobby calls for more deregulation and more techno-fixes like GMOs to ‘feed the world’. This is in spite of the fact that hunger and malnutrition are political: these phenomena are in large part the outcome of a global capitalist food regime that, with help from IMF/World Bank geopolitical lending strategies and WTO rules, has undermined food security for vast sections of the global population by creating a system that by its very nature drives inequality, injustice and creates food deficit areas.

Read on…

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