Organic food – hype or hope? (42 min)

DW Documentary – May 30, 2018  (42 min)

There is growing demand in the western world for organic food. But do consumers always get what it says on the label? How can authenticity be verified?

Is organic food automatically healthier? Consumers are prepared to pay a significant premium for it. There are currently, however, no reliable tests for distinguishing organic from conventionally produced food. Farmers need to invest a great deal of time, energy and money to qualify as a producer of organic food. There is no proof, however, that organic food actually contains fewer contaminants than conventionally farmed products. There is no such thing as pollution-free food, and there are currently no tests available for reliably distinguishing between organic and non-organic food. That opens doors for lucrative labeling fraud, which in turn explains why there are far more organic eggs on the market at Easter than at any other time of the year. The statistics clearly suggest manipulation, but it is hard to obtain evidence due to the differences between the two production processes appearing to have little effect on the quality of the product. Irish dairy farmers, for instance, are not allowed to label their milk “organic” because the pasture land where their herds spend more than 300 days a year are treated with mineral fertilizers. Because cows are themselves bioreactors, however, the milk they yield contains no trace at all of fertilizer. On average, conventional Irish milk contains more omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants than organic milk from Germany. The reason is the fodder; German organic farms may use only concentrates and silage as supplementary feed to increase milk output – which impacts negatively on the quality of the milk. This documentary looks at researchers who are studying potential ways of reliably distinguishing between organic and conventionally produced food. And that is no easy task. Nearly every foodstuff requires a specific test. But one thing is certain: organic farming makes a major contribution to human welfare – by helping to mitigate climate change, protect the groundwater, conserve nature and promote animal welfare.

VIDEO SOURCE

Book Excerpt Why the food movement needs to understand capitalism

Climate & Capitalism – Eric Holt-Giménez – July 11, 2018

The fragmentation, depolitization, and neoliberal co-optation of the food movement, however, is rapidly changing with the crumbling of progressive neoliberalism. The rise of racial intolerance, xenophobia, and organized violence from the far-right has raised concerns of neofascism, worldwide, and prompted all progressive social movements to dig deeper to fully understand the problems they confront.

Many people in the Global South, especially poor food producers, can’t afford not to understand the economic forces destroying their livelihoods. The rise of today’s international food sovereignty movement, which has also taken root among farmers, farmworkers, and foodworkers in the United States, is part of a long history of resistance to violent, capitalist dispossession and exploitation of land, water, markets, labor, and seeds.

In the Global North, underserved communities of color —  historically subjected to waves of colonization, dispossession, exploitation, and discrimination — form the backbone of a food justice movement calling for fair and equitable access to good, healthy food.

Understanding why people of color are twice as likely to suffer from food insecurity and diet-related disease, even though they live in affluent Northern democracies, requires an understanding of the intersection of capitalism and racism. So does understanding why farmers go broke overproducing food in a world where one in seven people are going hungry.

As the middle class in the developed world shrinks, much of the millennial generation, underemployed and saddled with debt, will live shorter lives than their parents, due in large part to the epidemic of diet-related diseases endemic to modern capitalism. The widespread “back to the land” trend is not simply a lifestyle choice, it also responds to shrinking livelihood opportunities.

SOURCE

SEASPIRACY: What You Should Know About Fish, The Ocean, and More! (14 min)

SEASPIRACY is a short, eye-opening documentary created by The Friendly Activist. The 14 minute movie is packed full with data and facts about fishing and how the ingestion of fish is not only ruining our planet and its own oceans but is incredibly detrimental to our health. It also covers the forgotten victims, fish, are sentient beings who suffer from pain and stress when taken out of their natural environment. Please watch… Our lives depend on it.

Do you know that out of every ten breaths we take, eight of them have come from the ocean?
Do you know that pigs, cows and chickens are now the world’s leading oceanic predators?
71% of our planet is covered in water, and 74% of all species are aquatic…
But can you honestly say that you know very much about it?

Seaspiracy (14 min)

WITH CREDIT TO THE FILM “Troubled Waters: DOCUMENTARY ABOUT IMPACTS OF OVERFISHING. (2015)”, by Matthew Judge. Watch it here!

Troubled Waters (47 min)

New Australian Study Shows GM Crops Cause Leaky Stomachs in Rats

Sustainable Pulse – July 11th, 2018

A ground breaking new study from Australian experts has shown that so-called “Bt proteins”, produced by some GM crops, may not be as safe as previously assumed.

Any two cells that line the stomach are normally held tightly against each other to form a “tight junction”. This stops any bacteria, viruses or food particles from leaking out from the stomach into the tissues of the body. The study found that the rats fed the GM corn had gaps in their tight junctions. This is called “poor apposition”. On average, this was five times greater in rats fed the GM corn diet. Poor apposition should not occur in normal, healthy stomachs. Yet every stomach section seen in rats fed the GM diet had these gaps between a number of cells.

Dr. Judy Carman, one of the lead scientists involved in the study, said: “This means that there is a risk that eating GM maize could cause leakage of substances from the stomach and therefore increase the risk of developing allergies, or infections from the microbes in the food you eat or the water you drink.”

In addition, the lining of the stomach has microscopic pits in it. Cells in the pits produce mucus to protect the stomach from stomach acid. The bottom of each pit divides into two long, straight glands. These glands produce stomach acid to help digest food. While the researchers saw some dilated (i.e. swollen) glands in rats fed the GM diet and those fed the non-GM diet, the rats fed the non-GM diet had smaller swellings and the cells lining the glands looked normal. In contrast, the glands in the GM-fed group were much more swollen, they often contained debris or mucus, and the cells lining the glands were often abnormal.

SOURCE

The Great Laws of Nature: Indigenous Organic Agriculture Documentary (22 min)

Muskoday Organic Growers Co-op,

A group of First Nations People in Saskatchewan Canada

Let’s reconnect with our relatives in nature In 2013: the plant beings: A group of First Nations People in Saskatchewan Canada are reclaiming their Indigenous organic and natural agricultural heritage, reconnecting with Nature, learning and observing her natural laws, and getting back on the road to self-reliance. This video is presented here courtesy of Muskoday Organic Growers Co-op.. If you want to purchase a copy of this video please contact the producers through this link: rivard@rivard.tv

NOTE: The Bank ACT prevents loans to First Nations directly to start Coops and businesses.

Video Link

Article:  Indigenous co-ops in Manitoba and Saskatchewan

$100 billion and rising: Canadian farm debt

A. The amount of money that farmers pay each year in interest to banks and other lenders ($3 billion, on average) is approximately equal to the amount that Canadian citizens each year pay to farmers ($3.1 billion). Thus, one could say that, in effect, taxpayers are paying farmers’ interest bills. Governments are facilitating the transfer of tax dollars from Canadian families to farmers and on to banks and their shareholders.

B. Canadian farmers probably could not service their $100 billion dollar debt without government/taxpayer funding.

C. To take a different perspective: each year farmers take on additional debt ($2.7 billion, on average) approximately equal to the amount they are required to pay in interest to banks ($3 billion on average). One could say that for two decades banks have been loaning farmers the money needed to pay the interest on farmers’ tens-of-billions of dollars in farm debt.

Over and above the difficulty in paying the interest, is the difficulty in repaying the principle.  Farm debt now—$102 billion—is equal to approximately 64 years of farmers’ realized net farm income from the markets.  To repay the current debt, Canadian farm families would have to hand over to banks and other lenders every dime of net farm income from the markets from now until 2082.

SOURCE