Sunday, June 30, 2013

Food sovereignty vs. GMO crops

Interestingly, the World Food Prize, which will  honor Monsanto scientists that developed GMO crops, isn’t getting much buzz in the media, while the discovery of GMO wheat in Oregon, which points out the dangers to our food system, is. Both involve Monsanto, but maybe the media is catching on and not giving the seed corrupters the positive attention they crave.  There’s even a little comic strip following the GMO wheat story. In one strip, a wheat plant is sobbing out its sad story to a field of other wheat plants. He says he doesn’t know where he came from, who his parents are, and the other wheat plants are sobbing along with him.

Meanwhile, a few organizations are following the Food Sovereignty Alliance, a group that gives out an alternative food prize to draw attention to the problems our food system is causing. Last week, WhyHunger and Food First issued a joint statement that says, “Honoring executives of biotechnology giants Monsanto and Syngenta with this year's World Food Prize sends precisely the wrong message about sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty.”

Their press release continues: The World Food Prize has disregarded well-documented evidence from the United Nations and other sources that small-scale diversified farming is the most effective way to end hunger, the Alliance. Reliance on genetically modified crops and industrial agriculture creates crippling debt for farmers, produces herbicide-resistant ‘superweeds,’ and keeps control of our food system in the hands of large corporations.

Last year, the Food Sovereignty Alliance honored a group of women peasants from Korea who are keeping the traditional seeds and recipes alive in food for their children in schools. Next month, the alliance will announce their winners for 2013. This group, a bunch of faith organizations and farm organizations, network with labor groups and other social justice thinkers. They say:

Unlike the World Food Prize, which promotes increased industrial food production through technologies such as genetically engineered seeds, the Food Sovereignty Prize champions proven solutions to hunger that empower those most impacted by the injustices of the global food system. While the World Food Prize recognizes individuals, the grassroots organizations honored by the Food Sovereignty Prize are led by their members, and most organizations count over 20,000 families as members and leaders.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (ICCI) has also released a statement: "GMO crops have led to the loss of food security worldwide and for small farmers, they have led to the development of factory farms and have destroyed biodiversity in food we do produce and consume," said David Goodner, a community organizer for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, an environmental and human rights activist group that opposes corporate farming. "The World Food Prize by selecting these people to honor shows that it cares more about corporate profits than it cares about truly feeding the world with healthy food."
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