Mercury is currently retrograde in Pisces (February 23 - March 17) and will station direct conjunct Chiron and Neptune March 17.
The connections are
there. We just have to make them visible.
This is a re-post of an
article from July 10, 2011: Ceres Stations Retrograde at Zero Aries Conjunct Uranus and Buying Organic Is a Revolutionary Act
Executives from Whole Foods Market sent shock waves through their customer base
with the click of a mouse this past January.
The Whole Foods Market
(WFM) grocery chain, touted "natural and organic," experienced a meteoric rise
from a single store in Austin, Texas in 1980 to over 300 stores, including four
in Vancouver, one in Oakville and one in Toronto, by 2011. The same store that
found its success selling organic and "natural" foods to people deeply
distrustful of the growing glut of genetically modified (GM) fare announced to
customers by e-mail that it was giving up its opposition to the widespread
growing of GM crops.
The new Whole Foods' stance is one supporting
"conditional deregulation," in particular of Monsanto's genetically modified
Roundup Ready alfalfa. Whole Foods admitted this co-existence would potentially
cause cross-contamination of non-genetically engineered alfalfa crops, in turn,
contaminating livestock, dairy products and honey, but the softening of stance
of those at the top of the corporate organic food chain was clear:
policy set for [GM] alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other [GM] crops
as well. True coexistence is a must."
Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa is
genetically modified to withstand glyphosate, a herbicide sold under the
Monsanto brand name Roundup. If authorized, Roundup Ready alfalfa would be the
first genetically modified perennial planted in North America.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are created when a gene from one
species is transferred to another, creating in a laboratory something nature
would not produce. Genes from plants, animals, insects and viruses are used to
implant certain desired traits in seeds and even animals.
are being grown widely (especially soybeans, corn and canola), genetically
modified foods have not been proven safe for human consumption. Testing on
animals has found a possible link between GMOs and organ damage, particularly
liver and kidneys, as well as cancer. Genetically modified organisms spread
rampantly through the seed supply, contaminating non-GMO plants and seeds
irrevocably. GMOs also have the potential to damage soil and water systems. A
study of genetically modified corn implanted with a toxin-producing gene that
protects it from pests found that the toxin accumulated in nearby water,
increasing mortality and decreasing growth in aquatic insects, which are food to
animals higher up the food chain.
On January 27, 2011, after a five-year
court battle, Monsanto’s GM alfalfa was authorized for sale by the United States
Department of Agriculture. A second lawsuit was launched March 18, 2011 by
groups including the Center for Food Safety and the National Family Farm
Coalition challenging this authorization and stalling the sale and planting of
the alfalfa for the time being.
Priscilla Reimer, organic inspector and
president of the Manitoba Organic Alliance, says the organic industry in
Manitoba opposes the policy of co-existence with GM crops. Reimer says the
production of GM alfalfa, in particular, is a huge threat to the organic
In addition to being used as feed for livestock, Reimer says,
alfalfa is a crop often used by farmers during the three-year field transition
from conventional to organic. It also becomes essential in the crop rotation
once a farm is organic because, as a nitrogen-fixer, it naturally fertilizes the
"If in fact [GM alfalfa is] approved, it would essentially put
organic production out of business," Reimer says. "[Alfalfa] is embedded in
organic production, and for that to go GMO would literally destroy the
foundation of organic production."
On March 3, 2011, a motion was tabled
in the Canadian Parliament calling for a moratorium on the approval of
genetically modified alfalfa in Canada. The vote on the moratorium was delayed
by the Harper Conservatives, who support the expansion into genetically modified
Reimer says, despite the fact that the vast majority of
Canadians do not want GM foods on the shelves, this co-existence policy is being
imposed upon them through the lack of a sufficient framework for regulation,
separation within the system, and labelling of GMOs.
Reimer says because
of this, there is simply no 100% fool-proof method for determining if food
products are GMO-free. However, as far as labels go, the organic labelling
system is the best we currently have. "The organic label is the only label where
there is any effort made to keep certified organic products GMO-free...The
organic label really is the only one consumers can rely on."
non-organic corn, canola and soybeans are so cross-contaminated by GMO versions
at this point that it would be virtually impossible, once they have been put
into the supply chain, to guarantee they are GMO-free. Unless non-GMO crops are
also organic and therefore kept separate, they are mixed in with GMO
"There's no effort in the system to keep GMO and non-GMO
products separate...Even if there is a GMO-free product grown, by the time it's
gone through the system, you are guaranteed to be eating some GMOs in those key
three crops - canola, corn and soybean," Reimer says. "We have a climate in
which it is virtually impossible to ensure against contamination."
recommends looking for certified organic labels as well as buying directly from
farmers who are certified organic or who farm up to organic
Due to cost and bureaucracy, many farmers do not certify their
products but grow and raise them to organic standards.
and her family are among those who farm to organic standards but are not
certified organic. They produce beef, eggs and heirloom vegetable seedlings.
Schoppe would like to see strict labelling of GM foods, something the
Canadian government does not currently have, or a complete ban.
says if the goal is to eliminate GMOs from food sources, developing direct
relationships with farmers is beneficial.
For example, unlike at her
farm, chickens are often fed feed that includes soy protein to bulk up the meat
and assist in egg production. Because so many of the soybeans currently being
produced are genetically modified, this can be one source of GMO contamination
in food. Schoppe says if people talk to farmers directly and ask questions about
products and feeding practises, there is a stronger likelihood that they can
determine which products are GMO-free.
Schoppe finds the idea of
co-existence with Monsanto's GM crops unsettling. She says her family works hard
to keep its animal feed GMO-free, growing organic hay, and a test plot of
Monsanto alfalfa in a neighbour’s field has the ability to wipe out all that
"Just because you have a buffer field in between or an acre or
two doesn't mean that's going to stop the wind or insects from pollinating this
GMO alfalfa crop to the next alfalfa crop and then, what's pure anymore?"
Alexis Knispel Kanu did her doctoral work on the spread of GM canola.
She looked specifically at canola that was growing outside field habitat where
it had not been planted, in ditches, for example.
Knispel Kanu studied
these escape populations and their genetic make-up in order to determine how the
genes might be spreading.
"What we found was that genetically modified
traits were widely present in these escape populations of canola outside of
cultivated fields where no one had planted them and there were no licenses to do
the planting. They were just growing sort of like weeds in the way that seeds
that get scattered grow," Knispel Kanu says.
What was even more startling
about Knispel Kanu's findings was that genetically modified canola plants she
studied from the escape populations had cross-pollinated with each other,
creating a hybrid of Monsanto's Roundup Ready variety and Bayer's LibertyLink
"Of the two GMO traits that are widely grown in Manitoba, we
found both in the same plant, which is not something that is done by the
companies. That's something that results from out-crossing in the field,"
Knispel Kanu says.
Knispel Kanu looked at landscape elements that could
have contributed to the spread of the seeds outside fields. What she found was
that factors like the location of elevators and traffic intensity on nearby
roads contributed strongly.
"A truck going to an elevator will spill
seeds inevitably, and a train being loaded will spill seeds inevitably, so those
larger-scale transportation factors are contributing to the spread of these
plants," Knispel Kanu says.
"That makes co-existence really challenging
because it's a matter of segregating our transportation systems for these crops,
not having a truck transporting GM canola through an area you're saying is
GM-free. It's not just about where the crop is planted in relation to another
crop. It's about how we're transporting these things through the whole
Knispel Kanu says GM alfalfa poses even more of a problem as
far as cross-contamination due to it being a more feral, perennial crop that
isn't dependent on cultivated environments tended by farmers to survive.
It is a group of six corporations - Monsanto, DuPont, BASF, Bayer, Dow
and Syngenta - currently merging the world's seed supply with their genetically
Five of the six – all but Syngenta - are chemical
corporations that have only more recently gotten into the food business. All
five have long histories of involvement with the military industrial complex,
including chemical and nuclear warfare.
United States-based Monsanto is
the most well-known of the six with its line of genetically modified Roundup
Ready seeds designed to grow into plants that withstand its chemical herbicide
Roundup. Monsanto is the company that brought us Agent Orange, a defoliant used
to strip trees of their leaves during the Vietnam War. Agent Orange is highly
toxic and carcinogenic and killed or debilitated hundreds of thousands of
Vietnamese people as well as soldiers during and after the Vietnam War. Exposure
to Agent Orange caused widespread genetic damage and birth defects. Other
products on Monsanto’s roster include saccharin, DDT, PCBs, bovine growth
hormones and Aspartame.
Bayer is a German company that produced chlorine
and mustard gases used in the trenches of World War I. Bayer was later enveloped
by Nazi chemical and pharmaceuticals conglomerate IG Farben, along with BASF -
another German chemical company trying everything to get into refrigerators and
pantries. Eight hundred Canadian women are currently involved in a class action
lawsuit against Bayer related to the dangerous side effects of its birth control
pills Yaz and Yasmin. Bayer also manufactures the fluoroquinolone antibiotic
Cipro, designed to ward off anthrax attacks, that poisoned me in December 2009.
I'm still recovering. Cipro was repurposed post-anthrax scares and has become
omnipresent, being prescribed widely by Canadian doctors for minor infections
despite dangerous and debilitating long-term side effects.
DuPont is an
American corporation now in the chemicals and plastics game but started off
manufacturing gunpowder, becoming the largest supplier to the U.S. military by
the mid-19th century. During World War II, DuPont produced military explosives
and plutonium, playing a major role in the Manhattan Project and the creation of
the atomic bomb. It is also the maker of the Kevlar vest, used in police forces
around the world.
American chemical company Dow produced napalm, a
chemical that clung to the skin and melted flesh, for the U.S. government during
the Vietnam War. After public protests of napalm, all other companies making it
stopped production, leaving Dow to reap the profits as the sole provider. Dow
managed a nuclear weapons production facility from 1951 to 1975 near Denver,
Colorado called Rocky Flats Plant that was involved in multiple management
problems leading to radioactive leaks and contamination fires. Thousands of
plant workers have died or are sick from cancers they say are caused by
radiation exposure and most have had their compensation claims denied. Dow was
ordered in 2008 to pay $925 million in damages to 12,000 homeowners who live
downwind of the plant for plutonium contamination, but in September 2010, an
appeals court threw out the award. Dow and the other company involved were
indemnified by the U.S. government in the case, meaning taxpayers would have
paid any judgment along with the companies' legal fees.
For Whole Foods,
the newly announced co-existence policy with GMOs is more than likely a fait
accompli. Ronnie Cummins, National Director for the Organic Consumers
Association, an 850,000-member strong organization based in the United States,
has reported that testing done by his organization of Whole Foods Market
products sold as natural showed that two-thirds were contaminated with GM
material. This was in contrast to the certified organic products which were
GMO labelling has long been a source of confusion,
frustration and anger for people who want to know exactly what they're buying
and eating. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no guarantee that products
labelled "natural," "green" or even "GMO-free" are indeed free of genetically
modified material. Even certified organic products are no longer
The Strongest Defense Against Genetically Modified
- Grow your own food from non-GMO seeds.
products from store shelves labelled certified organic whenever possible, which
remains the best defense within the current system. According to the Organic
Food Council of Manitoba, these food products must contain 95% organic
ingredients, must be produced without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers or
sewage sludge and do not include genetically modified organisms. Animals raised
organically are allowed access to the outdoors, are fed organically grown feed
and are not given antibiotics, synthetic parasiticides or synthetic hormones.
Certified organic does not mean pesticide-free as a number of natural pesticides
can be used in their production. Products should read: "Certified by" a
regulatory body such as the Organic Producers Association of Manitoba or the
Organic Crop Improvement Association.
- Buy and eat food that has the
smallest number of steps between the farmer - organic or farming to organic
standards - and your plate.
- Develop a relationship with local farmers
since the onus for maintaining non-GMO standards falls to the producer. Talk to
farmers at farmer's markets. Ask questions about their products before
- Shop at local grocery stores committed to selling organic and
non-GMO products. Talk to store employees and ask questions about
- Avoid processed foods unless they are labelled certified
- Avoid fast food.
More from Willow's Web on GM alfalfa.