Monday, February 4, 2013

The Great Nourisher Ceres Goes Direct in Gemini February 4: Stop GM Alfalfa

Agriculture-related dwarf planet Ceres stationed direct early this morning at 19 degrees Gemini, conjunct Black Moon Lilith. 

Ceres will move into Cancer April 4 and then into a cardinal t-square with Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, exact May 5 - 7. 2013. That t-square will still be within orb during the third exact Uranus in Aries - Pluto in Capricorn square May 20, 2013. 

This configuration brings food and agriculture issues to prominence, particularly as they relate to increased corporate globalization (Pluto in Capricorn) and the direction into biotechnology (Uranus in Aries).
Canada and the United States, as Cancer Sun nations, are up front and centre on these agricultural biotechnology issues. Ceres will conjunct the Cancer Suns of both countries as it forms the cardinal t-square with Uranus and Pluto. The direction of food and agriculture policy in these countries is crucially important at this time.
The Ceres-Uranus-Pluto cardinal t-square indicates the 2013 growing season is a make-or-break as far as the future of natural/non-GMO food on this planet.  
A U.S. company is currently planning to sell genetically modified alfalfa seeds in Ontario and Quebec as early as the 2013 growing season. This would be the first wide-scale commercial sale and planting of genetically modified alfalfa in Canada's history.
In light of major concerns related to health and to the contamination of organic and non-GM alfalfa crops, we are calling for a moratorium on the sale, planting, and growing of GM alfalfa, and this is extended to the United States. All levels of government need to be engaged - local, provincial/state, and federal.
Ceres is direct in Gemini until April 4, making the next two months a period when public opinion is being shaped through the dissemination of information via media on food and agriculture issues.
What I'm asking is that anyone concerned about or interested in this issue please disseminate this information in some way during the week of February 4 - 8, in honour of the Great Nourisher Ceres' direct station in Gemini. This direct station occurs conjunct Black Moon Lilith in Gemini, and denied perspectives related to food, agriculture, and biotechnology need to come out now.

Some Simple Actions You Can Take:

- If you have a blog, please consider writing about or mentioning genetically modified alfalfa (or any GMO) this upcoming week or adding a link about it.

- Talk to people about this issue. More people are interested than you might think.
- Copy and paste the GM alfalfa primer (below) into an e-mail and forward it to anyone who might be interested. (Spacing may need to be fixed before you send it, so copy it into a Word document, fix the spacing, and then copy and paste into an e-mail.)
- Send a letter to the editor about GM alfalfa to your local newspaper. I've written a short and simple letter on the subject. Please let me know if interested, and I can send it out.
- Call the newsrooms of local media outlets and request that they cover this story, including the GM feeding trial results that were published in September 2012. Ceres was on 28/29 Gemini when those results were published and will be back on those degrees in late March/early April, so this is a good time to get the results of that study on the public's radar.

- Call your local political representative and request that they oppose GM alfalfa and bring forth a moratorium on the sale, planting, and growing of GM alfalfa. 
- Get in touch with local organic organizations to find out what is planned for the campaign to stop GM alfalfa.
- Find out if there are any Stop GM Alfalfa demonstrations planned in your area...or plan one.

Franken-Hay: Stop GM Alfalfa

Wisconsin-based Forage Genetics International plans the wide-scale selling of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) alfalfa seeds in Ontario and Quebec as early as the 2013 growing season.

Monsanto's alfalfa strains have been genetically modified to withstand its glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup.

Monsanto is currently attempting to make its Roundup Ready alfalfa the first genetically modified perennial planted in Canada. It has already succeeded in this pursuit in the United States. Genetically modified alfalfa has been planted there for the past two seasons and accounts for 70% of the alfalfa crop in some states.

A Call for an Immediate Moratorium on Genetically Modified Alfalfa in Canada

The introduction of genetically modified alfalfa has the ability to wipe out the entire foundation of organic/non-genetically modified agriculture. Alfalfa is a staple livestock feed. It is a crop often used by farmers during the three-year field transition from conventional to organic farming. Alfalfa also becomes essential in the crop rotation once a farm becomes organic because, as a nitrogen-fixer, it naturally fertilizes the soil.
As alfalfa is embedded in the entire organic system, contamination by GM alfalfa would be devastating.
This would particularly affect organic/non-GM meat, dairy, eggs, and honey. Because GM alfalfa would also have an effect on soil quality, however, fruits, vegetables, and grains could also be affected.
The first genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were released in the mid-1990s. GMOs have spread faster than anyone could have imagined, and due to the lack of labelling and segregation within the agricultural system, GM crops grown widely, especially soybeans, corn, and canola, have contaminated non-GM versions. If you are eating a non-organic product that contains a derivative of those three crops (soybeans, corn, or canola), you are almost guaranteed to be eating some genetically modified material.
Already, there can be no guarantee that a food product labelled organic is completely free of genetically modified material. However, because the effort is made to keep organic crops separate from genetically modified crops, organic crops remain the best bet for non-GM food choices.
(Source: Manitoba organic inspector Priscilla Reimer)

Co-existence is Impossible

Currently, the plan touted by GM proponents is a “co-existence policy” where genetically modified alfalfa can be grown, harvested, and used alongside non-genetically modified alfalfa.
Incidentally, this is the official corporate policy of Whole Foods Market, as well.

"The policy set for [GM] alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other [GM] crops as well. True coexistence is a must."

What organic and non-GM farmers know is that this co-existence is actually impossible, particularly with a feral, perennial crop like alfalfa that cross-pollinates widely, including via the wind and insects.
PhD work done between 2004 and 2007 in Manitoba, Canada on the spread of genetically modified canola found unintentional GMO contamination as well as cross-breeding between GM strains. Escape populations of canola were studied - plants growing outside fields where they had not been planted - and widespread contamination by genetically modified organisms was found among them.
The study found that the transportation and containment systems were most often the cause of the spread of the seeds (spilling from trucks, trains, and elevators), making the standard solution of "buffer fields" between GM and non-GM crops almost useless to stop contamination. Unless the growing, transportation, and containment of genetically modified seeds/crops is kept separate from non-genetically modified versions, contamination is inevitable.
In the case of alfalfa, even those measures could not contain the spread of genetically modified versions.

The same PhD work found something the GMO companies had not intended: some of the GM canola plants studied had cross-pollinated with each other in the wild, forming a hybrid of Monsanto's Roundup Ready variety and Bayer's LibertyLink variety.
Who owns the patent there?
(Source: Alexis Knispel Kanu, PhD)

Major GM and Glyphosate Safety Concerns Uncovered in 2011

An unprecedented animal feeding trial has found that lab rats fed genetically modified corn as well as glyphosate residue - the primary ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide Roundup - developed high incidences of tumours, multiple organ damage, and premature death.

The results of the GM feeding trial were published September 19, 2012 in the scientific journal "Food and Chemical Toxicology." The peer-reviewed study
was conducted by a team of scientists led by biologist and endocrinologist Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen in France.
The study was attacked vociferously as flawed by other scientists and biotechnology groups. Despite the uproar, the “Food and Chemical Toxicology” journal, a major journal on toxicology, refused to retract Seralini’s study.
The trial studied the long-term effects of exposure to NK603 GM corn (Monsanto's Roundup Ready variety) and glyphosate - individually and combined - on the health of rats over two years. 

The study found that even exposure to levels considered "safe" resulted in severe negative health effects in the animals.

Of the rats fed GM corn or glyphosate residue, 50% of males and 70% of females died prematurely. This was compared to 30% and 20% respectively in the control group. Female rats developed fatal mammary tumours and pituitary disorders. Males developed liver damage, kidney and skin tumours and had problems with their digestive systems.

The study found that ingestion of GM corn and glyphosate caused similar damage in the rats whether consumed separately or together. Even the lowest doses of GM corn and glyphosate, touted as “safe” by industry, were associated with severe health problems.

Previous studies have produced similar findings, but this was the first ever feeding trial done over the course of the entire lifespan of a laboratory rat - two years.

Despite the fact that lab rats live only two years, no genetically modified animal feeding trials have been done up to this point for longer than 90 days. Genetically modified seeds/foods have been rushed onto the market in Canada and the United States without any longer-term studies on potential effects. The majority of the tumours and devastating health effects that developed with the rats were detected after 18 months, which means that prior GM testing done over 90 days would not have discovered them.
Glyphosate-based Roundup is currently the world's most popular and widely-used herbicide. Its global usage is set to double by 2017, according to Global Industry Analysts of San Jose, California.

The Battle As it Stands

The sale and growth of genetically modified alfalfa were initially stopped by a lawsuit in the United States in 2007, but that lawsuit was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010. A compromise that would have limited the growth of GM alfalfa, potentially protecting organic and non-GM farmers, was scrapped by the U.S. Department of Agriculture when it announced approval of unrestricted commercial cultivation in January 2011.
Genetically modified alfalfa was approved under Tom Vilsack as Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on January 27, 2011. Vilsack is the ex-Governor of Iowa, a United States’ corn belt state. Genetically modified corn is big business there. As might be expected, Vilsack is a major supporter of Monsanto and their genetically modified seed varieties. Vilsack was even named Governor of the Year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization in 2001. Green-lighting genetically modified seeds and furthering the agricultural biotechnology industry is part of Vilsack’s modus operandi. There can be no doubt about that.
Genetically modified alfalfa has now been sold, planted, and grown in the United States for the past two growing seasons. Already, it makes up 70% of the alfalfa crop in some states.
In Canada, a motion on a moratorium on the planting and growing of genetically modified alfalfa was tabled in Canadian Parliament in March 2011 by Liberal members of the House of Commons Agriculture Committee.
That motion was left unaddressed as Stephen Harper dissolved Parliament ahead of the federal election in May 2011.
Now, the widespread planting of GM alfalfa in Ontario and Quebec has been proposed for as early as the 2013 growing season.
Wisconsin-based Forage Genetics International plans to sell Monsanto’s genetically modified alfalfa in Ontario and Quebec this year. This would be the first wide-scale sale and growth of GM alfalfa in Canada. Prior to this, only test plots were being allowed.
Ontario has been chosen as the introduction point for genetically modified alfalfa because farmers in Western Canada have already rejected GM alfalfa. Alfalfa products are sold to Europe, where genetically modified seeds and crops are banned.

The decision to approve GM alfalfa is highly opposed by organic farmers, who stand to lose the most money (and their entire livelihoods) from contamination by genetically modified alfalfa or even by the belief that their crops may be contaminated.

National Farmers Union protests are ongoing in Canada.

This is a crucial time for the future of food on this planet. All opposed to the spread of genetically modified alfalfa must stand up and be counted now.

Two thousand thirteen is a make or break year for the natural, organic, and non-genetically modified industries in Canada and the United States and for anyone who wants to keep food natural.

A Moratorium on GM Alfalfa

We, as concerned citizens, are calling on our elected officials to do the responsible thing with untested, unproven GM alfalfa. We are calling for an immediate moratorium on the sale, planting, and growth of genetically modified alfalfa in Canada ahead of the 2013 growing season.
We are also calling for additional two-year laboratory rat feeding trials to be conducted on genetically modified alfalfa and glyphosate by independent scientific bodies unaffiliated with and unfunded by GM corporations such as Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, Dow, and DuPont.


wotching said...

You are a much needed inspiration, dear Willow. Thank you for the hard work you have obviously put into this excellent post which I have done my best to spread around various interested parties this day.

So Ceres and BML are conjunct today, huh? Thanking the heavens for their kick ass duo cosmic support at this time; we need it in abundance to turn this ship, (did I say ship...?!) around.

Yeah, heaven help us.

Willow said...

Black Moon Lilith (mean calc.) is at 16 Gemini, and Ceres is at 19 Gemini. So close conjunction. Definitely colouring the direct station of Ceres.

Trine the Sun in Aquarius at 16 degrees.

True BML is at 13 degrees Cancer right now.

Anonymous said...

A "Must see" re:GMO's

Pass it on.

Willow said...

Wow, I can't get the Canadian media to understand why they should even care about this story.

They keep passing the buck, saying it's a national issue.

Um, no. It's a local, provincial, AND national issue because it directly affects the food you stick in your maw.

Sofia said...

Hi Willow i noticed the you tube clip of your most recent visit to Cali didn't get a chance yet to listen to it.Being a virgo rising i do care about what i put in my mouth i don't eat processed food i don't even remember how long ago but more than a decade on top of that i was born with ceres/moon conjunct in cancer what a mix hah luckly i can maintain size 6. the reason comment on this article because i watch Bill Maher show on HBO and he started a segment hbo overtime over the internet witch can be viewed on or you tube they talked about this very same matter at he's most recent show in january of this year if i were you i would contact him to share your thoughts from a journalist perspective he would most likely would get back to you thanks to Mercury rx good luck. Sofia Royal Palm Beach,Fl

Locus Beatus said...

Having Ceres exactly conjunct with Mercury in Capricorn I can't help but post constantly about these issues, anywhere there is a public outlet: Facebook, newspaper comment sections, letters to media and so forth.

There is nothing more important facing humanity than stopping the advance of frankenfood and the agribusinesses which push them. These huge conglomerates are trying to aggregate world power by control of the food supply: it is that serious; and if you have children and grandchildren you had better do something about it fast.

There are many plages on Facebook which are excellent sources of information on these issues. One is 'Pesticide Posse' and another is 'Occupy Monsanto'. I recommend that everyone links to them

Willow said...

Agreed, Locus.

Thanks for the FB groups.

Millions Against Monsanto is another good one.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you wrote an article on this as I've been pondering ceres' current position and whether or not it has anything to do with the horse meat scandal. Horse meat has been detected in various processed beef products in Ireland,the UK, Sweden and France. Lasagne, burgers and other ready made 'beef' foods are being taken off the shelves. Issues of deception, negligence and criminal activity are in question. The scandal all kicked off about 2 weeks ago when horse DNA was detected in beef burgers. However, as of a few days ago horse meat has been found in multiple countires across the EU. I knew that some prominent ceres transits must have something to do with this. What do you think?