Food for Thought

Food for Thought

By Jeff Kirkpatrick – Food Revolution Now

This is a working post that will be updated periodically.

Last update: May 3, 2017

This working post is a resource of publications related to food and agricultural issues. Topics listed include publications on food sovereignty, food justice, food security, GMOs, agroecology, organic agriculture and related subjects.

The subject of food is becoming an increasingly complex issue. This is especially true as fewer and larger corporations own more of the world’s food system – from seeds [1] (through patent and intellectual property rights); to distribution; to large industrial agricultural practices and the reduction of small family owned farms and more. Food is a human right [2] and it is not something that should be run by corporations whose purpose is to make a profit at any cost, of for governments to use as a weapon. [3] Several decades ago, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said, “Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.” More recently, Dr. Vandana Shiva observed, “Control seed and you control life itself.” [4] It is apparent that as fewer corporations control more of the food system, food security is threatened around the world. Food sovereignty is at risk in many countries.

Since GMOs entered into U.S. agriculture in the late 1990’s and then spread around the world, a concurrent and dramatic reduction in biodiversity and plant genetic resources has occurred.[5] This loss to natural resources is a major contributing factor to what has been called the Anthropocene (or Sixth Extinction) which scientists say has already started.[6]

The use of GMOs in agriculture has always been a contentious issue [7] but especially now as evidence mounts against the promises that were and are still made. GM crops do not increase yield [8]; GM crops are associated with an increase in pesticides (this broad term includes herbicides and insecticides). [9] In particular, glyphosate, a main ingredient in Roundup which is applied to genetically modified crops that can withstand the weed killer, has shown up in water supplies, breast milk, urine and even rainfall. [10] In 2010, Congress held hearings [11] about the explosive growth of superweeds [12] (resistant to Roundup and glyphosate-based herbicides). This crisis was described by Andrew Wargo, president of the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts, as “[T]he single largest threat to production agriculture that we have ever seen.” [13] GM crops exacerbate, rely on, and promote monocultures; this alone is a threat to food security on a global scale. [14]

It has been suggested that opposing GMOs in agriculture represents a myopic vision. However, if GMOs are not perceived in the right context as part of an entire network that connects to all of these various issues (and more), then that is true myopia. Given the tremendous amount of evidence and information available that demonstrates, beyond any doubt, that GMOs in agriculture are an ongoing and serious threat to food security and food sovereignty on a global scale, anyone who makes such an assertion either does not understand or appreciate the total complexity of this subject, or who may just have a vested financial interest in continuing in the same destructive pattern we are on – no matter the cost.


[1] “Visualizing Consolidation in the Global Seed Industry 1996-2008,” by Philip H. Howard, Sustainability, Vol. 1, No 4; December 8, 2009 (22 pages)

The Encroachment of Intellectual Property Protections on the Rights of Farmers,” by Justin T. Rogers, Drake Journal of Agricultural Law, Vol.15; 2010 (17 pages)

Intellectual Property and Consolidation in the Seed Industry,” by Philip H. Howard, Crop Science, Vol. 55; November-December 2015 (7 pages)

UPOV 91 and other seed laws – a basic primer on how companies intend to control and monopolise seeds,” by GRAIN, October 2015 (20 pages)

[2] “Agroecology and the Right to Food,” by Dr. Olivier De Schutter (Special Rapporteur to the U.N. on the Right to Food) United Nations Human Rights Council; December 20, 2010 (21 pages)

Human rights situation in the United States of America, 9th Session,” by the Franciscans International (FI); April 2010 (16 pages) [Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR)]

The transformative potential of the right to food: Final report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food,” by Dr. Olivier De Schutter (Special Rapporteur to the U.N. on the Right to Food) United Nations Human Rights Council; January 24, 2014 (28 pages)

Peoples’ Nutrition Is Not a Business,” by Right to Food and Nutrition Watch (RtFN-Watch), Issue 07; 2015 (88 pages)

[3] “Food is a Weapon,” by Taka Yamaguchi, Washington University Political Review, May 25, 2013

Cultivating Race: How the Science and Technology of Agriculture Preserves Race in the Global Economy,” by Bekah Mandell, Albany Law Review, Vol. 72, No. 4; 2009 (13 pages)

Food as a political tool: an analysis of the use of food towards attaining and sustaining swaraj (Indian independence) in the thought of Gandhi and Shiva,” by Naomi Wente, Senior Thesis, University of Minnesota; 2013 (23 pages)

[4] “Satyagraha (Civil Disobedience to end Seed Slavery) for Seed Freedom and Food Freedom,” by Dr. Vandana Shiva and Ruchi Shroff, Navdanya; August 2015 (20 pages)

[5] “Plant Genetic Resources and Food Security – Stakeholder Perspectives on the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture,” edited by Christine Frison, Francisco López and José T. Esquinas-Alcázar, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Bioversity International & Earthscan; 2011 (358 pages)

Excerpt: In the USA alone, more than 90 per cent of the fruit trees and vegetables that were grown in farmers’ fields at the beginning of the 20th century can no longer be found. Today only a few of them are maintained in gene banks. In Mexico, only 20 per cent of the maize varieties described in 1930 are now known. In China, in 1949 nearly 10,000 weed varieties were known and used. By the 1970s, only about 1000 remained in use. A similar picture is reported for melon varieties in Spain. In 1970, one of the authors of this chapter collected and documented over 350 local varieties of melons; today no more than 5 per cent of them can still be found in the field.

Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity,” by Johan Rockström et al, Ecology and Society, vol. 14, Issue 2; 2009

The Global Food System, Environmental Protection, and Human Rights,” by Carmen G. Gonzalez, Natural Resources & Environment, Vol. 26; Winter, 2012 (15 pages)

Seed Wars: Biotechnology, Intellectual Property and the Quest for High Yield Seeds,” by Lara E. Ewens, Boston College International and Comparative Law Review, vol. 23, issue 2; 2000 (27 pages)

Evolution, plant breeding and biodiversity,” by Salvatore Ceccarelli, Journal of Agriculture and Environment for International Development (JAEID), Vol. 103, No (1/2); 2009 (15 pages)

Excerpt: The decline in agricultural biodiversity can be quantified as follows: while it is estimated that there are approximately 250,000 plant species, of which about 50,000 are edible, we actually use no more than 250 – out of which 15 crops give 90% of the calories in the human diet, and 3 of them, namely wheat, rice and maize give 60%. In these three crops, modern plant breeding has been particularly successful, and the process towards genetic uniformity has been rapid – the most widely grown varieties of these three crops are closely related and genetically uniform (pure lines in wheat and rice and hybrids in maize). The major consequence is that our main sources of food are more genetically vulnerable than ever before, i.e. food security is potentially in danger. The two best known examples of the consequences of genetic uniformity are the southern corn leaf blight epidemic of 1970, and Ug99, a virulent strain of stem rust which attacked wheat for the first time in Uganda in 1999. [Emphasis added]

[6]The Anthropocene: Conceptual and Historical Perspectives,” by Will Steffen, Jacques Grinevald, Paul Crutzen & John McNeill, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, Vol. 369; January 2011 (26 pages)

Evolution, plant breeding and biodiversity,” by Salvatore Ceccarelli, Journal of Agriculture and Environment for International Development (JAEID), Vol. 103, No (1/2); 2009 (15 pages)

Excerpt: Erosion of genetic diversity affects not only crops but the entire ecosystem: during the last 20 years population has increased by 34% (from 5 to 6.7 billion); land per person is 2.02 ha from 7.91 ha in 1900 and will drop to 1.67 in 2050; 250% more fish are being caught than the sea can produce; species are becoming extinct a hundred times as fast as the rate in the fossil records. The situation is so serious that the hypothesis has been formulated that we are perhaps moving towards a sixth mass extinction judging from the recent human-induced extinctions and today’s threats to species. Limiting the rate of extinction will be difficult: considering that already in 2007, 25% of corn production in U.S.A. was used for biofuel. If USA’s 2017 target for biofuels will be met, and if additional land will be brought under cultivation to replace lost food production, twice as many species will be driven to extinction through habitat loss as would be saved by mitigating climatic changes. [Citations omitted, emphasis added]

[7] “Agricultural biotechnology continues to generate significant controversy. Much of this controversy goes beyond questions about human and environmental safety to include concerns regarding intellectual property and monopoly ownership rights, consolidating corporate control over seed markets and the food chain, consumers’ and farmers’ right to know and choose, and challenges concerning the coexistence of different agricultural production systems. Existing regulatory frameworks struggle to address this wide range of concerns, as they largely rely on scientific risk assessment of human and environmental health only.” See: “Essential Features of Responsible Governance of Agricultural Biotechnology,” by Sarah Hartley, Frøydis Gillund, Lilian van Hove & Fern Wickson, PLoS Biology, vol. 14, No. 5; May 4, 2016 (7 pages)

[8] “Failure to Yield – Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops,” by Doug Gurian-Sherman, Union of Concerned Scientists; April 2009 (51 pages)

Doubts about the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops,” by Danny Hakim, New York Times; October 29, 2016

Sustainability and innovation in staple crop production in the US Midwest,” by Jack A. Heinemann, Melanie Massaro, Dorien S. Coray & Sarah Zanon Agapito-Tenfen, International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, Vol. 12, Issue 1; June 14, 2013 (18 pages)

[9] “Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use in the U.S. – the First Sixteen Years,” by Charles M. Benbrook, Environmental Sciences Europe, Vol. 24, Issue 24; September 28, 2012 (13 pages)

Trends in Glyphosate Herbicide Use in the United States and Globally,” by Charles M. Benbrook, Environmental Sciences Europe, Vol. 28 Issue 3; February 2, 2016 (15 pages)

Large-Scale Deployment of Seed Treatments Has Driven Rapid Increase in Use of Neonicotinoid Insecticides and Preemptive Pest Management in U.S. Field Crops,” by Margaret R. Douglas and John F. Tooker, Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 49, Issue 8; April 2015 (10 pages)

[10] “Why Glyphosate should be Banned,” by Jeff Kirkpatrick (A working post)

Review of GMO Safety Assessment Studies: Glyphosate Residues in Roundup Ready Crops is an Ignored Issue,” by Marek Cuhra, Environmental Sciences Europe; Vol. 7; November 7, 2015 (14 pages)

[11] Congressional Hearing: “Are Superweeds on Outgrowth of USDA Biotech Policy? (Part I)” hearing before the Subcommittee on Domestic Policy of the  Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, House of Representatives; July 28, 2010 (331 pages)

Congressional Hearing: “Are Superweeds on Outgrowth of USDA Biotech Policy? (Part2)” 2nd Session of the hearing before the Subcommittee on Domestic Policy of the  Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, House of Representatives; September 30, 2010 (1525 pages)

Congressional Hearing: “William Freese (Center for Food Safety) – Response to Questions with Regard to Herbicide-Resistant Weeds – Are Superweeds an Outgrowth of USDA Biotechnology,” by the Subcommittee on Domestic Policy of the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, House of Representatives; October 30, 2010 (26 pages)

Congressional Hearing “Testimony of William Freese (Center for Food Safety) – Are Superweeds an Outgrowth of USDA Biotechnology,” by the Subcommittee on Domestic Policy of the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, House of Representatives; September 30, 2010 (10 pages)

Congressional Hearing: “Statement of Andrew C. Kimbrell (Center for Food Safety) – Are Superweeds an Outgrowth of USDA Biotechnology,” by the Subcommittee on Domestic Policy of the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, House of Representatives; July 28, 2010 (7 pages)

Congressional Hearing: “Statement of Troy Roush (farmer) – Are Superweeds an Outgrowth of USDA Biotechnology,” by the Subcommittee on Domestic Policy of the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, House of Representatives; July 28, 2010 (3 pages)

Congressional Hearing: “Statement of Micheal D.K. Owen, PhD (Professor of Agronomy, Iowa State University) – Are Superweeds an Outgrowth of USDA Biotechnology,” by the Subcommittee on Domestic Policy of the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, House of Representatives; July 28, 2010 (10 pages)

[12] “Superweeds: How Biotech Crops Bolster the Pesticide Industry,” by Food & Water Watch; July 2013 (19 pages)

The Rise of Superweeds – and What to Do about It,” by the Union of Concerned Scientists; December 2013 (8 pages)

Genetically Engineered Backslide: The Impact of Glyphosate-Resistant Palmer Pigweed on Agriculture in the United States,” by Edward Hammond, TWN Biotechnology & Biosafety Series 12; 2010 (34 pages)

[13] “U.S. Farmers Cope with Roundup-Resistant Weeds,” by William Neuman and Andrew Pollack, New York Times; May 3, 2010

[14] “We Are What We Eat: Securing our Food Supply by Amending Intellectual Property Rights for Plant Genetic Resources,” by Meghan Marrinan Feliciano, University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Vol. 8, Issue 3; Spring, 2011 (24 pages)



Also see: “Information on Agroecology” and “Information on Sustainable Agriculture” for more publications on agricultural issues.

For more information on GMOs, see: Ban GMOs Now.  Also see: “Genetically Engineered Food: An Overview, 2016 Edition,” by Food & Water Watch; January, 2016 (36 pages)


GMOs – Top five concerns for family farmers,” by Farm Aid; undated (3 pages)

This publication is also HERE in HTML format.

GMOs – What eaters need to know,” by Farm Aid; undated (3 pages)

This publication is also HERE in HTML format.


Why the Food Movement is Unstoppable,” by Jonathan Latham, Independent Science News; September 20, 2016

This article was discussed in this radio interview: “The Future and The Food Movement,” by Jeffry Fawcett, PhD ,Your Own Health and Fitness [Radio Show],” November 22, 2016 (Radio Interview with Jonathan Latham 57:59).



 



Publications

 

Who will feed Africans? Small-scale farmers and agroecology not corporations!” by Friends of the Earth Africa & African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB); January 2017 (16 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

Concepts and Strategies of Organic Plant Breeding in Light of Novel Breeding Techniques,” by Edwin Nuijten, Monika M. Messmer and Edith T. Lammerts van Bueren, Sustainability, Vol. 9, No.1; December 23, 2016 (19 pages)

This publication is also HERE in HTML format.

Human health implications of organic food and organic agriculture,” by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS); December 2016 (88 pages)

A related summary article is here: “Year-End Gift to Organic Advocates: Study Shows Organic Foods Provide Health Benefits,” by Joey DeMarco, Food Tank; December 31, 2016

Subnational distribution of average farm size and smallholder contributions to global food production,” by Leah Samberg, James Gerber, Navin Ramankutty, Mario Herrero and Paul West, Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 11, No. 12; November 30, 2016 (12 pages)

This publication is also HERE in HTML format where a pdf version can also be downloaded.

A related summary article is here: “IonE researchers produce first-ever map of farming households across world,” by the University of Minnesota; November 29, 2016

This publication is cited in this related article: “First Map of Smallholder Farms in Developing Countries Shows they Supply most of the Food,” by Biosafety Information Centre; January 13, 2017

Excerpt from this article: The study reaffirms that, in much of the developing world, food production on smallholder farms is not only a key facet of food security for the rural poor, but also makes up the majority of production and underpins agricultural sustainability at national and regional scales. This map contributes to an improved understanding of the prevalence and distribution of smallholder farming, which is essential for effective and supportive policy development for food security, poverty reduction, and conservation agendas.

Monsanto’s lobbying practices: an attack on us, our planet and democracy,” by Nina Holland and Benjamin Sourice, Corporate Europe Observatory; October 2016 (20 pages)

A summary article is here: “Media release: Monsanto’s lobbying practices: an attack on us, our planet and democracy,” by Corporate Europe Observatory; October 13 2016

Feeding the World – Think U.S. Agriculture Will End World Hunger? Think Again,” by Anne Weir Schechinger and Craig Cox, Environmental Working Group (EWG); October 2016 (14 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

Frugal Farming: Old-fashioned breeding techniques are bearing more fruit than genetic engineering in developing hyper-efficient plants,” by Natasha Gilbert, Nature, Vol. 533; May 19, 2016 (4 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

Seed Laws, Certification and Standardization: Outlawing Informal Seed Systems in the Global South,” by Tamara Wattnem, The Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 43, Issue 4; March 17, 2016 (18 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE and HERE. This publication is also HERE in HTML format.

Excerpt: The rising criminalization of seed saving is made manifest in things like massive burnings of non-certified ‘illegal’ seeds; in systematic inspection brigades and public threats that try to make sure that IPR and certification regimes are complied with; and in ‘denounce your neighbor’ hotlines and websites – all of which contribute to the manufacturing of mistrust and suspicion in rural communities. In place of an ethic of collaboration and sharing in agriculture, we are witnessing the promotion of an ethic of individualism and policing. Relative autonomy in food production, another fundamental value for small-scale farmers, is also being undermined. Lastly, these laws have underpinned the dramatic concentration, growth and power of the seed industry that exists today.

Subsidizing Waste – How Inefficient US Farm Policy Costs Taxpayers, Businesses, and Farmers Billions,” by Kranti Mulik, Union of Concerned Scientists, August 2016 (15 pages)

Seed wars and farmers’ rights: comparative perspectives from Brazil and India,” by Karine Peschard, The Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol 0, No. 0; June 21, 2016 (26 pages)

This publication is also HERE in HTML format.

Legal Solutions to Wicked Problems in Agriculture: Public-Private Cooperative Weed Management Structures as a Sustainable Approach to Herbicide Resistance,” by A. Bryan Endres & Lisa R. Schlessinger, Texas A&M Law Review, Vol. 3, No 4; July 2016 (25 pages)

Farming for the Future: Organic and Agroecological Solutions to Feed the World,” by Christopher D. Cook, Kari Hamerschlag & Kendra Klein, PhD., Friends of the Earth, June 2016 (23 pages)

Summary Briefing: “Farming for the Future: Organic and Agroecological Solutions to Feed the World,” by Christopher D. Cook, Kari Hamerschlag & Kendra Klein, PhD., Friends of the Earth; October 21, 2016 (6 pages)

This summary publication can also be found HERE.

A related summary article is here: “Dirt, Democracy, and Organic Farming: A Recipe to Feed the World,” by Lani Furbank, Food Tank; June 21, 2016

Corporate Agribusiness and the Fouling of America’s Waterways – The Role of Large Agribusiness Companies in Polluting our Rivers, Lakes and Coastal Waters,” by John Rumpler, Environment America Research & Policy Center; June 2016 (50 pages)

State of Organic Seed, 2016,” by Kristina Hubbard and Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance (OSA); June 2016 (90 pages)

A summary article is here: “Just Released! State of Organic Seed, 2016,” by Kristina Hubbard, Seed Broadcast Blog; June 22, 2016

Soil Fertility: Agro-Ecology and not the Green Revolution for Africa,” by the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB); July 2016 (23 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

Keeping Seeds in Peoples’ Hands,” by Right to Food and Nutrition Watch (RtFN-Watch), Issue 08; 2016 (88 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

Peasant Agroecology for Food Sovereignty and Mother Earth, experiences of La Via Campesina,” by La Via Campesina International Peasant Movement; November 9, 2015 (71 pages)

The US Farm Bill: Corporate Power and Structural Racialization in the US Food System,” by Elsadig Elsheikh and Hossein Ayazi, Haas Institute; November 2015 (92 pages)

UPOV 91 and other seed laws – a basic primer on how companies intend to control and monopolise seeds,” by GRAIN, October 2015 (20 pages)

This publication is also HERE in a slightly different HTML format where the pdf version can also be downloaded.

Seeing GMOs from a Systems Perspective: The Need for Comparative Cartographies of Agricultures for Sustainability Assessment,” by Amaranta Herrero, Fern Wickson and Rosa Binimelis, Sustainability, Vol. 7, No. 8; August 20, 2015 (24 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

This publication is also HERE in HTML format.

Social Impacts of GM Crops in Agriculture: A Systematic Literature Review,” by Klara Fischer, Elisabeth Ekener-Petersen, Lotta Rydhmer and Karin Edvardsson Björnberg, Sustainability 2015, Vol. 7, No. 7; July 2, 2015 (23 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE and HERE.

This publication is also HERE in HTML format.

Financial competitiveness of organic agriculture on a global scale,” by David W. Crowder and John P. Reganold, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Vol. 112, No. 24; June 16, 2015 (15 pages)

This publication is also HERE in HTML format.

This publication can also be found here (without supporting data, at six pages): “Financial competitiveness of organic agriculture on a global scale,” by David W. Crowder and John P. Reganold, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Vol. 112, No. 24; June 16, 2015 (6 pages)

The State of Family Farms in the World,” by Benjamin Graeuba, M. Jahi Chappellb, Hannah Wittmand, Samuel Ledermanne, Rachel Bezner Kerrf and Barbara Gemmill-Herren, World Development, Vol. 87; June 15, 2015 (15 pages)

This publication is also HERE in HTML format.

This publication is cited in this related article: “Yes, Organic Farming Can Create Food Security on a Global Scale,” by Colin Todhunter, Huffington Post; August 16, 2016

Spinning Food – How Food Industry Front Groups and Covert Communications are Shaping the Story of Food,” by Kari Hamerschlag, Anna Lappé, & Stacy Malkan, Friends of the Earth, June 2015 (62 pages)

An Alternative Food Policy,” by Chris Erchull, Western New England Law Review, Vol. 37, Issue 1; May 2015 (26 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

Excerpt: This paper proposes that the public health benefits of a new food policy justify federal funding for food policy councils at the state, regional, and municipal levels. The new policy should connect consumers with affordable, fresh, and healthy food while encouraging producers to use sustainable farming practices. A close look at recent policy efforts in New York City to improve public health through paternalistic restrictions illustrates important lessons for policy advocates who must strive to gather broad public support in order to implement effective policy. A new food policy movement has the potential for great success because the public benefits are quantifiable and do not restrict consumer choice.

Food System Policy, Public Health, and Human Rights in the United States,” by Kerry L. Shannon, Brent F. Kim, Shawn E. McKenzie, and Robert S. Lawrence, Annual Review of Public Health, Vol. 36; March 2015 (29 pages)

A related summary article is here: “Industrial Food System in the US is Unhealthy, Inequitable and Unsustainable,” by the Third World Network; August 28, 2015

Excerpt from the article: A recently published report reviews the agriculture and food policy of the United States, its central role in shaping the food system, and some of the health, social, and environmental problems that are associated with it. It further examines the challenges of making the food supply safe, nutritious, and sustainable while respecting the rights of all people to have access to adequate food and to attain the highest standard of health.

Challenges pertaining to resource conservation, ecosystems and environmental health are identified in the report as soil degradation, freshwater depletion, water degradation, air degradation, biodiversity loss, fossil resource depletion and climate change. The review finds that although US policies address these to varying degrees, in some cases, they actually perpetuate them. The report also addresses the threats of antimicrobial resistance, occupational safety, microbial and chemical contamination and diet-related diseases.

The review concludes that the current agricultural and food policies of the US support and perpetuate the dominant industrial model of production and govern a system that is largely unhealthy, inequitable, environmentally damaging and insufficiently resilient to endure the impacts of climate change, resource depletion and population increases; and is, therefore, unsustainable.

The reviewers call for urgent policy reform to transform the country’s food system. Policy solutions that encourage healthy dietary choices, ensure food adequacy, and protect food system workers are imperative. They recommend an approach that combines the principles of human rights and the values of public health with an agroecological perspective to formulate policies that respect both the planetary and social boundaries of a just food system.

Increasing Crop Diversity Mitigates Weather Variations and Improves Yield Stability,” by Amélie C. M. Gaudin et al, PLoS One, Vol. 10, No. 2; February 6, 2015 (20 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

This publication is also HERE in HTML format.

This publication is cited in these related articles:

U.S. Farms Becoming Less Diverse Over Time,” by Jennifer Balmer, Civil Eats; October 5, 2015

Why Seed Company Mergers Matter in a Warming World,” by Doug Gurian-Sherman, Civil Eats; January 21, 2016

Food Sovereignty: A Framework for Assessing Agrarian Responses to Climate Change in the Philippines,” by Amber Heckelman & Hannah Wittman, Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies (ASEAS), Vol. 8, No. 1; January 2015 (8 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE. This publication can also be viewed and downloaded from HERE.

Seedy Business: What Big Food is hiding with its slick PR campaign on GMOs,” by Gary Ruskin, US Right to Know (USRTK); January, 2015 (65 pages)

Peoples’ Nutrition Is Not a Business,” by Right to Food and Nutrition Watch (RtFN-Watch), Issue 07; 2015 (88 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

Ten Years of the Right to Food Guidelines: Gains, Concerns and Struggles,” by Right to Food and Nutrition Watch (RtFN-Watch); October 2014 (90 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

Herbicide-Resistant Genetically Modified Plants and Sustainability,” edited by Sissel Rogne & Audrun Utskarpen, the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board; August 2014 (72 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

Racism and capitalism: Dual challenges for the food movement,” by Eric Holt-Giménez, Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, Vol. 5, No. 2; June 18, 2014 (3 pages)

This publication can be viewed and downloaded from HERE.

This publication can also be found here [4 pages]: “Racism and capitalism: Dual challenges for the food movement,” by Eric Holt-Giménez, Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, Vol. 5, No. 2; June 18, 2014 (4 pages)

Hungry for land – small farmers feed the world with less than a quarter of all farmland,” by GRAIN; May 28, 2014 (22 pages)

This publication is also HERE in a slightly different HTML format where the pdf version can also be downloaded.

Fast Food Failure: How CEO-to-Worker Pay Disparity Undermines the Industry and the Overall Economy,” by Catherine Ruetschlin, Demos; April 22, 2014 (32 pages)

This publication is also HERE in a slightly different HTML format.

The development and implementation of organic seed regulation in the USA,” by Erica N. C. Renaud, Edith T. Lammerts van Bueren & Janice Jiggins, Organic Agriculture, Vol. 4, No. 1; March 2014 (18 pages)

The Forgotten Half of Food System Reform: Using Food and Agricultural Law to Foster Healthy Food Production,” by Emily Broad Leib, Journal of Food Law and Policy Vol. 9, No. 17; October 2013 (44 pages)

Putting the Cartel before the Horse…and Farm, Seeds, Soil and Peasants etc.: Who Will Control the Agricultural Inputs? – The State of Corporate Concentration,” by the ETC Group; September 4, 2013 (40 pages)

AGROPOLY – A handful of corporations control world food production,” by Berne Declaration (DB) & EcoNexus; September 2013 (18 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

Best Public Relations That Money Can Buy: A Guide to Food Industry Front Groups,” by Michele Simon, Center for Food Safety; May 2013 (16 pages)

Biotech Ambassadors – How the U.S. State Department Promotes the Seed Industry’s Global Agenda,” by Food & Water Watch; May 2013 (23 pages)

Spanish version: “Embajadores de la Biotecnología,” by Food & Water Watch; May 2013 (24 pages)

Food sovereignty and safeguarding food security for everyone: Issues for scientific investigation,” by Hugh Lacey, Food Sovereignty: A Critical Dialogue, International Conference, Yale University; September 14-15, 2013 (24 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE and HERE.

Food Sovereignty: How it turns the growing corporate global food system upside down,” by Joan P. Mencher, Food Sovereignty: A Critical Dialogue, International Conference, Yale University; September 14-15, 2013 (38 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

Excerpt: Food Sovereignty as an ideology is a tool used by people (peasants, small and even medium size family farmers, small organic farmers, all kinds of local farmers (especially but not only in the US and EU) to fight a very wealthy organized attempt to take over the entire world food supply by the MNCs [multinational corporations]. I then discuss the “green revolution” approach, including a brief discussion of how it was introduced into India and the reactions of the South Indian farmers I knew at the time, and how it temporarily did lead to significant increases in crop yields in some areas (at the same time that the pesticides used were destroying the soil biota.) Successful alternatives to industrial agriculture are then discussed, especially SRI/SCI [systems of rice intensification and crop (referring to numerous other crops) intensification] which do not need any artificial fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides, and use one-tenth the amount of seeds used by conventional farming in India. SRI/SCI is hardly known about in the US and EU. Methods for organizing grassroots farmers, both women and men in places like Andhra Pradesh, are also discussed. (India is now an exporter of rice, with world record yields from states previously considered backward, such as Bihar.) I conclude by noting the looming confrontation between the MNCs working to increase the profits of their investors, and the movements from the bottom up by people the world over. Control over food is control over people. And at no time in history have the wealthy voluntarily given up this or other powers.

From Food Sovereignty to Peasants’ Rights: an Overview of La Via Campesina’s Rights-Based Claims over the Last 20 Years,” by Priscilla Claeys, Food Sovereignty: A Critical Dialogue, International Conference, Yale University; September 14-15, 2013 (14 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE, HERE and HERE.

Food as a political tool: an analysis of the use of food towards attaining and sustaining swaraj (Indian independence) in the thought of Gandhi and Shiva,” by Naomi Wente, Senior Thesis, University of Minnesota; 2013 (23 pages) [Second Place Prize winning paper at the “Midwest Political Science Undergraduate Research Conference of 2013”]

This publication can also be found HERE and HERE.

Public Research, Private Gain – Corporate Influence over University Agricultural Research,” Food & Water Watch; April 2012 (23 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

Dead People Don’t Eat: Food Governmentenomics and Conflicts-of-Interest in the UDSA and FDA,” by Gabriela Steier, Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law, Vol. 7, Issue 1; Winter 2012 (78 pages)

The Global Food System, Environmental Protection, and Human Rights,” by Carmen G. Gonzalez, Natural Resources & Environment, Vol. 26, No. 3; Winter, 2012, 2012 (16 pages)

Reform or transformation? The pivotal role of food justice in the US food movement,” by Eric Holt-Giménez and Yi Wang, Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts, Vol. 5, No. 1; October 2011 (20 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

Sustainability: Can Law Meet the Challenge?” by Rebecca Bratspies, Suffolk Transnational Law Review, Vol. 34, Book 2; June 2011 (34 pages)

Genetically Modified Crops and the ‘Food Crisis’: Discourse and Material Impacts,” by Glenn Davis Stone & Dominic Glover, Development in Practice, Vol. 21, Nos. 4 –5; June 2011 (8 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

This publication is cited in this related article: “How the Great Food War Will Be Won,” by Jonathan Latham, PhD, Independent Science News; January 12, 2015

Agroecosystem Management and Nutritional Quality of Plant Foods: The Case of Organic Fruits and Vegetables,” by K. Brandt, C. Leifert, R. Sanderson & C. J. Seal, Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, Vol. 30, No 1-2; January 1, 2011 (21 pages)

Doubling Food Production to Feed the 9 Billion: A Critical Perspective on a Key Discourse of Food Security in the UK,” by Isobel Tomlinson, Journal of Rural Studies, Vol. 29, No. 8; 2011 (10 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

This publication is cited in this related article: “Feeding Nine Billion: Five Steps to the Wrong Solution,” by Eric Holt-Giménez, Food First; April 5, 2014

Agroecology and the Right to Food,” by Dr. Olivier De Schutter (Special Rapporteur to the U.N. on the Right to Food) United Nations Human Rights Council; December 20, 2010 (21 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE and HERE.

What Food is to be Kept Safe and for Whom? Food-Safety Governance in an Unsafe Food System,” by Martha McMahon, Laws, Vol. 2, No. 4; October 22, 2013 (27 pages)

This publication is also HERE in HTML format.

Excerpt: What and how people eat has always been shaped by social status. Today, the body, and the culturally proper management of and care for the body, have become a central project of the middle classes, they explain. Certainly cultural turns to globally-sourced food with complex supply chains raise new food-safety and bio-security challenges. Changing patterns of eating, whether of fresh, exotic produce, more meat or Coke and Pepsi embody issues about capitalism and class, distributive justice and climate change, animal welfare and gendered inequalities and so on. Food is political. [Emphasis added]

What is Organic Food and Why Should I Care?” by Jim Riddle and Bud Markhart, University of Minnesota; September 2010 (8 pages)

Visualizing Consolidation in the Global Seed Industry 1996-2008,” by Philip H. Howard, Sustainability, Vol. 1, No 4; December 8, 2009 (22 pages)

This publication is also HERE in HTML format where a pdf version can also be downloaded.

Out of Hand – Farmers Face the Consequences of a Consolidated Seed Industry,” by Kristina Hubbard, FARMER to FARMER Campaign on Genetic Engineering; December 2009 (60 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE and HERE.

Also see: Executive Summary: “Out of Hand – Farmers Face the Consequences of a Consolidated Seed Industry,” by Kristina Hubbard, FARMER to FARMER; December 2009 (4 pages)

The Soils of War – The real agenda behind agricultural reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq,” by GRAIN, March 9, 2009 (11 pages)

This publication is also HERE in a slightly different HTML format where the pdf version can also be downloaded.

The Bad Seeds: The Broken Promises of Agricultural Biotechnology,” by Food & Water Watch; October 2009 (6 pages)

Grassroots Voices: Food sovereignty,” by Raj Patel (guest editor), Nyéléni, Hannah Wittman, Christina Schiavoni, Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, Rodgers Msachi, Laifolo Dakishoni and Rachel Bezner Kerr, Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 36, No. 3; July 2009 (45 pages)

This publication is also HERE in HTML format.

A Rotten System: Subsidizing Environmental Degradation and Poor Public Health with Our Nation’s Tax Dollars,” by William S. Eubanks II, Stanford Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 28; June 2009 (98 pages)

Excerpt: The following Article aims to inform the public and policymakers about the single most important statute affecting the United States today. Specifically, this legislation has the most significant environmental impact of any statute enacted by Congress. No, this Article does not focus on the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, or any of the myriad environmental protection statutes enacted in the early 1970s in response to alarming destruction of the natural environment and the interrelated effects of that destruction on public health. Rather, this Article focuses on a piece of legislation that affects all aspects of the natural environment, not just one specialized facet like the statutes listed above. In addition to this statute’s impacts on the environment, this legislative enactment has far-reaching implications for the most salient issues facing our nation today. The statute drives public health policy in the United States and is a predominant reason that our nation suffers from record levels of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and asthma. At the same time, this statute implements policies that result in severe malnutrition and hunger both domestically and abroad. Additionally, this legislation encourages overproduction, trade distortion, and depression of world market prices, which directly and immediately drives immigration towards the United States from the developing world. Lastly, this statute strips rural communities of their senses of identity, cultural values, and traditional heritage. For all of these reasons, it is time to inform the public about this statute so that a newfound awareness can lead to much-needed reform of the current policy system.

Most people will be surprised to learn that the statute referenced above is the United States Farm Bill. How can something called the “Farm Bill” affect all of the sectors of society mentioned above? This question demonstrates one of the inherent problems with attempting to resolve the difficult conflicts created by the Farm Bill: the statute is much more than a mere bill for farmers, and its deceptive name prevents the public from recognizing its true costs and implications. Writer Michael Pollan argues that Farm Bill reform must start “with the recognition that the ‘farm bill’ is a misnomer; in truth, it is a food bill [among other things] and so needs to be rewritten with the interests of [the public] placed first.” Thus, the time is now to once again summon the courage demonstrated by environmentalist Rachel Carson in the 1960s and apply her message to the new cause of reforming our nation’s Farm Bill:

We urgently need an end to these false assurances, to the sugar-coating of unpalatable facts. It is the public that is being asked to assume the risks. . . . The public must decide whether it wishes to continue on the present road, and it can do so only when in full possession of the facts.

In order to gather the full possession of facts with regard to the Farm Bill, this Article seeks to provide comprehensive information regarding the Farm Bill’s effects on American society.

Cultivating Race: How the Science and Technology of Agriculture Preserves Race in the Global Economy,” by Bekah Mandell, Vol. 72, No. 4; 2009 (13 pages)

Food Security and Farmer Empowerment – A study of the impacts of farmer-led sustainable agriculture in the Philippines,” by Lorenz Bahman, Elizabeth Cruzada & Sarah Wright MASIPAG (Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura; Farmer-Scientist Partnership for Development); 2009 (165 pages)

This publication can also be downloaded from HERE.

Evolution, plant breeding and biodiversity,” by Salvatore Ceccarelli, Journal of Agriculture and Environment for International Development (JAEID), Vol. 103, No (1/2); 2009 (15 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE and HERE. This publication can also be viewed and downloaded from HERE.

The term Green Revolution was coined in March 1968 by William S. Gaud, the director of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to indicate the outcome of a development strategy based on a) new crop cultivars, b) irrigation, c) fertilizers, d) pesticides and e) mechanization. Within that strategy, the new varieties were obtained by selecting for wide adaptation. Not only was this exactly the opposite of what farmers had done for millennia, but the term wide adaptation was somewhat misleading because it indicates wide ‘geographical’ adaptation rather than wide ‘environmental’ adaptation. In fact the agricultural environments in which these ‘widely adapted’ varieties were successful were actually very similar (high rainfall and good soil fertility) or were made similar by adding irrigation water and fertilizers when farmers can afford them. This caused three major problems. First, the heavy use of chemicals soon began impacting the environment. Second, the poorest farmers and particularly those living in marginal environments were bypassed because they could not afford to purchase the chemicals needed to create the right environments for the new varieties – not all scientists agree on this, but most of the poor farmers do. The father of the Green Revolution, Norman Borlaug, pointed out recently, ‘despite the successes of the Green Revolution, about two billion people still lack reliable access to safe, nutritious food, and 800 million of them are chronically malnourished’. Third, there was a dramatic decline in agricultural biodiversity because on one hand hundreds of genetically diverse local varieties selected by farmers over millennia for specific adaptation to their own environment and uses were displaced, and on the other hand the new varieties (despite having different names) were all very similar in their genetic constitution … The decline in agricultural biodiversity can be quantified as follows: while it is estimated that there are approximately 250,000 plant species, of which about 50,000 are edible, we actually use no more than 250 – out of which 15 crops give 90% of the calories in the human diet, and 3 of them, namely wheat, rice and maize give 60%. In these three crops, modern plant breeding has been particularly successful, and the process towards genetic uniformity has been rapid – the most widely grown varieties of these three crops are closely related and genetically uniform (pure lines in wheat and rice and hybrids in maize). The major consequence is that our main sources of food are more genetically vulnerable than ever before, i.e. food security is potentially in danger … The situation is so serious that the hypothesis has been formulated that we are perhaps moving towards a sixth mass extinction judging from the recent human-induced extinctions and today’s threats to species. Limiting the rate of extinction will be difficult: considering that already in 2007, 25% of corn production in U.S.A. was used for biofuel. If USA’s 2017 target for biofuels will be met, and if additional land will be brought under cultivation to replace lost food production, twice as many species will be driven to extinction through habitat loss as would be saved by mitigating climatic changes. [Citations omitted, emphasis added]

The Rise and Predictable Fall of Globalized Industrial Agriculture,” by Debbie Barker, International Forum on Globalization (IFG); 2007 (68 pages)

Organic Agriculture and the Global Food Supply,” by Catherine Badgley, Jeremy Moghtader, Eileen Quintero, Emily Zakem, M. Jahi Chappell, Katia Avilés-Vázquez, Andrea Samulon and Ivette Perfecto; Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, Vol. 22, No. 2; 2007 (23 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.

Negotiating the Seed Treaty,” by Stuart Coupe and Roger Lewins, Practical Action; 2007 (72 pages)

Can Food Companies Be Trusted to Self-Regulate – An Analysis of Corporate Lobbying and Deception to Undermine Children’s Health,” by Michele Simon, Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, Vol. 39; May 2006 (69 pages)

Identifying the Real Winners from U.S. Agricultural Policies,” Timothy A. Wise, Global Development and Environment Institute Working Paper NO. 05-07; December 2005 (15 pages)

A summary article is here: “Identifying the Real Winners from U.S. Agricultural Policies – GDAE Working Paper No. 05-07, December 2005,” by Timothy A. Wise, Global Development and Environment Institute

This publication is cited in this related article: “Small Farms Are Feeding the World,” by Colin Todhunter, EAST BY NORTHWEST; August 25, 2016

Transgenic crops to address Third World hunger? A critical analysis,” by Peter M. Rosset, Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, Vol. 25, No. 4, August 2005 (8 pages)

USAID: Making the world hungry for GM crops,” by GRAIN; April 25, 2005 (24 pages)

This publication is also HERE in a slightly different HTML format where the pdf version can also be downloaded.

The Future of Food: Countering Globalization and Recolonisation of Indian Agriculture,” by Vandana Shiva, Futures, Vol. 36, Issues 6-7; August – September 2004 (18 pages)

What’s wrong with Genetically Modified Food?” by David M. Kaplan, Ph.D., excerpt from “Ethical Issues of the 21st Century,” edited by Frederick Adams, Charlottesville: Philosophy Documentation Center Press, 2004 (15 pages)

Excerpt: The guiding principle for science and technology policy should be the same as any other procedures for making decisions about the collective fate of any group of people: it should be democratic. If a decision is legitimate, it must have the informed, free consent of those affected by it. In the U.S decisions about technological systems are made by market forces and government officials, often influenced by small groups of technically skilled peoples, who we have no choice but believe have our best interests in mind. At stake in having such important decisions about our lives made by other people is nothing less than our autonomy. The implication for public policy is to create the mechanisms that would enable people to contest or reject a technology where ever we determine that our rights, liberties, opportunities, and our collective well-being is threatened. Such decisions should be made in a democratic process that would include representatives from grassroots organizations, public interest groups, academic scientists from the social and natural sciences, and community organizations….

As philosophers and citizens we can call attention to the political character of our laws, policies, and institutions to show that economic practices also involve political choices, embodying political ideas, and are thus open to political deliberation and transformation. You don’t have to be an expert to know that there are some things that shouldn’t be privatized – and that’s what’s wrong with genetically modified food.

Feeding the famine? American food aid and the GMO debate in Southern Africa,” by, Noah Zerbe, Food Policy, Vol. 29; 2004 (16 pages)

Voices from the South – The Third World Debunks Corporate Myths on Genetically Engineered Crops,” edited by Ellen Hickey and Anuradha Mittal, Food First & Pesticide Action Network North America; May 2003 (68 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

Excerpt: “GMOs are the wrong answer to the wrong problem. The problem is not that there is not enough food, but that too many people have no access to adequate food. Four out of five hungry people live in countries that are exporting food, while Europe and North America are facing a food surplus problem. That is why they want to break open the markets of poor countries for their agricultural products. Besides, GMOs will increase the stranglehold of transnational corporations. The top five agrochemical companies also dominate the transgenic seed business. They will dictate the terms. The farmers will be at the losing end. So what’s the use of increasing yields when you’re pushing millions of small farmers deeper into perennial poverty?” – Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Philippines, 2001

“The push for GE crops is part of a shift towards corporate-led agriculture research and development that has been happening in other areas of the world for some time now and is spreading to Africa. GE crops bring a very different dimension, one that gives transnational corporations more control over farmers’ seeds. With the patents they have on GM crops, corporations can prohibit farmers from saving seed from year to year. Potential benefits of improving food supply in Africa would be accompanied by overwhelming new risks to traditional farming systems and to ecological systems. Biotechnology’s promise to fight hunger is doomed to fail. Rather than a technology fix, small farmers in African countries need the support of rural development strategies that give farming communities control over their own resources and build on local knowledge and technology systems. Farmers must be able to choose to avoid a cycle of debt and dependency. Alternative strategies that rely to a greater extent on locally available inputs and provide farmers with tools to analyze what is happening in their fields, to make appropriate variations in their practices, to understand when pests threaten economic loss and to take preventive measures to improve soil by the addition of organic matter have proven effective.” -Timothy Byakola, Climate and Development Initiatives, Uganda

It is therefore apparent that one of the effects of genetic modification is to make small-scale farmers dependent on external corporations for seed and food production. Thus in a real sense they become dependent on their foreign groups for their very livelihoods. Such a turn of events clearly does not contribute to food security in ZambiaOur concern here is clear: far from addressing the underlying structural causes of hunger, genetically modified crops will actually exacerbate these causes. Ensuring food security in Zambia requires an approach to agriculture that is, in almost every respect, the reverse of that being promoted by genetic engineering companies and their allies in this country.” – Bernadette Lubozhya, agro-scientist, Zambia [Bold emphasis added to quotes]

Are Life Patents Ethical? Conflict between Catholic Social Teaching and Agricultural Biotechnology’s Patent Regime,” by Keith Douglass Warner, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Vol. 14; 2001 (20 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

The Myths of Agricultural Biotechnology: Some Ethical Questions,” by Miguel A. Altieri, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley; July 7, 2000 (9 pages)

An Assessment of the Total External Costs of UK Agriculture,” by Jules Pretty, Craig Brett, D. Gee, R. E. Hine, C. F. Mason, J. I. L. Morison, H. Raven, M. D. Rayment, and G. Van der Bijl, Agricultural Systems, Vol. 65, No. 2; August 2000 (24 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE.

This publication is cited in this related article: “How the Great Food War Will Be Won,” by Jonathan Latham, PhD, Independent Science News; January 12, 2015

The Contradictions of the Green Revolution,” by Harry M. Cleaver, The American Economic Review, Vol. 62, No. 1-2; March 1, 1972 (21 pages)

This publication can also be found HERE and it can be accessed HERE.



Re-posting is encouraged, provided the URL of the original is posted with attribution to the original author(s) and all links are preserved.

Copyright © Jeff Kirkpatrick 2017 – Food Revolution Now

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