Commentary: Message to Occupy Monsanto: Occupy yourself

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A march against Monsanto and GMOs? Give me a break. Jeez.

I normally wouldn’t pay much attention to the group named Occupy Monsanto who is expected to protest against genetically modified foods and modern agriculture this weekend. They have a bone to pick with Monsanto and I imagine you’re going to see them on the 6 o’clock news Saturday evening.

I’ve tried to be kinder and gentler over the past year in my approach in dealing with those whom I disagree but I can’t in this case. Occupy Monsanto is a bunch of experts in pseudo-science who mine the Internet to support their misguided cause of getting biotechnology out of our food system. And of course, if it’s on the internet, it must be true.

There, I said it. And I feel much better.

What you’re going to hear this weekend is a lot of wailing about how Monsanto is poisoning our food supply and raping our earth by supplying genetically modified seed while under the protection of a host of government bureaucrats who are in their pocket.

This invective, spewed out of one side of the mouths of well-fed activists who are probably popping a biotech-derived pill in the other to stay healthy, is largely based on a philosophy that “big anything” is bad and an ignorance of real world problems like feeding a rapidly growing world population that now numbers 7 billion.

What you won’t hear this weekend is that more than 600 scientific studies support the safety of genetically engineered foods and that the National Academies of Science, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association—among others—have concluded that genetically engineered foods do not pose any more risk to people than other foods.

You won’t hear that agricultural biotechnology products are looked at with more scrutiny by the government review process than any other products in the history of agriculture.

You won’t hear the benefits of genetically engineered crops including a decline in the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, an increase in natural resource conservation and the ability to produce more foods for a growing population in a sustainable manner.

Monsanto is a leader in agriculture biotechnology and is a company like so many others in America—trying to make a profit by producing products that make life better.

I’m all for consumer choice but I would like to see decisions made based on science and not on fear, rumors and innuendo.

Occupy Monsanto specializes in all three. They would be much better served if they’d go Occupy Themselves by growing their own food.

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Eddie Che    
Bay Area, CA  |  May, 24, 2013 at 05:36 PM

For the farmers: let's have a dialogue, and use this opportunity to come together about what are viable options for the future, and, respectfully, without Monsanto? :::: Feed the growing population -- This UofM study is a classic from a few years ago , and nicely handled points here: Drought tolerance -- too much water is needed for industrial agriculture, that's what we're seeing in California and in developing countries. It's creativity projects that are helping these ranchers in Texas: and NYTimes In fact, permaculture farmers are farming water through contour channels, at 1% drop with a keyline plow. Monsanto's Crimes -- I would include perversion of democracy when they corrupt elected government officials and agencies with large secret and illegal donations... And, for the farmer solidarity! The concerns of genetic seed takeover and monopoly are legitimate ones. In the past two decades, Monsanto’s seed monopoly has grown so powerful that they control the genetics of nearly 90% of five major commodity crops including corn, soybeans, cotton, canola and sugar beets. Can't you buy seeds somewhere else? Or, save seeds and support farmers? LOVE: Onwards and upwards, CHE @EddieMill

New York  |  May, 25, 2013 at 03:33 AM

I have no particular axe to grind. I live in a farm area and hate all the manure spreading that goes on here. But much of your comment is manure also. The "study" on organics is absurd. First they ignore the cost, most of which would be labor. The 40 "crimes" are mostly innuendo. I have a personal use organic operation. Although a person CAN farm organically, the whole idea that it can be done world wide is absurd.

Chris Foresta    
Las Vegas  |  May, 25, 2013 at 08:17 AM

Fellow thing you missed was that we just want that so called "safe" GMO FOOD LABELED...If we have to eat it we have the right to know we are. Easy. It doesn't take six hundred 50 year old scientific studies to figure it out. You just keep on chowing down. Natural Selection my fellow.

Eric Moore    
Charlotte, NC  |  May, 25, 2013 at 08:30 AM

That is exactly what people are doing sir, growing their own food.

Greg Sorce    
new jersey  |  May, 25, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Thanks for your opinion noone cares about it...I do grow mybown organic food...keeping poision genius...monsanto also invented Agent orange my father is a Vietnam Vet and I have 2 BROTHERS WITH BIRTH DEFECTS BOTH HAVE C.P.....SHUT YOUR TRAP AND MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS

Dallas  |  May, 26, 2013 at 02:41 PM

I honestly believed Monsanto was legit - until they partnered up with terrorists in the Republicans "Blackwater" network of companies. Now, I see them as just another Republican company. That means that they are certainly using politics to market unsafe products and services to consumers. They see safety regulations as a tyranny imposed on them, and they will destroy the lives of people who go against their corporation.

Bob Strasner    
Wichita  |  May, 27, 2013 at 10:41 AM

I've finally got it! Let's poison the world population so we won't have anyone left to sell our product to! Yeah that's the ticket!

Biloxi  |  May, 28, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Man alive! All these slobbering Monsanto haters are a hoot! When it comes to being "occupied" there can be no question the cavity where their brains should be is occupied by about 7.5 lbs of prime organic fertilizer. What a bunch of lame whining losers.

Illinois  |  May, 29, 2013 at 07:13 AM

I'm not entirely sure why everyone HATES Monsanto. They are a very successful company...maybe that's the only reason. @Chris Foresta, you "occupy Monsanto" because you want your food labeled??? BS man! They are a seed, trait, and chem company for growers. At what point are they the ones responsible for labeling food? In my area Monsanto traits are heavily used in corn and bean crops. Why??? They have proven to bring value to the grower so the grower CHOOSES to use it. They could easily get seed without these traits but they don't want to because they depend on growing good quality crops. for those that think organic is the way to go....HAHAHA. We have a local farmer growing organic. He doesn't have many acres of it because it is very time consuming. What does he use for fertilizer? MANURE. he applies manure from pigs. What does he do to minimize his weeds in the crop? he makes several trips with his "fuel guzzling excessive pollutant" tractor to work them out. That should make you liberals cringe!!! He does not get the yield that he would with gmo crops and the premium to mess with it makes his commodity worth over twice what the normal commodity is at a local elevator. Practical??? Finally, @Eddie Che...Monsanto Crimes??? Monsanto corrupting government officials??? Does Monsanto have a super secret component that brain washes elected officials so they have to do what they want??? Its a bogus claim to begin with but you want to believe it. I'll PRETEND its true for a little bit here. At what point is it not at all the elected officials fault they he took "bribe" money. Sure, shame on a company that allegedly tries it but even more shame on the individual that accepts it!!

Eddie Che    
Bay Area, CA  |  May, 29, 2013 at 02:02 PM

Yes - labelling these food products seems natural, especially because many of the safety studies that companies are "required" to perform... are done or paid for by the companies themselves... Occupy the FDA for this one, I believe. Thanks for the comment!

Eddie Che    
Bay Area, CA  |  May, 29, 2013 at 02:04 PM

Or, even worse, the possibility of a world food shortage could become reality IF these fields are all a clone of each other; talk about natural selection this HUMAN fallacy selects for an insect or bacteria that could be well-adapted to monsanto's poison. There goes a large amount of the processed food supply. The folks on here who say they have their own garden is the right idea.

Eddie Che    
Bay Area, CA  |  May, 29, 2013 at 02:19 PM

@Gordy, thanks for the dialogue. I'll respond directly first: Monsanto corrupting government officials??? Does Monsanto have a super secret component that brain washes elected officials so they have to do what they want?? <

Eddie Che    
Bay Area, CA  |  May, 29, 2013 at 02:37 PM

@Gordy, thanks for the dialogue. Comment didn't post first time, will try to restore what I had which was better ;) I'll respond directly first: Monsanto corrupting government officials??? Does Monsanto have a super secret component that brain washes elected officials so they have to do what they want?? < Yes, and no secrets... this is a list that's often shown as a Venn Diagram. You are right, shame on the company and on the officials that take their money. The only way that Monsanto product benefits you is convenience. Their seed and process are an affront to nature and the farmer; that the seed doesn't grow which is the purpose of a plant to reproduce itself; and does not support the #ag industry to seed. Buying seeds each year (after a hard winter, perhaps in Illinois?) often requires a loan... a lot of tractor repair, seed purchase (which have gone up 7 times, no?) and inputs purchasing keep farmers in debt and; only benefits the 1%. Is the only thing keeping these things going an unfair direct payment government subsidy for GMO'd product? I honestly have no idea why a farmer of intellect such as yourself would continue to plant these seeds. All for a product that consumers do not want, if they had any idea or legal right. It might be a good time to realize that your product is, not quality... #Agchat is a good chance to dialogue about the elephant in the room. I hope we can keep an open conversation @EddieMill. This goes to the original poster, too. Have a chance, keep the comment thread going. You're welcome to invite any friends who might take offense that I'm talking sh*t about GMOs you all plant. Sincerely, EM Che

Sick O'Blather    
Vermont  |  May, 29, 2013 at 03:08 PM

Another raving drooler chimes in with his sappy swoon over farmers saving seeds and the poetic natural order of things and on and on with the emotional mythology of fairy tale armchair farming. Heck, here on the family farm (bicentennial family farm, by the way) we've been purchasing seed each year for generations of my family. That's how we keep pace with progress in agriculture and that seems to be the issue some of these back to feudalism eggheads have with us modern farmers. They seem to insist plants are only for making mediocre seed and farmers are only for performing the lowliest sort of stoop labor to put scarce food on the tables of elite cult followers like Eddie Che. Sorry to burst your bubble, Eddie, but we ain't stooping or scooping for you or your brainwashing buddies. Go poke around in the mud and save your own danged seed if you want. Heck, go ahead and show us how that truly is superior to what we've been doing for over 200 years here. If you can demonstrate your trick is superior we will adopt it -- we always have. So get busy with your pointy stick and your green thumb Eddie and SHOW us how it's done. In the meantime STFU.

Wyoming  |  May, 30, 2013 at 08:56 AM

Looks like a lot of tormented people have made themselves a full time job out of hating Monsanto. Too bad they couldn't apply themselves to something sensible and constructive. But that would probably be too sane for them to manage. Oh well, it takes all kinds, I guess.

Eddie Che    
USA, Global  |  May, 31, 2013 at 05:25 PM

Hello, hey. I can handle the hate-words. @Sick O'Blather Wish you would give me/ us an acre and see you'll learn a lot about what I/we do with it once we start living there. I would grow a diversity of crops is what; and seed which would be saved of at least basil, tomatoes, squash and relatives, sunflower, beans, corn, potatoes, all of which I do have experience with growing solo. You need look no further than past experience, some references, upcoming, and ongoing struggles, if getting busy farming is the answer. SF tomorrow, June 1. There are tricks to farming. I am not inventing any wheel here. This ain't no IFAD research paper, this is techniques that you folks should adopt. The best site our grower referenced was ATTRA.NCAT: Any move towards sustainability naturally moves away from Monsanto, which presupposes a monoculture. If you currently use a corn-alfalfa-soybeans rotation, and want a direct PDF here is a link: I happen to think important (e.g. absolutely crucial to communicate in an open extension window) is the implementation of Biochar systems on more farms. Here and others from blog: My friend said to look up a key line plow as well, which can be well farmed on contour. <3 Other than the technique, subsidies are really a big key here, as well as the health of the American people. Anyone care to go into those cans of worms? I am happy to discuss alternative techniques and have those farmers who are creative adopt. Our soil, water, and future food supply resilience, as well as health are worth it. #Agchat @EddieMill

las vegas  |  June, 17, 2013 at 04:58 PM

@Gordy ..MONSANTO wanted to sue the state of VERMONT because they passed a law to require labeling of GMO / GE food, I would think they have an interest in keeping the labels off the food, just a guess. I hope that you will educate yourself, Make up your own mind even grow your own food. Another option is to just keep chowing down on the round up pesticide that now grows in your vegetables. I am wishing you the best of heath in the future!

las vegas  |  June, 17, 2013 at 05:05 PM

@Althea.. I hope you will educate yourself. Eat whatever you like I just want a label to know if there is a pesticide in food. doesn't really affect me anymore as I have made changes to my eating habits & that of my family. or don't educate yourself and fall to the harm of MONSANTO .

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