Just a quick link to an article from Reuters about a California federal court’s decision to block commercial release of Monsanto’s GMO sugarbeets pending a more in-depth USDA environmental impact study.

I’d like to believe this is the beginning of something, but knowing the USDA  and the government’s friendliness toward Monsanto, I’d bet that this is merely a small bump on an otherwise smooth road to approval and release.

Who knew that beets were such a staple crop they were worth this kind of investment?


There’s a lot going on right now in the world of food and food production, and there are some really good articles out there to help you navigate the murky waters. Check these out:

An informative, well-written analysis of the late blight problem for this year’s tomato crop. I’ve heard a lot of fellow gardeners bemoaning late blight this year. But my tomatoes are going strong, and I haven’t seen this problem. After reading this article, I realized why: I started the majority of my tomatoes from seed. Most of the late blight has been caused by commercially produced tomato starts. Score one for the seed savers!

You may have heard rustlings about the new food safety bill. While few would deny that our food system needs some major safety checks, the food safety bill that recently passed the Housedoes very little to regulate the industrial farms. Whether small farmers have as much to fear as they think they do remains to be seen. This bill has yet to pass the Senate (they will vote when they re-adjourn this month), so let your voice be heard by contacting your state senators.

If you’ve been reading the Exchange this summer, you’re aware of some of the issues surrounding Monsanto. Now comes an interesting look at the evolution of coca plants in South America. Glysophate, which is the herbicide Monsanto developed and sells under the Round Up label, has been used in the war on drugs to kill coca and poppy plants. As with the so-called super weeds that have become resistant to Round Up, a new strain of the coca plant has emerged (or been developed) that is unaffected by Round Up. Governments, in their quaint governmental ways, are refusing to talk about the issue.

Ah, money. I love the way you pervert everything you come in contact with.

In a classic of Orwellian double-speak, Monsanto now claims to be leading the way in sustainable agriculture.

I’m not sure when the word “sustainable” became synonymous with producing more food from crops stacked with their own pesticide producing capabilities. But in an apparent effort to reframe what has been an already largely degraded term, that’s exactly what Monsanto has done.

Will they still call it sustainable if these new “smart” crops fail or are proven to cause the diseases some studies indicate they will cause? Maybe by sustainable, they mean reducing the world’s population through food-induced disease and death.

Orwell be damned.

In a brief follow up to yesterday’s post, the St. Louis Business Journal reports that the EU’s European Commission “failed to authorize the sale of Monsanto Co’s genetically modified corn on Wednesday.”

Monsanto, of course, is billing this as a loss to farmers. Earlier this year, Germany joined France, Austria, Hungary, Greece and Luxembourg in banning the GM seed, “alleging that it is harmful to wildlife.” We can only hope that other European nations will soon follow suit.

I think it’s interesting that the St. Louis Business Journal chooses to frame this as “failure” on the part of the EU Commission. Monsanto is headquartered in nearby Creve Coeur, Missouri. In this and other articles I’ve read from the SLBJ, it is clear that they are, at the least, highly sympathetic to Monsanto’s position.

Stay tuned. It will be interesting to see how this story continues to unfold.

A U.S. appeals court kept an injunction in place that prevents Monsanto from selling Roundup Ready alfalfa seed until an environmental impact study can be completed.

The problem with GMOs like this is the likelihood that GMO plant genes will cross-pollinate other strains of alfalfa and similar crops. The result could be “super weeds” that are resistant to any means of control.