Addiction to TV watching or fast food is not half as bad as our government's addiction and promotion of GM seeds and crops it seems.
Dawn Sky - Picture by DD
The more I find out about GM seeds the scarier it gets. More than scary it is this uncomfortable feeling that there is more to know than anybody is letting on. Are you ready to learn a bit more about Seed Diversity?
Why is seed diversity important?
Seed diversity is as important to the survival of the human species as water and air. The diversity is what allows for natural selection that helps plant to survive extreme weather conditions like drought, pests and diseases.
Take corn for example there used to long, short, blue, yellow, white, spotted but today we are left with a very few similar tasting and most possibly in the US at least a GM variety of corn.
"Look at this beauty!" he exclaims. "Some are good for starch, some for popcorn. Some grow in the cold. Some are good fried, some broiled. The taste for each is completely different.
"Diversity is what makes us happy, gives us choice and keeps us free. And it's tragic because this is what we are losing."
Says Esquinas, a top official at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, has spent decades campaigning to preserve plants that are used for food, which are becoming extinct at an alarming rate.
More and more acres of land under large scale farming are dependent on a single type of genetically engineered seed with predictable yields but making them extremely susceptible to diseases which can wipe them out in one fell swoop. In, 1970 half of all the corn crop in the southern US was destroyed by a fungus because they were all grown from one seed type. Loss of entire food crops to a single disease or calamity, thereby putting a very large percentage of the world population to the risks of food insecurity is a very real possibility.
The green revolution of the 20th century and introduction of large scale, mechanized agricultural practices which depend on a very few but high yielding seed varieties which require liberal use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides have seriously put crop diversity in jeopardy. Repeated application of chemical enhancers, damages the soil and require even larger quantities of those chemicals for comparable yields.
GM and small farmers
Seed companies like Monsanto has been convincing everyone that GM and bio engineered are the way to feed the millions. But the harm they have done to small farmers in this country as well as farmers in poor countries is criminal.
When GM seeds are introduced into the farmlands in a country, it is big profits for a company like Monsanto which sells those seeds. Thugs are on the payroll to enforce patents. Pollination does not respect boundaries or patents, so when cross pollination between the GM seeds takes place with non-GM seeds, Monsanto has rights to demand patent violation. If this is not fucked up what else is?
These very same companies go to great lengths to explain how a tomato with an animal gene would not make it unsuitable for vegetarians or vegans. You have to take their word for it.
What is the difference between GM and BT?
You would not use GM to describe modified fruit and vegetable seeds but you would call hem BT as they are not genetically modified, instead the required traits are accomplished through breeding technology. Biotechnology is utilized to manipulate/improve the seeds at the gene level by introducing desired characteristics to the vegetable or fruit.
Unlike GM seeds, BT fruits and vegetables are still not very common. Even if there were we wouldn't know. There is no labeling requirement for either GM seeds or BT vegetables here in the US or in India, while labeling is required in the European Union.
Thanks Sra for this link, Monsanto announces plans for BT Brinjal that tastes like chicken Why not introduce some chili characteristics into the mix and make ourselves some chili chicken brinjal? While this is meant for laughs and is from fakenews (don't miss the related article), but it is no laughing matter.
Just after the whistle was removed from the cooker
What have governments done to control GM food?
Nothing. Short term goals always override long term objectives.
Governments be it a democracy or whatever is run by people and hence susceptible to big money. In India it is direct bribes, in the US it campaign donations which makes these companies bulldoze and pave way for regulations that make it legal for these patented GM seeds to make their way into the marketplace.
GM seeds are not new, they have been around since the 1970s, it is only now that we as consumers are even paying any situation to them.
Take for example the recent introduction of Bt Brinjal in India. The government found manipulated data to clear these seeds. It was left to activists and small farmers to agitate against its introduction.
Terming the approval of genetically modified brinjal in open market as the 'biggest disaster to hit the country after independence', PM Bhargava, who is the founder director of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, said, "This release is nothing but a fallout of a nexus between the politicians, bureaucrats, MNCs and the US. The policy being chased is to become a satellite of the US."
Read the press statement from Navadanya founded by Dr. Vandana Shiva.
Threats due to loss of seed diversity
We all know the effects of inbreeding in humans, namely genetic defects due to shared common ancestry leading to increased mortality and morbidity. The shared ancestry amplifies negative traits caused by recessive genes.
It is same in the plant world as well, the vast majority of the seeds get extinct leaving only a very variety of seeds whose genetic characteristics are not enough to protect the plant from pests, diseases and adverse climatic conditions.
INBREEDING IN HUMANS
Organic Agriculture and Seed Diversity
Drumstick poriyal (stir fry)
What can citizens do?
Dr. Vandana Shiva is the leading voice in India in the fight to maintain bio diversity. She has single handedly kept the issues facing the environment, soil pollution, seed diversity in the conscious of Indians.
Speaking in a protest in Copenhagen at the World climate summit,
“It Is Time for the US to Stop Seeing Itself as a Donor and Recognizing Itself as a Polluter, a Polluter who Must Pay”
Here in the US people like Michael Pollan, Alice Waters and several others have done a lot to keep the issue of food and how it is produced in the news. These issues have the misfortune of being portrayed as a yuppy feel good issue which is further from the truth. The back room deals made in smoke filled rooms between legislators, lobbyists and industry representatives affects the food supply and security of countries directly. More than oil, terrorism, health care - this should be an issue foremost on people's minds.
While we are all worried about Haiti, lets not forget that US had a direct hand in the overcrowding of Port-Au-Prince. The US government pressured the already unstable Haitian government in accepting subsidized low cost food grains. The end result the local farmers could not compete and had to abandon their farms and move to the city to look for jobs.
NAFTA did the same to Mexican farmers, subsidized corn robbed several farmers of their livelihood making them cross the border to work as illegal workers in farms in the US.
If you had ever thought why vegetables have no taste but look beautiful, keep that thought and read this page. Being aware is the least we can do. These companies are rich and powerful but the politicians are dependent on our votes to get elected. Let use that power effectively.
Sayantani of a Homemaker's Diary passed on the Kreativ blogger award. Thank you. The election of a Republican in the almost one party state of Massachusetts it is politics that is on my mind. I will share the 7 facts in the next post, in the fear of making this one really long.
Sra is talking about rasam and staple foods in this post. It brought to mind my food habits, for while now in the interest of eschewing rice I had forgotten my roots. The uppu paruppu, puli kuzhambu and poriyal that I grew up with was given a short shrift. Not anymore, the defect got rectified almost immediately. I set about making paruppu, rasam and poriyal and was thoroughly enjoyed.
Drumsticks from the time I had known have always been a favorite. It is a rare occasion that we get fresh ones but the frozen ones we get in the store have filled that hole nicely. I use pressure cooker which ensures the drumsticks are evenly cooked.
Simply the best - pachai paruppu (split moong dal), rice, moong dal rasam and drumstick stir fry
Spicy drumstick fry
1. 2 Cups of cut drumsticks
2. 1/2 cup red onion chopped (if you have small onions they are the best)
3. 1/2 cup cut tomatoes
4. 5 cloves garlic sliced
5. 1/2 tbsp sambhar powder (2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp coriander powder + 1/2 tsp cumin powder)
6. a handful of chopped coriander leaves
7. seasoning: mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves
1. In a pressure pan, heat a bit of oil and add the seasonings. When mustard seeds starts to pop add the onions and saute till translucent.
2. Now add the garlic and saute for a minute followed by the sambhar powder.
3. Add the tomatoes and salt and saute till the tomatoes are mushy.
4. Add the drumsticks, 2-3 tbsp of water, coriander leaves, close the lid and let cook for 2 whistles.
5. When cool open the lid and let cook for a few more minutes if there is moisture.
if cooking on stove top, add water, close the lid and cook till the drumsticks are soft and cooked through (about 15-20 minutes)
The drumstick was enjoyed with some pacahai paruppu(yellow split moong dal) and moong dal rasam rice.