Saving seeds for our future
Very good article out of yesterday’s Montreal Gazette, Sowing seeds of discontent, by Marian Scott. The article presents a fairly in-depth and critical look at the challenge small, Candian farmers are facing with the rise of large agri-business and genetically-modified seeds, with a particular focus on Monsanto. It gives an overview of the devlopment of the GM seed industry in Canada, looks at the Monsanto vs Percy Schmeiser case, and links the GM agri-business to the ongoing world-wide food crisis. Most importantly, it looks at the importance of saving seeds – and biodiversity – to protect our future food-supply.
Heather Meek leafs through the seed catalogue she wrote on the family computer, on winter nights after the kids went to bed.
Selling seeds is more than just an extra source of income on this organic farm an hour northwest of Montreal.
For Meek and partner Frederic Sauriol, propagating local varieties is part of a David and Goliath struggle by small farmers against big seed companies.
At stake, they believe, is no less than control of the world’s food supply.
Some interesting (and worrisome) statistics from the piece:
- Some 70,000 Canadian farmers will grow food from GM seeds this year; 12 million worldwide
- GM crops have grown 67-fold in 12 years, now covering 690.9 million hectares in 23 countries
- Canada is the fourth-largest grower of GM crops, which cover 7 million hectares.
- About three-quarters of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops have been lost over the last century and hundreds of the 7,000 known animal breeds are in danger of extinction
More on seeds, GM food and the food crisis:
- Vandana Shiva’s excellent series of articles over at Zmag. (Click on the drop down menu under ‘commentaries’ for the most recent pieces)
- Norway’s Doomsday Seed Vault
- Behind Latin America’s Food Crisis
- BIODIVERSITY: Indigenous Peoples Fight Theft
- GM Foods the Problem, Not the Solution
Image from the Beehive Collective