Farmer wants a revolution: ‘How is this not genocide?’

22/09/2017 Susan Chenery 0

Health comes from the ground up, Charles Massy says – yet chemicals used in agriculture are ‘causing millions of deaths’. Susan Chenery meets the writer intent on changing everything about the way we grow, eat and think about food

The kurrajong tree has scars in its wrinkled trunk, the healed wounds run long and vertical under its ancient bark. Standing in front of the homestead, it nestles in a dip on high tableland from which there is a clear view across miles and miles of rolling plains to the coastal range of south-east Australia.

Charles Massy grew up here, on the sweeping Monaro plateau that runs off the eastern flank of Mount Kosciuszko, an only child enveloped by the natural world, running barefoot, accompanied by dogs and orphaned lambs. Fifth generation, he has spent his adult life farming this tough, lean, tussock country; he is of this place and it of him. But when his friend and Aboriginal Ngarigo elder Rod Mason came to visit he discovered that a lifetime of intimately knowing the birds, trees and animals of this land wasn’t significant at all.

Related: EU report on weedkiller safety copied text from Monsanto study

It makes a world war look like a little storm in a teacup. And we are in denial

If people ate truly nutrient-rich food out of healthy soil, you would slash the national health bill straight away

Continue reading…

A million tons of feces and an unbearable stench: life near industrial pig farms

North Carolina’s hog industry has been the subject of litigation, investigation, legislation and regulation. But are its health and environmental risks finally getting too much?

Rene Miller pokes a lavender-frocked leg out of her front door and grimaces. It’s a bright April afternoon, and the 66-year-old Miller, with a stoic expression and a dark crop of curls, braces herself for the walk ahead.

Her destination isn’t far away – just a half-mile down a narrow country road, flanked by sprawling green meadows, modest homes and agricultural operations – but the journey takes a toll. Because as she ambles down the two-lane street, stepping over pebbles and sprouts of grass, the stench takes hold, an odor so noxious that it makes your eyes burn and your nose run. Miller likens it to “death” or “decomposition” to being surrounded by spoiled meat.

That scent is so bad. You can’t go outside. You can’t go outside and cook anything because the flies take over

“In 1995, I began to meet neighbors of industrial hog operations,” he said. “I saw how close some neighborhoods are to hog operations. People told me about contaminated wells, the stench from hog operations that woke them at night, and children who were mocked at school for smelling like hog waste. I studied the medical literature and learned about the allergens, gases, bacteria, and viruses released by these facilities – all of them capable of making people sick.”

Everything was segregated, but we still got along. But now, after these hogs came in, everything has gone downhill

Continue reading…

GM salmon: want to try it or avoid it? Either way, good luck

Labeling for GM foods is not required by law in the US or Canada, but surveys show consumers want their food – particularly transgenic animals – to be labeled

If you want to sample the world’s first animal to be genetically engineered in the name of dinner, good luck finding it. If, on the other hand, you would never eat such a thing – good luck avoiding it.

Tons of lab-developed salmon was sold in Canada last year without any packaging labeling it as a product of science, and the company that created and raises the fish, AquaBounty, won’t release the names of food distributors it sells to.

Related: GM salmon hits shelves in Canada – but people may not know they’re buying it

Related: Canada sued over approval of genetically modified salmon scheme

Continue reading…

GM salmon hits shelves in Canada – but people may not know they’re buying it

AquaBounty salmon was approved for sale in Canada in 2016, paving the way for it to become the first genetically engineered animal to enter the food supply

Canadian supermarkets have become the first in the world to stock genetically modified fish, and about five tonnes of GM salmon have been sold in the country in recent months.

The sales figure was revealed in the most recent earnings report of the US-based AquaBounty Technologies, whose hybrid Atlantic salmon – which contains a gene from a Chinook salmon and a gene from the ocean pout – has been at the heart of a heated debate over transgenic animals as food.

Related: FDA approves genetically modified salmon in agency first

Related: GM salmon’s global HQ – 1,500m high in the Panamanian rainforest

Continue reading…