Thursday, December 29, 2011

An Open Letter to Farmers and Consumers

Source
Julian Rose

Consumers:

Listen - do you want to survive? Do you want to have something edible on your plate? 

Do you seriously believe that what you currently buy from the supermarkets and hypermarkets is actually providing you with your nutritional needs?  Do you even care? Or are you “too busy to think about it.” Do you ever read the label on the packaging? Do you know what all those 'e' numbers are or mean? The synthetic preservatives, colors and additives which form a significant part of the 'food' you eat – do you realize what they are doing to you and your children and your grandchildren?

Well I'll tell you: they are destroying your immune systems – that's what they are doing. They are eating away at your natural resistance to disease. They are hardening your arteries. They are blocking up the valves of your heart. They are contributing to the chances of getting cancer. Have you noticed that people  are getting sick more and more frequently? If you haven't noticed you must have been asleep for the past decade. How many times have you felt “really well” recently? Not often? Have you wondered why?

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Do you take an interest in the quality of what you put in your belly? Yes? Then why do you still go to those huge supermarket stores that sell you junk food wrapped up in pretty packaging? Did you know that the 'fresh food' they sell you is never less than 4 days old? That it has often traveled half way around the world before it gets to you? That it is coming from huge monocultural fields whose soils have been soused with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and nitrates? You don't know what nitrates are? They are toxic stimulants that force plants to grow faster and bigger than they would naturally. All large-scale commercial farmers use them. The residues from these nitrates end up in our drinking water – and therefore in our bellies - and so do the pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. So do you begin to get the picture?

But that's not all! Oh no, whenever you buy those bakery products chances are you are getting genetically modified soya added to the flour – and ever wondered what that might be doing to you,
slowly, over many years? No? Well, nor do the transnational corporations that profit from the sales.

But we have strong evidence that they are contributing to the loss of your natural reproductive powers – yes – bringing on sterility. Oh, you don't mind that you or your family may never be able to have children? You're willing to risk this most precious gift of reproduction by ingesting GM residues? They are not only in the bakery products, but also come through in the milk and meat from all those livestock being fed GM soya and maize. 

Did you know that your government has not banned feeding genetically modified feed to animals? That it hasn't even banned the growing of GM crops? Are you going to simply turn the other way and allow your government to quietly permit the irreversible genetic pollution of your food chain and beautiful countryside? Or, will you get involved in preventing such a tragedy from ever happening?

Then what about all the refined white flour and sugar in these bakery foods? And what about this so called 'flour' – do you know how much wheat there is in most loaves of bread? Well – no one is going to tell you because if they did you would stop buying it.

Now then, I see some of you are still not convinced. If you don't care what you put in your tummy, then perhaps you do at least care about what and who you are supporting when you purchase your food. 

You might care to know that when you buy this 'stuff' that passes for food in the big supermarkets --and in many other shops unfortunately -- you are directly supporting what is known as 'factory farming'. Factory farming: those two words should make you feel a little sick, but then some of you are so thick skinned that it doesn't. So I'll explain: factory farming is mass production of foods using techniques which are just about as inhumane as one could get. In the case of commercial meat, the pigs and chickens that provide a high percent of all meat eaten in your country are raised in animal concentration camps. 

Their food is typically composed of genetically modified (maize and soya) that has been grown on vast sterile fields somewhere in the USA, Canada, Argentina, China or Brazil; fields that also demand large additions of agrichemicals. Then they are crushed for animal consumption and have antibiotics and other synthetic additives and fillers added to them. The hens and the pigs that are fed this toxic mix are kept in vast sheds with little or no access to daylight or the outdoors. They have no space. They cannot roam or play, and live out their brief lives on concrete floors under harsh neon lights. How long do they live? The fattening pigs maybe five months and the hens maybe three months. Egg laying hens and those for meat.

Then they get slaughtered – in their thousands. Just three months old. Humanely raised chickens can easily live happy lives for five years. Pigs considerably longer. But, dear supermarket consumer, you would really rather not know all this. You would rather prefer to believe the lovely adverts on TV which show contented hens running around in some field and smiling piggies gobbling buckets of delicious mash in their straw-covered yard. Yes, that's how they sell us the message about our food.

And you swallow their sugary virtual reality message without ever questioning it? 

Every time you do this you are consciously choosing to give your support to an inhumane factory farm – and to the corporations that manufacture the GM foods and agrichemicals – and to the vast supermarket chains that purchase this sad food, in full knowledge of the way it is raised. You see, we are complicit in the establishment of these vast profit-making prisons. They wouldn't exist if we didn't support them through buying their produce. WE are the ones who condemn these animals to a life of purgatory. WE are the ones who, by choosing 'not to know,' give license to huge corporations to take over control of the food chain and of our own lives. WE are submitting ourselves to becoming slaves to systems that are beneath the basic dignity of both the human and animal kingdom.

But do you believe, as I do, that we are responsible for maintaining an innate trusteeship of our animal cousins which ensures that we live together in the spirit of a broad extended family?

Then for God's sake wake up! There are choices that need to be made here. Not making them is not an option any more. Its time to act. Human health, planetary health, and universal health are not separate: they are inseparably connected. This health will not be secured by profit-driven food corporations or bargain-hunting consumers. It will be destroyed.
Read on …...

Farmers: 

What do you think you are doing? Is it true that you don't care about the quality of what you cultivate and raise from the land? Or, is it that you are happy for your government to tell you what to grow and how to grow it? Or is it Cargill and Monsanto? Or is it the financial subsidies they offer that control your thinking? Or are you afraid of being innovative? Is it perhaps easier to just plod on in the same old way in hopes that somehow you will get by?

Just beyond your door step are many people who could greatly benefit from getting the majority of their daily food needs from you. Of course, they would want this food to be of a good quality: fresh and flavorful. This is something the supermarkets can't provide. They are operating through centralized packaging and distribution centers involving hundreds, if not thousands, of kilometers of
road haulage. 

Nothing they provide is fresh, nor is it of any comparable quality to local food. Yet, for some reason you would rather accept the pitiful price the supermarket pays you than get yourselves organized and sell at a fair price to your own community or nearest town? 

Oh yes, once upon a time it was much better; there were proper local processing plants and abattoirs and even help in distribution. But the European Union and NAFTA don't like small-scale, self-sufficient units that look after local people with good quality fresh food. No, they like large-scale monocultural farms employing as few people as possible and turning out thousands of tons of bland, lifeless foods to be sold in some vast bland and lifeless store at the other end of the country. 

The EU and the United States Department of Agriculture want farmers to be business men and make decent profits so they can be taxed and provide a decent revenue to their puppet governments. You didn't know that? What have you been doing for the past ten years? Listening to your 'farmers union' or 'advice office'? Do you think they aren't being paid by the EU and the government too?

Now, it's time to get wise isn't it? I mean, do you really want to spend the rest of your days being a slave to institutions that have declared it illegal to sell any processed food to the local village shop?
What kind of nonsense is this? Why would anyone go along with that sort of bullshit? It looks like you need to break free from this hangman's rope. Are you trying to tell me that if a bunch of farmers got together with a bunch of shopkeepers and did a deal that provided local food to these shops – you would turn around and say, “Oh dear, I'm sorry, but its not allowed so I can't do it.” Has your pride reached such a low ebb that you are prepared to give in to a bunch of petty bureaucrats?

Come on. Come to your senses. If your a family farmer, the EU and the USDA want you out of the way – and that's the way they will win! They will get you trapped into feeling you 'Can't do anything'. They will try and make you feel guilty for doing something which is sensible, profitable and right. They will throw the 'hygiene and sanitary' rule book at you and tell you to fill in your 'HASSAP' form. They will try and cow you into feeling that you have to conform to their stinking global food marketing regime that has the net effect of killing off all the real family farms of Europe and North America and replacing them with banking cartel owned and run 'superfarms'. Places that operate with one man on five hundred hectares and the nation buying the resulting poisoned food from their nearest 'super store'.

Now listen – there's got to be a better way hasn't there? I mean, if you want any of your children to take an interest in the farm, do you really expect them to conform to an EU and US government rule book which is written by people who have never set foot on a farm in their lives? Aren't you feeling a bit foolish going along with this sort of rubbish?

If a bunch of locals came to you and asked you to grow some food for them – what would you do?
Set the dog on them? Swear at them? Tell them that its not allowed? Or might you perhaps invite them in for a cup of tea and a chat? Well, if you did, it just could be the starting point of  a very interesting possibility. I mean, if these people offered you a fair price to grow some food for them or produce some milk or cheese or whatever it might be – then wouldn't it be a bit foolish to turn them down? They get what they want and you get what you need -- a secure local market -- and not one controlled by some transnational corporation that wants to screw you. 

Have a think about it. But don't think too long, otherwise you will probably convince yourself that “it's not possible.” Its this attitude that just leads to things getting worse and worse.

Consumers and Farmers:

I have addressed this letter to both food buyers and food producers: so now it's down to you. Get together and take control of your destinies; or stay apart and to be killed off by transgenic laboratory foods, industrial farming cartels and sold-out corrupted governments.  

It's your choice.

Julian is a British pioneer organic farmer, writer and activist. He is currently president of the 'International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside' which is leading the fight against GMO in Poland. He is author of "Changing Course for Life - Local Solutions to Global Problems" www.changingcourseforlife.info 



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16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh get off it. People are starving all over the world. You think they would push the plate away and say, "no thanks, I don't believe in GMO's?" Organic farming is great, if we didn't have people starving in our own country. Organic farming= less food on the same acre of land. Our life expectancy has gone up. Look at the facts. Yes, pesticides and the likes are bad, but they keep us at a level of production that allows us to live to 90 years. Cavemen were 100% organic, and they died at 25.

Anonymous said...

Wow, holy troll Batman! There were a few more reasons why cavemen died at 25 other than having delicious pesticide drenched food grown on sterile land. And there are a few more reasons why people are starving on this planet other than Monsanto not handing out enough of their goodwill GMO. Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

Organic Farming= more food grown on the same acre of land. This is fact.

William said...

I admire your tenacity but I draw the line when you start talking about the farmers. Obviously, you are ignorant of that which you speak. Where was your bleeding heart in the early 80s when farmers tried to go on strike and nobody cared? If you were even alive, your melancholy mouth was probably full of cheap food. Many farmers back then went bankrupt and committed suicide but, again, nobody cared. Year after year, prices remained low and the drive to find more efficient and better yielding crops was welcomed. Do you have any idea what is involved in planting a thousand acres with two men over a tiny window in the spring? Do you have any idea what it's like to pray for rain or pray that a hail storm doesn't destroy your crop? Do you have even the barest perception of what it costs in fuel or ammonia or fertilizer or seed? Are you in the least bit cognizant of what is involved in keeping equipment - some of it nearly 50 years old - functioning year after year because you can't afford something new? Direct your well-founded ire to the elitist shepherds who led us here and keep the farmers out of your crosshairs. Organic "gardening" is NOT farming - it's GARDENING.

Wake up and get a clue yourself. When “they” decide to pull the plug – and they WILL pull the plug - no amount of careful planning on your part will make much difference because somebody out there WILL take it from you. You can’t guard your “crop” 24x7 from a horde of hungry people. There’s only one way this can end and it isn’t pretty. In the meantime, stop bitching about the farmers…

Anonymous said...

If you go to Walmart and other big box store it is almost impossible to find healthy food. Just look at the ingredients, they are toxic.

I buy healthy foods in ethnic stores. For meat like chicken and eggs, I go to middle eastern stores because they prepare their food according to muslim tradition of "Halal." They source of meat are not from factory poultry.

In Oriental stores, you will find a lot of healthy foods too. There are more healthy ingredients in their product compare to big box stores. Just watch out for those msg and other toxic ingredients.

No stores are 100% healthy but compare the ethnic stores with big box stores, the ethnic stores have more healthy products compare to big box stores.

Anonymous said...

With the exception of huge mega-farms, the deck is stacked against small and even mid-sized farming operations. Laws regarding food production and processing are not equal, and many of those laws were not passed based on facts or statistics but simply by corporate lobbying in order to discourage small-scale farmers. Without support of consumers, farmers alone do not form a large enough voting block to influence any legislation. The average consumer relies on the USDA or FDA to inform us whether or not a product is safe but how reliable are these agencies if their highest-ranking officials come directly from Monsanto or other corporate giants whose goal has always been profits over public safety. Why would I trust the company that brought us DDT and Agent Orange when they tell me Roundup or their other chemicals are safe? Let's take it to the Supreme Court. Oh wait, Clarence Thomas used to work for Monsanto; scratch that idea. Funny how the courts keep preventing foods from being labeled GMO or not. Monsanto's lawyers told the court, "we might as well put a skull and crossbones on the label." Perhaps, they should; after all, plants grown with Roundup absorb that herbicide; it's in the cell structure of the plant and can't be washed away or cooked out of it. Funny, too, how mainstream media fails to show the surge in many diseases directly correlates to the introduction of GMO foods into our food supply; or the independent tests where mice, force-fed GMO tomatoes, developed lesions of the esophagus. Pass the Nexium, please.

Anonymous said...

And yet our health improves and our life expectancy increases every year. Have you ever thought your paranoid delusions are simply wrong?

kathi dunphy said...

About your claim that factory meat and laying hens are killed at 3 months...Factory meat chickens are killed at about 8 weeks. Laying hens are just starting to lay at about 6 months and are generally discarded by age 2 because of the stresses of their miserable existance.

Anonymous said...

After the world wide revolution - not many of us reading and writing to this and other blogs will be alive. Enjoy ,right now!,what you have in this life to the fullest and be prepared to relocate in an instant to a safer location. Don't forget to grab your heirloom seeds as you head out the door, this can mean life or death for you and those around you.
You can be prepared and not be angry and fearful. Use your intuition and gut feelings. Do Not follow the crowds. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Use to be that small farms provided for their communities. Use to be before food/livestock became an industry. It is no longer sacred...
I have farm reports dating back to 1901 at the beginning of "industrial farming" everything was a disease.
I live in farm country, I see the industrial farming all around me. Growing corn for gasoline, baby diapers but not food. This is farming?
I see on our local craigslist farmers listing their beef that is already injected with steroids.
Last spring the "farmers" sprayed the corn with "fertilizers" that smelled like raid. My pregnant dairy cow was outside when they sprayed this crap...I was furious.
Feeder calves, now this is something. We purchased 11 calves...3 died within 22 days. Why? Became the "farmer" did not allow these BABIES the MUCH needed colostrum to survive. They simply die, horribly, within 22 days. Poof, they are gone.
I love the small farmers, they care about their livestock and the quality of the food that is produced.
Yes, it is sad.
These large farms sold their soul to "industry" they produce butter that is void of good bacteria, they produce milk that is void of good bacteria. Veal chickens are delivered to every grocery store...their meat is so soft because they do not exercise. My chickens are strong, they run all over the farm...they are happy birds with happy eggs.
I am disgusted with industrial farmers, they are not farmers they are just part of the machinery, they bought the song and dance. They allow industry to dictate how they farm and with what chemicals they provide...disgusting.
Yes, foods in the grocery stores are layered in damaging chemicals, they are layered with poisons. I see people all the time with loaded grocery carts of poison...that they serve to the people they love.

Deborah, Illinois

David A. McElroy said...

God put Adam & Eve in a garden, not a market! The old ways are healthy, and with modern eyes we can make them profitable. Many years ago I read a USDA report highlighting how the Amish farmers made more profit per acre using muscles rather than machines, manure and compost rather than industrial chemicals. The Amish farm are smaller, but not burdened with horrible debts for million dollar combines and $250,000 tractors and other mass-production factory farm equipment needed for huge operations in monoculture that destroys soil and poisons us!
Study the Amish ways of independent living in the small scale family farm! Live free or die!

Anonymous said...

Anyone who plants more than 100 acres is not a farmer. They are a big equipment operator. They cannot know their soil on more than 100 acres. (A NPK test doesnt count)They dont walk their land, they look at a few rows here and there. Organic farming is farming, its feeding people, not cars and cows. (which neither were built to process corn.) You can be angry all you want, but every day you have a choice to change. Change what and where you buy. Change what, where and how you plant. (there are government subsities out there for you to change, big equipment drivers) If you feel inconvienced by not getting exactly what you want, right when you want it, maybe its time to reevaluate your life.

Anonymous said...

Dear "anonymous" from 12/29 at6:52 :
"Our health improves and our life expectancy increases"... Really? I'm only 65, and I remember when a fat person was a rarity, and you almost never saw a fat kid. Look at some film of public streets or playgrounds from any time before 1970 and check for yourself. Diseases which have skyrocketed in the last 30 to 40 years: diabetes, ADD/ADHD/ depression, arthritis (much of it probably undiagnosed skeletal flourosis), endocrine disorders of all kinds, digestive disorders of all kinds, and on and on. The 80-to-100 year-olds of today were raised in a less toxic world eating a much higher percentage of real food. Todays youth is in disastrous health. The days of increasing longevity (courtesy of antibiotics which are now so overprescribed that they have become part of the problem) are over, and the trend to decreasing life spans has already been measured.
I get my health care at the VA, and at every visit I am asked to "list ALL my medications". When I say "none", they look at me like I'm from some other planet.
The article is right on target, and people are at long last finally beginning to realize what we have done to ourselves. After all, the handwriting has been on the wall since Rachel Carson.

Anonymous said...

great article thank you! wake up everyone!i buy from farmers and farmers markets all either organic or organically grown and only buy organic if shop at a store. monsanto lies gmos do not feed the world they contaminate the world.small organic farms are the way to go

Anonymous said...

I ALSO AGREE - GREAT ARTICLE!
We still have some choices left to buy organic,
WE MUST SUPPORT FARM ORGANIC -- OR IT WILL BE GONE! The game is RIGGED AND CORPORATION'S CAN SELL AT A CHEAPER PRICE! (BUT IS IT REALLY CHEAPER IN THE LONG RUN?) NO!!!!!
If corporation's gain control of all the food it's GAME OVER FOR US!!!! "THINK SOLENT GREEN"

USE THE POWER OF YOUR DOLLAR TO STOP THIS ASSAULT!!
And yes we should have helped our organic farmer's in the eighties, but we were unaware then, of what was happening. We still have some wiggle room, USE IT NOW!!!

Ric Ohge said...

When I used the Facebook button to re-post this, it added the first comment as the article's description. This is an oddity that should be looked into.

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